Welcome to a special edition of NYI Prospect Watch...Updated May 11: Kessel and Waterloo runners-up in Clark Championship

Friday, 04.11.2008 / 4:12 PM / News
By Jason Lockhart  - Website/Publications Coordinator

Name: Blake Kessel
Position: Defenseman
Team: Waterloo (38-17-5)
League: USHL
Acquired: Islanders 2007 sixth-round draft pick (166th overall)
Stats to date: Games Played (56) Goals (19), Assists (35), Points (54), PIM (24)

Update: No. 2 Waterloo took a 2-1 series lead, but lost Game 4 at home and then Game 5 on Saturday on the road in overtime, to give Omaha their first Clark Championship since 2001.

In Game 1 of the Championship series, Waterloo and Omaha battled to a 3-3 tie through 60 minutes of play. At 11:02 of the first overtime period, Kessel set-up Brett Olson for the game-winning power play tally, giving Waterloo a 1-0 series advantage.

The following night, Omaha bounced back with a 2-0 victory, handing Waterloo their first loss of the playoffs.

Game 3 put Waterloo up 2-1. The Black Hawks won 3-1 behind three third-period goals. Kessel assisted on the game-winner.

Omaha shutout Waterloo in Game 4 by the score of 2-0, setting up the decisive Game 5.

In Game 5, Kessel assisted on Waterloo's power play goal that tied the game up at three with under eight minutes to play in the third period. But Barry Almeida ended the game at 6:08 of overtime, handing Waterloo their second Chamopinship runner-up title in two years.

Kessel led all playoff performers with ten assists and ranked first on his team with 11 points. His +4 rating in 11 games was second best on Waterloo.

"I am sure Blake's competitiveness has him disappointed today," said Islanders Assistant GM/Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Jankowski. "However, to be part of two consecutive junior championships does not happen to many players. Especially this year, with Blake being a key player, he should be extremely proud of his accomplishments. It is something that will make him a better player in playoffs down the road."


K. Okposo 71 27 42 -9 69
J. Tavares 59 24 42 -6 66
F. Nielsen 80 25 33 -11 58
J. Bailey 77 8 30 -8 38
B. Nelson 72 14 12 -10 26
M. Grabner 64 12 14 -10 26
T. Hickey 82 4 18 5 22
C. Clutterbuck 73 12 7 -9 19
C. McDonald 70 8 10 -22 18
R. Strome 37 7 11 -1 18
E. Nabokov 15 14 8 .905 2.74
K. Poulin 11 16 1 .891 3.29

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