Saturday, March 29, 2008

Going Four For Four

It has been a very rough week for Ranger prospects as 4 of them saw their seasons come to unhappy endings. For the 4 remaining prospects only 2 of them will have any chance at having a happy ending to their seasons.

All 4 Ranger prospects were important factors in why their team won their games on Saturday night so rather than pick just one tonight all earn the stars.

David Skokan

By now we figure people are bored with all the praise we sing of David Skokan but there is no denying that Skokan has become a huge part of the Rimouski Oceanic's play especially in the second half of this season.

Going into their series against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar very few (including us) thought that the Oceanic had a chance to defeat a team that had taken 9 out of 10 regular season games from them.

Guess who was happy to be wrong as the Oceanic thanks to a 5-2 win on the road are moving on to the next round of the QMJHL playoffs thanks to a 4 games to 1 upset win.

In game 5 of this series, by the numbers Skokan had an assist, a +1, 2 PIM, and went 10-18 on his faceoffs. But his efforts during the last 2 minutes of the game alone where Skokan controlled the defensive zone draws, got the puck out of the defensive zone and started plays that led to not one but two empty net goals.

Skokan was not credited with assists on either play but those efforts are why the Oceanic are moving on to face the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The Huskies were the number one team in the QMJHL during the regular season but does anyone want to bet against the Oceanic?

Ryan Hillier

Hillier's Mooseheads in several ways would remind Ranger fans of the current Ranger team; when they are playing well, the Mooseheads are almost unstoppable . When Hillier and his teammates do not play a smart game they can be beaten by anyone.

Against the Victoriaville Tigres, it is exactly why this series was all tied up at 2 as they got ready to play game 5. In game 5 Hillier had an assist as the Mooseheads showed up to play and whipped Victoriaville 7-2 to grab a 3-2 series lead.

For Hillier, his up and down series was very much up in this game, he and his linemates played a two way game along with avoiding taking the bad penalties that had been plaguing the Mooseheads in their 2 losses.

Danny Hobbs

One night after being eliminated from USHL contention, we wanted to see what kind of effort that Danny Hobbs and his Ohio Junior Bluejackets would show up with.

Facing the same Chicago Steel team that had just eliminated them, the Bluejackets showed up ready to play and came away with 7-6 win.

Danny Hobbs had 2 assists to bring his season totals to 15-14-29. As for his teammates who with 3 games remaining have pulled to one game of having a 500 record. We hope they can finish the season with 3 more wins to send Hobbs to UMass on a high note.

Carl Hagelin

Call this saving the best for last as Carl Hagelin and his Michigan Wolverines were taking on Clarkson in the Eastern Regional of the NCAA Men's Division One Hockey Tournament. Clarkson out of the ECAC came in as the 3rd seed in the East and few were expecting them to give Michigan a battle.

It was a sloppy 2-0 win for Michigan who on one hand should be very happy that they were bailed out by their goalie Billy Sauer along with Hagelin's penalty killing unit (Clarkson went 0 for 9 on their power play).

Hagelin had 3 chances for goals all stopped by the outstanding efforts of Clarkson goalie David Leggio (more on him in a minute) who somehow made saves on what should have been goals.

Hagelin also drew one power play with his efforts but took a late penalty that allowed Clarkson to have a rare 6 on 3 power play in the game's last 2 minutes. Lucky for Hagelin that his teammates killed off all of those late power plays and send Michigan on their way to the Frozen Four in Denver Colorado.

We would be remiss if we did not mention David Leggio of Clarkson and the effort this senior goalie put on against Michigan. If not for this "Butterfly" style goalie this would not have been a 2-0 game but a much higher score.

We were very impressed with his efforts despite the loss, we liked how he stay cool under pressure and never lost his poise. Leggio who is from New York (Williamsville) is a 6' 185 goalie who actually we wonder how we missed seeing being drafted. Someone is going to sign him because you do not win 20+ games in the ECAC 2 straight seasons.

Leggio as we discovered had a 92% save percentage on the season and finished the season as the 15th best goalie in Division 1 hockey which is a pretty good accomplishment considering how many teams there are.

We found this video which shows Leggio stopping Mike Taylor (who the Wolfpack just added on an ATO) on a penalty shot. It is interesting to note that there are several versions of this video.

(Picture Credits: Skokan/Rimouski Oceanic, Ryan Hillier/Halifax Mooseheads, Danny Hobbs/Ohio Junior Bluejackets (USHL), Carl Hagelin/Michigan Wolverines)

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