It was a bit surprisingly that Calgary Hitmen forward Pavel Karnaukhov didn’t head to Finland for the World Junior Championship. However, his performance in December suggests that perhaps it was a wise decision to stick around the Western Hockey League instead, as Karnaukhov had the best December of any of the Calgary Flames’ prospects.
Here’s how he did, and how he stacked up against the organization’s other youngsters.
Karnaukhov returned from his upper-body injury in the final Hitmen game of November on November 27 against Regina, registering an assist. Then in 12 games in December, he had 2 goals and 8 assists, including three multi-point games. For those that wondered if his injury would make him hesitant to go to the front of the net and battle for position, or if he’d merely take a few weeks to get his timing back… Nope, he’s doing all of the things that made him effective last season and he’s arguably using his size a bit more intelligently – picking his spots rather than crashing the net wildly.
ANDERSSON ROLLS ALONG
Rasmus Andersson of the Barrie Colts spent the majority of the month without teammate Andrew Mangiapane, who was serving a suspension. Andersson had 4 goals (all of them power-play goals) and 4 assists for 8 points through the 9 games in December. Mangiapane came back for the final three games of the month and had a goal and two assists, maintaining his torrid scoring pace.
JANKOWSKI COOLS DOWN
In five games this month, Mark Jankowski of the Providence College Friars had just a goal and an assist. Now, some of that is because the team played less frequently, which may have scuttled his momentum. But a lot of that was he was maintaining a crazy-high shooting percentage in the early part of the season and it was bound to slow down eventually. The Friars also finally lost their first game of the season – a 2-1 overtime loss to Cornell on December 28. They’re still 13-1-3 and undefeated in conference play.
On one hand, the Stockton Heat lost 8 of 12 games in December. On the other hand, Kenny Agostino had 7 points over the month – leading the team and maintaining his fairly consistent scoring – and Drew Shore (5 points) and Bill Arnold (6 points) quietly began scoring a bit more than previous. Arnold, in particular, has been rock-solid on face-offs but struggled offensively until December.
Heck, Morgan Klimchuk got the first three points of the season, as he’s finally worked his way into more minutes and power-play duties after spending the majority of the first part of the season either injured or eased into the pro life in a lesser role by head coach Ryan Huska.
Joni Ortio continued his uneven play in December for Stockton, going 4-7-0 with a 3.17 goals against average and a .896 save percentage in 11 starts. He allowed two (or fewer) goals five times, but he also allowed four (or more) goals five times. He’s all over the road at this point.