As I said in my previous prospect article, I try to balance my coverage of players. That's what a good journalist does, and that's the best way for me to inform you of the entirety of the prospect pool without biases.
But a good journalist also goes with the best story. Sometimes you just have to ride the hot hand. That "hot hand" is currently 2012 second-round pick Boo Nieves, whom I wrote about just a few days ago. As I wrote in the article, Nieves is having a nice junior season after a completely forgettable sophomore campaign last year. Last night, however, was Nieves' coming-out party. Michigan defeated RPI 6-0, and Nieves led the way with two goals and an assist. Here are the highlights.
Primary Assist on a Goal by Alex Kile
Nieves is primarily a playmaker so this is him doing what he does best on the power play. Not exactly a huge seam for him to send that pass through, but enough of one for a player of his caliber.
Nieves' First Goal of the Game
That was quite easily the hardest I've ever seen him shoot a puck. Shooting isn't exactly his strength, and when he does score it's usually from a relatively short distance. That's the first time I've seen him just rip a shot like that.
Nieves' Second Goal of the Game
Here are a couple more angles.
His goal against Penn State was great in its own right, but this is on a whole different level. It's one thing to be a great skater. All the speed in the world is worthless if you can't utilize it to make plays. That's exactly the kind of play Nieves is capable thanks to his speed, agility, and poise with the puck.
The performance last night means that Nieves has four goals on the season through 13 games. He had three in 34 games last season. He needs to ensure that this is a permanent shift in his game instead of just a nice couple of months. But it's certainly a huge jump in the right direction.
Keep reading for more prospect notes.
The Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, affiliate of the New York Islanders, 3-1. Cédrick Desjardins got the start in net and had a much needed quality appearance, stopping 21 of 22 shots. I wrote yesterday about how Ryan Haggerty is doing a lot of things well offensively and that he's bound to start scoring at a higher rate. Well, great timing by me, as he was in the right place at the right time on a power play opportunity.
Nice assist from Oscar Lindberg, and Ryan Malone earned his first point with the Wolf Pack on the play thanks to his work in front of the net.
In fact, Malone had a very good game; his first one for Hartford. Malone set up Ryan Bourque in the slot for a second power play goal in the second period. Two assists and two shots earned Malone the First Star. Joey Crabb scored unassisted to make it 3-1.
Pavel Buchnevich scored a goal and had an assist on the power play in a 5-2 win for Severstal over Vityaz in the KHL. This gives Buchnevich 10 goals and 10 assists in 30 games. That goal total surpasses Vladimir Tarasenko's 9 goals as a 19-year-old in the KHL. It is worth qualifying that with the fact that the KHL has expanded a lot since Tarasenko's 19-year-old season in 10-11, and thus competition is thinner. Nonetheless, it at least gives rough perspective for how good Buchnevich has been.
Also playing well yesterday in the KHL was Igor Shesterkin, who was called up to SKA St. Petersberg because of the imminent departure of starting goaltender Alex Salak. Shesterkin was put in the game for his season debut after St. Petersberg's starter, Evgenny Ivannikov, let in two quick goals. Shesterkin made 19 saves on 21 shots and helped St. Petersberg win the game 5-4. You can watch the highlights here. Included are a few of Shesterkin's saves (and the goals he gave up) as well as goals from teammates Ilya Kovalchuk and Dmitri Kalinin. Not bad for an 18-year-old who was put on the spot. We'll see if he's going to stick around in the KHL.
Steve Fogarty's Notre Dame got crushed 5-1 by a mediocre Ohio State team. That's not good. Steve Fogarty did score Notre Dame's lone goal. That is good! Nothing spectacular. Just crashing the net and following up on a rebound.
Fogarty now has four goals and five assists in 16 games after totaling only three goals and eight assists in 33 games with Notre Dame last season. His story is completely different from Nieves because he was used largely in a checking role last season and is now on Notre Dame's top line. Nonetheless, it's good to see him producing.