Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let the Playoffs Begin

OK so out of all the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects in the CHL playoffs you just knew that it would be Dan Maggio (NYR 2009 6th) who would score the first goal of the playoffs.

The player that the Oshawa Generals brought in to be the shut down defender, Maggio scored his first playoff goal in 2 years and 2 days as his Oshawa Generals jumped all over the Kingston Frontenacs and when it was done won 7-3 to take a 1-0 lead in their OHL playoff series.

In fact it was an excellent performance from all 4 prospects on the Generals as the Generals jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) got the Generals going setting up Alain Berger for a goal at 15:45 of the first period.

Calvin de Haan (NYI 2009 1st) got on the board next with a secondary assist on the Generals 2nd goal of the game 51 seconds later at 16:36. Maggio scored his goal at 0:31 of the second period to make it 3-0 Oshawa.

Thomas added 2 more secondary assists and de Haan a primary assist to help the Generals to a good win. Thomas was 0-3-3 +3, de Haan 0-2-2 +2, Maggio 1-0-1 Even and Tony DeHart (NYI 2010 5th) may have been scoreless but he was a +3 for the night.

Game 2 is tomorrow night in Kingston who played without Ethan Werek (NYR 2009 2nd) who was serving the 4th game of his 5 game suspension.

Jason Wilson (NYR 2010 5th) had an assist as his Niagara IceDogs blew open the game with 4 second period goals to rout the Brampton Battalion 7-1 in Game 1 of their OHL playoff series. Wilson had the primary assist on the IceDogs 6th goal of the game.

Game 2 will be Sunday in Brampton.

Andrew Yogan (NYR 2010 3rd) was scoreless as his Erie Otters were the only road team to earn a Game 1 win as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held on to edge the Windsor Spitfires 2-1. The Otters and Spitfires were evenly matched with the Otters scoring a shorthanded goal and Windsor a power play goal.

Game 2 will be Saturday in Erie.

The Mississauga St. Michaels Majors had no trouble with the Belleville Bulls using a smothering defense to hold the Bulls to just 18 shots for the game in earning a 4-1 Game 1 win. The Majors were playing without Casey Cizikas (NYI 2009 4th) who is suffering from an arm injury.


The NCAA Tournament gets underway Friday with 2 games involving prospect teams.

Boston College missing Chris Kreider (NYR 2009 1st) will be the first seed in the West Regional and are the heavy favorites to win this region. They open up the tournament against Colorado College on Friday night at 9 PM EDT on ESPNU.

Now the hockey traditionalist in us says the more everyone is making a big deal on BC's goalie John Muse being 8-0 in his NCAA career the more we believe it is setting BC for a loss. The depending NCAA champions really have not played all that well this season but should get a win over Colorado College.

The heartbreak we are having is because the second seed in this region is Carl Hagelin's (NYR 2007 6th) Michigan Wolverines. Michigan opens up against Nebraska-Omaha at 5:30 EDT on The reason why we say heartbreak is because we would have loved to have watch Carl Hagelin go head to head with Chris Kreider.

The best college defensive prospect against the best college offensive prospect is a matchup we sadly will not get to see but we do see Michigan getting past first Nebraska-Omaha and then Boston College for a trip to the Frozen Four.

Saturday is when most of the prospects will see action starting with North Dakota the first seed in the Midwest regional. North Dakota has Islander prospects Jason Gregoire (2007 3rd) and Brock Nelson (2010 1st) on their roster but will both play?

Gregoire has been smoking hot with 27 points in a 14 game scoring streak missed the WCHA Final Five with an undisclosed injury and no word as of yet if he will make the opening of the NCAAs. For Nelson, it will be his 2nd big pressure situation of the year after playing for Team USA in the World Under-20 championship.

North Dakota is also coming in with a 12 game unbeaten streak and this is the team we believe will go all the way and win the NCAAs.

On the other side of this bracket will have the Denver Pioneers (Matt Donovan NYI 2008 4th) taking on the Cinderella Western Michigan Broncos (Max Campbell NYR 2007 5th). Donovan has quietly emerged as one of the top college defensemen and is coming off making the WCHA All-Tournamnet team.

Max Campbell and his WMU Broncos have had a great season as they have restored the excitement back in the WMU program but we do not think they have enough to defeat a Denver team that took North Dakota to double overtime in the WCHA finals.

The only way we can see WMU winning here is if Denver is overlooking them thinking about a rematch with North Dakota. To be honest we do think the selection committee did both North Dakota and Denver an unjustice by placing both teams in the same bracket.

We do see North Dakota coming out of this region and heading to the NCAA Frozen Four.

In the Northeast regional, the best team nobody knows about the Merrimack Warriors will be facing Anders Lee (NYI 2009 6th) and his Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Lee has been quiet in his last few games which has also been Notre Dame losses.

If Lee does not score then Notre Dame is not going to win.

Blake Kessel (NYI 2007 6th) and his New Hampshire Wildcats kind of backed their way into the NCAAs as they face the Miami RedHawks. It will be a short stay in the NCAAs for the Wildcats as they just do not have the firepower at either end of the ice to match up with Miami.

So our Frozen Four is going to look like this

East- Union
Northeast- Miami

West- Michigan
Midwest- North Dakota

A final of North Dakota and Miami is going to hand North Dakota an NCAA Championship.

(Maggio courtesy of OHL Images-Aaron Bell) 


brian said...

An avid reader (rangers fan and hope you remain so despite the islanders coverage, although I'm from LI) but I go to Yale so you hurt me with that Union prediction. I'll be at the games so well see. Nice work on the blog though, thanks.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Thanks Brian and while I am sorry about the Union prediction, I watched Union earlier in the season and I just felt that as good as Yale's offense is, it came down to who's defense was better.

As for the Islander coverage, the reasoning behind is like from the Godfather movies you know; keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.

Seriously adding the Islander coverage was because in my mind getting the Islanders back to being a good team is good for everyone especially the Rangers.

If the Islanders are better then the Rangers have to work hard at being better.

And cmon be honest you would just love the thought of beating the Islanders in games that really matter like a playoff series.

brian said...

I would like to see some competitive, meaningful Islanders Rangers games because only the past few years have I become a true fan and so I haven't seen that rivalry at its peak. And can you give a prediction for Christian Thomas' future, any chance he follows in Skinner's footsteps and breaks the lineup next year or maybe further or maybe not at all? Either way, bright future for the Rangers. Thanks again for showing us that

Jess Rubenstein said...

Brian, the true test of a rivalry comes when you face them in a playoff series. The first time the Islanders beat the Ranger made this rivalry.

As for Christian Thomas, let us see how he handles the OHL playoffs to see if he is a possible NHL player. Right now I would say he has earned a long look and has played the kind of dominate hockey you are supposed to in order to advance to the next level.

I would say that Thomas is more NHL ready than Kreider is

Pete said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete said...

kreider is playin tnte for bc

Pete said...

big w for yale, even tho they played awful in that game. live to fight another day

Jess Rubenstein said...

Thanks Pete I am watching the BC butt kicking after watching Oshawa go up 9-1 and Moose Jaw whipping Kootenay 4-0.
Guess Brian will forgive me at least for tonight for not picking Yale but I agree with Pete they did not look good against what was supposed to be the worst team in the NCAA

brian said...

Tonight was a terrible game but we have another game so hopefully they won't play so poorly again