Sunday, January 29, 2012

Heating up (Updated Monday ! AM)

As Marion Gaborik was walking away with the MVP award at the NHL All-Star game; future Rangers were putting on a show of their own. For those Ranger fans wondering about the Rangers needing to find more offense, it's coming and it's gonna be fun to watch.

JT Miller (NYR 2011, first) may have taken a while to respond to our call for more goals in the second half but six goals in his last four games is the next response.

Miller and his Plymouth Whalers were taking on the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Sunday looking to catch up to the London Knights for first place in the OHL's Western conference. Miller earned the game's first star with another two-goal performance to help the Whalers earn a 4-3 shootout win.

Miller, who had just one point in the months first seven games finished up the month with a six goal, three assists surge in the last four games of the month.  Miller overall is 19-30-49 on the season with the Whalers.

On Sunday Miller scored the game's first goal his 18th to give Plymouth an early 1-0 just 50 seconds into the game.  The Greyhounds scored two goals of their own to grab the lead but the Whalers answered with a goal two seconds before the period ended leaving the game tied 2-2 after one.

Neither team scored in the second, but Miller scored his second goal of the game to give the Whalers and 3-2 lead at 3:41 of the third.  The Whalers couldn't hold the lead as a game wound up going first into overtime, then the shootout.

In the shootout, Miller missed on his attempt as Plymouth second shooter but it took six rounds before Plymouth got the win.  With the win, the Whalers now have a four-game winning streak, just like Miller has a four-game scoring streak.

Christian Thomas (NYR 2010, second) and his Oshawa Generals hosted the Peterborough Petes with Andrew Yogan (NYR 2010, third) and Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011, sixth) with both teams trying to secure a playoff spot in the OHL's Eastern Conference.  Entering the game, the Petes held a three-point lead over the Generals.

Andrew Yogan drew first blood when he scored his 24th goal of the season just 1:37 into the game.  The goal broke a four-game scoreless streak for Yogan.

It was Christian Thomas, who answered back when he scored his 21st goal of the season at 7:53 and the first to tie the game.  For Thomas, the goal extended his scoring streak to five games (3-5-8) and was the first of three points that Thomas would score in this game.

In the second, Thomas set up the General's second goal while on the power play at 14:01.  The Generals would actually score 5 unanswered goals in this game with Thomas earning a secondary assist on the Generals fourth goal, helping him earn his second star of the game.

UPDATE Our friend Neate Yager from Buzzing The Net wrote this about the play Thomas made on on his primary assist:

Honourable mention: Christian Thomas, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

The signed New York Rangers second-round pick had three points in the Gens' 5-2 win over rival Peterborough. Thomas wasn't named first star at General Motors Centre. It went to teammate Scott Laughton (two goals), but Thomas made one play that deserves to be honoured. On a rush down right wing late in the second period, Thomas flipped the puck over the head of retreating defender Trevor Murphy, darted by him to retrieve it and made a saucer pass to Laughton for the goal. This, from someone who had more goals than assists in each of the previous two seasons.

(This gives you the OK to kick anyone who offers up Thomas as tradebait at the trade deadline)

Yogan would add his 25th goal in a losing cause, while his teammate Ceresnak was scoreless.  In the end, the final score was 5-2 in favor of Oshawa as they took sole possession of eighth place in the OHL's Eastern conference and pulled to within one point of 7th place Peterborough.

Thomas with his three points is now 21-25-46 and Yogan 25-20-45.

Our friend Neate Yager over at Buzzing The Net

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011, third) had an assist for his 21st point of the year but his Guelph Storm lost to the Kitchener Rangers 5-3.  The loss ended a three-game winning streak that helped elevate the Storm into sixth place in the OHL's Western Conference.

Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011, seventh) was scoreless, but his Niagara IceDogs shut out the Brampton Battalion 3-0.  The win allowed the IceDogs to retake the OHL's Central Division lead and pull to within four points of the OHL's Eastern Conference leader Ottawa.

Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009, fifth) was the backup, as his Owen Sound Attack lost 3-1 to the Ottawa 67's.  Owen Sound was shorthanded only dressing 16 skaters in the loss.

Finally, in the WHL, Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 fifth) had an assist on his Kelowna Rockets second goal of the game as they held off the Seattle Thunderbirds for a 4-3 win.

McColgan is 13-36-49 on the season as the Rockets extended their unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-0-1).

(Miller- Aaron Bell of OHL images)

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