Nathan Beaulieu grabs first star honours for the first time this season as he posted three points in three games and grabbed his first ever AHL Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Claiming second star honours is Magnus Nygren, who improved every game this week, capped off with an extremely memorable performance. Rounding out the three stars is Tim Bozon, who amassed five points in three games and is currently riding a six game point streak. Sven Andrighetto, Louis Leblanc, and Jarred Tinordi all had solid weeks, while Dustin Tokarski dominated the crease for the Bulldogs. Michael McCarron took a step back this past week and Brady Vail’s incredible run ended in disaster. Dalton Thrower kept up his strong play, while Mark MacMillan turned his season around. Although, Sebastian Collberg and Jacob de la Rose played following their return from the World Juniors, some didn’t play in order to rest.
Since returning from injury, Sven Andrighetto has been up and down. This past week saw Andrighetto play well all three games. The Bulldogs began and home-and-home series against the Americans on Friday. Andrighetto would pick up an assist on Nathan Beaulieu’s powerplay goal with a deflected shot that fell on to Martin St. Pierre’s stick. Throughout the game, Andrighetto would flash his speed and skill, but would be unable to score. In the second game, Andrighetto was held pointless and was -2, but that wouldn’t be representative of his play. For the second straight game, Andrighetto was one of the best players on the ice as continually created scoring chances. In the final game of the week, against the Wild, Andrighetto would be named first star. Andrighetto grabbed an assist after dangling around in the offensive zone and then hammering a shot on goal. The rebound fell to Nathan Beaulieu, who scored. Andrighetto’s impressive rookie season continues, with eight goals and nine assists in just 26 games.
Nathan Beaulieu has been coming on as of late and this past week the offensive defenceman continued that trend. Beaulieu would open the week with an absolutely incredible performance against the Americans. On the powerplay, Beaulieu would rip a shot from the point that just trickled in, opening the scoring. Throughout the night, Beaulieu’s rushes with the puck and slick offensive skill would be on display. Beaulieu also made numerous fantastic defensive plays using his skating. In the second game of the home-and-home, Beaulieu was on the ice for all three Americans’ goals. Despite the ugly -3 stat, Beaulieu played another strong game. While he made a couple of mistakes his own zone, Beaulieu fired five shots on goal and was dynamic nearly every shift. Beaulieu set the tone for his game against the Wild, as he made numerous strong defensive plays early on. Beaulieu would grab an assist on Gabriel Dumont’s opening goal and then he would grab his fourth goal of the season after burying a rebound. Beaulieu would complete the Gordie Howe Hat Trick following a fight in defence of teammate, Patrick Holland. Beaulieu has five points in his last five games, and has four goals and ten assists in 32 games this year.
Rookie defenceman Darren Dietz has been a mainstay in the Bulldogs defensive corps since returning from injury. Like normal, Dietz spent the week partnered with Joel Chouinard. In the first game against the Americans, Dietz played quite solid. He didn’t make mistakes and played more physical than normal. In game two, Dietz continued to play well. The Chouinard-Dietz pairing was fairly sheltered, but played a tough, in your face style all night. Arguably Dietz’s best performance of the week came against the Wild, as he was yet again very difficult to play against and was more involved in the play offensively compared to previous games. Dietz has four assists in 22 games this season.
Although Gabriel Dumont has played well as of late, this past week wasn’t a particularly memorable one. Against the Americans, Dumont was fairly quiet, apart from a handful of quality scoring chances. In game two, Dumont looked substantially better. Although he finished -1, Dumont had four shots on goal and was the catalyst for the Mike Blunden-Gabriel Dumont-Nick Tarnasky line all night. Dumont played with energy and was continually involved in the play. Dumont would play another very strong game against the Wild. Dumont’s line combined for nine shots, with Dumont’s five shots leading the way. Dumont would also add a goal, with a nice spin move in tight. Dumont has eight goals and nine assists in 36 games this season.
After being a healthy scratch at times, Morgan Ellis appears to have finally grabbed a spot in the lineup and he’s thriving. Since being paired with Nathan Beaulieu, Ellis has played quite well. In the first game of the home-and-home series, Ellis played well. He made an impact at both ends of the ice, but took two minor penalties. Luckily, neither costed the Bulldogs. It wasn’t exactly an ideal performance in game two, though. While Nathan Beaulieu played a strong game, Ellis finished -2 and made numerous mistakes as his gap control was very poor. Fortunately, Ellis would have a solid bounce-back performance against the Wild, where he had a three shots and finished +1. Ellis has three goals and four assists in 31 games this season.
Similarly to Ellis, Stefan Fournier appears to have locked up a spot in the Bulldogs lineup. Like normal, Fournier spent his time on the fourth line with Justin Courtnall and Joonas Nättinen. It wasn’t exactly a good week for Fournier, who struggled to control the puck against the Americans. In the second game of the week, Fournier played a bit better. Fournier was implicated in the play physically, but still didn’t play particularly well. In an effort to get things going, Fournier dropped the gloves against the Wild with Josh Caron. It wasn’t exactly the best showing for Fournier, in both the fight and the game. Luckily, Fournier would improve as the game wore on and had a couple of scoring chances. Fournier has a goal and two assists in 23 games this year.
Since his struggles began a month ago, Patrick Holland has been bounced around the Bulldogs’ lineup in an effort to get him going again. Both games against the Americans were very similar for Holland, who was essentially invisible. The skilled forward was looking to make more for an impact against the Wild and he did that, but it wasn’t without another shuffle in the lineup. Holland picked up an assist on Nathan Beaulieu’s goal and then created a couple of other scoring chances. Holland has to be better than he’s been this season as he has just four goals and six assists in 25 games this season.
It was another solid week for Louis Leblanc. Against the Americans, Louis Leblanc would grab his eleventh assist of the season, tying his career-high set in 2011-2012. Leblanc would also fire two shots on goal and stand out time and time again due to his impressive work in along the boards. Leblanc wasn’t quite as noticeable in round two, but he still did generate a fair number of quality chances. Leblanc had a similar performance against the Wild, where his proficiency along the boards was very important in creating score chances. With that said, Leblanc did make some poor reads in his own zone, luckily not costing the Bulldogs. Leblanc has nine goals and eleven assists in 35 games this season.
Since winning the Spengler Cup, Robert Mayer hasn’t started any games in the Bulldogs’ crease. This past week, with a back-to-back-to-back scheduled, Mayer would get the second start of the series. Mayer stopped 25 of 27 shots, but was far from spectacular. Mayer struggled with rebound control all night. Mayer would pick up the loss in the 3-1 defeat. Mayer has a 3-7-2 record, along with a 2.96 goals against average and a 0.899 save percentage.
Joonas Nättinen has noticeably amped up the physicality in recent weeks, a trend that continued this past week. As per the usual, Nättinen played on the fourth line with Justin Courtnall and Stefan Fournier. Nättinen came out flying against the Americans, playing the body and skating hard. With Nättinen’s defensive acumen, he was key in the Bulldogs going ten-for-ten on the penalty kill. The following game, Nättinen was yet again very effective on the penalty kill. Nättinen made an impact offensively, as well, where he fired three shots on goal and continually involved offensively. Against the Wild, Nättinen played his quietest game of the week. He didn’t hurt the Bulldogs in anyway, but he wasn’t creating scoring chances. Nättinen has five goals and six assists in 37 game this season.
Following a tremendous week right after the holiday break, Greg Pateryn hasn’t been quite as effective. Pateryn remained paired with Jarred Tinordi this past week. Against the Americans, Pateryn played arguably the best game of his week. He was involved at both ends of the ice, playing physical and smart. In game two, Pateryn picked up a powerplay goal with a bomb from the top of the circle. The goal tied Pateryn’s career-high of seven in nine less games. Pateryn wasn’t exactly terrific throughout the rest of the game though as committed multiple turnovers. Against the Wild, Pateryn would commit an absolutely horrendous giveaway, but Dustin Tokarski was able to bail him out. Apart from that blemish, Pateryn played a solid game. Pateryn has seven goals, nine assists, and is +10 in 31 games this season.
