Sunday, March 10, 2013

Don't Blink

Cody Rosen (ECAC Hockey)
Saturday night prospect hockey was not for the faint of heart if you are a fan of either the New York Rangers or New York Islanders as games that looked like they were decided sometimes weren't. And if you are wondering about who the picture is then you aren't alone.

Our first prospect to see his season come to an end also saw his college career end as well as Cody Rosen and his Clarkson Golden Knights were eliminated by Brown 4-3 to sweep their ECAC playoff series 2-0. Rosen was one of those guys you grew to like because he had every right to not be happy about his lot in life with Clarkson but he never did.

Instead what makes Cody Rosen special is that the senior choose to help his 2 goalie teammates adjust to playing college hockey. A first class person who hopefully at least gets an ATO from the Islanders.

And at least Rosen got to finish his career in net coming in like he has this season in relief to start the 3rd period. His teammates were trailing 4-1 but got a spark and dominated Brown in the 3rd period outshooting them 17-3.

It wasn't meant to be but it almost was.

First Star Michael St. Croix Edmonton Oil Kings

Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) had a 1-1-2 evening to help his Edmonton Oil Kings earn a 4-1 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors. St. Croix was named the game's 2nd star as he set up Edmonton's 2nd goal of the game at 12:10 of the 2nd period; a goal that proved to be the game winner.

In the 3rd period, St. Croix would score his 37th goal of the season on the power play at 1:50 of the period. For St. Croix it was his WHL's leading 20th power play of the season and his 37th overall.

St. Croix improved to 37-52-89 good for 7th in the WHL.

Second Star Brenden Kichton Spokane Chiefs

There is a good old fashioned dogfight going on between Brenden Kichton's (NYI 2011 5th) Spokane Chiefs and their in-state rivals the Tri-City Americans for the 4th seed in the WHL's Western Conference. With the Chiefs taking on the Kootenay Ice in Spokane, Kichton helped them earn a 6-3 win with a 1-2-3 point evening that earned him the game's 2nd star.

This one was closer than the stats will show as it went back and forth until the middle of the 3rd period. Kichton gave Spokane a 2-1 lead in the second period when he scored his 22nd goal of the season at 12:53.

In the 3rd period right after Kootenay had scored to close to within 1 goal at 4-3 at 9:50; Kichton teamed with Alessio Bertaggia to set up Blake Gal for a goal 35 seconds later at 10:25 to restore a 2 goal lead.

Kichton would then get the primary when Bertaggia would ice the game with an empty net goal at 18:31. For Kichton the 1-2-3 evening improved him to 22-58-80 on the season tying his career high in assists and leaving him 1 point away from tying his career best in points.

The Chiefs thanks to Prince George earning a 3-2 shootout win over Tri-City enabled Spokane to move into 4th place. Both teams have 84 points but Spokane has the tiebreaker with 1 more win.

The teams both have 4 games remaining and they will face each other in a home and home next Friday and Saturday.

Third Star Cristoval Nieves Michigan Wolverines

Cristoval Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd)
and his Michigan Wolverines made sure they would not need a 3rd game in their CCHA playoff series against Northern Michigan jumping all over them for a 6-2 win. Nieves had a 2 assist effort (primary, secondary) as Michigan just dominated this game from start to finish.

Nieves set up Michigan's first goal of the game, an even strength goal at 4:02 of the first period. Nieves would then earn a secondary assist on the goal that proved to be the game and series winner; a power play goal at 6:06 of the second period which gave Michigan a 3-1 lead at the time. Nieves wound up 0-2-2, a +1 on no shots and 5-4 on his face-offs.

Nieves is 8-21-29 on the season as Michigan has to wait to find out who they face in the 2nd round of the CCHA playoffs.

Honorable Mentions Samuel Noreau Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Andrey Pedan Guelph Storm

Going to give Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) of the Guelph Storm stick taps for coming to the aid of their teammates and dropping the gloves. Unlike the staged fights where 2 players are yakking it up either at a face-off or trying to fire up their teammates; protecting their teammates are fights that one can live with even if it costs a team an instigator penalty.

Noreau and his Drakkar teammates were looking to bounce back after a loss on Friday night and the Sherbrooke Phoenix were the unlucky team to face them as the Drakkar handed them a 8-1 beating. For Noreau, it seemed as if the Phoenix were trying to go after his teammates all night.

Noreau didn't score and only had 1 shot but he found himself in the middle of things as he took an "unsportsmanlike conduct" when a member of the Phoenix tried running a teammate in the first period. Almost as soon as Noreau exited the penalty box did he find himself in a fight with the original player from the first penalty when Noreau took exception to a slashing penalty.

For the 6-5 Noreau it was just his 4th fight of the season which is way down from last season's 8 fights. Then there was Pedan who normally finds himself the subject of criticism here because of the number of penalties he takes but not tonight.

Noreau and teammates were playing the Saginaw Spirit when a member of the Spirit "kneed" one of Pedan's teammates leading to the "instigator" minor and misconduct penalties to go along with the fighting major. It led to Pedan missing all but 6 minutes of the 3rd period as Guelph lost to Saginaw 5-3.

Protecting a teammate from a dirty play can't be criticized no matter if a player like Pedan misses almost an entire period.

The Rest of the Prospects

Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) was scoreless in the Edmonton Oil King's 4-1 win over Moose Jaw. Reinhart and his teammates kept Moose Jaw from scoring on the power play stopping them on all 4 attempts for their team's 6th straight win.

Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) had the secondary assist on the game winning goal as his Barrie Colts earned a 3-2 win over the Belleville Bulls. For Theoret the assist was his 32nd of the season as he improves to 25-32-57 but for his Colt team they only picked up 1 point on the OHL's Eastern Conference leaders with just 4 games remaining.

The Colts trail the Bulls by 2 points for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Josh Nicholls (UFA NYR 2013) had a 1-1-2 effort and teammate Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) had a goal as their Saskatoon Blades won a wild 8-7 overtime game over the Regina Pats. Nicholls and McColgan were key players as the Blades rallied first from down 5-1 then from down 7-3 with 5 unanswered goals.

With the Blades trailing 7-3 entering the 3rd period, Nicholls started the comeback by scoring his 45th goal of the season at 2:16. 3:30 later at 5:46, Nicholls set up McColgan for McColgan's 18th of the season cutting the Pat's lead to 7-5 and the comeback was a dandy.

Nicholls is now 45-35-80 (tied 1st goals, 16th overall WHL) and McColgan is 18-46-64 as the Blades reached the 90 point mark of the season.

Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) and his Minnesota Golden Gophers were looking to see if they could share the WCHA's MacNaughton Cup awarded to the team that wins the WCHA regular season. The Golden Gophers needed to defeat the Bemidji State Beavers and hope that Wisconsin defeated St. Cloud State.

The Golden Gopher won 5-1 while Wisconsin defeated St. Cloud State 3-2 which means the 2 teams share the Cup But St. Cloud State gets the first seed in next week's WCHA opening round when they will face Alaska-Anchorage. Minnesota will be hosting Bemidji State next week at home.

As for Skjei, scoreless on 0 shots but he was a +1.

Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd)
and his Erie Otters faced the Owen Sound Attack 24 hours after losing to them 9-1. The Otters lost 6-4 which one could be seen as a "moral" victory. Pelech had a secondary assist for his 31st assist (7-31-38).

No comments: