Sunday, November 11, 2012

Storming ahead

Ryan Strome (OHL Images)
Saturday night prospect hockey for the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects was a pretty good evening for most. Win or lose, the effort was there and we are beginning to see a more consistent performance that will help us gauge potential.

First Star Ryan Strome Niagara

Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) of the Niagara IceDogs had a great bounce back effort after being ejected for the first time in his career on Friday night against Mississauga. Strome's ejection had a direct impact on the outcome of the game (a Niagara loss) so it was interesting to see how he would respond on Saturday against the Peterborough Petes.

Strome had a 3 point game which earned him the game's 3rd star as Niagara defeated the Peterborough Petes 5-2. Strome and his linemates of fellow Islander prospect Mitchell Theoret and Brett Ritchie combined to get Niagara on the board just 58 seconds into the game to give the IceDogs a 1-0 lead.

Strome was credited with a secondary assist on that play but just 3:16 later at 4:14, it was Strome scoring his 13th goal of the season to give the IceDogs a 2-0 lead. In the game's final minute Strome added his 14th goal off a feed from Theoret into an empty Peterborough net for the game's final score.

For Strome the current leader in OHL scoring at 14-23-37, it was his 16th point in November in just 5 games (5-11-16) as compared to what Strome did in October (5-10-15 in 12 games). Strome will be heading to Sarnia to play for Team OHL against the Russians in the Subway Super Series on Monday.

Adam Pelech (OHL Images)
Second Star Adam Pelech Erie

On paper one might have thought that going into the matchup against the Oshawa Generals that Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) and his Erie Otters had no chance. The Otters last in the OHL's Western Conference against the Generals who are the leaders in the OHL's East Division.

Guess Pelech and company did not read the memo as despite being out shot 50-19. Pelech and company whipped the Generals 6-1. Pelech earned the game's 2nd star after a 1-2-3 +4 performance led his Otters offensively.

With Oshawa leading 1-0, Pelech scored his 4th goal of the season to tie the game up at 14:57 of the 1st period. 33 seconds into the 2nd period it was Pelech setting up Stephen Harper for what proved to be the game winning goal as Erie took a 2-1 lead.

In the 3rd period Pelech made it a 3 point night earning a secondary assist on Erie's 4th goal. It was the 3rd time this season that Pelech has had a 3 point night and to top this one is that Pelech has been playing on a bad ankle and a hip injury (Stick Tap To Victor Fernandes of Shootout for that info)

Pelech has never been known for his offense but on a very young Erie team, Pelech has been asked to do more and it is also helping Pelech's own development. Pelech is 4-15-19 which is 1 point from his career best.

Pelech is on the roster for Team OHL's game on Monday in the Subway Super Series. Part of me wants to say skip it to get healthy but not in this case. Pelech has earned this honor and his improved play has made him a possible player for Team Canada in the World Under-20 championships.

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Third Star Michael St. Croix Edmonton

The toughest game a team can play is the last game of an extremely long road trip as too often players (at every level) tend to leave mentally for the trip home before the last game is played. Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) helped make sure that did not happen to his Edmonton Oil Kings with a 3 assist effort leading to a 4-2 win over the Prince George Cougars.

It was the 2nd time this season that St. Croix registered a 3 assist night and in this case, his assists came with great timing. Assist #1 came when Edmonton was trailing 1-0 and assist #2 also came with the Oil Kings trailing by a goal.

Assist #3 simply ended any chance Prince George had at tying the game up to force overtime. The effort earned St. Croix the game's 3rd star and improved St. Croix's numbers on the season to 12-17-29 (8th in the WHL).

St. Croix is off until Wednesday when he will be playing for Team WHL in game's 5+6 of the Subway Super Series. Both games will be televised on the NHL Network starting at 10 PM EDT/7PM PDT on Wednesday and Thursday evening.

The Rest of the Prospects

Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) will be joining St. Croix (and 5 more Edmonton Oil Kings as part of Team WHL. Reinhart didn't score against Prince George but helped keep Prince George from scoring on their 3 power play chances.

Another solid defensive performance by seriously a strong candidate to be the captain of Team Canada at the 2013 World Under-20 Championships.

If someone would have told you at the beginning of the season that Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) would be the most improved Ranger prospect; how crazy would you have thought that person was? It is no longer a crazy thought after Noreau continued his solid play with 2 more primary assists to help his Baie-Comeau Drakkar earn a 4-2 win over the Val-d'Or Foreurs.

Noreau and his teammates ran their unbeaten streak to 11 games (9-0-0-2) which is tops in the QMJHL at the moment. The Drakkar with the win also moved into 4th overall place in the QMJHL.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) and his Saskatoon Blades continue to be their own worst enemies losing games they shouldn't as they did to Seattle Thunderbirds 6-2. McColgan was held scoreless ending a 5 game scoring streak (3-7-10) and took a "unsportsmanlike conduct" minor.

Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) and his Spokane Chiefs entered Saturday's matchup against the Portland Winterhawks only 1 point behind them in the US Division standings. After a 9-1 thrashing by the Winterhawks, the Chiefs one can make a strong case are a lot father behind the Winterhawks in more than just the standings.

The game was close for about the first 11 minutes during which Kichton scored the only goal of the game for the Chiefs. That made the score 2-1 and that was the last time the Chiefs were in this game.

Portland got goals from 8 different players as they extended the CHL's longest current unbeaten streak to 12 games (11-0-0-1). Kichton's goal was his 8th on the season as the Winterhawks turned Kichton into a non-factor after that.

Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) had 2 assists while Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) was scoreless in Niagara's 6-3 win. For Theoret, he extended his scoring streak to 5 games (4-8-12) as he is now 8-12-20 on the season.

For Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) who was scoreless and his Peterborough Petes, the lose was the team's 6th straight. The Petes now have the worst record in the OHL at 4-13-3-1.

Scott Mayfield (NYI 2011 2nd) and his 3rd ranked Denver Pioneers made it a weekend sweep over Minnesota State with a 3-2 win. Mayfield got the start as right defenseman but was scoreless on 2 shots and was "even" for the game.

Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) was a 2nd pair defender for his 2nd ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers as Minnesota played to a 2-2 overtime Alaska-Anchorage. Skjei was scoreless on 1 shot and a -1 but also took a "checking from behind" minor which led to a power play goal for Alaska-Anchorage.

Cristoval Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd) recorded his 2nd goal of the season but his Michigan Wolverines were spanked by rival Michigan State 7-2. Nieves who is now 2-5-7 as a freshman is on a modest (2-2-4) 4 game scoring streak.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles dropped their 3rd straight game, this time 3-2 to the Shawinigan Cataractes. Leduc was scoreless and took 2 separate minor penalties during the game.

Finally Cody Rosen (NYI 2010 7th) was once again a DNP for the Clarkson Knights as they played the Brown Bears to a 3-3 overtime tie.

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