Hello all! We’ve come to the end of the regular season for most of the prospects and now we get into the fun part of the season, playoffs.
First as we usually do, we start off in Cleveland. Actually we start in Texas as the Monsters finished off a road trip in San Antonio before welcoming Texas for a pair at the Q. In the week opener, the Monsters continued their goal-less streak being shutout by Spencer Martin. Anton Forsberg made 22 saves.
The Monsters returned home to Cleveland to welcome the Texas Stars. It was the fourth game in a row the team faced a team from the Lone Star State. And unfortunately, it was more of the same for the Monsters as they were shutout by Justin Peters making it 121:52 since the Monsters had scored a goal. In the loss, Forsberg made 27 saves.
Closing out the week against Texas again, on Anton Forsberg bobble head night, I made my way up to the Q…and by the end of the first I wished I’d have stayed in Columbus and went to a concert. The Monsters limped into the first intermission down 3-0. But then the second period started and the rest of the game was all Monsters. On the power play, Sonny Milano took a pass from Dean Kukan at the point and he found Marc-Andre Bergeron at the opposite circle who hammered a shot to make it 3-1. Later in the second, after the Monsters missed on multiple breakaways including one by rookie Sam Vigneault, Milano got on with doing Sonny Milano things. With Forsberg pulled for a delayed penalty, Sonny got going from behind the net and fired a shot that bounced off Justin Peters shoulder to make it 3-2. In the third, off a Forberg save, Jamie Sifers found Jordan Maletta who skated in on Peters and went five hole to tie the game at three. Later in the third off a mishandled dump in by Justin Peters, Ryan Craig gathered the loose puck and scored to give the Monsters a 4-3 lead. The Stars pulled Peters early and Milano scored into the empty net to make it 5-3 off a backhand shot (shocker right). Even later in the third, Zac Dalpe gathered the puck and fought off a Stars player before floating a puck into the goal to make it 6-3. Forsberg made 19 saves in the win. Nick Moutrey had a great game even without earning a point and was named third star.
Kole Sherwood-Flint Firebirds (OHL)
32-28-3-5 7th in the OHL’s Western Conference
Final Regular Season Stats 60GP 33-52-85 +13 60PIM
Opening the week against Owen Sound, the Attack took a 3-1 lead before Kole intercepted a clearing attempt and found Hakon Nilsen at the point. He fired a blast to make it 3-2 in a 6-4 Attack win.
The Firebirds closed with a back-to-back against London. The Knights built up a 2-1 lead before Kole picked up an assist just as the announcers appeared to be talking about Kole, according to the highlights. Out of a board battle, Kole found Fedor Gordeev who hammered a shot. That attempt was stopped but Everett Clark picked up the rebound and scored to tie it at two. After five straight Knights goals, including a Dante Salituro one, Kole picked up another assist. In the third, Kole took a pass and began a three-on-two before hammering a shot that was stopped, but Alex Peters picked up the rebound to make it 7-3.
The season finale was a rematch, but with a closer result. The start of the game was all Knights. They took a 3-1 lead before Kole picked up another assist. In the third, with the Knights leading 3-1, Kole sped down the wing and faked a shot before finding Maurizio Collella in front to make it 3-2 Knights. Kole could be in some trouble as he was tossed late in the game for a big hit, but I haven’t heard anything from the league.
Kole finished second on the Firebirds in scoring while leading the team in assists. With one game remaining in League play, Kole is currently tied for seventh in scoring. In the playoffs, Kole and the Firebirds have the tough road of taking on the second place team in the Western Conference, the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds.
Dante Salituro-London Knights (OHL)
46-15-3-4 4th in the OHL’s Western Conference
Final Regular Season Stats 30GP 11-11-22 +9 18PIM
Opening the week against Flint, late in the third with the Knights leading 6-2, Dante passed to JJ Piccinich who fought off a defender and threw the puck in front. The rebound bounced off the goalie and right to Dante who scored his 11th of the season making it 7-2 in a 7-3 win.
Dante was held pointless in the Knight’s final two games of the season. For his OHL career, Dante collected 282 points in 295 games. In the playoffs, Dante and the Knights will face the Memorial Cup hosts, the Windsor Spitfires.
Pierre-Luc Dubois-Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
43-19-4-2 5th in the QMJHL
Final Regular Season Stats 48GP 21-34-55 +17 78PIM
Stats with Blainville 28GP 15-22-37 +13 45PIM
Stats with Cape Breton 20GP 6-12-18 +4 33PIM
PLD only played in one of the Armada’s games last week with the Armada’s playoff spot already secured. In the team’s game against Rouyn-Noranda, early in the first, Pierre took a pass and fired to Joel Teasdale in front. He sent a backhand pass in front to Alexander Alain who made it 1-0 in a 3-2 Armada win. The point gave PLD 199 points in his career. As I said above, PLD sat out the Armada’s final game of the season (because why give the guy a shot at 200 points in what’s hopefully/probably? his final junior game) a matchup against Vitaly Abramov.
In the playoffs, PLD and the Armada will faceoff against the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the five-thirteen matchup.
Vitaly Abramov-Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
33-31-4-0 10th in the QMJHL
Final Regular Season Stats 66GP 46-58-104 +13 76PIM
Vitaly opened the final weekend tied with Rimouski’s Tyler Boland for the QMJHL scoring title at 101 points. He and his team opened the weekend against Drummondville and, after building a 3-1 lead, in the third Vitaly drove to the net and got a whack or two at the puck before Zack MacEwan gathered the puck and scored to make it 4-1 Piques. On his second assist, Vitaly did all the work. Vitaly stickhandled along the wall and drew two defenders before absorbing a hit and sending the puck in front with Yakov Trenin scoring his 29th goal of the season. For his two assists, Vitaly was named first star.
The point total also meant that going into the final game of the season Vitaly had 103 points and Tyler Boland at 102.
Boland’s game started much earlier than Vitaly’s so the Jackets prospect knew what he would be up against from a record perspective. Boland picked up an assist to tie him with Vitaly. Then, Gatineau fell behind early but that didn’t stop the magician. In the second period, Vitaly weaved through the neutral zone before running into the Armada’s defense and dropping a pass to Yakov Trenin who skated in on goal and fired a shot to make it 1-1. In a 3-2 Olympiques loss, Vitaly was named first star. The point clinched Abramov the Jean Beliveau Trophy given to the QMJHL’s leading scorer making him the first CBJ draft pick to win the award.
In the playoffs, it will be Vitaly and the Olympiques facing off against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the seven-ten matchup. We were pretty close to a top prospect playoff matchup, folks.
Calvin Thurkauf-Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
45-22-5-0 2nd in the B.C. Division
Final Regular Season Stats 60GP 33-37-70 +34 87PIM
Calvin and the Rockets finished the regular season with a pair against the Vancouver Giants and it did not go well for the Giants. