Greetings, Jackets fans – it’s another week in the world of Jackets prospects. We’re closing in on the CHL’s holiday break and the World Juniors are coming quickly. Let’s start with an award. It was announced on Monday that Anton Forsberg was named the AHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November. After being sent back from Columbus, Anton went 8-0-0 with a 1.76 GAA and a .936 save percentage.
On to the Falcons’ games. Starting off on Friday night against Norfolk, early in the first Marko Dano scored his third of the season off a scramble in front. Seven minutes later with the Falcons on the power play, Austin Madaisky’s slap shot was stopped and TJ Tynan picked up the rebound to find Ryan Craig in front. He scored with the entire side of the net open. A minute twenty later, the Admirals scored to the period 2-1. Trent Vogelhuber scored the game winner very early in the second period (for some reason they didn’t think it deserved to be in the highlights). In the 3-2 victory, Forsberg made 27 saves. The win also set a new franchise record as it was the Falcons 10th in a row. Here are head coach Jared Bednar’s and Anton Forsberg’s postgame comments.
Saturday night was a nailbiter as the Falcons and Manchester Monarchs combined for a 0-0 tie. Anton Forsberg made 30 saves along with stopping all three Wolfpack shooters in the shootout. Sean Collins’ goal in the first round would hold as the game winner.
In Kalamazoo…ugh it hasn’t got much better. Oscar Dansk started the week’s opener against Florida with Allen York in net (yeah that Allen York) and Dansk lasted for 13:07 stopping only five of eight shots in the 3-1 loss. York was also pulled but his was due to injury. After a night off against Evansville, (a game in which the Wings could score goals) it was off to Cincinnati. In a 2-0 Cyclones win, Oscar stop 31 of 33 and take the loss. Here’s Nick Bootland’s comments praising Oscar a bit. Here’s an interview with Manny Legace on Oscar, the Jackets goaltending, and other things during a game broadcast.
Sonny Milano-Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Season Stats 17GP 6-21-27 -7 6PIM
First off on Tuesday it was announced Sonny was one of the 30 players who will take part in Team USA’s pre WJC Camp starting on December 16th.
Sonny and the Whalers opened the week against Mississauga. In the 4-3 loss, Sonny was part of each Plymouth goal. 1:50 into the game Sonny sent a cross rink pass to Matt Mistele who skated the length of the ice for his first of the night. Later in the first, Milano-Mistele struck again with Sonny working the wall and sending a backhand pass to Mistele who was patient and scored his second of the game. In the second with the game tied at two, Sonny was cherry picking (or fresh off the bench) and got the puck behind the fish’s defense to go off to the races and – wait, stop me if you’ve heard this before – he went to his backhand to give the Whalers a 3-2 lead. Sadly Plymouth would allow two third period goals and fall 4-3 and since the game was in the house of chocolate (Mississauga’s rink is the Hershey Centre) Sonny would be shut out of the three stars (dang homers). Sonny was shut out in a 3-1 loss to London.
Markus Soberg-Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Season Stats 27GP 4-8-12 -2 10PIM
Markus played his final games with the Spitfires before heading off to join the Polar Bears for the World Junior Championships Division 1 Group A in Asiago, Italy next week. First up against Sault Ste Marie Markus scored his fourth of the season. With the Spits trailing 3-1, Markus tipped a Trevor Murphy point shot but ultimately, the Spits would fall 8-5.
Saturday night was the Spitfires Teddy Bear Toss game and Markus played a hand in helping the Spits fan unleash the bears. Little hard to tell from the highlights but it looks like Markus gathered a point shot rebound and got the puck to Luke Kirwan who found Aaron Luchuk for the first of his hat trick in a 5-4 win. In the WJC Division 1 Group A Markus and Norway will play Austria, Belarus, Latvia, Italy and Slovenia.
Olivier LeBlanc-Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Season Stats 28GP3-15-18 +20 49PIM
First we open with a team award as Olivier was named the Sea Dogs Ryobi Hardest Working Defenceman for the Month of November. As for the games, it was a back and forth week as the Sea Dogs had a home game on Friday, and then loaded up the bus for a four and a half hour drive to Halifax before another home game on Sunday. Olivier was held without a point on Friday and Saturday before snapping his four game pointless streak.
In another Teddy Bear Toss game against Val d’Or, Olivier’s first assist came on Adam Bateman’s second period goal that gave the Dogs a 3-1 lead. After almost letting it slip away, (the team allowed three third period goals including one with only six seconds remaining), the game would end in a tie for regulation and bonus hockey was underway. In overtime LeBlanc helped top 2015 draft prospect Jakub Zboril score the game winner (going off the Dog’s recap LeBlanc set up his one timer). The win on Sunday also allowed the Sea Dogs to equal last year’s win total.
Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Season Stats 31GP 7-23-30 +2 8PIM
Peter and the Kings opened last week with a home and home against the Regina Pats. First on Wednesday Peter was all of the Wheat Kings offense as he had two goals to snap a seven game goalless streak. In the second period after a board battle, the Kings rushed up the ice with Reid Duke passing to Peter who snapped a shot just over the Pats’ goalie shoulder. Midway through the third, Peter struck again – this time scoring on a one timer. Unfortunately, the Wheat Kings fell 4-2.
In the rematch, Peter picked up an assist when he got the puck out to the point where Qunintin Lisoway’s point shot was deflected to tie it at two in a 3-2 loss.
To close out the week it was off to Swift Current for a game against the Broncos. In the 6-4 win Peter picked up assists number 22 and 23 to give him 30 points so far this season.
Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Season Stats 28GP 21-19-40 +15 23PIM
Oliver opened up the week by being named the WHL Denny’s Player of the Week for his six point week last week. As for the games, this week the Hawks began by loading the bus up on the boat and heading off to Victoria. In the 6-4 game, the Royals kept the Great Dane quiet until the Hawks last two goals. In the third, Oliver made some personal history when a Royals Dman sent the puck up ice, and, after it took an odd bounce off the wall Oliver skated in and snapped a shot to make it 5-4. The historical part is that this was Oliver’s 100th career goal. Late in the game, Oliver worked a two on one with Nic Petan to score an empty net goal to seal the Hawks 6-4 win.
Next it was off to Vancouver where the Giants honored the late Pat Quinn (he was a co-owner). In the 3-2 loss Oliver had his 10 game point streak snapped. During the streak, Oliver collected nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points.
To close out the week it was time for another Teddy Bear Toss game. Oliver picked up an assist on Paul Bittner’s second (his first unleashed the bears) when he kept the puck in and skated in to find Bittner in front to make it 2-1. Oliver again scored late in the game to make it 5-3.
To close out the weekend it was another historical night for Oliver, even if it made Hawks fans cringe a little. Early in the second period, after being sucker punched by a Tigers player, Oliver dropped the gloves and earned his first WHL fight/win. 31 seconds after he got out of the box, Oliver picked up an assist on Paul Bittner’s 12th of the season. Late in the game, with the Hawks leading 3-1 and on the penalty kill, a Tigers Dman couldn’t handle the rebound and Oliver was off to the races. Even with another Dman all over him, Oliver scored his 21st goal. And, even with getting a shove after he scored, he still got the celebration in.
Up next for Oliver it sounds like he will be joining Team Denmark which is using the World Junior A Challenge as a pre-World Junior Championship tune-up. Friend of the blog Scott Sepich reported that Oliver will be unavailable to the team next week as he’s heading to WJC camp but wasn’t sure if CHL player would play in the WJAC.
Quickly Team Cananda named it’s selection camp roster this week and Jackets prospect Dillon Heatherington was named to the roster as one of seven WHL defenseman among the 10 chosen. Also in fun stuff, whenever Swifty has a special jersey it’s Dillon that gets to model it first before the team auctions them off before the game. Here’s Dillon in the Bronco’s Christmas jersey design for their Teddy Bear Toss game.
Mike Reilly, Seth Ambroz-Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big 10)
Season Stats MR:14GP 3-14-17 +7 35PIM SA:14GP 1-3-4 +1 12PIM
The Gophers were off to East Lansing for a series against the Michigan State Spartans. Friday night was all Gophers with Minnesota picking up a 5-0 win. Mike had the first three point game of his career with a goal and two assists. Seth Ambroz and Ryan Collins were held pointless in the win.
In the rematch on Saturday, Collins would sit for the first time in nine games. After the Spartans opened the scoring, Ambroz got a loose puck along the boards and found Connor Reilly in his office (according to the play by play men) to make it 1-1. Later in the first, Mike picked up an assist on Kyle Rau’s goal when he passed to brother Connor whose point shot was deflected by Rau to make it 2-1. Early in the third period, Mike passed to Justin Kloos who found Connor in pretty much the same spot so he could fire a blast to tie the game at three. Unfortunately, the Gophers ultimately lost in a shootout (going as a tie nationally). Mike’s five points tied for the national lead and led the Big Ten on points earned over the weekend.
Joonas Korpisalo-Ilves (Liiga-Finland)
Season Stats 14GP 8-5 1.69GAA .935Sv%
The Lynxes had two games last week and Joonas played in both. First in a 2-1 shootout win, Joonas stopped 30 of 31 shots in regulation and overtime and he also stopped two in the shootout. To close out the week against Lukko, Joonas saved 20 of 22 shots against in a 2-1 loss.
There you have it folks – another week in the world of Blue Jackets prospects. As for next we’ll have the beginnings of World Junior season as camps, the WJAC and World Junior Divison 1 Group A get underway.