Tuesday was a day of last chance for 2 local prospects to show the Canadian coaching staff that they would help Team Canada win a gold medal at the upcoming World Under-20 championships.
Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) and Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) wound playing on the same line Tuesday evening as Team Canada held a tryout game against a team of Canadian University players.
Odds are if you are reading this at about 9:30 AM EDT that you will be able to find out whether or not they made it past the final cuts. If you asked us during the game whether or not we thought both would make the team then we would have said yes.
We would have said yes because both Strome and Thomas are gifted offensive players who we believe under international rules would benefit from wide open games. We also know from experience that Canadian coach Don Hay has no problem playing smaller players in key roles (the only player from Hay's team is a 5'8 forward).
The question now is will Canada panic after losing in the gold medal game the last 2 years? Will they make the same mistake that Team USA made last year by going with size over skill?
Thomas and Strome were linemates against the college team on Tuesday and we did not see chemistry but we did see individual play. Both prospects offer Canada someone they can use as power play quarterbacks, both players offer Canada instant offense but can Canada take both or just one?
Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) was cut early Tuesday morning and while it is disappointing; nobody thought Kichton was going to get an invite to begin with.
Kichton did not play badly and gave a good show of himself.
John Persson (NYI 2011 5th) did not score Tuesday night and we think he does not mind at all as his Red Deer Rebels ended a franchise record 13 game winless streak by defeating the Kootenay Ice 4-2. It was Red Deer's 1st win since November 12th and we are pretty sure the Rebels are just glad this streak is over.
Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) was also scoreless and a -2 but his Kelowna Rockets fell on the road to the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-3. The Rockets are on a swing of WHL Eastern Conference teams and so far they are 0-2-0-1 on this 6 game road trip.
This is not how the Rockets want to play heading toward their holiday break on Sunday.
Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) was a -1 with no points as his Baie-Comeau Drakkar lost to the the Quebec Remparts 5-3. The Drakkar can only blame themselves because they dug themselves a 1-3 first period hole giving up 3 goals in 1:04.
The Drakkar held a 44-20 edge in shots but that one breakdown cost them a game and sometimes that is all it takes.
Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) allows us to end our report on a happy note as his Penticton Vees had to work hard but eventually they wound up 4-1 winners over the Merritt Centennials. That was the Vee's 16th straight win and Fogarty to steal a tweet from Fraser Rogers AKA @Veesvoice
Gr8 road win and great goaltending @garteig1 @StevenFogarty19 was a beast #ifheonlytweetedback
Fogarty had 2 primary assists to earn the game's 3rd star as Fogarty set up the Vee's 1st and 3rd goals. The assists bring Fogarty's numbers to 16-25-41 which makes him 2nd among Ranger prospects.
The BCHL plays a 60 game regular season so Fogarty is on a pace to go 29-45-74 which are very respectable numbers for a "project" player.
(Strome and Thomas- Aaron Bell of OHL Images, Fogarty- NHL Media)
44 minutes ago