10/30 Recap: Sundher rising in the west

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, October 31, 2010 | 10/31/2010

Kevin Sundher scored a late power play goal and added an assist Saturday as Chilliwack came up short against Medicine Hat, 5-4. The multi-point night, the second in as many nights for the six-footer, ups his season total to eight (3+5) through his first 11 games. Toting three goals in his last four games, Sundher will look to connect on his first three-game point streak of the season Tuesday when the Bruins (8-5-0-0) lace 'em up with Kootenay. Emerson Etem knocked in a hat trick to lead the Tigers.

Riley Boychuk did not factor into the scoring as Portland continued to roll with a 6-1 stomping of Kelowna. Talented 2011's Ty Rattie (2G, 1A) and Sven Bartschi (1G, 1A) paced the Winterhawks attack, while fellow '11 Shane McColgan scored a goal for the Rockets. Portland (12-2-0-1) is off until next Friday when they host Red Deer.

Mark Pysyk was -1 with a roughing minor as Edmonton stumbled against Vancouver, 4-2. The slumping Oil Kings (5-9-01), losers in their last seven tries, will look to right the ship next Friday at Prince George.

Corey Fienhage skated even as Kamloops earned a 3-2 overtime win from Seattle. The Blazers (8-7-0-1) will host Kelowna on Wednesday.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian extended his point streak to five games with an assist as Windsor needed a shootout to edge Niagara, 4-3. During a first period power play, Kassian deflected a point-shot that created a goal off the rebound. IceDog forward Steven Shipley saw his three-game point streak snapped in the loss. Windsor (9-6-0-1) will take a three-game winning streak in a Friday meeting at Guelph, while Niagara (10-4-1-1) will move on to Thursday's matchup with Mississauga.

Gregg Sutch (+1) extended his own point streak to three games with an assist as Mississauga defeated Barrie, 5-2. The win improves the Majors' season mark to 10-2-0-0.

Marcus Foligno saw his six-game point streak come to an end as Sudbury lost to Belleville, 5-1. The lowly Wolves (4-9-1-0) will travel to play Sutch's Majors on Sunday.

In the Q, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc finished the night -2 as Rimouski suffered their fifth straight loss at the hands of Shawinigan, 5-1. The Oceanic roster is loaded with talent, but they haven't been working hard and thus have become way too soft in their own end. A cumulative -10 throughout the team's slump, JGL continued his improved Friday effort with a team-best four hits in Saturday's loss. Rimouski (9-11-0-0) will look for an elusive victory Sunday when they lock horns with Sean Coutuier ('11) and the Voltigeurs.

In NCAA action, Drew MacKenzie had an assist as Vermont lost in overtime to #7 Maine, 3-2. Midway though the third, MacKenzie fired a shot during a five-on-three that was tipped in by Williamsville, NY native Jack Downing to eventually force the OT.

Connor Knapp made 21 saves as #1 Miami played to a 2-2 tie with Lake Superior. Knapp looked to have his second win of the year in the bag before allowing a goal with seven seconds remaining in regulation. The RedHawks, who earned the extra tiebreaker point in the shootout, will travel to Ferris State on Friday.

Brad Eidsness made 14 saves as #8 North Dakota was shutout by #12 Denver, 3-0. The junior allowed two goals on the evening (the third was an empty netter), one off a tic-tac-toe play in the first period and another on a shorthanded breakaway in the second. The contest was marred a ferocious hit by Sioux forward Brad Malone that rendered the recipient, Pioneer Jesse Martin, unconscious on the ice. The Thrashers prospect came-to after being taken off on a stretcher with his future assessment to be performed by the Pio medical team. North Dakota will likley continue their goalie rotation next weekend at Duluth.

Justin Jokinen did not record a point or a shot on net as Minnesota State skated to a 2-2 tie with #16 Alaska-Fairbanks. The junior forward has now game six games without a point after netting three in the Mavs' first two games of the year. Minnesota State moves on to a set with Nebraska-Omaha next weekend.

Mark Adams finished -1 as Providence defeated Massachusetts, 3-2. The Friars will host Merrimack on Friday.

Nick Eno served as back-up as Bowling Green continued their goalie rotation in a 4-1 loss at Alaska-Fairbanks. The Falcons will continue their CCHA slate next weekend versus Notre Dame.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson recorded two shots on goal as Sioux Falls squeaked past Fargo, 2-1. The Stampede (8-6-2-0) will travel to Lincoln on Friday.
10/31/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

10/29 Recap: Isackson rolls with Herd; Sutch gets first

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, October 30, 2010 | 10/30/2010

Christian Isackson scored a goal and two assists Friday as Sioux Falls cruised to a 7-4 win over Lincoln. The nifty USHL rookie also poured a game-high eight shots on goal, one of which was a third period wrister that lit the lamp, to help the Stampede to their fourth straight win. Buffalo native Anthony Day had a goal and an assist for the Herd (5-2), who will square off with Fargo on Saturday.

In the OHL, Gregg Sutch scored his first goal of the season as Mississauga downed Kingston, 5-1. The 6'2 checker converged on the crease and finished off a short pass to end his nine-game drought. Sutch has seven points (1+6) through his first 10 games after totaling just eight in 2009-10 (43 games). The Majors (9-2-0-0) will travel to Barrie on Saturday before playing Sunday afternoon hosts to Sudbury.

Marcus Foligno extended his point streak to six games with an assist on the Wolves lone goal as Sudbury fell to Kitchener, 3-1. The 19-year old was tossed from the game after being whistled for a third period kneeing major and could face disciplinary action from the league as a result. Sudbury takes on Belleville on Saturday. Tobias Rieder ('11) had a goal and an assist for the Rangers.

Zack Kassian tapped in his seventh goal of the year as Windsor defeated Erie, 3-2. Kassian's rebound knock-in midway through the second period tied the game for the Spits before Eric Locke ('12) notched the game-winner to earn Windsor their first road win of the season.

Steven Shipley was credited with pair of assists for the second night in a row as Niagara used a shootout to squeak past Brampton, 5-4. Ryan Strome ('11) had a goal and an assist for the IceDogs.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc posted a -2 as Rimouski continued to falter with a 5-3 loss to Victoriaville. The Oceanic have now lost their last four games, with JGL posting a -8 over the stretch. Rimouski has a lot of talent on its roster, but have yet to put the work in to consistently win games.

Cedrick Henley missed a third straight game as Val-d'Or was clobbered by Saint John, 7-3.

In the WHL, Kevin Sundher collected a goal and an assist as Chilliwack took it to Calgary, 7-2. The multi-point effort was the first of the season for the 6'0 center. Thje Bruins (8-4-0-0) have now won four straight contests. Fellow 2010 third rounder Matt MacKenzie was -1 as the Hitmen suffered their fifth consecutive loss.

Brayden McNabb scored his first goal of the season as Kootenay got past Brandon, 5-4 in a shootout. Trailing 3-0, McNabb, who got off a low, hard slapshot through traffic to get the Ice on the board for the first of four straight goals, now has a point in all five games he's appeared in this season. Kootenay (11-3-0-1) will take a seven-game winning streak into Tuesday's meeting with Chilliwack.

Riley Boychuk potted his third goal of the season as Portland doubled Kelowna, 4-2. The rugged 6'5 forward, who buried a shot from right dot off a cross-ice feed, also added three minors to his bulging penalty minute total. The win improves the Winterhawks to an impressive 11-2-0-0 season mark.

In NCAA play, Nick Eno made 23 saves as Bowling Green lost 4-1 at Alaska-Fairbanks. Eno hung tough with some solid stops, with three of the Nanook tallies coming on the power play.

Justin Jokinen recorded a shot on goal as Minnesota State defeated #16 Alaska, 3-2. For those wishing to get a look at the 2008 fourth rounder, NHL Network will be replaying the game Saturday at 3:00.

Mark Adams finished +1 as Providence played to a 3-3 tie with Massachusetts. The Friars will re-engage with thier Hockey East foe on Saturday evening on home ice.

Connor Knapp took his usual Friday spot on the bench as Cody Reichard backstopped #1 Miami to a 6-2 win over Lake Superior. The 6'5 puckstopper will likely man the crease when the RedHawks look for the sweep on Saturday.

Brad Eidsness was sat in favor of Aaron Dell as #8 North Dakota defeated #12 Denver, 4-3. With the Sioux planning on using a goaltender rotation, expect to see Eidsness get the nod when the teams rematch on Saturday.
10/30/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

10/28 Recap: Kassian finds net as Spits down Soo

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, October 29, 2010 | 10/29/2010

Zack Kassian scored his sixth goal of the season Thursday as Windsor doubled up Sault Ste. Marie, 4-2. Kassian also connected for his second fight of the season when he tussled with Soo toughguy Dylan King for the second time in as many seasons after smoking a Greyhound along the boards.

Also from the OHL, Steven Shipley delivered two assists including one on the game-winning goal as Niagara defeated Plymouth, 5-2. Ryan Strome ('11) scored his seventh and eighth goals of season to pace the Dogs.

On Thursday, Brayden McNabb returned after an eight-game absence to notch an assist and a +2 rating as Kootenay shutout Calgary, 3-0. The 6'4 blueliner announced his return by executing a booming open-ice hit in the early goings and he found his game legs. Matt MacKenzie posted a -1 for the Hitmen, who lost their fourth straight.

Kevin Sundher finished -1 as Chilliwack edged Edmonton, 2-1. Mark Pysyk was +1 for the Oil Kings.

Corey Fienhage went -2 with a roughing minor as Kamloops dropped a 6-4 decision to Brandon.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc played even with three hits and a goaltender interference penalty as Rimouski fell to Lewiston, 4-2.

Cedrick Henley missed his secnd straight game with an undisclosed injury as Val-d'Or lost to Saint John, 5-4.

On Tuesday, Marcus Foligno scored his seventh goal of the year as Sudbury lost to Kingston, 6-2.
10/29/2010 | 3 comments | Read More

Charges dropped; Zack back on track

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | 10/27/2010

After being sequestered for most of the day in corporate meetings, I returned to my Blackberry to see good news regarding the Sabres future:

Criminal assault charges against Sabres forward prospect Zack Kassian stemming from an off-season bar fight have been formally dropped. Let's turn it over to the Windsor Star for more details:

As part of the deal, Kassian had to perform 25 hours of community service, make a $500 donation to charity and pay for the dental work of the man he punched, said his lawyer, Patrick Ducharme.

Windsor police arrested the Spitfire forward just before 2 a.m. on May 30 at The Beach Sports Bar and Grill on Ouellette Avenue. Kassian, 19, didn’t have to spend any time in jail, being released the same day on a promise to appear in court.

Ducharme said a criminal record would have had “serious” implications on Kassian’s career. He was the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round draft pick and a criminal record would have made it difficult for the LaSalle native to cross the border.

“There’s no question that the Buffalo team wanted him record-free,” said Ducharme, in a telephone interview from an out-of-town trial.

And so it's time to move forward. With 17 points through his first eight games in Windsor, the next steps for the 6'3 bruiser are making Team Canada for the U20s and getting a deal done with the Sabres. The former seems like a lock, while the latter becomes the top priority for an organization looking to achieve that elusive "team toughness".

Kassian and the Spits will be in Erie this Friday for a date with the Otters.
10/27/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/24 Recap: McNabb misses seventh straight

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, October 24, 2010 | 10/24/2010

Mark Pysyk finished even Sunday as Edmonton lost in a shootout to Kootenay, 4-3. Pysyk, known mostly for steadiness in his own end, continued to see power play time for an Oil Kings unit that connected just once on six chances. On the Ice side of things, captain Brayden McNabb missed a seventh straight game with a shoulder injury. The 6'4 rearguard has been listed as day-to-day since October 9.

In the QMJHL, Jerome-Gauthier-Leduc slumped to a -2 as Rimouski was blanked by Victoriaville, 5-0. The 6'2 defenseman netted a -6 rating and zero points this weekend after getting a goal or an assist in seven games leading into Friday.
10/24/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/23 Recap: Foligno remains solid; Sundher finally scores

Marcus Foligno continued his early season roll Saturday, scoring a pair of goals including the game winner as Sudbury defeated Erie, 3-1. The Wolves 'unofficial' captain has three goals and three assists in his last four games, and will look to extend to a five-game streak Tuesday at home against Kingston.

Steven Shipley scored his fifth goal of the season as Niagara lost to Barrie, 5-2. The goal snaps Shipley's five-game drought, while the loss was the Dogs second on a row after seeing their six-game winning streak come to an end on Friday.

Gregg Sutch (+2) notched his sixth assist of the year as Mississauga blanked Plymouth, 5-0. The 6'2 checker has yet to score a goal through his first nine games of the season.

In the WHL, Kevin Sundher finally scored his first goal of the season as Chilliwack dumped Brandon, 6-3. Snakebitten for seven games entering Saturday, the 6'0 center is hoping the goal gives him momentum heading into Wednesday's match-up in Edmonton.

Corey Fienhage finished +1 as Kamloops defeated Calgary, 3-2. Matt MacKenzie was +1 for the Hitmen in the loss.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley did not play as Val-d'Or lumped Rouyn-Noranda, 9-4.

In the NCAA, Connor Knapp made 15 saves for his first win of the year as #3 Miami steamrolled Northern Michigan, 9-1. Knapp moves to 1-1-1 with a 2.61 goals against average and .885 save percentage heading into next weekend's set with Lake Superior State.

Justin Jokinen registered three shots on goals as Minnesota State was shut out by Colorado College, 1-0. Jokinen has gone four games without a point after scoring two goals and an assist on opening weekend.

In Hockey East, Mark Adams finished at -1 as Providence hung tough but fell to #8 Boston University, 2-1.

Drew MacKenzie skated -1 with a shot on goal as Vermont played to a 2-2 tie with Merrimack.

Brad Eidsness did not play as #2 (not for long) North Dakota dropped a 4-2 decision to Maine. After three starts, the junior currently is showing career lows in goals against (4.46) and save percentage (.762)

Nick Eno served as backup as Bowling Green earned the weekend sweep with a 4-2 win over Alabama-Huntsville.

In USHL action, Christian Isackson recorded two shots on goal as Sioux Falls took a 2-1 overtime decision over Fargo.
10/24/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

10/22: Eno gets W; Eidsness yanked

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, October 23, 2010 | 10/23/2010

Brad Eidsness had a night he'd like to forget Friday, allowing three goals on five shots and getting the hook just 9:37 in as #2 North Dakota was blown-out at #12 Maine, 7-3. It's unclear if the junior, who was beaten by a rebound and a pair of one-timers, will get the nod when the teams play it back on Saturday.

Nick Eno made 19 saves a Bowling Green eeked out a 5-4 overtime win over Alabama-Huntsville. The victory was Eno's first of the season and 18th of his BGSU career. 

Mark Adams finished +1 as Providence was nipped in overtime by Lowell, 5-4. The Friars will move on to face #8 Boston University on Saturday.

Justin Jokinen was even with three shots on goal as Minnesota State edged #19 Colorado College, 5-4. The 6'3 junior drew a penalty when brought down on a 2-1 break, and the Mavs capitalized on the ensuing PP to tie the game 2-2 in the second period.

Connor Knapp looked on as creasemate Cody Reichard stopped 21 shots in #3 Miami's 4-0 shutout of Northern Michigan.

In OHL action, Marcus Foligno scored a power play goal as Sudbury hung on to beat Barrie, 4-3. The marker was Foligno's fourth of the season, and 35th of his OHL career. The Wolves will take a two-game winning streak into Saturday's home battle with Erie.

Zack Kassian (-1) posted an assist as Windsor lost to Guelph, 4-3. Midway through the second period, the 6'3 winger had a pass picked off that allowed Storm forward Peter Holland (ANA) to skate in alone and cash a shorthanded goal.

Gregg Sutch finished -2 as the CHL's #2 ranked Mississauga Majors were defeated by #4 Saginaw, 3-2. The Majors will continue their trek through Michigan on Saturday with a meeting in Plymouth.

Steven Shipley finished -1 as Niagara was defeated by Kitchener, 4-1. The loss ends the IceDogs six-game winning streak. Niagara (8-3-1-0) will look to begin a new streak when they skate into Barrie on Saturday.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley scored a power play goal, his fourth of the year, as Val-d'Or doubled Rouyn-Noranda, 4-2. The 6'5 forward rounded out his effort with a game-best five hits.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc posted a -4 as Rimouski was shot down by Drummondville, 5-1. Sean Couturier ('11) had a goal and an assist for the Volts, and still refuses to talk to reporters.

In the WHL, Corey Fienhage was +1 as Kamloops defeated Edmonton, 3-2. Mark Pysyk had an assist for the Oil Kings in the loss. 

Riley Boychuk continued his aggressive tendencies with minors for checking from behind and high-sticking  as Portland defeated Seattle, 2-1.

Brayden McNabb (shoulder) did not dress as Kootenay downed Red Deer, 4-1.
10/23/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/21 Recap: Kassian, Foligno assist teams to victory; Six named to Super Series

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, October 22, 2010 | 10/22/2010

Zack Kassian posted two assists Thursday as Windsor cruised to a 4-1 win over Belleville. Kassian ranks eighth in the OHL in scoring with 16 points (5+11) through just seven games. The Spits (6-5-0-1) will square off with Guelph on Friday.

Marcus Foligno earned a pair of assists including a set-up of the game winning goal as Sudbury needed overtime to get a 4-3 win over Barrie. The effort ups Foligno's point total to eight in seven games for the Wolves (2-6-0-1), who will engage in a rematch with the Colts on Friday.

Also from the OHL, Steven Shipley picked up a power play assist off a rebound as Niagara stayed hot with a 4-1 win over Guelph. Winners of six in a row, the IceDogs (8-2-0-1) will travel to Kitchener Friday.

In Wednesday action, Corey Fienhage played even with a roughing minor as Kamloops edged Red Deer, 1-0. Fienhage's Blazers will look to make it two wins in a row on Friday versus Edmonton.

In Portland, Riley Boychuk collected 12 PIM including a ten-minute misconduct stemming from a shoving/slashing match with Tyler Maxwell early in the first period as the Winterhawks shut out Everett, 2-0. The 6'5 power forward also was whistled for a goaltender interference penalty in the win.

Matt MacKenzie finished -2 with his first fighting major of the season as Calgary was stomped on by Spokane, 8-1. MacKenzie's bout with Matt Marantz came and went pretty quickly with the Chiefs forward landing the better shots

On Tuesday, MacKenzie again finished -2 as Calgary lost to Tri-City, 3-1.

Also from Tuesday Western League play, Mark Pysyk skated to a -1 as Edmonton was defeated by Kootenay, 4-1. Brayden McNabb (day-to-day) remained out of the lineup with a shoulder injury.


Six Sabres prospects have been named to their respective league rosters for the upcoming Canada-Russia Super Series that will help each country formulate their selection camps for the 2011 World Junior Championships.

Mark Pysyk (WHL), Matt MacKenzie (WHL), and Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (QMJHL) will skate in both games of their leagues' legs of the series, while 19-year olds Zack Kassian (OHL), Marcus Foligno (OHL), and Brayden McNabb (WHL) will each skate in one game due to rules preventing action in four straight days. Kassian and Foligno will both suit up for Team OHL when the series moves to Sudbury on November 15th.

The Series kicks off November 8th in Saint John, New Brunswick.
10/22/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/17 Recap: JGL keeps streak alive; Pysyk exemplifies "C"

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, October 18, 2010 | 10/18/2010

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (+2) extended his point streak to seven games Sunday with a pair of assists as Rimouski opened up a can on Bathurst, 8-1. With 12 points through 14 games, the 6’2 righty is currently ranked fourth in scoring among QMJHL defenders.

Elsewhere in the Q, Cedrick Henley snapped a two-game point drought with an assist as Val-d’Or defeated Montreal, 4-2. The budding 6’5 power forward now has three goal and eight points in 11 games with the Foreurs.

Mark Pysyk returned to the Oil Kings lineup after a one-game absence due to ‘bumps and bruises’, earning an even rating and his first major of the season in their 4-0 shutout loss to Swift Current. Pysyk exemplified the captaincy when he took exception to an open-ice hit on a teammate to take on 6’4, 200+ pound Richard Nedomiel (’11) midway through period two.

10/18/2010 | 5 comments | Read More

10/16 Recap: Isackson pots pair as Herd rolls

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, October 17, 2010 | 10/17/2010

Christian Isackson scored the first two goals of his USHL career Saturday as Sioux Falls defeated Chicago, 4-1. The six-footer gave the Stampede the only lead they'd need when he hit through a screen at 7:14 of the second period. A little over a minute later, Isackson would strike again from the slot while on the power play to put the Stampede ahead 3-1. Sioux Falls will take a two-game winning streak into next Saturday's meeting at Fargo.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian finished -2 as Windsor was dumped by Plymouth, 4-1. Skating without crafty Alex Khokhlachev ('11), Kassian comes down to earth with zero points for the first time in six games since returning from Buffalo. After serving a two minute minor for drilling Alex Aleardi (did he or did he not leave his feet?), Kassian had a quasi spat with 6'5 Jamie Devane who had earlier made a throat-slash gesture to Kassian while the big Spit was in the penalty box.

Steven Shipley finished -1 as Niagara earned their fifth straight win with a 6-5 decision over Oshawa. Like Kassian, the quiet statistical night ends a five-game point streak for the big Ice Dog forward. Center Ryan Strome ('11), who is slowly becoming a SabresProspects target for the June draft, collected three assists and his first fighting major for the IceDogs.

Gregg Sutch picked up an assist as Mississauga opened up a can on Sudbury, 7-2. Wolves forward Marcus Foligno earned an assist in the losing effort. Sutch has been a key grind element for what has been the tightest Majors unit with Rob Flick and Joe Cramarossa ('11). The Majors are off until Friday when they meet Saginaw, while Foligno and the Pack will engage in a home-and-home with Barrie starting Thirsday.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley skated even as Val-d'Or lost a tight one with top-ranked Quebec, 4-3. The Foreurs will take on Montreal on Sunday.

In the WHL, Kevin Sundher earned an assist for the third straight game as Chilliwack doubled-up Vancouver, 6-3. Sundher also earned four penalty minutes on the night, two of which came for roughing in the chippy final minute. The Bruins are now off until Saturday when they host Brandon.

Matt MacKenzie picked up a power play assist as Calgary needed overtime to defeat Seattle, 3-2. The Hitmen will match up with Spokane on Wednesday.

Corey Fienhage finished even as Kamloops was trampled by Prince George, 8-1. The Blazers took a 1-0 lead at 3:10 of the opening period, only to surrender eight straight goals en route to losing. The Blazers will look to get back on track Tuesday versus Edmonton.

Edmonton's Mark Pysyk was held out of the lineup in the Oil Kings' 6-4 loss to Medicine Hat due to "undisclosed bumps and bruises".

Brayden McNabb was expected to return to the Kootenay lineup for their game with Regina, but instead missed a fourth straight with a sore shoulder. The big defender will now look to get back in on Tuesday when they host the Oil Kings.

Connor Knapp made 24 saves as #4 Miami clawed out a 1-1 tie with #10 St. Cloud State. Knapp had a shutout going through fifty-three minutes before poke-checking a centering pass to the stick Jared Festler, who tipped it beneath Knapp to tie it up. The RedHawks kick off the CCHA schedule next weekend when they host Northern Michigan.

Mark Adams went -2 with a shot on goal and a minor penalty as Providence got smoked by Minnesota-Duluth, 7-1. Adams and the Friars, who held a 1-0 lead just :58 in before getting the hammer dropped, will regroup for next weeks' set with Lowell.

Justin Jokinen finished -3 as Minnesota State played to a 5-5 tie with Michigan Tech. Jokinen, a junior, finishes the weekend -5 after a three-point set with St. Lawrence a week ago. The Mavs will face Colorado College next weekend.

Brad Eidsness was given the night off as #2 North Dakota defeated Bemidji State, 5-2. Eidsness and the Sioux will face a tougher test next weekend when they travel to Maine.

Nick Eno watched as Bowling Green earned their first win of the year with a 3-0 shutout at Clarkson. Eno and Andrew Hammond will likely split duties again next weekend when the Falcons host Alabama-Huntsville.
10/17/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

10/15 Recap: Shipley, Gauthier-Leduc keep streaks alive

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, October 16, 2010 | 10/16/2010

We'll plow our way through a busy Friday recap as I continue to battle a nasty, nasty cold - my first of the season...

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc posted a pair of power play assists Friday as Rimouski came back to edge Cape Breton, 4-3. Gauthier-Leduc, currently ranked sixth among QMJHL dfensemen with 10 points, will take a six-game point streak into Sunday's meeting with Bathurst.

Cedrick Henley played even with a shot on goal and two hits as Val-d'Or stopped Drummondville, 5-3. Sean Couturier ('11) scored his ninth goal of the year and added two assists for the Voltigeurs. The Foreurs will take on the CHL's #1 ranked team Quebec on Saturday.

In OHL play, Steven Shipley assisted on the game winning goal as Niagara defeated Ottawa, 3-2. With 3:34 to play in regulation, a patient Shipley beamed a pass to a cutting Freddie Hamilton in the slot to extend his point streak to five games and help give the 6-2-1 IceDogs their fourth win in a row. Shipley and the Dogs will look to stay hot when they host Oshawa on Saturday.

Marcus Foligno was -1 as Sudbury lost to Brampton, 5-1. I heard a whisper this week that Foligno may be part of a deal that lands him in Saginaw. John McFarland (FLA), also rumored to be on the outs, did not play for the Wolves.

Gregg Sutch posted a plate of bagels as Mississauga needed overtime to edge Sault Ste. Marie, 4-3. The Majors, currently ranked #2 in the entire CHL, will travel to Sudbury on Saturday.

Riley Boychuk scored his second goal of the year into an empty net as Portland defeated Kamloops, 8-6. Corey Fienhage finished -1 for the Blazers. Ty Rattie ('11) tallied a hat trick to pace the 7-2-0-1 Winterhawks, while Sven Bartschi ('11) continued his freshman tear with a goal and two assists.

Kevin Sundher notched an assist as Chilliwack came up short against Kelowna, 4-3. The point was Sundher's second in as many games after opening the season with zeros in his first four games. The Bruins will host Vancouver on Saturday.

Matt MacKenzie finished +1 as Calgary lost to Everett, 4-2. The Hitmen will keep the bus moving for a Saturday night tilt in Seattle.

Mark Pysyk (-1) posted an assist as Edmonton was throttled by Medicine Hat, 7-1. The two clubs will play it back on Saturday.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson was +1 with five shots on goal as Sioux Falls upended the US NTDP, 5-3. The Stampede will host Chicago on Saturday.

Nick Eno made 27 saves as Bowling Green was blanked by Clarkson, 4-0. After allowing a point shot through his legs and giving up a second goal on a partial breakaway, Eno kept the Falcons in the game by stopping all 10 shots he faced in the second period. Eno may give way to Andrew Hammond when the two clubs drop the puck on Saturday.

Justin Jokinen finished -2 with three shots on goal as Minnesota State lost on the road at Michigan Tech, 5-2. Jokinen continued to make nifty plays with the puck despite the less-than-savory stat line. The Mavs will press for a split when the teams reconvene for Saturday's series closer.

Brad Eidsness was called upon to make just 12 saves as #2 North Dakota defeated Bemidji State, 5-2. It's unclear whether Eidsness, who allowed goals via a 3-1 rush and a partial break, will get the back-to-back nods or if Sioux boss Dave Hakstol will look to get Aaron Dell a second early season start.

Mark Adams was even with three shots on net as Providence lost at #7 Minnesota-Duluth, 5-3. The freshman rearguard was whistled for hooking late in the second period, resulting in a Travis Oleksuk game winning goal via the penalty shot.

Connor Knapp served as backup as #4 Miami doubled up #11 St. Cloud State, 6-3. Knapp will get the start on Saturday.
10/16/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/14 Recap: Kass keeps stacking; McNabb earns "C"

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, October 15, 2010 | 10/15/2010

Zack Kassian scored two goals and an assist Thursday as Windsor downed Erie, 5-3. Trailing the Otters 2-0, Kassian put the Spits on the board with wraparound backhand goal at 14:04 of the first period. Kassian would later add an assist and an empty-netter to seal the victory, and up his point totals to five goals, nine assists, and 14 points through the first five-game block of the season.

Again, let's all stay level until he puts up similar numbers at the World Juniors. Is his start encouraging? Absolutely. Is he proving to be a better player than he was a year ago? Absolutely. I will never suggest that the early season production is inflated like Dylan Hunter's stat line during his days in London, but Kassian's physical dominance of 17-18-19's has a lot to do with what we're seeing right now. I'm just as pleased that he's staying out of the box. Be excited but within reason, as it's just a positive development in his development...

In WHL news, Brayden McNabb has been named captain of the Kootenay Ice. The 19-year old, playing his fourth season on the Ice blueline, joins current NHLers Mike Comrie, Mike Green, and Jarret Stoll players to wear the "C" for the Kootenay franchise.
10/15/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/13 Recap: JGL heating up; Sundher breaks seal

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, October 14, 2010 | 10/14/2010

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc scored his third goal of the year Wednesday as Rimouski lost to Halifax, 5-3. Gauthier-Leduc's marker, his third in as many games, came unassisted at 12:58 of the second period to knot the game 2-2. The 18-year old will look to make it four in a row with a goal on Friday when the Nics travel to Cape Breton.

