Thursday, March 15, 2012

Helping hands, helping coincidences

Wednesday evening made for some very interesting coincidences involving the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects. At times it almost looked like they were helping each other's situation out.

And really nothing strokes the old ego than when a prospect does exactly what you say he has to do to help his team win like Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) did on Wednesday. Yesterday we wrote this about Kichton after his Spokane Chiefs lost to the Seattle Thunderbirds:

Kichton was scoreless on the night unable to generate offense especially on the power play and as we keep saying for Spokane to win in the playoffs Kichton needs to score goals.

Which is our cue to mention how Brendan Kichton scored 2 goals and set up the game winning goal with just 47 seconds remaining in regulation to give Spokane a huge 6-4 win over the Kamloops Blazers. The game's first star Kichton helped Spokane earn their 1st win in 4 tries against the Blazers and at the same time kept Spokane's hopes of earning the 4th seed alive.

Kichton did not take long to score netting his 1st goal of the evening just 3:19 into the game on a Spokane power play.  Kichton fired a blast from the point we doubt Kamloops goalie Cole Cheveldave ever saw for a 1-0 Spokane lead.

In the second period with the game tied at 1-1, Kichton scored again this time just 36 seconds into the period with a shot from the right faceoff circle giving Spokane a 2-1 lead. Kamloops came back scoring the next two goals to take a lead only to have Spokane respond with two goals of their own to retake the lead before finally Kamloops added a third goal which left two teams tied at 4-4 after two periods.

In the third period the game was looking more and more as if it was going to wind up in overtime when in the last minute Kichton fired a shot that missed but his defensive partner Reid Gow's shot didn't giving Spokane a 5-4 lead with 47 seconds remaining in regulation.

Kchton's 3 point night enables Spokane to jump back into a virtual tie with Vancouver for the 4th seed in the WHL's Western Conference. The advantage in tiebreakers favors Vancouver so with two games left, Spokane will need some help from the Kelowna Rockets if they wish to have a shot at home ice in the first-round.

Kichton's two goals were his 15th and 16th of the season and his assist was his 55th giving Kichton 71 points was season which unless someone has couple of monster games wraps up both the Islander prospect scoring title as well as the WHL's leading scorer on defense.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) is another prospect who has to put the puck in the net for his Kelowna Rockets to have any chance of winning in the playoffs. The game's 3rd star McColgan broke a 4 game goalless streak when he scored at 8:45 of the third period to give his Kelowna Rockets a 3-1 lead that they would not give up.

Kelowna went on to defeat the Everett Silvertips 4-2 ending a two-game losing streak while hurting Everett's playoff hopes at the same time. McColgan's goal wound up being the game-winner which was his 4th of the season.

The Rockets will be the 6th seed when the WHL's Western conference playoffs begin but the bad news is, the Rockets will wind up having to play either Tri-City (102 points) or Portland (100 points). The way that the first-round of the playoffs is formatted, the team that is not the US division champion has to be seeded third because the BC division winner will be seeded second.

In either case, McColgan has to score goals like he did in last year's playoffs just to give Kelowna a fighting chance. McColgan with two games remaining is 18-46-64 which is two points below what he did last season.

And just for the record, the WHL's BC division winners happens to be the Kamloops Blazers. The loss to Kelowna eliminated any hope they had of winning the WHL's Western Conference.

Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) rewrites the Edmonton Oil King record book with every goal, assist or point he scores. On Wednesday St. Croix scored his 43rd goal and 101st point of the year as his Edmonton Oil Kings defeated the Kootenay Ice 5-4 in overtime.

The win which was Edmonton's 9th straight moved the Oil Kings into first overall in the WHL with 103 points. The win also gave the Oil Kings a 6-0 sweep of the season series over the 2011 WHL champions who could wind up as a potential first-round opponent for the Oil Kings.

There really is not anything new that we can say about St. Croix now that he is 43-58-101. But this is what we can say and that is the last time a prospect had the kind the season AFTER being drafted by the Rangers was also a fourth round pick back in 1995 by the name of Marc Savard.

And it's really ironic to talk about Savard because he comes up again in a moment.

Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) and his Oshawa Generals saw their four-game winning streak turning to a "unbeaten in regulation in five games" streak after losing in overtime to the Belleville Bulls 3-2. The game's 2nd star Thomas (33-32-65) had one of the Oshawa goals to give him 33 on the season and in doing so recorded his 132nd career goal as an Oshawa General.