While Christian Thomas grabbed just one assist this past week, he played quite well. Thomas played on a line with Maxime Macenauer and Louis Leblanc. Against the Americans, Thomas was pretty quiet as he wasn’t particularly implicated in the play. Against the Americans the following night, Thomas was quite a bit more noticeable. Although he finished -1, he did pick up an assist and was particularly impressive with the puck. Thomas certainly needs to shoot more, but he continually made crisp passes and displayed good vision. That trend continued against the Wild, where Thomas passed up quite a few prime scoring opportunities to pass the puck. Thomas has three goals and eight assists in nineteen games this season.
Although defensive partner, Greg Pateryn, had his fair share of struggles, Jarred Tinordi performed quite well yet again this past week. Tinordi was solid against the Americans in the first of the two meetings. The 6’6″ defenceman threw his weight around quite a bit, but was more importantly rock solid defensively. In the second of the two meetings, Tinordi was more involved with the puck on his stick than he normally is. Tinordi didn’t hesitate to the rush the puck up the ice and actually did a got job with it. Against the Wild, Tinordi fired a very impressive five shots on goal. Tinordi also finished +1 and was incredibly solid in his own zone. Tinordi has one goal and four assists in 33 games this season.
Dustin Tokarski continued to be the Bulldogs best option in goal this past week. Tokarski started two of the three games played this past week. Tokarski opened the week with a win against the Americans, in Rochester. Tokarski stopped 19 of 20 shots he faced, making numerous important saves in the process. Tokarski was named second star for his efforts. Tokarski would be the backup the following game, but the next night Tokarski would receive the start. Tokarski stopped 27 or 28 and kept the Bulldogs’ lead safe late in the game. Tokarski continues to dominate the crease, with a 15-7-2 record, along with a 2.09 goals against average and a 0.928 save percentage.
Since being held pointless for eleven games, Connor Crisp has been on fire, scoring eleven times and adding four assists. The Wolves made some big trades, acquiring centre Radek Faksa and defenceman Trevor Carrick, this past week. Crisp’s strong play continued in the back-to-back-to-back starting on Friday against the Steelheads. With the latest additions, the lines were shuffled quite a bit and Crisp had a tough game in the 4-2 victory. The following game, the line of Connor Crisp, Radek Faksa, and Nicholas Baptiste was formed and they posted a dominant performance. The line combined for six points, with Crisp grabbing an assist and a +2. In the final game, Crisp played a terrific game. Crisp was heavily involved in the forecheck and wreaked havoc. He opened up tonnes of space for his linemates and was rewarded with an assist after stealing the puck from the defender behind the net and sending a nice pass to Dominik Kahun, who scored. Connor Crisp has seventeen goals, fourteen assists, and 87 penalty minutes in forty games this season.
Michael McCarron was just days removed from a four point night coming into this past week. Just like Connor Crisp, McCarron played a back-to-back-to-back this weekend. The first game was played against the Storm, broadcasted nationally on Sportsnet. McCarron played one of his worst games yet. The 6’6″ behemoth was constantly outmuscled along the boards and peeled away from hits. McCarron finished -3 in the 5-3 loss. Against the Spirit, McCarron didn’t fare much better as he finished -1 and generally looked out of place. In the final game of the weekend, McCarron and the Knights took on the Greyhounds in what would become one of the best games of the season. Unfortunately, McCarron was invisible for nearly the entire night, only noticeable when he lost a puck battle to a smaller opponent. McCarron has just six goals and eleven assists in 40 games this season.
Coming into this past week, Brady Vail was riding a seven game point streak, amassing fifteen points. Vail stayed hot against the 67s, despite the fact the Spitfires lost 8-3. Vail had all three of the Spitfires’ goals, giving him his first ever OHL regular season hat trick. All three goals were nice shots, the first of which was a perfectly placed wrister on a breakaway. The following game, Vail would extend his point streak to nine games with a nice backhander on a breakaway. Vail’s goal was his 22nd of the season, tying his career-high in 26 less games. Vail would be handed a game misconduct late in the third period for abuse of an official, ending his night. In the third and final game of the week, Vail’s longest point streak of his OHL career would come to an end in spectacular fashion. The Spitfires would lose 9-0 to the Otters and Vail would finish -5 on the night. Vail is the first Habs prospect to hit the fifty point mark, with 22 goals and 32 assists in just 43 games.
