Claiming this week’s first star honours is Mark MacMillan, who exploded for five points in just two games. Grabbing second star honours is Charles Hudon for his dominant four point performance against the Huskies. Hudon also set a new career-high and reached an important milestone. Hudon’s teammate, Jérémy Grégoire rounds out the three stars, with five points in two games this past week. The Bulldogs had a tough loss with few standouts this past week. Michael McCarron and Brady Vail both scored three goals for respective teams, while Jack Nevins had a week to forget due to suspension. Zachary Fucale bounced back after a tough week and Josiah Didier finally scored a goal.
Due to the All Star Break and the subsequent festivities, the Hamilton Bulldogs played just one game this past week. It was the second of four matchups against the Texas Stars. The Bulldogs jumped out to a great start, playing physical and eventually grabbing a 2-0 lead, but the Bulldogs would blow the lead and fall 3-2 in overtime. Morgan Ellis continued to miss time due to his upper-body injury and Robert Czarnik missed the game due to the flu.
Dustin Tokarski received the start in goal for the Bulldogs. Tokarski was absolutely brilliant, stopping 44 of 47 shots. Tokarski continually bailed out the defence, which was rather poor for the majority of the game. Tokarski has 16 wins in 32 games this season, along with a 0.919 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average. Tokarski was one of two goaltenders who participated in the AHL All Star Classic.
The Bulldogs top pairing of Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi got off to a solid start. Tinordi jumped into the rush a few times and also absolutely destroyed a Stars player who had his head down. Pateryn made his presence felt with a rare open ice hit and then pummelled Colton Sceviour, who came to the defence of his teammate. However, as the game wore on both of them made their errors. Pateryn had a quite a few giveaways and was unable to register a single shot on goal. Tinordi was the stronger of the two, but still made errors, specifically with gap control.
The only Bulldogs defencemen to have a plus rating were Darren Dietz and Drew Schiestel. Dietz played a solid game. Dietz played physical and was factor at both ends of the ice. Save for a tripping penalty, Dietz, along with partner, Drew Schiestel, played a mistake-free game.
Nathan Beaulieu‘s return to the AHL against the Marlies was absolutely fantastic, but against the Stars he struggled. Beaulieu was virtually a non-factor all night. Beaulieu made little to no impact offensively and wasn’t impressive defensively. Partner Joel Chouinard on the other hand had a solid performance.
Up front, the Bulldogs most effective line was the combination of Justin Courtnall, Martin St. Pierre, and Louis Leblanc. Leblanc scored the second of the Bulldogs two goals with a nice shot from the high slot, following a nice pass from Patrick Holland. The goal ended Leblanc’s twelve game goalless drought and nine game pointless drought. Leblanc also added five shots on goal and was one of the Bulldogs few plus players. Leblanc, despite producing well early on, sits below half a point-per-game with 21 points in 44 games this season.
The usually dynamic line of Sven Andrighetto, Maxime Macenauer, and Christian Thomas was fairly quiet. Thomas got a quality scoring chance early on the game courtesy of a nice pass by Andrighetto, but was unable to capitalize. The line combined for ten shots, with Thomas’ four leading the way, but the majority of them came early in the game. The line’s best scoring chances came in the first period and they were rather anemic for the remainder.
With the absence of Robert Czarnik due to the flu, Patrick Holland was moved to fourth line centre. As mentioned, he grabbed an assist on a shift where he wasn’t relegated to playing with Stefan Fournier and Nick Tarnasky. Holland had one of his best games in recent memory, creating numerous chances with his hands and creativity. Holland also contributed defensively, with some strong work on the penalty kill.
The recently formed trio of Mike Blunden, Gabriel Dumont, and Joonas Nattinen was fairly quiet, too. Nattinen was arguably the lines best player, using his size well to battle along the boards. Nattinen’s work down low appeared to create a Bulldogs goal with thirteen seconds left in the third, but it was eventually waved off. Dumont played with energy, but he was unable to create quality scoring chances.
Recent weeks have been very successful for Connor Crisp; however, this past week his production slowed down. The Wolves took on Brady Vail’s Spitfires to begin the week, where Crisp scored a goal by parking himself in front of the net. Crisp took a double minor for high sticking that wouldn’t cost the Wolves, but the Wolves still lost the game 6-3. Against the IceDogs, Crisp was held pointless, but made his presence felt in other ways. Crisp was terrorizing the IceDogs defenceman all night, creating scoring chances and throwing his weight around. Crisp’s physical game made the IceDogs commentators complain that the IceDogs had no one that would to stand up to Crisp. The Wolves exploded for four third period goals in the 5-3 victory, with Crisp being a factor, but unable to grab a point. Crisp has set career-highs in both goals (24) and assists (22) in 54 games this season.
Last update, Michael McCarron was pointless and a minus player in all three games. This past week, McCarron played two games and he scored in both of them. The Knights took on the Sting in both games, a team that McCarron has done very well against the in previous meetings. McCarron played a strong first two periods, seeing time on both the penalty kill and powerplay. McCarron scored arguably the nicest goal of his OHL career by blowing past a defender and cutting to the slot, where he roofed a backhand shot over the goaltender. However, McCarron took a tripping penalty and complained about it, picking up the unsportsmanlike, and was then benched for an entire period, despite the 11-0 score. In the following meeting, McCarron would respond in a big way. McCarron grabbed his first goal of the game with a slapshot from the circle. Then McCarron would score again with a nice deflection following a solid shift. McCarron was named second star for his two goal performance. McCarron has nine points in his last ten games and has 26 in total.
Brady Vail finished last update with a two point performance and extended that momentum into this past week. The Spitfires took on the Battalion to begin the week, where Vail hit 70 points with a backhand shot on a breakaway. Vail took a penalty in the third period that wasn’t capitalized on, but it gave the Battalion momentum and they scored two goals shortly after to win the game. In a meeting against the Wolves, Vail grabbed a goal with a nice wrister and would later add an assist on the game-winning goal. For his efforts, Vail would be named third star. Against the Greyhounds, Vail scored in the fourth consecutive game, by camping out down low and beating the goaltender short side. However, Vail would take another ill-advised penalty, which swung the momentum in the Greyhounds favour. The Greyhounds scored three straight goals to propel them to a 5-2 victory. Vail is the first Habs CHL prospect to hit the 70 points mark this season, with 73 in 56 games.
This past week saw Zachary Fucale start all three of the Mooseheads’ games. Fucale took on the Screaming Eagles in the first game. Fucale allowed three straight goals in the third period, which tied the game. All three goals were on the powerplay and all three were hardly Fucale’s fault. The Mooseheads would go on to win the game in overtime, ending Fucale’s four game losing streak. Fucale posted an impressive performance against Martin Reway’s Olympiques, where he stopped 25 of 26 shots in a fairly sloppy game. Fucale was named third star. The third and final game for Fucale was his best performance statistically. Fucale stopped all 17 shots en route to his fourth shutout of the season. Fucale has 28 wins in 41 games this season, along with a 2.38 goals against average and a 0.903 save percentage.
The Drakkar played just two games this past week and Jérémy Grégoire was a standout in both. Grégoire was easily the best player on the ice against the Remparts. Gregoire grabbed two assists, the first of which was a nice touch pass to Maxime St-Cyr and second of which was a nice backhand pass after cutting to the slot. Grégoire would also add an empty-netter, giving him his first three point performance since January 11th. Grégoire also fired six shots on goal and was named first star. Grégoire kept up the strong play two nights later, against the Jack Nevins-less Huskies. The Drakkar shuffled the lines quite a few times throughout the game, but Grégoire looked good every time he stepped on the ice. Grégoire scored two goals, both from the side of the net, extending his goalscoring streak to three games. Grégoire co-leads all Habs prospects with 28 goals on the season in 54 games this season.
Jérémy Grégoire’s teammate and fellow Habs prospect, Charles Hudon also played extremely well this past week. Against the Remparts, Hudon fired five shots on goal and also laid two hits. Hudon would also score, beating the defender with speed and driving to the net, where he went backhand, top shelf on the goaltender. Hudon created numerous chances every time he stepped on the ice. The following game was an absolutely dominant performance, arguably his game since joining the Drakkar. Hudon grabbed his first assist on the Drakkar’s third goal with a ridiculous pass to Maxime St-Cyr, despite having the defender draped over him. Just over eight minutes later, Hudon scored a powerplay goal with a nice wrist shot from the slot, the 100th of his QMJHL career. Hudon would add two more assists to his total, including a nice pass to send Valentin Zykov in all alone. Hudon could have easily added more points to his total, too, as he was threat to score every single shift. With three assists, Hudon set a new career-high of 43 in ten fewer games. Hudon has racked up 24 points in his 13 games as Drakkar, nineteen of which have come during his ten game (and counting) point streak. Hudon has 22 goals, 43 assists, and 65 points in just 46 games this season.
Just when it seemed like Jack Nevins was starting to develop chemistry with his new team, he earned himself a suspension. The Huskies took on the Saguenéens, where Nevins grabbed a five minute major and game misconduct for boarding, late in the first period. The Huskies would go on to win the game 7-3. Nevins earned himself a four game suspension for the hit from behind. The Huskies won their second game of the week, but would drop their final one against the Drakkar.
Last update saw the return of Martin Reway, who played well for the most part. Despite not showing many negative effects of missing an extended period of time last update, this past week Reway wasn’t quite his dynamic self. Reway was held pointless in a 4-2 victory against the Sea Dogs. Against Zachary Fucale’s Mooseheads, Reway grabbed a nice assist on Adam Stevens goal, but was unable create any other noteworthy scoring chances. Reway’s best performance of the week came against the Screaming Eagles. Reway scored a nice goal with a slapshot from the high slot and had three shots on goal in total. Reway’s goal was his 40th goal of his career, and his 100th point of his QMJHL career. The goal also tied Reway’s career-high of 50 points in fourteen less games. Despite outshooting their opponent, the Olympiques lost the game by a score of 5-4.
It was a huge week for Tim Bozon as he hit an important milestone. Against the Warriors, Bozon recorded an assist on the powerplay. Bozon was elbowed in the face and missed the following game. Bozon returned when the Ice took on the Wheat Kings, sporting a jaw protector. Bozon, with a brilliant pass to Sam Reinhart in the slot, grabbed an assist. Bozon later added a goal to his total with a redirection in the 3-2 shootout victory. The final game of the week wasn’t particularly good one for Bozon. Bozon looked lethargic at times and didn’t create much in the way of offence. However, Bozon scored an empty netter, giving him 100 career WHL goals. Bozon has 28 points in his last 18 games and 61 points in 58 games in total.
Both Mac Bennett and his Michigan Wolverines have been playing extremely well as of late. This past week, the Wolverines took on the University of Minnesota Gophers in a heated two game series. In the first of the two games, the Wolverines battled back from a 4-1 deficit, but fell just short. Bennett had two assists in the near-comeback, both on the powerplay and both demonstrating his poise and vision. However, Bennett also finished -2, but was hardly to blame on either occasion. In the second game, the Wolverines found themselves in another 4-1 deficit, but were unable to erase the lead. Bennett was pointless and -2. Eight of Bennett’s fourteen points in total have come in his last seven games.
This past week was the most productive one ever for Josiah Didier. The Pioneers took on the University of Nebraska-Omaha in a two game series. Didier was paired with Matt Van Voorhees. Didier grabbed an assist with a pass to Van Voorhees in the 4-2 defeat. The following game saw Didier grab another point. This time it was an empty net goal, his first ever goal in the NCAA.
Since returning from the holiday break, Mark MacMillan has amassed eight points in as many games and he added five more points to the total this past week. MacMillan centred Michael Parks and Drake Caggiula in both games against Miami University. MacMillan grabbed his first of three assists on the week by stealing the puck from the goaltender and sending a pass out in front for an easy goal. MacMillan would also score twice, including one with a nice wrist shot that snuck between the goaltender’s pads. MacMillan’s three point effort helped the University of North Dakota to a 3-2 win. In the following game, UND exploded for nine goals to Miami’s two. MacMillan was unable to score, but grabbed two assists, the first of which was a smart pass from the boards to the slot. MacMillan was named NCHC Offensive Player of the Week for his offensive explosion. MacMillan, despite a terribly slow start, is on pace to set new career-highs across the board, with eight goals and ten assists in 24 games.
NOT IN ACTION
Robert Czarnik (flu – listed as day-to-day)
Morgan Ellis (upper-body injury – listed as day-to-day [occurred January 27th])
Robert Mayer (received no starts)
Dalton Thrower (ankle injury – listed as day-to-day [occurred January 25th])
Sebastian Collberg (no games scheduled – Olympic break)
Jacob de la Rose (no games scheduled – Olympic break)
Artturi Lehkonen (ankle injury – no timetable [occurred December 28th])
Magnus Nygren (only played in exhibition games – no games scheduled – Olympic break)
Charles Hudon’s four point performance versus the Huskies (16/02/14):
Jérémy Grégoire’s two goal night against the Huskies (16/02/14):
Mark MacMillan’s two goals and assist versus Miami (14/02/14):
Michael McCarron’s two goal game against Sarnia (14/02/14):
Greg Pateryn’s massive hit and fight versus Colton Sceviour (15/02/14):