Leading the way is rookie Sven Andrighetto, with six points in four games, including two dominant performances. Claiming second star honours is Jack Nevins, whose physicality, defensive acumen, and offensive production helped Rouyn-Noranda to a series victory. Charles Hudon rounds out the three stars, as he posted five points in just two games. Greg Pateryn came up big for the Bulldogs twice, while Louis Leblanc had one of his better weeks. Christian Thomas had four points in four games, including two goals. Two OHL prospects lost in the first round, but both will be joining the Bulldogs. Jeremy Grégoire and Martin Reway both continued their hot starts, while Zach Fucale just kept on getting better. The NCAAs began, with two prospects appearing. Only Mark MacMillan’s UND advanced, thanks to his massive three point effort. Mac Bennett signed an ELC and Magnus Nygren had the week off.
Although not mathematically eliminated, the Hamilton Bulldogs were in do or die mode this past week. The Bulldogs played four games, including three games in three nights, beginning with a game against the Texas Stars. It was a tough 4-0 loss, but the Bulldogs rebounded against the San Antonio Rampage with a dominating 6-3 victory. The following night, the Bulldogs faced the Texas Stars again, where they suffered an even worse loss. This time by a score of 6-1. The Bulldogs headed back to San Antonio the following day, where they played the Rampage for the second time in three nights. This time the Rampage played significantly better, but the Bulldogs still were able to pull out a 4-3 victory.
Devan Dubnyk received the first two starts of the week, where he played exceptionally well. In the 4-0 loss courtesy of the Stars, Dubnyk made 36 saves on 40 shots. The following game, Dubnyk received his first ever win with the ‘Dogs. Dubnyk only faced 23 shots, but provided the stability the ‘Dogs needed. Dustin Tokarski received the second start against the Stars, which didn’t go so well. The AHL All-Star allowed five goals, including a few that he would most definitely like to have back. With a tired Devan Dubnyk and out-of-form Tokarski, Robert Mayer was given the final start. Although Mayer grabbed the win, all three goals he allowed were weak, especially the first two.
Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn were once again reunited on the ‘Dogs top pairing following a horrible performance by Beaulieu to open the week. Against the Rampage, the duo combined for 12 shots and five points. Pateryn led the way with seven shots and three points. The duo grabbed their first assist by manning the points on the powerplay. Beaulieu sent a pass to Maxime Macenauer, who deflected it past the goaltender. Pateryn would hook up with Sven Andrighetto and Christian Thomas to grab his second assist and then would unload a bomb from the point that cleanly beat the goaltender. Beaulieu tallied his second assist of the night on Jordan Owens’ empty-netter. Against the Stars, the pairing was -2. Pateryn was overall quite solid; however, Beaulieu made a few notable poor decisions in his own zone. Pateryn rebounded quite well in the final game and scored a massive goal. After the Rampage tied it late in the third, Pateryn took an Andrighetto feed and blew the puck past the netminder, giving the ‘Dogs a one goal lead with 51 seconds remaining. Meanwhile, Beaulieu was able to grab his third assist of the week on Louis Leblanc’s goal.
Overall, it was a fairly good week for Morgan Ellis who played the first three games with Nathan McIver. In the first two games, Ellis was quiet, but very effective. Ellis played the body hard and played a simple game. In the final meeting against the Stars, Ellis struggled at times. Ellis, along with partner McIver, made a few turnovers and got caught running around in their own zone. As a result, Drew Schiestel drew in for McIver in the final game of the week. The pairing played quite well, minus a pair of penalties for Ellis.
Up front, the Bulldogs were yet again led by trio of Sven Andrighetto. Christian Thomas, and Maxime Macenauer. In the 4-0 loss against the Stars, the line was unusually quiet. The following game the line exploded for a combined nine points. Andrighetto grabbed a goal by doing a partial lap of the zone, walking into the slot and rifling a shot past the goaltender. Thomas grabbed an assist for his hard work along the boards. Later on, Andrighetto made a touch-pass to Thomas, who fired one of his six shots on goal, generating a rebound, which was buried by Macenauer. In the third period, the trio all completed their three point nights, with Andrighetto sending Macenauer and Thomas on a two-on-one. Macenauer made a gorgeous feed to Thomas, who deposited the puck into the open cage. The following game, the trio grabbed the ‘Dogs’ only goal of the game, with Thomas grabbed his second goal of the week.
The following game, the line of Andrighetto – Macenauer – Thomas was broken up. Nick Sorkin replaced Andrighetto and Andrighetto played on the left wing of Gabriel Dumont and Mike Blunden. Thomas was pointless, but getting noticeably frustrated as he uncharacteristically finished most of his checks. Meanwhile, Andrighetto continued to play extremely well. Dumont, who simply didn’t provide much in the first three games, played extremely good. Dumont played with energy and was a pain for the Rampage. Andrighetto–despite the new linemates–was the best player in the game, contributing two assists. Andrighetto grabbed his first assist by staying with the puck, whacking it out of mid-air torwards the goal, where Blunden was there to bury it. Andrighetto grabbed his second by sending the puck to Pateryn for his late game-winner following a few moves to confuse the defender. Andrighetto finished the week with six points to his name, and sits just one point shy of the 40 point mark.
Louis Leblanc, finally had a solid week, even if he was just able to grab a single goal. Against Texas, Leblanc created a few quality scoring chances. Perhaps,more importantly, Leblanc broke up some in his own zone with an active stick and smart reads. The following game, Leblanc was involved offensively. Leblanc battled hard and got robbed on a backhand shot during a partial breakaway. Leblanc’s toughest performance of the week came in the second meeting against Texas, but he rebounded well the following game, and grabbed a goal. Leblanc battled along the boards and around the net until he was able to whack in the loose puck, ending his seven game goal-scoring drought.
Wolves’ forward Connor Crisp needed a huge week in order to come back from a 2-0 series deficit. In game three, Crisp didn’t provide much early on. He, along with the other top players on Sudbury, had very quiet nights until the third period. Crisp was awarded an assist on a goal that he didn’t deserve, but he was on the ice. Down by two, the goalie pulled, Crisp took a Nicholas Baptiste pass and sent the puck top shelf over the goaltender. However, the Wolves would fall 6-4. The Wolves took game four by a score of 3-2, another game in which Crisp made little impact. However, the Wolves lost in game five by a score of 7-0, ending their season. Crisp had four penalty minutes and was -3. As a unit, the Wolves struggled immensely, but as one of the team’s most physical and skilled forwards, Crisp had to make an impact. He didn’t. Crisp’s season is now over and he will be joining the Hamilton Bulldogs on a try-out contract
Michael McCarron avoided suspension last week and was able to continue his hot start. In game three, Michael McCarron opened the scoring by picking up his own rebound and beating the goaltender short side. McCarron, playing right wing on a line with Brett Welychka and Gemel Smith, was held pointless for the remainder of the game, but played quite well. London took a 3-0 series stranglehold following the 10-2 win. Game four was much closer, but London still won it by a score of 4-3. McCarron was held pointless, but played another solid game, ramping up the physicality in comparison to other games. McCarron’s Knights will take on the Guelph Storm in the second round. McCarron had two goals and an assist in four games.
After a great regular season, Brady Vail had his season come to an end. In game three, Vail was pointless and -4 with four penalty minutes. Vail created a handful of scoring chances, but was unable to capitalize. The penalty kill duo of Vail and Ben Johnson continued to play well. In game four, Vail played his best game of the post-season. Vail created chances off the rush and once again looked good on the penalty kill. Vail was instrumental in a goal in game four, but didn’t grab a point. With the 4-3 loss, the Spitfires’ season is now over. Vail has signed a try-out contract with the Hamilton Bulldogs. If the Habs do not sign him by June 1st, he will re-enter the draft.
Last week got off on a sour note for Zach Fucale, but he returned to form in game two. Fucale continued to get better with every passing game, allowing one goal on 17 shots in game three. Halifax took a 3-0 series stranglehold into game four, where they destroyed Charlottetown 11-3. Fucale stopped all 16 shots he faced and was pulled before the third in order to give back up, Kevin Darveau, some action. Fucale had a 4-0-0 record, along with a .930 SV% and a 1.36 GAA in the first round. Halifax will face Martin Reway’s Gatineau Olympiques in round two.
Jeremy Grégoire has been absolutely fantastic in the playoffs and continued to play well this past week. Grégoire continued to play on a line with Felix Girard and Charles Hudon, a strong, two-way line. In game three, Grégoire fired a game-high 11 shots on goal. Grégoire was only able to solve the goaltender once, with a one-timer from the circle. For his hand in the 3-0 win, Grégoire was named first star and posted a terrific performance for the third straight game. Grégoire continued his exceptional play in game four, finally getting rewarded for his hard work. Grégoire whacked a loose puck into the open net following a Maxime St-Cyr shot. Just five minutes later, Grégoire took a pass from Felix Girard and wired the puck past the goaltender for a shorthanded marker. Grégoire also added an assist to his total, giving him four goals and three assists in the four game sweep of Shawinigan. Baie-Comeau will face Jack Nevin’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the second round.
It was a great week overall for both Charles Hudon and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Hudon grabbed a pair of assists in game three, including one on Grégoire’s one-timer goal. Hudon also added seven shots on goal and was a factor at both ends of the ice. In game four, Hudon grabbed an assist on Grégoire’s first marker of the afternoon, with a pass to St-Cyr. Hudon grabbed his second assist of the game as his point shot was redirected by Girard. Hudon would complete the three point effort with a powerplay goal. Hudon has three goals and four assists in four games so far.
Since the trade, Jack Nevins has been up and down. This past week, Nevins posted his best week since signing a contract with the Canadiens. Nevins played on a physical, two-way line with Ryan Penny and Francis Beauvillier. The line matched up against the extremely dangerous trio of Nick Sorensen, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Fabrice Herzog. Nevins was pointless with just one shot in game three, but was a physical force out there. In game four, Nevins exploded for a three point night. Nevins grabbed two primary assists, both nice passes, before adding a goal with a wrist shot in the slot. Nevins three point backstopped Rouyn-Noranda to a 4-1 victory, taking a 3-1 series hold over the favoured Remparts. In game five, Nevins scored his third goal of the post-season and added an assist. Nevins laid five hits and antagonized the opposition. Nevins’ performance gave him third star honours and more importantly was key in the 6-2 win, clinching the series. Nevins finishes the series with three goals and three assists in five games.
Last week’s first star, Martin Reway cooled off this past week, relatively speaking. In game three, Gatineau doubled up Cape Breton in shots and won by a score of 7-2. Reway grabbed two assists and played his worst game overall of the playoffs, which is quite telling of just how good he’s been. In game four, Reway scored twice. The first goal was a lucky one, taking a funny bounce and somehow ending up in the back of the net. Reway added his second of the night by starting and finishing a nice passing play. It was a big 7-1 victory for Gatineau, who won the series. Gatineau will face the Halifax Mooseheads in round two, the defending champions.
Last update, Josiah Didier and the Denver University Pioneers booked themselves a ticket to NCAAs following an incredible week. Unfortunately, their week ended abruptly, as they faced the stacked Boston College Eagles. BC jumped out to a 6-0 nothing lead in the second period. DU answered with two of their own, but it wouldn’t be enough, ending their season. Didier finished with a -1 rating a three blocked shots. Didier finished the season with one goal, eight assists, and 61 penalty minutes. Didier set career-highs across the board.
Since scoring at a torrential pace following the holiday break, Mark MacMillan has cooled off, with just three points in his last eight starts coming into this past week. MacMillan and the University of North Dakota headed to the NCAAs, where they took on the University of Wisconsin Badgers. MacMillan grabbed an assist on the opening goal and with under two minutes remaining, MacMillan deflected a shot past the goaltender, giving UND the lead. MacMillan also added his second assist and third point of the night with a secondary assist on an empty netter. In the final game of the Mid-West Regional, MacMillan was held pointless, but UND pulled out a 2-1 victory. The win advanced them to the Frozen Four, which begins on April 10th. MacMillan’s UND will take on Minnesota in the semifinal.
NOT IN ACTION
Darren Dietz (lower-body injury – week-to-week [occurred February 21])
Stefan Fournier (healthy scratch)
Jarred Tinordi (recalled by the Canadiens)
Tim Bozon (Neisseria Meningitis [occured March 1]) – You can donate to Meningitis research here or to the Bozon Trust Fund, info here. Tim Bozon dropped the puck at the Kootenay Ice’s game versus the Calgary Hitmen. Kootenay went on to win, clinching the series and advancing to round 2. #PrayForBozon #TB20
Dalton Thrower (ankle injury – done for the season [occurred January 25])
Mac Bennett (season is now over – will not join Hamilton [separated shoulder])
Jacob de la Rose (SHL season is now over)
Artturi Lehkonen (ankle injury – no timetable [occurred December 28] – Liiga season is now over)
Sven Andrighetto/Christian Thomas 3 Points @ San Antonio (28/03/14) :
Greg Pateryn 3 Points @ San Antonio (28/03/14) :
Martin Reway 2 Goals @ Cape Breton (27/03/14) :