Erie Goaltending Saga
So the Erie Otters were finally able to secure two goalies for their game vs. Plymouth on Wednesday night. Adam Wood and John Paul Cesario dressed, with Wood taking the punishment.
Line of the night in that game. Stephen Harper (not the Prime Minister). The Otters rookie netted a hat trick and added an assist. Only one of those points was scored on the power-play. And yet, Harper was still minus-5 in a 10-6 Erie loss to Plymouth.
By the way, the Otters dressed just 15 skaters in that game, and Connor Crisp wasn’t one of them.
To combat Harper’s line on the night, how about Whalers goalie Matt Mahalak? He started for Plymouth, gave up three goals on seven shots and was lifted 7:48 into the game, with the Otters holding on to a 3-1 lead.
Leave it to the Owen Sound Attack to have an extra goalie (remember the three-headed monster from last year’s playoff run: Michael Zador, Jordan Binnington and Scott Stajcer). The Attack loaned J.P. Cesario to the Otters until either Devin Williams or Ramis Sadikov is able to return. And hey, there’s always Connor Crisp if those two should go down.
Five-point night in the CHL
Wednesday night saw 3 different CHL’ers put up five-spots. Barrie’s Ivan Telegin has been on fire since returning home from the world junior hockey championship with 27 points in 16 games played, including the four-goal, one assist effort in a 6-2 win on the road in Owen Sound.
Luke Judson was in on five of six Belleville goals in a 6-5 win over Peterborough, while line mate Jordan Mayer chipped in with a four-point effort.
Frederick Roy had five points in a 7-3 Quebec win over Drummondville, while sensational rookie Anthony Duclair had four points.
Top 2013 prospect Nathan MacKinnon attended an SMU fundraiser Tuesday night and then put up a four-spot Wednesday night in a 7-0 Halifax win over Acadie-Bathurst Titan. And don’t think MacKinnon hasn’t already thought about strutting his stuff at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game on home ice next season.
All-world stats man Denis Demers of the QMJHL. His work never gets enough credit. The statistical archives of the QMJHL are by far the best of any of the three CHL member leagues, and Denis is largely responsible for it. His meticulous attention to detail will enable you to find out just about anything in league history. There’s so much to sort through that it just takes time and patience to find what you need. Denis, thanks for your help with Friday Night Hockey in Shawinigan this week. We look forward to utilizing your brilliance for the 2012 Mastercard Memorial Cup.
Thanks to a little pre-planning, we were able to get into Victoriaville Wednesday to see the Tigres take on Blainville-Boisbriand.
Tigres GM Jerome Mesonero and head coach Yanick Jean are always more than willing to sit-down and discuss all matters hockey, including their team. They should put on a clinic on how to deal with media.
Victoriaville’s game presentation, led by Yves Bonneau, is amongst the best in the CHL. The music is loud, current, and crystal clear. The in-arena host and PA announcer are excitable. Spotlights, dry ice machines, the inflatable Tigre and Grifftou (team mascot) are all a part of the experience in the Gilbert Perreault Amphitheatre at Colisse Desjardins. Not to mention $1 hot dog night. Yes, Rob Faulds and I participated in that one.
With no QMJHL coaches on Team Canada’s staff for the 2012 WJHC, expect that to change for 2013. Once Pascal Vincent left to be an assistant in Winnipeg with the Jets, Scott Walker of Guelph was named as his replacement. This ruffled a few feathers across the Q, and rightfully so. Yanick Jean has applied, and should be given a job on the Ivan Hlinka staff and should be given a shot at being an assistant for Canada in Russia for the 2013 World Juniors.
As mentioned in our Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game, keep an eye on goaltending coach Dan Frechette of Victo.
Blainville-Boisbriand is an exciting team to watch. They skate well and are youthful. The Armada is somewhat smallish, so getting Stefan Mattheau next season will be a huge boost.
Nice to see goaltending coach Marco Marciano. Seems like he’s got a good thing going with Joel Bouchard and the new arena. I hear the arena is awesome, and I can’t wait until Sportsnet gets in there for a Friday Night Hockey game. Most likely at some point next year.
Marciano says keep an eye on Storm Phaneuf, he’s a late 1995 birthday and is fearless in goal.
Great job by JF Houle, and what a relief it must be after the turmoil coaching in now-defunct Lewiston last year. After the job he did with the Maineiacs last year, he deserved to land on his feet with a good gig.
Samuel Hodhod is a circus, is he ever fun to watch run around the ice. At a generous 5’8, 160 he can flat-out fly.
Consecutive bad beats for the Quebec Remparts. After dropping a 3-1 decision at the hands of Drummondville, the Remparts were dismantled by Gatineau 5-0
So great to see Alexandre Beauregard back in the lineup for Chicoutimi. An emotional boost no doubt, as the Sags upended St. John in the shootout to end the 17 game winning streak.
Friday Night Hockey
I was told good things about first year Rimouski head coach Serge Beausoleil, and after our first meeting with him, he has left a great impression.
As for Shawinigan, head coach Eric Veilleux is a tough guy to figure out. Not sure if he’s pensive or protective in his thoughts. He takes time to answer any questions thrown his way
Kirill Kabanov is one fun player to watch when he’s on his game. Problem is, he’s rarely on his game for a full 60 minutes. If he can put things together in the playoffs and in the Mastercard Memorial Cup, he may become the second coming of Alexander Radulov. Radulov lead the way for Quebec in the 2006 Memorial Cup with 9 points, 5 of which were scored in the 6-2 final over Moncton
Kabanov and Anton Zlobin both compete hard, but like so many young players, finding consistency can be an issue.
Once Brandon Gormley returns, Shawinigan’s back end should be as deep as anyone’s in the CHL except for Edmonton.
Unreal response by the Cats on Sunday, with a 6-2 win over the defending Memorial Cup champs.
Rimouski’s PP is just deadly. If you find a way to deal with Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, you then must find a way to dispose of Alex Mallet in front of the net. And once you do that, try taking away the play-making ability of Alex Belzile.
I gave Jacob Gervais-Chouinard a hard time on the broadcast, but overall he played well. I suppose you live and die with a goalie who plays the puck aggressively. Gervais-Chouinard’s mishandling of the puck lead directly to 2 Shawinigan goals, but as my broadcast partner RJ Broadhead pointed out, he does have 5 assists on the season.
Right now the 1-2 punch for Rimouski is Gauthier-Leduc and Belzile. Next year, it should be Samuel Morin and Scott Oke. Both have great size, are supremely talented, but must learn what it takes to become frontline guys.
It’s awfully rare to see one team play with the same two European players for three straight years. Even more rare when those two players have grown up in the same small Czech town as Jakub Culek and Petr Straka have.
Francis Beauvillier has speed to burn, and he’s even bigger than I thought at 6’1. When he adds body mass and strength, he’ll be a real force.
With a 3 in 3 scenario for the final weekend of the season, keep an eye on Tyler Toffoli reaching the 50 goal plateau for the second straight season.
Check out the line on Petr Mrazek’s March starts, his first three he was 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .970 save percentage in wins over Sarnia, London and Kingston. Things took a downward turn Friday night against Niagara, where Mrazek gave up five goals on 47 shots.
Interesting to see what supplemental discipline Owen Sound’s Mike Halmo will receive for his hit on Sarnia star Nail Yakupov. Yakupov did put himself in a vulnerable position, cutting across the middle of the ice, but Halmo took full advantage of it. Yakupov did not dress Sunday.
Took in the Brampton/Oshawa game Sunday afternoon, and the Generals were able to dress a full, healthy lineup. That was until Sebastian Uvira left early in the first period with what looked to be a left knee injury. Other than that though, the Gennies will have four more games in six days to finish out the regular season. And if they catch stride, they will be a miserable lower seeded first round opponent.
Sven Bartschi leaves for a minute and the Winterhawks fall 5-1 to Kamloops. Nice tone-setter for the Blazers as 11 different players recorded a point in the win. What makes it all that more interesting is the Winterhawks were leading 1-0 up to the 3:22 point of period three. Five-unanswered goals including Ryan Hanes’ sixth of the year after the Blazers had already sealed it with an empty-net goal. Think there’s a message there?
The Winterhawks were surprised the Flames were so adamant about getting Bartschi a day early for practice, when he could’ve played against Kamloops and then travelled to Calgary in plenty of time for the game. Mike Johnston, who has spent enough time in the NHL knows how much pressure the Flames are under to make the playoffs. Bartschi scored his first NHL goal for Calgary Sunday.
Quite the clash, was Wednesday night’s 3-2 Edmonton win at home over Moose Jaw in overtime, a foreshadow of the Eastern Conference final? And Travis Ewanyk hasn’t found his game legs yet.
Congrats to Emerson Etem whose 2 goal performance Saturday puts him at 60 for the season.
Brendan Shinnimin (two goals Sunday night) sits at 57, while Ty Rattie needs six for 60.
Hunter Shinkaruk and Adam Hughesman (hat trick Sunday) both sit at 46 goals, while Michael Ferland needs five goals in Brandon’s final three games to reach 50.
In the Q, it looks as if only Zach O’Brien will reach the 50-goal mark. And if he goes the final two games without a penalty, he will have played 121 QMJHL games without one minute in penalties.
It took 3 overtime periods to determine the sixth and final participant in the Cavendish University Cup. Saskatchewan upended Calgary to win Canada West, and now the six teams have been finalized. The seedings should come out this week, and here’s how I would predict it to go: