WHL Prospect Watch – Nov. 21

Russia Sweeps WHL

Defenseman Stefan Elliott (Colorado Avalanche), forwards Brett Connolly (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Linden Vey (Los Angeles Kings) all registered at least one point in Team WHL’s 7-6 and 5-2 losses to Team Russia in the Subway Super Series on Wednesday and Thursday night, respectively.

“I needed to step up and prove to some people that I did have character,” Prince George Cougars forward Brett Connolly said after his one-goal performance on Thursday night. “I thought I did that, so it was a good game.”

Connolly, an assistant captain for Team WHL, played an unusually physical style against the Russians.

“I just wanted to be good on both ends of the rink,” Connolly said. “I think I did that. That’s what they’re looking for upstairs.”

Connolly and his teammates are all competing for positions on Team Canada’s 2011 World Junior Championships team. The roster for which will be announced on Nov. 29.

“I think I at least have a chance to go to camp and prove to them what I got,” Connolly said.

On Wednesday, Elliott, a Saskatoon Blades blue-liner, tallied a power play goal from Medicine Hat’s Vey in the first period and picked up an assist on the power play midway through the third.

Vey was one of a handful of WHL players featured in both games. The 2009 fourth-round pick brought Team WHL to within two goals early in the third period of Thursday’s game, only to see Russia score late in the third to ice the game.

Here are the highlight’s from Russia’s 7-6 SO win on Wednesday. (Unfortunately the commentary is Russian.)

Connolly Out-Duels Bulmer

The Kelowna Rockets swept the Prince George Cougars over the weekend, but Cougars captain Brett Connolly scored three goals in the two games to the Rockets’ Bulmer’s two.

Connolly, Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in the 2010 draft, ranks third in the WHL with 18 goals on the year.

A Minnesota Wild second-rounder, Bulmer has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 22 games this year. The 18-year-old winger had a 40-point season (13-27) last season.

Ranford Follows Award With Big Weekend

Philadelphia Flyers prospect Brendan Ranford of the Kamloops Blazers took home the CHL Player of the Week on Wednesday, before posting a goal and three assists on Friday and Saturday. The Edmonton-native scored three goals and assisted on three others in two games last week to earn the distinction.

Ranford’s goal and two assists in Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Portland Winterhawks moved him to third in the league in scoring (37 pts.) The Flyers took the 18-year-old in the seventh round of last June’s draft.

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