Today's Star Anders Lee Notre Dame
Anders Lee's (NYI 2009 6th) 20th goal of the season could not have been much bigger as it tied the score at 1-1 as his Notre Dame Fighting Irish would go on to defeat the Michigan Wolverines 3-1 in the last CCHA final. The captain of the team came through to help Notre Dame earn their 3rd (and final) CCHA Tournament Championship since the 2006-07 season.
The win sends Notre Dame into the NCAA Tournament as a "1" seed where they will head to Toledo Ohio for the Midwest Regional to take on St. Cloud State of the WCHA next Saturday. Lee reached 20 goals for the 2nd time in his Notre Dame career and the junior center who also leads Notre Dame in scoring is now 20-18-38.
Rest of the Prospects
Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) may not have scored in the CCHA Finals on Sunday but he did add to a rather impressive championship resume. Fogarty last season with the Penticton Vees won the BCHL title, the Doyle Cup and the Canadian National Junior "A" Championship.
Robbie Russo (NYI 2011 4th) was also scoreless on 2 shots and "even" as Notre Dame ended Michigan's 22 year streak of making it to the NCAA Tournament. Next season Notre Dame is moving to the Hockey East Conference but they get to be the last CCHA Champions.
Cristoval "Boo" Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd) was held scoreless in Michigan's loss to Notre Dame but that should not take away from making it to the CCHA Rookie Team or finishing his freshman season 8-21-29 (4th on Michigan). Nieves showed that he was the playmaker that Gordie Clark said he was but he also showed that he wasn't just a "one-way" player either.
Finishing their season 8-1-1 and reaching the CCHA Finals when they were 10-18-2 in February at least offers some hope for Michigan as they move to the new "Big Ten" hockey conference next season. For Nieves I would like to see some work done on his upper body as his basic fundamentals are strong.
Next season Nieves should merit serious consideration to be the first line center for Michigan.
Can someone please tell me what is going on in the WHL first round this year? The Edmonton Oil Kings defeated the Kootenay Ice 9-0 in game 1 on Friday night.
Sunday in game 2 not only was Kootenay better but they (for the lack of a better term) shocked the Edmonton Oil Kings 2-1 after scoring the winning goal at 14:56 of the first overtime. The Ice scored the game winner on just their 2nd shot of the overtime period.
Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) scored his 2nd goal in as many games but it was all offense the Oil Kings could manage. Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) did his part helping keep the Ice from scoring on any of their 4 power plays.
The series shifts to Kootenay for game's 3 + 4 Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with game 5 back in Edmonton on Friday night. After 2 games the top 4 seeds in the WHL are a combined 2-6 and anyone who claims they saw this coming is not telling the truth.
Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) was able to stay out of the penalty box in game 2 of the OHL Eastern Conference between his Niagara IceDogs and the Oshawa Generals. What Strome was unable to do was score as the Generals scored 3 first period goals and then hung on for a 4-3 win to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) was the offense for the IceDogs as he had a 2 assist effort in the loss. The game's 3rd star, Graham had a primary (3rd goal) and a secondary (2nd goal) for his first 2 points of the series (0-2-2).
Graham was called for 2 slashing minors at the end of the 2nd and 3rd periods. The series shifts to Niagara for game's 3 + 4 starting on Tuesday but the IceDogs badly need Strome to start scoring or this series will end very quickly.
In Kitchener, Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) and his Guelph Storm were shutout 2-0 by the Kitchener Rangers as the Rangers grabbed a 2-0 series lead. Pedan had 2 minors to show for his night as the Storm trail the Rangers 2-0 in the series.
Game 3 will be in Guelph on Tuesday.
In the USHL, Jake Bishoff (NYI 2012 7th) and his Omaha Lancers lost to the Des Moines Buccaneers 4-2. Bishoff was scoreless and a -1 for the game.
Brady Skjei's (NYR 2012 1st) Minnesota Golden Gophers earned a "1" seed in the NCAA tournament despite getting knocked out of the WCHA's semifinals. Minnesota is headed to Grand Rapids Michigan to play in the West Regional on Friday against Yale.
The game will be televised on ESPNU starting at 2PM EDT/11AM PDT. It will be interesting to see if Skjei who was a healthy scratch in Minnesota's loss to Colorado College on Friday.
Denver with Scott Mayfield (NYI 2011 2nd) earned an invite and is headed to Manchester New Hampshire to take on host New Hampshire. I wish I could explain how the NCAA decides who goes where but it doesn't hold water in most cases.