Saturday, November 24, 2012

Guilty pleasures

Ryan Strome (OHL Images)
The rest of you can spend "Black Friday" shopping as for me; "Black Friday" means a wall to wall marathon of prospect hockey whether they are New York Ranger of New York Islander prospect to watch. And what a great guilty pleasure it is to watch some talented players which means tonight's theme is great combos.

First Stars Ryan Strome and Mitchell Theoret Niagara IceDogs

Back in October when Niagara IceDogs Coach/GM Marty Williamson moved Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) up to play with Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) on the IceDogs first line; the goal was for Theoret to be the grinder/protector on the line. I seriously doubt that even Williamson knew what kind of offensive monster he was creating.

Friday as the IceDogs hosted the Belleville Bulls and once again it was the line of Strome/Theoret/Brett Ritchie that did the damage as the IceDogs defeated the Bulls 4-1.

Mitchell Theoret (OHL Images)
Ryan Strome earned the game's "First Star" after a 2-1-3 +3 effort as he extended his scoring streak to 9 games (8-17-25) and overall an OHL best 17-29-46 in 25 games. Strome got his game going when he set up Mitchell Theoret for his 10th goal of the season just 31 seconds into the game.

Call Theoret "the minute man" as that was the 4th time this season when Theoret scored a goal in the first minute of a period. Theoret (10-15-25) also has a 9 game scoring streak (6-11-17) going of his own 1-1-2 +2 performance against the Bulls.

Strome got both of his goals in the 3rd period to cement the victory for the IceDogs. The first came when Strome with a beautiful deflection of teammate Dougie Hamilton's shot at 8:10 of the 3rd to make it 3-1.

The second goal was an empty netter with just 23 seconds left on the clock to seal the 4-1 win for the IceDogs who are now unbeaten in their last 5 games (4-0-0-1).

Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Second Stars Griffin Reinhart and Michael St. Croix Edmonton Oil Kings

If you wanted a game to end your day with then Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) and Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) along with their Edmonton Oil Kings gave you that with a 5-1 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors. In a game shown in the USA over the NHL Network, Reinhart earned the "First Star" and St. Croix the "Second Star" in an almost textbook perfect effort.

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Reinhart showed off more offensive effort than one normally gets out of him and if I was his coach I would be begging him to bring that part of his game more often. With the score tied at 1-1 in the 2nd period and the Oil Kings on a power play, Reinhart let loose a very nice low shot towards the Warrior's goal that Warrior goalie Justin Paulic never saw coming as the replays showed the shot hit the post then bounced off Paulic's back into the net.

It was Reinhart's 3rd goal of the season (3-6-9) and this one proved to be the game winner (his 1st this season). Seriously this was the kind of shot than many an NHL coach begs his point man to shoot and if Reinhart adds this shot to his skill set then many more will either go in or create rebound chances.

Then there was "The Predator" Michael St. Croix showing off his own offensive skill sets. In the first period with the Oil Kings on an extended 2 man advantage, St. Croix was playing a 2 man game with linemate Dylan Wruck and after giving the puck to Wruck skated to the left side of the slot where St. Croix positioned himself so Wruck could give him a quick pass while in the same motion fire it past Warrior goalie Paulic.

St. Croix's positioning is what made this goal happen as he created his space to shot from while setting up his teammate to feed him for what was the Oil King's 1st goal of the game. It was St. Croix's 14th goal of the season and his 8th power play goal (14-19-33 9th in the WHL).

In the 2nd after Reinhart had put the Oil King's ahead 2-1, St. Croix showed off his play making skills with the Oil Kings on another power play. St. Croix drew the Warrior defense to him and slid a pass right on the tape for linemate T.J. Foster to poke home for a 3-1 lead at 18:56 of the period.

The Oil Kings extended their own unbeaten streak to 5 games with the win (4-0-1-0).

The Rest of the Prospects

Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) had a goal and an assist to earn the "Second Star" but it was not enough as Kichton's Spokane Chiefs dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Tri-City Americans.

In the 2nd period with the score tied at 1-1; Kichton set up Blake Gow for Spokane's 2nd goal of the game. Kichton then scored himself to give Spokane a 3-1 lead but they just didn't hold on to it.

Kichton is now 9-19-28 on the season.

4th ranked Minnesota with Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) given the start as they traveled to play Vermont in a non-conference matchup. Skjei was scoreless and a +1 as Minnesota earned a 5-1 win.

Scott Mayfield (NYI 2011 2nd) was also given the starting spot as his 2nd ranked Denver Pioneers hosted Yale in a non-conference matchup. Yale pulled off the upset with a 2-1 overtime win as Mayfield was scoreless on 2 shots.

7th ranked North Dakota traveled to take on 6th ranked Notre Dame and their trio of prospects in another non-conference matchup. North Dakota defeated Notre Dame 2-1. Anders Lee (NYI 2009 6th) scored Notre Dame's only goal of the game for his 6th goal of the season (6-4-10).

Robbie Russo (NYI 2011 4th) had a secondary assist on Lee's goal for his 4th assist of the season (4-4-8) and Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) was scoreless.

Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) was scoreless with a minor for tripping in his Niagara IceDog's 4-1 win over Belleville.

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) and his Guelph Storm played host to Adam Pelech's (NYI 2012 3rd) Erie Otters. Pedan was credited with a secondary assist on Guelph's 2nd goal of the game for his 10th assist of the season (8-10-18) along with a minor for hooking for his 54th PIM of the season.

Pelech was scoreless while getting into his 3rd fight of the season in the 1st period. Pelech is catching up to Pedan in the PIM department as he added 7 minutes to his own totals which stand now at 47.

Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th)
was scoreless as his Peterborough Petes dropped their 3rd straight game. This time the Petes lost 2-0 to the London Knights.

Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) had a very quiet game as his Baie-Comeau Drakkar got back on the winning track with a 3-2 overtime win over the Prince Edward Island Rocket.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles were defeated by the Halifax Mooseheads 4-2. Leduc was a -2 on 1 shot with a slashing minor.

Cody Rosen (NYI 2010 7th) was the backup goalie as his Clarkson Knights skated to a 3-3 overtime tie.

And finally Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) was not in the Saskatoon Blade lineup as he recovers from what is believed to be a concussion. McColgan at the very least will miss at least one more game as the Blades finish a road trip.

Hope McColgan gets well soon but does not rush himself back and risk further injury.

Don't forget to tune into MSG Network for Cristoval "Boo" Nieves and his Michigan Wolverines invade New York to take on Cornell in the "Frozen Apple" starting at 8PM EDT/5PM PDT.

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