Saturday, October 6, 2012

The good, the okay and the horror story

Brendan Kichton (Spokane Chiefs)
The NHL lockout may be ongoing but that doesn't mean that New York Islander or New York Ranger prospects aren't playing their butts off trying to earn a professional contract. Some like 20 year old Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) of the Spokane Chiefs are going to make it very hard for the Islanders not to sign him.

Kichton had the first major impact performance of the young season when he had a 5 point game to lead his Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 win over the Victoria Royals. The game's first star, Kichton was 2-3-5 which is a new career best for the captain of the Chiefs.

The night started innocently enough with Kichton earning a secondary assist on the game's first goal, a power play goal at 9:21 to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. The Royals responded with a goal of their own and the first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

Kichton earned his 2nd point when he set up Mitch Holmberg for a power play goal just 38 seconds into the 2nd period and a 2-1 Spokane lead. 1:40 later at 3:18, Kichton scored the 1st of his 2 goals with a nice wrist shot for his 3rd point and a 3-1 Spokane lead.

Victoria cut the lead to 3-2 when they scored 21 seconds into the 3rd period but Kickton responded with his 2nd goal of the game at 11:21 to restore the 2 goal lead at 4-2. It was Kichton's 4th point of the game and 3rd power play point of the night.

Victoria would not go away and cut the lead to just 1 with a little over 3 minutes remaining but Kichton and company held them off. Kichton got his 5th point when teammate Mike Aviani finished off the scoring with an empty net goal at 19:57 and a 5-3 Spokane win.

Kichton finished his career night 2-3-5, 3 power play points, a +2, his 2nd goal of the game proved to be the game winner. The win helped Spokane improve to 3-1 on the season.

Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) set up Niagara's first goal with his 4th assist and 8th point on the season and that was all his Niagara IceDogs needed as they shut out the Saginaw Spirit 4-0.

Teammates defenseman Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) and forward Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) did not score but they really didn't need to. Between Saginaw's lack of discipline (gave the IceDogs 9 power plays), the OHL's top defense and a very hot Niagara goalie Christopher Festarini; this was a pretty easy win for IceDogs who improved to 5-1 on the season (tied for the best in the OHL).

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd)
gave away 1 goal then got back 2 as his Guelph Storm came from down 1-3 to steal a 5-4 win over the Plymouth Whalers. Pedan helped the Whalers take a 3-1 lead when he was called for a double minor for high sticking and the Whalers scored on their power play.

The penalties increased Pedan's OHL leading penalty total to 32 on the season but to his credit Pedan was a big part of the comeback. First Pedan set up Jason Dickinson for a goal to cut Plymouth's lead to 3-2 and then Pedan himself scored his 2nd of the season to tie the game at 3-3.

The Storm scored 4 goals in the 3rd period to win their 4th game of the season. Pedan (1-1-2 +3 4 PIMs) and his team are not very pretty but they are finding ways to win and that is what matters the most.

Adam Petech (NYI 2012 3rd) and his Erie Otters were outshot 35-22, they were outplayed by the Brampton Battalion for most of the game but when the final buzzer sounded; the Otters had a 5-1 win.

What the Otters had was 15 year old wonder kid Connor McDavid and goalie Oscar Dansk (Colorado 2012 2nd) and they dominated the Battalion by themselves. Pelech was scoreless but a +2 on the night as the Otters earned their 2nd win of the season.

Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th)
had a fire lit under him by somebody as Noreau played one of his best games in his QMJHL to help his Baie-Comeau Drakkar earn a 5-2 win over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Noreau took what might have been a career hit 6 shots, was credited for 2 hits and set up what proved to be the game winner.

When the Rangers drafted Noreau in 2011, he was seen as a project player with potential. Under new coach Eric Veilleux, Noreau has gone from goon to Top 4 defender wearing an "A" on his uniform.

No way could the Rangers ever dream of this kind of improvement so fast from Noreau. With the Rangers lacking in defensive depth give Noreau some credit for taking full advantage of this opportunity.

The Drakkar won their 2nd straight to improve their record to 3-2 on the season.

Then it was Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles looking to earn their 1st win of the season. It took 7 games but the Screaming Eagles have their win after defeating the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 4-3.

Leduc wasn't a big contributor here going -2 on 1 shot with a goalie interference call but had 2 hits. Now the key is to see how Leduc and his teammates respond to their 1st win as the Screaming Eagle are 1-3-1-2.

Wednesday night Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) and his Saskatoon Blades were defeated by Red Deer 5-3 and it led to some questioning about 2013 Memorial Cup hosts. Imagine what will be going on after the Blades were blown totally out by the Swift Current Broncos 10-1 on the Blade's home ice.

McColgan after talking about the Blade power play did next to nothing in a game that was a horror story. The key area in this game was special teams as the Broncos went 5 for 5 while the Blades were 0 for 4.

The Blades fall to 2-4 on the season and nobody has answers for what is going wrong for the Blades.

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