Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Very Busy Friday Night

Victor Crus-Rydberg (OHL Images)
The New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects had a very busy Friday night highlighted by a prospect who hasn't gotten much notice until now. There were some key matchups in both the juniors and the US college ranks so here goes.

First Star Victor Crus-Rydberg Plymouth Whalers

I got to hand it to the Plymouth Whalers as they made a great point about Victor Crus-Rydberg (NYI 2013 5th) when they wrote:

In the current era of on-demand media, Ipad technology and the internet, it's easy to forget about a VCR.

For most families, the VCR may be overlooked in a garage, gathering dust in a closet or given away to the recycling bin.

The Plymouth Whalers have a VCR who currently plays a regular shift and tonight recorded the game-winning goal in overtime

Crus-Rydberg picked up a loose puck and fired it past Saginaw goalie Jake Patterson at 1:14 of overtime to give his Plymouth Whalers a 4-3 win. For Crus-Rydberg it was his 5th goal of the season but his 2nd game winner. The game's first star, Crus-Rydberg also added a primary assist on the goal that helped start the Whaler's comeback from down 3-1 in the 3rd period.

Quietly Crus-Rydberg has played some steady consistent hockey for the Whalers (5-15-20 in 21 games) as Crus-Rydberg adjusts to North American hockey after coming over from Sweden. The Whalers have used him as their first line center from the start of the season.

The win improved the Whalers to 10-13-0-1 and in a conference where 7 of the 10 teams are playing 500 or better hockey, the Whalers will need Crus-Rydberg to keep up his play.

Taylor Cammarata (Minnesota Golden Gophers)
Second Star Taylor Cammarata Minnesota Golden Gophers

The more I watch, the more I like Taylor Cammarata (NYI 2013 3rd) and the way he plays. Forget his size as this is one very smart talented player who knows how to make plays. His top ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers were hosting the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and Cammarata had 2 primary assists in helping the Golden Gophers earn a 6-1 win.

With Cammarata you are getting a player who has the speed and skating to attack but even better is a player who can see the ice and know where everyone is in order to make plays. Against the Bulldogs, Cammarata set Minnesota's 1st goal which at the time tied the game at 1-1. Less than 3 minutes later, Cammarata does it again this time setting up Minnesota's 3rd goal and for all intents and purposes this game was over.

Cammarata is 3-8-11 in 11 games as the Golden Gophers win their 4th straight 6-1.

The Rest of the Prospects

In the same game, Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) was scoreless on 0 shots, a +1 and a minor for roughing. Jake Bischoff (NYI 2012 7th) was also scoreless on 2 shots and a +2.

Anthony (The Duke) Duclair (NYR 2013 3rd) had an assist on an empty net goal to extend his scoring streak to 4 games (4-3) as his Quebec Remparts extended their unbeaten streak to 5 games with a 4-1 win over the Victoriaville Tigres. It was a historic game as Duclair's teammate goalie François Brassard, set a new QMJHL record going 212min 10sec without a goal allowed.

Duclair is now 12-22-34 on the season.

Cristoval (Boo) Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd)
had a secondary assist as his 5th ranked Michigan Wolverines had no trouble with the Niagara Purple Eagles 6-0. Nieves was the 2nd line center but again he has no shots on net and was a +1. Here is a talented forward who has to realize that the more active he gets then the more effective he is going to be.

If teams know that you are not going to shoot the puck then they will drop off you and choke off the passing lanes. A player like Nieves needs to shoot the puck at least 3-4 times the game to open up the ice and the passing lanes for his teammates. Until Nieves adds that to his game then he will not see his potential realized.

Robbie Russo (NYI 2011 4th)
and his 6th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish are discovering that their new league Hockey East is as tough a league as advertised. Russo and his teammates were shut out 1-0 by 11th ranked UMass-Lowell River Hawks. Notre Dame took 40 shots on net (Russo had 3) so it wasn't like they did not have their chances.

This one was a great game as the 2 teams are tied for 5th nationally for giving just just 1.85 goals a game. Teammate Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) missed his 2nd game with an undisclosed injury and will miss Saturday's game as well.

Kyle Burroughs (NYI 2013 7th)
was scoreless with a minor for roughing as his Regina Pats defeated the Red Deer Rebels 4-3 via the shootout. The win was the 2nd straight for the Pats who improved to 14-11 on the season.

Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) was scoreless and a -1 while teammate Troy Donnay (NYR 2013 UFA) was scoreless and even as their Erie Otters lost 4-1 to the London Knights. It was just the 4th loss this season for the Otters who still have the best record in the OHL.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) was scoreless on 4 shots, a -1 and had 1 hit as his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs via the shootout. Cape Breton has now won 2 straight and gone 6-3-0-1 in their last 10.

14th ranked North Dakota with Adam Tambellini (NYR 2013 3rd) lost to Doyle Somerby's (NYI 2012 5th) Boston University Terriers 3-1. Tambellini and Somerby were both scoreless for their respective teams with neither player getting a shot off.

Ryan Pulock (NYI 2013 1st) was held scoreless and a -3 as his Brandon Wheat Kings were spanked by the Kootenay Ice 7-3. Mackenzie Skapski (NYR 2013 6th) dressed as the back up for the Ice but did not play for the 8th straight game.

When Skapski plays again is anyone's guess as while you would think that the Ice would use him but his replacement Wyatt Hoflin has gone 4-4 while Skapski has been out.

Ryan Graves (NYR 2013 4th) had a rough night scoreless on 3 shots but a -3 with 1 hit. His Charlottetown Islanders lost 6-3 to the Chicoutimi Saguenéens fighting back from down 3-0 only to let the Sagueneens score 3 goals in the last 3:46 of the 3rd period.

Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) was scoreless and a -2 as his Edmonton Oil Kings were spanked by the Prince George Cougars 8-3. A rare but rather ugly effort out of the Oil Kings.

Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th)
had the only goal for his Niagara IceDogs as they were whipped by the Sudbury Wolves 6-1. The IceDogs are winless in their last 6 games as Graham scores his 6th goal of the season as he is now 6-10-16 for the season.

Stephon Williams (NYI 2013 4th)
was the back up for the 4th straight game as his Minnesota State Mavericks lost in overtime to the Bowling Green Falcons 4-3. It is hard to argue about the swap of goalies when one guy is simply outplaying the other as is the case here.

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