The Primetime Playoff Performer

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Graves earns first star in win

Three New York Ranger prospects took to the ice on Saturday and while the results were not perfect, the performances were still reasons to feel positive about the future of the Rangers. Got a first star from a prospect who had his “coming out” during last year’s Memorial Cup and that he earned it on the road says a lot about his play.

Ryan Graves (2013 fourth) has had a great season but it is playoff time in which he steps up his game big time. The game’s first star Graves led his Quebec Remparts to a 4-3 win over the host Moncton Wildcats in game two of their QMJHL semifinal series. Graves recorded his fourth goal of the playoffs in helping his Remparts grab game two of this series and a 2-0 lead in the series.

Graves scored the Remparts first goal of the game, an even strength goal at 11:32 of the first period. Last year Graves was showing his ability to dominate a game on the defensive side which was what he was known for but this season Graves added offense to his resume.

A 6’4 220 lb. two-way defenseman would be a welcome addition to the Rangers especially one who is developing quite the reputation for being a playoff performer like Graves is. Graves is 4-4-8 in 12 games tying his career best in points set last year in 24 games.

Game three will be in Quebec City on Monday.

Keegan Iverson (2014 third) was scoreless as his Portland Winterhawks held off the Kelowna Rockets 3-2 in game two of their WHL Western Conference Finals. The win tied the series at 1-1 as Portland takes away the home ice advantage from the Rockets.

Iverson was playing “Mr. Utility Man” again as he started with Portland’s two-head offensive machines in Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand and then bounced all over the place used wherever the team needs him. It means Iverson sacrifices personal statistics in order to help the Winterhawks win.

Iverson has a WHL championship on his resume and this is his third straight conference final and he has played in two WHL finals, in other words Iverson knows what it takes to win come playoff time. One never has enough players who will do whatever is needed to win.

The series shifts to Portland for game’s three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Adam Tambellini (2013 third) scored his 10th goal of the playoffs but it was not enough as his Calgary Hitmen fell in overtime 3-2 to the Brandon Wheat Kings. The loss puts the Hitmen down 2-0 in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Finals but it is the closest 2-0 that you will find.

Calgary other than a “5 on 3” power play goal kept the Wheat Kings in check and the Wheaties were the WHL’s best team this season. Maybe the magic from the Hitmen’s arena roommates the Calgary Flames might help out the Hitmen as they could use a few breaks.

Tambellini with his goal is up to 10-13-23 which still leads the WHL in playoff scoring. Game’s three and four will be Tuesday and Wednesday in Calgary.