Saturday, March 10, 2012

Crunchy time

Oh to think that I get paid to watch New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects play  hockey especially at this time of the year. Yes I am bragging because this is without a doubt the coolest possible job that you could ever ask for.

What a wonderful evening it was even if the outcomes were not as nice as we would've liked them to be but we got treated to some really heart pounding playoff brand hockey. We had come from behind wins, we had sudden-death double-overtime not that weak Gary Bettman shootout point and we got to see kids being kids as some celebrated while some lost.

Tonight was different as we awarded stars to players who came out on the losing end of games. They gave their teams a chance to win when it looked like they were not going to get that chance.

Hockey is a funny game at times because sometimes the better team does not get the win.

Rangers First Star Steven Fogarty

Tell you what; nothing against Chris Kreider, nothing against JT Miller and nothing against any other New York Ranger prospect. Rhimight now if I have a one goal game then the guy I want on the ice is Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd).

If I need a goal then chances are Fogarty will either score it or he will set it up. If I am protecting a one goal lead then Fogarty is the guy I want taking face-offs and being out there on defense. Forgarty might be the biggest steal of a draft pick that the Rangers have ever pulled off.

Fogarty's Penticton Vees were in Prince George taking on the Spruce Kings and for a change, the Vees were in a fight as the Spruce Kings were matching them goal for goal and even led after the second period. For the first time since October it actually looked as if the Vees could lose a game.

The Vees were able to tie the game up on a early third period goal which set the stage for "Mr Clutch" as Fogarty did what he does best game-winning goals. Only this time Fogarty made this one really special.

With the game tied and the Vees on the penalty kill, Fogarty strips the puck from one of the Spruce Kings at center ice then charges into the offensive zone where he proceeds to go five hole on the Spruce King goalie to give the Vees the lead at 6-5.

Penticton went on to win their 42nd straight game 8-5. In doing so they also set a new BCHL record for most points in a season with 110.

I cannot wait to talk to Gordie Clark about this "project" player because that was Fogarty's 33rd goal of the season but it turned out to be his 10th game-winning goal of the year. That leads all Ranger prospects as well as the BCHL and the shorthanded goal was his 4th (again NYR leading, 2nd BCHL).

Fogarty was not finished either as we have him setting up linemate Joey Benik for the Vee's 7th goal of the game and the replays show it was Fogarty but the assist was incorrectly credited to another player.

Still Fogarty is now 33-47-80 (until the BCHL corrects this) on the season with one game left in the regular season for the Vees. You can check out the rest of the Ranger prospect report right here.

Islanders Star Anders Lee;

There are times when players deserve a better fate than they get and for Anders Lee (NYI 2009 6th) that was the case on Friday evening. Lee and his Notre Dame Fighting Irish were at Michigan playing in the quarterfinals of the CCHA playoffs.

Playing at Michigan is tough enough but playing at Michigan at playoff time is almost impossible as Michigan has not lost a quarterfinal series played at home since 1989. They almost came close to losing game one of the series as it took double-overtime before Michigan was able to escape with a 2-1 win.

Lee in our book may have played his best game of the season as it was Lee who tied the score at 1-1 with his 17th goal of the season at 11:23 of the 3rd period which force the game to overtime. Lee had a team-high 7 shots on goal and there really wasn't much more one could ask Lee to do.

Lee has points in all 3 of Notre Dame's playoff games but now if Notre Dame has any chance of forcing a third game then Lee will need to play an even bigger game on Saturday. The rest of the Islander report is a mixed bag with couple of prospects earning a ticket to the playoffs while another sees his hope of making the playoffs come to an end, that can be found right here.

A Million THANK YOU's

Sometime on Saturday this place will register it's one millionth page view and the credit belongs to a whole bunch of people who love the game of hockey just like we do. The credit is all yours as you been my English teachers, my friends, my advisers, my confidants, my fact checkers, my informants, my picture takers, my eyes at the game, my spellcheckers, and even my critics.

Every single one of you has made doing this something special so please pat yourselves on the back, take a bow and take credit for making coverage of prospect hockey just as important as covering the Rangers themselves.

Thank you

(Fogarty - Penticton Vees, Lee - New York Islanders)

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