Sunday, October 2, 2011

Welcoming Themselves Back

Saturday night was a night for a New York Islander and a New York Ranger prospect to re-introduce themselves to their local fans in their own style.

First Star Brock Nelson

He is known as the other New York Islander 2010 first round pick but in the long run, perhaps Brock Nelson could wind up being the better prospect for the Islanders in the long run.

It may have only been an exhibition game but the 6'4 Nelson served notice that there will not be a sophomore slump coming from him. Nelson got the North Dakota season going with a first period goal and then added a second one (the 7th ND goal 3:24 on the video) as North Dakota blew out the University of Regina 8-1.

Nelson was shifted to left wing for this game and we hope that it is a permanent move because in our eyes, it is a better use of Nelson's size and skill. This is the Brock Nelson we have been waiting to see as Nelson scored his 2 goals on 7 shots and was a +2 for the game while playing a strong 2 way game.

Let us put Nelson down for a 20 goal season as he looks stronger and playing with more focus which is great for Islander/North Dakota fans and bad for those who have to play the Fighting Sioux.  JT Who?

Second Star Shane McColgan

One of the real positives to come out of the Ranger Traverse City effort was the play of Shane McColgan (2011 5th) of the Kelowna Rockets.  The 5'9 right wing made his return to the Rocket lineup a happy one putting up 3 assists to help the Rockets to a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Giants.

McColgan earned the game's 2nd star for his efforts as he got his first point of the season on a secondary assist on Kelowna's first goal of the game at 15:36 on the power play. In the second period, McColgan got the primary assist when he fed Colton Sissons for Kelowna's 5th goal also on the power play for a 5-1 lead.

In the 3rd period after Vancouver had closed the gap to 5-3, McColgan finished off the Giants when he recorded his 3rd assist of the night setting up Carter Rigby at 16:03 for the Rocket's 6th goal. Now our message to the assistant captain of the Rockets is to play like this every night.

Third Star Steven Fogarty

So does anyone want to guess who is leading the Ranger prospects in both goals and scoring? If you said Steven Fogarty of the Penticton Vees (2011 3rd) then you know your Ranger prospects as the 6'3 forward is 3-2-5 after 4 games.

Fogarty had his best game of the young season when he scored his 3rd goal of the season and added his first 2 assists as his Penticton Vees whipped on the Trail Smoke Eaters 9-1. Fogarty wasted little time on Saturday night scoring at 1:10 of the first period and the Vees never looked back.

In the second period Fogarty earned his first BCHL assist when Mike Reilly scored at 8:30 while on the power play to put the Vees up 4-0. In the 3rd, Fogarty made it a 3 point night when he fed Cody DePourcq on the Vee's 7th goal also on the power play at 2:21.

The more we see of Fogarty the more we have to thank Evgeny Grachev for asking for his trade as the 3rd round pick the Rangers got back was used to select Fogarty. Call Fogarty the "anti-Grachev" as we have do not have to worry about Fogarty working hard at all.

The Rest Of The Prospects

We have settled on a nickname for 6'5 225 lb defenseman Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) as watching him play for the Baie-Commeau Drakkar only one name fits. We are calling Noreau "Thor" because when Noreau throws his body around, he is hammering them.

Repeat after us "In Gordie We Trust" as we had our doubts in selecting Noreau but "Thor" is showing us that he is a whole lot more than just a fighter. The first pair defender on the Drakker, Noreau registered his 2nd assist in as many games as the Drakkar defeated the Prince Edward Island Rocket 6-1.

Noreau got the primary assist on the Drakkar's 5th goal as the surprise team of the QMJHL won their 5th straight game. Noreau in addition to his assist also recorded a "good" hit and was a +1 with 4 PIMs.

Brendan Kichton (Islanders 2011 5th) had a 2 assist night as his Spokane Chiefs had little trouble with rival the Tri-City Americans whipping them 7-2. Out of fairness to Tri-City, they played in Portland on Friday night then rode a bus for close to 7 hours.

Kichton cost himself a star by being on the ice for both American's goals but he is now 0-3-3 on the season.

Andrew Yogan (2010 3rd) had a 2 assist night for his Peterborough Petes but the Petes after a furious 3rd period comeback lost in overtime to the Barrie Colts 6-5. This was a game of ups and downs for Yogan which we hope he takes as a serious learning experience.

