|"Boo" Nieves (MGoBlue.com)|
Tonight's First Star Cristoval "Boo" Nieves Michigan Wolverines
The Michigan Wolverines find themselves in a position that they are not used to being in which is at the bottom of the CCHA standings needing an almost miraculous run to earn their 23rd straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Friday night Cristoval "Boo" Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd) got them started with his first 2 goal, 3 point performance of his NCAA career leading Michigan to a 3-2 win over rival Michigan State.
Without question this was Nieves best game this season and his timing was perfect. Michigan State grabbed a 1-0 lead early in the 1st period and made it stand up until Phil Di Giuseppe of Michigan forced a turnover and found Nieves coming right down the slot where he would make a tiny deke enough to freeze the Michigan State defense and then gave the puck off to Derek DeBlois who would tie the game at the 7:20 mark of the 2nd period.
The score would remain tied until the 3rd when Di Giuseppe would once again make great play thanks in part to a strange puck bounce off the back of a Michigan State player. The puck wound up on Di Giuseppe's stick and he found Nieves once again in the slot for a one-timer that gave Michigan their 1st lead of the game at 2-1.
It was a power play goal at 1:57 of the period; for Nieves it was his 5th goal of the season and 3rd power play goal, Michigan did not hold the lead for long as Michigan State would tie the game just 45 seconds later.
All that did was set up the Di Giuseppe/Nieves combo for the 3rd goal of the game. This one was Di Giuseppe carrying the puck into the zone and then finding Nieves who out skated 2 Michigan State defenders down the slot for another one-timer and a 3-2 Michigan lead.
It was an even strength goal, Nieves 6th of the year coming at 4:51 and it proved to be the game winning goal (his 2nd of the season). The 2-1-3 effort from Nieves earned him the game's first star as Nieves improves to 6-13-19 good for 2nd on the Michigan squad.
|Ryan Strome (OHL Images)|
With his team badly needing a win to end an 8 game winless streak, Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) did what you hope your stars will do and that is carry his team to a win. Strome with a 2 goal +4 effort helped his Niagara IceDogs to a 5-1 win over the Erie Otters.
Strome and his linemates would wind up putting up a 4-3-7 effort to break the 8 game winless streak of the IceDogs. Strome got the IceDogs started when he blasted one past Erie goalie Devin Williams at 6:51 of the 1st period for a 1-0 lead that Niagara never gave up.
It was Strome's 26th goal of the season and gave him a 3 game goal scoring streak but it more importantly sparked his teammates as they would win for the first time since January 10th. Strome added his 27th goal at 11:59 of the 3rd period to give the IceDogs a 5-1 lead that they held onto for the win.
Strome was named the game's 2nd Star as he is now 27-43-70 which is 4th best in the OHL.
Honorable Mentions Jesse Graham Niagara IceDogs, Shane McColgan Saskatoon Blades, Peter Ceresnak Peterborough Petes.
All 3 of these prospects had a 2 assist game with each recording a primary as well as a secondary assist to help his team win key games. First Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) had his 2 assists as part of helping Niagara defeat Erie 5-1.
Graham earned his secondary assist on Niagara's 3rd goal and then the primary assist on the 4th goal of the game. For Graham the assists improved his season totals to 2-21-23 and like Strome's efforts helped Niagara end their 8 game winless streak.
Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) has not had a good season offensively entering the game between his Peterborough Petes and the Saginaw Spirit with a 1-3-4 stat line. But Cerensak wound up with the primary assist on what proved to be the game winning goal as the Petes came away with a 4-2 win.
Ceresnak's assists came on the Petes 1st goals (secondary) and on their 3rd (primary) and while they improved Ceresnak's numbers to 1-5-6; it was a huge win for the Petes. The Petes are in 9th place in the OHL's Eastern Conference and trailed 8th place Kingston by 8 points before the win.
Make it a 6 point lead as the Petes have a 2 game winning streak going.
One could just imagine Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) picking up a phone and calling fellow Ranger prospect Michael St. Croix and saying to him "Hey if you guys beat Swift Current for us then we will defeat Calgary for you" as that is what happened. McColgan
with 2 assists helped his Saskatoon Blades defeat the Calgary Hitmen 6-0 for their 3rd straight win.
McColgan had a primary assist on the Blades 2nd goal and a secondary on their 5th goal. McColgan improved to 11-37-48 but more importantly the Blades were able to leap past the Swift Current Broncos into 6th place in the WHL's Eastern Conference.
The Rest of the Prospects
Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) only had 1 assist for his Edmonton Oil Kings as they shutout the Swift Current Broncos 3-0. The assist was a primary on Edmonton's 2nd goal of the game which was also a power play goal and it extended St. Croix's scoring streak to 8 games (4-7-11) and overall to 25-35-60.
Teammate Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) may have been scoreless but he helped the Oil Kings earned their 8th shutout of the season. The win was Edmonton's 7th straight and thanks to Saskatoon defeating Calgary increased the Oil King's lead for the WHL's Eastern Conference to 9 points.
Scott Mayfield (NYI 2011 2nd) was scoreless on 1 shot as his 10th ranked Denver Pioneers defeated the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 3-0. Mayfield was even but took 3 minors during the game (1-tripping, 2-cross checking) up his PIM totals on the season to 72 (NCAA counts misconducts).
Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar saw their 8 game unbeaten streak halted by the Halifax Moosehead 3-1. It was a rough night for Noreau as he was scoreless on 3 shots, a -2 and was called for a roughing minor. Noreau and friends lost despite out shooting the Mooseheads 35-17.
The loss also saw the Drakkar fall back to 4th place in the QMJHL as rival Rimouski won and jumped past them.
Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) was held scoreless and was a -2 as his Guelph Storm lost to the Windsor Spitfires 3-1. The Spitfires won despite being out played and out shot 47-15.
The 11th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish continue to struggle as they lost for the 7th time in their last 9 games this time to the Ohio State Buckeyes 6-3. The Irish were their own worst enemies again as this time it was a 5 minute major penalty to Mike Voran that Ohio State used to score 3 power play goals on that was the difference maker.
Anders Lee (NYI 2009 6th) had a primary assist on Notre Dame's 3rd goal which tied the game at 3-3. It was Lee's 10th assist and 24th overall point on the season.
Robbie Russo (NYI 2011 4th) was scoreless as he has gone just 1-1-2 in 10 games since his 8 game scoring streak ended back in December. Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) broke his 10 game scoreless streak with a secondary assist on Notre Dame's 2nd goal of the game.
Fogarty is now 4-2-6 on the season for Notre Dame.
Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) of Erie served the last of his 4 game suspension and can return to the Erie lineup on Sunday.
Mitchell Theorett (NYI 2011 7th) of Barrie DNP ankle injury
Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) of Cape Breton DNP "lower body injury"
Cody Rosen (NYI 2010 7th) of Clarkson DNP