Mitchell Theoret (OHL Images)
Sorry New York Ranger fans but on Saturday night it was the New York Islander prospects who stole the show. The 3 headed Islander prospects on the Niagara IceDogs combined for 4-7-11 to help the IceDogs do a number on the Guelph Storm 9-4.
First Star Mitchell Theoret Niagara
Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) is a great example of taking advantage of an opportunity that he was given. The Niagara IceDog coach Marty Williamson moved Theoret up to his top line with Ryan Strome and Brett Ritchie with the idea of Theoret being the player who went into the corner, play protector and create space.
Theoret since the move on October 11th has done that plus give the IceDogs an unexpected bonus; some offense as in a 6-7-13 over his last 8 games. On Saturday evening, Theoret had a career best 2-3-5 while earning the game's 2nd star.
Theoret got his evening going early setting up linemate Brett Ritchie for the IceDog's first goal of the game, a power play goal at 2:30 of the first period. In the second with the score 4-3 in favor of the IceDogs, Theoret scored a power play goal at 8:51.
That goal also turned out to be the game winning goal but Theoret was far from done. At 14:12 of the 2nd, Theoret got the primary assist with Ryan Strome the secondary on Brett Ritchie's hat trick goal to make it a 6-3 Niagara lead.
In the 3rd it was Theoret scoring his 2nd goal of the evening; this one came of a feed from Ryan Strome and it made it a 7-4 game. Theoret finished his evening by setting up Brett Ritchie's 4th goal of the game with another primary assist on a power play goal at 14:50 for the 9th IceDog goal.
Theoret to his credit is making a case for a Islander contract and more power to him as in a day and age when people expect things handed to them, Theoret is working his butt off to try to make it to the next level.
Theoret is now 6-8-14 +2 with 1 power play goal and 1 game winning goal.
Ryan Strome (OHL Images)
Second Star Ryan Strome Niagara
This one is very much a Prospect Park first as in the 9 years of doing this that two prospects combined for a 10 point night (add in their linemate Brett Ritchie and you are 7-9-16) in the same game. For Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) his 1-4-5 was also the first time he recorded 5 points in a single game. Strome has 6 four points nights in his career and last season had a six point night(5-1-6).
Strome earned the game's 3rd star for his efforts as he registered his 11th goal, had 2 primary assists and 2 secondary assists to improve his numbers to 11-17-28 which jumped him all the way up to 2nd place in the OHL scoring race.
The Rest of the Prospects
Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) was the lucky receipt of one of Ryan Strome's primary assists as Graham got to score his first goal of the season in Niagara's 9-4 rout. It was Graham's first goal since January 22nd 2012 which was 41 games since he last scored.
Graham gets lost at times because he is a "stay at home" defender on a team full of offensive weapons. As we got to see the other night, Graham does make plays but most of the time you will never see them on a scoresheet.
I am always happy to see a hard worker get some spotlight time. Graham is now 1-3-4 on the season.
Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) only had one goal on Saturday night but for his Edmonton Oil Kings; it turned out to be the game winning goal as the Oil Kings edged the Swift Current Broncos 2-1.
St. Croix's goal was his 11th came at 8:17 of the 3rd period breaking a 1-1 tie with the Broncos. It was his 3rd game winner as St. Croix also extended his scoring streak to a season high 6 games (6-4-10) and improved to 11-13-24 (9th overall in WHL).
Teammate Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) was scoreless but was a big reason why the Oil Kings were able to kill 7 Swift Current power plays. I really wish someone would come up with a stat that shows just how important guys like Reinhart (and Graham and Adam Pelech) are to their teams.
Reinhart is the kind of defender that saves you games during the regular season but wins you games in the playoffs. I will be shocked if Reinhart is not in the NHL next year.
In Lethbridge, Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) set up Matej Stransky for what was the Saskatoon Blade's 4th goal but his Blades could not hold a 4-2 lead and eventually dropped a 5-4 shootout decision to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. McColgan did miss on his shootout chance.
Give Lethbridge credit for dominating most of the play during the game as the Blades should be thankful they came away with a point out of this game. McColgan is now 4-12-16 on the season as Saskatoon is unbeaten in 3 games.
Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) recorded his 7th goal of the season as his Spokane Chiefs had little trouble defeating the Everett Silvertips 5-0. Kichton's goal was a power play goal scored in the 3rd period and was Spokane's 5th goal of the game.
Kichton is now 7-12-19 on the season.
Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) had an assist on his Erie Otter's only goal as the Otters were no match for the Owen Sound Attack; falling 6-1 to extend their winless streak to 4 games (0-3-0-1).
Pelech (2-13-15) is coming off a bruised left ankle which caused his to miss time last week. Still Pelech is trying his best as one of the few veterans on the Otters but it will be interesting to see how he does in the Subway Super Series.
It is hard to be a good player on a rebuilding team so one wonders if at mid-season whether Erie would move him to a playoff contending team. Top 4 defenders are hard to come by this season and Erie had to see how much Guelph just paid for Brock Beukeboom.
Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie Comeau Drakkar continue their climb up the QMJHL standings after their 6-2 win over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. The win extended the Drakkar's unbeaten streak to 9 games (7-0-0-2) and moved the Drakkar into 5th place in the QMJHL.
Noreau had a quiet night scoreless, +1 on 1 shot with 1 hit and 3 minor penalties. Two of the minors would have turned into fighting majors if the officials had not stepped in.
Kind of funny seeing 2 players being called for "delay of game" at the same time when everyone knows what was going to happen. It is a way one supposes is how to keep the number of fighting majors down.
It is going to be very interesting to see what the Men's hockey poll looks like on Monday as already this weekend #2 Minnesota lost as did #3 Denver, #4 Miami, #6 North Dakota, #7 Michigan, and #8 Notre Dame.
Top ranked Boston College won but they have a game on Sunday as does Notre Dame. #5 Cornell won and tied and #9 Union won both their games.
Scott Mayfield (NYI 2011 2nd) had a primary assist on his 3rd ranked Denver Pioneer's 6th goal of the night as the Pioneers defeated St. Cloud State 6-1. The win gave the Pioneers a split of their weekend series as Mayfield's assist was his 3rd of the season.
2nd ranked Minnesota with Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) lost to unranked Minnesota State 5-3. Skjei is still the 3rd pair defense and was scoreless with no shots taken.
7th ranked Michigan dropped a 4-3 decision to North Michigan as Cristoval Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd) had an assist in a losing effort. Nieves is still 2nd line right wing but despite the assist needs to do more if he wants to stay there.
No shots is not going to keep your minutes high on a team like Michigan. Nieves has not played badly but Michigan is way different than the average hockey programs so hopefully Nieves will start doing more than an assist late in a game already pretty much decided.
Cody Rosen (NYI 2010 7th) was DNP again for the Clarkson Golden Nights who are still looking for their first win of the season. Rosen is a senior not recruited by the current coach who has used both of his own recruits ever since the first game.
Rosen got all of 48 minutes in his only start and yes he deserved to be pulled but a good coach gives him another shot. Clarkson thought it was going to make some noise but an 0-4-2 start is making a different kind of noise.
And one has to wonder how Andrey Pedan is feeling sitting out the 2nd game of his 4 game suspension? His Guelph Storm got whipped by Niagara and maybe Pedan doesn't prevent the loss but maybe gives the Storm a better chance than they had.