Danny Kristo won a prestigious award and scored 3 goals and 2 assists in the first round of the playoffs this week. Bozon, Dietz, and Hudon finished the season strong, while Thrower and Vail had a less than ideal ends. Bennett, Kristo, and MacMillan will all see the next round of the playoffs as Didier and Walsh had their seasons ended. Collberg, Nygren, and Pribyl are all in the midst of their first round of playoffs. Dietz signed a contract with the Habs and Vail will head off to Hamilton on Tuesday to play for the Bulldogs.
Brady Vail and the Windsor Spitfires were mathematically erased from the playoffs this week, but there was some good this week for Vail. He finished second in the Best Defensive Forward category in the Western OHL Coaches Poll. Vail played his first game against Owen Sound and they were absolutely dominated all game. Vail played poorly and was lucky to leave with only a -1 beside his name. On Friday Vail was able to get on the board for the only time in the weekend. He scored an easy goal after the goalie tripped and fell. Sunday saw another Spitfires shutout, but there was a very good interview with Vail in the second period. Vail mentioned that the Habs spoke to him about playing defence and how they had no problem with it as it could make him a more complete player. Vail also announced that he would be heading to Hamilton following the game to lace up for the Bulldogs on Tuesday night. It is unsure if he has signed an ELC with the Habs (which is highly unlikely) or an amateur try-out contract with the Bulldogs.
Olivier Archambault finished the season strong with 24 points in his last 19 games. His first game of the week came on a Wednesday against Victoriaville. Archambault extended his goal scoring streak to 5 games with a beautiful shot after appearing to lose the puck in his skates. He played a very strong game and he had tons of great chances to score. Archambault’s next game came against Charles Hudon’s Saguenéens, and yet again Archambault was victorious in the battle of the Habs prospects. Unfortunately, he was held pointlesss, but he played a very strong game overall. Archambault didn’t play in Drummondville’s final game of the season. The reasoning behind it were undisclosed, but presumably he was scratched to rest for the upcoming playoffs. Archambault finished the season with 32 goals and 34 assists in 64 games. Archambault will face off against Rouyn-Noranda in the playoffs.
With the regular season over Charles Hudon can focus on the playoffs. He struggled against Archambault’s Voltigeurs in his first game of the week. He had very few scoring chances and made some poor decisions with the puck. The following day Hudon played much stronger. He was +3 in 5-0 victory and registered a pair of assists. His first assist was a beautiful cross ice pass to Sylvester. His second was a similar looking pass that tied his career high of 41 assists.. His first assist was his 70th point of the year and 40th assist of the season. Hudon finished the regular season with 30 goals and 41 assists in 56 games. He will play against the heavily favoured Quebec Remparts in the playoffs.
Following a week that saw him only notch points in one of his three games, Tim Bozon exploded for seven points in two games this weekend. It was a home-and-home stand for the Blazers to round out the regular season, and it was a successful one. Bozon opened the weekend with a pair of goals and two assists (Video) and had a very successful game. The following night Bozon notched another goal and two more assists (Video). He played one of his best games of the season. Bozon had countless scoring chances, including one shift in which he single-handedly pinned the Prince George Cougars in their own zone for almost a minute. Bozon set career highs in assists, points, plus/minus, and penalty minutes. He tied his career high in goals with 36 in 3 less games, and added 55 assists for 91.
It was a long for weekend for the Saskatoon Blades and Darren Dietz as they went to over time in all three of their games. Dietz’s first game was played on Tuesday night against Edmonton. Dietz, despite being held pointless and finishing -1, played a solid all-around game. Friday night was the opposite. Dietz scored a goal and finished +1, but struggled in his own zone until the third period. His goal was beautiful wrist shot that popped the water bottle five feet in the air. The following night, the game went to over time yet again, and Dietz was a huge factor as he racked up three assists (Video). Dietz played the entire over time period and managed to get two breakaways in which he was unable to score on. The game went to a shootout and the Blades lost. Dietz finished the season with 24 goals (Led all CHL defenceman in goal scoring), 34 assists for 58 points and 100 penalty minutes. He also scored on the power play 13 times which led all CHL defenceman as well. On Sunday morning it was announced that Darren Dietz signed an entry-level contract.
Dalton Thrower had a great week, but it ended on a sour note. Like Dietz, Thrower played his first game against Edmonton on Tuesday night. Thrower played a very strong game as he was very good defensively and created some great chances offensively. Thrower continued his strong play with a goal and an assist against Prince Albert. His goal was nice a solo dash by him and then followed it up with a good wrist shot. His assist was a beautiful cross ice pass. As the game wore on, Thrower made an awful pinch that resulted in the puck coming down the other way. The Raiders scored off that rush which summarizes Thrower’s year quite well. He was a scratch for the final game of the season, likely to rest. Thrower had a rough year, he finished with only 6 goals and 21 assists.
After a disappointing season Mac Bennett’s Wolverines finally seem to have found their groove. Coming into the post season, Michigan was unbeaten for four straight and dominating their opposition. The best-of-three quarter finals started Friday, with Michigan winning the first game 4-3 against rivals Western Michigan. Bennett picked up an assist with a smart pass through traffic. He also had his share of troubles though as he fell as he was pivoting, resulting in a goal against. Saturday night saw another Michigan win, extending their unbeaten streak to eight games. Bennett was held finished the game +1 and managed two shots on goal. With the win, the Michigan Wolverines will play in the CCHA semi-finals.
Josiah Didier was forced to sit out the first two of the Denver Pioneers’ playoff games against rival, Colorado College. The Pioneers won the first game 5-3 to take a 1-0 series lead, but lost the second one to force game three. Didier was finally able to get back in the line up for game game three on Sunday night. He was on the ice for the Colorado’s first two goals of the game. Colorado College went on to upset Denver with a 4-3 victory. Didier’s season might not be over though as Denver could potentially be selected to participate in the Frozen Four. Didier has register 7 assists over 29 games this season, setting a career high. He is still looking for his first ever NCAA goal.
Danny Kristo came up huge for North Dakota this weekend in the first round of the playoffs. He scored three goals and two assists in just three games this weekend. Kristo kicked off the weekend with two goals and an assist (Video) in a 5-3 win. His second goal turned out to be the game winner and Kristo played one of his best games this year. The following night, Michigan Tech won the second game 2-1 in a nail-biter. Kristo tied the game with five minutes left with a quick wrister following the faceoff. He had another solid game, but game three was forced. In a do-or-die scenario, North Dakota needed a win. Kristo came flying out the gate getting multiple scoring chances and going to the net hard. He picked up an assist after a textbook take-a-hit-to-make-a-play play by sending the puck up to Knight once he realized the hit was unavoidable. It was his 50th point of the season Kristo also got awarded another assist in the third period, but for whatever reason it was taken away, despite Kristo clearly being the player who started the play. He is currently the NCAA active scoring leader with 159 points. Earlier in the week it was announced that Danny Kristo was named to the first All-WCHA team. It’s the first time that Kristo has won prestigious award.
Despite being held pointless this weekend, Mark MacMillan was still able to find other ways to contribute. On Friday MacMillan started out extremely well. He was winning his faceoffs and finishing his checks. He also got multiple scoring chances, but as the game went on, he cooled off. Luckily, UND was still able to pull out a victory. Saturday night saw the opposite happen. MacMillan was very quite starting out the game as he struggled to control the puck and seemed exhausted. Once it became apparent that UND needed to score, MacMillan stepped up his game and was very dangerous around the net. He also set up his brother, Mitch MacMillan, for what should have been the game tying goal, but Mitch just missed the open net. Mark MacMillan had a quite game on Sunday, a game that UND needed to win. He looked very solid defensively and made multiple good plays, but he was unable to find ways to contribute offensively. MacMillan will continue his season on Thursday against Colorado College in Minnesota where UND will play in the Final Five.
It was a disappointing season for Dustin Walsh. He missed five games due to injury and struggled to find any sort of consistency. Enter the playoffs and Walsh was finally able to get on the board with regularity. This weekend Walsh was able to put a goal and an assist to extend his point streak in the playoffs to four games. Unfortunately, Dartmouth College lost the first game 4-1 and then lost the second and final game 5-2. Walsh finished the season with 11 goals and 11 assists in 29 games. The Habs must sign him before August 15th 2013 or we lose his rights. It will be interesting to see if he gets a contract or not.
In his second full season in the Elitserien Sebastian Collberg will be seeing his first playoff action. The Frölunda Indians and Collberg started a best-of-seven series against Luleå HF on Wednesday. Collberg saw very limited ice time and finished -1 in a 5-2 loss in game one. He registered his first Elitserien playoff point in his second game with a nice pass. He stole the puck in the corner and then made a beautiful saucer pass for an easy tap in. Frölunda would go on to win the game 2-0 to equalize the series. Collberg was able to put 3 shots on goal in the third game on Sunday. However, his efforts were in vain as Frölunda lost 3-1 and Luleå took a 2-1 series lead. The series will continue on Tuesday.
Magnus Nygren and Färjestad BK jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over MODO Hockey this week. Nygren had an assist and four shots on goal in the first game. He was held pointless the following game on Thursday, but had a staggering five shots on goal in a 5-3 win. Nygren’s final game of the week came on Saturday. Nygren was held pointless again and had two shots. Nygren has been playing on the top pairing with his regular partner, Chris Lee. The series will continue on Monday, where Nygren could move on to next round of the playoffs with a win.
Karlskrona and Erik Nyström need to come away with a top two record in a ten game series if they want to remain in the Allsvenskan. Nyström played on the top line to start the tournament. Karlskrona won the first game, but Nyström was held pointless and was -1. For undisclosed reasons, Nyström was scratched for the next game. Karlskrona lost that game, and he was promptly inserted back into the top line. Nyström picked up a secondary assist in his game back and finished with an even rating.
Daniel Pribyl came into this week being held pointless in his first two playoff games. This week his team played three games and won one and lost two, giving Třinec a 3-2 lead on the series. Pribyl struggled his first game this week, including a bad turnover. He had a quiet second game and got barely any ice time at all. Pribyl was eventually scratched for the final game. The reasoning behind it has not been announced. It could potentially be an injury due to his limited ice time and he plays a fairly large role on that team. Pribyl has been held pointless in all four of his playoff games so far.