For starters, Yogan took 8 PIMs of which 6 came on the same play as Yogan took a double minor for spearing and a minor for slashing. Those are the kinds of plays that get you in the dog house with a coach as it gave the Colts a full 2 minute 2 man advantage (Petes killed it off).

Yogan also took an elbowing minor which did lead to a power play goal for the Colts to make the game 2-0 at the time. Yogan helped ease his own troubles by setting up Matt Puempel for the Pete's first goal less than 2 minutes of the power play goal.

Yogan's 2nd assist was a secondary assist but it was a big one as it came at 18:59 of the 3rd period to bring the Petes to within 1 at 5-4 (Petes scored at 19:59 to tie game).  Yogan and fellow Ranger prospect Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) struggled on the defensive side as well being on the ice for the game winning goal.

Memo to both which is keep feet moving and communicate when on defense.

JT Miller (NYR 2011 1st) earned his 3rd assist of the season but his Plymouth Whalers were defeated by the London Knights 6-3. Miller earned a secondary assist on the Whaler's 2nd goal but was a -2 as he was on the ice for 3 goals against on the evening.

Miller is now 1-3-4 in 3 games which is a good start for the Ranger 1st round pick but Saturday night reminded us that he still has some work to do at both ends of the ice.

Mitchell Theoret (Islanders (2011 7th) was scoreless but his Niagara IceDogs spotted the Belleville Bulls a 3-0 lead before scoring 5 straight to earn a 5-3 win. Theoret was a -1 with a minor for "check to the head".

The Guelph Storm welcomed back Andrey Pedan (Islanders 2011 3rd) to the lineup after his 2 game suspension with a 5-3 win over the defending OHL champs the Owen Sound Attack. Pedan was scoreless but put up a +1 for the evening.

The Attack hold the OHL rights to Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009 5th) who is currently in Europe with the Rangers. It has been expected that the Rangers would send Stajcer back to the OHL when they return to the USA and that the Attack would trade the overage goalie.

Those plans might change if the Attack continue to struggle with their goaltending like they have. Their starter Jordan Binnington has started 5 games and given up 4+ goals in 4 of those starts not a good start.

Speaking of struggling and while it is only 3 games, it still seems strange that Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) still has not registered even an assist. His Oshawa Generals though broke out of their scoring slump scoring 7 on the hapless Erie Otters en-route to a 7-4 win.

We are not worried but have to acknowledge that Thomas struggled at Traverse City then main camp so we would just pull him aside and tell him to relax as the points will come.

Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) and his Edmonton Oil Kings did the opposite of Friday night as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Medicine Tigers. Only in this won they forgot to play the 2nd half of the game as the Tigers scored 3 goals to tie the game then won via the shoot out 4-3.

St. Croix was scoreless in this one but the play was better than it was Friday night. Still St. Croix can and should be playing better than this.

John Persson (Islanders 2011 5th) and his Red Deer Rebels gave away a 2-0 lead to the Prince Albert Raiders as the Raiders scored 7 unanswered goals for a 7-2 win.  Persson was scoreless and a -4 for the night.

Not wanting to throw gas on any fire but Prince Albert is where Mark McNeil plays (yes he who many a NYR fan wanted drafted) and he has a 3 point night with the first star.

Corey Trivino (Islanders 2008 2nd) and his 6th ranked Boston University stumbled in their first game of the season dropping a 6-4 exhibition game to St. Francis Xavier.  Trivino was scoreless with 2 shots and a +1 on the night.

Scott Mayfield (Islanders 2011 2nd) made his debut with the 4th ranked Denver Pioneers as they started their season with an exhibition game against McGill University (Canada). McGill we have to say came away with a moral victory holding Denver to a 2-2 overtime tie.

Mayfield had a quiet night as the freshman defenseman is making the jump to the NCAAs from the USHL. Can not say anything about his play since we did not get any reports on the game.

Randy McNaught's University of Calgary Dinos were shut out again by the University of Manitoba 2-0. We are not showing McNaught as playing but also not listed as a healthy scratch but we are waiting word on this.

(Images: Nelson/USA Hockey, McColgan/Kelowna Rockets, Fogarty/NY Rangers,  Noreau/Baie-Comeau Drakkar)

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