3/11 Recap: McNabb in good company as playoffs loom

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, March 12, 2011 | 3/12/2011

Brayden McNabb continued his recent stacking of points with two assists Friday as Kootenay won via shootout over Swift Current, 5-4. Still without a NHL contract, McNabb enters the final week of play as the #3 scorer among WHL defenders with 67 points, just five short of eclipsing Marc-Andre Gragnani's (71 in 2005-06) for the highest total among Sabres defensive prospects of the last decade. Barrie's Nick Crawford finished with 70 a year ago. It's also worth noting that McNabb's 20-goal prowess puts him in good company with Dennis Wideman (24, 2003-04) Gragnani (22, 2006-07), and Andrej Sekera (21, 2005-06) among top blueline goal scorers recently drafted by the Sabres.

Elsewhere in the WHL, Kevin Sundher played even as Chilliwack saw their six-game winning streak snapped with a 3-2 overtime loss to Seattle, 3-2. The six-footer, who recently capped a streak that saw him score 19 points over 11 games, has produced two assists in his last five outings.

Mark Pysyk (-3) saw his career-best seven-game point streak come to an end as Edmonton lost to Prince Albert, 5-2. Despite the loss the Oil Kings had a chance to clinch a WHL playoff berth with a Calgary win, but their 2012 World Junior partner could not come through.

Corey Fienhage finished -1 as Kamloops lost to Kelowna, 5-1. Neighbor of my brother and donor of old equipment to my nephew, Shane McColgan ('11) had three power play assists to power the Rockets offense. The Sabres get a good discount when scouting Kelowna, and I'm curious where they see McColgan fitting come draft day. A creative forward with grit, McColgan has put together 21-44-65 this season after a 69 point campaign as 16/17 a season ago.

Riley Boychuk returned to the Winterhawks lineup after missing a half-dozen games with a concussion as Portland downed Everett. Three NHL draft picks and another sure to go early this June, Nino Niederreiter, Ty Rattie ('11), Ryan Johansen and Craig Cunningham, blitzed the Tips for four goals in the first five minutes of the middle period to take control of the game.

Matt MacKenzie was -1 as Tri-City lost to Spokane. Anthony Bardaro ('11) scored his 20th goal of the year for the Chiefs.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley registered four hits including a checking from behind minor as Val-d'Or edged Chicoutimi in a shootout, 3-2. The 6'5 project entered the game with points in three straight games.

Marcus Foligno missed his second straight game due to "illness" as Sudbury lost via shootout to Belleville, 4-3.

Gregg Sutch was a healthy scratch as Mississauga defeated Brampton, 6-2.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson notched a pair of assists as Sioux Falls fell to Cedar Rapids, 5-3. The Minnesotan now has 15 points (4+11) in his 14 games.

In the first round of the WCHA tournament, Justin Jokinen did not get on the scoresheet as Minnesota State lost to #6 Denver, 4-2. The Mavericks held a 2-0 lead after two periods before suffering a four-goal collapse in the third.

In game #1 of the CCHA quarterfinal, Connor Knapp watched as Cody Reichard made 17 saves to help #7 Miami to a 4-1 win over Alaska. UFA senior center Andy Miele scored his 20th goal and 62nd points of the season for the RedHawks. Miele, who leads the nation in scoring, has scored points in 14 straight games.

Also from CCHA quarterfinal weekend, Nick Eno served as back-up to Andrew Hammond as Bowling Green lost to #5 Michigan, 5-1.

In the Hockey East tourney, Drew MacKenzie was +1 with three shots on goal as Vermont lost the opener to #10 New Hampshire, 3-1.

Brad Eidsness did not play as North Dakota cruised past Michigan Tech, 8-0. The Sioux will close to close out their first round opponent Saturday.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you know the story behind why we didn't sign Wideman back then?

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting Gragnani is leading AHL defensemen in points and Kostka is right behind him. Are either of these guys going to play in the NHL? (sarcasm) I remember Paul Hamilton pointing out Kostka in one preseason game, and I kinda liked his game too. And if only Gragnani had more of a physical edge to him. We are so stacked at defense that even some guys that might be deserving will not get their call-up.

Also, I'm ready to see Tropp get his first call-up.

boos said...

9:02...if i'm not mistaken, the sabres were at the 50-pro-contract limit and decided not to sign their 8th-round pick...

goin' by pure memory here

Kris Baker said...

Boos + 9:02 - I don't remember the contract limit being a factor, but I do remember the Sabres bringing both Wideman in to Roch at the end of his jr season on an ATO, and then made a minimum contract offer at the signing deadline which he walked away from. The Sabres has Wideman and Paetsch in camp with the Amerks at the beginning of that season and opted to roll with Paetsch and cut Wideman loose. I only remember this because I wanted Wideman signed. Easy to say now but I'm sure the opinion is archived somewhere in internet message boards...

Kris Baker said...

man, I type like an invalid sometimes...

10:22 - super loaded at D. I would imagine that at least one of these guys gets moved in an offseason deal. Grags could maybe be in the Weber/Butler role next season if he's still here since going back to Portland doesn't seem to make much sense. Aside from one poor play defensively on a goal against, I thought her looked pretty good in his last games with Buffalo.

Dave said...

They weren't at the contract limit, they were in the midst of the dual affiliation silliness and went with Paetsch over Wideman.

boos said...

thx, guys...i knew it had something to do with too many bodies at the time...

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