This week saw Darren Dietz, Tim Bozon and Daniel Přibyl put up big numbers. Sebastian Collberg and Charles Hudon struggled to produce this week, while Brady Vail and Mark MacMillan both had solid bounce-back performances.
It comes as no surprise that when Brady Vail began to struggle, the Windsor Spitfires did too. Vail is relied upon as not only the go-to shutdown centre, but the go-to guy offensively as well. Vail has recently been in middle of his worst stretch of hockey in this season. This week started out on a good note for him. Vail recorded a Gordie Howe Hat trick in his first game this week (Video). His second game saw him playing defence, as Windsor was down to only five regulars. He was thrown to the wolves as he was paired with offensive defenceman Nick Ebert the entire night. He played surprisingly well, he used his speed and stick effectively, and his positioning was fantastic. Unfortunately he had to play defence on Windsor’s last game of the week and didn’t fair quite as well as he was on the ice for a goal against and was directly responsible for a penalty shot. By the middle of the of the first period Vail was back to playing forward because one of Windsor’s forwards was ejected from the game. With all the new acquisitions the Spitfires made, it’s hard to imagine a way that Brady Vail isn’t able to find his name on the scoreboard more often.
After missing three games with a groin injury, Olivier Archambault returned to Drummondville’s line up. Archambault’s return wasn’t exactly an ideal one, as his team lost. Despite creating chances early on and registering seven shots, he was held pointless and was on the ice for three goals against. Archambault’s second game back wasn’t much better. He was directly responsible for a goal, after he turned the puck over three times in his own zone. He didn’t create a whole lot offensively either, but became much more dangerous as the game progressed. Look for Archambault to get on the scoreboard when he plays his next game on Thursday.
Like Archambault, Charles Hudon didn’t have a good week. His point streak ended at five games and was held pointless in both games he played. Hudon was a -4 against Halifax on Thursday, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Hudon stole the puck from Drouin multiple times and made a pair of interceptions. After hustling back from the offensive zone, Hudon made a goal line clearance. He didn’t register a point, so his point streak ended at five games. Friday saw Hudon unable to get on the board again, but he ran into a hot goalie. Interestingly enough, Hudon has eight minor penalties in his last seven games. Very uncharacteristic for him.
Tim Bozon is currently riding an eight game point streak (5 goals, 9 assists), and picked up eight points in four games this weekend. The super line of Bozon-Smith-Lipon was broken up and Bozon began to play on the second line with Colin Smith and Kale Kessy. Bozon started out the week on a good note, he surpassed his career high in assists on Monday with 36 in a two point effort. He had a quiet game against Portland on Wednesday, but managed to keep his point streak alive with an assist. Bozon had a stellar night against Spokane, he potted two goals and added a pair of assists (Video). With his second goal and fourth point of the night he tied his career in points with 71. On Saturday Bozon added another assist after setting up Colin Smith with a beautiful feed. It was a great week for Bozon, hopefully he can continue the strong play.
Darren Dietz is probably the hottest Montreal Canadiens prospect right now. He’s currently on a 4 game point streak (1G, 6A) and put up six points in three games this week. It’s no coincidence that since being moved up to the top pairing with Duncan Siemens his overall play has taken off. This allowed for Dietz to play a more offensive role and he’s thrived in it. On Thursday night, Dietz put up his 100th career OHL point with a PP goal. That goal tied him for first in the entire CHL for power play goals amongst defenceman with 10. It also tied him for 3rd in defenceman goal scoring in the WHL. Dietz has been far more willing to jump up in the rush recently, including making a few out of character end-to-end rushes. Like normal, Dietz was a steady presence on the back end, providing physicality and speed.
Fellow Saskatoon Blade Dalton Thrower also had a strong week. Thrower was bumped down to the second pairing and since been paired with Graeme Craig. Similar to Dietz, Thrower’s play has reached another level. Thrower plays his best hockey when he’s playing with an edge and aggressively moving the puck up the ice. Luckily, Thrower’s been playing just like that. He laid multiple highlight reel hits this week. On Friday night, Thrower hit 100 career WHL points with an assist. Thrower’s been up and down all year, but recently he’s started to find more consistency.
Defenceman Josiah Didier has been given an increased role at the University of Denver this season. So far he’s managed to put up a career high five assists, +7 rating and 40 penalty minutes. This weekend, Didier and the Denver Pioneers saw success by sweeping Minnesota Duluth. Didier managed to post an assist, +3 rating and three minor penalties. He has been playing on the bottom pairing with Edmonton Oilers prospect Joey LaLeggia. Expect to see Didier continue to get an expanded role as the season wears on.
Danny Kristo has been on a tear lately. In his last 13 games he’s scored 11 times and has 10 assists. Over that span he’s been held pointless only once. This weekend he didn’t have quite the same success that he’s used to. In two games, he managed to put up a goal, an assist and about ten dents in the post. His goal came from the his trademarked wrist shot from the top of the circle on Friday night. He created a scoring chance almost every shift, but unfortunately hit the post multiple times. The next night he picked up an assist by starting a beautiful passing play. Again, Kristo created a ton of scoring chances, but hit the post a couple times. It got to the point where the commentators were making jokes about it. Overall, he had a great weekend, just a lacked a bit of finish and little luck.
Ice cold is probably a good way to describe Mark MacMillan’s recent play. MacMillan was held pointless in six straight before finally potting one of Saturday night. MacMillan was playing second left wing on his first game of the weekend. He started off the game on a good note by hitting everything in sight. He got a pair of solid scoring chances, but couldn’t capitalize on them. By the third period, MacMillan was clearly frustrated. He started giving out slashes and cross checks and it eventually came back in the form of an overtime penalty. Luckily for MacMillan, it didn’t result in a goal. On Saturday MacMillan finally broke his pointless streak. He tipped home a goal in tight early in the game. He played one of his best games in a while, he created a ton of scoring chances with some fantastic passing. MacMillan also used his blazing speed to get a breakaway, but his shot rang off of the post. Hopefully this opens the flood gates and he gets back on track.
Since returning from injury in late January, Dustin Walsh has four points in four games. Walsh was playing right wing on the first line, but since coming back in the line up he’s been playing on the left side on the second line. This weekend Walsh and his team struggled. His team, Dartmouth Big Green, tied one game and lost the other. Walsh was held to one assist and a minus 2 rating.
Sebastian Collberg scored his first ever Elitserien goal last month. He followed it up with four more goals in three games. However, since then Collberg has been held pointless for four games. Lately, Collberg has been playing on the second line. He was only able to register two shots in three games this week. It was a very disappointing week for Collberg overall, he wasn’t involved in any of his team goals and struggled to get scoring chances despite being given ice time.
Powerplay wizard Magnus Nygren was able to add an assist this week which brings him to a total of 10 goals and 14 assists in 41 games. A staggering eight of those goals have been on the power play. His eight power play goals are good for first in the league and his 10 goals in total put him in first for goals amongst defenceman. Nygren has been playing on the top pairing for Färjestads BK this season. His assist came from making a pass to the forward who brought the puck up the ice and eventually buried a rebound.
Daniel Přibyl has quite the scoring streak going on. He currently has a goal in four straight games and has added four assists, giving him eight points in his last four games. He currently sits at 10 goals and 9 assists in 35 games this season. Přibyl scored his first goal of the week by going to the net. Three days later Pribyl had a three point game. He scored his goal with a quick shot past the goalie. He added two assists later in the game. On Sunday he kept his goal scoring streak alive by banging home a rebound in tight. Hopefully Přibyl can keep getting points as he’s really starting to play with authority. He has a very interesting package of smarts, skill and size.