Fucale’s Fantastic In This Week’s Prospect Update (Mar. 31 – Apr. 6)

Zach Fucale Photo: theqmjhl.ca

Zach Fucale
Photo: theqmjhl.ca

Zach Fucale claims first star honours with a strong start to round two, extending his unbeaten streak to 18 games. Another goaltender, Dustin Tokarski, takes second star honours with two impressive performances against Grand Rapids. Rounding out the three stars is Sven Andrighetto, who had three points in three games. Connor Crisp and Brady Vail joined the Bulldogs, while Stefan Fournier was sent down. Greg Pateryn and Morgan Ellis had solid weeks, as did Gabriel Dumont. Michael McCarron and Jack Nevins both stayed hot, while two more QMJHL prospects continued their scoring streaks. Martin Reway scored a ridiculous goal and Magnus Nygren returned to action.

 

AHL

The Hamilton Bulldogs had a new look this past week, as Connor Crisp and Brady Vail joined the team on try-out contracts. Unlike Crisp, Vail already has 12 games of experience under his belt, as well as his first professional goal. Hamilton played their first game against the Oklahoma City Barons. Hamilton was outshot 40-28, but managed to make it to a shootout. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs lost the game by a score of 5-4. Hamilton headed to Grand Rapids to face the Griffins for two games in as many nights. In the first game, Hamilton won quite handily, by a score of 4-1. The following game went to another shootout, where Hamilton would lose yet again. This time by a score of 2-1.

The two prospect netminders got all three starts this past week, starting with Robert Mayer against Oklahoma City. Mayer stopped 35 of 39 and kept the Bulldogs in the game for the most part, but there were some adventures. Mayer somehow miraculously made it back into his crease to make the save after losing a footrace to a forechecker. Dustin Tokarski started in the first of two games against Grand Rapids, despite his recent struggles. Tokarski put his struggles behind him with a massive 27 for 28 appearance. Grand Rapids doubled up Hamilton in shots during the third, but Tokarski stayed strong, shutting the door. For his tremendous performance, Tokarski received the next start, where he played equally as well. Tokarski faced 37 shots and stopped 36. In the lengthy shootout, Tokarski allowed just two goals on ten shots.

It was once again a week led by defenceman, Greg Pateryn. Pateryn appeared in all three games, first playing with Nathan Beaulieu. Pateryn grabbed an assist and was a force. Pateryn threw his weight around and had a strong game overall. Beaulieu had a solid game, too. Beaulieu was recalled before the final two games, meaning that Pateryn and Drewiske were reunited. Against Grand Rapids, the pairing was outstanding. They both had +3 ratings and Pateryn grabbed a goal with an empty-netter. Drewiske also added an assist on the goal. The duo combined for seven shots and were a force on the ice. The following game, Pateryn and Drewiske didn’t have quite the same success. Drewiske grabbed a powerplay assist, but Pateryn was held pointless. Pateryn also dropped the gloves against a lesser player and never even threw a punch. Pateryn is second in defenceman goal-scoring with 14 this season and also has 19 assists. 

Morgan Ellis also had a fantastic week. Ellis opened the week with one of his best performances since turning pro. Ellis grabbed two assists, including one with a nice pass to partner, Drew Schiestel. Ellis played physical and smart all game long. In the first of two meetings with Grand Rapids, Ellis posted his quietest performance. Ellis fired just one shot and took a penalty. Although he did make numerous strong defensive plays. In the second of the two meetings, Ellis registered four shots on goal and overall played a solid game. At times, Ellis was caught flat-footed, but recovered nicely. Ellis’ partner, Drew Schiestel, has a been a trainwreck in his own zone for much of the year, making Ellis’ performance all that much more impressive.

The Mike Blunden, Gabriel DumontSven Andrighetto experiment continued this past week. Andrighetto scored early into the third period with a beautiful snipe from the wing. It was his 40th point of the season, making him the productive Bulldogs rookie since P.K. Subban in 2009-2010. Dumont added a goal of his own off the heels of a tremendous shift. The line overall had a very strong showing. In the shootout, Andrighetto added his first ever AHL shootout goal with a quick backhand-forehand move. In the second of three games, the line continued to produce. All three members had a goal and an assist on the night. Andrighetto led the way yet again, this time with some fantastic plays. Andrighetto scored and celebrated, but Dumont followed up on the puck as it came out of the net and scored. Strangely enough, the goal was given to Dumont and an assist was given to Andrighetto. Andrighetto would get a goal of his own shortly after with a perfectly placed howitzer from the top of the circle. In the final game, the trio was held pointless for the first time in their four games together, ending Andrighetto’s career-high five game point streak. They still played well, especially Andrighetto and Dumont. Dumont was very engaged on the ice and Andrighetto made numerous slick passes. Andrighetto and Dumont sit second and fifth in team scoring respectively.

