Laurent Brossoit (Sportsnet.CA)
Sometimes a game doesn't have to be a wild high scoring game to be entertaining as was the case with Game 5 of the Subway Super Series which featured the New York Islander's Griffin Reinhart (2012 1st) and the New York Ranger's Michael St. Croix (2011 4th).
If you caught this game then you got a chance to see two very good teams going at it with each other in a physical matchup.
Between Edmonton Oil King goalie Laurent Brossoit and the Saskatoon Blades's Andrey Markov, the duo combined for 65 saves in a scoreless regulation tie. The one thing that bugged me was if you were not willing to playing a 5 minute overtime period then why not end it in a tie?
What really has to acknowledged is that after years of Russia sending over teams better suited to be target practice instead the Russians are more competitive and just as willing to play physical as the Canadians.
A couple of years ago there was several calls by the Canadian hockey media to end this series; now you don't hear a peep out of anyone. They wanted competition and that is what the Russians are bringing.
So how did they do?
Reinhart was very much able to play the more physical game and looked quite comfortable playing that game. Reinhart did get called for a cross checking that was almost borderline for a major.
That he knew right then and there that he had made a bad play in my eyes saved him from a major penalty. Saw Reinhart looking more for his own offense than normal but I wonder if getting to play with instead of against his younger brother Sam had something to do with it.
Reinhart did not hurt his chances to be a part of Team Canada with his performance which sadly is not what I can say about Michael St. Croix. St. Croix took a long time before he adjusted to playing the physical part of the game.
In the early portion, you could see St. Croix playing more on the perimeter than going directly into traffic. As much as I like St. Croix as a player; he was at times physically outmatched and that has to change if he wants an NHL career.
If he wants to shut his critics up then St. Croix will seriously need to add some muscle to his body and not let anyone push him around. St. Croix is expected to play in game 6 in Victoria on Thursday but unless he has a monster game; I don't see him getting an invite to try to make Team Canada.
That is all on him and nobody else.
The OHL and QMJHL were in action on Wednesday night so starting in the east; Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar started their Wednesday off by being ranked in the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings for the first time this season.
The Drakkar enter the polls at number 8 and then went out and whipped on their coach's former team the Shawinigan Cataractes 7-1. The Drakkar extended their unbeaten streak to 13 games (11-0-0-2) and I believe the QMJHL has a mistake in their standings as the Drakkar should have moved into 2nd place in the QMJHL (asked for a clarification on this from the QMJHL).
Samuel Noreau had a power play goal and a secondary assist on another power play goal for his 4th multi-point game of the month. Noreau scored his 5th goal of the season on the Drakkar's 5th goal of the game in the 2nd period.
All 5 of Noreau's goals have come on the power play and one has to wonder what the Rangers are thinking with a player 6'5 225 doing this kind of damage from the point. Noreau's assist came on the Drakkar's final goal of the game (the 7th for the Drakkar).
Noreau's line for the night is 1-1-2, even, and 5 shots as he improves to 5-12-17 which matches his career highs in goals, assists and points.
Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles are on a 2 game unbeaten streak after they defeated the P. E. I. Rocket 5-3. Leduc was a -1 for the game but was credited with 2 hits.
In the OHL, Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) had a 1-1-2 evening to help lead his Niagara IceDogs to a 5-2 win over Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) and his Erie Otters.
Strome who entered the game as the leading scorer in the OHL increased his lead as he improved to 15-24-39 on the season. Strome is on a 6 game scoring streak (6-12-18) got the IceDogs going when he set up linemate Brett Ritchie for Niagara's 1st goal of the game at 6:53 of the 1st period.
Strome's own goal was an empty net power play goal with just 5 seconds remaining in the game. His teammates and fellow Islander prospects Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) had a goal of his own (9th) on the IceDog's 4th goal of the game 33 seconds into the 3rd period.
Theoret also has a 6 game scoring streak (5-8-13) to improve to 9-12-21 which ties Theoret's career best for points. Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) was scoreless as was Adam Pelech for the Otters.
The win gives the IceDogs the 3rd best record in the OHL's Eastern Conference at 14-7-1.
Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) scored his Guelph Storm's only goal in regulation as the Storm lost 2-1 via the shootout to the Belleville Bulls. It was Pedan's 7th goal of the season (7-8-15) but Pedan also took 3 separate minors during the game accounting for 3 of the 9 Belleville power plays.
Friday Night Hockey
The Ranger and Islanders will have 2 prospects apiece playing on Friday night when 7th ranked Notre Dame will take on 13th ranked Michigan. Notre Dame features Islander prospects Anders Lee (2009 6th)and Robbie Russo (2011 4th) as well as Ranger prospect Steven Fogarty (2011 3rd).
Michigan has Cristoval "Boo" Nieves who was the Ranger's 2nd round pick in the 2012 NHL draft. The game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network starting at 7:30 PM EDT/ 4:30 PM PDT.