The message is real simple; win and you make the playoffs which one would think is not that hard for the prospects of the New York Rangers and New York Islanders to realize. There were those who grabbed their opportunity and punched themselves a ticket for the playoffs.
But at the same time there are those whose teams are just not getting the message and if anything are eliminating themselves from playoff contention. But for those who are stepping up we're saluting you because the side benefit of winning means it helps your cause to earn the professional hockey contract you have dreamed of.
Rangers First Star Danny Hobbs
If you like drama then there was no better way to write this story as it was Senior Night at the Mullins Center in Amherst Massachusetts. It was also going to be the last time that Senior Captain Danny Hobbs (NYR 2007 7th)
would play hockey for UMass on their home ice.
UMass with a win would clinch a spot in the Hockey East playoffs for the first time since 2008-09 when Hobbs was a freshman. The playoff scenario was simple because of tiebreakers, UMass would be in if they defeated Merrimack while Boston University defeated Northeastern and Boston College won or tied.
Hobbs had one goal overturned by video review but he made sure that his second attempt was good as Hobbs got UMass going scoring his 11th goal of the season at 19:33 of the first period. UMass went on for a 5-1 win and a spot in the Hockey East playoffs thanks in part to Boston College and Boston University also winning.
For Hobbs who earned the game's second star, this moment has to be special considering all that he is gone through over the past five years since being drafted by the New York Rangers. Even we wrote him off the last couple of years but Hobbs, he keeps coming back for more and he gets to play more hockey.
UMass has 1 regular-season game remaining and if they win that while Providence loses than UMass will be the 7th seed instead of the 8th. Funny thing is that the two schools that helped UMass make the playoffs Friday night might not want to face them especially Boston College as UMass won the season series between the two teams.
Danny Hobbs was not the only one to the punch ticket to the playoffs on Friday night but you can find that report on with the rest of Ranger prospects right here
Islanders First Star Scott Mayfield
Every coach will tell you that it's not how you started a season that matters the most but rather how you finish it and in the case of Scott Mayfield (NYI 2011 2nd)
that could not be any more true. The freshman defenseman for the 10th-ranked Denver Pioneers really struggled over the first half of the season including being a healthy scratch.
But as soon as the calendar became 2012; Scott Mayfield caught fire and has made key plays after key plays to help Denver rise to 3rd in the WCHA. And among Islander prospects, Mayfield has become a regular here over that second half which is more than we can say about some of the more highly touted prospects the Islanders have.
Friday night, Mayfield and his teammates found themselves in Omaha Nebraska taking on Nebraska-Omaha. A win here would clinch the 3rd seed in the opening round of the WCHA playoffs.
Mayfield earned the game's second star with a two-assist performance to help Denver shut down and shut out Nebraska-Omaha 3-0. For Mayfield, the assists were his 7th and 8th of the season to bring his record to 3-8-11.
Mayfield had a primary assist on Denver's 1st goal then a secondary assist on Denver 2nd goal. Since 2012 started Mayfield has gone 2-7-11 which is not bad finish for the freshman defender.
It was Islander defensive prospect night the way things went which for Islander fans has to be very encouraging for the franchise. You can check out the rest of the Islander report right here.
(Hobbs – HockeyEastonline.com, Mayfield - New York Islanders/NHL media)