Also from the Q, Cedrick Henley notched his third goal of the season as Val-d'Or was drilled by Shawinigan, 6-2. The 2010 sixth-rounder added a game-high six hits in the losing effort, while Anton Zlobin ('11) scored two goals for the Cataractes. The Foreurs will look to snap a two-game skid Friday in Drummondville.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley chipped in two assists as Niagara earned a 5-4 road win in Belleville. Skating on a loaded line with Sharks prospect Freddie Hamilton (3A) and talented '11 Ryan Strome (hat trick), the 6'3 Shipley now has three goals and two assists over his current four-game point streak. The 5-2-1 IceDogs will next host Friday and Saturday games versus Ottawa and Oshawa.

In the WHL, Kevin Sundher notched his first point of the season with an assist on the overtime winner as Chilliwack defeated Everett, 5-4. Sundher began the OT in the box after being whistled for tripping with just :51 remaining in regulation. Once free, he was able to connect with a trailing Ryan Howse (CAL) to snap a four-game point drought since his return from the Sabres.

Matt MacKenzie skated to a +1 as Calgary dumped Portland, 5-1. Riley Boychuk finished the game -1 with two minor penalties and a fighting major for the Winterhawks. Portland's Sven Bartschi ('11) scored his fifth goal in three games and seventh overall. The 6'5 Boychuk was a physical presence from the get-go, earning roughing and kneeing minors in the game before drilling a pair of Hitmen on one shift that led to his first scrap of the season with 6'0 Kyle Schmidt.

Corey Fienhage was +1 as Kamloops held off Kelowna, 5-4. The Blazers will square off with Boychuk and the Winterhawks on Friday.

Brayden McNabb missed a third game with a sore shoulder as Kootenay was handled by Moose Jaw, 6-3. Morgan Rielly ('12) had a goal and two assists to lead the Warriors.
10/14/2010 | 1 comments | Read More

10/12 Recap: Gauthier-Leduc strikes in loss; McNabb eyes Saturday return

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | 10/12/2010

In a quiet Tuesday for Sabres prospects, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc scored a power play goal as Rimouski lost at Saint John, 5-3. The 18-year old gave the Oceanic a 2-1 lead with five minutes to go in the first period when a teammates' shot ricocheted off the pipe right to his stick for an easy goal. The Sea Dogs would take over from there, capitalizing on a disheveled Rimouski defense for four consecutive goals to get the win. The goal, JGL's second of the season, gives him seven points in eight games.

Out west, Kootenay's Brayden McNabb (shoulder) missed his second straight game as the Ice traveled to Regina. Listed as day-to-day, McNabb is eying a Saturday return on home ice against the Pats. The 6'4 defenseman played in three games prior to the ding, picking up an assist in each.
10/12/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/11 Recap: Kassian continues to flex; McNabb day-to-day

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, October 11, 2010 | 10/11/2010

Zack Kassian continued his early season tear through the OHL Monday, scoring a goal, three assists, and a clear decision to propel Windsor to a 5-3 win over Sarnia. The four-point night, Kassian's second such output this season, gives him 11 points through four games since returning from Buffalo.

With three helpers in the bag and the Spits ahead 3-1 in the early stages of the second period, Kassian elected to give 6'7 Kyle Flemington a title shot to earn his first fighting major of the season.

After landing some major licks, the 6'3, 226-pounder would complete the Gordie Howe hat trick at 11:26 of the third period when he put a backhander behind Hamburg, NY native John Cullen. Not everything was rosey in the win though, as it was a Kassian turnover in the neutral zone that resulted in the second Sting goal. But hey, his overall game is coming together and mistakes will happen when you're seeing the amount of ice time that the impact forward is reaping thus far.

Also from the OHL, Gregg Sutch recorded an assist as Mississauga (5-1-0-0) needed a shootout to defeat Brampton, 5-4. The Majors' checking forward now has three assists through five games. Barclay Goodrow ('11) had a pair of goals to pace the Battalion.

In the WHL, Kevin Sundher (-3) was again held without a point as Chilliwack stumbled against Prince Albert, 5-2. Through four games, the six-foot center has no points and a cumulative -4 rating for the Bruins (3-3-0-0).

A game removed from a season-high +4, Mark Pysyk finished -4 as Edmonton edged Prince George, 8-7. Travis Ewanyk ('11) recorded a hat trick for the Oil Kings (5-2-0-0).

Corey Fienhage checked-out at -2 as Kamloops lost to Vancouver, 5-4. Colin Smith ('11) scored two goals and an assist for the Blazers (3-4-0-1).

Brayden McNabb sat out Kootenay's 1-0 shootout loss to Swift Current with a sore shoulder. The 6'4 defenseman is listed as day-to-day. The Ice (3-2-0-1) will faceoff with Regina on Tuesday.
10/11/2010 | 4 comments | Read More

Adam named AHL Player of the Week

I've often mentioned Luke Adam going to Portland to gain some 'professional momentum'. Well, there's nothing like being named the AHL Player of the Week in his first week on the job.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Portland Pirates center Luke Adam has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 10, 2010.

Adam, making his regular-season professional debut, notched four points to pace Portland to a 6-5 win over Manchester on Saturday night. He assisted on two first-period goals to help stake the Pirates to 1-0 and 2-1 leads, and then scored the game-tying and go-ahead goals late in the third period as Portland rallied for the victory. Adam was a plus-2 on the evening and tied a game high with five shots on goal while earning first-star honors.

Visit the the AHL's website for the entire story.
10/11/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Eidsness' clutch leather

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, October 10, 2010 | 10/10/2010

In the Friday recap, we mentioned the highlight reel leather flashed by Brad Eidsness to preserve #2 North Dakota's 5-5 tie with UAA. With the teams locked in the overtime session, Eidsness quickly reacted to a turnover to his right to prevent a NCAA opening night upset.

This isn't the first time Eidsness snared a one-timer against the Seawolves. Longtime readers may recall this gem from early in his freshman year.

Despite the fine stop, the three-year starter ended the night with a .782 save percentage and 4.62 goals against average. He'll look to get those numbers in line next weekend when the Sioux head to Bemidji.
10/10/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/9 Recap: Jokinen gets it goin'; CHLers finding grooves

Justin Jokinen scored his second goal of the weekend Saturday as Minnesota State played to a second straight tie with St. Lawrence, 1-1. The 6'3 junior has appeared stronger and quicker after being scratched for the Mavericks final ten games last season. The marked improvement helped him draw an early penalty and later lay a solid open-ice pop before scrumming and jamming his way to the lone Mavs goal. All three things didn't happen nearly enough through his first two seasons in Mankato, but his game looks well enough thus far to make us wonder what it'd be like if Tyler Pitlick had remained in school. Jokinen and the Mavs will look for their first win next weekend when they travel to Michigan Tech.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley kept his early season momentum going by scoring his fourth goal of the year and third in as many games as Niagara dumped Barrie, 4-1. Shipley, who has six points in his first five games as an IceDog, will look to extend his goal-scoring streak Wednesday evening at Belleville. Niagara's Ryan Strome ('11) had a pair of assists in the win.

Zack Kassian scored his second goal of the year as Windsor came up short in the shootout against London, 5-4. After the Spits fell behind 4-0, Kassian capped the four-goal comeback with 1:24 to play in regulation to give him seven points (2+5) in his first three games of the season. The big wing regularly got to the net and imposed his strength on the boards while on a line with Alexander Khokhlachev and Zack MacQueen. His physical play saw him get whistled for a boarding penalty early in the third before forcing the OT session. Kassian and the Spits will battle Sarnia on Monday afternoon. Vladislav Namestnikov ('11) had a goal and an assist for the Knights.

