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Rangers Prospects Watch: March 12-18

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Here's a look at some of the upcoming games involving Rangers prospects from March 12-18:

Games of March 13

It's an exciting week in the major junior leagues, as they wind down the regular season and head for the playoffs. Teams will be looking to wrap up the final playoff spots or improving their current seeding. One game with playoff implications will take place on Tuesday as the Calgary Hitmen visit the Red Deer Rebels. Calgary needs just one point to clinch third place in their division. Red Deer is in fourth place, and would like to avoid a potential first round playoff match-up with the first place Medicine Hat Tigers. Calgary's Brodie Dupont (pictured) had a tremendous regular season, and played well against Red Deer, with four goals against them this season. Dupont's 37 goals this season lead the Hitmen, and have put him in seventh place in goals scored in the WHL.

Games of March 14

Eric Hunter (pictured) returned last weekend to provide a spark for Prince George. The Cougars' captain had missed three games with a knee injury. When he came back, he went right back to top form, scoring a goal in the Cougars' comeback win over Kamloops. His health will be key to the Prince George's fate for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. The Cougars will get a big test against the league leading Everett Silvertips on Wednesday. Hunter has two goals and two assists against Everett this season. Another WHL team, Lukas Zeliska's Prince Albert Raiders, hold the last playoff spot in their division with three games to play, but they are only one point ahead of Moose Jaw. With so much at stake, every game is crucial. Zeliska and the Raiders host Regina on Wednesday.

Games of March 15

Tom Pyatt (pictured) has had a tremendous season, with 42 goals and 38 assists and a plus-32 rating in just 56 games played. The Rangers' 2005 fourth-round pick, who recently signed his first NHL contract, will finish the season with the OHL's Saginaw Spirit and then be eligible to play in the Rangers organization. On Thursday, the Spirit visit Windsor and look to wrap up second place in their division. Pyatt has been very productive against the Spitfires, with five goals and two assists in just three games against them.

Games of March 16

Friday is a busy day for Rangers prospects. In the WHL, the Kootenay Ice, with Ryan Russell (pictured), will host the Calgary Hitmen and Dupont. Not only is it a matchup between two outstanding Rangers prospects, it is also a preview of the WHL playoffs. These teams will almost surely meet in the first round of the playoffs, and the winner of this game will take a big mental edge going in. Both players have put up big numbers against each other during the season. Dupont scored two goals and tallied six assists in seven games against the Ice. Russell was even better, with five goals and six assists in just five games against the Hitmen. College hockey will have a busy weekend as well. The Hockey East Conference wraps up its playoffs on Friday and Saturday. Friday will see a big semifinal meeting between Boston University and Boston College. Ken Roche of BU has two assists against BC this season. The teams split the four meetings this season, but BU was victorious in the final of the Beanpot Tournament. The winner of this meeting will take on either UMass or New Hampshire on Saturday in the Hockey East Championship game.

Games of March 17

St. Patrick's Day will see some exciting games as teams wrap up their regular season. In the OHL, the Owen Sound Attack will host the Guelph Storm in their season finale. Bobby Sanguinetti (pictured) has had a tremendous season for Owen Sound. With 23 goals and 30 assists he has been one of the highest scoring defensemen in the OHL. He is currently one goal shy of the OHL lead for goals by a defenseman. He has two goals against Guelph this season, and hopes to keep it up. In the WHL, Prince George finishes up their season at Kelowna. Hunter has three goals and three assists against the last place Rockets, and another big game would be a confidence booster entering the postseason.

Games of March 18

Sunday will mark the end of the regular season in the QMJHL. The Halifax Mooseheads will most likely be the sixth seed in their division. A win on Sunday against Cape Breton, which has already clinched the second seed, will go a long way towards building their confidence. Halifax's Ryan Hillier (pictured) has been a difference maker against Cape Breton, with three goals and four assists against them this season. The Gatineau Olympiques are currently in second place in the Telus Division, but have a number of teams right on their heels. In fact, there is only a seven-point difference between second and eighth in the division. It will help Gatineau, however, that they face lowly Shawinigan for their last game of the regular season. Gatineau's David Kevton had an assist in his only game against Cataractes. He currently has five goals and 25 assists in his 27 games played for Gatineau.
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