Friday, March 1, 2013

A much quieter evening

quiet please Cyrus is napping
The Thursday evening report was not as exciting as Wednesday's was for the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects. In many ways it was a bit on the boring side as there wasn't a whole lot to cheer about.

It seems that in the QMJHL that nobody wants to win the Telus East Division as the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and the Rimouski Oceanic have been trying to hand it to the other team for the last couple of weeks. Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Drakkar teammates are picking the wrong time of the year to go into a slump.

They have been playing 500 hockey as of late and that won't do come the QMJHL playoffs. The Drakkar were visiting the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and gave up a goal in the last 1:04 of regulation to lose 3-2.

It was a frustrating evening for the Drakkar as they played catch up all night long and it eventually cost them. It didn't help matters by playing some poorly undisciplined hockey as the Drakkar hurt themselves by taking some dumb penalties like a double minor for "headbutting".

Noreau was scoreless as the prospect who was a sure shot for a pro contract in the 1st half of the season has forgotten his game in the 2nd half. No goals in 38 games after 6 in his first 23 games, just 1 assist in his last 11 games and he has just about stopped shooting the puck.

Noreau was scoreless on just 2 shots, a -2 and 1 hit as the Drakkar missed out on another chance to reclaim 2nd place in the QMJHL. The Drakkar have 7 games left in the regular season to fix whatever is ailing them otherwise what started as a very promising season will have a disappointing end to it.

Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) and his Peterborough Petes also have 7 games left in their regular season but they don't have a playoff spot at the moment. They did help improve their chances after earning a 4-3 shootout win over the Ottawa 67's to pull within 2 points of 8th placed Kingston.

Ceresnak didn't score but his play has gotten him back to regaining his spot as the top pair defender. Hopefully he can finish his time in North America on a positive note by getting a chance to play in the OHL playoffs.

It won't be easy as the Petes will need some help as Kingston has 2 games in hand along with their 2 point lead. One thing Ceresnak and his Petes do have going for them is that the teams in 6th through 8th place in the OHL's Eastern Conference are not winning these days and only 7 points separates the Petes from 5th place.

Long shot? Yes they are but stranger things have happened in hockey before.

One of those teams that are struggling are Ryan Strome's (NYI 2011 1st) Niagara IceDogs as they are that 6th place team that Peterborough is chasing. The IceDogs were whipped 7-1 by the Plymouth Whalers in a game that was close for 1 period and then Plymouth just opened the floodgates with 4 goals in the 2nd.

Strome had the primary assist on Niagara's only goal which came with just under 3 minutes left in the game and ruined the shutout. Niagara is 3-7 in their last 10 and it won't take much more to see them dropping out of playoff contention.

Strome's assist was his 53rd of the season and 84th point as one has to feel for Strome who finished the month of February with an 8 game scoring streak (3-9-12) and points in 10 of Niagara's 11 games. Strome who took on the role of Niagara's captain has shown a lot of character with his play and he deserves a better finish to his OHL career than this.

Teammate Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) was scoreless in the game and a -1 for his night.

Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) missed his 2nd straight game with what is believed to be a recurrence of a previous injury. With the way Theoret has been banged up this season; which injury this would be is hard to tell.

Friday TV Hockey

Denver (Scott Mayfield NYI) takes on Minnesota (Brady Skjei NYR) at 8PM EDT/5PM PDT on the Big Ten Network. Cristoval "Boo" NIeves (NYR) and his Michigan Wolverines take on Ferris State on the CBS Sports Network starting at 7:30PM EDT/4:30PM PDT.

Nieves and Company are in "must-win" territory as they need a sweep and some help to earn home ice in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.

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