4/29 Recap: Boychuk scraps as Chiefs pull even

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, April 30, 2011 | 4/30/2011

Riley Boychuk finished -3 with a fighting major Friday as Portland got hammered by Spokane, 8-3. Thrashers prospect Levko Koper notched a hat trick and an assist for the Chiefs, who evened the WHL Western Conference Final at two games apiece with the series heading back to Portland for Saturday's game five.

After coming to the defense of 16-year old Brendan Leipsic on several occasions during the regular season, a Corbin Baldwin elbow on his 5'8 linemate twelve minutes into the game resulted in Boychuk again stepping in to earn an instigator, major, and misconduct.

This was Boychuk's second scrap of the season with the big Chiefs defenseman, as the 6'5 banger racked up an instigator and misconduct in their battle back in January (again stemming from the 6'5 Baldwin's hit on Leipsic).

In the USHL, Christian Isackson logged a -1 with a shot on a goal as Sioux Falls opened the Western Conference Final with a 5-2 loss to Dubuque. Thrashers prospect Vinny Saponari, previously dismissed from the Boston University program, notched a pair of goals including the game winner for the Fighting Saints. Game two is Saturday in Dubuque.
4/30/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

Kassian joins Pirates

Short and sweet: Zack Kassian has been deployed to Portland of the AHL and could make his pro debut Saturday as the Pirates travel to Binghamton for game #3 of their division final series.

From the Sabres website:

Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier announced today the Sabres have reassigned forward Zack Kassian to Portland of the American Hockey League. Kassian was Buffalo’s first-round selection (13th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft, and signed a three-year entry level contract with the Sabres in November.

The 20-year-old Kassian just completed his fourth year of junior hockey, collecting 16 points (6+10) in 16 playoff games with the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires. This follows a regular season that saw Kassian finish with 77 points (26+51) in 56 games with Windsor. Kassian also won a silver medal with Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

The 6'3 winger finishes his OHL career with and 72 goals, 194 points, and 358 PIM, including 28 fights, in 214 games with Peterborough and Windsor.
4/30/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

4/27 Recap: McNabb keeps stacking; Kassian available

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, April 28, 2011 | 4/28/2011

Brayden McNabb (+4) notched two assists Wednesday to extend his playoff point streak to a ridiculous nine games as Kootenay trounced Medicine Hat 7-2 to sweep the WHL Eastern Conference Final four games to love. Max Reinhart (CAL) potted five goals to pace the ICE while McNabb, whose 20 points leads all Canadian junior defensemen in the playoffs, saw his night cut short when he earned a major and game misconduct after scrapping with Tigers forward Emerson Etem with 7:35 to play and the game well in hand.

With the ICE rolling on an eleven-game winning streak, the 6'4 defenseman finds himself one series away from joining former Athol Murray College of Notre Dame teammate Tyler Myers as a Sabres blueline prospect to play in the Memorial Cup. Before that chapter can be written though, Kootenay must first face the winner of the Western Conference Final between Portland and Spokane. (And for those wondering, ICE captain McNabb did not touch the Husky Eastern Conference Championship bowl when it was presented.)

Riley Boychuk made a key play that led to the game winning goal as Portland got past Spokane, 3-2 in overtime. The aggressive forward, who was sent to the box twice in the game for cross-checking (1st period) and slashing (2nd period), chipped the puck from his own zone behind the Chiefs defensemen to create the game winning odd-man rush. The Winterhawks will hold a 2-1 lead when the series resumes Friday in Spokane.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian saw his OHL season come to a close as Windsor got embarrassed by Owen Sound, 10-4. Kassian, who of course was suspended for the game for his game three match penalty, is now eligible for AHL duty if the Sabres want to get the development going with the signed first-rounder. The Attack win the Western Conference Final in five games, not only moving into the OHL Championship against Mississauga, but also earning a berth in the Memorial Cup due to the Majors being this year's host.
4/28/2011 | 1 comments | Read More

4/26 Recap: McNabb extends; "Ship" sinks

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | 4/27/2011

Brayden McNabb extended his point streak to eight games Tuesday, notching an assist as Kootenay took a commanding 3-0 lead in the WHL Eastern Conference Final with a 3-1 win over Medicine Hat. McNabb, whose helper came on Cody Eakin’s third game-winning goal of the series, continues to lead all WHL defensemen with 18 points (3+15) in 13 games. The total also ties Windsor’s Ryan Ellis for most among all CHL defensemen in this year’s playoffs (Ellis has played four more games than McNabb). Winners of ten consecutive games, the ICE will look to use the brooms for a second straight series Wednesday in Cranbrook, while at the same time hoping to book a date with the winner of Portland/Spokane for the right to rep the Dub in the 2011 Memorial Cup.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley finished -2 as Niagara’s season came to end with a 4-1 loss to Mississauga. Shipley, a 6’3 center who struggled for most of the year after being traded from Owen Sound, was unable to emerge in the playoffs scoring one goal and six assists in the IceDogs 14 postseason contests. His uninspired play was noted by a friend in attendance who writes, “Ships looks like he has been demoted/benched. Very ineffective this game. Practically invisible in all aspects of the game”. Gregg Sutch was again scratched by the Majors. Mississauga winning the Eastern Conference title means that the winner of the Windsor/Owen Sound series will not only advance to the OHL Championship, but will also advance to Memorial Cup (with Mississauga being the host city).
4/27/2011 | 6 comments | Read More

Kassian done for series, done with "O"?

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | 4/26/2011

After having him sit out game #4 of their Western Conference Final, the OHL officially handed Zack Kassian a four-game suspension Tuesday for his cross-checking match penalty on Attack dman Jesse Blacker in the final minute of Saturday's loss. Monday's game will count towards the four-game penalty. (Included link solely for the picture of Kassian, with his bus pillow, ready for the four-plus hour trek north to OS.)

The Spitfires trail the Attack 3-1, so the tough Sabres prospect will miss the rest of the series if Windsor forces a Game 7. If Windsor loses, then Kassian will have already played the final game of his junior career.

Some excellent perspective on the incident comes courtesy of Yahoo's Sunaya Sapurji, who details among other things how Kassian and Blacker have different accounts of what happened. The incident happened at center ice, behind the play and outside of the scope of any camera in the rink.

Not surprisingly, both players have differing versions of the events.

“I gave him a little slash in the back of the legs and he embellished it,” said Kassian. “He embellished it obviously because he’s playing right now, he’s skating around fine. It got blown out of proportion with my history and all that stuff, but there’s nothing I can do about that now.”

Blacker said what Kassian failed to mention is that after he was knocked down on the ice, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound winger started to whack at him from behind.

“I felt cross-checks raining down on my head and ribs and it didn’t exactly feel good,” said the second-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “The fans saw it. I can’t say I embellished it, I’m not the kind of player to dive.”

Kassian then re-states that he's learned from what is turning out to be quite the checkered past. In the past two years, he's been suspended by his team, by the OHL in the regular season, by the IIHF in the World Junior Championships, and again by the OHL in the playoffs.

“Buffalo drafted me to be that hard-nosed player that finishes checks and plays with that edge,” said the LaSalle, Ont., native. “I’m not going to lie, a couple of times in my junior career I went over that edge and I’ll be the first one to admit that. I think I’ve learned a lot over the years in the OHL.”

And despite the fact that he’s been forced to watching his team play, while he’s sitting out on a number of occasions – he’s still not used to being reduced to the role of observer.

“It definitely doesn’t (get easier),” said the Sabres prospect. “When you’re in the playoffs in the Western Conference final, it’s pretty huge because no one expected us to get this far. It just shows how tight this team is, Everyone believes in each other and to not be out there right now helping them fight for our (playoff) lives right now is not fun.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Kassian, who has all the tools to be a legit weapon for the Sabres once he reels it in, will head to Portland in support of the Pirates AHL playoff once Windsor's season concludes. However, I think the Sabres losing to the Flyers in the first round makes it easier to suggest that Kassian will be done when the Spits finish up.
4/26/2011 | 6 comments | Read More

4/25 Recap: Shipley, Kassian on brink of exit

Steven Shipley was unable to register a point for the fourth straight game as Niagara was blown-out by Mississauga, 6-1. The IceDogs now trail the OHL Eastern Conference Final 3-1, with the Majors going for the Tuesday night clinch on home ice. Mississauga’s Gregg Sutch was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game, while Joe Cramarossa (’11) notched a pair of goals including a shortie for the Memorial Cup hosts.

As previously mentioned, Zack Kassian was forced to sit out as Windsor lost game #4 of the OHL Western Conference Final to Owen Sound, 3-2. The 6’3 bullying wing will learn if he is to miss any additional games when he receives the official disciplinary ruling on Tuesday. The object of Kassian’s Saturday night aggression, defenseman Jesse Blacker, was in action for the Attack in Monday’s victory earning an assist on the game winning goal. Trailing 3-1, the Spits will look to stave off elimination Wednesday in Owen Sound. If they lose, it may not mattter how many games (if any) he is forced to sit, but it may muddy the waters some regarding how the Sabres view their top 2009 pick.

On Sunday, Riley Boychuk skated even as Portland evened the WHL Western Conference Final at a game apiece with a 2-1 win over Spokane. The edgy 6’5 forward has four goals, five assists, and 26 PIM in a dozen playoff games. The series heads to Spokane for a pair of games Wednesday and Friday.
4/26/2011 | 1 comments | Read More

Kassian suspended, full ruling expected Tuesday

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, April 25, 2011 | 4/25/2011

Zack Kassian has been suspended for game #4 of the OHL Western Conference after earning a match penalty in the final minute of Saturday's loss to Owen Sound.

From the Windsor Star:

WINDSOR, Ont. -- The Ontario Hockey League has informed the Windsor Spitfires that forward Zack Kassian will be suspended for tonight's Game 4 of the Western Conference final against the Owen Sound Attack. A league spokesman said the suspension could be longer and a decision on that will be announced Tuesday.

Kassian was given a match penalty for intent to injure Owen Sound defenceman and former Spitfire Jesse Blacker in the final seconds of Saturday's 6-4 comeback win by the Attack in Owen Sound.

4/25/2011 | 5 comments | Read More

4/23 Recap: Kass finds trouble; McNabb a machine

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, April 24, 2011 | 4/24/2011

Zack Kassian had a game he'd like to forget Saturday, posting an assist but also getting called for a late high sticking penalty to led to the game winning goal as Windsor lost game #3 of the OHL Western Conference Final to Owen Sound, 6-4. But folks, Kassian wasn't done. With :22 left on the clock and the Attack about to pot their capper into the empty net, Kassian received a match penalty with intent to injure by delivering a high cross-check to defenseman Jesse Blacker right at center ice.

The short-fused Kassian, who earlier gloated after earning his second period helper, had been jawing with Blacker throughout the contest and finished the conflict in a rather deplorable way. Expect the 6'3 bruiser to take a seat for Monday's game #4, with his track record of suspensions likely giving OHL commish David Branch some ammo to tack on some extra discipline. I don't like where this is going...More later.

Also from the OHL, Steven Shipley skated even as Niagara dropped game #3 of the OHL's Eastern Conference Final to Mississauga, 3-2 in overtime. Justin Shugg played hero by notching the goal at 3:13 of the extra session. Majors forward Gregg Sutch was a healthy scratch for the third straight game, while Shipley has yet to record a point in the series. The Dogs trails the series 2-1 with the teams traveling back to St. Catharines for Monday's game #4.

In the WHL Eastern Conference Final, Brayden McNabb extended his point streak to seven games with an assist as Kootenay shut out Medicine Hat, 3-0. The 6'4 defenseman, who set across-the-board franchise offensive marks for a blueliner this past season, has now tied ICE postseason marks for career playoff assists (24) and career playoff points (27) for a defenseman. Winners of six straight road games and nine straight overall, Kootenay will take a 2-0 series lead into Tuesday's game #3.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson (+1) posted four shots on goal as Sioux Falls defeated Omaha, 5-1, to sweep their best-of-five semifinal. The Stampede, who went hard for the sweep for four second period goals, will move on to face the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the Western Conference Final beginning Friday.
4/24/2011 | 2 comments | Read More

4/22 Recap: McNabb streaks to six as ICE take opener

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, April 23, 2011 | 4/23/2011

Brayden McNabb assisted on a late power play goal Friday as Kootenay opened the WHL Eastern Conference Final with a 6-5 overtime win at Medicine Hat. The 6'4 McNabb, who continues to lead all WHL dmen in points this playoffs with 16 (3+13), extended his point streak to six games when he earned a secondary helper on the game-tying goal with 1:55 left to play in regulation. The ICE, who have now ripped off eight consecutive wins, will look for the road sweep of the Tigers Saturday before taking the series back to Cranbrook.

In the WHL Western Conference Final, Riley Boychuk skated even with a minor penalty as Portland lost game #1 to Spokane, 2-1. Boychuk provided hard-working energy for the 'Hawks, who were coming off a five-day rest, but the Chiefs posted a 43-28 shots-on-goal advantage to gain the edge with the series remaining in Portland for Sunday's game #2. The 6'5 Boychuk has four goals and nine points in the 11 games thus far in the playoffs, but hasn't gotten on the scoresheet in the last four games since Brad Ross returned from suspension to reclaim his top line spot.

In USHL second round action, Christian Isackson (+2) earned an assist as Sioux Falls held on for a 4-3 win over Omaha. The St. Paul, MN native has three goals, three assists, and a +6 rating in five postseason tilts for the Stampede, who now take a comfortable 2-0 series lead back home for Saturday's game #3. Seth Ambroz ('11) notched a late goal for the Lancers to earn the #1 star of the game.
4/23/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

Stampede's Isackson dreaming big

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, April 22, 2011 | 4/22/2011

Kudos to Sioux Falls ABC affiliate KSFY for giving Sabres 2010 seventh rounder Christian Isackson some pub as the Stampede battle the Omaha Lancers in the second round of the Clark Cup playoffs.

The six footer is a prospect who I hope the Sabres are able to connect with over his time at Minnesota. He looked to be a smart, well-rounded player at last summer's prospect camp, and followed up the momentum of being drafted by leading the Herd in scoring this season with 44 points (17+27) in 58 games. You have to love the quote from head coach Kevin Hartzell:

"He's got the offensive moxie and things you can't teach. But under the hood he's got real heart and desire and that gives him a chance."

Sioux Falls will take 1-0 series lead into Omaha for Friday's game #2.
4/22/2011 | 1 comments | Read More

4/21 Recap: Kassian nets winner as Spits pull even

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, April 21, 2011 | 4/21/2011

Zack Kassian (+2) scored the game winning goal Thursday as Windsor evened the OHL Western Conference Final at one game apiece with a 4-2 win over Owen Sound. Kassian followed up on a Taylor Carnavale shot to bang in his sixth goal of the playoffs at 1:19 of the third period to give the Spits a crucial 3-2 lead. Windsor would hold on for the remainder of play, with Thomas Kuhnhackl notching his second of the game into an empty net to seal the deal. Kassian, who saw the red-hot Carnavale (4A) replace Kenny Ryan as his center on the #2 line, now has six goals and nine assists in 15 playoff games. He wasn't the most outstanding skater on the ice, but he capitalized with quick hands on his best chance of the night. The clubs now head back north to Owen Sound for Saturday's game #2.

In the OHL's Eastern Conference Final, Steven Shipley did not factor into the scoring as Niagara defeated Mississauga, 5-3. The Dogs victory evens the series at 1-1 heading into Saturday's game #3 in Mississauga. Majors forward Gregg Sutch was scratched for the second straight game.

On Wednesday, Christian Isackson finished +2 with three shots on goal as Sioux Falls opened their USHL second round series with a 5-2 win over Omaha. Game #2 will be played Friday in Omaha.
4/21/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

Eidsness unsure of future

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | 4/20/2011

The Okotoks Western Wheel today published a story about three former members of the AJHL's Oilers who recently participated in the NCAA Frozen Four as members of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. One of those former Oilers, 2007-08 league MVP Brad Eidsness, spoke about his tough go this season and admits he has a decision to make in the coming months regarding his senior year of eligibility.

For Eidsness, the 2010-2011 campaign was a bit more difficult.

After carrying the load in his first two years with the program, the Buffalo Sabres draft pick was largely relegated to back-up duties behind rookie phenom Aaron Dell, formerly of the Calgary Canucks.

Eidsness played in 41 games in each of his first two seasons with North Dakota but only managed to get into eight games this year.

“It was a really frustrating year,” he said.

With a hockey resumé as impressive as it is lengthy, Eidsness faces an offseason of questions as to whether he should return for his fourth year of eligibility.

“I’m going to make a decision that’s best for my hockey career,” he said, candidly. “At this point, I don’t really know what that is.”

Regardless of what happens, the former Okotoks star said this season has taught him a lot about himself and the importance of preparation.

Playing sparingly forced Eidsness to ramp up the intensity in practices and develop habits he insisted will help as he advances further in his hockey journey.

“I’m definitely a changed player,” he said. “Maybe that will help me moving forward.”

Brad seems intent on extending his playing career which is encouraging. I don't ever want to suggest that he would throw in the towel in his pursuit of becoming a member of the Buffalo Sabres, but Brad is by all accounts a rather brilliant young man who has the skills to succeed well beyond the rink. What's interesting is that just yesterday I put a tweet out regarding Aaron Dell's decision to remain at UND. I'm not sure how this effects Eids' future, but I have an idea:

"I’m going to make a decision that’s best for my hockey career"

Eidsness is set to wrap up his four-year degree a year ahead of time and has proven he can win games. This is definitely something worth tracking as the offseason progresses.
4/20/2011 | 4 comments | Read More

4/19 Recap: Season ends for MacKenzie

Matt MacKenzie logged a -3 Tuesday as Tri-City saw their season come to a close with a 5-4 overtime collapse at Spokane. The Ams held a three-goal lead before falling apart in the third, allowing the Chiefs to score four unanswered goals in the first nine minutes of the period. TC would get one back on the power-play to force OT, but Spokane outworked the Americans to advance to meet Portland in the Western Conference Final. The 19-year old MacKenzie finishes the post-season with one goal, four assists, and a -1 rating in 10 games.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian finished -2 as Windsor lost game #1 of the OHL Western Conference Final to Owen Sound, 8-1. The Spits looked a little gassed coming off a one day break between rounds, allowing five goals in the middle frame to fall behind 7-1 heading into the third. After potting a hat trick in Sunday's clincher over the Spirit, Kassian was active offensively in the opening twenty before the Attack took control for the remainder. The Spits are going to need Kassian to show up ready to go for Thursday's game #2 in Windsor.

Steven Shipley skated -1 as Niagara opened the OHL Eastern Conference Final with a 3-0 shutout loss to Mississauga. Sabres 2010 fifth-rounder Gregg Sutch was a healthy scratch for the Majors, while 2011 eligible Ryan Strome earned a rare fighting major for the IceDogs. The teams will reconvene Thursday in St. Catharines for game #2.
4/20/2011 | 2 comments | Read More

Pysyk looking to impress the Sabres

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | 4/19/2011

The Sherwood Park News is running a spotlight story on Edmonton Oil Kings captain Mark Pysyk, who recently was named the team's MVP for the second consecutive season. Pysyk's game matured in both ends in 2010-11, including a jump in his physical play which is needed in the highly competitive WHL.

While Pysyk said there are areas for him to improve upon, he was happy with his progression, and believes certain changes he made heading into the season gave him a leg up in winning the designation of MVP.

"I think I added a little bit more of a physical aspect to my game," he said. "It's tough sometimes, because I'm not a really vocal leader. I try to step out of my comfort zone that way as well."

It was a breakout year offensively as well. The 6'1 Pysyk scored 40 points for the OK's this past season, and now has his sights set clearly on Buffalo as next season approaches.

With the Oil Kings eliminated from playoffs in the first round, losing to the Red Deer Rebels, Pysyk is now gearing up for the Buffalo Sabres' upcoming training camp.

"I went last year, and it's just about a hard week of hockey and workouts," he said. "That's about it, so we get good experience again and it will be a big step in my training process as well."

Pysyk said he hopes this year is the one he'll be taken onto the NHL roster, but with Buffalo currently battling it out in playoffs, he hasn't had much of a chance to speak with them lately.

Still, he has plans in case it takes another year before making his way down to the United States.

"Hopefully I'll be in Buffalo soon, but if not next year, I'm hoping to play in the World Juniors," Pysyk said. "It would be an incredible honour to represent your country at the biggest stage besides the Olympics. That would be pretty cool."

For now, making the Sabres in the fall seems more of a longshot but that's not a bad thing. The Oil Kings should be one of the top guns next season in the WHL and big minutes will await their captain if the Sabres deem him not ready.

Regardless of where he lands, part of Pysyk's offseason training will involve a 200 km ride on June 25-26 in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Sabres fans are encouraged to donate to his ride at
4/19/2011 | 1 comments | Read More

McNabb earns Player of the Week honors

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, April 18, 2011 | 4/18/2011

Kootenay ICE captain Brayden McNabb has been named the WHL Player of the Week.

From the WHL website:

McNabb picked up six points, scoring one goal and five assists to go with a +2 rating in two games over the last week, helping the Ice to a 4-0 series win over the Saskatoon Blades to advance to the Husky WHL Eastern Conference Championship Series.

On Tuesday, April 12th, the Kootenay Ice hosted the Saskatoon Blades for game three of their second round series at the Cranbrook Rec Plex. McNabb scored one goal, added two assists and was named the games 1st Star as the Ice downed the Blades 3-0 to take a 3-0 series lead. The following night, Wednesday, April 13th, the Ice had the opportunity to upset the top seed in the 2011 WHL Playoffs in front of a home crowd in Cranbrook. McNabb collected three assists as the Ice defeated the Blades 5-2 to advance to the next round.

The Kootenay Ice will now face the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Husky WHL Eastern Conference Championship Series starting Friday, April 22nd and Saturday, April 23rd at 7:30pm MT at the Medicine Hat Arena.

McNabb, a 20 year old (born 1991) from Davidson, SK, is playing his fourth season with the Kootenay Ice. The Ice made him their 2nd round (37th overall) selection at the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft and was selected in the 3rd round (66th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. McNabb set career highs in all offensive categories this season and finished 3rd among WHL defenceman in scoring gathering 72 points (21 goals, 51 assists) in just 59 games. He is currently 6th among all WHL Scorers in the post-season with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 10 games.

4/18/2011 | 3 comments | Read More

4/17 Recap: Kassian pots turkey as Spits advance

Zack Kassian notched his first career playoff hat trick Sunday to lead Windsor to a 5-0 victory over Saginaw and a berth in the OHL's Western Conference Final. Kassian, who had just two goals in 12 games heading into the game #6, book-ended the first period with a fight 1:12 in and a snipe from the slot with 43-seconds remaining. Kassian's tilt with Anthony Camara marked the second time in the series that the pair dropped the gloves in the opening moments of a game.

I've mentioned it before, but Kassian has had a bi-polar post-season, at times being unstoppable and at others disinterested and detached. The Sabres are going to need to find ways to keep him hungry. However, Sunday was one of those games where he was engaged and ready to compete. He was excellent in the middle frame especially, cycling well to keep the Spirit pinned deep in their end while using his command of the puck and passing ability to create chances for his teammates. At 8:58, Kassian was sprung on a break by Kenny Ryan, faking forehand and then burying a backhand for his second goal of the night to give the Spits the 3-0 lead. The 6'3 completed the hat trick in the third period when his spin-and-fire shot from along the boards made it in the Spirit net. Kassian now has 14 points (5+9) through the first two playoff rounds. The Spits will begin the OHL Western Conference Final Tuesday in Owen Sound.

In the WHL, Riley Boychuk was injured early and did not return as Portland defeated Kelowna, 4-2, to advance to the WHL Western Conference Final. The 6'5 forward looked to be shaken up after taking a first period hit, and until we hear other wise will be considered "day-to-day with an upper body injury". The Winterhawks will open the conference final series Friday on home-ice against the winner of Tri-City/Spokane.

Matt MacKenzie was even as Tri-City lost in overtime to Spokane, 3-2. Trailing the series 3-2, the Americans will look to keep their season alive Tuesday night in Spokane.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson posted an assist as Sioux Falls advanced to the second round of the USHL playoffs with a 5-3 win over Sioux City. A three-goal catalyst in the Herd's first two games, the 6'0 forward was in the box for a high-sticking infraction when the Musketeers scored their first goal. The well-oiled Stampede will continue their quest for the Clark Cup with Wednesday's game #1 at Omaha.
4/18/2011 | 5 comments | Read More

Monday Morning Stat Sheet

4/18/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

4/16 Recap: Kassian helper gives Spits upper hand

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, April 17, 2011 | 4/17/2011

Zack Kassian assisted on the game winning goal Saturday as Windsor moved one-step closer to advancing in the OHL playoffs with a 5-3 win over Saginaw. Kassian entered the Spirit zone with four minutes left on the clock, throwing the puck on net for Ryan Ellis to bang in the rebound and break the 3-3 tie. Kassian, who speaks about the play here in a post-game interview, now has 11 playoff points (2+9) heading into Sunday's game #6 in Windsor.

In other CHL playoff news, three Sabres prospects have received their marching orders for the week as OHL and WHL Eastern Conference Finals schedules have been set.

Steven Shipley and the Niagara IceDogs will open their OHL best-of-seven Tuesday at Mississauga. The 6'3 Shipley, who scored his first playoff goal and added two assists in the Dogs' Friday clincher, could be heating up at the right time as scoring depth will be needed to tackle the high-scoring Majors. Gregg Sutch has seen limited fourth-line minutes through the first two rounds for Mississauga, who will host this year's Memorial Cup once league titles are distributed.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb and the Kootenay ICE will begin their series on the road Friday and Saturday with a set of games in Medicine Hat. McNabb currently leads all WHL defensemen with 15 points (3+12). Lewiston's Olivier Dame-Malka has netted 16 points (8+8) thus far in the QMJHL playoffs to lead the entire CHL.
4/17/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

4/15 Recap: Shipley barks as Dogs move on

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, April 16, 2011 | 4/16/2011

Steven Shipley cranked out a goal and two assists Friday as Niagara advanced to the OHL Eastern Conference final with a 7-3 thrashing of Oshawa. The 6'3 center wasted little time building his #2 star effort, notching an assist just 40-seconds into play and then sliding a pass for a successful one-timer nearly two minutes later. Shipley, who was without a goal in 12 career playoff games leading up to the clinching tilt, saw an earlier goal called back due to a high stick before capitalizing on a loose puck to get off the playoff schnide at 10:33 of the first period. Generals 6'2 pivot Boone Jenner ('11) had a goal and an assist to finish his postseason with 12 points (7+5) in 10 games, while teammate and fellow '11 eligible Lucas Lessio gave scouts a taste of his sportsmanship with a double-bird flipoff of the St. Catharines crowd as he left the ice after receiving a third period misconduct. The IceDogs move on to face Mississauga for the right to skate for the OHL Championship.

In the WHL, Riley Boychuk skated even as Portland failed to close the series by dropping an exciting 2-1 overtime decision to Kelowna. With Brad Ross (TOR) returning from a three-game suspension, Boychuk was bumped back to his usual checking line role as the Rockets looked to play another day. Kelowna winger Shane McColgan ('11) picked up an assist, his 18th point of the playoffs, to extend his point streak to nine games. The 5'11 Californian has notched at least one point in every Kelowna postseason game to date. The Winterhawks will get another crack at ending the series Sunday in Kelowna.
4/16/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

4/14 Recap: Isackson's hot stick continues in Herd loss

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, April 15, 2011 | 4/15/2011

Christian Isackson scored a third period goal Thursday as Sioux Falls dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to Sioux City. The six-footer, who is following the Thomas Vanek path to the University of Minnesota through Sioux Falls, has three goals on 10 shots on net through the first two games of the playoff year. The Herd and Musketeers are tied at one game each heading into Sunday's deciding game #3.

In the WHL, Matt MacKenzie (+1) posted an assist as Tri-City secured a 4-3 double-overtime win over Spokane. The 6'2 defender ups his 2011 playoff line to 1-4-5 through eight games. The Americans and Chiefs are now even at two games apiece in their Western Conference semifinal. Game #5 is Sunday in Tri-City.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian (+1) registered an assist as Windsor evened their series at two games apiece with a 6-2 throttling of Saginaw. The 6'3 Kassian, who has two goals and eight assists for the Spits this playoffs, will need to elevate his game when the series resumes Saturday in Saginaw.
4/15/2011 | 2 comments | Read More

4/13 Recap: Foligno finished; McNabb mackin'

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, April 14, 2011 | 4/14/2011

Marcus Foligno scored a goal and an assist Wednesday in what should be the final game of his junior career as Sudbury was swept via a 4-3 overtime loss to Mississauga. The 6’3 winger, who #1 star of the game reminded folks that he wasn't eager to complete his OHL playing days, ends his playoff year with two goals, one assist, one fight, and a -10 rating in eight games. Barring injury, Foligno is expected to report to the Portland Pirates in the coming days on an ATO to hopefully extend his physical brand for a few more weeks of action. Gregg Sutch was a healthy scratch for the Majors, who dug themselves out of a 3-0 hole by quick-striking thrice in the last ten minutes to force the OT.

Also from the OHL, Steven Shipley (+1) recorded an assist as Niagara steamrolled to firm control of their second round series with a 6-1 win over Oshawa. The 6’3 center has yet to score a playoff goal but has collected four assists through the first eight games. The IceDogs will look to close things out Friday at home.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb bagged a pair of assists as Kootenay completed the Eastern Conference semi-final sweep of Saskatoon with a 5-2 win. The ICE captain has collected 14 points (3+11) and a +12 rating through his first 10 games this postseason. Kootenay looks well-oiled and hopes to not lay idle for too long while waiting for the winner of the Red Deer/Medicine Hat series.

Riley Boychuk skated even as Portland downed Kelowna, 4-2. The victory gives the Winterhawks a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series with game #5 Friday in Portland.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson cashed a pair of goals on six shots on net as Sioux Falls opened their 2011 playoff campaign with a 5-1 win over Sioux City. Isackson drilled a power play one-timer from the left circle to open scoring before later dancing around Matt Skoff for his second goal of the night to make it a 3-0 in the middle frame. The clubs will continue to sink their teeth into the series Thursday in SF.
4/14/2011 | 9 comments | Read More

4/12 Recap: McNabb takes command; Boychuk pots winner

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | 4/13/2011

Brayden McNabb notched a goal and two assists Tuesday as Kootenay came within one game of eliminating the WHL's top regular season club with a 3-0 shutout of Saskatoon. The victory gives the ICE an unthinkable chance to use the brooms Wednesday in Cranbrook. After his power play point shot was followed-up on to give the ICE an early lead, the 6'4 McNabb took it coast-to-coast to bury a wrister for the 2-0 lead at the end of two periods. The Kootenay captain, who also displayed excellent power-play QB skills throughout, leads all Sabres prospects with two goals and 12 points through eight playoff games. The #1 star effort was his second three-point performance of the playoffs.

Elsewhere in the WHL, Riley Boychuk scored the power play game-winner and added an assist as Portland defeated Kelowna, 5-4. The 6'5 Boychuk made a key play late in the second period when he got the puck back to the point and set a screen for Tyler Wotherspoon's shot on the fourth Portland goal. The 20-year old, who is currently averaging 1.29 points-per-game in the playoffs after a mean of .58 in the regular season, later banged home a rebound with a two-man advantage to give the 'Hawks a 5-3 lead. The power-play goal was the third time this series that Boychuk has scored on a five-on-three. It's expected that Boychuk will remain on the Winterhawks top line when the clubs return for Wednesday's game #4 in Kelowna.

Matt MacKenzie skated even as Tri-City dropped a 4-1 home ice decision to Spokane. After winning the opener, the Americans find themselves in a 2-1 series hole heading into Thursday's game #4.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian scored his second goal of the playoffs as Windsor lost to Saginaw, 5-2. The unassisted breakaway tally, Kassian's ninth postseason point, came amidst a disappointing top-to-bottom effort from the defending Memorial Cup champions. The 6'3 winger was a little too late with the passion, getting assessed a misconduct at the final horn after a shoving match with former midget teammate and good pal, Dalton Prout. With the Spits trailing the series by a 2-1 margin, Kassian needs to bring that aggressive attitude back to the rink for Thursday's game #4.

Marcus Foligno continued his disappointing series, finishing -2 with a fighting major as Sudbury lost for the third straight game to Mississauga, 6-3. Gregg Sutch was even with an elbowing minor for the Majors, who with a Wednesday win can end Foligno's OHL career. The 6'3 Wolves captain sparked his team early, making a big hit along the boards then dropping the gloves for the first time since returning from his February knee injury to take on Rob Flick.

In Monday OHL action, Steven Shipley was +1 as Niagara defeated Oshawa, 5-3. The win gives the IceDogs a 2-1 series lead with game #4 Wednesday in Oshawa. Ryan Strome ('11) scored his fourth of the postseason for the victors.
4/13/2011 | 4 comments | Read More

4/10 Recap: Boychuk takes advantage

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, April 11, 2011 | 4/11/2011

Riley Boychuk notched three assists in his expanded role Sunday as Portland drilled Kelowna, 6-3. The 6’5 Boychuk, who now has seven points (3+4) in six postseason contests, was playing his first full game on the ‘Hawks top line with Ryan Johansen (3G) and Nino Niederreiter (1A) in place of the suspended Brad Ross. Even in a grinding non-scoring line role, many thought the power-forward was set for a breakout this postseason despite having just three points in 13 career playoff games. It appears he'll continue to get the increased minutes with Ross' status in limbo with the league. The series in now even at a game apiece, with game #3 Tuesday in Kelowna.

Also from the WHL, Matt MacKenzie skated even as Tri-City lost to Spokane, 6-3. After splitting the series’ first two tilts, the two clubs will head to Tri-City for Tuesday’s game #3. MacKenzie has a goal and three helpers in the Americans six-game playoff year.

In the OHL, Marcus Foligno recorded his first goal of the playoffs as Sudbury came up short for the second straight game against Mississauga, 3-2. After a scoreless first period, the 6’3 forward cashed a power play tally all alone in front of the Majors net to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead. The Wolves, who were outshot 63-24 in the one-goal loss, are approaching do-or-die territory with Tuesday’s game #3 on the horizon. Gregg Sutch did not factor into the Majors' scoring.

In Windsor, Zack Kassian was even as Windsor lost in overtime to Saginaw, 5-4. The 6’3 forward was on the ice as linemates Stephen Johnston and Kenny Ryan connected for a goal on their first shift, but the Spirit kept answering en route to evening the series at one game each. Kassian has eight points (1+7) this nine games this postseason. Last year he had 16 points (7+9) in 19 games. Game #3 is Tuesday in Saginaw.
4/11/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

4/9 Recap: McNabb chips in as ICE gain edge

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, April 10, 2011 | 4/10/2011

In Saturday playoff action, Brayden McNabb (+2) logged an assist as Kootenay earned a 3-2 overtime win over Saskatoon. The ICE, who jumped out a surprising 2-0 series edge with the pair of road victories, held the lead until 1:05 left in regulation when a Brayden Schenn slapshot bounced off Cody Eakin and past a kicking McNabb into the Kootenay net. The 6'4 minute-eater has collected two goals and seven assists through eight postseason games including points in three straight. The teams will travel back to Kootenay for Tuesday's game #3.

Matt MacKenzie finished -1 as Tri-City opened their WHL Western Conference semi-final with a 3-1 win at Spokane. The tilt was the 50th playoff appearance of MacKenzie's WHL career. The Ams and Chiefs will continue the series Sunday in Spokane.

In the OHL, Steven Shipley picked up an assist as Niagara lost to Oshawa, 6-4. The 6'3 center now has points in three straight playoff games. The IceDogs and Generals are tied 1-1 in their second round set with game #3 Monday in Saint Catharines.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson recorded two shots on goal and a pair of minor penalties as Sioux Falls was a dealt a 2-0 shutout by Omaha. With the loss, the Herd earn the #3 playoff seed and playoff date with Sioux City beginning Wednesday. Isackson ends the regular season as the Stampede's leading scorer with 44 points (17+27).
4/10/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

4/8 Recap: Kassian sets tone as Spits take opener

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, April 9, 2011 | 4/09/2011

Zack Kassian picked up an assist and his first fighting major of the playoffs Friday as Windsor blanked Saginaw, 3-0, to take game #1 of their second round playoff series. Manning his usual right wing spot on a checking unit with Kenny Ryan and Stephen Johnston, Kassian showed his teammates that he was ready to play just 17-seconds into the tilt when he dropped the gloves with Anthony Camara ('11) for the second time this season. The 6'3 lefty tagged the gritty Camara early to earn the decision, allowing the Spits to dictate the pace and secure the key road victory to open the best-of-seven. Kassian, who did eat one near the end of the spirited scrap, has a goal and seven assists in eight playoff games.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb notched a pair of assists as Kootenay earned a 4-1 victory over Saskatoon. The victory gives the underdog ICE a 1-0 series lead with game #2 Saturday night in Saskatoon. The 6'4 McNabb now has two goals and six assists through Kootenay's first seven post-season games to tie Kassian at the top the Sabres prospects playoff scoring list.

Elsewhere in the OHL, Marcus Foligno finished a season-low -4 as Sudbury was blasted by Mississauga, 8-5. The Wolves fell behind 8-0 with a little over seven minutes remaining in the second period, only to score the game's final five goals to get the ship moving in the right direction heading into Sunday's game #2. Foligno has yet to record a point in five playoff games. Gregg Sutch skated limited minutes for the Majors and was unable to factor into the scoring.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson (+1) set-up the game winning goal as Sioux Falls earned a 3-2 win over Sioux City. The Stampede can clinch a first round playoff bye with a Saturday win over Omaha.
4/09/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

Sabres ink Szydlowski

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, April 8, 2011 | 4/08/2011

The Buffalo Sabres are set to announce the signing of unrestricted free agent Shawn Szydlowski to what is rumored to be an entry level contract. The 6’0, 210-pound forward recently completed a four-year OHL career with the Erie Otters in which he compiled 94 goals and 103 assists. This past season the St. Clair Shores, MI native finished third in scoring for the Otters with 41 goals and 37 assists while skating primarily as a right wing. A physical player with a good center of gravity, the scoring forward also logged 21 fighting majors during his time with the Otters.

Szydlowski, 20, is a smart player with strong hands and good finishing ability. His complete game was on display in the Otters first round loss to Windsor, especially in game #7 when his effort was marked by excellent puck control and a several powerful drives to the net that led to a pair of goals in the Otters 5-4 game #7 loss. He also made a strong takeout of Ryan Ellis along the wall to give a teammate space to score in the second period.

After reporting to Portland for his physical on Thursday, Szydlowski is expected to play in the Pirates three weekend games.
4/08/2011 | 5 comments | Read More

4/7 Recap: Shipley in on Dogs win

Steven Shipley notched an assist on the game-winning goal Thursday as Niagara opened the second round of the WHL playoffs with a 2-1 win over Oshawa. The helper was Shipley's second point in five post-season contests. Nicklas Jensen ('11) scored the lone Generals goal. The IceDogs will travel to Oshawa for Saturday's game #2.

In the WHL, Riley Boychuk finished -3 as Portland lost game #1 of their Western Conference semifinal to Kelowna, 5-1. Boychuk, who midway through the first period was bumped up to the Winterhawks top line after Brad Ross was ejected for a charging major, generated a some down-low scoring opportunities but was unable to connect for the scoreboard. The Rockets were fueled by hat trick and an assist from talented 2011 prospect Shane McColgan. Game #2 is Sunday in Portland.
4/08/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

Boychuk hard to handle as 'Hawks look to round two

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, April 7, 2011 | 4/07/2011

Pad tap to Scott Sepich of Yahoo! for his piece on Portland Winterhawks forward Riley Boychuk. The 6'5 Boychuk has hammered his way through the WHL this season, scoring a career-high 18 goals in third-line minutes for the talented Winterhawks while racking up a hard-earned 148 PIM.

Even though Boychuk may not look specifically for offense, Johnston has trusted him in some power play situations and says the big guy is deceptively talented with the puck.

"He has great hands for a big man, and he's very quick in tight," said Johnston.

Still, Boychuk is mostly known for being front and center in any scrum while he's on the ice. He says he's trying to gain more control of his emotions on the ice to prevent taking unnecessary penalties that have hindered his game in the past.

"Mike (Johnston) talks about playing more whistle to whistle, and going out after big hits during the play rather than shoving after the whistle and taking those kind of minor penalties," he said.

Johnston praised Boychuk's improving "control," but hopes he can continue to walk a fine line between aggressiveness and recklessness.

"I've gone too far sometimes," Boychuk admits. "Part of my game is to get in people's faces as a big body, and I'm not going to back down from anyone. I just have to be smart about it."

Portland will begin their second round series Thursday when they host the Kelowna Rockets.
4/07/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

Sabres pot three-peat as Adam takes AHL honors

Congratulations to the Luke Adam for being named the AHL's Most Outstanding Rookie for the 2010-11 season. Congrats to the Buffalo Sabres scouting staff as well, as the award marks the third straight year a Sabres prospect has earned the honor (Nathan Gerbe 2008-09, Tyler Ennis 2009-10).

From the American Hockey League website

Adam, a second-round draft choice by the Buffalo Sabres in 2008, ranks among the AHL’s rookie leaders with 28 goals (1st), 32 assists (tied for 3rd), 60 points (2nd) and a plus-22 rating (2nd) in 54 games for Portland this season. The 20-year-old native of St. John’s, N.L., began the season with two goals and two assists in an opening-night win over Manchester on Oct. 9, the first of his 16 multiple-point efforts on the year, and his 11-game scoring streak from Feb. 26 to Mar. 22 was the longest by an AHL rookie forward since 2005. Adam made his National Hockey League debut with Buffalo on Oct. 26 and has totaled three goals and one assist in 19 NHL games with the Sabres.

So yes, Adam has been the apple of the Pirates eye all season long. Why isn't he in Buffalo you ask? I think it's simple. He needs to keep working hard where he is. Keeping Adam down will make him continue to tune-in defensively and polish some skills - mainly his puckhandling. Plus, it's fair to suggest that it's harder to send player down at the beginning of the next season when he ends the year on the top club.

Regardless, I can't wait to read the next tired article about the Sabres using video scouting...


Adam winning the AHL rookie honor makes it kind of a cool day for this site as well, as longtime readers may remember that Luke was talked about quite a bit in this space leading up to his 2008 drafting. From the first time watching him with the St. John's Fog Devils (along with Sabres picks T.J. Brennan and J.S. Allard), you sort of knew Luke could develop into a big bodied goal-scorer at the pro level despite his lack of top-flight wheels. That conviction made him my no-brainer target when the Sabres opened their day two selections, and the Sabres obviously agreed. Not a bad run for the Sabres at that draft getting Myers, Ennis, Adam 1-1A-2. Perhaps Corey Fienhage can continue the dent being made by the class of '08? Baby steps of course, but we're not ruling anything out.
4/07/2011 | 2 comments | Read More

4/5 Recap: Kassian struggles as Spits advance

Zack Kassian finished -3 Tuesday as Windsor advanced to the second round of the OHL playoffs with 5-4 win over Erie. Kassian, who generated a few shots on goal early on, was somewhat of a disappointment in the deciding game seven, showing signs of perhaps wear and fatigue as the deciding minutes approached. After a nice set of mid-series games in which he upped the physical ante, Kassian's feet slowed while the Otters used their speed and forechecking ability to create offense and ultimately keep the home team on their heels until the final minutes. The third Erie goal in particular stood out to me, as Greg McKegg walked in and swatted home a Shawn Szydlowski rebound right in front of a flat-footed Kassian.

With Windsor moving on, the wait continues on the farm with Kassian, Marcus Foligno, and Brayden McNabb all advancing to the CHL's second round.

Szydlowski meanwhile posted a top notch effort for the Otters in his final junior game. An undrafted 20-year old, the 6'0, 210-pounder had his strong hands and smarts on display throughout the series after completing a 41-goal regular season. In Tuesday's finale, he contributed with a solid takeout of Ryan Ellis on the second Otters goal, and later used good bursts and strength on the puck to create two other Erie tallies. Given the Sabres need for forwards and their missing of top-flight college UFAs, it may be worth keeping an eye on where the Michigan native lands for his next gig.
4/07/2011 | 0 comments | Read More

4/2-3 Recap: McNabb moves on; season sets for Sundher

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, April 4, 2011 | 4/04/2011

Brayden McNabb scored a goal and an assist Sunday in a little over thirty minutes of ice time as Kootenay advanced to the second round of the WHL playoffs with a 6-4 win over Moose Jaw. McNabb, who has six points in the playoff year, opened scoring on his first shift of the game when he capitalized on a defensive lapse and buried a shot top shelf. The ICE will wait for the finish of the Medicine Hat/Brandon series before learning who their next opponent will be. The match-up will mark just the second time that McNabb will skate beyond the first round.

In the OHL, Zack Kassian (-1) notched a pair of assists as Windsor coughed up a three-goal lead in a 6-5 loss at resilient Erie. The Otters win forces a deciding game #7 Tuesday night in Windsor. Skating on a line with Stephen Johnston and Kenny Ryan, Kassian missed a chunk of time in the third period after limping off the ice with an unknown ding. The 6'3 wing has scored just once in six playoff games but had added seven assists while being tougher on the puck.

On Saturday, Kevin Sundher scored a power play goal and two assists as Chilliwack's season came to an end with a 6-4 loss at Spokane. Sundher ends the playoffs with three goals and four assists for the Bruins were in the five-game bouncing. The 6'0 center missed an opportunity to score his fourth goal of the series when he was stopped on penalty shot in the second period.

In the USHL, Christian Isackson scored a goal and an assist as Sioux Falls moved into 2nd place with a 3-2 win over Omaha. Isackson, who cashed his 17th goal in his usual slot position, remains the Herd's leading scorer with 43 points in 56 games.
4/04/2011 | 10 comments | Read More

4/1 Recap: Duo looks to game six; April fools Nics

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, April 1, 2011 | 4/01/2011

Zack Kassian earned an assist Friday, his sixth point of the series, as Windsor battled hard but lost in overtime to Erie, 6-5. Kassian was again a physical force, using his strength to generate puck pressure and record several shots, yet the effort was also marked by an undisciplined slashing penalty that allowed the Otters to take a three goal lead at the end of two periods. The Spits would answer by out-shooting the Otters 22-7 in the third en route to scoring three goals, including two 41-seconds apart with less than four minutes to play to force the overtime. Anthony Luciani's fourth of the night sealed it for the visitors at 4:03 of the OT to set-up a game #6 in Erie Sunday afternoon. Windsor holds a 3-2 series edge.

In the WHL, Brayden McNabb (+1) logged major minutes as Kootenay defeated Moose Jaw, 3-1, to take a 3-2 series lead. The 6'4 blueliner has a goal and three assists in the five games, while his +5 is currently tied for 3rd in the young WHL postseason. The ICE, who outshot the Warriors by a 48-29 margin, will look to close out the series Sunday in Moose Jaw.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc was -1 as Rimouski saw their season come to an end with a 4-3 overtime loss to Gatineau. The offensive-minded rearguard was on the ice for a Nics power play tally and later as the Olympiques scored the game-tying goal against. The QMJHL's #2 scorer among defenseman in the regular season, Gauthier-Leduc posted a goal and two assists in the five-game playoff year.

In USHL play, Christian Isackson was -2 with two shots on goal as Sioux Falls lost to Indiana, 6-4. The Herd's leading scorer with 41 points (16+25), Isackson has now gone three games without a point for the first time since 12/19-1/1.
4/01/2011 | 5 comments | Read More

3/31 Recap: Boychuk pots two; Foligno gets boot

Riley Boychuk scored a pair of goals Thursday and provided a major physical spark as Portland completed the sweep of Everett with a 6-2 victory. The 6'5 power forward, who opened the game with a huge hit that jarred the glass loose, consistently used his feet to drive hard to the net with the puck en route to cashing his pair. His edgy game created space but also drew penalties, as Landon Ferraro was forced to sit for five after giving Boychuk a cross-check to end the second period. Everett simply could not keep up with the physical tone set by Boychuk, making the Sabres prospect a valuable piece to a team that should go deep in the playoffs.

Elsewhere in the WHL, Kevin Sundher finished -1 a night after providing the heroics as Chilliwack stumbled in a 4-2 loss at Spokane. The Bruins will have win on the road in Saturday's game #5 to keep their season alive.

Mark Pysyk was -1 with a pair of minor penalties as Edmonton saw their season come to a close with a 5-1 loss to Red Deer. The 6'2 defender finishes the four-game playoff year with no points, a -1 rating, and 6 PIM.

In the OHL, Marcus Foligno was ejected in the first period after being called for a checking to the head penalty as upset-minded Sudbury clawed their back from a 3-1 deficit to earn a 5-3 win over Ottawa, and a date with Mississauga in the second round of the OHL playoffs. Foligno, who came in high on Adam Sedlak but looked to have made contact with the shoulder and not the head, got the boot with 7:31 to play in the first period to end the series with no points, a -2 rating, and 13 PIM.

Steven Shipley notched his first career playoff point, an assist, as Niagara earned the first round sweep with a 4-1 win over Brampton. The shift resulting in the goal was probably the best of the night for the unit of Archibald-Shipley-Doan as the trio pinned the troops in their own end for a minute before Archibald lit the lamp. The IceDogs will now await the winner of Oshawa/Kingston.
4/01/2011 | 3 comments | Read More