The Lake Erie Monsters fought valiantly, but came up short in reaching their playoff goal. Boston College sits on top of the college hockey landscape. Canadian junior clubs in the playoffs are battling it out in the second round. More news and notes in this late and sadly brief edition of TWIAP!
"Win and you're in." That was the scenario the Lake Erie Monsters faced this past Saturday, when they hosted the Rochester Americans in their regular season finale. Beat the Amerks and clinch your second straight playoff berth. As we are all aware now, that did not play out and the Monsters find themselves playoff observers rather than participants.
So what happened? That's a topic that will be explored further in the coming weeks, but much like their NHL counterpart, the Monsters were thwarted by goal scoring, or a clear lack thereof. Not having the services of Mark Olver certainly didn't help on Saturday, but the Monsters overall had a problem scoring goals all season long. Only the Hamilton Bulldogs scored fewer goals than the Monsters this season.
Roster changes are the norm when it comes to being a minor league affiliate. For the Monsters, changes will likely come up front and in net. Cedrick Desjardins is an unrestricted free agent and injured goaltender Trevor Cann, who is a restricted free agent, is likely not to be qualified. There are many possibilities for the Monsters in goal next year, including a potential return of Desjardins or prospects such as Calvin Pickard, Kent Patterson, Kieran Millan, and Sami Aittokallio (the last three have yet to sign entry-level contracts).
Up front, the Monsters could be boosted with a full season from Mike Connolly and the additions of Michael Sgarbossa and a healthy Joey Hishon. Head coach David Quinn is also someone to keep an eye on. For now, Quinn will be one of the assistant coaches for the US team that will compete in the upcoming Men's World Hockey Championship. The tournament begins next month in Finland and Sweden.
While the season for the Lake Erie Monsters ended in disappointment, the same could not be said for Boston College, who skated away with their fifth Men's Division I Hockey Championship nearly three weeks ago in Tampa, FL. Paul Carey finished his college career with three goals in the Frozen Four and was named to the all-tournament team. He has since signed a two-year entry level contract with the Avalanche and played in the last two regular season games for the Lake Erie Monsters.
Our last stop takes us to the Western Hockey League, where the Portland Winterhawks battled it out with the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Conference Semifinals. After taking a 3-0 lead in the series, the Blazers fought back and forced a deciding game seven on Wednesday night. The Winterhawks grinded out a 2-0 win in game seven. Defenseman Troy Rutkowski had one assist in the series. Portland will face the Tri-City Americans in the Western Conference Finals.