Playoffs have began in Canadian junior hockey and several Islander prospcts have picked up their games for a big playoff push. Chris Nielsen has recorded 7 goals and 10 points in 7 games and is one of Calgary’s leading contributors as he continues his excellent defensive play as well. Jeff Zehr has also had a strong start to his post season with 3 goals and 7 points in 6 games with 27 PIM to go along. This is Zehr at his best, he plays big and has a nasty mean streak along with a good goal scoring touch.
The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and the Islanders didn’t pull off the firesale that many expected. However their deadline deals did pick up a couple of talnted young players as well as some picks in the upcoming draft. The Islanders obtained Brad Isbister from Phoenix and Mats Lindgren from the Oilers. Isbister is a big physical winger with good hands and a nose for the goal. Phoenix insiders have reported that the Coyotes were reluctant to give up Isbister because some within the organization feel he can be as good as Keith Tkachuk. With the pick up of Isbister, only 21, and Zehr and Rupp in the system, the Isles should have at least one solid power forward who can score some goals while providing Palffy with some protection.
Player: Remi Royer
Birthdate: Febuary 12, 1978
Hometown: Donnacona, Quebec
Weight: 200 lbs
SEASON TEAM LGE GP G A PTS PIM
1994-95 Victoriaville QMJHL 57 3 17 20 144
1995-96 Victoriaville QMJHL 43 12 14 26 209
1995-96 St-Hyacinthe QMJHL 19 10 9 19 80
1996-97 Rouyn-Noranda QMJHL 29 3 12 15 87
1996-97 Indianapolis IHL 10 0 1 1 17
1997-98 Rouyn-Noranda QMJHL 66 20 48 68 205
1997-98 Indianapolis IHL 5 0 2 2 4
1998-99 Chicago NHL 18 0 0 0 67
1998-99 Indianapolis IHL 49 4 14 18 158
St. Albert 1 at Calgary Canucks 7
After coming off a great high only two days earlier, the St. Albert Saints simply didn’t have it in them Friday night. The Calgary Canucks were fresh, having defeated the Olds Grizzlys in five games a week earlier while the Saints had just completed four straight victories en route to a come-from-behind 4-3 series victory against the Lloydminster Blazers.
Drew Norman, who is eligible for this year’s draft, opened the scoring for Calgary twelve minutes in as he scored a powerplay goal assisted by Roger Leonard and Miles Hunter. The Canucks outshot the Saints 11-6 in the first.
In the second, it looked as if the Saints would take control as they put a lot of pressure on Canucks netminder Mike Gilhooly. Brent Robertson scored 1:43 in, assisted by Andrew Gibson and Rob Ziemmer. However, before the period would end, Calgary’s top line of Ryan Manitowich, Moe Halat and Dany Heatley would strike several times. Manitowich would get both goals, the first with 11:38 remaining and the second was in the last minute of the period. The Canucks have made a habit of shifting momentum in games with last-minute goals.
Born: July 26, 1979
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Weight: 187 lbs
When a junior hockey player wins one scoring championship, it’s pretty impressive, but when a player wins back-to-back championships, it’s almost unheard of. This season Peter Sarno of the Sarnia Sting became the second player in OHL history, and first since 1970-71, to do so. The last player to win back-to-back scoring titles was Marcel Dionne with St. Catharines (1969-70, 1970-71).
Sarno has had a pretty illustrious OHL career. Sarno was drafted by the Windsor Spitfires in the fifth round of the 1996 OHL midget draft. His totals in Tier 2 Junior A with North York were impressive. He scored 39 goals and 96 points in 52 games with North York.
In Sarno’s 3 seasons in the OHL he has looked more like a first round draft pick then a fifth round pick. His playmaking skills make watching him fun. Adding a great scoring touch to his playmaking skills make him a threat every time he comes onto the ice. In his rookie season (1996-97), Sarno won the Emms Family Award as the OHL rookie-of-the-year. His rookie season was very successful as the creative centreman scored 20 goals and 83 points in 66 games. The 63 assists that Sarno picked up were the fifth highest total in the league.
Washington traded veterans Joe Juneau, Tom Chorske, Dale Hunter and Craig Berube and the only body they received back was highly touted Sabres prospect Alexei Tezikov. These trades opens up four roster spots which the Caps filled by recalling forwards Matt Herr, Benoit Gratton, Trevor Halverson, and defenseman Steve Poapst. All four had spent various time split between the Portland Pirates and the Caps this season.
On March 28, Washington also called up defensemen Patrick Bolieau from Indianapolis of the IHL. All five call up have been playing since they were brought up so the Caps are now a much younger a very inexperience hockey team.
Tezikov was assigned to Cincinnati of the IHL. Not clear why they would send him to the I instead of the Portland (AHL), though maybe the presence of the heavy number of Chicago prospects in Portland may have played a part in the decision.
In other Caps news; Washington announced they have signed defenseman Dean Stork. Dean played this past year at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A junior who recently completed his third collegiate season, helping the team to a 12-21-2 overall record.