Days removed from fellow 2010er Matt MacKenzie posting a sparkling +5, WHL counterpart Mark Pysyk earned an impressive +4 as Edmonton held off Swift Current on "Mullet Night", 4-3. The dependable defender now has two assists and a cumulative +8 through his four games back with the Oil Kings. Game #5 of his 2010-11 campaign comes Monday afternoon against Prince George.

Not to be outdone, Corey Fienhage skated to a +4 rating of his own while adding an assist on the game's first goal as Kamloops needed overtime to defeat Vancouver, 5-4. The assist was the first WHL point for the 20-year old defenseman. The two clubs will play it back on Monday.

Brayden McNabb notched an assist for the third straight game as Kootenay dominated Lethbridge, 6-3. The Ice, who outshot the Hurricanes 46-22 in the win, will visit the Broncos on Monday afternoon. Philip Tot ('12) had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes.

Riley Boychuk went without a point for the third straight game as Portland edged Spokane, 2-1. The 6'5 power forward was whistled for three minor penalties on the evening, one each for roughing (coindental), tripping, and high sticking. Sven Bartschi ('11) scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season to pace the Winterhawk attack.

Kevin Sundher finished even as Chilliwack lost to Seattle, 6-3. The 6'0 center has yet to record a point in three games since returning from Buffalo.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley (-1) assisted on the first Foreurs goal as Val-d'Or lost to PEI, 5-2. The developing power forward now has six points through his first seven games. Felipe Corbo ('11) scored a goal and an assist for the Rocket.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson contributed four shots on goal as Sioux Falls was shut down by Indiana, 5-0. The Ice got out to 4-0 lead in the opening twent, and held off every Stampede opportunity the rest of the way. Sioux Falls returns to action next Friday against the USNTDP.

Elsewhere, Connor Knapp made 15 saves through two periods before getting pulled as #3 Miami lost to New Hampshire, 6-3. Knapp, who stopped all seven Wildcat shots through a scoreless opening period, allowed five goals on 13 shots in the second as UNH opened up a 5-1 lead. Knapp's goals against consisted of one power play, one shorthanded (turnover->breakaway->rebound), and three at even strength (sharp angle wraparound, re-direct between the legs, rebound).

Drew MacKenzie was even as Vermont skated to a 1-1 tie with #9 Denver. The Catamounts got their legs going as the game progressed, getting the tying goal before the second intermission and working their way to 13-5 shots on goal advantage in their third period. UVM will take next week off before opening the Hockey East schedule against Merrimack.

At the Kendall Classic, Brad Eidsness took a rare night off North Dakota defeated Alaska, 3-1. The talented junior will return to the crease next weekend when NoDak travels to the newest WCHA member, Bemidji State.

In the CCHA, Nick Eno served as back-up as Bowling Green hung tough in a 4-2 loss to #5 Michigan. Eno and Andrew Hammond will likely split the goaltending duties next weekend when the Falcons hit up the North Country for a set with Clarkson.

And finally...

The continued appeasement of the savage masses continues with footage of Marcus Foligno's scrap from Friday night's loss to Shipley's IceDogs.

10/10/2010 | 3 comments | Read More

Schutz booted from Pirates ship

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, October 9, 2010 | 10/09/2010

Per Chris Roy of the Maine Hockey Journal, Sabres prospect Felix Schutz is being designated for assignment and no longer part of the Pirates organization.

This move isn't much of a surprise, as Schutz has encountered tough treading in the AHL after a semi-successful ramp-up in the DEL three seasons ago. Chosen in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, the 5'11 center missed a good chunk of time in 2009-10 after getting KO'd in his first professional fight and from there had difficulty finding quality minutes upon return. Portland coach Kevin Dineen basically saw him as a tweener player in the bottom six mix; not quite gifted enough to consistently man a third line spot yet not having enough speed, grit, and physical wherewithal to lock down a spot on the fourth line. Because of this, he was left off Portland's clear-day roster last season in preparation for the playoffs.

Schutz, 22, returned to Buffalo this fall for training camp, where he put forth an average effort while nearly coming to blows with Nathan Gerbe in the final scrimmage of rookie camp. Nearly coming to blows seems to have been the common theme for the German this fall, as Roy mentions a near-fight with Travis Turnbull this week in a Pirates practice.

While we wait to hear where Schutz lands this season, my best guess would be a return over the pond to find his center with Ingolstadt of the DEL.
10/09/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

Loose ends: When Henley met Gordie

As reported a week ago, Val-d'Or forward Cedrick Henley logged a Gordie Howe hat trick to lead the Foreurs to a Saturday night win over Lewiston. While it would be nice to post more scoring highlights, here's to the continued appeasement of the savage masses who enjoy a good tussle by showing how the 6'5 Henley completed the task.

10/09/2010 | 5 comments | Read More

10/8 Recap: Gauthier-Leduc pots winner; Ship stays hot

Steven Shipley continued his hot start Friday, scoring a goal and an assist to help lead Niagara to an overtime win over Sudbury, 4-3. The 6'3, 212-pound center now has three goals and five points through his first four games as a Dog. Marcus Foligno, who finished the night +1 for the Wolves, earned his first major of the season after a spirited tussle with Jason Wilson late in the first period.

Gregg Sutch (+1) recorded an assist as Mississauga shut out Peterborough, 3-0. Ahead 1-0 in the early third, Sutch sent a sharp pass to a driving Joe Cramarossa ('11) to thrust the Majors into a two-goal lead. Mississauga outshot the Petes 36-14 to get the W.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc scored the game winning goal as Rimouski doubled Shawinigan, 6-3. The goal, JGL's first of the season, came on the power play midway through a busy, five-goal third period. The 6'2, 194-pounder added three hits for the Nics while keeping things simple in his own zone.

Cedrick Henley skated -1 as Val-d'Or defeated Cape Breton, 3-2.

In the WHL, Matt MacKenzie was -1 as Calgary was shut out on home ice by Swift Current, 3-0.

Riley Boychuk was even as Portland edged Spokane by a 3-2 count despite being outshot 48-19.

Corey Fienhage played even as Kamloops defeated Prince Albert, 4-3.

In NCAA play, Justin Jokinen scored a goal and an assist as Minnesota State played to a 5-5 tie with St. Lawrence. Just 38 seconds into the third period with the Mavs trailing 4-2, Jokinen cut into the Saints zone and rung his shot off the inside of the pipe for his first goal since January 8th. A minute later he helped create Eli Zuck's game-tying tally. The multi-point night was Jokinen's first of his NCAA career.

In Bowling Green, Nick Eno surrendered three goals on 32 shots as the Falcons dropped their season opener to #5 Michigan, 4-1. The 6'3 senior, who was spectacular in the first period with 14 saves to keep the game 2-1 into the intermission, gave up goals on a breakaway, a point shot deflection, and a shot from the slot high over his blocker. Eno will likely serve as back-up when the two clubs play it back on Saturday.

In Anchorage, Brad Eidsness made 18 saves as #2 North Dakota squandered a four-goal lead to walk away with a 5-5 tie with the Seawolves. After Eidsness backboned an excellent effort through thirty minutes, the wheels started to come off for the Sioux in the middle of the second period. Anchorage crept back with three goals in the final ten minutes of the frame, including a shorthander when Eidsness was caught out of the net trying to play the puck from the corner. The 6'0 netminder later made the save of the game in overtime when he snared a blast with his glove while moving right-to-left.

