Fienhage lands on Blazers list

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | 3/31/2010

The CHL rights to North Dakota sophomore Corey Fienhage have been protected by the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL, giving the defenseman a major-junior option in the event that he leaves college in search of more playing time. The team hasn't spoken to Fienhage directly, but has been in contact with his advisor entering the offseason.

SabresProspects prefers the 20-year old stays in school to allow for two more developmental years, but the Sioux blueline will only get more crowded as all seven healthy defensemen from this season's Broadmoor Cup winners will be returning, with another top commit on the way in Derek Forbort of the USNTDP and another rumored to be close.

Fienhage has played 39 games in his first two seasons in Grand Forks after making the jump straight to the WCHA as an 18-year old out of high school. By foregoing a planned year of seasoning in the USHL, he wasn't put into a position to succeed out of the gate with the Sioux. A WHL move would certainly offer more playing time.
3/31/2010 | 1 comments | Read More

3/28 Recap: Knapp's 55 keep 'Hawks alive

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, March 29, 2010 | 3/29/2010

Connor Knapp made 55 saves Sunday as Miami advanced to the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four with a 3-2 win over Michigan in 2OT. The 6'5 sophomore had to be sharp out of the gate, as the attacking Wolverines forced him to make a pair of quick stops in the first :15 of play. While Knapp was tested in regulation, the smelling salts really came into play in the first overtime when he was forced to make 20 of his 55 stops with an exhausted group in front of him.

Knapp and the RedHawks received a lucky break in the first OT when a premature whistle saw Kevin Lynch's apparent game winner waved off. Knapp got turned around in his crease after a shot squeezed through his legs, but the whistle sounded before Lynch jammed it in. Miami survived the extra session, including another close call via a Matt Rust (CBS) rip off the pipe, before charging their batteries and winning it on an Alden Hirschfeld wrister at 1:54 of the second overtime.

The RedHawks will now make the skate into Detroit's Ford Field two weeks from now to faceoff against Boston College in the national semifinal. Wisconsin and Cinderella RIT will battle in the other side of the bracket. If Enrico Blasi sticks to his rotational guns, Miami could see Knapp could give way to Cody Reichard in the tilt with the Eagles while readying himself for duty in the championship game. After all, that would be Knapp's start using the "if it aint broke, don't fix it" approach.

In the WHL playoffs, Brayden McNabb was -1 as Kootenay saw their season end with a 4-1 loss to Medicine Hat. After taking the first two games of the series, the Ice went cold to allow the Tigers to take four straight games to seal the deal in six. McNabb posted four assists in the first-round loss after finishing the regular season sixth among league defenders with 57 points (17+40).
3/29/2010 | 3 comments | Read More

3/27 Recap: Five more bounced as Sioux, Eagles lose

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, March 28, 2010 | 3/28/2010

Brad Eidsness put forth a solid effort Saturday, stopping 20 shots and keeping his team competitive as North Dakota lost in the NCAA Northeast Regional to Yale, 3-2. Eidsness was beaten by a first period tip before surrendering goals via an inside cut-and-deke and a bad rebound off the rear boards to allow the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead through 40-minutes. The sophomore ends his season 24-10-4 with a 2.11 goals against average and .914 save percentage. Corey Fienhage was even on the Sioux blue to end the year with two assists and a +4 rating in 30 appearances.

At the NCAA Midwest Regional in Fort Wayne, Connor Knapp served as back-up as Miami edged Alabama-Huntsville, 2-1. With Coach Enrico Blasi sticking to his goaltender rotation, Cody Reichard earned the nod over the hot-handed Knapp to guide the RedHawks into a Sunday showdown versus CCHA rival Michigan with a Frozen berth on the line. The RedHawks and Wolverines will rematch last week's CCHA semifinal which saw UM light Reichard up for five goals and force Knapp in to stop the bleeding. As of now, it is unclear who gets the Sunday call, but there's no question that Knapp is deserving.

In the QMJHL, Luke Adam (-2), Maxime Legault (-2), and Jacob Lagacé (-1) were all quiet as Cape Breton was bounced out of the playoffs thanks to a 4-0 blanking by Moncton. Legault, who had the best scoring chance of the three when he was stopped on an early breakaway, was the best Eagles forward throughout the 4-1 series loss, showing heart and character when the majority of the club was playing a baffling uninspired brand of hockey.

Adam, a candidate for league MVP, ends the series with three goals, an assist, and a -8 rating. Legault banged in a goal, while Lagacé collected three assists and just eight shots on goal in the five-game affair. It is expected that the Sabres will look to bolster their AHL affiliate in Portland by adding one or two Eagles for the playoff run. SabresProspects sees Adam and Legault as the most logical choices for extended duty.

In the USHL, Mark Adams was whistled for three minor penalties as Chicago lost to Des Moines, 4-3.
3/28/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

3/26 Recap: Seasons end for defensive pair

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, March 27, 2010 | 3/27/2010

Drew MacKenzie was even Friday as Vermont saw their season come to an end in the NCAA West regional with a 3-2 loss to Wisconsin. The sophomore defenseman turned in a solid second half of the season to finish with four goals, 10 assists, and a -1 rating in 36 games played.

In the QMJHL, Jordon Southorn skated -1 as PEI was finished off by Saint John, 7-2. Losing their QMJHL quarterfinal by a 4-1 count, Southorn and the Rocket see their seasons end with a admirable effort against one of the elite teams in all of the CHL.

In the WHL playoffs, Brayden McNabb was even in as Kootenay lost to Medicine Hat, 5-2. After taking a 2-0 series lead, the Ice are now on the verge of elimination heading into Sunday's game six after dropping three straight to the Tigers.

In the USHL, Mark Adams was even as Chicago lost to Sioux City, 2-1.
3/27/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/25 Recap: Kassian stacks helpers as Spits use broom; Crawford honored

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, March 25, 2010 | 3/25/2010

Zack Kassian piled up three assists Thursday as Windsor earned a first-round playoff sweep with a 5-1 win over Erie. The fresh-legged pacesetter has been very effective over the past 120-minutes of hockey, getting work on both sides of the special teams cause while being a load to handle at even strength. Kassian totaled two goals and four assists in the quarterfinal cruise.

The Spits, now perfect in five straight series clinching games dating back to last season, will move on to the Western Conference semifinals where they'll face Tyler Seguin and the Plymouth Whalers. Seguin and Windsor's Taylor Hall are the top two North Americans rated for this June's draft after sharing the OHL scoring title with 106 points each.


Congratulations to Barrie Colts defenseman Nick Crawford after being named the Best Offensive Defenseman in the 2009-10 Eastern Conference coaches poll. The 6'1 Crawford was topped all league rearguards with 70 points (11+59) between Saginaw and Barrie, including 36 (7-29) on the power play.
3/25/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

3/24 Recap: Adam trick keeps Eagles alive

Luke Adam notched his first career playoff hat trick Wednesday as Cape Breton emerged from their rut with a 4-1 win over Moncton. After a scoreless first period, Adam opened the gates on a second period power play when his point shot fluked off of Nicola Riopel's glove. He'd cash his own rebound upstairs for his second power play goal of the game at 3:38 of the third before riding another man advantage a few minutes later to complete the hat trick.

Jacob Lagacé posted a pair of assists for Cape Breton, while Maxime Legault registered one shot on net. Outplayed in the first three games of the quarterfinal series, the Eagles now trail the best-of-seven 3-1 heading into Saturday's game five.

Also from the QMJHL, Jordon Southorn finished -1 as PEI lost in overtime to Saint John, 2-1. The Sea Dogs will return home for Friday's match-up holding a 3-1 series lead, putting Southorn and the Rocket on the brink of elimination along with the Eagle troika.

In the OHL, Marcus Foligno was even as Sudbury saw their 2009-10 season end with a 6-3 loss to Barrie. The 6'3 forward missed a chance at his second postseason goal when he rang one off the post late in the first period with the score tied 1-1. Nick Crawford (+2) earned an assist, his seventh point of the playoffs, for the broom-toting Colts.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb was +1 as Kootenay lost to Medicine Hat, 5-1. The series is now even at two games apiece. On Tuesday, the Tigers started their claw-back by defeating Ice by a 4-1 count. McNabb earned an assist in the loss while picking up a fighting major for the second consecutive night.
3/25/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/23 Recap: Kassian cashes in win; Eagle trio teetering

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 3/23/2010

Zack Kassian scored a goal and an assist Tuesday as Windsor outshot Erie 58-19 en route to taking a 7-6 win and a commanding three-games-to-one advantage in their OHL first round series. Skating primarily on a line with Eric Wellwood and Stephen Johnston, Kassian hobbled off the ice midway through the first after getting hit in the leg by teammate Ryan Ellis' point shot. He would return to the bench a few shifts into period two, eventually getting his groove back by giving Windsor a 5-4 lead on the power play with :10 play in the period. Often found down low and now being used in front on the PP, the 6'3 forward has three points in three playoff games after posting the same total in nine games over the previous two postseasons with Peterborough. The Spits will look to close out the Otters on Thursday.

In the QMJHL, Maxime Legault scored a power play goal as Cape Breton lost their third straight playoff game to Moncton, 3-2. Legault, who fired seven shots on net, scored his first goal of the postseason at 13:37 of the third to halve the Wildcat lead to 2-1. Luke Adam (-3, 20-12 at the dot) finished with seven shots on goal in addition to two others ringing posts, while Jacob Lagacé (-2) contributed two shots for the Screaming Eagles. Trailing the series 3-0 heading into Wednesday's game four, the Adam-to-Portland watch is officially underway. Legault may not be far behind, with Lagacé's status still questionable.

In Charlottetown, Jordon Southorn was -1 as PEI dropped a 3-0 shutout to Saint John. After lining up seven hits in the first two games including a monster in game two, the 6'2 blueliner did not register in that column in the loss. The Sea Dogs will take a 2-1 series lead into Wednesday's tilt in PEI.
3/23/2010 | 5 comments | Read More

Pest gets dozen for dropping Foligno

Zac Rinaldo of the Barrie Colts has been suspended 12 games by the Ontario Hockey League after his blindside hit on Marcus Foligno this past Sunday. Rinaldo, a pest prospect of the Philadelphia Flyers, came up high from the side on the 6'3 Foligno, dropping the Wolves physical leader and forcing him off the ice in a woozy state. Foligno would gather his marbles and return to the game.

With Rinaldo taking a seat, Foligno and the Wolves will have one less thorn in their side when they stave off elimination against the CHL's #1 ranked team on Wednesday. Also worth considering is that the next time Foligno gets to settle the score, it could be in a Sabres-Flyers tilt a few years down the line. Foligno was already ahead on the judges scorecard after pounding the 5'11 agitator a few weeks back.

After Zack Kassian received 20 games for his hit on Barrie's Matt Kennedy, does Rinaldo's dozen fit the crime?
3/23/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

Sophomore quartet skates into brackets

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, March 21, 2010 | 3/21/2010

Four Sabres prospects will be packing their bags this week as the 16-team field for the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament was announced Sunday.

The Miami RedHawks were named the #1 seed in the Midwest region in what could be a coming-out party for sophomore Connor Knapp. The 6'5 goaltender has been hot of late, and should be in the crease when the RedHawks open the tourney Saturday against #4 Alabama-Huntsville (4:00. ESPNU). Bemidji State (#2) and Michigan (#3) round out the action in Ft. Wayne.

The North Dakota Fighting Sioux, winners of the WCHA Final Five, have been tabbed the #2 seed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester. Sophomore Brad Eidsness will lead the Sioux charge between the pipes when they square off with #3 Yale on Saturday (5:00, TV TBD). After playing six games in nine days, the Saturday opener essentially gives the Sioux an extra day of rest. Fellow sophomore Corey Fienhage is set to remain as the #6 defensemen pending the health of freshman Joe Gleason. Boston College (#1) and Alaska (#4) occupy the other half of the bracket.

With their fate riding on Saturday night's results, the University of Vermont Catamounts earned an at-large as the #4 seed in the West. Sophomore Drew MacKenzie, a key situations defender looking to erase an unfortunate bounce in last year's Frozen Four, will be primed for Friday's opener against #1 Wisconsin (8:00, ESPNU HD). #2 St. Cloud State and #3 Northern Michigan will open the action in St. Paul.
3/21/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/21 Recap: Crawford collects; Foligno gets rung

Nick Crawford notched a pair of power play assists Sunday as Barrie took a commanding series lead by defeating Sudbury, 6-2. The Colts, who have now taken the first three games of the quarterfinal match-up, will look to close out the Wolves on Wednesday.

Marcus Foligno finished even for Sudbury, while getting his bell rung by Colts pest Zac Rinaldo early in the middle period. The blindside hit saw the 6'3 grinder's helmet pop off, leaving him a little dazed as he skated off the ice on his own power before returning a short time later.

If you recall, Foligno obliged the Colts pest a few weeks back and delivered a proper lumping. Rinaldo got tossed from the game, and no one should be surprised is Foligno looks to settle the score before the close of the chippy, fight-filled series.

In Windsor, Zack Kassian was +1 with a roughing minor in the game's final minute as Windsor bested Erie, 3-1. Despite being outplayed for the bulk of the action, the Spits will take a 2-0 lead into Tuesday's game three of the quarterfinal series.

In the USHL, Mark Adams was +1 with two shots on goal as Chicago dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to Green Bay. Prior to the shootout, Gamblers goaltender Steve Summerhays and Chicago goaltender Nick Piselini squared off at center ice in what was a first for this longtime hockey watcher. Both goaltenders were ejected after the fracas.
3/21/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/20 Recap: Eidsness keeps rolling; Knapp now the man?

Brad Eidsness made 29 saves Saturday as #5 North Dakota earned a 5-3 win over St. Cloud State to take the 2010 Broadmmor Trophy as WCHA Tournament Champion. Eidsness has really turned his game on in the tourney, making several difficult stops to help the Sioux right the ship after surrendering goals on the first two shifts of the game. Corey Fienhage was even in his stay-back role on the Sioux blueline. North Dakota now waits for the NCAA pairings where they will likely head to Worcester.

Connor Knapp
made 12 saves as #2 Miami defeated Ferris State, 2-1. The #2 star of the game, Knapp looks poised to snatch the RedHawks' starting job when the NCAA tourney unfolds. Miami is expected to be a #1 seed, perhaps in the Ft. Wayne regional.

In the QMJHL, Jordon Southorn made headlines with a five-minute charging major as PEI evened their series with a 6-3 win over Saint John. Southorn was called for charging and a game misconduct with 6:20 to play in the third period, allowing the Sea Dogs to score two unnecessary power play goals. The hit is captured at the 3:30 mark of the highlight reel below:

Elsewhere in the Q, Luke Adam, Jacob Lagacé, and Maxime Legault all posted obvious bagels as Cape Breton got smoked by Moncton, 6-0. The Wildcats look to be on cruise control with a 2-0 series lead.

In the OHL, Nick Crawford picked up a power play assist as Barrie edged Sudbury, 2-1. A tighter affair after the Colts 11-4 shellacking to open the series, the physical affair was settled on special teams as all three goals were scored with the man advantage. Marcus Foligno was credited with an assist for the Wolves.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb was +1 with an assist as Kootenay pitched a 4-0 shutout of Medicine Hat. The Ice victory gives them a 2-0 series edge heading into game #3 in Medicine Hat.

In the USHL, Mark Adams was +1 as Chicago lost to Green Bay, 3-1.
3/21/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

3/19 Recap: Eids guides Sioux; McNabb chips in

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, March 20, 2010 | 3/20/2010

Brad Eidsness made 23 saves Friday as #5 North Dakota trumped #1 Denver in the WCHA semifinal, 4-3. The Chestermere, Alberta native, who made a highlight reel save with his skate midway through the third period, was beaten by a 4-4 wrister from the dot, another wrister from the point, and a quick backhand down low in the final minute. Corey Fienhage finished +1 on the Sioux blueline. North Dakota moves on to face #6 St. Cloud State for the Broadmoor Trophy on Saturday. An Eidness start would be the second consecutive weekend of back-to-back-to-backers for the sophomore.

Connor Knapp stopped all four shots he faced in the final 12:53 of relief as #2 Miami lost their CCHA semifinal to #17 Michigan, 5-2 in Joe Louis Arena. Knapp is expected to get the start when the RedHawks play what should be a hotly contested third place game with #8 Ferris State on Saturday afternoon. A solid performance could see him keep the starting gig into the NCAA tourney after three poor showings by Hobey Baker finalist Cody Reichard.

In the Hockey East semifinal, Drew MacKenzie (-1) posted three shots on goal as #14 Vermont was shut out by #4 Boston College, 3-0. Jimmy Hayes (TOR) had a goal and two assists, while Chris Kreider (NYR) added a goal and an assist to pace the Eagles. The Catamounts season is for now on hold as they will be in the running for an at-large bid when the NCAA tournament field is announced on Sunday.

In the WHL playoffs, Brayden McNabb hit for a pair of assists as Kootenay defeated Medicine Hat, 6-3. Trailing 1-0 in the first period, the 6'4 defenseman helped put Kootenay on the board when his high wrist shot was deflected past the Tigers Tyler Bunz. Earlier in the day, McNabb was named a WHL Eastern Conference First Team All Star. The Ice will look to hold serve entering game #2 Saturday in Cranbrook.

In the QMJHL, Luke Adam (-2) and Jacob Lagacé (-2) each had assists as Cape Breton opened their playoff year with a 6-3 loss to Moncton. Adam, who won just 8 of 21 faceoffs, saw his line get outplayed by the Cats counter-punching trio led by Kelsey Tessier (3G, 1A). Maxime Legault (-1) picked up a pair of minor penalties for the losing side. Game #2 will be played on Saturday.

Jordon Southorn registered a game-high six hits as PEI got blasted 8-3 by Saint John. The Rocket fall behind 1-0 in their best-of-seven first round series, with the two clubs playing it back on Saturday.

In the USHL, Mark Adams was -1 as Chicago lost to Team USA, 5-3.
3/20/2010 | 5 comments | Read More

3/18 Recap: Eidsness stops 'em all; Kassian excels

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, March 19, 2010 | 3/19/2010

Brad Eidsness stopped all 22 shots he faced Thursday as #5 North Dakota blanked #11 Duluth, 2-0. The shutout was Eidsness' third of the season and second in as many weekends. Corey Fienhage was even with a shot on goal for the Sioux in his first game since March 6th. The sophomore blueliner is expected to play all three games this weekend with Joe Gleason nursing a lower body injury. With a spot already clinched in the NCAA tournament field, North Dakota now moves on to face #1 Denver in Friday's WCHA semifinal.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian scored the game winning goal while playing a fantastic all-around game as Windsor opened the 2010 playoffs with a 6-2 win over Erie. The goal, a skilled finish off a power forward move around defenseman Mitch Gaulton (NYR), was Kassian's fifth in five games with the defending Memorial Cup Champion Spits. Greg McKegg ('10) scored a shorthanded goal for the Otters.

In another weeknight opener, Nick Crawford picked up three assists as Barrie embarrassed Sudbury, 11-4. Crawford, who finished the regular season as the OHL's leading scorer among defensemen, earned two of the helpers on the power play as top-ranked Barrie rode ten different scorers to take a 1-0 series lead. Marcus Foligno scored a goal and an assist for the Wolves.
3/19/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Eidsness back on All-WCHA list

North Dakota goaltender Brad Eidsness was named to the All-WCHA Second Team at Thursday's league banquet.

Eidsness, who hails from Chestermere, Alberta, landed his second all-conference team honor in as many seasons. In 37 games, Eidsness is 21-9-4 with a 2.09 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. He leads all WCHA goalies in minutes played (2149:07) and ranks second in wins and goals against average, third in save percentage and fourth in winning percentage.

An All-WCHA third team pick as a freshman last year, Eidsness is the fourth Sioux goalie to earn multiple All-WCHA honors, joining three-time selections Karl Goehring (1997-98, 1998-98, 1999-00) and Jon Casey (1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84) and two-time pick Joe Lech (1962-63, 1964-65).

Earlier this month, Eidsness joined former All-American Karl Goehring (1997-01) as the only Sioux goalies to win 20 games in each of their first two seasons.

Part of Eidsness' edge this season has been his conditioning level. Logging nearly every start in his two seasons in Grand Fork's, the 6'0 netminder learned from his freshman year and arrived this season prepared for the grind.

From the Grand Forks Herald:

Eidsness was banged up and not at the top of his game, allowing 12 goals in UND’s final three games – all postseason tournament losses. It marked the only time all year that Eidsness allowed four goals in back-to-back games.

During the offseason, Eidsness vowed to be more prepared physically for this season.

He lost nearly 20 pounds during extensive summer conditioning and came to fall camp prepared to carry another heavy load of starts.

Eidsness has done that, playing in 37 of UND’s 39 games, but he doesn’t appear to be slowing down this time around.

Eidsness is 9-1 in his past 10 starts, carrying a 1.50 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage during that time.

“There’s a big difference in Brad’s conditioning levels” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “I think his strength level is a lot different from this time last year to now. He’s done a real good job. I think he went through some experiences last year that told him, ‘I’ve got to improve myself athletically and conditioning-wise.’ He’s done that and we’re seeing the payoff of that.”
3/19/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/14 Recap: Knapp nips Buckeyes; Adam not quite nifty

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, March 14, 2010 | 3/14/2010

Connor Knapp made 22 saves Sunday as #2 Miami held on to defeat Ohio State, 2-1. Facing little action in the opening stanza, the 6'5 Knapp was excellent in the final 40-minutes, making 20 of his saves while allowing a single Buckeye marker off a quick feed to a wide open C.J. Severyn. The York, NY native was particularly stout against a flurry in the closing minutes to earn the game's #1 star.

The win sends the RedHawks to Detroit next weekend for a CCHA semifinal match-up against surging Michigan. With Knapp stepping up after Cody Reichard's poor performance on Saturday, it would behoove Miami bench boss Enrico Blasi to, at the very least, extend his regular season logic of the Friday/Saturday rotation. Last year, Knapp and Reichard split duties before Blasi tabbed Reichard as the lead man for their run to the NCAA final.

In the WCHA, Brad Eidsness made 18 saves as North Dakota ended Minnesota's season with a 4-1 win in game three of the first round series. Backing a strong two-way effort by the Sioux, Eidsness shut the door after getting beaten early by a 30-footer through traffic to notch his 21st win of the year. North Dakota moves on to the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul where they'll face Minnesota-Duluth in Thursday's 4/5 play-in. Corey Fienhage is expected to remain as the Sioux's #7 defenseman.

In Durham, Drew MacKenzie chipped in three shots on goal as Vermont stunned New Hampshire in overtime, 1-0. The sophomore defenseman had a good look in the final minute of regulation but was stopped by UNH netminder Brian Foster. Entering the Hockey East tourney as the #8 seed, the Catamounts grinded out back-to-back shutouts to knock out the top-seeded Wildcats and skate into Boston for Friday's semifinal match-up against Boston College.

Justin Jokinen did not play as Minnesota State saw their season end with a 3-2 overtime loss to St. Cloud State.

In the QMJHL, Luke Adam fired six shots on net but could not connect for goal #50 as Cape Breton closed the regular season with a 4-2 win over Bathurst. The big center, who missed a yawning net with four minutes left and another long attempt with the empty net as time expired, did earn an assist in the victory to finish with a career-best 90 points.

Jacob Lagacé opened scoring on the power play when he one-timed his 35th goal of the season past Titan netminder Francois Lacerte, while Maxime Legault took the Sunday day of rest as the confident Eagles completed a four-game winning streak to end the regular season. Finishing third in the Atlantic Division and seventh overall, Cape Breton will open the playoffs Friday in Moncton.

Elsewhere in the Q, Jordon Southorn was even with a fighting major as PEI defeated Halifax, 3-2 in overtime. Meaningless in terms of playoff implications, the chippy affair featured a total of five fights. The Rocket now face the tall task of winning a seven-game playoff series against the potent Saint John Sea Dogs.

In the OHL, Marcus Foligno was even as Sudbury lost to Ottawa, 3-2. The 6'3 grinder ends the regular season with career highs in goals (14), points (39), and PIM (156). Ryan Martindale ('10) posted three assists to lead the 67's. The Wolves move on to the playoffs where they'll face Nick Crawford and the CHL's #1 ranked Barrie Colts in the first round.

In the USHL, Mark Adams was +2 with an assist as Chicago downed Indiana, 5-4.
3/14/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/13 Recap: Biega, Tropp bounced; Kassian catchin' up

Alex Biega saw his collegiate career come to a close Saturday as Harvard was shut out by #9 Cornell, 3-0. The Big Red sweep of the ECAC quarterfinal sends the senior defenseman back to Cambridge with 15 goals and 55 assists in 131 games of his four-year NCAA career. The 5'11 righthander will now sit and wait for a contract offer from the Sabres. The club of course has until August 15th to make a decision on the player.

Also seeing his season come to frustrating close Saturday was Michigan State junior Corey Tropp. The Spartans fell for a second straight night to energy-laced Michigan, 5-3, but Tropp was forced to sit the game out after stepping on a puck and tweaking his ankle during pregame warm-ups. The freak accident put an abrupt end to Tropp's remarkable bounceback year where he led the Spartans with 20 goals and 42 points. Despite finishing 2nd in the CCHA regular season, MSU is essentially done as their current pairwise ranking projects them out of the 16-team NCAA tourney.

In the WCHA, Brad Eidsness stopped 22 shots as North Dakota saw their best-of-three series evened at one game apiece in a 4-2 loss to Minnesota. After a Friday shutout of the Gophers, the sophomore surrendered three goals against in game two - a pair with the Gophers on the power play and the third on a high point shot through traffic that came quickly off a draw. With the game tied 2-2, it appeared that Eidsness did not see the shot coming until it was too late, stabbing upward while standing up as the puck shot past him. Corey Fienhage did not dress for the Sioux, who will look to keep their healthy pairwise ranking in tact with a victory in Sunday's rubber match.

Connor Knapp did not get his usual Saturday start as #2 Miami suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to Ohio State. The move to not start Knapp backfired on RedHawks coach Enrico Blasi, as the nation's top netminder (numerically) Cody Reichard allowed three goals on his first 11 shots while fighting the puck all evening long. The Buckeye victory forces a Sunday game #3, and a likely opportunity for Knapp to assume the crease for Miami after a shutout in his last start.

In Hockey East, Drew MacKenzie registered three shots on goal as Vermont edged New Hampshire, 1-0. With the Catamounts leveling the series at one game each, the #1 seeded Wildcats are forced to defend home ice in Sunday's deciding game.

As expected, Justin Jokinen remained back in Mankato as Minnesota State lost to St. Cloud State, 3-2. After splitting the Friday/Saturday games, the clubs will play it back Sunday in St. Cloud.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian scored a pair of goals as Windsor ended their regular season with a 8-3 loss to Sarnia. The Spits sat five of their top players en route to losing to the league's worst team, while Kassian continued his tune-up on a line with Kenny Ryan and Stephen Jonhston. The two-goal night, highlighted by a clean slapper on the latter, allows the 6'3 wing to finish his 38-game regular season with 12 goals, 19 assists, 81 PIMS, and a -16 rating. The Spits will play either Saginaw or Erie when the playoffs begin next week.

Nick Crawford was +1 in Barrie's 4-2 win over Kingston. Heading into the final day of play, Crawford's 70 points gives him a three-point lead over Soo's Jacob Muzzin for the defensive scoring title. The Greyhounds finish their regular season on Sunday versus Kitchener. The Colts (57-9-0-2) finished the season first overall with 116 points and are guaranteed home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. They will open against either Niagara or Marcus Foligno's Sudbury Wolves pending the results of Sunday's closing slate.

Brayden McNabb finished even as Kootenay concluded their regular season by defeating Edmonton, 2-1. Prior to the game, the 6'4 McNabb was named the team's Top Defenseman for the 2009-10 season. The Ice will begin the playoffs at home on Friday against Medicine Hat.

Mark Adams was even while being 'credited' with the first fighting major of his junior "A" career as Chicago defeated Tri-City, 4-2. Coincidental delay of game penalties were also assessed on the play.
3/14/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

3/12 Recap: Adam on cusp; Eidsness blanks Gophers

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, March 13, 2010 | 3/13/2010

Luke Adam scored his 49th goal of the season Friday as Cape Breton defeated Moncton, 4-0. Adam, whose goal total trails Drummondville's Gabriel Dumont (50) for the QMJHL lead, will look to hit the half-century mark when the regular season concludes on Sunday. Maxime Legault continued to show why he was acquired at the deadline, scoring his 17th of the season, closing quickly on the forecheck, and earning a fighting major as the Screaming Eagles looked to make a statement against the team they will square off with in round one of the playoffs. Jacob Lagacé was assessed a pair of minor penalties in the win.

