The Lake Erie Monsters failed to make a move in the AHL's Western Conference standings. An Avalanche prospect finds himself suspended. College hockey wraps up its regular season. The standings north of the border are taking shape. All the Avalanche prospects news you can use in this week's edition of TWIAP!
The Colorado Avalanche are starting to get healthy and the Monsters are seeing some familiar faces come back into the lineup. On the ice however, Lake Erie is not finding desirable results. The week started off well, on Tuesday, with a 2-0 win over the Peoria Rivermen. The victory garnered Calvin Pickard his fourth shutout of the season.
Two days later, in the second of back-to-back home games with Peoria, the Rivermen upended Lake Erie 3-2. On Saturday, the Monsters fell to rival Grand Rapids 2-1. Pickard started all three games for the Monsters last week. Lake Erie finds themselves in 10th place of the Western Conference; two points behind eighth place Abbotsford.
Mike Sgarbossa and Andrew Agozzino each share the team lead in scoring with 41 points (though Sgarbossa has played in 17 fewer games). On the docket this week for Lake Erie, three straight games with the Toronto Marlies.
In a game on Friday evening against the Victoriaville Tigres, Dillon Donnelly was tossed in the third period for instigating a fight after player substitutions had been made. It had already been a penalty filled contest up until that point, but Donnelly's actions cost him a four game suspension announced over the weekend. The Quebec Remparts would win the game 5-3.
In the Western Hockey League, the Saskatoon Blades (Duncan Siemens) and Kamloops Blazers (Colin Smith) have secured playoff spots. The Prince George Cougars and Troy Bourke are trying to make a late charge for the final playoff position in the Western Conference. A 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Giants on Sunday put that goal in jeopardy. The Cougars are chasing eighth place Everett by four points and only have four games left on the their schedule. Troy Bourke has three goals in six games in the month of March, but has been held without a point in his last two contests.
Back east, in the Ontario Hockey League, Joseph Blandisi has goals in his last three games, but the Ottawa 67's haven't clinched a playoff spot, nor are they in a position to do so. The club is on the verge of finishing with the worst record in the league; thus securing the top pick in the OHL draft. Peterborough still has a fighting chance at the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference; trailing eighth place Mississauga by two points. In a 7-2 win over Ottawa on Sunday, Michael Clarke scored his first goal in nine games.
In the Western Conference, all eight playoff positions have been snatched up. The Plymouth Whalers have clinched their division and currently hold a top three seed. In a 7-5 win over the Saginaw Spirit on Sunday, Garrett Meurs registered a hat trick. The former fifth round pick is enjoying the best statistical season in his junior career, Meurs has 30 goals and 30 assists in 65 games. Mitchell Heard recorded his 13th goal of the season in the same contest.
In college hockey, the Gophers ended their WCHA regular season schedule with a two game sweep over Bemidji State. Minnesota ended up tied with St. Cloud State for the top record in the conference. Junior Nate Condon had an assist in the series. Minnesota will open the WCHA Tournament against Bemidji State.
Michigan swept Northern Michigan in their opening round CCHA Tournament series this past weekend. Luke Moffatt scored his seventh goal of the season in the series clinching game on Saturday evening. The Wolverines will face the Western Michigan Broncos in the quarterfinals this upcoming weekend.
In the next edition, a check on the Monsters as they embark on three straight games with the Toronto Marlies. Can Peterborough and Prince George make a strong last ditch effort to make it into the postseason? Plus, an update on the college hockey playoff series. Catch you next time!