Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Samuel Blais (#19) of the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL), Drummondville, Que., Dec. 18, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Ghyslain BergeronSamuel Blais (#19) of the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL), Drummondville, Que., Dec. 18, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Ghyslain Bergeron

    No. 1 star: Samuel Blais, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)

    Blais had four points in the third period, among his five on the night, to help the Tigres outlast the Sherbrooke Phoenix 7-4.

    The 18-year-old St. Louis Blues pick had an assist on an early second-period goal by linemate Angelo Miceli, as the teams were square 2-2 after 40 minutes. In the final frame, it got frantic, is Blais (1G-4A, +2) assisted on power-play goals 90 seconds apart with a Phoenix tally sandwiched in between. The teams were tied again with 6:19 left when Blais created a chance that Miceli (3G-1A, +2) capped off to put Victoriaville ahead to stay.

    Blais, a sixth-round pick of the Blues, also scored a dagger goal with 3:32 left in the game.

    No. 2 star: Jansen Harkins, Prince George Cougars (WHL)

    Harkins (1G-3A) gave a huge boost to the Cougars' Western Conference playoff hopes, scoring 33 seconds into overtime for a 5-4 road win against the Seattle Thunderbirds as Prince George pulled within one point of Vancouver

    Read More »from St. Louis Blues pick Samuel Blais records 5 points for Tigres: Friday's 3 Stars
  • NHL draft tracker: Vince Dunn, Niagara IceDogs

    Vince Dunn of the NIagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.Vince Dunn of the NIagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.

    Over his two full seasons, the Niagara IceDogs' Vince Dunn has emerged as the prototype modern defenceman who can be counted on to kick-start his team's transition to the attack.

    The Lindsay, Ont., native is bent on extending the IceDogs' line of offensively savvy rearguards that includes the St. Louis Blues' Alex Pietrangelo, Boston Bruins' Dougie Hamilton, New York Islanders farmhand Jesse Graham and Dunn's teammate Blake Siebenaler, a Columbus second-rounder. Dunn is ninth in defenceman scoring in the Ontario Hockey League entering the final three-week sprint of the regular season.

    "My strength is definitely my skating and my passing," says Dunn, who was ranked No. 53 on NHL Central Scouting's North American midterm ranking. "I think I have really good vision on the ice and I'm able to beat guys one-on-one and dish the puck off.

    "I think I can work on my defence part of the game. Maybe be a little tougher in the corners, hitting guys when they're coming down on me. I think I use my

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Vince Dunn, Niagara IceDogs
  • Buffalo Sabres prospect Justin Bailey will miss at least two weeks for Sault Ste. Marie with an ankle injury (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Buffalo Sabres prospect Justin Bailey will miss at least two weeks for Sault Ste. Marie with an ankle injury (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Captain Dalton Sward might be done for the season in Vancouver due to a fractured left hand. (Vancouver Sun)

    It's not known when Tri-City will have either Eric Comrie or Evan Sarthou available, so Nick Sanders will stay in goal for at least one more game. (Tri-City Herald)

    Remember when it seemed Portland was finally going to have that average season? (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Why the Seattle Thunderbirds, with Shea Theodore and Mathew Barzal, might be able to win a playoff round. (MyNorthwest.com)

    Victoria's utility forward Jack Walker has a better deal weather-wise than his brother Ben Walker, who plays for the American League's St. John's IceCaps: "Benny is deep in snow and I keep reminding him about the weather in Victoria." (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Too good to be true, except it is: after scoring a goal in Regina on Wednesday, Tim Bozon gave the stick and puck to a 13-year-old

    Read More »from Justin Bailey out 2 weeks for 'Hounds, sticker shock in Flint: the coast-to-coast
  • Sonny Milano scores 4 points in Plymouth Whalers' win: Thursday's 3 Stars

     

    Sonny Milano pulls on a Columbus Blue Jackets sweater after being chosen 16th overall during the first round of the NHL hockey draft, Friday, June 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Sonny Milano pulls on a Columbus Blue Jackets sweater after being chosen 16th overall during the first round of the NHL hockey draft, Friday, June 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    No. 1 star: Sonny Milano, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

    Milano (2G-2A, +1) scored two third-period goals as Plymouth pulled away for a 6-3 win against the Sarnia Sting to move within five points of the final OHL Western Conference playoff berth. The Columbus Blue Jackets first-round pick capitalized on a power play with 11:23 left in the third to open a two-goal margin, then struck unassisted with 5:50 left to ice the game.

    The 18-year-old left wing also assisted on a first-period goal by Victor Crus Rydberg. Milano also assisted on a goal 6:02 second that put Plymouth ahead for good. 

    No. 2 star: Timo Meier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

    Meier (2G) ran his point streak to 27 games during the course of Halifax's 6-3 win at Chicoutimi, which would be the longest skein in his league if teammate Nikolaj Ehlers wasn't on a 33-game roll. The 18-year-old NHL draft prospect took a pass from Ehlers (1G-1A, +1) in the first period and scored on a wraparound to open a 2-0 Mooseheads lead. Meier struck

    Read More »from Sonny Milano scores 4 points in Plymouth Whalers' win: Thursday's 3 Stars
  • There is a way to recognize the comeback season of London's Christian Dvorak (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)There is a way to recognize the comeback season of London's Christian Dvorak (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    There is no debate over who will be named the Ontario Hockey League's most outstanding player, because Connor McDavid.

    With 25 days left in the season, though, there is some robust debate around the league's other subjective honours, such as coach, overage player, rookie, defenceman and goalie of the year. Since no two people's criteria for making a pick are exactly alike, there's bound to be a wide variance in who should be recognized.

    There is also still time for opinions to, well, evolve. With March around the corner, here's a survey of who ought to be in the driver's seat for the league's major awards. 

    Read More »from OHL awards leaderboard: Colts' Blandisi, Knights' Dvorak among front-runners for top honours
  • Giovanni Fiore (#22), of the Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL), Drummondville, Que., Oct. 12, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Ghyslain BergeronGiovanni Fiore (#22), of the Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL), Drummondville, Que., Oct. 12, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Ghyslain BergeronNo. 1 star: Giovanni Fiore, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

    Fiore was on fire (sorry, had to) in the Cataractes' decisive 7-2 win over the Sherbrooke Phoenix, scoring his first Quebec League hat trick. The 18-year-old from Laval, Que., who's found his perch as a complementary scorer with the Cataractes after being traded in each of his first two seasons, gave his team an early jolt by scoring just 19 seconds after the opening faceoff on a setup from Dylan Labbé. Just two minutes and 11 seconds later, Fiore scored unassisted for a quick 2-0 lead.

    Four other Cataractes chipped in goals, while goalie Marvin Cüpper only had to make 18 saves. Fiore completed his hat trick by scoring with an assist from Christophe Lalonde with 3:07 left in the third period.

    No. 2 star: Sam Bennett, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

    The Fronts had only two six-goal outings in 55 games without Bennett. In the Calgary Flames first-rounder's return after recovering from shoulder surgery, Kingston scored six in the second period in a 7-3 blowout of the Belleville Bulls, whom they're chasing for playoff position. Bennett (1G-2A, +3) was on the ice for all but one of those tallies.

    Read More »from Shawinigan Cataractes' Giovanni Fiore notches first QMJHL hat trick: Wednesday's 3 Stars
  • Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL ImagesConnor McDavid of the Erie Otters. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

    It's hard to believe it took Connor McDavid almost three seasons to get a hat trick in the OHL, and even harder to believe what he pulled off in the course of doing so on Wednesday.

    The surefire first overall pick had a career-high four goals and six points for the Erie Otters on Wednesday, including an end-to-end effort where he made other players on the ice look like they were trudging through two-foot-high snow drifts. McDavid nimbly sliced through three Guelph Storm defenders inside the blueline, then roofed a shot over goalie Justin Nichols. 

    The goal almost becomes comical thanks to some freeze frame fun. For instance, when McDavid hit the offensive blueline, it looks like Guelph's Noah Carroll, Zac Leslie and Chris Marchese are completely ignoring the possibility of covering McDavid's wingers. 

