One of the things I kept hearing from people was that I picked the wrong week to have my surgery. Tuesday was the only New York Ranger game on the schedule for this week because of the All-Star game and that I would have to wait until next Tuesday to see a Ranger game.
What people do not realize is that for myself these days the most entertaining hockey, the most exciting hockey that I get to see is played at the CHL and NCAA levels. It's more than just a game but rather the atmosphere as well as the entertainment that you get during breaks in the action.
Hockey is supposed to be fun and too often the NHL has forgotten that part of the game. Wednesday going coast-to-coast was actually some pretty good hockey involving teams who should be contending for their various championships. Living out west means I can start watching hockey from 3:30 PDT until 10 PDT.
The theme Wednesday evening was "you got your money's worth" as there was some really entertaining and exciting games played. Our star for the evening was Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011, 3rd) of the Penticton Vees as his team was looking for their 26th straight win.
The Vees thanks to 6 goals in the third period blew out the Merritt Centennial's 9-0 to earn win number 26. Fogarty earned the game's 2nd star behind his 1-3-4 performance in the win.
What we liked about Fogarty tonight was that he did a little of everything to help the team win.It took Fogarty all of 17 seconds to score his 21st goal and what wound up being the game winning goal when he scored to give Penticton a 1-0 lead. Still in the first period, Fogarty picked up his 2nd point of the evening when he set up Ryan Reilly for a power-play goal at 14:09 giving Penticton a 2-0 lead after one period.
In the 2nd period, Fogarty earned his 3rd point when he was credited with a secondary assist on Joey Benik's goal just 21 seconds into the period at and a 3-0 lead. Then in the 3rd period, Fogarty scored his 22nd goal with this one being unassisted at 11:01 for a 5-0 Penticton lead.
The 2 goals was Fogarty's 21st and 22nd of the season and the 2 assists Fogarty had raised his season total to 32 which gives Fogarty and overall record of 22–32–54. That puts Fogarty in second place among Ranger prospect scoring the season.
In Shawinigan Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010, 3rd) was named the game's 3rd star after a 2 assist performance led to an easy 6-0 win over the Victoriaville Tigres. The win gave Kabanov's Cataractes sole possession of the top spot in the QMJHL overall standings.
Kabanov said that the game's first and fifth Shawinigan goals on the evening to improve his numbers for the season to 16-21-37 +19 in 32 games. Shawinigan is hosting the 2012 Memorial Cup and it looks like the intent not going as the host but as the QMJHL champions.
In the WHL, we had to see plenty of good action will start with John Persson (NYI 2011, 5th) and his Red Deer Rebels were hosting the Vancouver Giants. It was important game for the Rebels as they looked to try to get back in the hunt for a playoff spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference. As they entered the game against the Giants they were in 9th place 6 points behind 8th place Brandon.
Persson scored his 16th goal of the season as he got his Rebels going when he scored at 12:18 of the first period on the power play to tie the game at1-1. For Persson it was just his 3rd goal in his last 10 games but it also gave them a 3 game scoring streak.
The win also helped Persson regain 2nd place in the New York Islander prospect scoring race with a 16–26–42. Hopefully this breaks Persson out of the slump he has been in for the last couple of months.
Speaking of the leading scorer among Islander prospects, Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011, 5th) not only leads the New York Islander prospects but also all WHL defensemen in scoring as his Spokane Chiefs traveled to play the Everett Silvertips.
Spokane has been chasing the Vancouver Giants for the fourth seed in the WHL's Western Conference standings. And when you making a run you look to your veteran players to leading the charge and that is exactly what Kichton has been doing in the January.
Kitchen had one assist against Everett as the Chiefs won their fourth straight game 4-2 over the Silvertips. The win has the Chiefs now just one point behind the Giants lost to Red Deer.
Kichton is now 3-12-15 +16 for the month of January and is helping the Chiefs earn consideration as a serious contender for the WHL's Western conference championship.
When the CHL released its weekly rankings of the top 10 teams in all 3 CHL leagues, the Tri-City Americans were 3rd in the poll and the team they were facing Wednesday evening the Edmonton Oil Kings were at number 6 (their highest ranking in franchise history).
It was a game that we were very much looking forward to because you had in Edmonton the team that was leading the WHL's Eastern conference while Tri-Cities has been going toe to toe with the Kamloops Blazers for the top spot in the WHL's Western Conference.
We see a lot of games over the course of the season but what we saw Wednesday night as far as what we see was the most entertaining game of the season so far. We are glad that the game did not in the shootout because this is a game that if he didn't have a clear winner deserve to be a tie.
Tri-City thanks to an outstanding play by Brendan Shinnimin scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give Tri-City a 5-4 overtime win. Shinnimin made beautiful deke that. Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011, 4th) as well as everybody else on the ice fell for to create the space to score.
But this game was truly one that the fans their monies worth for sure. Edmonton drew first blood and Tri-City responded with 2 goals to.
Edmonton answered with 2 goals of their own to retake the lead; then in the 3rd it was Tri-City answering back with 2 goals to take the lead again. But Edmonton responded with a goal that tied the game and he eventually led to overtime.
You had goalies making unbelievable saves way it looked like they will beaten; you had players were hitting or making plays as both teams play their hardest to win this game.
Michael St. Croix may not have scored and and yes he was beaten on the final play but he played a great game of his own between passing and offensive chances that he has no reason to blame himself for the loss.
And if you were a Ranger fan during the time when Ulfie Samuelsson was Ranger then you will love his son Henrik who plays for Edmonton. He is not as big as his father is but he made the right choice coming back to North America
Henrik already has been suspended for a game and in 6 games is 2-5-7. He needs a new nickname as there is only 1 King Henrik in North America.
As soon as we finished with the Edmonton game, we jump right in to the game between 2nd-ranked Kamloops Blazers and Shane McColgan's (NYR 2011, 5th) Kelowna Rockets. Kamloops came into this game was a 9 game winning streak that led to them to the top of the WHL standings.
Meanwhile Kelowna has been trying to get on a roll themselves, currently they are holding the 6th seed in the WHL's Western Conference which if the WHL playoffs were to start tomorrow we put them against the Portland Winterhawks. Not a favorable matchup but the Rockets are 11 points behind 5th place Spokane who also has 3 games in hand.
What we do like though is that Kelowna is trying to improve their fate and Shane McColgan is doing as we hoped which is score goals. McColgan was a game second star thanks to a 1-1-2 performance which helped his Rockets earn a 3-2 win in the shootout to stop Kamloops 9 game winning streak while Rockets have back to back wins.
McColgan scored his 13th goal in the 2nd period which tied the game at 1-1 and in the 3rd period fired a shot on net in which the rebound was pounced on and put and by his linemate Brett Bulmer which tied the game once again and forced first overtime then the shootout.
It was a huge win for the Rockets who were expected to have had a much better season then they have had. For McColgan he improves to 13-35-48 which puts him in third place among Ranger prospects.
(Fogarty – Penticton Vees. Kabanov- Shawinigan Cataractes, Kichton- Spokane Chiefs, Samuelsson- Edmonton Oil Kings)
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