That puts Thomas in a tie for 5th among the all-time goal scorers in Oshawa General history with the same Marc Savard. More importantly Thomas and his Generals are now in a virtual tie with the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors for 6th place in the OHL's Eastern Conference.

Oshawa has played one game more then Mississauga St. Michael's (who play Barrie Friday night) setting the stage for a Saturday evening match-up with Mississauga St. Michael's which could decide who gets the higher seed.

Ranger prospects are not the only ones fighting for a spot the playoffs as Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) and his Guelph Storm put themselves in the driver seat for playoff spot in the OHL's Western Conference after defeating the Erie Otters 5-3. The Storm with the win moved into 7th place ahead of Windsor (by 1 point) and Sault Ste. Marie (by 3 points).

Pedan (10-28-38) was a mixed bag setting up Guelph's first goal, taking a slashing penalty and being on ice for 2 of Erie's goals. Got to give Pedan credit he sure knows how to turn the coach's hair gray or at least the ones the coaches don't pull out.

Still credit Pedan and his teammates to putting themselves in a position where out of their last two games one point will guarantee the playoffs for them. Their final two games will be a "home and home" series against Ranger prospect Scott Stajcer and his Owen Sound Attack.

The Storm were helped by JT Miller (NYR 2011 1st) and his Plymouth Whalers beating the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5-3 for their 10th straight win. This was not one of Miller's better games as he wasn't even around for the finish after taking an unsportsmanlike misconduct penalty right around the 10 minute mark of the third period.

Miller took an additional minor also for unsportsmanlike conduct and was a -2 as the Whalers softened the blow of Miller's bad game by taking over first place overall in the OHL. Plymouth leads London by two points but London holds two games in hand and their schedule is really easy.

In the QMJHL, Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar should be grateful that there are only two more games in the regular season. The Drakkar have fallen all the way to 14th in the QMJHL standings and are lucky they have a nine point lead over the team sitting in 15th.

It even cost their coach his job (stick tap to Gregg Drinnan of Taking Note) as Drakkar GM Steve Ahern took over the coaching duties for this game.

The Drakkar were handed their 6th straight loss by the Chicoutimi Sagueneens 4-0 and both teams will be hearing from the QMJHL commissioners office because of their behavior during the entire game.

As for Samuel Noreau, when he wasn't taking 10 minute misconducts (he had 2), he really didn't do much on the ice other than a couple of hits. If an interim coach gets suspended is it an interim suspension?

We did have one game that really didn't affect anything as Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warriors needed the shootout before coming away with a 3-2 over the Brandon Wheat Kings.

It was a quiet game compared to everything else that happened as it looked more like both teams were not wanting to get key people injured or in situations that could get them in trouble. Still Moose Jaw had trouble putting away Brandon despite dominating them most of the game except on the scoreboard.


Congrats go out to Steven Fogarty of the Penticton Vees for being named to the 2012 BCHL All-Rookie Team. Fogarty was Rangers third round selection in the 2011 draft had a very good season going 33-48-81 in 60 games played.

Fogarty was 9th in points, 2nd in shorthanded goals, and led the BCHL in game-winning goals with 10. Fogarty and his teammates begin play in the BCHL playoffs on Friday.

As we also expected, Andrew Yogan will be brought to the CT Whale after he finishes the season with the Peterborough Petes on Sunday. Teammate Peter Ceresnak will not be brought in which also was kind of expected.

Our hope for Yogan is that he plays his way onto the playoff roster for the Whale but even if he is not we strongly urge him to stay with the team until their season is over. Going home to Florida will not do much other than give you a better tan but staying and working out could do wonders for your career.

(Kichton - Spokane Chiefs, McColgan - Kelowna Rockets)


elroy said...

Jess - in the past, you had followed TC try-outs thru the season.
I am curious your thoughts regarding Collin Bowman - the 'Canes game reminded me of him (his brother scored for them) and with 15 Goals from D, seems on paper to be having a strong over-age year in W.
thanks as always

Jess Rubenstein said...


This season I didn't cover those tryout because I had learned the NYR were no longer interested in them.

I was disappointed in Bowman because I felt he should have done better than he showed at TC. The best description I could give for his performance was "stage fright".

He is have a good season with Calgary, helped them turn season that was supposed to be a rebuild into a playoff team.

I do not see the NYR having any interest in him but he will get an ATO from someone else.