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Hishon scores, Avalanche lock up Agozzino, Meurs, Beaupre and Lauridsen

Yesterday was a big day in Avalanche prospects as Joey Hishon scored his first professional goal (albeit in the shoot out) and Andrew Agozzino and Garrett Meurs signed ELC contracts with the club. A few days ago, Gabriel Beupre and Markus Lauridsen.

Photo by Jennifer Leigh

UPDATE: Hishon got his first official pro goal tonight against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Assists went to Agozzino and Sullivan. His goal put the Monsters up 3-0 with just

The post-injury milestones keep coming for Joey Hishon, the Avs' first round pick in 2010. After a year out of the game, he began off-ice workouts in the summer of 2012. Then early 2013, he began skating again. On Tuesday, March 19, he played his first pro game. Last night, he scored his first goal. Although it won't end up on the stat sheet as it was netted during the shoot out, it will remain forever etched in the minds of Joey and all who have watched this saga unfold.

Hishon hit the ice in his first game looking like nothing more than a guy who was playing his first professional game. If you didn't already know, you never would have believed he'd been out of the game for nearly two years. He kept that up last night in his second pro game as he scored the shoot out winner to give the Monsters the 4 - 3 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins. Joey came in on Griffins' goaltender Petr Mrazek wide to the right and snapped a quick wrister over Mrazek's blocker, making it look easy. Paul Carey also scored a shoot out goal for the Monsters, while Sami Aittokallio stopped four of five shooters.

When asked how the guys on the bench felt seeing Hishon score, head coach Dean Chynoweth said, "Very exciting. Very exciting. We could have used that a month and a half ago." Methinks LEM is going to be getting a lot more offensive help from Hishon as the season winds down. The Monsters face the Griffins again tonight at Quicken Loans Arena (5:30 pm EDT).

Highlights from the game. Hishon's goal is at the 57 second mark.

UPDATE: Hishon appeared to score his first official goal tonight (March 23), but the goal was taken away and given to Thomas. He did get his first official pro point, though!

The Avalanche signed two players to entry level contracts yesterday.

22-year-old Andrew Agozzino signed a two-year, $1.18 million contract, giving him a $60,000 AHL salary and the Avs a $590,000 NHL cap hit. Agozzino signed a one-year deal with the Lake Erie Monsters for the 2012-2013 season, his first real professional foray after a five-year career in the OHL. He had a two-game tryout with the Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues affiliate) in 2010, but returned to the OHL without a contract.

He has been a staple of LEM's offense, leading the team with 17 goals and 28 assists in 65 games. Agozzino has been a huge bright spot on an inconsistent team that is struggling to make the playoffs. Agozzino went undrafted despite being over a point-per-game player in juniors. He holds franchise records with the Niagara IceDogs in goals (159), assists (147), points (306) and games (316).

Avalanche prospect Garrett Meurs was drafted in the 5th round (123rd overall) of the 2011 entry draft. He's been playing with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL for the past three years, racking up 128 points (46g, 82a) in 197 games, including 32 goals and 33 assists in 68 games this season. The 20-year-old center inked a three-year deal worth $1.865 million.

Garrett potted two goals last night in the Whalers 11-2 beatdown of the Sarina Sting in the first game of the 2012-2013 OHL playoffs. The Whalers ended the regular season as the hottest team in the league, finishing the season with an 8-game winning streak and a 26-5-0-1 record since December 27. Needless to say, March 22 was a good day for Meurs.

Plymouth faces Sarina again tonight.

Gabriel Beaupre has "quietly" made himself known to Avalanche fans. Starting the 2012-2013 season with the Denver Cutthroats, Beaupre took his first professional season seriously. He was a presence on the ice from the first puck drop and became an early call up when injuries mounted with the bigger clubs. In 28 games with the Fish, he scored 3 goals and 5 assists.

The 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman has logged 33 game with the Lake Erie Monsters, registering 1 goal and 2 assists. Beaupre was picked by the Avalanche in the 6th round (153rd overall) in the 2011 entry draft. Prior to this season, he was with the Val-D'or Foreurs of the QMJHL. In four years, he scored 11 goals and 38 assists. The 20-year-old signed a three-year deal for $1.775 million.

Another product of the Denver Cutthroats, Markus Lauridsen signed his own deal for $1.180 million over two years. The Denmark native spent parts of the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons in North America after starting his career in Europe. He started the 2012-2013 season with the Cutthroats, putting up six goals and nine assists in 30 games. Lauridsen is a complete defensemen, able to handle himself well at both ends of the ice. He's proven he can hang with the big boys in his 30 games with the Monsters, chipping in eight assists while being a reliable defender.