Foligno leaves marks as Canada falls

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, December 31, 2010 | 12/31/2010

Marcus Foligno did not score but continued to be a major physical force as Canada lost in a shootout to Sweden, 6-5. Team Canada closes the preliminary round with a 3-1 record, and will now have to play a quarterfinal game on Sunday to keep their medal hopes alive.

Foligno, who has two goals, an assist, and a +1 rating in four tourney games, made his presence known early and often as Team Canada skated to a 3-2 lead at the end of the first period.

The hard-hitting checker helped create the first Canadian goal by crashing the crease, allowing Sean Couturier's centering pass deflect off the defender he dragged in.

On his next shift, Foligno would make his presence felt on the forecheck with a hard hit behind the Swedish net.

Later in the period, Foligno again dropped the hammer by delivering what just may be the most solid body check of the tournament thus far.

The teams would trade goals over the next two periods to finish regulation tied 5-5. Sweden kept the pressure on in the overtime before winning the shootout battle with goals on their first three tries.

Foligno looks comfortable playing his blue collar game on HSBC Arena ice. With Zack Kassian returning to the Canadian lineup for Sunday's quarterfinal, look for Canada to return with a chip on their shoulder regardless of opponent.
12/31/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Boychuk to serve two-game suspension

Portland Winterhawks forward Riley Boychuk has been suspended two games by the WHL as supplemental discipline for actions in the final five minutes of Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Tri-City.

After teammate Ty Rattie was dropped by an elbow, an unruly Boychuk fired a punch as players paired off to earn the supplemental punishment. The 6'5 Boychuk was assessed a roughing double minor on the play. The suspension will keep him out of action until January 9th.
12/31/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

12/30 Recap: Gauthier-Leduc ends year well; Eno injured

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc scored a goal and two assists Thursday to spark Rimouski to a 4-3 overtime win over Montreal. The 6'2 defenseman closed the 2010 calendar with six points over a current three-game streak to up his season line to 6-19-25. The Oceanic (20-18-2) will take the weekend off before returning to host Quebec on Tuesday.

Matt MacKenzie (+1) notched an assist as Calgary bested Brandon, 5-2. After netting just three points in his first 13 games, the 6'2 co-captain has connected for 16 in his last 22. The Hitmen (11-24-2), who with the win snapped a three-game losing streak, will start the year on a seven-game road-trip.

Corey Fienhage finished -1 as Kamloops got smoked by Kelowna, 7-1. Shane McColgan ('11) had two goals and an assist to pace the Rockets.

In the OHL, Gregg Sutch did not factor into the scoring as Mississauga lost to Guelph, 5-2. The defeat was just the fifth in regulation for the league-leading Majors.

In NCAA play, Connor Knapp had a night he'd like to forget, stopping just seven of 11 shots as Miami lost to St. Cloud, 4-3 in the championship game of the Florida College Classic. The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for Knapp, over which he stopped 62 of 65 shots.

Brad Eidsness did not play as North Dakota posted a 5-0 shutout of Duluth at the US Hockey Hall of Fame game.

On Wednesday, Nick Eno made 22 saves as Bowling Green lost to Princeton, 4-2. As the second goal was scored, a Princeton defender collided with Eno, forcing him to leave the game with a head/neck injury. His status for next weekend's set with Ferris State is unclear as of now.
12/31/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

12/29 Recap: Foligno marks as Nats roll; McNabb streak hits nine

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, December 30, 2010 | 12/30/2010

Marcus Foligno scored a goal and an assist Wednesday as Team Canada executed a 10-1 blowout of Norway at the World Junior Championship. The big wing earned his points as part of Canada's six-goal first period while manning a line with Louis Leblanc (MTL) and Sean Couturier ('11). Canada was short on bodies, missing suspended Sabres prospect Zack Kassian, as well as the injured Jaden Schwartz, Cody Eakin, and Calvin de Haan. Next up for Foligno and the Kassian-less Canadians will be Team Sweden on Friday.

Brayden McNabb earned an assist to extend his point streak to nine games as Kootenay gave up a third-period lead in a 3-2 loss to Medicine Hat. The power play helper arrived with just :02 remaining in the second period, giving the Ice captain an even 30 points through 26 games and 5+8 over his current streak. The Ice (24-11-1-2) host Swift Current on Friday.

Elsewhere, Kevin Sundher was stifled with a season-low -4 rating as Chilliwack was shut out by Prince George, 5-0. After an 18-point November (11 GP, 6+12), the 6'0 center has two goals and seven assists in eleven December games. The Bruins (17-15-2-1) will close the year by hosting Moose Jaw on Friday.

Mark Pysyk finished +1 as Edmonton edged Lethbridge in overtime, 5-4. Pysyk has now gone 15 straight games with an "even" or "plus" rating. The surging Oil Kings (18-16-0-2), who have won two straight games and are 7-2-0-1 in their last ten, will face Brandon on Friday.

Riley Boychuk (-1) did not score but earned a roughing double-minor as Portland suffered a 5-1 loss at Tri-City. A Memorial Cup favorite missing their top two forwards (Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johnasen are at the World Junior Championship), the Winterhawks (25-11-0-3) have lost three straight games and six of their last ten. They will look to end the year on a good note Friday versus Seattle.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley (-1) did not factor into the scoring as Niagara lost to Oshawa, 4-2. Heading into the final game of 2010, Shipley has 10 goals and 17 assists. At the same point last season in Owen Sound, the 6'3 forward had 12 goals and 26 assists. The loss snaps a four game win streak for the Dogs (21-9-2-2), who will next host Bellevile on Friday.

At the Florida College Classic, Connor Knapp served as backup in #6 Miami's 4-1 win over #9 Maine. Knapp is expected to take the crease when the RedHawks face St. Cloud State for the tourney title on Thursday.

Drew MacKenzie (+3, 5 SOG) scored a third period goal as Vermont rolled over the U.S National University Team, 7-1. The University team is comprised of club players that will skate at the World University Games in Turkey.

In a QMJHL note, Val-d'Or forward Cedrick Henley missed his 22nd game while recovering from wrist surgery as the Foreurs lost to Rouyn-Noranda, 5-4. The 6'4 project has been out of action since October 23rd. No official word on his progress, but his return should be considered imminent until heard otherwise as the surgery generally requires a six-to-eight week recovery.
12/30/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Kassian out 'til medal round

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | 12/29/2010

The IIHF has suspended Team Canada forward Zack Kassian one additional game for his match penalty assessed in Tuesday's 7-2 clobbering of the Czech Republic. With the infraction earning an automatic one-game penalty, the supplemental discipline extends Kassian's absence through the rest of the preliminary round. Along the way, the 6'3 bruising scorer will miss Canada's games against Norway (Wednesday) and Sweden (Friday).

As previously mentioned, IIHF rules do not forgive high hits, especially those from the blindside. Debate continues over where the primary contact was made, but regardless the ruling implies that there was a hit to the head and neck area.

There's a new poll to the right that that I'd like folks to vote on. It's pretty simple.

If there is anyone who has mixed emotions about 2010 ending, it's Zack Kassian. It's hard to enjoy a Memorial Cup win, your first NHL contract, and Team Canada achievement amidst a 20-game OHL suspension, an assault arrest, and poor World Junior pub. Either way, I know a gaggle of Sabres fans ready for him to don a blue and gold sweater.
12/29/2010 | 3 comments | Read More

12/28 Recap: Fienhage gets first; McNabb approaches mark

Corey Fienhage scored his first WHL goal Tuesday and added a pair of assists as Kamloops downed Vancouver, 6-1. The athletic defenseman scored the Blazers final goal of the game when he shot in from the right point and completed a three-way passing play with a sharp wrister. Fienhage looked strong on the puck with well-rested legs from the Christmas break en route to his first multi-point game since April of 2008 when he was with the USHL's Indiana Ice..

Elsewhere, Brayden McNabb scored a pair of goals as Kootenay doubled Medicine Hat, 6-3. McNabb's empty-netter, his seventh goal of the season and 133rd career point, puts him just two points shy of the all-time franchise lead for a defenseman. He is currently tied for seventh in WHL scoring for defensemen with 29 points.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc scored a goal and an assist as Rimouski lost in overtime to Gatineau, 6-5. The 6'2 defender scored his fifth of the year, and first in 12 games, a little over three minutes into the first period. At the opposite end, JGL was on the ice for the game-tying goal with less than five minutes to play in regulation.

Matt MacKenzie (-1) contributed five shots on goal as Calgary got throttled by Moose Jaw, 6-1. The game at the Saddledome drew a crowd of 9,273. The USA-Slovakia World Junior Championship game at HSBC Arena filled 12,750 seats.

Kevin Sundher was +1 as Chilliwack downed Prince George, 3-0. The budding center is now a cumulative +7 on the season, good for tops among all Chilliwack skaters.

Riley Boychuk was -3 as Portland lost to Tri-City, 5-1. The big forward skated on a line with newly acquired Craig Cunningham, who was playing his first game as a Winterhawk after arriving from Vancouver earlier in the day.

On Monday, Mark Pysyk assisted on the game winning goal as Edmonton edged Lethbridge, 3-2. The helper was Pysyk's 15th point of the season (1+14).

Fienhage was +1 was Kamloops defeated Vancouver, 4-1.

In the QMJHL, Gauthier-Leduc was even as Rimouski shot past Drummondville, 3-2.
12/29/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Kassian again finds turmoil, ejected in CAN/CZE tilt

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 | 12/28/2010

I'll post more on this as we go, but here's a reel of the Zack Kassian hit on Petr Senkerik that earned a five minute match penalty and game misconduct in the 2nd period of Tuesday's Canada-Czech Republic prelim game. Senkerik was taken off on a stretcher, and the reactions since have varied between "clean" and "dirty". By virtue of the match penalty, Kassian will be forced to sit out Canada's game with Norway on Tuesday.

And once again the 6'3 bullish forward finds himself in a media firestorm just eleven months removed from a vicious headshot on Barrie Colt Matt Kennedy. Kassian served a 20-game suspension for that neutral zone pop, but this hit featured a toned-down aggressor.

Elbow in, didn't leave his feet...The IIHF is not very forgiving. Is this worthy of getting tossed to you?

Angle #2:

The second angle look worse. How late is late?

Kassian was looking like one of Canada's better players in the game until this happened. I pondered whether he would keep himself in check in an emotionally charged environment, but frankly while I hope Senkerik is OK, I think Kassian is innocent of ill intent.

Of course the IIHF may disagree, as their rules prohibit contact to the head and neck areas. If Kassian's shoulder touches Senkerik's chin as suggested by many, he could remain suspended past the Norway game.

We'll see how this plays out.
12/28/2010 | 9 comments | Read More

Foligno opens door, Kassian helps shut it as Canada debuts with win

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, December 26, 2010 | 12/26/2010

Marcus Foligno scored his team's first goal and Zack Kassina later added an assist as Canada opened the 2011 World Junior Championship with a 6-3 win over Russia.

Foligno and Kassian were the starting wings for Canada, with Kings prospect Brayden Schenn between them. The pair later moved to spend all but two even strength shifts with Columbus prospect Ryan Johansen the rest of the way. Both received quality power play time in the win with Kassian positioned in front of the net on the #1 unit and Foligno setting screens on the second line.

Skating on that #2 PP unit late in the first period, Foligno drifted off the boards to the front of the net and buried a rebound to tie the game 1-1.

Here is the goal and interview that followed at the first intermission.

With Canada jumping to a 3-2 lead late int he second, Kassian was whistled for slashing and watched from the box as Russia struck back to tied the game.

Kassian and Foligno each made a mark in the third period. First Kassian, who earlier was a presence in front of the net on what proved to be the game winning goal, helped give Canada the 5-3 lead when he took executed a a deft saucer pass to Brayden Schenn in front of the Russian net.

With Canada gaining late momentum, Foligno yardsaled a Russian player with a hard hit on the forecheck.

Big win for Canada and nice first game for the Sabres properties....
12/26/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Kassian, Foligno ready to go with future expectations

Sabres fans are licking their chops at the prospects of watching Team Canada's Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno skate on HSBC Arena ice over the next twelve days as the IIHF conducts the 2011 World Junior Championship. After all, the object of their NHL rooting interest has a 6.5% of making the playoffs so it makes sense to look for future hope.

And just like that, more Sabres fans care about what I do. I'm getting more emails and texts about Kassian. Co-workers are asking questions about the two playing on the same line. My Blackberry and mouth need a massage.

To summarize the conversations, we've all witnessed how playing in the World Junior Championship elevates a player's game to more dominating level. What a player immediately does with the experience, at least with the Sabres anyways, goes a long way in projecting their effectiveness as a professional.

Last season, Luke Adam scored 25 goals and 27 assists in 32 QMJHL games (1.63 ppg) before playing for Team Canada. The big forward returned to pot 24 goals in his final 24 games with Cape Breton, and carried that pace into 2010-11 with an AHL Rookie of the Month honor in his first as a pro.

Prior to skating alongside Tyler Myers at the 2009 tourney, Tyler Ennis averaged 1.16 points-per-game (31GP 15-21-36) with Medicine Hat (WHL) before ripping off 28 goals and 21 assists in his final 30 games (1.63 PPG) to cap his second consecutive 85-point season. Ennis went on the impress the following year, earning AHL Rookie of the Year and a firm spot on the big club.

Do I even need to mention Myers? He didn't become the Calder winning monster that he is until after the 2009 tournament.

So what does this all mean for Kassian and Foligno? Given the make-up of the two players, it's fair to expect the spike to continue.

Kassian has himself been a monster this season in Windsor with 15-33-48 in just 25 games. It's going to be hard for him to maintain his 1.92 ppg pace, but if he can keep it steady with 1.75 over the final 30 games, he'll be the first Sabres prospect to hit the 100-point mark since London's Dylan Hunter did it in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Combine the Ennis and Adam trend with how physically dominant he is against 17-18-19's, and it seems that Kassian hits the target barring injury or suspension, and could blow past it if he gets traded to a top contender.

As far as Foligno is concerned, it's all gravy from here. The 6'3 leader has already posted a career-high in goals with 15 in his first 28 games, and is likely to use the experience to prove that he can beat the D on the forecheck and a cause trouble in front of the opposing net. Foligno works hard, and any exposure to faster, stronger players makes him work harder. Hard work equals production, so I'm setting the final 2010-11 target at 33 goals and 75 points for a weak Sudbury squad.

Every theory has an anomaly, so it's worth mentioning how Clarke MacArthur earned his 2005 World Junior look by amassing 14-27-41 in 30 games with Medicine Hat, but failed to vault his offense upon return with a still-respectable 33 points in his final 28 games. What's funny is that MacArthur's 'starting' trend has continued in the NHL, with nearly half of his 53 career goals coming in October and November...

If we've learned anything, it's that making Team Canada is great but what you do after matters most.

And one last thing - exhibition action saw Kassian and Foligno skate on a line with 2011 draft stud Sean Couturier. With the Sabres sinking and Derek Roy out for the balance of the year, Sabres fans may want to keep an eye on the prize. A prime-time offensive talent, Couturier is currently numero uno on my draft board.

The fun beings with Canada-Russia today (Sunday). Enjoy the games. GO USA!
12/26/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Pre-tourney cruise continues for Sabres duo

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, December 23, 2010 | 12/23/2010

With the World Junior Championship looming, let's cruise through some of the press hits on Sabres prospects Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno. The towering 2009 picks, who each have a goal through two exhibition contests, are currently skating together Canada's top line centered by talented 2011 draft stud Sean Couturier of the QMJHL's Drummondville Voltigeurs.

The Canadian Press reports on Foligno's recent upswing and the opportunity to win gold in Buffalo.

Foligno understands some time developing in the American Hockey League is likely in his future, as is plenty of more work in the weight room. The strength of NHLers really made an impression on him during camp with the Sabres.

"In the OHL you go into a corner, take the body on a guy, to protect the puck you stick out your butt and they can't reach around you," said Foligno. "When you get into the NHL, I kind of took it for granted, I went into a corner with a smaller defenceman and he pushed me around and took the puck out, so I was like, 'OK, I've got to take another view of how I'm going to control the puck and get stronger.'"

The one thing for certain with Foligno is that his effort won't be questioned.

Earlier in the week, NHL Network caught up with Foligno after Canada's exhibition win over Switzerland. He briefly describes his role as a physical forechecker.

In an TSN interview, Foligno addresses Canada's two-way depth and goal scoring ability.

With Foligno getting some well-earned media attention, Zack Kassian is also seeing his name featured in a positive light after a trying 2009-10. A recent Calgary Herald piece details the "controlled aggression" he has used to make him one of the more dangerous scorers in junior hockey.

Kassian was one of the best players on the ice during Canada's pre-tournament exhibition game against Sweden on Tuesday night.

He used his size, strength and deceptive speed to charge the net early in the second period, drawing a holding penalty on the play to give Canada a two-man advantage.

He scored moments later.

"I think he's learned to be the prototypical 'pro' winger," said Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast.

"He's got soft hands, he can score. He goes to the net, he can fight and he's got all the ingredients that every NHL team is looking for in a winger."

Another good Kassian quote was served by the Windsor Star's Jim Parker on the topic of playing for the enemy in front of Sabres fans.

"Buffalo fans can watch me play and get a feel for how I play," said Kassian, who isn't sure if his physical style will make him a villain. "I don't know. I'll let them decide. There's a lot of big guys here that are physical."

Kassian feels the Canadians will gel as a team and be ready for the task of repaying the Americans for their win on Canadian soil a year ago.

"I think there's solid chemistry," Kassian said. "It's a great task for Canada. You're in the U.S. and they'll be ramped up."

So Sabres fans - what are you expecting?

Will Kassian's disciplined ways continue in an emotionally charged environment?

Can Foligno's grit lead to a big goal for Canada?

Who wins the tournament?

Enjoy the games...
12/23/2010 | 1 comments | Read More

12/18 Recap: Shipley scores in old barn; Eidsness returns

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, December 19, 2010 | 12/19/2010

Steven Shipley scored his 10th goal of the year Saturday as Niagara earned a key road win over Owen Sound, 5-2. The game was Shipley's first against his former teammates after a September exchange since him south to St. Catharines. Ryan Strome ('11) scored his 19th of the season for the IceDogs, who will now break until their game against Oshawa on the 29th.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb extended his point streak to seven games with an assist while earning his second fighting major of the year as Kootenay coughed up a loss to Red Deer, 6-4. The Ice held a 4-1 lead after the opening twenty minutes before allowing the Rebs to shut them out with five unanswered goals the rest of the way. The Kootenay captain was ornery throughout, earning 19 minutes in penalties including five for dropping his gloves with 6'2 Josh Cowen in the second period.

Also from the Dub, Riley Boychuk was -1 with a slashing minor as Portland stumbled against Seattle, 4-2. For the second straight night, the 6'5 forward took a penalty that resulted in a power play goal against.

Mark Pysyk finished +1 as Edmonton was defeated by Saskatoon, 4-2. Brent Benson ('11) had a pair of goals to pace the winning Blades.

Corey Fienhage finished -1 with a roughing minor as Kamloops was upended by Prince George, 3-2.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc had an assist in Rimouski's 2-1 overtime win over Baie-Comeau. After scoring 20 goals last season, the 6'2 right-hander has just four through his first 31 games and none in his last eleven.

In the college ranks, Brad Eidsness earned the exhibition nod, making 21 saves in his first start since November 19th as North Dakota defeated the Team USA U18's, 2-1. Eidsness made several key saves as the game wore on, earning the praise of his teammates and coaches in post-game interviews below. Eidsness starts things off for the first 2+ minutes. UND coach Dave Hakstol later speaks.

Drew MacKenzie (injured, day-to-day) did not play as Vermont lost at St. Lawrence, 6-4.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson contributed four shots on goal as Sioux Falls lost in a shootout to Fargo, 4-3. The 6'0 pivot was stopped at the third Herd shooter to end the game.
12/19/2010 | 4 comments | Read More

12/17 Recap: Sutch scores; McNabb extends streak

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, December 18, 2010 | 12/18/2010

Gregg Sutch scored his fifth goal of the season Friday as Mississauga clobbered Sudbury, 9-4. Ranked #2 in the most recent CHL rankings, the Majors (27-4-0-1) move on to a Sunday meeting with Kingston. The Wolves were playing without captain Marcus Foligno, who of course will be away for the next three weeks as Team Canada competes for the 2011 World Junior Championship.

Elsewhere in the OHL, Steven Shipley picked up an assist as Niagara destroyed Barrie, 10-0. Shipley, who watched as 13 different teammates collaborated for nine goals before finally checking in with a power play helper at 5:41 of the third period, now has 26 points (9+17) at the 30-game mark.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb extended his point-streak to six games by picking up an assist as Kootenay shot past Red Deer, 4-1. The steady 6'4 defender has nine points (3+6) over the stretch. The Ice (23-9-1-2) were ranked #8 in this week's CHL rankings.

Kevin Sundher set up the game's only goal on the power play as Chilliwack edged Edmonton, 1-0. Sundher is now ranked 8th in the WHL in PP assists, with 14 of his 24 season helpers coming with the man advantage. Meanwhile, only two of his 11 goals have come in that capacity. Mark Pysyk played even in his return to the Oil Kings lineup after a long week of travel and nervous energy trying to make Canada's U20 squad.

Corey Fienhage posted his sixth point of the season as Kamloops lost to Prince George, 3-2. The 6'4 defenseman has nine points, all assists, in 71 games played over his three seasons since leaving high school. He last scored a goal on April 5, 2008 as a member of the USHL's Indiana Ice.

Matt MacKenzie finished -1 as Calgary was defeated by Kelowna, 5-1. The Hitmen are now off until the 28th when they take on Brandon.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc finished +1 with two shots on goal as Rimouski earned a 3-2 win over lowly Baie-Comeau. The offensive-minded defenseman has gone ten straight games without scoring a goal.
12/18/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

12/16 Recap: Boychuk, McNabb help teams to victory

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, December 17, 2010 | 12/17/2010

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc contributed two shots on goal Thursday as Rimouski defeated Chicoutimi, 3-2. After averaging .676 points-per-game last year in Rouyn-Noranda, the 6'2 defenseman has shown a slight drop-off to .655 this season with the Nics.

In Wednesday action, Riley Boychuk assisted on the game-winning goal as Portland edged Kamloops, 5-4. The power-play apple was Boychuk's 17th point of the season. Corey Fienhage finished -1 for the Blazers.

Kevin Sundher (-1) saw his four-game point streak snapped in Chilliwack's 3-1 loss to Red Deer. The 6'0 center is currently trending for a 79-point finish in 2010-11.

Brayden McNabb posted an assist in his first game back from Selection Camp as Kootenay defeated Calgary, 3-2. Matt MacKenzie (-1) earned his second fighting major of the season in the loss when he took on 6'2 Matt Fraser late in the first period.

On Tuesday, MacKenzie earned an assist as the Hitmen scored three unanswered goals to overcome Chilliwack, 3-2. Kevin Sundher posted an assist for the Bruins in the loss.
12/17/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Foligno interview reveals mature leader

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, December 16, 2010 | 12/16/2010

Thanks to reader Jason I. for sending this interview clip of Marcus Foligno. He writes:

I was wondering if you had seen an interview with Marcus Foligno that has shown up on the internet. It comes from a show called 10 Minute Major. I guess it airs on the radio in northern Ontario. Anyways, their first guest was Marcus Foligno. They talk about Sabres Camp, becoming a captain, and being coached by his father. They even talked about how the passing of his mother effected his game, and how he has improved his scoring touch. I thought you would enjoy it.

As I stated in my reply, Marcus is a great kid who works his tail off and deserves all the good things that come to him. I'm really looking forward to his first Foligno leap in blue and gold. Enjoy the interview as I did.

Future letter-wearer in Buffalo?
12/16/2010 | 1 comments | Read More

New pals Kassian, Foligno World Junior bound

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | 12/15/2010

Congratulations to Sabres prospects Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno for being named to Canada’s 2011 National Junior Team. The right wing combo will wear the maple leaf sweater starting December 26 when the World Junior Championship kick-off at HSBC Arena.

Acquired via the 2009 draft, both 6’3 forwards have been carving up the Ontario Hockey League this season. Kassian, who leads the Windsor Spitfires with 15 goals and 48 points, is currently ranked fifth in OHL scoring and is on pace to be the first Sabres prospect to eclipse the 100-point mark since Dylan Hunter did it in 2004-05 and 2005-06 with the London Knights.

Foligno has blossomed this season as captain of the Sudbury Wolves, potting a career-best 15 goals and team-leading 33 points. Inside of that is a league-leading four short-handed marks. He was the star of the camp scrimmages with three goals, an assist, and a collection of solid hits that left a few players sore. Speculation was that Foligno could lend a hand in the dirty areas of the ice, and it seems that the Hockey Canada brass took notice.

At the 2009 draft, then-Sudbury coach (and former Sabres captain) Mike Foligno said that the Sabres drafted the two toughest kids in the “O”. Canada was expected to bring the beef in hopes of reclaiming the gold from the United States, and they got plenty of it with these two Sabres hopefuls.

One of the best parts of the story is that Kassian and Foligno have become good friends since entering the organization together. The comaraderie only gets deeper as the two work together over the next month to achieve what should be their first of many common goals. The new pals join Luke Adam, Tyler Ennis, and Tyler Myers as recent Sabres prospects to skate for the Canadian National Junior Team.

Buffalo’s first pick this past June, Mark Pysyk of the Edmonton Oil Kings, showed off his skating and intelligence in the three selection camp contests but was released from the squad as part of Wednesday’s final cuts. The Oil Kings captain returns to the WHL with a goal, 13 assists, and a +8 rating through 24 games. Fellow Western Leaguer Brayden McNabb of the Kootenay Ice was among Tuesday’s first wave of cuts.

For more on the story, please rewind a bit to read my thoughts before the camp roster was announced. At the time, Foligno was considered a longshot to make the team. My how things change in a few short weeks.
12/15/2010 | 5 comments | Read More

McNabb goes back to Kootenay

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | 12/14/2010

Brayden McNabb was returned to the Kootenay Ice Tuesday morning as Team Canada trimmed their National Team Selection Camp roster by nine players. The 6'4 defenseman, who spent the majority of the action paired with OHLers Ryan Ellis and Ryan Murphy, registered one assist in two intrasquad games. The Ice captain returns to the WHL with four goals, 23 points, and a +14 rating in 21 games this season.

Canada's boasts a strong fleet of defensemen, and their recent emphasis on mobile puck movers could explain why he was sent home while younger, less experienced blueliners like 2010 first-rounder Mark Pysyk remain with the team.

Marcus Foligno, the star of Sunday night's contest, and Zack Kassian remain among the forward hopefuls.
12/14/2010 | 5 comments | Read More

Kassian lights lamp as Canadian cutdown nears

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, December 13, 2010 | 12/13/2010

Windsor Spitfires forward Zack Kassian scored an even strength goal Monday as Team White toppled Team Red 7-5 in the final intrasquad scrimmage at Canada's National Junior Selection Camp. The 6'3 Kassian, again skating on a line with Michael Bournival (MTL) and Sean Couturier ('11), finished a play started by Spits teammate Ryan Ellis to tie to game 2-2 at :51 of the second period.

Red's Marcus Foligno posted a primary assist in the first period to give him two goals and an assist in the two camp contests, while 2009 third-rounder Brayden McNabb earned an assist on a first period power play for Team White. McNabb, the 6'4 captain of the WHL's Kootenay Ice, was tabbed for the exhibition shootout at the end of the game but was stopped by Coyotes prodspect Mark Visentin.

Edmonton Oil Kings captain Mark Pysyk skated for Red, earning a hooking minor early in the third period that was killed off.

Selection camp action closes Tuesday when Canada ices a roster against a team comprised of CIS players.

It's going to be difficult keeping Sudbury captain Foligno off the National Junior Team roster. An underdog entering camp, the 6'3 grinder has used his body in all three zones while executing quite well offensively on a line with Riley Sheahan (DET) and Curtis Hamilton (EDM). Canadian coach Dave Cameron called Foligno "the biggest surprise of camp" heading into Monday's game.

Along with Foligno, Kassian has maintained an inside track heading into final cutdown. One of the biggest players in camp, the Spits top point-getter is expected to be a physical scoring line leader when the tournament begins on the 26th. Wearing the maple leaf sweater would complete a nice turnaround for the 2009 first-rounder after failing to receive a selection camp invite a year ago.

The Sabres two camp rearguards, Pysyk and McNabb, remain in a pool of players fighting for what appears to be the #6 and #7 spots behind incumbents Ryan Ellis (NSH), Jared Cowen (OTT), Calvin de Haan (NYI), and first-rounders Erik Gudbranson (FLA) and Dylan Olsen (CHI). I like McNabb's blend of size, experience, and two-way competence as deciding factors if smaller players like Tyson Barrie (COL) and 17-year olds Ryan Murphy and Ryan Murray can't jump up and take a job, but there are no guarantees.

With the slick skating Pysyk looking more like a no-brainer for 2012 consideration when the tourney hits his home turf of Edmonton/Calgary, I'm looking at McNabb versus 6'4 Simon Despres (PIT) for at least one of those bottom spots. Both could be plenty effective in a limited role, and could provide a more physical dimension than Jesse Blacker (TOR), an experienced OHLer who was a +46 two seasons ago as a member of the Memorial Cup winning Spitfires.

We'll see what happens.
12/13/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

12/12 Recap: Sutch chips in; Eidsness sits again

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, December 12, 2010 | 12/12/2010

Gregg Sutch (+3) posted a pair of assists and a fighting major Sunday as Mississauga defeated Barrie, 6-3. The helpers move Sutch's season line to 4-14-18 +15, which should be considered a solid contribution from a role player on a strong junior club. With just under five minutes to play in the game, the 6'2 forward engaged feisty 5'8 defenseman Norm Ezekiel for his fourth scrap of the year and a new career-high in penalty minutes with 58.

In the WHL, Matt MacKenzie collected a power play assist as Calgary pitched a 2-0 shutout of Red Deer. With a total of 12, MacKenzie is currently tied with fellow 2010 third-rounder Kevin Sundher for 13th overall in the WHL in power play assists. The 6'2 defenseman has gathered two goals and 17 points in 30 games played this season.

Drew MacKenzie finished even with a shot on goal as Vermont earned their second win of the season by taking down #19 Dartmouth, 6-5. Despite the team's struggles, the offensive-minded MacKenzie's .36 p/gp production (14GP 1+4) remains relatively flat after marks of .27 and .39 in his first two collegiate seasons.

In the WCHA, Justin Jokinen recorded two shots on goal as Minnesota State was swept by #5 North Dakota, 4-2. Junior goaltender Brad Eidsness again rode the Sioux bench, and has now started just one of their last twelve games since getting one win in his first four outings. In his first two NCAA seasons, Eidness posted back-to-back 24-win campaigns.

Christian Isackson did not play as Sioux Falls ended a four-game skid with a 4-3 win over Des Moines. Buffalo native Anthony Day had a goal for the Herd.
12/12/2010 | 1 comments | Read More

Foligno nets pair to lead Team Red to Canadian camp victory

Marcus Foligno scored a pair of goals Sunday to lead Team Red to a 4-1 win over Team White at the opening scrimmage of Team Canada's Selection camp for the 2011 World Junior Championship.

Foligno was an absolute stud throughout the contest, working hard with linemates Riley Sheahan (DET) and Curtis Hamilton (EDM) to get the puck deep while using his strength to create offense near the paint. The 6'3 wing scored the game's first goal :42 into the second period when he potted a backhander past Calvin Pickard from the edge of crease, and nearly had another off a tip later in the frame. The potential bottom-liner would again connect when he stole the puck from Erik Gudbranson and iced the game with a breakaway goal in the game's final minute. The physical contest featured a few good licks, one of which was Foligno laying out Casey Cizikas with a booming open-ice hit.

Joining Foligno on Team Red was Buffalo's 2010 first-rounder, Mark Pysyk. The 6'1 right-hander was paired with 2010 Team Canada member Calvin de Haan (NYI), and did not factor into any of the four Red goals.

Sabres prospects Zack Kassian and Brayden McNabb competed for Team White, who outshot Red by a 30-27 margin. Kassian manned the right side of a line centered by Sean Couturier ('11) opposite Michael Bournival (MTL) of the Shawinigan Cataractes, while McNabb was paired with Kassian's Windsor teammate, Ryan Ellis (NSH). McNabb was on the ice for White's only goal scored by Habs prospect Louis Leblanc, but like Kassian, did not register a point in the intrasquad contest.

The two teams will rematch Monday night at 7:00. On Tuesday, a shortended stack will suit up against a team of Canadian university players before the Canadian brass begins their cutdown process.
12/12/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Sundher, Boychuk producing as quartet departs

Kevin Sundher scored two goals Saturday including one on the penalty kill to lead Chilliwack to a 4-1 win over Medicine Hat. The center now has 11 goals and 33 points through 28 games for the Bruins (15-12-3), including 7+9 in his last ten, and two goals and three assists in three games played this past week.

Riley Boychuk scored his ninth of the year and added an assist as Portland defeated Prince George, 7-4. Boychuk's power play tally tied the game at 2:26 of the third period. Five minutes later he connected Taylor Peters for the game winning goal, allowing him to match Sundher's production with two goals and three assists in the week's three games.

Other than that, it was a pretty mellow Saturday for the Sabres prospects ranks as Zack Kassian, Brayden McNabb, Marcus Foligno, and Mark Pysyk sat out their teams games (all wins) to be in Toronto for the Canadian Selection Camp, while inclement weather knocked three others out of action.

Steven Shipley didn't factor into the scoring as Niagara cruised to a 8-3 win over Barrie.

Corey Fienhage was even as Kamloops got clobbered by Spokane, 10-5.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc contributed one shot on goal as Rimouski edged Val-d'Or, 2-1.

Mark Adams was +1 as Providence defeated Quinnipiac, 5-2.

Bowling Green's Nick Eno remained the Saturday night back-up as the Falcons were swept by Ohio State, 4-2.

Brad Eidsness and Justin Jokinen were forced to change their weekend plans as the #5 North Dakota/Minnesota State game was rescheduled to Sunday due to the snowstorm dumping on the upper Midwest.

The same blizzard prevented Christian Isackson and the Sioux Falls Stampede from playing their game with Sioux City.


In Friday action, Matt MacKenzie scored a goal and two assists, including one to spring the game-winner, as Calgary defeated Regina in overtime, 4-3. MacKenzie forced the OT session when his slapshot rebounded off the end boards and deflected off the goalie into the net for his second goal of the season. The excellent effort earned him the game's #1 star en route to the last place Hitmen winning their eighth game of the year.

Riley Boychuk scored an empty-net goal, his eighth of the year, as Portland defeated Prince George, 8-3. Earlier in the game, the 6'5 scrapper tangled with 6'1, 195-pound Jesse Forsberg. Decision to the bigger guy.

Kevin Sundher notched an assist as Chilliwack skated to a 4-3 win over Lethbridge.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc posted a pair of third period assists to spark Rimouski to 5-4 come-from-behind win over Val-d'Or.

Steven Shipley picked up an assist as Niagara defeated Sudbury, 5-1. Marcus Foligno (-1) failed to register a point in his final game before departing for Toronto.

Brayden McNabb finished -1 as Kootenay lost to Moose Jaw, 6-4.

Corey Fienhage was -1 as Kamloops defeated Swift Current, 3-2.

Nick Eno made 26 saves as Bowling Green lost in overtime to Ohio State, 4-3.

Justin Jokinen (-2) punched two shots on goal as Minnesota State lost to North Dakota, 4-3. Sioux netminder Brad Eidsness served as backup to Aaron Dell for the sixth straight game.

Gregg Sutch was -1 as Mississauga defeated Oshawa, 3-2.


On Thursday, Zack Kassian fetched two assists as Windsor slid past Sualt Ste. Marie, 4-3. The helpers upped Kassian's line to 15-22-48 through 25 games before leaving for Canadian Selection Camp on Saturday.

Steven Shipley had an assist and was stopped in his shootout attempt as Niagara lost a 2-1 decision to the Majors. Gregg Sutch did not produce any points or PIM in the victory.


On Wednesday, Brayden McNabb (+2) added two assists to his season heap in helping Kootenay to a 5-0 win over Prince Albert.

Riley Boychuk notched two assits as Portland was throttled by Spokane, 9-2.

Edmonton captain Mark Pysyk and Calgary captain Matt MacKenzie each posted bagels as the Oil Kings defeated the Hitmen, 5-2.

Drew MacKenzie finished -1 with a shot on goal as Vermont was blanked by #1 Yale, 3-0.


In Tuesday action, Kevin Sundher collected a pair of assists in Chilliwack's 5-4 loss to Swift Current.

Corey Fienhage was -1 as Kamloops lost to Vancouver, 3-0.

Mark Adams recorded his first career point, an assist, as Providence played to a 4-4 tie with Brown. The freshman defenseman was the final Sabres prospect to to get on the stat sheet in 2010-11.
12/12/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Kassian eyes scoring title

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | 12/07/2010

Among the developing stories in all of junior hockey this season is the maturation of Buffalo Sabres 2009 draft pick, Zack Kassian. Some will say transformation, but I disagree. I won't sit here and claim that anyone thought he'd be a 100-point guy before leaving juniors, but the player that he's becoming and the way he's getting his points is what the Sabres envisioned when selecting a kid with 61 points and 13 fighting majors in his draft year.

Jim Parker of the Windsor Star is on the story with some solid analysis:

Kassian the fighter has dropped the gloves just three times this season and has been replaced by Kassian the scorer.

He has points in 21 of 24 games this season.

Eleven of those games have produced multi-point efforts, including five games with four points.

"I think the people who knew me growing up knew I had some skill," said Kassian, a Windsor Minor Hockey Association product.

He's now tied for fourth in league scoring with 46 points in 24 games heading into Thursday's game against the Sault Greyhoiunds at the WFCU Centre (7 p.m., Ca. 11, live blog at

And his 31 assists place him third in the league and just three points behind league scoring leader Shane Prince of Ottawa, who has played five more games.

"Zack Kassian is an elite passer," Jones said. "He's not on the radar in the league as far as an elite passer. He's got elite vision and with his strength he's able to protect the puck and keep his head on and swivel.

Kassian is on pace for 81 assists and 121 points, which would better the numbers put up by Taylor Hall last season when he shared the league's scoring title.

The Star article has some good quotes, so be sure to click and read the whole run. The goals Kassian refers to can be seen below.

(tap on the pads to anonymous commenter for clippage)

So....does anyone want to guess who's not going to Portland next year?
12/07/2010 | 1 comments | Read More

Shipley shaping up for IceDogs

Steven Shipley had a nice weekend for the Niagara IceDogs, ending a recent offensive drought with a three-point Friday and a game-winning goal the next night. After arriving in Saint Catharines via pre-season trade with Owen Sound, the 6'2 center-turned-wing has endured some early ups and downs but looks to have his game moving in the right direction.

I've talked about the need for Shipley to compete harder and move his feet, for doing this consistently could see him achieve the 85 point barrier. He's below that projected clip at that moment, but he's surrounded by a talented squad that is likely a year away from being serious contenders for the OHL crown.

The Standard put a little piece together following Shipley's weekend performance and talks about progress being made:

"He's moving his feet a lot more and concentrating on some of things we want him to do, and it's really paying off for him."

One of those things that Williamson and the IceDogs coaching staff wants to see more of is his shot. A natural centre turned winger this season, Shipley is known for his playmaking abilities.

"I moved him from centre to the wing, and Ship likes to make plays," Williamson said. I want him to shoot a lot more. I want him to get the puck to the net and use that shot of his."

Shipley admitted the shift from centre to the wing hasn't been easy.

"I played centre for most of my first two years in the league, so it has been a bit of an adjustment," said Shipley, who now has 23 points in 26 game. "When you've got great linemates like Strome and Freddie, they find you out there.

"I think the biggest thing for me is keeping my feet moving. I'm a bigger guy (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and I can't get caught flat-footed. The Sabres have told that my speed and quickness are the things I have to work on the most as well."

I've seen some uninspired hockey at times this season from the talented forward, but the story is far from written here as he is not up for review until spring 2012. For now though, the only expectation is that we see a sharper Shipley moving forward.
12/07/2010 | 2 comments | Read More

Pysyk claims WHL Player of the Week honors

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, December 6, 2010 | 12/06/2010

Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman Mark Pysyk has been named the WHL's Player of the Week. Pysyk racked up six points and a +3 rating over the past week in two Oil Kings victories.

On Wednesday, December 1st, the Oil Kings hosted the Prince Albert Raiders at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Pysyk collected two assists and was named the games 1st Star as the Oil Kings succumb to the Raiders 5-4 in the shoot-out. On Friday, December 3rd, the Brandon Wheat Kings were in Edmonton to face the Oil Kings. Pysyk scored once, added three assists and was named the games 2nd Star as the Oil Kings doubled up the Wheat Kings 8-4.

Pysyk has racked up nine points in his last four games bringing his season point total to 14 (1 goal, 13 assists) in 23 games played. The Edmonton Oil Kings have gone undefeated through regulation in their last five games (4-0-0-1) and currently sit 5th in the WHL Central Division with a 12-14-0-2 record.

Pysyk, an 18 year old from Sherwood Park, AB, is playing his third full season with the Edmonton Oil Kings who made him their first ever selection at the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft taking the rear-guard 3rd overall. The 1st round – 23 overall selection of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2010 NHL Draft recently played for Team WHL at the Subway Super Series, while also being named to Team Canada's World Junior Selection Camp.

12/06/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

12/5 Recap: Foligno forgets funk; Kassian keeps clicking

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, December 5, 2010 | 12/05/2010

Marcus Foligno snapped his 10-game goal drought in a big way Sunday afternoon, scoring his second hat trick of the season and adding an assist to lead Sudbury past Barrie, 5-3. Foligno scored one goal each on the power play, at even strength, and while short-handed to tie the Sabres prospects lead with 15 on the season, and propel the Wolves to their 10th win of the 2010-11 campaign. The shortie was his league-leading fourth of the year.

Zack Kassian turned it up in the third period, scoring a goal and an assist in just under three minutes as Windsor came from behind to close out Oshawa, 6-3. With 46 points (15+31), the 6'2, 226-pound Kassian is now tied for fourth overall in OHL scoring. Spencerport, NY native Shane Prince of the Ottawa 67's is the league leader with 49 (15+34).

Since the Monday announcement that four Sabres prospects would be attending Team Canada's Selection Camp, the quartet of Foligno, Kassian, Mark Pysyk, and Brayden McNabb have combined for nine goals, 14 assists, and a cumulative +10 rating in 11 games.

Elsewhere, Gregg Sutch got in his third fight of the season as Mississauga saw their 18-game unbeaten streak end with a 6-5 loss to Guelph. The Majors, who entered the game with a +56 goal differential, suffered just their third regulation loss of the season. Sutch battled Chris Van Laren early in the second after the pair met up for offsetting roughing minors near the end of the first. Here you go, savages. It's been a couple of weeks:

In a Sunday NCAA contest, Drew MacKenzie finished -1 as Vermont lost to #5 New Hampshire, 5-1. The tough start continues for the Catamounts (1-7-4) on Wednesday when they travel to #2 Yale.
12/05/2010 | 3 comments | Read More

12/4 Recap: Kassian re-Petes; McNabb pours pair as WJC camp looms

Zack Kassian continued his tear through the OHL Saturday, scoring two goals and two assists to lead Windsor to a 7-1 win over Peterborough. Kassian, who began last season as the Petes captain, posted his second four-point game in a week against his former club after a one goal, three assist effort in a 7-2 win last Sunday. He now has three goals and six helpers over his current three-game point streak.

In St. Catharines, Steven Shipley roofed the game winning goal as Niagara defeated Kitchener, 3-1. The power play marker, his ninth of the season, was his second goal in as many games and puts the fourth-rounder on a three-game point streak heading into Thursday's tilt with Canada's top junior club, Mississauga

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb doubled his season total with a pair of goals as Kootenay lost in overtime to Medicine Hat, 3-2. The 6'4 defender got the Ice on the board with a power play goal at 17:04 of the second period. Later in the third, McNabb would step out of the box after serving a delay of game penalty and immediately join the rush to bury a rebound with 7:51 left to force the OT. McNabb was mule as the game wore on, as the minor he served seemed as the only break he received in the final twenty minutes of play. The World Junior hopeful has points in three straight.

Kevin Sundher was in an ornery mood, picking up boarding, roughing, and high sticking minors as Chilliwack lost to Vancouver, 2-1. Sundher's quiet night snaps a six-game stretch over which he collected five goals and six assists to vault his way to a tie for #2 overall on the Sabres prospects scoring list with 1.12 points per game.

Riley Boychuk (-2) did not factor into the scoring as Portland was outgunned at Spokane, 4-3. The 6'5 grinder picked up a roughing minor in the loss to raise his prospect leading total to 61 PIM on the year.

Matt MacKenzie finished -3 as lowly Calgary lost to Kamloops in overtime, 3-2. Corey Fienhage (arm) suited up for the Blazers after being knocked him out of Friday night's game, finishing with a steady even rating.

In QMJHL action, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc notched another assist as Rimouski lost to the CHL's third-worst team Baie-Comeau, 3-2. The 6'2 defender has a line of 4-13-17 but has slid to a -10 rating through the first third of the season.

In NCAA play, Connor Knapp made 27 saves as #6 Miami rode an Alden Hirschfeld hat trick to take down #12 Notre Dame, 5-2. The 6'5 netminder, who made eight stops before the game was five minutes old, takes his record to 4-2-3 on the season, and currently leads the Sabres goaltending prospects with a 1.81 GAA and .918 save percentage.

Justin Jokinen contributed three shots on goal as Minnesota State defeated Minnesota, 2-1. The win, backboned by Phil Cook's 49 saves, gives the Mavericks their first ever sweep of the Gophers on home ice.

Nick Eno did not play as Bowling Green played to a 1-1 tie with Lake Superior. The 6'3 senior will take a 4-4-1 record, 2.66 GAA, and .902 save percentage into next weekend's set with Ohio State.

Brad Eidsness again served as backup as North Dakota rolled St. Cloud State, 6-2. Aaron Dell had to make 13 saves in the win, including just one in the third period, to get his sixth conference win of the season and 10th overall. Meanwhile Eidsness, who was an All-WCHA 2nd teamer last season after running up a streak of 38 consecutive starts, has played in just one of the last ten Sioux contests.

Mark Adams was scratched as Providence got shut down by Maine, 5-0. A freshman defenseman, Adams remains the only Sabres prospect yet to record a point this season.
12/05/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

Hard work pays off for Mankato's Jokinen

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, December 4, 2010 | 12/04/2010

Check out a nice article on Minnesota State forward Justin Jokinen, who after two seasons of mediocre play and a press box view for the final 11 games last year, is having a much better start for the WCHA's Mavericks.

“I knew what (the MSU coaching staff) wanted from me,” he said. “I knew what I had to do over the summer to get there.”

Whatever he did appears to be working for him.

The junior forward not only has been in the lineup in all 14 games this season, but after his hat trick last Friday at Massachusetts-Lowell, he’s now leading the Mavericks with six goals. Already, Jokinen has hit career highs in goals and points, and he’s doubled his goal total from his first two seasons at MSU.

“He’s really started to find himself as a college hockey player,” Mavericks coach Troy Jutting said. “He’s getting more and more comfortable. ... He’s very strong on his skates, and he’s really starting to demand and command the puck.”

Jokinen, who turned 21 on Nov. 25, came to Minnesota State straight from high school, rather than playing junior hockey for a year or two like several of his teammates did. While that might be one factor in Jokinen’s delayed growth as a player, Jutting said that Jokinen’s offseason commitment has made the biggest difference.

“He definitely had his best summer,” Jutting said. “I think Jocks finally realized the difference between what he thought was hard work and what really was hard work. He’s in better shape, and he’s stronger.”

12/04/2010 | 5 comments | Read More

12/3 Recap: Pysyk pumps home first; Ship rights ship

Destined to go to Team Canada's Selection Camp with a mark in the goal column, Mark Pysyk tallied his first of the year Friday and added three assists as Edmonton doubled Brandon, 8-4. Pysyk, who netted the first four-point night of his junior career, glided into the zone and filled the net with a wrister at 6:47 of the second period to tie the game 4-4 and essentially open the floodgates for the Oil Kings. Edmonton is now unbeaten in their last five.

Elsewhere, Steve Shipley scored a goal and two assists as Niagara lost a 6-5 road game in Sarnia. Shipley, who had gone six games without scoring a goal, will enter Saturday's meeting with Kitchener toting a two-game point streak. Ryan Strome ('11) produced his second consecutive two-goal game for the winners. The evening featured a total of 17 power plays, including a 7:00 advantage for the Dogs in which they could not score.

Gregg Sutch picked up an assist as Mississauga extended their unbeaten streak to 18 games with a 4-1 win over London. Sutch made a nice feed from behind the net to Rob Flick for his 16th point of the year and a 2-0 Majors lead with 1:40 to play in the opening period.

Marcus Foligno earned an assist as Sudbury was outshot 41-15 in a 3-2 loss to Brampton. The Wolves will take Saturday off before hosting Barrie on Sunday.

In the Q, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc finished the game -2 as Rimouski lost to Chicoutimi, 5-3. Charles Hudon ('12) had three assist for the Sags.

In Western League play, Riley Boychuk (+1) earned an assist as Portland defeated Tri-City, 5-1. Sven Bartschi ('11) added two assists for the Winterhawks.

Matt MacKenzie had a pair of assists as Calgary defeated Vancouver, 4-3.  The multi-point night gives the 6'2 rearguard 13 points (1+12) through 26 games.

Corey Fienhage left the game in the third period with an apparent arm injury as Kamloops fell in overtime to Saskatoon, 4-3. It's unclear if Fienhage will dress Saturday against Calgary, but my guess is that he wakes up sore after the game-ending collision with Darian Dziurzynski.

Kevin Sundher assisted on the game winning goal as Chilliwack carved a 3-2 win over Kelowna. The Bruins trailed 2-0 after two periods before uncorking a three-goal third to snatch the win.

In the NCAA, Nick Eno made 26 saves as Bowling Green skated to a 1-1 tie with Lake Superior. Eno had shut the Lakers down for over 46-minutes before allowing the game-tying goal.

Justin Jokinen skated -1 as Minnesota State defeated rival Minnesota, 3-2. The win came in the Mavericks' first home game since 10/23.

Mark Adams (-2) registered a shot on goal as Providence rallied to a 3-3 tie with Maine. The two clubs will play it back on Saturday.

Connor Knapp did not play as #6 Miami surrendered a 5-4 decision to #12 Notre Dame. It was the fourth time in 10 games that the RedHawks had a lead after 40 minutes only to tie or lose, and the fifth time in that span the RedHawks gave up third-period goals that have decided games.

Brad Eidsness served as backup as North Dakota defeated St. Cloud, 3-1. With Aaron Dell (5-1-1, 1.56 GAA, .931 sv%)  needing a rest and the Sabres likely making calls to Grand Forks wondering when Eidsness will next play, perhaps Sioux coach Dave Hakstol gives the junior the start when the teams reconvene on Saturday.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson finished -3 as Sioux Falls edged Omaha, 5-4.
12/04/2010 | 0 comments | Read More

12/2 Recap: Whole lot of helpers going on

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, December 3, 2010 | 12/03/2010

Quick mid-week update before tackling the Friday slate...

Steven Shipley (+2) ended a five-game point slumber on Thursday with an assist as Niagara defeated Windsor, 5-3. Zack Kassian (+1) had an assist for the Spitfires to notch his 40th point of the season.

Also from the OHL, Marcus Foligno assisted on the game's first goal just :11 in as Sudbury defeated Barrie, 4-3. 

In Brampton, Gregg Sutch played even as Mississauga held off the Battalion, 3-2. 

On Wednesday, Mark Pysyk (+2) collected two assists as Edmonton lost a 5-4 shootout decision to Prince George. Inspired by his World Junior Selection Camp invite, Pysyk was active throughout including an effective final 1:30 of the OT with the Oil Kings on the penalty kill. The OKs captain now has 10 assists through 22 games.

Brayden McNabb (+3) notched two assists as Kootenay defeated Portland, 5-3.  Riley Boychuk scored his seventh goal of the year with three minutes to play before the Ice capped the win with an empty netter.

Kevn Sundher (-1) posted an assist as Chilliwack was drilled by Saskatoon, 7-3. Josh Nicholls (TOR) had a two goals and an assist to lead the Blades.

Matt MacKenzie (-1) drew the Brett Connolly assignment as Calgary came up short against Prince George, 4-3. The Cougars coughed up a 3-0 lead before seeing Charles Inglis knock in the game-winner midway through the third.

On Tuesday, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc recorded an assist, his 12th of the year, in Rimouski's 3-2 shootout loss to Victoriaville.
12/03/2010 | 0 comments | Read More