Leblanc celebrates a goal.  Photo: thereuschblog.com

Leblanc celebrates a goal.
Photo: thereuschblog.com

Hamilton received a boost this past week with the additions of new-comer Connor Crisp and Brady Vail, who played 12 AHL games last year. The two played on the same line all week and began on the fourth line with Joonas Nättinen. Despite Nättinen having more pro experience as centre, Vail was given the opportunity to play centre. It didn’t get off to a good start for Vail, who made a horrendous turnover in his own zone; however, he didn’t make that same mistake again for the rest of the week. Crisp didn’t do much in the first game, but it was clear that he was focusing on defence first. In the second game, both Crisp and Vail made their presence felt with the body. Louis Leblanc accompanied the duo, which proved to be a smart move. Both Vail and Crisp played quite well. In the third game, Crisp was noticeably physical, although his timing on his hits was a little off. The trio also created quite a few scoring chances down low and really worked the cycle well. Crisp and Vail have yet to record a point, but they both have been AHL-calibre plays thus far and forced Justin Courtnall and Robert Czarnik out of the lineup. Crisp has noticeably improved every game, while Vail has been solid apart from one glaring mistake.

If there’s one Bulldog who needs a strong finish to the season, it’s Patrick Holland. This season started off with an NHL call-up, but since there hasn’t really been much to speak of apart from one strong week. Holland split time between Martin St. Pierre and Maxime Macenauer’s lines. Holland started the week by jumping on a loose puck and burying a backhander past the sprawling goaltender. It was his first goal in 13 games and just his sixth of the season. In the second game, Holland created some quality chances and looked good on the penalty kill, but was unable to register a point. Pretty much the same for Holland in the third and final game. Holland is starting to play better, which is too little too late at this point as the ‘Dogs are most likely not going to make the playoffs.

In other Bulldogs news, the club announced the signing of former QMJHL defensive defenceman of the year, Jonathan Narbonne, to a try-out contract. It was also announced that Stefan Fournier has been assigned to Wheeling of the ECHL, where he will probably finish the season.

 

OHL

Round two against the Guelph Storm began this past week for Michael McCarron and the Memorial Cup-bound, London Knights. It was a strong first series for McCarron, but with injuries piling up, a stronger opponent, and new linemates, McCarron was certainly going to have his work cut out for him. McCarron moved back to centre, with rookie, Mitchell Marner, occasionally switching places with McCarron. McCarron and linemates found themselves matched up against the Robby Fabbri line, a talented offensive group. In game one, London was down 4-0 partway through the second. They kept battling and eventually they found themselves within one. McCarron absolutely destroyed Jason Dickinson with a massive reverse check and shortly after grabbed the game-tying goal by taking a feed and shooting the puck essentially straight up in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, Guelph rebounded and won the game 6-4. Game two was a tough one for McCarron on the scoresheet, who was held pointless with six penalty minutes. However, McCarron created lots of scoring chances and played a simple, straight-forward game that opened up the ice for his linemates. McCarron has been impressive in the playoffs and has racked up three goals and an assist in six games.

 

QMJHL

Last week, Zachary Fucale and the Halifax Mooseheads finished off Charlottetown and booked a second round meeting with Gatineau. Fucale just kept go improving in the series, finishing with a 1.36 GAA and a .930 SV% in the series. In game one, Fucale posted his best performance yet, stopping 25 of 26 and earning second star honours. Fucale made numerous good stops; however, the one goal against wasn’t pretty. Fucale had a very eventful game two, stopping 25 of 27, allowing a highlight reel Martin Reway goal, taking a penalty, and grabbing an assist. Despite two goals against and a penalty, Fucale had a strong game overall. Halifax won game two by a score of 6-2, taking a 2-0 series lead. Fucale has won all six post-season games so far, sporting a 0.943 SV% and a 1.41 GAA.