Since keeping pace with the QMJHL’s leading scorers to begin the season, Jérémy Grégoire has plummeted down the rankings. Like most of the Canadiens’ prospects, Grégoire participated in a back-to-back-to-back over the weekend. Grégoire and the Drakkar began against the Foreurs. The Drakkar, led by Alec Jon Banville’s hat trick won 5-1, but Grégoire was held pointless. The following game, the Drakkar took on the Huskies, where Grégoire faced fellow Canadiens’ prospect, Jack Nevins. It was a highly entertaining game, with Grégoire picking up three consecutive primary assists to erase a two goal deficit and capture the victory. Against the Huskies the following night, Grégoire was held pointless. Despite being outshot 42-19, the Drakkar would narrowly escape with a 1-0 victory. Grégoire has been held pointless in six of his last seven games, but still has 20 goals and 22 assists in 41 games this season.
The recently traded, Jack Nevins made his debut in a Huskies uniform this past week. Nevins played his first against the Voltigeurs, where he played on the first line alongside Jean-Sébastian Dea and Marcus Power. Nevins didn’t waste any time as he played a strong first game, throwing his weight around and creating space. The following game, Nevins was used on various lines, where he played physical, but was simply unable to create offence. Nevins dropped the gloves with Bokondji Imama in a spirited, yet short bout. Nevins played his best game as a member of the Huskies against the Drakkar to close out the week. Using his size and smarts, Nevins played a physical, disciplined game and created lots of offensive chances. Nevins has no points since joining the Huskies, but does have fourteen goals and 22 assists in 44 games this season.
Martin Reway was given a week to stay with his family following the World Junior Championship , but returned to play his first game as an Olympique in over a month this past week. The Olympiques took on the Océanic. The Olympiques steamrolled them by scoring seven times and winning by a five goals margin. Reway grabbed his 28th assist of the season, tying his career-high in 21 fewer games. Reway would also add a powerplay goal with a quick wrist shot from the point that somehow fooled the goaltender. Reway has fifteen goals and 28 assists in just 26 games this season.
Since struggling for much of the season, Tim Bozon has really kicked things up a notch and this past week he looked borderline unstoppable. Bozon and the Ice opened their week up against the Hurricanes. Bozon grabbed a pair of assists with a pair of nice passes, and later picked up a rebound and fired a shot top shelf, giving him a goal. Bozon finished the 5-4 defeat with three points. The Ice began a two game homestand against the Oil Kings just nights later. The Ice were dominated for most of the night, but good finishing kept them afloat. Bozon grabbed a goal by banging away at a loose puck, tying the game at two; however, the Oil Kings would win 4-3 in a shootout. In the second game, the Ice found themselves in a two goal hole in the third period. Bozon decided to take matters in his own hands, toe-dragging the puck around the defender and then snapping a perfect shot, beating goaltender, Tristan Jarry. Bozon would kickstart three straight goals for the Ice, giving them a 5-4 victory. Tim Bozon is on fire, with six goals and four assists in his last six games. In total, Bozon has eightteen goals and 25 assists in 46 games this season.
Dalton Thrower played just two games this past week, but he did have quite the successful week. Against the Cougars, Thrower grabbed the only assist on a goal coming just 49 seconds into the game. Thrower’s strong play throughout the game would key in the 6-5 victory. Thrower and the Giants had a big task ahead of them against the Winterhawks. Thrower grabbed an assist with some good work on the powerplay. Just over two minutes later, Thrower would score by unleashing a slapper from the top of the circle. Thrower logged a massive amount of ice time throughout the game, playing in every situation. Unfortunately, the Giants would fall by a score of 5-4 in the shootout. Thrower is riding a six game point streak, amassing two goals and seven assists. Thrower has twelve goals and 25 assists in 37 games this season, along with a team-leading +7 rating.
With the disappointment of the Great Lakes Invitational behind them, Mac Bennett and the University of Michigan Wolverines were looking to get their season back on track. The Wolverines kicked off a two game series against the University of Wisconsin on Friday night. Bennett finished -1 in the 5-2 loss, but did have two shots on goal. In the final game, the Wolverines would suffer an extremely familiar fate. They were dominated for most of the night and lost by a score of 3-1. Bennett broke his four game pointless drought with a pass on the powerplay. Bennett would also add two shots on goal and an even rating.
Following a one game week last update, Josiah Didier got back to a regular schedule this past week. Didier and the Pioneers took on St. Cloud State University in a two game series. The first one wasn’t an ideal start to the game as some defensive breakdowns crippled the Pioneers, who lost 6-3. Didier was -1 in the defeat. The following game, Didier and Pioneers got back on track as they pulled out a 5-2 win with top pairing Josiah Didier and Joey LaLeggia providing a stabilizing presence. Didier has three assists and 45 penalty minutes in 20 games this season.
Although it’s been a tumultuous season for Mark MacMillan thus far, it appears as though he has finally gotten his season on track. With an extended break that saw no games for almost a month, MacMillan was able to recover from his lower body injury. The result was fantastic for the University of North Dakota. MacMillan would open the scoring a terrific burst of speed and then a nice shot top shelf, beating the goaltender. MacMillan would finish +2 in the 5-3 victory. The following night, MacMillan would open the scoring yet again, this time coming down the opposite wing and driving to the net, depositing the puck on the backhand. MacMillan has five goals and two assists in 16 games this season, with three goals coming in his last four games.
Just like last season, Sebastian Collberg got off to a great start following his return from the World Junior Championship. Collberg took on Leksands IF to begin the week. In the second period, Collberg nailed the defender behind the net, forcing a turnover at the point. Collberg then went to the net, where he deflected a point shot while falling, giving him his second goal of the season. Collberg also fired three shots on goal and finished +2 in just 12:42 of ice time. The following game, against Magnus Nygren’s Farjestads BK, Collberg posted another three shot night, but was held pointless. Collberg finished +1 with 11:02 of ice time in the 2-1 victory. Collberg has two goals and three assists in 27 games this season.
While Collberg’s return to the lineup was fantastic, Jacob de la Rose didn’t benefit from quite the same success. De la Rose sat out the first game against Frolunda for rest, but returned against Brynäs IF. De la Rose registered over seventeen minutes of ice time, but was held pointless with a lone shot on goal. In a matchup between de la Rose’s Leksands IF and Magnus Nygren’s Farjestads BK, de la Rose registered over seventeen minutes of ice time for the second consecutive game, but was also held pointless. De la Rose has five goals and five assists in 33 games this season.
This past week turned out to be one of the best ever for Magnus Nygren in Swedish Hockey League. Although, it didn’t get off to a great start as Nygren was -1 in a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Skellefteå AIK. The following game, Nygren would finish -1 for the second straight game, but he added an assist with a deflected point shot. Nygren also registered 19:14 of ice time on the Farjestads BK’s top pairing. The following game, Nygren and Farjestads BK took on Jacob de la Rose’s Leksands IF. Nygren stepped into a shot from the hash marks, beating the goaltender. But Nygren wasn’t done yet. In the third period, Nygren added another goal with as he was able to step into a slapper from the top of circle. Nygren added an late in the game, giving him his first three point performance of the season. Since returning to Sweden, Nygren sits eighth in team scoring with five goals and four assists, despite playing just 12 games. Nygren also leads the team in ice time, averaging 21:30 a game and also has 14 hits.
NOT IN ACTION
Steve Quailer (upper-body injury – listed as week-to-week [occurred November 29th])
Zach Fucale (given the week off to rest following the 2014 World Junior Championship)
Charles Hudon (given the week off to rest following the 2014 World Junior Championship/nursing a shoulder injury – no timetable)
Artturi Lehkonen (ankle injury – out for four weeks [occurred December 28th])
Tim Bozon’s three point night against the Lethbridge Hurricanes:
Mark MacMillan’s highlight reel goal against Colorado College:
Magnus Nygren’s two goals against Leksands IF:
Brady Vail’s hat trick against the Ottawa 67s: