Thursday, January 12, 2012

Middle Of The Week Lessons

On Wednesday night, 3 prospects saw action (2 New York Islander, 1 New York Ranger) with all the action taking place in the WHL.

We start our evening in Spokane Washington where quietly the Spokane Chiefs are starting to heat up. The Chiefs began play Wednesday night with a modest three-game winning streak as the Chiefs are in fifth place in the WHL's Western Conference.

Part of the reason that the keys are starting to heat up has to be due to Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) is also starting to heat up. We had said that for Spokane have any hope of going deep in the playoffs that they needed Kichton to start putting the puck in the back of the net.

Kichton had gone 13 games without scoring a goal but after Spokane had traded away their leading goal scorer last week, the pressure on Kichton to produce became greater. Against Everett, Kichton broke his goal scoring slump as the game's first star wound up with a 1-2-3 evening to the Spokane to a 6-1 win and a four-game winning streak.

Spokane was already up 1-0 when Kichton earned his first point of the evening; a secondary assist on Spokane second goal just 7:23 into the game. Everett got a goal back late in the first to make it a 2-1 game and almost escaped the first period down only one.

Kichton earned his second assist of the evening when he found Blake Gal for a goal at 19:03 of the first period extending the lead to two goals again. Spokane added two goals in the second and in the third Kichton picked up his seventh goal of the season 1:46 of the 3rd to make it 6-1.

For Kichton his seventh goal along with his two assists brought his season totals to 7-33-40 which in addition to leading all WHL defensemen in scoring; also made Kichton the new leader in scoring for Islander prospects.

The win also was number 500 for Spokane coach Don Nachbaur so we offer our congratulations to the coach on this milestone.

In Red Deer, the Islanders other fifth-round pick from the 2011 draft John Persson continued their hard luck season losing in the shootout 2-1 to the visiting Kootenay Ice. This actually was a pretty good goaltenders battle as neither team could find a way to get anything passed the two goalies.

Eventually the game made its way to to the shootout where Red Deer couldn't score there either as the Ice were able to score on one of their times to earn the extra point.

In Portland, Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) led his Kelowna Rockets up against the Portland WinterHawks and in this one the Rockets were their own worst enemy. The Winterhawks came away with a 4-2 win with the difference being the two shorthanded goals that Portland scored in this game.

The Rockets actually had the better of play during the first, outshooting Portland 15-8 but Portland scored first taking advantage of a power play to grab a 1-0 lead. McColgan and his teammates responded quickly as McColgan set up Madison Bowey for the game-tying goal at 10:22.

Portland broke that tie 1:03 later taking the lead for good at 11:25 and the Rockets trailed 2-1. 54 seconds into the 2nd period, Portland made it 3-1 with a shorthanded goal and then added a second shorthanded goal at 6:38 for a 4-1 lead.

McColgan also had a fight in the 2nd period for his 3rd of the season as the assist gave him a 11-32-43 on the season. The 2 teams will play each other again on Friday.

(Kichton- courtesy of the Spokane Chiefs.)

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