Elsewhere in the Q, Jordon Southorn was -1 as PEI lost to Saint John, 4-0. The Rocket are locked in to face the Sea Dogs when the playoffs begin next week.

In the OHL, Marcus Foligno finished +2 with a fighting major as Sudbury clinched a playoff spot with a 5-3 win over Kingston. The Wolves will face either Barrie or Ottawa in the first round. In the final minutes of the game, Foligno dumped a Fronts player in the corner and had to defend his actions against Derek Froats.

Zack Kassian was even as Windsor sat five starters in a 4-3 overtime loss to London. On Thursday, the 6'3 forward netted a goal in his second game since returning from suspension as the Spits defeated Plymouth, 6-4. Kassian, who is still battling some rust, got in down low to take a pass and score his 10 goal of the year, and first since January 14th. After clinching the Western Conference title with the Thursday win, the Spits will finish the regular season Saturday in Sarnia.

Nick Crawford was -1 as Barrie beat Brampton, 4-2. Crawford still holds a three-point lead as the OHL's top scoring rearguard with one game remaining on the schedule.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb was +1 as Kootenay doubled Red Deer, 4-2. The Ice, who have one regular season game remaining versus Edmonton, will face Medicine Hat in the first round of the playoffs.

In the WCHA playoffs, Brad Eidsness stopped all 27 shots sent his way as #5 North Dakota pounded Minnesota, 6-0. The game #1 shutout, Eidsness' second of the season, gives the sophomore 20 wins for the second straight season. Corey Fienhage did not dress for the Sioux. Fast forward to the 2:00 mark below for a pretty sweet glove save by the 2007 fifth round pick.

In Hockey East, Drew MacKenzie scored his fourth goal of the season as #19 Vermont lost their playoff opener at #11 New Hampshire, 7-4. The sophomore roofed a wrister from the point to tie the game 1-1 in the first period.

In the opening game of an ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series, Alex Biega was -2 with four shots on goal as Harvard lost at #9 Cornell, 4-1. Cornell scored the final four goals of the game to pull away and take control of the best-of-three.

In the CCHA playoffs, Corey Tropp finished -3 as #10 Michigan State lost to rival Michigan 5-1. The Wolverines used three first period tallies to take the 1-0 road lead.

Connor Knapp looked on as #2 Miami opened their playoff year by cruising to a 6-2 win over Ohio State.

Justin Jokinen did not make the trip (healthy scratch) as Mankato opened the first round of the WCHA playoffs with a 4-3 OT win at #7 St. Cloud State.

In USHL action, Roo Adams was -2 as Chicago lost to Tri-City, 4-1.
3/13/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/10 Recap: Legault propels Eagles

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, March 11, 2010 | 3/11/2010

Maxime Legault scored a pair of goals Wednesday as Cape Breton defeated the CHL's #2 ranked club Saint John, 4-3 in a shootout. Trailing 3-1 in the third period, Legault potted his 15th and 16th goals of the season over the final 15-minutes to force the OT. Playing his most effective two-way game since arriving from Shawinigan, Legault had a chance at a natural hat trick but failed to connect on a penalty shot.

Luke Adam added his league-leading 48th goal of the season for the Eagles, while Jacob Lagacé earned an assist and a shootout goal. Lagacé, going through open ice with his head down, was wiped out with a big hit late in the second period causing 5'6 teammate Brad Cuzner to come to his aid by taking on 6'4 Simon Despres.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb picked up a pair of minor penalties as Kootenay defeated Red Deer, 5-1.
3/11/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/7 Recap: Kassian back; Spits roll

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, March 8, 2010 | 3/08/2010

Zack Kassian returned to action Sunday, racking up nine minutes in penalties including a fighting major as Windsor downed Sault Ste. Marie, 4-0. With a 1-0 lead midway through a spirited first period, Kassian casually flicked a puck towards the Soo net after a whistle that immediately inspired a challenge from OHL fight leader, Dylan King. The 6'3 Kassian was awarded a decision.

Kassian would later draw attention after a third period whistle resulting in a scrum and the ejection of Greyhound winger, Jake Carrick. Offensively with new linemates, the big wing kept his game simple as he looked to get into rhythm. The timing of hits and spacing in the offensive zone are sure to develop over the last week of the regular season.

Elsewhere, Marcus Foligno picked up an assist on the game winning goal as Sudbury improved their playoff hopes with a 2-1 win over Missisauga-St. Mike's. Peterborough (58), Niagara (57), and Sudbury (56) all posted wins on Sunday to remain slotted 6-7-8 in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Oshawa lost to slip three points behind the Wolves with three games to play.

Nick Crawford was +1 as Barrie closed out Belleville, 4-2. The victory secures home ice for Barrie throughout the OHL playoffs.
3/08/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

Wait ends for Kassian

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, March 7, 2010 | 3/07/2010

After a 51-day break, Windsor forward Zack Kassian is set to return to the line-up Sunday afternoon when the Spits host Sault Ste. Marie. Kassian, ejected and suspended for 20-games in his debut after a trade from Peterborough, will be looking to execute in ways similar to what made him the Sabres first round pick last June. In 34 games this season, the 6'3, 215-pounder has nine goals, 19 assists, and -18 rating.

A first-round pick by the Buffalo Sabres in 2009, Kassian knows he has to skate a fine line, but can't change the style that got him to this point.

"If I don't played that way, I'm not the player I was and the player Windsor traded for, but I need to be careful," Kassian said.

Boughner said he's told Kassian not to change his game.

"A guy like Kass can't change his style of play and we don't want him to," Boughner said. "All eyes are on him and he has to know that, but we got him for a reason.

"He adds a physical element with his skill. He makes other players look over their shoulder."

Boughner said Kassian helps make his teammates play a little bigger.

"(Since he's been out) I don't think we've finished enough hits or gotten a lot of respect from other teams," Bough-ner said.

"He's in phenomenal shape and he's ready to play."

3/07/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/6 Recap: Adam sharp in Eagle win; Eno's season ends

Luke Adam collected the game winning goal and three assists Saturday to lead Cape Breton to an 8-3 thrashing of PEI. The four-point night, his third such output of the year, gives the 6'2 center a total of 87 (47-40) in 55 regular season games - good for 3rd overall in the QMJHL. Adam's mark leaves him three short of 50 with three games to play.

Jacob Lagacé added his 34th of the year for the Eagles, who earned the weekend split in Charlottetown. Jordon Southorn finished -2 for the Rocket, while Eagles forward Maxime Legault missed his third straight game due to illness.

Marcus Foligno was -1 as Sudbury lost an important battle with Niagara, 4-2. The road defeat drops the Wolves from sixth to final eighth spot in the OHL's Eastern Conference playoff standings with four games to play. Sudbury (54) holds a one point lead over ninth place Oshawa (53), with Peterborough (56) and Niagara (55) holding the sixth and seventh spots.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb was -2 as Kootenay got spanked in their own barn by Calgary, 6-0. Wild prospect Kris Foucault had a hat trick and assist while goaltender Martin Jones recorded with his third consecutive shutout for the Hitmen. With the playoffs around the corner, the Ice have hit a cold patch of five straight losses. They will look to right the ship on Wednesday versus Red Deer.

In the NCAA, Bowling Green junior Nick Eno made 24 saves prior to exiting as Bowling Green saw their 2009-10 season conclude with a 6-1 loss to #20 Nebraska-Omaha. Eno, who had allowed four goals on 28 shots through 36:33 of time, ends his disappointing campaign at 5-13-4 with a 3.30 goals against average and .896 save percentage while fighting freshman Andrew Hammond for time.

Alex Biega was even as Harvard knocked Princeton out of the ECAC tournament with a 3-0 shutout win. Alex's freshman brother Danny paced the Crimson attack with a gorgeous goal, his fourth in five games, and an assist. Sunday action will determine Harvard's second round opponent.

Drew MacKenzie was -1 as #16 Vermont played to a 1-1 overtime tie with Lowell. The tie and a Northeastern loss to BU allowed the Catamounts to slip into the final spot in the Hockey East playoffs where they'll against the top seed, #10 New Hampshire.

In Grand Forks, Brad Eidsness made 28 saves as #7 North Dakota came back to sweep Michigan Tech, 3-2. A rebound down low and clean look off a rush put Tech ahead 2-0 through the early second period before the Sioux rallied to win their seventh straight. North Dakota's Corey Fienhage was +1 with two shots on goal and two aggressive, perhaps ill-timed minors for elbowing and boarding. The Sioux finish the WCHA regular season as the #4 seed, setting up a first round battle with Minnesota.

Justin Jokinen was scratched for the seventh consecutive game as Mankato tied #4 St. Cloud, 2-2. The Mavs will return to St. Cloud next weekend for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
3/07/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/5 Recap: Tourney season underway

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, March 6, 2010 | 3/06/2010

Alex Biega fired up the SabresProspects playoff season on Friday, registering an assist as Harvard scored four third period goals to win at Princeton, 4-2. The Senior Biega head-manned the puck up ice to Louis LeBlanc, who found Michael Biega for the final Crimson goal with 2:10 left on the clock. The Crimson will look to advance to the second round of the ECAC bracket when the two teams take the ice on Saturday. A Tiger win will force a deciding game on Sunday.

In the CCHA playoffs, Nick Eno made 21 saves in relief of starter Andrew Hammond as Bowling Green was blown-out at Nebraska-Omaha, 6-1. Eno, who entered the game at 2:29 of the second period with the Falcons down 4-1, allowed two power play goals before stopping the bleeding with 13 saves in the third. The Falcons will look to extend their CCHA season one more day with a win in Saturday's rematch.

In the final weekend of WCHA regular season play, Brad Eidsness made 13 saves to guide # North Dakota to a 5-1 win over Michigan Tech. The sophomore, who allowed one goal off a bad turnover (below), was rather sharp in limited duty to improve his goals against average to 1.50 over the Sioux's current six-game winning streak. Sophomore blueliner Corey Fienhage was a healthy scratch for the Sioux.

Justin Jokinen was a healthy scratch as Minnesota State dumped St. Cloud State, 4-2.

In Hockey East, Drew MacKenzie was -1 with three shots on goal as #16 Vermont lost to Lowell, 5-2. Orchard Park, NY native Nick Schaus finsihed +2 with an assist for Lowell.

In the USHL, Providence commit Mark Adams scored his fourth goal of the year on the power play as Chicago blanked Lincoln, 3-0.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb was even with nine minutes in penalties as Kootenay lost to Medicine Hat, 2-1. The 6'4 defenseman picked up the bulk of his PIM after engaging in a short wrestling match with Tiger forward Bretton Cameron.

In the QMJHL, Luke Adam assisted on the lone Eagles goal as Cape Breton lost to PEI, 4-1. Jacob Lagacé had another quiet night for the losing side, while Maxime Legault missed his second straight game due to illness. Jordon Southorn gave a steady effort on the Rocket blueline, finishing the game +1 with a hit.

In OHL play, Nick Crawford skated to a -2 as Barrie was stopped by Ottawa, 6-3. The loss snaps the Colts eight-game winning streak, while Crawford's stretch of 21 games even or in the "plus" column comes to and end after being on the ice for a pair of third period goals against. Still, Crawford's +48 is tops in the OHL tied for 2nd overall in the entire CHL.