Mark Adams was even in his first NCAA contest as Providence held on to defeat Northeastern, 3-2. The Friars, who many picked to finish last in Hockey East, will take a 1-0 record into next Friday's game at Duluth.

Drew MacKenzie was -2 with a shot on net as Vermont was defeated by #9 Denver, 5-3. The Cats shot out to a 2-0 lead before allowing four straight goals to begin the year 0-1. MacKenzie wasn't credited with a point, but did start the play on Vermont's final goal late in the third when, with the extra attacker, he threw the puck down low where Wahsontiio Stacey finished off the hat trick.

Connor Knapp will get the Saturday start for #3 Miami after watching the RedHawks defeat #10 New Hampshire, 6-3.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson (+1) registered an assist and four shots on goal as Sioux Falls needed a shootout to defeat Muskegon, 5-4. Isackson was stopped by future Gopher mate Joel Vienneau in the deciding frame after Buffalo native and Yale-bound forward Anthony Day put the Herd on the board as the team's #1 shooter.
10/09/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

10/7 Recap: Kassian connects with comrade

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, October 8, 2010 | 10/08/2010

Zack Kassian continued his productive start Thursday with a pair of assists as Windsor was on the wrong end of a 5-2 decision to Saginaw. The 6'3 wing has continued to build chemistry with rookie Alexander Khokhlachev ('11), finding the gifted Russian on both of the Spits tallies. Kassian has a goal and five assists through his first two OHL contests.

With Friday seeing the Sabres kick off their 2010-11 season slate, the evening will also bring a full load of prospect action.

The NCAA season opens this evening headlined by Connor Knapp and #2 Miami taking on the University of New Hampshire.

Brad Eidsness will split the weekend action with back-up Aaron Dell when North Dakota makes the trek for their set against Anchorage.

Mark Adams will make his Hockey East debut when the Providence Friars host Northeastern.

Drew MacKenzie and the Vermont Catamounts will face a stiff WCHA test when the Denver Pioneers travel east to the Gutt.

Nick Eno is the expected starting goaltender when Bowling green kicks off their 2010-11 year by hosting Michigan.

Justin Jokinen and the Minnesota State Mavericks will play a two-game set with St. Lawrence.

In the OHL, Gregg Sutch and the Missisauga Majors will host Peterborough, while Steve Shipley's Niagara Ice Dogs travel north to take on Marcus Foligno and the Sudbury Wolves.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and the Rimouski Oceanic will take on Shawinigan. Cedrick Henley and the Val-d'Or will face Cape Breton.

In the WHL, Riley Boychuk and the Portland Winterhawks square off with Spokane. Corey Fienhage and Kamloops will battle Prince Albert, while Matt MacKenzie and the Calgary Hitmen will play hosts to Swift Current.
10/08/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

10/6 Recap: Happier JGL producing; Fienhage logs first major

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, October 7, 2010 | 10/07/2010

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (+1) posted an assist Wednesday as Rimouski downed Chicoutimi, 4-3. The helper came with the man advantage late in the second period to tie the game 3-3 heading into the break. Alexander Lavoie ('11) potted a pair of goals for the losing side.

Prior to the game, Gauthier-Leduc told L'Avantage that he prefers the freer style of the Rimouski system to that of his previous club, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

Continuant sur la même ligne, Jérôme ajoute que « c’est certain que j’ai plus de marge de manœuvre ici qu’à Rouyn-Noranda. J’aime le style de jeu, le système de jeu de Rimouski. On a plus le droit de contrôler la rondelle, et il y a toutes sortes de détails qui font que j’aime plus ça ici.»

Translation: "I have more leeway here. I like the style. I can control the puck more. There are many reasons why I like it better here..."

Also from the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley set up the game winning goal as Val-d'Or used a balanced attack to defeat the CHL's #4 ranked team Drummondville, 4-2. Sean Couturier ('11) scored his eighth goal of the season for the Voltigeurs.

In the WHL, Corey Fienhage was -1 while earning his first major-junior fighting major as Kamloops lost to Spokane, 4-3. Trailing 2-0 after the first, the 6'4, 221-pound rearguard was looking to give his team a spark despite the Blazers only have five healthy blueliners for the tilt. The Kamloops broadcast team questioned the decision, but either way one has to think the rugged Fienhage was eager to get a mark on his fight card after two seasons of inconsistent action in Grand Forks.

Elsewhere, Matt MacKenzie posted a shiny +5 while logging major minutes as Calgary dumped Medicine Hat, 5-2. Solid in both ends, the 18-year old took a hooking penalty early that allowed Emerson Etem to get the Tigers off to a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Peter Kosterman ('11) notched his first career WHL goal for the Hitmen.

Brayden McNabb chipped in an assist as Kootenay was dominated by Prince George, 6-3. The physical McNabb, who finished the night at -2, rounded out his line with a kneeing penalty late in the second period.

Riley Boychuk was even as Portland downed Everett, 5-3. The 6'5 power forward was called for a goaltender interference penalty early in the third that his teammates were able to burn off.

On Tuesday, Kevin Sunder finished even as Chilliwack eeked out a 2-1 win over Spokane. The 6'0 center has yet to record a point in his first two games of the season.

In Monday exhibition play, Justin Jokinen was held scoreless as Minnesota State edged the University of British Columbia, 1-0. Jokinen saw power play time for the Mavs and is expected to be a significant contributor for the team that many is picking to be near the bottom of the WCHA heap.
10/07/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/3 Recap: Kassian spits out four in OHL return

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, October 4, 2010 | 10/04/2010

Zack Kassian made a statement in his return to Windsor Sunday, scoring a goal and adding three assists to lead the Spitfires past Sudbury, 6-3. Kassian's four-point night nudged the Spits out of a two-game funk to even their record to 3-3. Marcus Foligno, again skating on a line with John McFarland and Kris Kontos, scored a power play goal and an assist for the Wolves (1-4).

Foligno and Kassian were roommates while with the Sabres, and per the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, the Sudbury checker was impressed with what Kassian brought to the table in their second go-round in Buffalo.

“It was a good time in Buffalo,” Foligno said. “We were actually roommates in Buffalo. He (Kassian) had a great camp.”

Lasting well into pre-season play, both players allowed their minds to drift to the possibility that they might break into the NHL as teenagers. “Once you made the first cuts and most of the junior guys had been sent home, Kassian and I were in the same boat,” said Foligno, who wears the same No. 71 made famous in the NHL by his father Mike. “You kind of start thinking, ‘Maybe I have a chance,’ and your confidence begins to build up. I was happy with what I did there. I thought I impressed them a little bit, got some NHL experience. Hopefully, we’ll both bring it back to this level.”

Lots of folks are excited about Kassian's big night, but in reality he's supposed to perform like this against a lower level of competition after getting a nice slate of NHL work during the Sabres exhibition schedule. The most refreshing development out of Sunday's performance is that his foot seems to be a non-issue after leaving Friday's game in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere in the OHL, Gregg Sutch finished -1 with six penalty minutes as Mississauga suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Ottawa, 6-2. Sutch was whistled for three stick infractions (two for slashing, one for high sticking) on a night when the Majors were playing their third game in three nights. Tyler Graovac ('11) recorded his first OHL hat trick to lead the 67's.

In the WHL, Riley Boychuk scored his first goal of the season as Portland downed Lethbridge, 6-2. On a second period power play, Ryan Johansen (CBJ) found Boychuk alone in front of the net to give the Hawks a 4-2 lead. Portland (3-1-0-1) has seen all but one of their draftees (Nino Niederreiter) return from NHL camps, setting the talented club on a path to gain a little separation in their division as the Dub season kicks into gear.

