Thursday, February 9, 2012

Now that's a return

No that was not the sound of a nuclear weapon being used just the return of a New York Islander prospect to action and boy did he make a return. Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 first) had missed eight games due to facial injuries and broken nose suffered on January 14.

Strome made a huge return to his Niagara IceDogs as he had a four-point night to lead the IceDogs to 11-0 whipping of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors on Thursday night. In many ways one can think that Strome took out a lot of frustration on the Majors including some from last season's OHL Eastern Conference finals has it was the Majors who just beat up on Strome.

Strome with a two-goal, two-assist game helped his IceDogs team earn their fourth straight win and enabled them to pull within one point of Eastern Conference leading Ottawa who lost in overtime to Peterborough tonight. It was one of those nights that you dream about if you're player coming back under the circumstances (injured in a dirty play) that Strome was.

This game was basically over the moment they dropped the puck as it took Niagara all of 93 seconds to score the game's first goal and from there it got worse for the Majors. Strome scored his 19th goal of the season at 4:13 to give Niagara a 2-0 lead.

The IceDogs added two more goals before Strome struck again; this time for his 20th goal of the season at 15:47 to make it a 5-0 lead. Niagara added still one more goal to finish the period up 6-0.

In the second, Strome set up Alex Friesen for a power-play goal at 1:09 giving Niagara a 7-0 lead. Strome made it a four-point night in the third when he set up Freddie Hamilton for Niagara's 10th goal of the game.

It was the second four-point night of the season for Strome who was named the game's second star as he improved this season stats to 20-24-44.  And despite missing time for injury as well as playing for Team Canada; Strome actually has a seven game scoring streak going (5-11-16).

Strome's return could not come at a better time for the IceDogs as they tried to come out of the OHL's Eastern Conference with the first seed going into the playoffs. Still it was a very impressive return by Strome which clearly energized his teammates.

Andrew Yogan (NYR 2010 third) scored his 25th goal of the season to help his Peterborough Petes steal a win away from the Ottawa 67's 5-4 in overtime. And steal one day did as Ottawa outplayed and out shot the Petes the entire game but Peterborough thanks in part to a great third period by Yogan and his teammates came back for the win.

It was a game of streaks as Peterborough led 2-0 after one period but Ottawa scored three unanswered over the second and third periods to take a 3-2 lead. After Peterborough's Alan Quine tied the score at 13:31, Yogan added his 25th to give Peterborough a 4-.3 lead just 24 seconds later.

The Petes were outshot 46-22 in this one but were able to grab the win and jump past Oshawa into sixth place in the OHL's Eastern Conference. The win also opened a four-point lead over 8th place Mississauga and five points ahead of 9th placed Belleville or the Petes.

For Yogan, the goal tied his career-high which he set during his draft season in 2010. Yogan also moves into second place among Ranger prospects for goals scored passing Steven Fogarty who has 24. Yogan is 25-23-48 for the season while teammate Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 sixth) was scoreless and a -1 for the night.

It looks like the Owen Sound Attack have decided on a goalie to be their starter and it's not Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009th fifth) as Jordan Binnington got back-to-back starts as Owen Sound defeated the Brampton Battalion 4-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to four games.

Winning back to back games is going to earn you the starts in goal so Binnington is the starter until his next loss. It may not be fair to Stajcer but it's clear that the message is whichever goalie is winning is gonna get the starts.

(Strome and Yogan- OHL Images)

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