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Rangers Prospects Watch: Feb. 12-17

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
· Prospects Weekly Review

Here's a look at some of the upcoming games involving Rangers prospects from Feb. 12-17:

Games of Feb. 12

TD Banknorth Garden in Boston will play host to the finals of the annual Beanpot Tournament. In the consolation game, Harvard, with defenseman Dylan Reese, will take on Northeastern University, in the only scheduled meeting between the teams this season. Reese has picked up his offense as of late, and scored Harvard's lone goal in the Crimson's Beanpot opener against Boston College. The championship match of the Beanpot Tournament pits Boston College against Boston University. This will be the fourth meeting of the season between these two archrivals. Boston University, which features Rangers prospect Ken Roche, has the most Beanpot titles, with 27 in the previous 54 years of the competition.

Games of Feb. 13

Tuesday features an important game for the Prince Albert Raiders and forward Lukas Zeliska. Prince Albert visits Medicine Hat to face the Tigers. Medicine Hat leads the way in the WHL's Eastern Conference with 86 points in the very competitive Central Division. Prince Albert looks to shore up its playoff positioning, and a positive result against the Tigers would go a long way towards that goal. Earlier in the season, Prince Albert earned a point at Medicine Hat in a shootout loss. Zeliska had a big part in that game, picking up three assists.

Games of Feb. 14

One team right in the thick of things in the WHL Central Division is the Calgary Hitmen. In this very tough division, the Hitmen have been able to stay the course due to the superb season of Brodie Dupont. On Wednesday, the Hitmen host the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Heading into last weekend, Lethbridge was in last place in the division, but only six points back of Calgary and four points back of a playoff spot. Because of this, Calgary cannot afford to slip up in their fight to make the playoffs. In his last game against the Hurricanes, Dupont scored a goal and had three assists as Calgary won in a shootout. With points at a premium, Dupont could very well be the difference maker again.

Games of Feb. 15

Ryan Hillier has had an impressive season with the Halifax Mooseheads, who are looking to improve their playoff position. It will not be an easy task however, as on Thursday, they travel to Lewiston to face the MAINEiacs. Lewiston is the top team in the QMJHL with 78 points. They have done a good job at keeping Hillier in check this season, keeping him without a goal in their first 5 meetings of the season. If Hillier can break his drought against Lewiston, Halifax may find its fortunes improving dramatically. Thursday also brings us a game between two college hockey powers as Billy Ryan and the University of Maine travel to Boston College. Ryan had an assist in their only meeting of the season to date.

Games of Feb. 16

Friday brings us some key games for Rangers prospects. In the OHL, the Saginaw Spirit host the Sarnia Sting. The last meeting between these teams, on Jan. 13, was a memorable one for Saginaw's Tomas Zaborsky. He scored the opening goal of the contest at the first minute mark of the first period. In the third period, he scored the game-winning goal as Saginaw defeated Sarnia 4-3, and Zaborsky was named the game's first star. It proved to be a key point in Zaborsky's season. Over in the QMJHL, David Kveton and the Gatineau Olympiques take on the Victoriaville Tigers. In his last game against Victoriaville, Kveton scored a goal and added two assists.

Games of Feb. 17

The Kootenay Ice are comfortable at the top of the WHL standings. With 81 points, they are challenging the Medicine Hat Tigers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. One of the big reasons for this success is the outstanding play of Ryan Russell, who has been on fire this season despite missing most of November with a hand injury. One of his favorite opponents this season has been the Spokane Chiefs, whom Kootenay will visit to on Saturday. In three games against Spokane this season, Russell has three goals and six assists. On Saturday in the NCAA, the top two teams in the Hockey East Conference will play their second game of a home and home series as New Hampshire visits Boston University. In their first meeting of the season, a 4-4 draw, Boston University's Ken Roche had his biggest game of the season. He scored a hat trick and added an assist to have a part in all of BU's scoring. His third goal tied the game with just over one minute remaining in the third period. For his efforts, he was named the game's first star.

Games of Feb. 18

Sunday will see the Saginaw Spirit take on the Kitchener Rangers for only the second time this season. In their first game, Saginaw's Tom Pyatt scored a hat trick as the Spirit crushed Kitchener 8-1. It was the first of back-to-back hat tricks for Pyatt. Also in the OHL on Sunday, the Sudbury Wolves will take on Peterborough in an important game for both teams. Defenseman Marc Staal of the Wolves already has a goal and an assist against Peterborough this season and hopes to continue his excellent play in what has been another All-Star season for him.
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