    And it still doesn't matter.

    Connor McDavid (YouTube)Connor McDavid (YouTube)

    And then there's how Nichols was inveigled to slide back toward the left side of the net in anticipation of a backhand deke. Except McDavid somehow went

    Read More »from Connor McDavid scores ridiculous end-to-end goal as part of 6-point night (VIDEO)
  • Calgary Hitmen's Connor Rankin, right, is congratulated on his goal against the Edmonton Oil Kings by Jake Virtanen during first period WHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta on Friday, Dec.5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougalCalgary Hitmen's Connor Rankin, right, is congratulated on his goal against the Edmonton Oil Kings by Jake Virtanen during first period WHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta on Friday, Dec.5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

    Jared Hauf had a better chance of stopping time than stopping the momentum of Vancouver Canucks top pick Jake Virtanen on Tuesday.

    Hauf, a Seattle Thunderbirds defenceman, is listed at 6-foot-5 and 223 pounds. Yet when he crouched to bump  Virtanen in the neutral zone during the Calgary Hitmen-Thunderbirds game, Hauf ended up getting tossed around like a piece of paper in a whirlwind, landing in his teammates' laps after being absolutely laid out by Virtanen.

    That's just a prodigious combination of mobile, hostile and agile from Virtanen, who also had a goal and an assist in that game.

    The jury will be out for a few years yet on whether the Canucks were right in 2014 to choose Virtanen with the No. 6 overall pick instead of offensive dynamos such as William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers, who were taken two and three picks later by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets.  

    It's plain to see Virtanen has some exceptional strength that he likes bringing to bear against Western Hockey

    Read More »from Canucks pick Jake Virtanen knocks 223-pound defenceman over the boards (VIDEO)
  • #OnlyInCIS: Calgary Dinos' LJ Hegwood crushes a one-handed alley-oop dunk (VIDEO)

    Calgary became Lob City last weekend, courtesy the University of Calgary Dinos' duo of LJ Hegwood and Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson during the Canada West playoffs.

    During a playoff series-clinching win over the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday, the two showed off some scintillating synergy while collaborating an alley-oop dunk in transition. As you can see, the 6-foor-4 Hegwood came seemingly out of nowhere to leap up from the baseline, catch Ogungbemi-Jackson's pinpoint pass and slam it down, to the delight of fans at the Jack Simpson gym. 

    Not a bad way for Ogungbemi-Jackson, Calgary's fifth-year floor leader, to make one last memory in his final home game.

    Calgary might have its work cut out for it against the Fraser Valley Cascades, who were a conference-best 17-3 in the regular season, in a best-of-3 Canada West quarter-final series in Abbotsford, B.C.. Nevertheless, with Ogungbemi-Jackson nearing the exit, it's nice to know Calgary has another exciting player waiting in the wings in

    Read More »from #OnlyInCIS: Calgary Dinos' LJ Hegwood crushes a one-handed alley-oop dunk (VIDEO)
  • Tim Bozon nears one-year anniversary of meningitis ordeal: the coast-to-coast

    Kootenay Ice forward Tim Bozon, shown in December (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)Kootenay Ice forward Tim Bozon, shown in December (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)

    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Montreal Canadiens prospect Tim Bozon is fast coming up on the one-year anniversary of a near-fatal battle with Neisseri meningitis. Bozon: "Even one year later, I still think about it. Sometimes you think about what life would be like right now if I had lost my legs and my hands or stuff like that. You wonder what my parents would do if I would be handicapped. I try to move on, but it's always in your mind." (Regina Leader-Post)

    Ivan Provorov, on rejoining the Brandon Wheat Kings after missing six games due to injury: "It's been only a couple of weeks but it feels like it's been a month or more." (Luber's Lounge)

    How quickly can top scorer Trevor Cox have a tangible impact on Medicine Hat, which has been playing from behind time and again during its forgettable February? (Medicine Hat News)

    Arizona Coyotes draft pick Edgars Kulda needs to start scoring for offensively famished Edmonton. (

    Read More »from Tim Bozon nears one-year anniversary of meningitis ordeal: the coast-to-coast

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