Well it was a wild week in the land of Blue Jackets prospects so lets get going.
First we go to Springfield. Elton John must have been misquoted when he said Saturday night’s alright for fighting because when the Falcons and the Sound Tigers got together on Friday things got a little heated. First, the offense: Cody Goalubef um I mean Goloubef would score his third goal in as many games scoring a goal that was pretty much identical to his first NHL goal. Following the first point, the recently returned to the lineup Cody Bass would drive to the net and receive a pass from Nick Drazenovic for his first of the season. Ryan Russell would make it 3-0 Birds after a faceoff win when David Savard found Russell along the boards who fired a laser over Kevin Poulin’s shoulder for his fourth. In the third period, Andrew Joudrey would be granted a penalty shot when he was hauled down by both Sound Tigers defenders. Joudrey would be successful on the Falcons first penalty shot of the season, and Ryan Johansen would make it 5-0 Falcons when he JAM and…Tim Spencer (??? one of these things is not like the others) would have a three on one break with Johansen snapping a wrist shot over Poulin’s glove for his team leading 17th of the season. Kirill Kabanov would score his first pro goal and Jon Landry would score for the Sound Tigers to make the game a 5-2 Falcons win. Curtis McElhinney would make 20 saves in the victory.
Now for the rough stuff. The Birds and the Cats would combine for 244 penalty minutes in the game which to the shock of me isn’t even close to the AHL record set in 1981 when the Adirondack Red Wings and the Hershey Bears combined for 520. Dalton Prout would start the festivities when he and Blair Riley engaged – Prout earned the decision via a one-arm suplex than appeared to be more than a usual hockey fight knockout/takedown. After that, the third period is when all hell would break loose. Starting just 2:15 in Jake Hansen and Bridgeport’s goon (25 majors in 42 games) would tussle. That description is kind as Jake would mostly hang on to dear life before the linesmen broke it up. That was nothing compared to what was unleashed two minutes later. Off a faceoff, Dalton Prout would throw a check on Nino Niederreiter who was battling with Dalton Smith. This led to sticks and gloves flying with Dalton Smith and Mike Halmo getting separated and Cody Bass and laying an absolute beating on Matt Donavan earning both players game misconducts for being in a second fight. Another three minutes later it’d be Dalton Prout again when he drilled Brandon DeFazio behind the net again starting another full on line brawl with DeFazio punching at Will Weber and whoever he was tied up with. Two favorite moments from this series of events? It looks like Michael Chaput made a friend for life with the hug he’s giving and Ty Wishart standing in the middle like “why wont anyone play with me?”. To close out the craziness Ty Wishart would demolish Jonathan Audy-Marchessault in the corner while, according to Mike Kelly, JAM was minding his own business – gotta like that Ryan Johansen was the first guy in on Wishart. Here are head coach Brad Larsen’s postgame comments on the game. After all that and losing Nick Drazenovic to Columbus, the Falcons would travel to Syracuse for a battle between the Eastern Conference’s top two teams. The match up ended with Syracuse shutting out the Falcons for the first time all season. Allen York would make a AHL career high 43 saves in the loss with the team allowing an empty net goal. Sunday it’d be off to Worchester for a game against the Sharks. The Falcons would suffer their worst loss of the season falling 5-1. Michael Chaput would score his ninth of the season when he’d take a Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and then fire it past Alex Stalock’s glove. The leading scorer for the week was JAM who picked up three assists to give him 49 points in 50 games.
Two weeks in a row with Evansville updates as the IceMen would be off to sunny Florida for three games against the reborn Solar Bears and the Everblades. Oliver Gabriel would miss the three games with a minor injury suffered in practice according to IceMen Media Relations guy Ian Fraser. Anton Blomqvist would play in all three games including getting to shoot in the IceMen’s marathon shootout win over Florida. The shootout took 21 rounds with Anton shooting 12th and missing. In Saturday night’s loss to Florida, Anton would score his first North American goal to make it 2-0. Ian would later report that Anton would leave the game with a injury but I don’t have any further information.
Quickly an injury update. Lukas Sedlak has been out of the lineup since February 1st with a leg injury but Dave Ainsley, who covers the Sags for Le Quotidien, told me he skated on his own this week and could return next week. Anton Forsberg dressed in none of Sodertalje’s games this week with my SSK source Johan Myberg saying it was time off because he’d played a lot of games lately.
Josh Anderson-London Knights(OHL)
Season Stats 59GP 20-21-41 +8 59PIM
Josh and the Knights would open the week welcoming Oscar Dansk and the Erie Otters to town hoping to get revenge for a 4-3 Otters win last Friday. Boy did they – the Knights beat the Otters 8-1 with Josh scoring the game winner with his 20th of the season. Oscar Dansk was pulled in the 3rd period after allowing seven goals on 33 shots. Josh was held off the scoresheet in London’s overtime loss to Sault Ste. Marie on Friday and in London’s win over Saginaw on Sunday.
Boone Jenner-Oshawa Generals(OHL)
Season Stats 50GP 37-36-73 +19 50PIM
Boone and the Generals opened the week with a Family Day (a real holiday in Ontario) matinee against Sudbury. In the 6-2 Generals win, Boone would pick up four assists – his third four point game of the season with the first two being two goal and two assist games. Boone was named 1st star. (Sorry folks no highlights on most of these Monday games for OHL teams) Boone would be held scoreless in a 6-3 loss to Peterborough on Thursday. Against bottom feeding Ottawa on Friday, with the Generals leading 2-1, Boone would shoot and the shot would be blocked but Boone would pick up his own rebound snapping a shot over the 67’s goalie’s shoulder. Boone’s second goal would be hard to describe but they gave it to Boone when Tyler Biggs fired on net and Boone picked up the rebound shooting it into an empty net for his 37th of the season. Boone and the Generals welcomed the Peterborough Petes to town with Boone picking up two assists in the Generals 4-1 victory.
Gianluca Curcuruto-Plymouth Whalers(OHL)
Season Stats 59GP 9-31-40 +21 26PIM
Gianluca and the Whalers just keep rolling along going 3-1 this week and extending their winning streak to eight before losing on Sunday. Starting off with a 10-2 win over Sarnia on Monday, Gianluca picked up three assists and was named second star in the win. The first one was an outlet pass where Gianluca joined the rush, the second assist would be the same as he got the puck to Matt Mistele who’d find Curcuruto’s D partner Connor Carrick. Connor snapped a wrist shot from the sideboard for his 11th of the year. The third assist would be like a lot of his assists with Gianluca using that bomb of a point shot which Stefan Noesen would deflect for his third of the game and 21st of the season. Friday night would be another Whalers blowout as the team would pick up a 9-1 win over Windsor. Gianluca earned another assist off a blast from the point when his shot would bounce out to Zach Lorentz whose shot would bounce off the post going to Cody Payne. Payne had a wide open net to shoot at to complete the hat trick – the second for the Whalers that night. Sarnia traveled to Plymouth this time with the Whalers picking up another victory this time keeping it sorta close – I mean they did only score four this game. Gianluca would add to his point streak when, with the Whalers leading 2-0 and the Sting rushing up ice, the Sting forward would lose the puck and Gianluca got it to Garrett Meurs who’d find Mitchell Heard for his seventh of the season. Gianluca and the Whalers would close out the week against Windsor with Gianluca’s point streak continuing when he picked up an assist on Tom Wilson’s 20th goal of the season.
Season Stats 32GP 3-10-13 51PIM
Thomas and the Raiders opened the weekend against Union with Thomas picking up his third multi-point game of the season. Thomas had two assists in the win over the Dutchmen. The first assist appeared to be when Thomas won a board battle and the puck got to Kurtis Ratliff for his eighth of the season. The second assist came on the Raiders fourth goal – an empty net goal when he’d keep the puck in and his blocked shot would bounce to Robbie Bourdon who’d fire it from about center ice to seal the Raiders 4-1 win. Thomas would be held off the scoresheet on Senior Night when the Raiders would lose to RPI in overtime.
Martin Ouellette-Maine(Hockey East)
Season Stats 24GP 7-10-6 .919Sv% 2.29GAA 2SO
Martin and the Black Bears faced off against UMass with the teams splitting the weekend series. On Friday night Martin would have another solid performance making 30 saves for his second shutout of the season. This was also his first since a 31 save shutout December 28th against Minnesota-Duluth at the Florida Hockey Classic. The Minutemen would bounce back on Saturday picking up a 5-2 victory with Martin stopping 22 of 26 and also allowing a empty net goal. According to two of my Maine sources it was one part Maine’s inconsistency on offense (sound familiar Jackets fans) and the Minutemen showed up and their Olympic size rink makes them even faster.
Season Stats 32GP 6-13-19 36PIM
Kevin and the Wolverines were in Columbus this weekend and I was in attendance for Friday’s Michigan victory. Kevin impressed me and it somewhat changed my opinion of him. I guess my thinking is a second round draft pick could have been a first round pick and should be a potential star – well that’s not true. Kevin played a simple game going to the net, setting a screen on the first Michigan goal, and even laid a nice open ice hit on a Buckeye. Since Kevin is a senior, the Jackets have to make a decision on him and after saying he probably wouldn’t be signed now I think he could be and ultimately develop into a third line center/penalty killer. Onto the game – Kevin would pick up an assist in the 5-3 Michigan win on Michigan’s second goal when he got the puck out to AJ Treais. AJ got the puck to Jacob Trouba who launched a blast then picking up his own rebound for his ninth goal of the season. (Just a heads up – if we get to be in a different division/conference as Winnipeg, we’re lucky. That kid is gonna be a monster for the Jets in 2-3 years) Saturday in the rematch it’d be more of the same as the Wolverines would win 6-3 with Kevin picking up another assist on the Michigan empty netter.
Season Stats 30GP 3-11-14 12PIM
Mike would be the only Jackets prospect to dress for the Gophers this weekend as Seth Ambroz would miss the series against Minnesota-Duluth and fellow Jackets prospect Drew Olson. Ambroz would miss the series because Don Lucia would only say “he’s injured,” not upper body not lower body just injured. In the Gophers 5-3 win on Friday, Mike would be held off the scoresheet but he would open the scoring on Saturday. Late in the period Mike would take a pass from Ben Marshall skating in and snapping a wristshot over the Bulldogs goalie’s shoulder for his third of the season.
Daniel Zaar-BIK Karlskoga(Sweden)
Season Stats 12GP 0-3-3 +1 4PIM
Daniel and BIK would open the week against Vasteras HK with the team being shutout for the third game in a row. Friday night would welcome Malmo to town and BIK would finally snap the shutout streak scoring midway through the first period when Martin Thelander would curl around the net finding Daniel who’d get the puck out to defenseman Alexander Vikland for his blast from the point. Daniel is still looking for his first goal with BIK but its not for lack of trying. In the 3-1 BIK loss Daniel took 10 of BIK’s 44 shots.
Season Stats 12GP 5-7 2.72GAA .912Sv% 1 SO
Joonas and the Jokerit J20 team would go 2-1 with Joonas having back to back solid outings, starting off on Wednesday against Ässät. In the 4-1 Jesters win, Jokerit Joonas would stop 24 of 25 allowing only one goal in back to back games. Saturday night Ilves would visit and Joonas would make 38 saves in a 4-3 Jokerit win. Sunday Jokerit’s four game win streak/Joonas’ three game win streak would be snapped by Lukko as they’d hand Jokerit a 6-3 defeat with Joonas stopping 19 of 25.
There you have it folks, a wild week with a lot of points and a lot of fights. As for next week we’ll be wrapping up the Allsvenken (Sweden) season and we’ll be able to start talking playoffs as Anton and Daniel will be playing their final three games of the regular season. Sodertalje is currently second but only 10 points out of first with third being four points behind SSK. As for Daniel and BIK, they sit in fourth place five points behind third including a game against first place Leksands. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about relegation – that stuff still confuses me.