Jérémy Grégoire Photo: Lapresse

Jérémy Grégoire
Photo: Lapresse

Jérémy Grégoire dominated in round one, but against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies he was going to have a harder time. Grégoire racked up seven points in just four games in round one and played extremely well. Against Jack Nevins’ Huskies in game one, Grégoire continued to play well. Grégoire grabbed an assist and fired three shots on goal. Grégoire was fantastic along the boards and created many scoring chances from hard work and was named second star in the 4-1 victory. In game two, Grégoire didn’t play quite as well. Grégoire extended his post-season point streak to six games and fired five shots on goal, but wasn’t quite as dynamic as he was previously. Grégoire was also awarded a penalty shot, but it was stopped by the goaltender. Baie-Comeau leads the series 2-0. Grégoire has four goals and five assists in six games this post-season.

Just like his linemate,  Charles Hudon continued to produce in round two. Hudon scored in the first game of the series by camping out in  front of the net. Grégoire won his battle and the puck came to Hudon, who buried the easy goal. The goal made the score 4-1, adding some insurance. However, Hudon had a tough first period, grabbing three minor penalties. In game two, Hudon extended his post-season point streak to six games with an assist. Hudon also fired seven shots on goal, but his overall play wasn’t quite where it has been these playoffs.

Jack Nevins, last update’s second star, has been on fire in the post-season, particularly in his latest three games. Nevins carried his strong play into round two, where he opened the scoring. Nevins was impressive in game one, firing four shots on goal and making his presence felt. Nevins was named third star in the game, despite the 4-1 defeat. The following game, Nevins scored his fifth goal of the post-season. Unfortunately it was too little too late, as Rouyn-Noranda would lose by three goals for the second straight games. Nevins is currently on a four game goal-scoring streak and has five goals and three assists in seven games. Nevins will have to continue to play well if the Huskies want to win this series.

After a starting the playoffs on a torrential pace, Martin Reway cooled off this past week. Coming into the series, Reway had four goals and seven assists in just four post-season games. Reway was neutralized in game one. Reway struggled to create chances and wasn’t engaged on the ice. In game two, Reway finally made his mark by dangling around MacKenzie Weegar and roofing a shot over Zach Fucale. A highlight reel marker for the human highlight reel. Reway also added an assist as his point shot was tipped by Vincent Dunn. Apart from his two points, Reway was quiet at times; although he playing a surprisingly safe brand of hockey. Reway sits third in QMJHL post-season scoring, with five goals and eight assists in just six games.

 

EUROPE

After a week off, Magnus Nygren and Färjestad BK began round two against the Växjo Lakers HC. Nygren logged a team-high 19:25 in game one and registered three shots on goal. Färjestad BK took the game by a score of 2-1. Växjo answered with a massive 6-1 victory in game two, where Nygren was -1 in 19:48 of ice time. Nygren got on the board for the first time in the series with a hard shot from the point that beat the screened goaltender. Nygren’s goal was key in the 4-1 victory. Since the playoffs have begun, Nygren has seen his ice time drop considerably. In eight games, Nygren has two goals and an assist.

 

NOT IN ACTION

AHL

Darren Dietz (lower-body injury – week-to-week [occurred February 21])

Stefan Fournier (healthy scratch)

Jarred Tinordi (recalled by the Canadiens)

 

WHL

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])

 

NCAA

Mac Bennett (season is now over – will not join Hamilton [separated shoulder])

Josiah Didier (season is now over)

Mark MacMillan (no games scheduled – Frozen Four begins on Friday)

 

EUROPE

Jacob de la Rose (SHL season is now over)

Artturi Lehkonen (ankle injury – no timetable [occurred December 28] – Liiga season is now over)

 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Connor Crisp Season Highlights:

 

Brady Vail Season Highlights:

 

Martin Reway’s Beautiful Goal against Halifax:

Share Button

2 Responses to Fucale’s Fantastic In This Week’s Prospect Update (Mar. 31 – Apr. 6)

  1. Fantastic as always.

    Joel Gabbay April 9, 2014 at 1:42 am Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

nineteen − 2 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Montreal Canadiens: Worst 10 Trades Since 1993

Last week I counted down the 10 best trades the organization had made since last winning the Stanley Cup in 1993. It’s only fitting that I should examine the other side of the coin and list off what I see as the 10 worst trades in the same time span. Maybe a disclaimer should be […]

Share Button

JOIN THE CONVERSATION