Wednesday night saw two members of the 2015 Ranger draft class step up with game winners to help power their teams to wins. For one it was a record setting 50th win for their team while the other helped keep his team in first place in their race for a conference championship.
Both players earned stars from us tonight and down the road it will not surprise us when they earn stars as future Rangers.
First Star: Ryan Gropp Seattle Thunderbirds
Ryan Gropp (2015 second) and his Seattle Thunderbirds went into their game against the Spokane Chiefs missing their captain as well as Ryan Gropp’s linemate still trying to earn the WHL’s top seed in the Western Conference. As he has been doing since the end of December, Gropp led the Thunderbirds with two goals to defeat the Chiefs 4-2.
Gropp scored the Thunderbird’s first and third goals of the game while earning the game’s first star as the Thunderbirds won their fourth straight game. In the first, Gropp got the Thunderbirds going when he fired a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Spokane’s goalie tying the game at 1-1.
With Seattle up 2-1 in the third period, Gropp deflected a point shot past the Spokane goalie to make it a 3-1 lead. This goal would also prove to be the game-winning goal as Gropp tied his career best with his 33rd and 34th goals of the season.
Gropp has earned the Ranger’s prospect scoring title with his 34-48-82 with two games remaining. For Seattle, they have two games remaining this weekend, Portland on Saturday and Vancouver on Sunday.
First Star: Sergey Zborovskiy Regina Pats
For Zborovskiy, his goal was his seventh of the season as the goal was Regina’s third goal of the first period. Zborovskiy carried the puck to the net, was stopped once then twice before whacking the puck in..
Zborovskiy played with a chip on his shoulder and it earned him the game’s first star as he also was a +4 to put his plus/minus to a WHL best +68.
Gabriel Fontaine (2016 sixth) was scoreless as his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies were edged 3-2 by the Shawinigan Cataractes. Fontaine was scoreless on just one shot while going a -1, 11-9 on faceoffs, recording one hit and was called for a high-sticking double minor.
The loss ensures that the Huskies will finish as the second seed for the QMJHL playoffs and the winners of the QMJHL’s West Division.
Sean Day (2016 third) and his Windsor Spitfires were playing a meaningless game against the Sarnia Sting falling 4-2. The Spitfires are locked into the fifth seed in the OHL’s Western Conference thanks in large part to a 5-5 stretch over their last 10 games.
Sean Day was held scoreless on a +1 with one shot and a minor for interference.
Tim Gettinger (2016 fifth) and his Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds missed out on a chance to gain ground for the best overall record in the OHL after a 2-1 loss to the Saginaw Spirit. The Greyhounds trail the Erie Otters by three points with two games remaining after the loss.
Gettinger was scoreless on just two shots as the Greyhounds will most likely wind up as the second seed in the OHL’s Western Conference.
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