3/19 Recap: Sundher stars as clubs ready for playoffs

Kevin Sundher hit for two insurance goals and an assist Saturday as Chilliwack blanked Everett, 3-0. The six-foot pivot went to work with the Bruins holding a 1-0 lead after 40-minutes, first forcing Ryan Murray ('11) to cough up the puck allowing him to sail down and pot his 23rd on a shorthanded breakaway, and then snapping a shot from the slot a couple of shifts later for his 24th goal and sixth three-point game of the year. The Surrey native finishes the regular season as the Bruins #3 scorer with 76 points. Depending on what shakes out on Sunday, Chilliwack will visit either Tri-City or Spokane when the WHL playoffs kickoff next week.

Elsewhere in the WHL, Brayden McNabb (+1) registered an assist, his 50th helper of the year, as Kootenay hammered Lethbridge, 7-1. The 6'4 defenseman caps his fantastic regular season with 22 goals and 72 points, making him the 3rd-most productive WHL blueliner, while his sturdy +25 is representative of the quality (and sheer amount of) even-strength minutes logged during season grind.

Mark Pysyk skated -1 as Edmonton lost their second game in as many nights to Red Deer, 3-1. The weekend set allowed plenty of bad blood to brew prior to the clubs' squaring-off for their best-of-seven playoff round next week. Pysyk scored six goals this season while posting career highs in points (40), penalty minutes (88), and plus/minus (+29) in his first season as Oil Kings captain. He played like a leader to end the year and is sure to be counted on heavily as Edmonton engages the tough task of taking down the Rebs, lead by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ('11).

Matt MacKenzie registered an assist as Tri-City defeated Spokane, 6-4. The two-way defender has points in three of his last four games. He had posted points in three of his previous 17 prior to the productive home stretch. The Ams wrap up the regular season on Sunday versus Seattle.

Riley Boychuk had no points and 17-penalty minutes as Portland defeated Seattle, 5-4. The 6'5 Boychuk earned his sixth fighting major of the year when he dropped the gloves with 6'5 17-year old Mitch Eliot.



Corey Fienhage finished -1 in the final WHL game of his career as Kamloops lost to Prince George, 5-1. The 6'4, 221-pound "Moose", who played his previous two seasons with the University of North Dakota, scored four goals and 10 assists in 70 games this season on the Blazers blueline.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley scored his 18th goal of the year as Niagara pummeled Kingston, 8-4. Ryan Strome ('11) collected four assists to finish tied atop the OHL's scoring list with 106 points (33+73). The IceDogs will await the results of Sunday play before learning their first-round opponent. A Brampton win will see the Dogs play Kingston. A loss will set the stage for shorter drives with a Dogs/Brampton first round match-up.

Marcus Foligno (+3) notched an assist as Sudbury doubled Belleville, 6-3. The 6'3 captain was a physically intimidating throughout, earning a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct late in the second period after his hit sparked a powerkeg. The Wolves will close the regular season Sunday with a tilt against their first-round playoff opponent, #2 seed Ottawa.

Zack Kassian notched an assist as Windsor defeated Saginaw, 5-4 in overtime. The bullish wing, who had eight 3+ point efforts before the World Junior Championships and just two after, finishes the regular season with 26-51-77. Just like a year ago, the Spits will face the Erie Otters in the opening round of the playoffs.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley (+1) picked up two assists Val-d'Or lost to Shawinigan, 8-4. The 6'5 Henley, who was called for boarding on the game's first shift, has 17 points in 21 games this season including a goal and seven assists in nine games since returning from wrist surgery. Les Foreurs will close their regular season Sunday against Drummondville.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson scored an empty-net goal and an assist as Sioux Falls rolled past Green Bay, 4-0. The six-foot rookie has 15 goals and 40 points in 51 games this season and has been a point-per-game player over his last 20.

Connor Knapp did not play as #6 Miami won their first-ever CCHA Tournament title with a 4-2 win over #12 Western Michigan. Senior UFA Andy Miele scored a goal and an assist to give him 71 points (24+47) in 38 games this year. By comparison, Nathan Gerbe's best season at BC (2007-08) saw him net 35-33-68 in 43 games. The RedHawks will now wait Sunday's announcement of the NCAA tournament bracket to determine who they'll next face.

Brad Eidsness served as backup as #1 North Dakota won the Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA Tornament champs with a 3-2 double-overtime win over #5 Denver. Like Knapp's RedHawks, Eidsness and the Sioux will wait for Sunday to learn who they face as one of the #1 regional seeds.
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Dave
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Sunday, March 20, 2011 ×

So any predictions on signings in the next few days? Fienhage getting an ATO to show what he can do for the Pirates? Will Knapp turn pro? Will he bring Andy Miele with him when he does (please!)?

I took the time to catch Miele this weekend and was duly impressed with him. Quicks, slick hand-eye... fearless. I know he went to the Caps Dev Camp, but in terms of available playing time, the Sabres have a lot more room.

Any thoughts you can share on Merrimack's DaCosta? Thanks as always...

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Anonymous
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Sunday, March 20, 2011 ×

I asked Paul HAmilton about potential college UFA signings and he said there will be no room due to the amount of players under contract. Don't know but I'd love them to grab a top centre prospect from the college ranks.

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Dave
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Sunday, March 20, 2011 ×

They have 45 contracts at present, 11 of them expiring UFA (including Mancari as a Type VI) and 13 RFA. They have the room if they so choose.

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Kris Baker
admin
Sunday, March 20, 2011 ×

I disagree with Hamilton.

The Sabres are not against the 50-contract maximum or 90 player protected list for this season or next. I'm seeing 45 contracts this year, and only 21 next year + 14 RFA. Plenty of room to add the right player(s), especially with a revamped vision.

Even still, the Sabres have always looked at college FAs. They will spend to the cap to get the right players. Given the Sabres needs, I'm not sure why Hamilton doesn't think it's possible...

Dave, I'll get to more guys soon.

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Dave
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Sunday, March 20, 2011 ×

As a note, Mancari is listed on CapGeek as RFA. He's not going to meet the games played stats to be RFA, so he'll be a Group VI UFA (over 25, less than 80 NHL games).

Schutz's deal will also end, and I don't see them tendering him at this point (stranger things have happened) or him signing it if they did. So that would be 12 RFA's (including "decision time" guys like Turnbull and Persson). They've got room.

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Kris Baker
admin
Sunday, March 20, 2011 ×

Part of Schutz's release (from reliable source) was the promise that he would not be tendered, in effect making him UFA, so yes it looks like only 12 RFA. Puh-lenty of room to sign guys.

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