Sunday, September 27, 2009

Enjoying a Day Like This

People at times do not understand why covering New York Ranger prospects can be more fun for us than watching the Rangers themselves. When we suggest that if you get a chance to attend a live juniors or NCAA game it is because win or lose you can have a great time at a cost much lower than any NHL game.

Of course when your team wins it does make the experience that much better but how about a Sunday when every prospect that played had a big part in why their team won. 5 teams, 5 wins is a really nice way to spend a Sunday.

After yesterday when it was a struggle to find someone to call star of the day; Sunday was the exact opposite as we could have made a case for those who played.

Today's Star

In the end Chris Doyle (2008 5th) of the Prince Edward Island Rocket got our nod because he was the entire offense with 2 goals as his PEI Rocket edged the Gatineau Olympiques 2-1. It was in many ways Doyle's best overall effort since being drafted by the Rangers and he earned the game's 2nd star.

Doyle got his day going by scoring his 2nd goal of the season at 9:07 of the first period to give the Rockets a 1-0 lead. Doyle redirected a shot from Louis-Philippe Lacroix which totally fooled Gatineau goalie Maxime Clermont.

In the 2nd, Doyle scored one of his specials; a one-timer in the slot at 18:11 which broke a 1-1 tie and proved to be the game winner. Doyle's eye/hand skills are what makes him so very dangerous but Doyle is making an effort to show he is more than a one way player.

Doyle besides his 2 goals also had 2 good hits but his double minor gave the Olympiques the power play that they scored their only goal on.

They Were Stars Too

Luke Walker (Traverse City) put on a quite a show for us as his Portland Winterhawks dominated the Prince George Cougars 5-1. Walker scored his 5th goal, added an assist, worked his backside off to draw a penalty that the Winterhawks also scored on and showed us one heck of a 2 way game in this one.

Walker's goal was right from in the slot at 16:29 of the first period which gave the Winterhawks a 4-0 lead. Walker lived all around the slot in this game as he had numerous chances to score or set up plays for his teammates.

On defense he was strong positionally finishing checks and watching the ice knowing where everyone was. The only thing missing for Walker was a fight to give him the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Walker now has a 3 game goal scoring streak (5-1-6) which pulled him into a tie with Luke Pither of Barrie for the lead in prospect scoring. Call it a given that Walker will earn the Prospect of the Week honors for this week.

Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) also earned himself a 2nd star of the game as his Kingston Frontenac earned a 4-2 win over the Niagara Ice Dogs. Werek had a goal (his 3rd) and an assist (his 2nd) both on the power play to give him 5 points in 4 games.

Werek set up the Frontenacs first goal as he fed Michael Farrell at 3:21 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. In the 2nd period Werek finished off the Frontenac's scoring as he scored off a feed from Derek Froats just after Werek have left the penalty box.

We mentioned the penalty box part because Werek was in their for jumping on Ice Dog defenseman Matt Petgrave for a hit on one of Werek's teammates. Werek got a boarding call for that one but coming to the aid of a teammate will always get our attention.

Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) has proved to us that he is more than the physical stay at home defender as his offensive play at 40 seconds of overtime directly led to John McFarland's game winner as their Sudbury Wolves beat the Oshawa Generals 4-3. Maggio fired a shot that somehow got though to the net and McFarland cashed in to give the Wolves their 3rd win in 3 nights.

Maggio is 2-4-6 in 5 games but he has points in all of those games as well as a +5 to show that he is a 2 way defenseman but with some very good size to him. Maggio was not known as an offensive player so this is a very welcome extra to his game.

Sam Klassen (UFA 2009) was a healthy scratch as his Saskatoon Blades defeated the Regina Pats. Do not read anything into this as the Blades have a large roster and they were trying to get playing time for all their players.


Memo to Portland Winterhawk Fans

3 years ago Portland Winterhawk fans were howling for the previous owners to be run out of town and we agreed with you. The franchise was almost in ruins and we hated to attend games there.

Portland may be close to home for us but if the team was not competitive on the ice then we could not get an accurate scouting report on the players. That was then and this is now.

Portland fans only 1552 showed up for Sunday's game against Prince George, just 4200 for the season opener; what a shame as this is an exciting team to watch. This is a new team owned by a new owner and they deserve your support.

Yes they have made a couple of moves that could have been handled better but folks things cost money. The new owners are making an effort to rebuild the franchise and if you fans want to keep this franchise then you need to show up like Winterhawk fans used.

One thing is for sure we plan on attending a whole lot more Winterhawk games, you should too

(Doyle picture courtesy of the PEI Rocket)

No comments: