Saturday, January 11, 2014

A mostly quiet Friday night

Jesse Graham (OHL Images)
With the trade deadline in both the WHL and OHL having come and went, the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects settled in on either their new teams or the ones who kept them. Now what is left is a 2nd half of hockey to see who earns a contract or who doesn't.

Tonight's Star Jesse Graham Saginaw Spirit

Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th)
is one of those who found himself traded this season and in his case so far the trade has had mixed blessings. Graham after a 4 point evening (0-4-4) to help his Saginaw Spirit win a wild 10-5 decision over the Ottawa 67's, has not played too badly registering 17 points in 16 games since the trade that brought him over from the Niagara IceDogs.

But the Spirit have struggled on the ice as even after tonight's win gave the Spirit a 3 game winning streak; the Spirit are 4-6 in their last 10 almost stuck in 7th place in the OHL's Western Conference. Friday night was a game of pond hockey at it's finest as the Spirit and 67's combined for 15 goals on 91 shots.

Graham's first assist of the evening was a secondary one coming at 13:29 of the first period at even strength and it tied the game up at 1-1. After the 67's had taken a 2-1 lead, Graham's 2nd helper was a primary one as he setup Eric Locke's 12th goal of the season, this one was a power play goal and it came at 17:48 to make it 2-2 still in the first period.

The Spirit would blow the game open with a 5 goal 2nd period in which Graham earned his 3rd assist on Saginaw's 5th goal as this one was also a secondary assist at even strength at 15:09 and made the score 7-4 in favor of the Spirit. Graham's 4th assist was also a secondary assist and this one came on the Spirit's 10th goal of the game.

Graham was named the game's 2nd star as he set a new career high in most points and assists in a single game. Overall Graham is 6-28-34 on the season.

The rest of the prospects

On any other evening, Robbie Russo (NYI 2011 4th) might have earned a star with a 1-1-2 effort for his 15th ranked Notre Dame's 7-1 win. But when the other team is the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers who came into the game with a 1-21 record and it takes away from the effort. Russo scored his 4th goal of the season just 38 seconds into the game and Notre Dame cruised the rest of the way.

Russo added a primary assist on Notre Dame's 5th goal which was a power play goal and Russo's 10th assist of the season. Russo at 4-10-14 might want more games against the Chargers as this season, Russo is 2-3-5 in 2 games against the Chargers. Teammate Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) registered a secondary assist on the same goal for his 3rd assist and 4th overall point of the season.

Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd)
had 2 secondary assists (and +2) and Troy Donnay (NYR 2013 UFA) had 1 (and +1) as their Erie Otters shutout the Owen Sound Attack 4-0. For Pelech, his twin helpers technically give him a 4 game scoring streak (with a month in between games) as he improves to 8-20-28 on the season.

Donnay improves to 1-9-10 as the Otters now that they are back at full strength look like they are on another roll unbeaten in 5 games (4-0-1-0).

Adam Tambellini (NYR 2013 3rd) had an assist but it was not enough to keep Kyle Burroughs (NYI 2013 7th) and his Regina Pats from edging Tambellini's Calgary Hitmen 3-2. Burroughs was scoreless as his Pats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd period and then held off the Hitmen down the stretch. The win for the Pats allowed them to jump all the way to 5th in the WHL's Eastern Conference.

Tambellini has 5 points in 2 games for the Hitmen (1-4-5) but the loss allowed the Edmonton Oil Kings to move to within 6 points of the first place Hitmen.

That is because Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) and his Edmonton Oil Kings needed the shootout to do it but they defeated the Kootenay Ice 4-3 via the shootout. Reinhart was scoreless as the Oil Kings won for the 5th straight game. Kootenay goalie Mackenzie Skapski (NYR 2013 6th) was the backup for the Ice tonight and did not play.

Anthony Duclair (NYR 2013 3rd)
kept his scoring streaks going with a goal and an assist but his Quebec Remparts lost to the Rimouski Oceanic 6-3. Duclair scored his 36th goal and added his 29th point but his teammates could not stop the Oceanic who ran their unbeaten streak to 12 games (10-0-1-1) and pulled to with 2 points of 1st place Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) missed this game as he recovers from his upper body injury.

Ryan Pulock (NYI 2013 1st) had a goal and an assist in a losing effort as his Brandon Wheat Kings lost to the Prince Albert Raiders 4-3. Pulock had a secondary assist on Brandon's 1st goal while his goal came with just 6 seconds left in the 3rd period and just made the final score look closer.

Pulock is 13-22-35 on the season as Brandon and Regina switch places in the WHL's Eastern Conference standings with Regina moving into 5th.

Victor Crus-Rydberg (NYI 2013 5th) had a secondary assist on his Plymouth Whaler's 2nd goal but his team fell to the Sarnia Sting 4-3 in the shootout. Crus-Rydberg is 6-20-26 on the season.

Ryan Graves (NYR 2013 4th) was scoreless and a -2 on 2 shots with 2 hits as his new team the Val-D'Or Foreurs lost to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 5-1. Graves who was traded by the Charlottetown Islanders a couple of days ago was a much sought after player according to his former team. They were not planning to trade Graves but the Foreurs offer was too good for a rebuilding franchise to turn down.

Graves moves from a team that is 14th in the QMJHL standings to one which is currently 5th. Prospects who play on winning teams get used to winning so even the Rangers won here.

Cristoval Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd) missed 9th ranked Michigan's game with 14th ranked Wisconsin due to a stomach bug. Nieves is day to day and could be back in the lineup on Saturday evening. Stephon Williams (NYI 2013 4th) was DNP for his Minnesota State Mavericks.

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