3/30 Recap: Sundher heroic in B's comeback; Eno "Coasts"

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, March 31, 2011 | 3/31/2011

Kevin Sundher potted two goals and an assist Wednesday as Chilliwack overcame a three-goal third period deficit to earn a 4-3 OT win over Spokane. Sunder led the way in the third, assisting on a power play goal to bring the Bruins within one before going to the net and making a nice backhand move to cash the game tying goal with 8:16 left and force the extra session. The six-foot center capped the heroic effort just 3:20 in when he broke free from center ice and smoked a quick release over the glove of James Reid. The Bruins now trail the series 2-1 with game #3 Thursday.

Elsewhere in the WHL, Brayden McNabb (+3) had an assist as Kootenay evened their series at two games apiece with a 5-0 shutout win over Moose Jaw. The 6'4 blueliner, who took the puck and delivered a sharp pass after entering the zone as the trailer to give the ICE a 3-0 lead, has a goal and three assists through the four post-season contests. Three of the four series games have been won via shutout. Game #5 is Friday in Kootenay.

Matt MacKenzie (+2) posted an assist as Tri-City earned a first-round sweep with a 5-1 over Vancouver. MacKenzie has a goal, three assists, and a +3 raing in four postseason games. The Ams will now wait for their next opponent to be determined.

Riley Boychuk did not point as Portland defeated Everett, 5-4. With a commanding 3-0 series lead, the Winterhawks will look for the sweep on Thursday.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian notched his first goal of the playoffs and added an assist as Windsor gained a firmed upper hand in their first round tilt with a 7-4 win over Erie. Kassian used his size and strength to spin away from a check and bury his first to give the Spits a 4-2 lead in the early second period. Alexander Khokhlachev ('11) had two goals and assist for the Spits, who can close out the series on Friday.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc picked up an assist as Rimouski lost in overtime to Gatineau, 4-3. The 18-year old, who assisted on the game-tying goal with 3:55 to play to send the game into overtime, has three points in four playoff games. The defeat puts the Nics in a 3-1 hole in their best-of-seven series, with their first elimination game coming Friday in Gatineau.

Cedrick Henley (-1) recorded two shots on goal and three hits as Val-d'Or was eliminated from the QMJHL playoffs with a 5-2 loss to Quebec. Henley ends the four-game playoff year with no points, a -4 rating, and six penalty minutes.


In non-playoff news, as expected ex-Bowling Green netminder Nick Eno has signed a contract with Toledo of the ECHL. The 6'3 Eno was long considered a longshot to get a contract from the Sabres, and the Coast league deal essentially brings an end to his time as a Sabres prospect.
3/31/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/29 Recap: Gauthier-Leduc fuels Nics rally

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 | 3/30/2011

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc scored a goal and assisted on the game winner Tuesday to lead pesky Rimouski to a 7-4 win over Gatineau. With an effort marked by quick execution in his own zone and the usual proper steering on the power play, it was an overall heady performance for the escapable 6'2 puckmover. He cashed his first goal of the playoffs on the power play to give the Nics a 4-3 lead late in the second period. At 4:10 of the third period, he sent a pass to Patrick Delisle-Houde for the game winning goal. The Oceanic now trail the series 2-1 with the clubs going right back at it on Wednesday.

Also from the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley was -1 as Val-d'Or got drilled by Quebec, 9-0. The 6'5 forward has gone without a point in nine career playoff games. Trailing the series 3-0, the Foreurs face a "win or go home" scenario on Wednesday.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley finished +1 as Niagara defeated Brampton, 3-1. The victory gives the IceDogs a commanding 3-0 series advantage with game #4 taking place Thursday in Brampton. The 6'3 Shipley, who was on for the Dogs final goal while centering scorer Darren Archibald and Myles Doan, has yet to record a point in seven career playoff games.

Gregg Sutch skated even with a minor penalty as Mississauga completed the first round sweep of Belleville, 4-0. Skating on the Majors fourth line with Jamie Wise and Corey Bureau, the grinding Sutch was whistled for a checking to the head penalty late in the first period. The 6'2 forward had no points in the series for the Majors, who will now wait to see who they'll face in round two. The injury-riddled Bulls dressed just nine forwards along with seven defensemen to end the season.

Marcus Foligno was unable to point for the third straight game as Sudbury battled back to steal a 5-4 overtime win over Ottawa. Foligno, who has been skating with Eric O'Dell and Michael Sgarbossa, hasn't been putting up points but he's still made noise in the offensive zone by pounding defensemen on the check. He started the night with a crowd pleasing boom on big Cody Ceci ('12) before lowering the boom on Ryan Shipley (brother of Steven) for the third time in the series. His efforts have drawn the attention of 67's bruiser Dalton Smith, making for a Sabres-centric sidebar when the #7 seed Wolves look to pull off the sweep/upset of the #2 seed Thursday in Ottawa.

In WHL action, Brayden McNabb was -1 as Kootenay lost game #3 of their first round series to Moose Jaw, 4-0. the shutout loss was the second in three games against the Warriors. The ICE will look to even the series at two games each on Wednesday.

Matt MacKenzie was kept off the scoresheet as Tri-City shut out Vancouver, 4-0. The Ams will look to take the brooms to the Giants when the puck drops for Wednesday's game #4.
3/30/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/28 Recap: Kassian bullish in Spits win

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | 3/29/2011

Zack Kassian earned #1 star honors Monday, posting a pair of first period assists and providing a major physical element to help Windsor to a 6-2 win over Erie. It was Kassian’s bullish game that earned the first-star recognition, as he again kept his feet moving to push bodies, attempt more one-on-one plays, and generally get the puck to the net. Seemingly upping his battle to assist the Spits to a 2-1 series lead, Monday’s effort was exactly the style of game that made that the 6’3 wing the 13th overall pick in the 2009 draft. The now head back to Erie for Wednesday’s game #4.

Elsewhere in the OHL, Marcus Foligno finished -1 as Sudbury downed Ottawa for the second straight game, 5-3. Foligno provided power forward muscle in the contest, using his strength to win 50/50 battles, and like Kassian, succeed in getting the puck to the net for scoring chances. The captain grinding his gears helped the Wolves to a 53-18 advantage in shots on goal. The two teams will reconvene Tuesday with Sudbury holding a 2-0 series lead.

In the WHL, Mark Pysyk logged a -2 as Edmonton lost game #3 of their first round series to Red Deer, 3-1. The steady captain put a scare into Oil Kings nation in the early third period when he took a puck to the head and returned to the bench on wobbly legs with the score knotted at zero. Pysyk, who previously put EDM fans on pins and needles when he was rammed hard into the boards early in game #1, would return to action minutes later. On the verge of being swept, the Oil Kings will look to extend their season another day when they take the ice Thursday in Edmonton.
3/29/2011 | 4 comments | Read More

3/27 Recap: Boychuk strikes again as 'Hawks take command

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, March 27, 2011 | 3/27/2011

Riley Boychuk scored his second goal in as many games Sunday as Portland dominated Everett, 7-2. The 6'5 Boychuk, whose tip of a Troy Rutkowski power-play blast put the 'Hawks ahead 4-1 at the end of two periods, helped protect the lead in the third with physical play that included minors for checking from behind and roughing with a little over seven minutes to play. Sven Bartschi ('11) added a pair of assists for Portland, who now takes a 2-0 series lead into Wednesday night's tilt at Everett.

In the OHL, Gregg Sutch skated even in limited minutes as Mississauga shut out Belleville, 2-0. The Majors will look to finish the first round sweep Tuesday in Belleville.

Steven Shipley was unable to score as Niagara stifled Brampton, 2-0. Ryan Strome ('11) scored the game winning goal at 4:20 of the first period. The IceDogs now lead the series 2-0 heading into Tuesday's game #3.

In NCAA tourney action, Brad Eidsness served as backup North Dakota advanced to the 2011 Frozen Four with a 6-1 win over Denver. The Sioux will meet Michigan two Thursdays from now for a chance to earn their eighth national title.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson did not factor into the scoring as Sioux Falls cruised to a 6-2 win over Fargo. The six-foot center has now gone without a point in two straight games for the first time since 2/4 (20 games).
3/27/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/26 Recap: McNabb, Boychuk come up big as playoffs heat up

Brayden McNabb continued to be a point machine Saturday, scoring a goal and adding two assists as Kootenay evened their best-of-seven series at one game apiece with a 5-2 win over Moose Jaw. After netting an assist on the game's first goal, McNabb scored on a power-play slapper from the high slot to gave the Ice an early 2-0 lead. The three-point night ties a Kootenay franchise mark for points by s defenseman in a playoff game. The two clubs will lock in Tuesday for game #3 in Moose Jaw.

Elsewhere in the WHL, Riley Boychuk opened the game with a power play goal and set-up another Winterhawks tally a few minutes later as Portland opened the playoff season by pitching a 4-0 shutout over Everett. Boychuk, who was also called for a pair of interference penalties (one in the paint on the goalie) had just three points in 13 playoff games in 2009-10. Game #2 will be played Sunday evening.

Matt MacKenzie scored the game winning goal as Tri-City held on to defeat Vancouver, 5-4. MacKenzie drilled a shot while on 5-3 advantage to give the Ams a 5-3 late at 9:47 of the third period. The Ams take a 2-0 series lead heading into Tuesday's game #3.

Mark Pysyk logged a -1 as Edmonton lost for the second straight night to Red Deer, 5-1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ('11) scored his third goal of the series and was whistled for a diving minor in the Rebels victory. I'm not a fan of diving. Shame on you, RNH. The Oil Kings will look to halve the Rebels 2-0 series lead on Monday.

Kevin Sundher was even Chilliwack was shut out by Spokane, 5-0. Trailing the series 2-0, the Bruins now face the difficult task of having to win two of the next three games in the Chiefs barn in order to keep their season hopes alive. The two teams re-engage for game #3 on Wednesday.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian finished +2 with six shots on goal and a smattering of hits as Windsor took game #2 of their first round match-up with Erie, 4-3 in double-overtime. The 2009 first-rounder was engaged from the get-go, using his feet to complete checks and battle for loose pucks, and seemed to get better (i.e. played with a greater sense of urgency) as the game progressed. With a slew of penalties against the Spits hampering Kassian's early ice time, the 20-year old was up on the bench directing teammates and chirping at the opposition. He was locked in mentally, which could bode well for Windsor entering Monday's game #3. If this effort is any indication of his preparedness moving forward, which keep in mind was by no means "overwhelming", then there's little question he'll be Portland-bound when his OHL season is done.

Marcus Foligno finished -1 as Sudbury opened their playoff year with a wild 8-7 overtime win over Ottawa. The strapping 6'3 forward made his presence felt just :11 in when he was whistled for a nasty slash/spear to the mid-section of gritty 67's forward Dalton Smith. The Wolves, who trailed 5-4 at the second intermission, sealed the deal when Andrey Kuchin completed his hat trick at 3:26 in to the extra session.

Gregg Sutch did not point as Mississauga edged Belleville, 1-0. The Majors, holders of a 2-0 series lead, will look to shake the disappointing effort when the teams meet for Sunday's game #3.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc was -1 as Rimouski lost in overtime to Gatineau, 3-2. The 18-year old rearguard was on the receiving end of a vicious hit from behind midway through the first period after advancing the puck at his blueline (below). Piques forward earned a five-minute boarding major on the play. The series will resume Tuesday with Gatineau holding a 2-0 lead.

Cedrick Henley was unable to score as Val-d'Or lost to Quebec, 6-4. The Foreurs now trail the bes-of-seven 2-0, with game #3 set for Tuesday.

At the NCAA Tournament, Connor Knapp served as back-up as top-seed Miami lost in the Northeast regional semi-final to New Hampshire, 2-1. The junior metminder ends his season with a record of 8-5-4 in 17 appearances with a 2.03 goals against average and .909 save percentage. Senior UFA Andy Miele failed to get a point, ending his 17-game point streak, to finish the year with a line of 24-47-71 in just 39 games. Given the fact that he plays center, it's basically no-brainer that the Sabres make an attempt to sign the creative talent.

In other NCAA action, Brad Eidsness served as back-up as North Dakota advanced to the Midwest regional final with a 6-0 ripping of RPI. The Sioux move on to face familiar foe Denver Sunday with a Frozen Four berth on the line.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson recorded a shot on goal as Sioux Falls was blanked by Sioux City, 2-0.
3/27/2011 | 5 comments | Read More

3/25 Recap: Sundher points as teams get tough starts

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, March 26, 2011 | 3/26/2011

Kevin Sundher posted an assist Friday as Chiliwack opened the 2011 playoff year with a 3-2 overtime loss to Spokane. Midway through the second period with the game locked at a goal apiece, Sundher entered the zone with the puck on a 2-1 break with Jamie Crooks. When the Chiefs defender slid to take the pass away, the six-footer stopped on a dime and made a nice dish to Crooks to give the Bruins the 2-1 lead. The apple was Sundher's sixth point in seven career playoff games, while Bruins netminder Lucas Gore made 60 saves before giving up the game winner halfway through the OT. Game #2 takes place on Saturday.

Mark Pysyk regrouped from an early jilt to finish the night +3 as Edmonton lost an entertaining game #1 to Red Deer, 5-3. The Oil Kings suffered a scare on the game's opening shift when Pysyk left the ice gingerly after being rammed into the boards, only to return without issue. Michael St. Croix ('11) knotted the game 3-3 in the third period before Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ('11) took over with a pair of goals in a span of 1:06 to give the Rebels a 1-0 series lead. The clubs will take the ice for game #2 Saturday.

Matt MacKenzie was +1 as Tri-City came from behind to defeat Vancouver, 2-1. After tying the game with 7:55 to play in the third period, Carter Ashton iced the Ams win with just three ticks left in the first overtime after Andrej Stastny was whistled for a costly tripping call. The well-seasoned MacKenzie, who represented the WHL in last year's Memorial Cup as a member of the Calgary Hitmen, will dress for his 47th career playoff tilt when the teams play game #2 on Saturday.

Brayden McNabb logged a -2 as Kootenay was shut out Moose Jaw, 4-0. The Ice will look to play tougher from the first drop in Saturday's game #2, as giving up three first period goals on home ice was hardly the way they wanted to begin the postseason. It was a disappointing postseason start for McNabb, who on Thursday was named a WHL Eastern Conference First Team All-Star.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc finished -1 as Rimouski was clobbered by Gatineau, 6-0. The 6'2 defender had just closed the regular season with a 10-game point streak but can always begin another when tow clubs play it back on Saturday. Igor Levitsky ('11) had a goal and an assist for the Piques.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley (-1) did not point as Val-d'Or was dumped by Quebec, 7-2. Mirko Hoefflin (undrafted in '10) had a pair of assists for the Remparts, who will take a 1-0 series lead into Saturday's game #2.
3/26/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/24 Recap: Kassian generates as Spits drop opener

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, March 25, 2011 | 3/25/2011

Zack Kassian (-1) notched an assist for his 20th career playoff point as Windsor opened the 2011 playoff year with a 2-1 loss to Erie. Kassian, whose power play blast by tipped-in by Stephen Johnston for the only Spits goal, put together a decent performance despite the loss while on a line with Johnston and Leafs prospect Kenny Ryan. The 6'3 banger showed engagement early, opening the game with a big hit only to be whistled for charging a couple of shifts later. He was controlling and patient with the puck, and more importantly was physical in all three zones in an effort to pressure the Otters carriers. Windsor scored on just one of 11 power play opportunities, a stat that will need to improve when the series shifts to Erie for game #2 Saturday.

Elsewhere on opening night, Steven Shipley finished +1 as Niagara rolled to a 7-1 thrashing of Brampton. The IceDogs rode four goals from the stick of Darren Archibald to notch their first win of the playoff year, while Shipley remains without a point through five career playoff games. Ranked #9 in the final CHL rankings, Niagara now travels to Brampton for Sunday's game #2.

Gregg Sutch played even as Mississauga defeated Belleville, 4-1. The 6'2 grinder, who came to life last year in the playoffs with four goals and an assist in 16 games, will have plenty of opportunities to eclipse that line with the CHL's #3 ranked Majors hosting this year's Memorial Cup. Austen Brassard ('11) scored the Bulls' lone goal.


On Wednesday, Christian Isackson (+1) scored his 16th goal of the year as Sioux Falls downed Omaha, 4-1. The goal thrusts Isackson into the team scoring lead with 41 points, one ahead of Brown commit Ryan Jacobson in two fewer games. Another future Gopher, Kyle Rau ('11) paced the Herd with two goals and an apple.
3/25/2011 | 3 comments | Read More

Monday Morning Stat Sheet

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, March 21, 2011 | 3/21/2011

3/21/2011 | 3 comments | Read More

3/20 Recap: Hats off to Jerome as CHL closes

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc completed his strong stretch run with a bang Sunday, potting a hat-trick to lead Rimouski to a 6-3 win over Victoriaville. Gauthier-Leduc heads into the playoffs on a wicked 10-game point-streak that saw him collect 10 of his 18 season goals (as well as a +9 rating to net out to a season finish of -1). With 56 points (18+38), the puck mover finishes his 18-year old season as the #2 scorer among QMJHL defensemen. By comparison, Marc-Andre Gragnani went 16-55-71 -23 in his 18-year old season, while T.J. Brennan posted a line of 16-26-41 -15 at the same developmental point. The #12 Oceanic will face #5 seed Gatineau in the first round.

In the OHL, Marcus Foligno collected two assists as Sudbury lost at Ottawa, 7-3. The 6'3 captain finishes his final regular season of junior play with career bests in goals (23), assists (36), and plus/minus (+5). The Wolves and 67's will get reacquainted Saturday afternoon at Scotia Bank Place for game #1 of their first round playoff battle.

Gregg Sutch notched a pair of assists as Mississauga completed their excellent regular season with a 4-1 win over Barrie. The grinding 6'3 forward, who looks to have played his way back in to the lineup full-time after being in-and-out most of the past month, completes the schedule with a line of 8-20-28 +20 - all career bests. The CHL's #3 ranked Majors move on to their first-round series against Belleville.

In the WHL, Riley Boychuk scored his 18th goal of the year as Portland ended their 2010-11 campaign with a 6-3 loss to Spokane. The 6'5 Boychuk improves his season totals to 18-17-35 in the defeat, while Anthony Bardaro ('11) had a pair of goals for the winning Chiefs. Portland, the top seed in the Western Conference, will face #8 Everett in the opening round.

Matt MacKenzie did not score as Tri-City defeated Seattle in overtime, 4-3. The Americans, the #4 seed in the West, will battle Vancouver in a first-round WHL playoff series.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley recorded four hits as Val-d'Or lost in overtime to Drummondville, 3-2. The Foreurs, owners of the 14th playoff seed, will face the Quebec Remparts in the opening round.
3/21/2011 | 1 comments | Read More

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

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, March 20, 2011 | 3/20/2011

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.
3/20/2011 | 6 comments | Read More

3/18 Recap: Foligno produces in return

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, March 19, 2011 | 3/19/2011

Marcus Foligno gathered a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup Friday as Sudbury downed Kingston, 6-3. The 6'3 physical forward has scored 23 goals in 45 games this season after scoring a total of 26 over his previous two seasons (132 games). Foligno had missed last weekend's games with an illness. The Wolves close the regular season with weekend road games at Belleville and Ottawa.

Also from the OHL, Gregg Sutch scored a goal and an assist as Mississauga shut out Brampton, 2-0. The power-play marker, Sutch's eighth of the season, came off a failed Troops clearing attempt with 3:43 remaining in the 2nd period.

Zack Kassian did not score as Windsor downed Sault Ste. Marie, 4-2. Kassian, who three months ago looked like a lock for 100 points and even two weeks ago made 80 seem very reasonable, has gone -2 with an assist in his last four games to check in with 26-50-76 as the Spits enter their final regular season game Saturday versus Saginaw.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc scored his 15th goal of the season to extend his point streak to nine games as Rimouski lost at Gatineau, 3-1. The 6'2 Quebec City native has scored seven time over the streak (nearly half of his season haul) to go along with eight assists. Gauthier-Leduc is ranked 4th among Q defenders with 53 points (18+33) with one game left.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb notched his 22nd goal of the season and added an assist as Kootenay downed Lethbridge, 5-3. The 6'4 McNabb now has 71 points with one game remaining, placing him 3rd overall among all WHL rearguards while tying him with Marc-Andre Gragnani (2005-06) for third-most single-season points for a Regier-drafted defenseman behind Brian Campbell (87, 1999-00) and Matt Kinch (84, 2000-01).

Matt MacKenzie collected a pair of assists as Tri-City defeated Chilliwack, 6-1. Kevin Sundher finished -2 for the Bruins.

Riley Boychuk scored his 17th goal of the year as Portland rallied to beat Everett, 4-3. The aggressive 6'5 grinder, who scored goals in back-to-back games for the fourth time this season, was whistled for three minor penalties in the game - two for roughing and one for cross-checking.

Mark Pysyk was +1 as Edmonton battled in a hard-fought 4-3 loss to Red Deer. The game, played in Rexall Place between clubs that are locked into to a first-round playoff match-up, was attended by 12,960 fans. Pysyk has posted career highs this season in assists (34), points (40), plus/minus (+30), and penalty minutes (86).

Corey Fienhage skated +1 as Kamloops saw their playoff hopes fade away via a 3-2 shootout loss to Prince George. The Blazers needed a regulation win to stay alive in the race for the final spot in the Western Conference bracket. The 6'4 stay-at-homer will play his finish his WHL career Saturday in a rematch at PG.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson (+2) scored his 14th goal of the season as Sioux Falls rolled over Chicago, 7-0. The six-footer, who has points in 13 of his last 16 games, had skated his previous nine games without a goal.

In the collegiate ranks, Connor Knapp served as backup as #6 Miami advanced to the CCHA Final with a 6-2 win over #8 Notre Dame. UFA's Andy Miele (two goals, two assists) and Carter Camper (two goals, one assist) paved the way for the RedHawks, who move on to face Western Michigan in Saturday's championship.

At the WCHA Final Five, Brad Eidsness did not play as North Dakota edged Colorado College, 4-3. The Sioux will battle Denver on Saturday for the tourney title.
3/19/2011 | 1 comments | Read More

3/17 Recap: Gauthier-Leduc streaks to eight

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, March 18, 2011 | 3/18/2011

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc notched an assist to extend his season-high point streak to eight games as Rimouski was doubled-up by Montreal, 4-2. Still just 18 years of age, the 6’2 Quebec City native is currently tied for 4th among QMJHL defensemen with 52 points (14+38). The Nics have two games left, with their season ending Sunday versus Victoriaville.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley registered his 49th point of the season, an assist, as Niagara gave up a third period lead in a 2-1 loss to Central Division rival Mississauga. Ship's 2010 draft-mate Gregg Sutch finished even with a minor penalty for the Majors. With one game remaining on the regular season schedule, the CHL’s #10 ranked IceDogs will finish in second place behind the #3 ranked Majors.

Zack Kassian finished -2 as Windsor lost to Saginaw, 5-0. The Spits loss seals their second place finish in the OHL’s Western Division, while the team handing them the loss takes their first division title. Kassian, who averaged 1.92 points-per-game prior to the World Junior Championship, has recorded 28 points in his past 29 games. Windsor closes their regular season with Friday-Saturday games at Soo and Saginaw.
3/18/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/16 Recap: Boychuk gets "easy" one

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, March 17, 2011 | 3/17/2011

Riley Boychuk scored his 16th goal of the year Wednesday as Portland defeated Vancouver, 5-3. Click here and bump it up to the 1:22 mark to watch Boychuk slip into the crease, fish out the puck, and slide it between his legs "no look" style into the open cage.

Also from the WHL, Kevin Sundher was -1 with a shootout miss as Chilliwack dropped a 2-1 decision to Spokane. The Bruins lose in the shootout despite out-firing the Chiefs by a 79-23 margin over the previous 65-minutes of action.

Matt MacKenzie (-1) did not score as Tri-City lost to Spokane, 2-1. The 6'2 defender has five goals and 12 points in 30 games since coming to the Ams.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley (+1) notched an assist as Niagara doubled Peterborough, 6-3. The 6'3 forward has a goal and five assists in his last five games, and a season line 17-31-48 in 63 games this season. Last year, Shipley potted 23 goals and 40 assists in 68 games.
3/17/2011 | 3 comments | Read More

3/15 Recap: Pysyk scraps as Oil Kings romp

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 | 3/16/2011

Mark Pysyk finished +2 while earning his second fighting major of the year Tuesday as Edmonton clobbered Lethbridge, 8-1. The Oil Kings captain took exception to d-partner Keegan Lowe ('11) getting dumped into the boards midway through the opening period by engaging Hurricanes forward Cam Braes for a quick tilt.

It was basically the same scenario that led to Pysyk's first major back in October - a teammate took a hit and he quickly chased down retribution. The 6'1 Pysyk isn't the most skilled pugilist, and it's not a practice his coaches want him in engaging in with the playoffs around the corner, but it's still good to see the instinct take over when necessary. It's clear that Pysyk's value is on the ice not in the box as evidenced by his 40 points and +29 rating. Michael St. Croix ('11) added a pair of helpers for the Oil Kings.

In other action, Brayden McNabb finished +1 as Kootenay downed Medicine Hat, 4-1. The 6'4 Saskatechewan native, who coming in had enjoyed his only two multi-goal games of the year against the Tigers, remains locked in 3rd place among WHL rearguards with 69 points (21+48).
3/16/2011 | 3 comments | Read More

Monday Morning Stat Sheet

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, March 14, 2011 | 3/14/2011

3/14/2011 | 4 comments | Read More

3/13 Recap: Gauthier-Leduc pots deux; Pair dishes 50

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, March 13, 2011 | 3/13/2011

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc scored a pair of goals Sunday to extend his point streak to seven games as Rimouski cruised past Rouyn-Noranda, 6-1. The 6'2 defenseman has scored six goals and seven assists over the streak, and currently sits 6th among QMJHL in scoring with 51 points (14+37). He previously had a seven-game run in October that saw him collect a goal and seven assists.

In the WHL, Kevin Sundher dished a pair of assists as Chilliwack lost in overtime to Kelowna, 3-2. The six-footer, who has clicked for 26 points (5+21) in his last 18 games. ups his season line 22-52-73 with three games remaining on the regular season slate. Sundher spoke of needing to be a more consistent player at the time of his drafting, and on a broader scope he has. In his first 34 games, the Surrey product totaled 11+25. In 33 games since January 1st, he has netted 11 goals and 26 assists.

Matt MacKenzie notched a power play assist to help Tri-City to a 6-3 win over Prince George. The 6'2 defender, who has points in just three of his last 17 games, elevates his line to 7-28-35 though 69 starts. Tri-City currently holds down the #4 spot in the Western Conference playoff standings.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian returned to action after a one-game benching due to indifferent play, notching an assist on the first Spits goal as Windsor edged Sarnia in a shootout, 4-3. The assist, his 50th of the season, gives the budding power forward 76 points in 53 games.

Steven Shipley (+1) picked up an assist as Niagara used the shootout to defeat Kingston, 4-3. The 6'3 third-line center has a goal and four assists in his last four games.

Gregg Sutch was even with a hooking minor as Mississauga earned a 3-2 overtime win over Ottawa. Sutch was a healthy scratch in five of the previous twelve Majors' tilts heading into the weekend.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson skated -1 with two shots on goal as Sioux Falls lost to Omaha, 2-1. The Minnesota commit has 15 points in his last 15 games.
3/13/2011 | 1 comments | Read More

3/12 Recap: Sundher rolls; McNabb closing strong

Kevin Sundher scored two goals and added an assist Saturday as Chilliwack clinched a playoff spot with a 8-5 win over Vancouver. Sundher, who earned the game's #3 star, saw all three points come in the opening 20-minutes to reach the 70-point mark for the first time in his WHL career. It was the 20th multi-point game of the season for the Surrey, BC native. Sundher has accumulated a line of 22-49-71 in 66 games with 24 of those points coming in his last 17 games. The Bruins (32-30-3-3) will face Kelowna on Sunday.

Brayden McNabb (+2) scored a goal and an assist for his 21st multi-point effort of the year as Kootenay lost via the shootout to Spokane, 4-3. The big defenseman notched his 21st goal of the season, his seventh point in his last three games, with 1:40 left in regulation to force overtime in one of the most entertaining games to watch this year. McNabb, whose shootout attempt was stopped to end the game, now has 69 points on the year - three short of tying PEI's Marc-Andre Gragnani (72) for most points by a Sabres defensive prospect in the last decade. However, he likely won't be catching Ottawa's Brian Campbell (87, 1998-99) or Calgary's Matt Kinch (84, 2000-01) for most single-season points for a defenseman drafted under the Darcy Regier administration. The Ice (42-21-1-4) return to action Tuesday against Central Division foes Medicine Hat.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (+1) extended his point streak to six games with an assist as Rimouski was hammered by Rouyn-Noranda, 6-2. Gauthier-Leduc remains 5th among QMJHL defender with 49 points (12+37). Rimouski (29-31-1-3), who will finish no lower than the 13th playoff position, will play it back with the Huskies on Sunday.

Cedrick Henley (+2) picked up a pair of assists as Val-d'Or posted a 4-0 shutout win over Chicoutimi. Henley has netted six points in his last five games for the Foreurs (25-33-4-4), who have cliched the 14th QMJHL playoff spot.

Elsewhere, Mark Pysyk finished -1 as Edmonton was shut out by high-powered Saskatoon, 4-0. Despite the loss, the Oil Kings (30-32-3-5) were still able to clinch a playoff spot thanks to Lethbridge and Prince Albert losses. Edmonton returns to action Tuesday for tilt with the Hurricanes.

Riley Boychuk (+1) assisted on the game winning goal as Portland edged Everett, 2-1. The bruising power forward now has career highs in goals (15) and assists (17). The Winterhawks (47-18-0-3), who dealt the Tips their seventh straight defeat, will host Vancouver on Wednesday.

Corey Fienhage played even as Kamloops lost in a shootout to Kelowna, 1-0. The Blazers (29-36-3-2) have lost five games in a row, and will look to keep their playoff hopes alive Friday against Prince George.

Justin Jokinen was even with a shot on goal as Minnesota State surrendered a third period lead for the second straight night to end their year with a 3-2 overtime loss to #6 Denver. The 11th seeded Mavericks (14-18-4) played tough but were ultimately outworked by the more talented, #2 seed Pioneers. Jokinen, who finishes his junior season with nine goals and 17 points, saw most of his production come early as he scored just one goal and two assists in his 15 games including a seven-game pointless streak to end the year.

Drew MacKenzie drew an assist as Vermont saw their season end with a 4-3 loss to #10 New Hampshire. The junior defenseman's backhand pass towards the net was knocked in for the game's first goal at 3:49 of the second period. MacKenzie, who is expected to return to Burlington for his senior year, ends the season fourth on the Catamounts in scoring with five goals and 17 points. Vermont finishes their disappointing campaign 8-20-8.

Connor Knapp made 14 saves as #7 Miami earned the sweep of Alaska-Fairbanks, 4-1. The 6'5 stopper moves to 8-5-4 on the year with a 2.03 GAA and .909 save percentage. With the win, the RedHawks (21-9-6) advance to the CCHA semifinals next weekend to face one of Notre Dame, Western Michigan, or Ferris State.

Nick Eno did not start but did play out the final minutes as Bowling Green saw their season come to an end with a 4-1 loss at #5 Michigan. After UM took a three-goal lead late, a class move by Falcons coach Chris Bergeron saw Eno come over the boards for the final 8:54 before taking over his BGSU sweater for the last time. The 6'3 netminder ends his senior year at 4-10-1 with a 3.12 GAA and .885 save percentage, while the Falcons shut it down at 10-27-4.

Brad Eidsness served as backup as #1 North Dakota earned the WCHA first-round sweep with a 3-1 win over Michigan Tech. The McNaughton Cup winning Sioux (28-8-3) advance to the WCHA Final Five where they'll face one of UAA or Colorado College/Wisconsin next Friday.
3/13/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

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.
3/12/2011 | 7 comments | Read More

Kassian saying right things, but words best be put to action

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, March 11, 2011 | 3/11/2011

As expected, Windsor Spitfires forward Zack Kassian is saying all the right things after being benched for Thursday's contest against Owen Sound. As someone who judges people by their actions and not their words, I'm playing and wait and see game when it comes to the powerful 20-year old.

The story

Some quotes:

“We’ve got five games remaining and we need a lot more out of Zack Kassian and we’re not getting it,” said Jones, who dressed two players under the limit of 20 for the game. “We won’t be a contending playoff team unless Zack Kassian plays to his full potential.”

“I’m the first to admit, I wasn’t playing well,” Kassian said as he watched the game from a suite at the WFCU Centre. “It’s a wake up call for me to take a bigger leadership role and be a bigger part of this to help the team.”

Kassian has 75 points this season, but I've been quiet about my opinion of his play until recently. His raw ability makes him a #1 prospect, but his lax approach to this season has me close to dropping him from the top of the list. The guy was a Memorial Cup champion a year ago. Tasting a title win should get the hunger brewing again, not turn you into a coasting player waiting for his pro career to begin.

The way you practice is the way you play.

About a week ago, I penned a reply to someone asking about the forward's overall game and what to expect in his first contract with the Buffalo Sabres. Here is an excerpt:

Like most have said, Kassian is a big, tough guy with pro hands. He likes to set up on the goal line where he'll look to distribute or power it to the net. He'll be a typical paint player in the NHL. Effective around the net with or without the puck. If I watch him on the boards and in the slot and think of the overall toughness element that he can bring when "on", I think it's OK to consider him Bertuzzi-esque in that regard.

His issue is keeping his feet moving and bringing it night-to-night. He skates with a long stride but sometimes finds himself flat-footed away from the puck. That split-second needed to re-start makes a difference, so keep it chugging. Regarding the effort, I was hoping he'd use this season to start preparing for the daily mental and physical grind of an NHL season but the off nights have appeared here and there. They will need to be limited and eventually eliminated moving forward.

Down in Erie a few weeks back, he showed his versatility by playing all three forward positions on his first four shifts.

The Spits were awful that night. Campbell was a sieve. D assignments were missed. Kassian and some of the better players weren't playing with much fire, while Czinder was bringing it physically and Ellis and Carnevale were creating. I made a note midway the 2nd that some guys were getting double-shifted over Kass when all of a sudden he came over the boards (with Khoko + Ebert) and went to the dressing room for the night for "not giving 100%"....

His last shift that game followed a goal against which he was on the ice for. A few seconds after the faceoff he had an opportunity to put a guy into the boards and let his teammates know he was engaged but didn't take it. Even if you don't connect, even if you hit all glass, you need to go hard in that spot. This was one of those "off nights"...

One of the best things that has happened to Kassian has been developing a friendship with Marcus Foligno. Marcus is a natural leader with a great work ethic who comes from a hockey family. He is what Zack isn't. There are going to be days when Kass is going to have some guilty skating to do in practice. I think a guy like Marcus will help him understand when those days are....

So yeah, it's great that Marcus can help him with that, but there's still a need for serious veteran leadership if this team wants to get the most out of Kassian early. For now, little things like him staying out of the box are seen as positive steps.

One other note about Zack worth looking at is his average post-World Jrs performance. Ennis, Myers, Adam all took it up a notch after playing for Canada. Kassian had a flu bug shortly after his return (which involved a week off) and is still a point-per-game guy (10+14 in 24 GP), but hasn't elevated his overall game. He had 48 points in 25 games pre-tourney.

These aren't serious red flags. There's a lot to like. If Zack has his epiphany and becomes the monster on the forecheck/backcheck and commanding scorer down low, it'll bring the team up. There are things the Sabres will do to make it happen.

Also about the tourney, interesting that he was among the top FO performers when called upon. Cameron used him primarily on o-zone PP draws to get him to the front of the net right away, but long term it's an interesting thought based on his very good passing hands. His plan for now remains as a wing no doubt. Keep it simple all the way around...

Let's see where this takes us. The concerns I raised earlier are still lingering, and the time is now for Kassian to not just say that he's learned a lesson, but actually show it on and off the ice.
3/11/2011 | 13 comments | Read More

3/10 Recap: Kassian sits; Red hot Leduc keeps rolling

Zack Kassian was a healthy scratch Thursday as Windsor needed the shootout to earn a 4-3 win over Owen Sound. Kassian, plagued by inconsistent effort since returning from the World Junior Championship, has been rumored to be at odds with the Spits staff of late. The Sabres can't be entirely pleased with Kassian's lack of focus either, and should be expecting a dominating response from their 2009 first-rounder before further evaluating his status once his OHL season ends.

Elsewhere, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc extended his point streak to five games with a pair of primary assists as Rimouski lost via shootout to Saint John, 3-2. The red-hot defender has amassed 10 points for his most productive five-game tear of the season to surge into a tie for fifth place among QMJHL defenders with 48 points.

In the OHL, Steve Shipley set-up the game winning goal in overtime as Niagara got past Brampton, 4-3. The 6'3 Shipley, who has been nearly a point-per-game player (4+10) over his last 15 outings, had a total of 17 goals and 46 points this season.

Gregg Sutch skated even as Mississauga doubled Peterborough, 6-3. The 6'2 grinder has hit a rough patch in his development, garnering just nine points in his last 25 games.

Marcus Foligno missed Sudbury's 6-3 loss to Barrie due to illness.
3/11/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/9 Recap: Henley finding legs after layoff

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, March 10, 2011 | 3/10/2011

Cedrick Henley notched two assists Wednesday as Val-d'Or came up short in a 4-3 loss to Baie-Comeau. The apples give the 6'5 project his first three-game point streak of the season. Henley, who missed 42 games after undergoing wrist surgery to correct a congenital defect, has 13 points (5+8) in 18 games this season. The Val-d'Or native had surgery on the opposite wrist while in midgets, so he should be set to enter the prime of his QMJHL development.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson (+1) picked up an assist as Sioux Falls rolled over Fargo, 7-2. The six-footer has 13 points in his last Baker's dozen games, and a total of 35 on the year.

Kevin Sundher logged a +1 and a pair of roughing minors as Chilliwack blanked Vancouver, 2-0. The Bruins have gotten hot when they needed to, earning six straight victories to maintain a lockdown on the #6 playoff spot in the WHL's Western Conference.

Matt MacKenzie finished -1 as Tri-City lost to Kelowna, 3-1. Shane McColgan ('11) was +2 with an assist for the Rockets.
3/10/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/8 Recap: McNabb hits 20, eyes franchise sweep

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | 3/09/2011

Brayden McNabb scored a goal and added two assists Tuesday as Kootenay skated to a 5-1 win over Moose Jaw. McNabb, who owns Kootenay franchise season marks for assists and points by a defenseman, will own the record for goals as well if he is able to pot one more before the end of the regular season.

The power play goal, McNabb's 20th goal of the year, makes him the Sabres' first defensive prospect to hit the 20-goal plateau since PEI's Marc-Andre Gragnani (22) accomplished the feat in 2006-07. Reaching Gragnani's mark as well as the Ice's season record seems realistic, as the 6'4 Saskatchewan native averages roughly a goal every three games with five dates remaining on the regular season schedule.

Elsewhere in the Dub, Corey Fienhage finished -2 as Kamloops lost a tough one to Tri-City, 5-4. With the loss, the Blazers fail to gain any ground on Prince George in the race for the final playoff spot in the WHL's Western Conference. Both teams are currently tied with 62 points with the Cougars having a game in hand. Matt MacKenzie was +1 for the victorious Ams.
3/09/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/6 Recap: Henley gets first since fall

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, March 7, 2011 | 3/07/2011

Cedrick Henley scored his first goal since October 22nd Sunday as Val-d’Or earned a 3-2 shootout win over #3 ranked Montreal. The even-strength mark, Henley’s fifth of the year, comes in his 17th game of the season and fifth game back after returning from wrist surgery. Last year, the 6’5 forward scored five times in 44 contests for the Foreurs.

In the WHL, Matt MacKenzie scored his career-best seventh goal of the season as Tri-City downed Vancouver, 5-1. The 6’2 defender now has points in two straight games after enduring an 11-game point drought.

Kevin Sundher posted two assists as Chilliwack got past Portland, 6-2. The Bruins center enters the home stretch with 20 goals and 68 points in 63 games. Last season he totaled 25 goals and 61 points while playing in all 72 games.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian finished -1 as Windsor won a 4-3 shootout over Guelph. Kassian took a slashing call on the first shift of overtime which the Spits successfully killed off.

Gregg Sutch (+2) assisted on the game’s first goal, which also held up as the game winner, as Mississauga shut out Sudbury , 4-0. The helper was Sutch’s third point in last 14 games and 24th (7+17) on the year. Marcus Foligno finished -2 for the Wolves.

In the CCHA playoffs, Nick Eno served as backup while Andrew Hammond directed Bowling Green to a 3-2 double-overtime win at Northern Michigan. The upset-minded Falcons will travel to face regular season champion Michigan in the quarterfinals next weekend.
3/07/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

3/5 Recap: Pysyk extends; Eidsness sighting

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, March 6, 2011 | 3/06/2011

Mark Pysyk netted his sixth goal of the year Saturday to extend his career-long point streak to seven games as Edmonton dropped a 3-1 decision to Medicine Hat. The smooth skating rearguard has gathered three goals, half of his season haul, and eight apples over the span.

Kevin Sundher did not point for the second straight game as Chilliwack downed Kamloops, 4-1. It's an event when Sundher doesn't get on the scoresheet after his recent 11-game point streak that saw him amass 19 points. Corey Fienhage was -1 for the Blazers in defeat.

Kootenay captain Brayden McNabb missed the Ice's 4-2 win over Prince Albert due to a one-game suspension from his boarding penalty in Friday's blowout loss to Saskatoon.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley ended a three-game point drought by collecting a goal and two assists as Niagara unloaded on Sarnia, 10-3. The game had a little bit of everything, ranging from a six-point night from David Pacan (FLA) to a goalie fight. The multi-point night gives Shipley a line of 17-28-45 on the year. Nail Yakupov ('12) potted his 45th goal of the year for the Sting, while Alex Galchenyuk scored his 25th.

Zack Kassian scored his 26th goal of the year as Windsor was bested by Plymouth, 6-2. Kassian's rebound of an Alexander Khokhlachev shot gives the 6'3 power forward two goals and three assists over his last three games. Whalers goalie Matt Mahalak ('11) made 50 saves to get the win.

Gregg Sutch did not get on the sheet as Mississauga edged Oshawa, 4-3. The grinding forward, who has been in and out of the lineup of late despite being healthy, has just two goals and two assists in his last 16 games.

In the Q, Cedrick Henley had an assist and three hits as Val-d'Or lost in a shootout to Gatineau, 3-2. The helper was his first point in four games since returning from corrective wrist surgery.

In USHL action, Christian Isackson earned an assist as Sioux Falls fell in a shootout to Tri-City, 3-2. The Gopher commit, who was thwarted in his shootout attempt, has 34 points in 46 games including 14 in his last 15.

In the NCAA, Drew MacKenzie picked up a pair of assists as Vermont doubled Lowell, 4-3. The junior defenseman now has nine points in his last nine games. The Catamounts move on to face New Hampshire in the final

Mark Adams played even as Providence closed their 2010-11 season by upsetting #7 Merrimack, 5-3. The 6'3 defenseman ends his freshman season with three assists, 22 PIM, and a -7 rating. The Friars (8-18-8) missed the Hockey East playoffs by one point after Massachusetts got the last spot with 4-4 tie with Maine.

If you had March 5th in the Brad Eidsness pool, then you're the big winner. The junior goalie made 18 saves in his first start since November 19th as #1 North Dakota closed the regular season with an 11-2 stomping of Michigan Tech. Eidsness ups his numbers to 2-2-1 with a 4.09 goals against average and .812 save percentage.

Also from the WCHA, Justin Jokinen punched two shots on goal as Minnesota State was swept by Alaska-Anchorage, 4-1.

Nick Eno served as backup as Bowling Green forced a third and deciding game of the CCHA first round with a 2-0 shutout of Northern Michigan. The two clubs will play the rubber match Sunday night.
3/06/2011 | 3 comments | Read More

3/4 Recap: JGL continues roll; Sundher's streak ends

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, March 5, 2011 | 3/05/2011

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc gathered a pair of goals and an assist Friday to lead Rimouski past Chicoutimi, 6-4. The 6'2 puck-mover has produced four goals and four assists over his four-game point streak to thrust himself into a tie for seventh among QMJHL rearguards with 46 points (12+34).

In the WHL, Matt MacKenzie ended his 11-game point slumber with a power play goal and an assist on the game winner as Tri-City defeated Everett, 3-2 in overtime. The offensive drought, ended by a laser from the high slot, was MacKenzie's longest since his rookie season back in 2007-08.

Mark Pysyk (+1) posted an assist as Edmonton defeated Medicine Hat, 4-3 in a shootout. The helper gives the 6'1 defender two goals and eight assists over his current career-best six-game point streak.

Kevin Sundher (+1) saw his 11-game point streak snapped as Chilliwack edged Kelowna, 1-0. The 6'0 center collected three goals and 16 assists on the run that began back on 2/5, and sits with 20 goals and a career-best 66 points with nine games left to play.

Brayden McNabb finished -1 as Kootenay got embarrassed by Saskatoon, 9-2. With frustration mounting, McNabb racked up boarding and fighting majors and a game misconduct at the end of the second period when he drove Chris Collins into the boards from behind and was forced to defend his action against Brent Benson ('11) for his fourth fight of the year.

Corey Fienhage finished -1 with his fourth fighting major of the season as Kamloops lost to Lethbridge, 4-1. The 6'4 "Moose" Fienhage dished out a clean hit along the boards early in the third period and was asked to tangle with Hurricanes forward Mitch Maxwell. Earlier in the game, Fienhage ended Hurricane forward Philip Tot's night with another clean, hard hit.

Riley Boychuk did not play (concussion) as Portland clobbered Seattle, 9-1.

In the OHL, Marcus Foligno (+1) notched an assist as Sudbury shut out Brampton, 2-0. The Wolves captain put a scare into Wolves fans when he went to the locker room just a few shifts into the game and did return until the second period.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson picked up an assist on the game-tying goal as Sioux Falls rallied to a 4-3 overtime win over Lincoln. The budding forward has five goals and eight assists in his last 14 games.

In the NCAA, Drew MacKenzie scored the gane-tying goal in with :45 to play in regulation as Vermont played to a 4-4 tie with Lowell. The tally, the junior's fifth of the year, gives the junior 14 points in 31 games this season.

Nick Eno allowed one goal on 16 shots in relief as Bowling Green opened the CCHA playoffs with a 6-3 loss to Northern Michigan. Eno was called into the game in the second period after starter Andrew Hammond surrendered four goals in the first 26-minutes of play.

Justin Jokinen was -2 as Minnesota State lost to Alaska-Anchorage, 4-0.

Mark Adams was -1 as Providence got hammered by #9 Merrimack, 6-1.

Brad Eidsness did not play as #1 North Dakota smoked Michigan Tech, 6-1. I'm done speculating whether or not Eidsness is going to get the start in the Sioux's final regular season game on Saturday, but I did speak to someone in Grand Forks this week that doesn't believe the former AJHL MVP will be in Grand Forks next season.


On Thursday, Zack Kassian (+1)  contributed a pair of assists as Windsor got past London, 4-3. At the 50-game mark, the 6'3 forward has totaled 25 goals and 74 points for the Spits.

Steven Shipley was -1 as Niagara defeated Sudbury, 5-2. Marcus Foligno logged a -2 in the loss.
3/05/2011 | 3 comments | Read More

3/1-2 Recap: Sundher extends; Foligno returns

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | 3/02/2011

Kevin Sundher pushed his point streak to 11 games Wednesday with a pair of assists as Chilliwack earned a 3-1 win over Lethbridge. The playmaking pivot has collected three goals and 16 assists since beginning his run back on 2/5. 

Mark Pysyk continued to ramp his offensive game with a pair of assists as Edmonton suffered a 8-5 loss to Saskatoon. The helpers give the defenseman a five-game point streak.

Corey Fienhage was -1 as Kamloops dropped a 6-2 decision to Kelowna. Shane McColgan ('11) had an assist for the winning Rockets.

Brayden McNabb finished -3 as Kootenay was shut out by Brandon, 4-0.

Steven Shipley was quiet offensively as Niagara lost to Erie, 4-1.

In QMJHL action, Cedrick Henley was -1 as Val-d'Or was defeated by Quebec, 6-2.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson logged two shots on goal as Sioux Falls lost to Lincoln, 3-1.

On Tuesday, Marcus Foligno scored a goal and an assist on "Marcus Foligno Night" as Sudbury downed Soo, 6-2. The 6'3 captain of the Wolves, who had missed the previous 10 games with a sprained knee, ups his season line to 22-31-53 in 41 games.

In the WHL, Matt MacKenzie continued to struggle offensively with a -3 rating as Tri-City lost to Portland, 6-5. Riley Boychuk remained out of the Winterhawks lineup with a concussion.
3/02/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

2/28 Recap: Steady Pysyk returns; Kassian light lamp

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | 3/01/2011

In Monday WHL play, Mark Pysyk posted a power play assist Monday as Edmonton cruised to a 7-1 win over Calgary. The 6'1 defender, who returned after missing one game with an upper body injury, ups his season line to 5-31-36 with an impressive +30 rating.

On Sunday, Zack Kassian (+2) potted a goal and an assist as Windsor dropped a 6-5 decision to Sudbury. The 6'3 wing had skated his previous five games without lighting the lamp for the second time in his last 20 tilts.

Steven Shipley was -1 as Niagara was shut out by Brampton, 3-0.

Gregg Sutch was a healthy scratch as Mississauga drilled Belleville, 6-1.

In the WHL, Kevin Sundher dished a pair of assists to extend his point streak to 10 games as Chilliwack edged Prince George, 4-3. The Surrey, BC native ends January with 19 points (4+15) in 12 games.

Matt MacKenzie finished -1 as Tri-City was blanked by Vancouver, 5-0.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson earned an assist as Sioux Falls as rolled over Lincoln, 6-2.
3/01/2011 | 0 comments | Read More