Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rangers 1 Islanders 1

Saturday night hockey featured New York Ranger vs New York Islander prospects in crucial game 5 match ups. 3 Islander prospects took on 2 Ranger prospects and the teams with first round picks won.

Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) scored 2 huge 3rd period goals to help his Niagara IceDogs to a 5-3 win in game 5 of their series with Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) and his Oshawa Generals. What a strange game to watch as despite a 59-25 advantage in shots, the best Niagara could do was a 2-2 tie after 2 periods.

Yet the Generals, a team that has 8 NHL draft picks on their roster kept shooting themselves in the foot by constantly taking penalties. The score was a close as it was in part because Niagara was just 1 for 8 on their power plays and because Oshawa's rookie goalie Daniel Altshuller did his very best Henrik Lundqvist and kept the Generals in the game a lot longer than they deserved.

If you are an Islander fan then you are in heaven with the way Strome has been playing in this series (5-5-10 in 5 games) as Strome has set up one game winner and Saturday night scored the game winner. You are going to enjoy these highlights (start at 3:55 of clip) as Strome sets himself up to where he wants to shoot from.

The first of Strome's 2 goals comes off an excellent read by fellow Islander prospect Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) who spots Strome calling for the puck in the high slot. Theoret was fighting for the puck in the right corner put the puck right where Strome wanted it as Strome one-timed it for his 4th goal of the playoffs (and GWG).

The second Strome comes from the same general area only this time Strome takes advantage of Altshuller being screened for his 5th playoff goal. Strome is wanting the puck more and more during crunch time which is great news for Islander fans and bad news for everyone else.

Christian Thomas if you watched closely was picked off on Niagara's 2nd goal (a missed interference call) but other than that has been held in check by an IceDog defense who is not giving him any space to do like Strome has which is create his own offense. Game 6 is Sunday in Oshawa but it will be an IceDog win if Oshawa takes 8 penalties again.

In Plymouth, Ranger prospect JT Miller (NYR 2011 1st) had 2 assists as his Plymouth Whalers just brutalized Andrey Pedan and the Guelph Storm 9-3. This game really was over in the first 18 minutes as Plymouth behind Stefan Noesen's 5 point FIRST period.

We wish we had the video for this game to show as in addition to the Noesen's performance was Plymouth scoring 4 shorthanded goals by 4 different players. Whatever Plymouth coach Mike Velluci said to his team after losing game 2 has sunk in as Plymouth in winning the last 3 games has outscored Guelph 21-6.

Miller's play was an improvement over Game 4 as he was more active as both assists were primary ones. But Miller also took bad boarding call at the end of the first period which we really did not like.

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) would most likely prefer we not mention his efforts but he was not alone in stinking up the place. The entire Storm team was terrible from top to bottom but Pedan was a -5 along with taking a slashing penalty while already on a penalty kill to give Plymouth a lengthy 2 man advantage which they cashed in.

Game 6 is Sunday evening and we would be shocked if Guelph turns things around to force a Game 7.

Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) scored Penticton's 1st goal of the game but the Vees wound up having to double overtime before finally defeating the Merritt Centennials 3-2 in game 4 of their BCHL Conference Finals. The Vees now are up 3-1 with a chance on Monday night to finish off the Centennials and advance to the finals.

For Fogarty it was his 3rd goal of the playoffs but we are pretty sure Fogarty wishes he cashed in on some of the chances he had in both the 3rd period and first overtime. We counted 4 dead on scoring chances for Fogarty which could have ended the game a lot sooner than it did.

It is more about Fogarty polishing up his game as we see him finishing these chances in the future especially his dead on shot that required a great save to rob him.

Fogarty has done a great job defensively especially shutting down Merritt's Evan Stack who came into this series as their leading scorer. Fogarty has held Stack to 1-1-2 in the series which came in game 2.

Fogarty also deserves credit as part of the Penticton first unit penalty kill which has held Merritt to 1 for 12 in the series. It is kind of scary to consider what Fogarty potentially develop into if his offense ever becomes as good as his defense.

(Strome and Miller - Aaron Bell of OHL Images, Fogarty - Penticton)


elroy said...

good morning Jess.
you likely saw the McColgan tweet that he's traveling to CT Tuesday.

also yesterday the Whale signed, and played, Marek Hrivik from the Q. At least he's 6'1" but light at 185#. Have you any insights into his game or potential?

Jess Rubenstein said...

Actually I missed the tweet Elroy so thank you. I would be surprised if McColgan saw any game action but add another smurf to the NYR collection.

I expect Christian Thomas to report this week as well barring a miracle upset.

Hrivik I did not see this season but the folks who I know cover Moncton said the entire team was bad in their playoff series.

He has been passed over twice, attended Columbus camp in 09 but not sure what they see in him as he was pretty average in his Q career