Greetings all! Time for the first week in review of the year and the final recap for our prospects at the World Juniors.
Starting off in Springfield as we always do, the Falcons went 3-0 last week with three close games. The first match was a New Year’s Eve matinee against the IceCaps in which the Falcons secured a 4-2 victory. 15 minutes into the game, Lukas Sedlak scored his fifth of the season to tie the game at one with Jake Hansen and Sean Collins picking up assists. After another Caps goal, Jonathan Marchessault scored his 12th with just two seconds remaining; and then the Falcons would strike again just 1:18 into the third to make it 3-2 Falcons. Andrew Joudrey scored the insurance goal with just under two minutes left to clinch the 4-2 victory. Jeremy Smith had 31 saves in the victory.
Up next was a game against the Albany Devils. The Devils built a 1-0 lead 4:30 in but the Falcons tied it 4:30 later when Blake Parlett won a board battle, found Darryl Boyce down low who passed to Jean Francois Jacques allowing him to score his fourth. After a scoreless second, the third period was a wild one. The Devils scored twice in a span of 1:08 to make it 3-1. Thirty seconds later Jake Hansen struck on a breakaway. 1:11 later Austin Madaisky notched his second of the season when, after the Falcons wroght havoc in front, the puck came out to Austin who fired a blast to tie it. The game went to overtime with Darryl Boyce working a two on one and then snapping a shot to win the game. Jeremy Smith made 29 saves in the win - his 16th.
To close out the week, the baby birds faced the Providence Bruins. Midway through the second, the Falcons were trailing off a Nick Johnson goal but were able to strike just 11 seconds later. Off a three on two, Spencer Machacek was left wide open and he snapped a shot for his fifth of the season. Seven minutes later, Spencer struck again off a breakaway when he almost wrapped the puck around but a Bruins player stopped him, Tim Miller grabbed the puck and foundMachacek for the wide open net for his sixth. Mike McKenna made 26 saves in his first game back from Columbus in the 2-1 win.
Gianluca Curcuruto-Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Season Stats 30GP 3-10-13 -14 6PIM
The Whalers went 2-1 last week with both wins coming by shootout. Gianluca was held scoreless in the first two games but picked up his 10th assist on Saturday. In the second period, with the game tied at one, Gianluca picked up an assist on Francesco Vilardi’s seventh goal of the season.
Nick Moutrey-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Season Stats 40GP 10-14-24 +2 44PIM
The Spirit went 2-1 last week with Nick picking up a goal and an assist. In a back and forth affair versus Saginaw, with the game tied at four in the third period, Nick raced down the side with a power move to the net and took a shot/sent a pass (hard to tell from highlight) to Jeremiah Addison to make it 5-4 Spirit but they would fall 6-5. Nick went scoreless in a shootout win over Niagara. To close out last week it was a game against the Kerby Rychel-less Guelph Storm. Nick scored his first game winning goal of the season giving the Spirit a 3-0 lead with more than five minutes remaining. The team allowed the Storm two goals including one in the final minute of the third but they were able to hang on for the win.
Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Season Stats 23GP 11-15-26 -9 4PIM
Peter has been on a hot streak lately – he’s picked up points in six straight scoring 10 points. Starting off on Monday against Red Deer, Peter grabbed an assist on Tyler Coulter’s goal just 30 seconds into the first period. Later in the first the Wheat Kings struck again. Leading 2-0, Peter sent a crossrink pass to Tim McGauley who fired a shot to make it 3-0. Brandon would win the game 4-3.
Next up was a game against Edmonton. With the Wheat Kings trailing 4-2, Peter was set up in front of the crease and tapped in the rebound of a Richard Nejezchleb shot – his 10th goal of the season. The Wheat Kings scored to tie it but would fall 5-4 in overtime.
December was Peter’s best stretch so far picking up 15 points in 10 games and leading the Kings in scoring for the month. Peter was named the team’s IMPACT Player of the Month. For their first game of the New Year it was off to Calgary. In the 4-1 loss, Peter scored the Kings only goal when he collected the rebound of a Ryan Pulock blast from the point and shot into a wide open net.
To close out the week the Regina Pats came to town and Peter had another multi point game in the 4-3 overtime win. Peter’s first point came as an assist on Tyler Coulter’s goal to make it 3-0 Wheat Kings. The Kings would then allow three straight sending the game going to overtime. Peter picked up an assist on the game winner when he get the puck from Ryan Pulock and backhanded it over/around a Pats Dman’s stick to Nejezchleb for the game winner.
Seth Ambroz, Mike Reilly-Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten)
Season Stats Ambroz: 18GP 9-5-14 +9 12PIM
Reilly: 18GP 7-5-12 +15 6PIM
Mike and Seth returned from Christmas break to be part of the Gophers annual Mariucci Classic. The Gopher duo opened the tournament against Colgate with Mike picking up an assist on Travis Boyd’s third period goal. The game will officially be listed as a 2-2 tie but the Gophers lost in a shootout, meaning they played RPI in the consolation game. In the 6-2 victory, Seth was the only prospect to pick up a point – scoring his team leading ninth goal of the season by scoring into an empty net off a pass from Travis Boyd. This was Seth’s third empty netter of the season.
TJ Tynan-Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Hockey East)
Season Stats 19GP 4-13-17 14PIM
TJ and the Irish got to take part in the first weekend of the Frozen Fenway played in historic Fenway Park. The game was against Boston College and part of the two team’s rivalry known as the “The Holy War”. In the 4-3 Irish loss, TJ scored his fourth of the season on a power play after TJ took a big hit from Michael Sit with just 0.7 seconds remaining (he had to sit for 5 minutes).
Josh Anderson, Kerby Rychel-Canada (4th in Tournament)
Tournament Stats Anderson: 7GP 1-0-1 -2 0PIM
Rychel: 7GP 0-0-0 -3 0PIM
Kerby and Josh were held scoreless in Canada’s last three games going 1-2 winning against Switzerland in the quarterfinal before losing to Finland in the semis and Russia in the Bronze Medal Game. I’ll admit I was sort of surprised Kerby didn’t score any points but Kerby played almost exclusively on the Canadians fourth line with Josh and Frederic Gauthier who’s more known for his two way play. According to ESPN’s Corey Pronman, Kerby’s icetime was actually cut due to not producing but his fans should not be worried based on his play in the OHL. Pronman also said that Josh showed off some of his positive qualities such as his frame and great physical game.
Markus Soberg-Norway (lost in Relegation round-Norway will play in the Division 1 Group A next year. eligible to return)
Tournament Stats 5GP 0-1-1 -1 4PIM
Markus and the Polar Bears faced off against the Germans in a best of three series for a chance to remain in the main tournament next year with Denmark taking the loser’s spot. Norway picked up its first win of the tournament with a 3-0 win over Germany. Markus was the victim of a high stick from German top draft prospect Leon Draisaitl drawing a five minute power play in which Norway would score to make it 3-0.
In the next game, Markus got a new lid to wear due to missing some teeth because of the high stick and picked up his first assist on Jorgen Karterud’s first period goal in the German’s 4-3 win. In the “winner take all” game three it was all Germans as they roared out to a 3-0 lead before Norway would score late in the third. This means next year Norway will play in the World Junior Championships Division 1 Group A for a chance to move up for the 2016 tournament. Markus should be eligible to return next year making him again possibly the only drafted player on the team but Markus was one of the Norwegians few bright spots when they actually had the puck so you can imagine they want him to stick around.
Marko Dano-Slovakia (8th in Tournament)
Tournament Stats 5GP 2-1-3 +1 4PIM
Marko and the Slovaks faced off against Sweden in the quarterfinal with the Swedes picking up a 6-0 victory eliminating Slovakia. Marko had these comments after the game from the IIHF.com recap “We wanted to play at 0-0 for a longer time and then score some goals on the power play…But we didn’t. You can’t play like this against a team like Sweden.” After being the offensive star of last year’s team, Marko was given a different role – he played on the second line but was also one of the team’s top defensive forwards. According to Corey Pronman “it was interesting to see all the plays he made in his own end and the strength he displayed in puck battles.”
Alexander Wennberg, Oscar Dansk-Sweden (Silver Medal)
Tournament Stats Wennberg: 7GP 4-3-7 +2PIM
Dansk: 6GP 5-0-1-0 .929Sv% 1.86GAA 1SO
Oscar and Alexander faced off against Slovakia in the quarterfinal of the WJF and in the 6-0 victory, Alexander was held scoreless but he put on a clinic in the face off dot (he has played mostly wing with Frolunda and has only won 46% of the draws he’s taken) winning 14 of 20 draws. Oscar only had to make 18 saves for his first shutout of the tournament. “I was pretty happy with the way I played,” Oscar said after the gam. “I played pretty solid, but I thought the guys made it pretty easy for me and kept the shots mostly to the outside. They played really well.”
Next up was a rematch of last year’s semifinal with a game against the Russians. In the 2-1 win, Oscar and Tampa 1st round pick Andrei Vasilevski had a goalie competition in which each was stellar. Vasilevski allowed two goals – one was a power play goal and the other was a breakaway. The one goal Oscar allowed came six minutes into the third when Damir Zhafyarov’s shot snuck through Oscar’s armpit. Oscar was superb facing a late flurry in the third with his team “down” two skaters when the Russian goalie was pulled and then when Jesper Pettersson (and if that name sounds familiar well he has some history with CBJ prospects) took a slashing penalty late. At the buzzer, a kerfuffle broke out between the players on the ice and Pettersson ended up being suspended for his actions. Back to the Jacket prospects – for his strong play Oscar was named Sweden’s player of the game. Quickly remember what I said about Alexander at the faceoff dot in his last game; this game was the total opposite as he only won 3 of the 15 draws he took.
To close out the tournament the Swedes faced a matchup with their neighbors to the east – those pesky Fins. Finland took an early lead when Esa Lindell (who I had the CBJ drafting in a mock draft I did) scored just 28 seconds into the first. Wennberg, despite being held pointless, factored into the first goal when he was an absolute wall in front of Finnish goalie Juuse Saros (6’1″ beats 5’11″). 45 seconds later the Fins struck again when Saku Maenalanen curled around the net, and took a pass from tournament leading scorer Teuvo Teravainen. The game entered the third period with the Fins leading 2-1 and it would stay that way until 42 seconds after the Swedes used their timeout. Christian Djoos fired a slapshot to tie it at two and, once again, who would it be setting a screen on Saros? Well if it isn’t our own Alexander Wennberg.
The game went to overtime and it Sabres first round pick Rasmus Ristolainen who shirked his defender and slid the puck under Oscar’s pad to clinch Finland’s first WJC medal since 2006 with the 3-2 victory. For his strong play, Alexander was named the player of the game for the second time in the tournament something that someone I follow thought wasn’t allowed (Russia’s Andrei Vasilevski also won it twice). Oscar made 28 saves in the loss but would get a little hardware for himself as he was named top goalie in the tournament by the Directorate. This marks the third CBJ prospect ever to be named best at their position by the Directorate the others being Steve Mason in 2008 and Rostislav Klesla in 2001.
There you have it folks! An update on our prospects from around the world. as for next week, I’ll be back again covering all the action including Kerby and Josh’s first game back and it just happens to be against each other. Also I hope to have an update on my top 20 prospect list from before the season.