Mark Pysyk was even with two minor penalties as Edmonton skated to a 3-2 win over Moose Jaw. The Oil Kings, winners of three in a row, will take a five-day break before hosting Swift Current next Saturday.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (-2) had an assist as Rimouski was doubled on home-ice by Gatineau, 4-2. JGL and the Oceanic (5-4) will host Chicoutimi on Wednesday.

A night after leading his club with three points en route to a victory, Cedrick Henley registered two shots on goal and four hits as Val-d'Or lost in overtime to Lewiston, 5-4. Henley and the Foreurs (4-3-1-0) will host Drummondville on Wednesday.

In the opening weekend of NCAA exhibition play, Brad Eidsness stopped 15 of 16 shots in half a game's worth of work as #2 North Dakota defeated the University of Manitoba, 5-2. The only goal surrendered came when a puck deflected off the skate of dman Ben Blood (OTT) into the ND net.

Connor Knapp faced just four shots in 30:04 of play, stopping them all before giving way to Cody Reichard, as #3 Miami opened the exhibition schedule with a 6-0 shutout of Waterloo.

Nick Eno earned the start for Bowling Green in their exhibition opener with Wilfred Laurier, stopping 11 of 12 shots through a period and a half in the Falcons 4-3 win. The goal allowed by Eno came when former Dartmouth and OHL forward Ryan Bellows pounced on a turnover to quickly beat the 6'3 netminder. Bellows is the nephew of former NHL scorer Brian.

Drew MacKenzie was -2 as Vermont lost to New Brunswick, 3-2. The perennial CIS power Varsity Reds have historically played Hockey East clubs tight, and Sunday proved a good test to a Catamount defense that is expected to be relied on quite heavily this season in Burlington.
10/04/2010 | 5 comments | Read More

10/2 Recap: Henley shows Howe it's done in; Foligno gets two

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, October 3, 2010 | 10/03/2010

Cedrick Henley rallied for a Gordie Howe hat trick Saturday, posting two goals including the game winner, an assist, and a third period fight to lead Val-d'Or to a 4-1 win over visiting Lewiston. The 6'5, 196-pound forward was physically dominant in his first game since returning from Sabres camp, rounding out his night with a game-high seven hits while helping the Foreurs sustain pressure down low. Henley's younger brother, 6'3 Samuel ('11), finished -1 for the MAINEiacs and will look to avenge his bro getting the better end when two clubs play it back on Sunday.

Henley's Gordie was the first for a Sabres prospect since PEI's Jordon Southorn scored, dished, and scrapped his way to one back on March 6, 2009 - also against Lewiston. Niagara's Drew Schiestel pulled one off on September 26, 2008 against Oshawa.

In the OHL, Marcus Foligno notched his first two goals of the year as Sudbury downed Plymouth, 8-4. Wearing an "A" for the Wolves but conducting business as the team's heart and soul leader on a line with Kris Kontos and John MacFarland (FLA), Foligno is looking to step up his both his physical and offensive games this season, and so far the early returns look good. Stefan Noesen ('11) had two goals and an assist for the Whalers, who dropped a home game to the Wolves for the first time in 15 years.

Steven Shipley scored his second goal of the year late in the third period to force overtime, but Niagara failed to capture the momentum in a 4-3 loss to Brampton. Defenseman Dylan Blujus ('12), a 16-year old product of the Wheatfield Blades and Buffalo Regals, had an assist for the Battalion. Shipley and the Dogs will continue to gel through a wekk of practice in preparation for Friday's meeting with Foligno's Wolves.

Gregg Sutch earned an assist on the game winning goal as Mississauga defeated Belleville, 5-3. Austen Brassard ('11) finished -3 for the Bulls in the loss. Sutch and the Majors will host Ottawa on Sunday afternoon.

In the WHL, co-captain Matt MacKenzie scored a goal and an assist in his first game back as Calgary dropped Moose Jaw, 6-2. With the game tied 2-2 at the first intermission, the Hitmen outshot the Warriors 21-6 the rest of the way to get their season on track after a 0-2 start. The shutdown MacKenzie scored an insurance goal on the power play with a little over five minutes to play.

Kevin Sundher was -1 as Chilliwack shellacked Kamloops, 6-1. Corey Fienhage was even for the Blazers. After a quiet statisitical night, the pair of Sabres draft picks came together to earn offsetting minors with 2:55 to play. Sundher's Bruins will next face Spokane on Tuesday, while Fienhage and the Blazers will get the Chiefs the following night.

Riley Boychuk finished -1 as Portland fell to Seattle, 4-3 in a shootout. Calvin Pickard was masterful for the Thunderbirds with 44 saves. The Winterhawks will close the weekend with a Sunday evening contest with Lethbridge.

In USHL opening weekend action, Christian Isackson finished -1 with a shot on goal as Sioux Falls was blanked by Sioux City, 5-0. The Stampede will continue their season next Friday at expansion Muskegon, where over 4,000 fans showed up for Saturday's season opener.
10/03/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

10/1 Recap: McNabb plays 200th; Sutch jumped

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, October 2, 2010 | 10/02/2010

Brayden McNabb (+2) returned to the Kootenay lineup Friday with an even-strength assist as the Ice doubled up Spokane, 6-3. The contest, McNabb's first since returning from Sabres training camp, was his 200th career WHL game. In those 200 games, the 6'4, 218-pound rearguard has posted totals of 29-76-105 with 324 PIM. There is no chance he sees a 300th junior game.

Mark Pysyk (+1) notched his second assist in as many games as Edmonton rode a four-goal second period to a 7-3 win over Regina. The 6'1 defender was also whistled for a pair of minor penalties in the victory, including one for checking from behind. Michael St. Croix ('11) scored a goal for the Oil Kings.

In the OHL, Gregg Sutch was even with a fighting major as Mississauga dumped Windsor, 5-1. Sutch, who a few shifts earlier was whistled for a boarding minor, was instigated into a third period fight with 6'3, 216-pound Andrew Clouthier. The Majors held a comfy four-goal lead at the time, and Sutch was taken by surprise by the frustrated aggressor allowing his foe to get the better of him.

The 20-year old Clouthier earned five, two, and a game with a likely suspension coming for instigating in the last five minutes while trailing by three goals or more. Pretty poor effort by a Windsor team that needs Zack Kassian back in a bad way.

A night after a smashing debut in a Niagara sweater, Steven Shipley finished even as the Ice Dogs squandered a two-goal lead in a 4-3 loss to Guelph. Niagara's Ryan Strome ('11) posted his second consecutive multi-point night with a pair of assists. The Ice Dogs will host Brampton on Saturday.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc had a quiet night with neither a point or a shot on goal as Rimouski held on to edge Bathurst, 4-3. QMJHL goaltenders should savor the flavor as there aren't going to be many nights where JGL misses the net in that tuned-up Oceanic offense.

Also on Friday, Corey Fienhage was -1 in his Kamloops debut, a 4-2 loss to Everett.

In other news, the Calagary Hitmen have installed fourth-year man Matt MacKenzie as co-captain for the 2010-11 campaign along with 20-year old Tyler Fiddler. MacKenzie, who wore the "C" for one game last season, is considered the vocal leader in the Hitmen dressing room.

Finally, old friend Jordon Southorn has been signed to an ECHL contract with the Trenton Devils. The 6'2 defenseman was selected by the Sabres in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, but became a free agent on June 1st when he was not offered a contract.
10/02/2010 | 0 comments | Read More