Marcus Foligno was even as Sudbury defeated Belleville, 4-3. The Wolves bell ringer flattened Bulls defenseman Julian Luciani with a huge hit in the first period that had the recipient down on the ice for minute or two before regaining his game wits.
3/06/2010 | 4 comments | Read More

Settling the post-deadline draft dust

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, March 5, 2010 | 3/05/2010

After the Wednesday trade deadline that saw Raffi Torres enter and Nathan Paetsch and Clarke MacArthur leave Buffalo, it seems proper to reset the Sabres' pick roster for the 2010 draft. This year's selection process will take place June 25-26th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Sabres currently hold nine slots with the possibility of an even 10 depending on the stretch performance of one of their former players.

Round 1:

Round 2:
currently no picks

- Buffalo's 2nd went to San Jose in the deal that brought Craig Rivet to Buffalo (7/4/2008).
- Buffalo held Vancouver's 2nd round pick from the trade that sent Steve Bernier to the Canucks (7/4/2008), but dealt it to Columbus with Paetsch to bring in Torres.

Round 3:

- Sabres get Atlanta pick from the MacArthur deal
- Bruins pick came in exchange for Dan Paille (10/20/2009)

Round 4:

- Buffalo's 4th traded to Phoenix at 2009 deadline for Mikael Tellqvist (3/4/2009).
- Sabres get Atlanta pick from MacArthur deal

Round 5:

Round 6:

Round 7:
San Jose

- Sabres received San Jose's 7th rounder that came along with Rivet (7/4/2008).

The Sabres will also receive a conditional 4th round pick from Boston (either the Bruins assigned pick or one they acquired from Carolina) if Paille finishes the season with 16 goals. If the condition is met, the Bruins must declare which pick they will use to complete the trade before the beginning of round two. Paille currently has 9 goals, meaning he will need to score seven in the remaining 20 games for the Sabres to receive the extra pick.
3/05/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

3/2-4 Recap: Crawford connects as Colts close in on clinch

Nick Crawford scored his 11th goal of the year Thursday as Barrie worked out a 4-3 win over Belleville. Crawford's power play marker gave the home Colts a 2-0 lead before the teams traded five goals in an exciting final twenty minutes. The goal ups Crawford's OHL leading points for defensemen to 68, while the CHL #1 ranked Colts need one more win to secure first overall in the OHL playoffs.

On Tuesday, Crawford drew an assist on the game-tying goal as Barrie earned an exciting 6-5 overtime win over Sudbury. Marcus Foligno finished -1 with a fighting major for the Wolves. With Sudbury leading 2-1 late in the first, Colts forward Zac Rinaldo (PHI) took a run and instigated the scrap in hopes of sparking his club. The 5'11 Rinaldo took a head start before getting handled rather easily by the 6'3 Foligno.

In Thursday USHL action, Mark Adams was -1 as Chicago was shut out by Sioux Falls, 2-0.

On Wednesday, Brayden McNabb netted his 17th goal of the season as Kootenay finished off Edmonton, 7-3. The 6'4 defender, who remains fifth among WHL blueliners with 56 points, finished the game a season-best +4. The Ice victory was their 40th of the year, giving them a leg-up on Red Deer for the #4 home-ice playoff spot with five games to go.

In the QMJHL, Jordon Southorn assisted on the game-winning goal as PEI topped league front-runner Saint John, 3-1. A Sea Dog victory would have locked up first overall in the QMJHL with five games remaining on their regular season schedule.

In Tuesday Q play, Luke Adam failed to inch closer to the 50-goal plateau as he and teammate Jacob Lagacé were blanked in Cape Breton's 2-0 loss to Moncton. The disappointing effort saw the Screaming Eagles register just 14 shots on goal against the team they're lined up to meet when the playoffs begin two weeks from now. With a QMJHL best 46 goals, Adam has five games left to hit the half century mark. Lagacé, on the other hand, has just three goals in 20 games since being dealt to Cape Breton. Maxime Legault did not play for the Eagles.
3/05/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Eidsness holds weekly spot; Tropp tabbed MVP

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, March 4, 2010 | 3/04/2010

For the second straight week, North Dakota goaltender Brad Eidsness has been named the Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week. Eidsness backstopped the Sioux to a rare road sweep of Colorado College to help lock up home-ice in the WCHA playoffs.

A 6-0, 175-pound sophomore from Chestermere, Alberta, Eidsness turned aside 53 of 57 series shots on goal for a .930 saves percentage while allowing just two goals each night. He also blanked the host Tigers on all 10 of their series power-play opportunities, after CC entered the series with the league’s top rated power-play.

A draftee of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, Eidsness stopped 26 shots in North Dakota’s 3-2 (ot) victory over Colorado College last Friday (Feb. 26) night and held the Tigers scoreless on all five power-play chances.

He then posted another 27 saves last Saturday (Feb. 27) evening as the Sioux completed the double victories with another 3-2 triumph, recorded their first sweep at CC since 1998-99, and clinched a home playoff berth for a league-leading eighth straight season.

On the season, Eidsness ranks second among WCHA goaltenders for all games in goals-against average at 2.21, is fourth in winning percentage at .655 on a 17-8-4 record, is fifth in saves percentage at .910 and is first in minutes played with 1,850.

Elsewhere in NCAA news, Michigan State junior Corey Tropp was named the Spartans Most Valuable Player and Outstanding Offensive Player at the team awards banquet on Wednesday.

Tropp has been among the CCHA and national leaders in scoring all season. After the regular season, he is tied for 12th nationally in points (42), tied for 10th in goals (20), tied for 11th in power-play goals (9) and is tied for fifth in game-winning tallies (5). He twice earned CCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors, and was both the CCHA and Hockey Commissioner's Association (HCA) Player of the Month for December. Tropp has a 20-22-42 scoring line headed into the playoffs, and will appear in his 100th career game next Friday night in the CCHA quarterfinals.

3/04/2010 | 0 comments | Read More