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The Sports Daily > Buckeye State Hockey
Feb. 27 – Mar. 5: CBJ North American Prospects Week in Review

We recapped the Cleveland Monsters in our last update. This week, it’s a trip around North America to see how the Jackets prospects are doing.

Kole Sherwood-Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Season Stats 54GP 33-44-77 +15 55PIM(tied for 9th in OHL Scoring)

Kole opened the week in Sarnia and it was another big night for Kole. 31 seconds into the first, Kole fired a shot from outside the zone that was stopped and sent into the corner where Maurizio Colella fired a shot that was tipped by Ryan Moore to make it 1-0. Later in the first, Ryan Moore passed to Kole who found Ryan Littlejohn behind the defense to make it 2-0 on his first career OHL goal. Late in the first is when Kole struck. Ryan Moore dropped a pass to Colella who passed to Jalen Smereck. The next pass went to to Kole who hammered a shot just above the circles to make it 3-0 Firebirds. The teams traded goals until Kole earned another assist. In the corner, Kole sent the puck behind the net and Colella gathered it and sent it in front where Ryan Moore scored to make it 6-2 in a 6-3 Firebirds win.

Up next against Sudbury, the Wolves took a 2-0 lead before it was all Firebirds. Late in the third, Kole got the puck and passed to Jalen Smereck who found Ty Dellandrea who fired a shot to make it 2-1 in a 4-2 Flint win.

Closing out the week, I headed up to The Dort for the Firebirds game against Oshawa. Kole just missed on an early breakaway and got a piece of the rebound as well but the attempt was stopped. Late in the first with the Birds on the power play, Nicholas Caamano passed to Jalen Smereck who feathered a pass to Kole. He promptly fired a bomb top corner for his 33rd of the season. After that, the game was all Generals. It looked like Kole scored a shorthanded goal but it was apparently called offside (I didn’t hear a whistle) and that lead to Kole getting jumped and turning the game into a penalty fest. The Firebirds fell by a score of 5-2.

Pierre-Luc Dubois-Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
Season Stats 43GP 20-29-49 +15 70PIM

Pierre-Luc started the week off by heading to his old stomping grounds, Cape Breton, for the first time since his trade. The Screaming Eagles made PLD feel welcome. They posted a video of his highlights and presented him with a photo. As for the game, it was all Armada with PLD being part of most of the goals. Late in the first with the Armada on a power play, PLD won a race to the puck and found Alex Barre-Boulet who skated in and fired to make it 2-0. PLD and Barre-Boulet combined again late in the third when Pierre took a pass and found Barre-Boulet who fired into the empty net to make it 3-0. With two assists, PLD was named third star in the win.

PLD went without a point the rest of the week but he did decide to pad his penalty minute numbers by taking five minors in two games, including two in the first seven minutes in a game against Charlottetown.

Vitaly Abramov-Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Season Stats 60GP 44-50-94 +10 72PIM (2nd in QMJHL Scoring)

It was a light week for Vitaly and the Piques (not helpful when you’re in a scoring race, but more on that later). Starting off against Victoriaville, Vitaly had a five game point streak snapped. During the streak he collected 12 points.

Closing out against Sherbrooke, with Gatineau leading, Vitaly worked behind the net and found Jeffrey Durocher in front to make it 2-0 on his 13th of the season. Later in the game with Gatineau leading 3-1, Vitaly sped down the wing and into the slot before passing to Shawn Boudrias who fired to make it 4-1. With the assist, Vitaly tied his point total of last season in three less games. Three and a half minutes later Vitaly picked up another assist but it wouldn’t make the highlights. Gatineau went on to win the game 5-2.

Going into the Q’s final two weeks, Vitaly is five points behind Rimouski’s Tyler Boland with one more game remaining. He’s also three goals behind Cape Breton’s Giovanni Fiore.

Calvin Thurkauf-Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Season Stats 54GP 32-30-62 +29 75PIM

Calvin and the Rockets opened the week against Sam Ruopp and the Cougars. After a scoreless first, Calvin opened the scoring when he tipped a Reid Gardiner shot to make it 1-0. In the second with the Rockets leading 2-0, Kole Lind stole the puck and skated down the wing before sending a pass to Calvin who hammered it for his 32nd goal of the season. Four and half minutes later, with the Rockets on the power play, Calvin took a pass from Dillon Dube and he found Nick Merkley in front who had an almost empty net to score into. In the 5-1 win Calvin was named first star in the win.

Up next against Everett, in the second with the game tied at one, Calvin absorbed a check and won a board battle before passing to Reid Gardiner who scored to make it 2-1 in a 3-2 shootout loss.

Calvin was held without a point in a 4-2 loss to Tri-City and their fancy CBJ rip-off jerseys.

Sam Ruopp-Prince George Cougars (WHL)
Season Stats 50GP 3-20-23 +23 51PIM

Sam started the week by going without a point in the 5-1 loss mentioned above to Kelowna.

Up next it was Lumberjack Night in Prince George featuring these jerseys. In the second with the Cougars leading 3-1, Sam passed to Nikita Popugaev (my top draft choice for the CBJ, by the way) and he was off to the races scoring his 27th of the season. Sam picked up another assist, but it didn’t make the highlights. That goal made it 7-3 in an 8-4 Cougars win.

Sam was held pointless in the Cougars last game of the week, a 6-1 win over Kamloops in the rematch.

Keegan Kolesar-Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Season Stats 48GP 25-27-52 +24 95PIM

Keegan has to be one of the hottest players in the WHL right now. This week he kept his point streak rolling and put his running total into the teens with points in three straight games to make it 14 straight. In a game against Kamloops, early in the third, the TBirds top line combined when Ryan Gropp took a pass from Mathew Barzal and Gropp passed to Keegan who had an almost empty net to score into to make it 3-2 Birds. After two Blazers goals it was looking like a Kamloops win, but Keegan had something to say about that. Very late in the third, Barzal stickhandled before passing into the corner where he found Keegan. Keegan promptly fired to tie it at four with 12 seconds remaining. But unfortunately the final outcome was a Blazers win as they would took it overtime.

Next it was a game against Tri-City. In the second with Seattle leading 2-0, the Birds entered the zone with Barzal passing to Keegan who fired a backhand that was stopped but Sami Moilanen scored to make it 3-0 in a 3-2 Thunderbirds win.

The boys closed out the week against Everett, and it was an ugly one with the Tips leading 4-1 before Keegan would strike. Keegan intercepted a clearing attempt, skated into the slot and fired a shot to make it 4-2 for his 25th goal of the season.

Now, for some quick hits.

it was a rough weekend for Peter Thome who went 0-2 and allowed 12 goals but he did make this impressive save in the game on Friday night.

As for the NCAA prospects, Tyler Bird ended his junior season by getting swept by Quinnipiac in the ECAC playoffs. Tyler was fourth on the Bears in scoring finishing behind three of his fellow juniors. He was also fourth on the team in goals with seven. The top three scorers had 15,13 and 11.

Andrew Peeke and the Irish were off this week but that didn’t stop them from having the Irish Olympics (I’m not sure either, folks) and Andrew helped Team Blue win. As for next week, the Irish will host the Providence Friars in quarterfinal action.

There you have it folks, another week in the world of the CBJ’s North American prospects. We’ll be back next week with another update.