Prospect Pool: Playoffs Underway in the CHL
By Matt Calamia
Each week, BlueshirtsUnited.com will update Rangers fans on what the organization's prospects have done statistically over the past seven days for their respective teams in the AHL, ECHL, NCAA, CHL and European leagues. For a full listing of all prospect statistics, click here.
Out west, two 2013 Rangers draft picks are facing off in the first-round of the Western Hockey League postseason, with third-round pick Adam Tambellini of the Calgary Hitmen taking on sixth-rounder Mackenzie Skapski of the Kootenay Ice.
Kootenay took Game 1, 5-2, behind 27 saves from Skapski. Tambellini notched one assist and had three shots. Calgary and Tambellini had the upper hand in Game 2, registering a goal and two assists and a plus-2 rating in a 5-0 rout over the Ice. Game 3 was more balanced, though Skapski did not fair well, as Calgary took a 2-1 series lead with a 7-6 overtime win. Tambellini shined again with a goal and an assists and a plus-3 rating, while Skapski allowed seven goals on 28 shots. Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday night.
Over in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, 2013 fourth-round pick — and newly signed — defenseman Ryan Graves has one assists in two games for Val-d’Or, who is facing Acadie-Bathurst in the first-round of the playoffs. Graves picked up an assist and was a plus-2 in Game 1, a 4-1 win for Val-d’Or, but was held scoreless in a 3-0 blanking of Acadie-Bathurst in Game 2. The two teams reconvene Tuesday night for Game 3, with Game 4 slated for Wednesday night.
Anthony Duclair has yet to dress for Quebec in the playoffs due to an injury. The Remparts and Rouyn-Noranda are tied, 1-1, with Game 3 slated for Tuesday night.
Lastly, in the Ontario Hockey League, defenseman Troy Donnay and the Erie Otters lead Saginaw out west, 2-1. Donnay is pointless in the three games.
NCAA Tournament Set
Rangers 2012 first-round pick Brady Skjei and the Minnesota Golden Gophers were eliminated in the first Big 10 Tournament after a 3-1 loss to Ohio State, in which Skjei went scoreless. Despite the loss, Minnesota still secured a No. 1 seed in the West Region, and will face Robert Morris Saturday afternoon at 5:30 PM.
Rangers 2011 third-round pick Steven Fogarty and Notre Dame were unable to bring home a Hockey East championship — though they were able to eliminate rival Boston College — but were still given a bid in the NCAA tournament. The Fighting Irish will face St. Cloud State in the first-round of the West Region, slated for Saturday night at 9 PM.
Despite picking up an assist in the team’s final game, Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves’ sophomore season came to an end this week following Michigan’s double overtime loss to Penn State in the Big 10 Tournament. The Wolverines were not selected for the NCAA tournament. The 2012 second-round pick finished his season with three goals and 18 assists for 21 points in 33 regular season games.
Up and Down Week for the Pack
The Hartford Wolf Pack went 2-1 with wins over Bridgeport and Adirondack sandwiched around a loss to St. John’s.
The Swedish duo of Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast led the way offensively, with each scoring two goals and one assist in the three games. Lindberg is currently leading the Wolf Pack in points with 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points in 65 games. Fast, meanwhile, has put together a strong season following an injury earlier in the year. The 22-year-old has 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points in 42 games.
Forward Danny Kristo also had a pair of goals and an assist to give him a team-leading 20 goals and 16 assists for 36 points in 54 games. J.T. Miller picked up a pair of assists in the three games, and now has 37 points in 35 games.