The clock keeps on ticking on the 2012-13 National Hockey League season, but the Calgary Flames prospects continue to play hockey in stunning ignorance of the fact that hockey is supposed to entirely stop during an NHL lockout. Weird, eh?
Anyhow, while Canada observed Remembrance Day and the United States observed Veterans Day this weekend, there was a lot of hockey being played.
THREE OUTTA FOUR AIN’T BAD
The AHL’s Abbotsford Heat did battle with the Oklahoma City Barons, the affiliate of the dastardly Edmonton Oilers, in back-to-back games this weekend. The Baby Flames took three points away from the weekend series against the uber-stacked Barons (who boast two first-overall NHL draft picks) in the form of a 4-0 win Friday night and a 2-1 overtime loss on Saturday.
Goaltender Danny Taylor started both games and made 57 saves over the two games. Forward Paul Byron returned from injury and looked a bit rusty, but gradually improved throughout the weekend. Ben Street was excellent, with three points. T.J. Brodie had two assists and was all over the ice all weekend. Dustin Sylvester had a goal in each game, including the marker that sent Saturday’s game into overtime. Roman Horak and Sven Baertschi combined for a single point, but were generally quite good.
The Heat are now 7-1-1-2 overall this season, good enough for fourth place in the AHL’s Western Conference. However, they have two games in hand on division-leader Lake Erie, who are a single point ahead of Abbotsford, and who’ll visit the Heat for a pair of games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In the ECHL, Utah lost twice and none of the Flames youngsters did much of anything. Bryan Cameron had two assists, but he probably doesn’t count.
GAUDREAU IS GOOD
Boston College played twice this weekend and won both games. As expected, Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold continued to drive the bus in terms of offense. Gaudreau had three goals over the two games, including the game-winning goals in each contest. Gaudreau continues to make a case for himself as a Hobey Baker candidate; he’s got 12 points in 9 games so far, currently sits second in his conference in scoring. He also leads in terms of points-per-game pace and has twice as many game-winning goals (5) than the next-best player.
Heck, Bill Arnold is tied for third in conference scoring with 10 points in 9 games. He’s building a strong resume himself, although his game doesn’t project to be a high-scoring one. He’s one of a few Eagles players with points on both the power-play and the penalty-kill though.
Providence College only played once, losing 4-0 to Massachusetts. Despite the lopsided loss, Jon Gillies made 28 saves and was apparently good. He’s emerged as a solid goaltender for the Friars. Mark Jankowski was held off the score-sheet and has 4 points thus far this season.
Michigan State split a weekend series with their arch-rivals from Michigan. Matthew Deblouw had three points and a plus-1 rating on the weekend. He’s put up 10 points in 10 games this year, despite being a freshman on a fairly decent team. He’ll need to work on his consistency, as he’s been scoring in bunches or been held off the board. Still, 10 points as a freshman is pretty good, and he’s still got most of the season left.
BROSSOIT BOUNCES BACK
Edmonton’s Laurent Brossoit hasn’t been amazing this year. He’s still won games, but his underlying numbers have been iffy. But as he begins to get close in on the time of year where Hockey Canada decides who’s representing them at the World Juniors, he’s starting to round into form. He made 38 saves this weekend against Prince George and has been excellent in November with a 3-1-0 record, 1.75 goals against average and .943 save percentage. Sustainable? Heck no. Closer to where he’s been in the last year or so? Definitely.
Portland’s Tyler Wotherspoon continues to rack up points. He had a goal and two assists, along with a plus-5 rating, in a trio of back-to-back-to-back Portland games. The Winterhawks won all three games. Wotherspoon has 16 points and a plus-23 rating over 18 games this year.
Quebec’s Ryan Culkin returned from the Subway Super Series and reportedly looked…okay. He had an assist and a minus-3 rating in a pair of Remparts wins. Culkin has 17 points in 18 games this season. It helps he’s playing on a good team, as the Remparts are one of the best outfits in junior hockey. A rising tide lifts all boats.
Brett Kulak is playing for a bad, bad team in Vancouver. They split their games over the weekend and Kulak had two assists and a minus-4 rating. The Giants are dead-last in the WHL’s Western Conference (and ahead of only the Kootenay Ice overall) and Kulak has 11 points this year.