Prospect Report: Ranford Shines for Kamloops
Much like last season, Brendan Ranford looks impressive early on. | Photo credit to www.blazerhockey.com
By: Tyler J. Altemose (@HockeyGuyTy)
This week’s prospect report tracks Flyers prospects from around North America and Europe between Friday, October 14 and Thursday, October 20.
First, a couple of transaction notes. On Tuesday the Phantoms sent a couple of players down to the ECHL. LW Andy Bombach was loaned to the Flyers ECHL affiliate Trenton Titans. Bombach was an ECHL All-Star last season with the Toledo Walleye and is certain to help that club out after they got off to a rough start this season. Defenseman Cullen Eddy was also loaned, however he was sent to the Greenville Road Warriors, the Flyers and Rangers co-ECHL affiliate from last season. Eddy had 1G and 3A in 16 games with the Road Warriors last season.
RW Michael Parks, University of North Dakota
UND opened up their regular season last Friday against Maine. Michael Parks scored his first collegiate goal of his career as UND went on to win 3-1.
Western Hockey League [WHL]
LW Brendan Ranford, Kamloops Blazers
Brendan Ranford continued his early season points explosion by tallying 7 points in just 4 games, including a 4-point (3G 1A) effort against the Portland Winterhawks last Friday. He had a PPG and also scored the game-winning goal in a 5-4 overtime win. He also had a goal last Saturday against the Kelowna Rockets in a 3-2 win and also against the Red Deer Rebels in a 4-2 loss on Wednesday.
RW Marcel Noebels, Seattle Thunderbirds
Marcel Noebels recorded two more goals in a 4-2 win against the Saskatoon Blades last Saturday. He currently leads the Seattle Thunderbirds with 6G and 7 points through 7 games this season.
D Ricard Blidstrand, Regina Pats
Ricard Blidstrand had a quiet week offensively this week. The Swedish defenseman had an assist in a 4-1 loss to the Red Deer Rebels last Saturday.
Ontario Hockey League [OHL]
C Nick Cousins, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Nick Cousins had a respectable week for the Soo Greyhounds, tallying 3 points. Last Friday against the Kingston Frontenacs he tallied a PPG and an assist in a 6-4 win. He also had an assist in a 5-4 loss to the Barrie Colts last Saturday. He has been contributing consistently for the Greyhounds so far this season which is a clear indication that he deserves the ‘A’ he is wearing.
RW Derek Mathers, Peterborough Petes
Frankly, there is little reason to report on Derek Mathers except for that fact that it is rather amusing to track his PIM. He’s quickly molding himself into Zac Rinaldo 2.0. Take that as you will. In any case, he was scoreless but did manage 9 PIM in a 3-1 loss to fellow Flyers prospect Colin Sullentrop and the Oshawa Generals. Again, he isn’t going to the box for your everyday, run-of-the-mill, Danny Briere stick infraction-type penalties. He’s getting called for things like checks to the head. I haven’t seen him play personally, but the kid sounds pretty brutal out there.
Before I begin my report on the players in Europe, I need to give recognition to two guys who, without them, would render this section of the prospect report obsolete. I’m talking about Teemu H. of Broad Street Hockey and Bill Meltzer, the Flyers writer for Hockeybuzz.com. I’m getting better at finding out this information for myself, but it’s still pretty difficult to read these Finnish and Czech sites, even with Google translate. I have to see what I can do about finding some more reliable English language sites. But in the mean time, we can all give them a bit of thanks because frankly, they’re a crutch for this section of the report. Thanks, guys!
G Jakub Kovář, HC České Budějovice
I honestly did not know whether to highlight Brendan Ranford or Jakub Kovář in this week’s prospect report. If this guy keeps it up he’ll certainly get the recognition next week. As for last week, Kovář allowed just 4 goals in 3 games including a shutout. That shutout effort came against Zlin last Saturday as HC České Budějovice went on to win 4-0. Earlier in the week he held strong, stopping 28 of 31 shots as HC České Budějovice went on to win 4-3. He also stopped 28 of 29 in a 3-1 win against Kladno on Wednesday.
G Niko Hovinen, Lahti Pelicans
Hovinen looked strong for most of the week. The gargantuan goaltender started off the week with a 19-save shutout of HPK in a 5-0 win last Friday. At that time he had 2 shutouts in 12 starts with the Pelicans, had a GAA of 1.67 and a SV% of .936. He fumbled against Jokerit, however, allowing 4 goals on 12 shots. He was pulled at the end of the first period, and the Pelicans wound up losing 5-2. He did recover against SaiPa though, stopping 27 of 29 in a 6-2 win.
East Coast Hockey League [ECHL]
The Titans have a slow start to the schedule so far, only playing last weekend. They played back-to-back games last Friday and Saturday against the Elmira Jackals. Frankly, it was something to forget. The Titans were defeated in both games, first 7-3 on Friday, then 3-1 on Saturday. Tyler Hostetter had the team’s only goal in the second game, one he scored on the PP. So far this season it is the only Titans PP goal in 15 attempts. After sitting out the first game, goaltender Brad Phillips stopped 30 of 33 shots in the second game.
Adirondack Phantoms [AHL]
If the Titans are the disappointing story so far, the Adirondack Phantoms are quite the opposite. In fact, it’s safe to say that they’re tearing it up. They’re getting contributions from all over the place. This team looks solid so far this season.
The Phantoms opened up their regular season last Friday against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Brayden Schenn stole the show with a 4-point (3G 1A) night and was the first star of the game. The second star, LW Harry Zolnierczyk, also had a 4-point night with 1G 3A. Eric Wellwood impressive as well, recording 3 assists on the night. Dan Jancevski and Tom Sestito also had goals, and Erik Gustafsson, Blake Kessel, and Jason Akeson each had assists as the Phantoms went on to win 6-3.
On Saturday the Phantoms took on the Syracuse Crunch. Unfortunately, the results weren’t what the team hoped for. Schenn and Hamels each had goals as the Phantoms lost 6-2. Gustaffson and Wellwood each had assists.
On Sunday the team turned things around, probably because they played the Sound Tigers again. Denis Hamel had a 3-point (2G 1A) effort and Tom Sestito (2G 0A), Mike Testwuide (0G 2A), Ben Holmstrom (0G 2A), Jason Akeson (1G 1A), and Garrett Roe (0G 2A) all had 2-point games as the Phantoms went on to win 5-1. Brayden Schenn and Oskars Bartulis both had assists as well. Michael Leighton stopped 25 of 26 shots.
Again, I have to give a shout-out to Tim McManus for insightful information about the Phantoms. Check him out here.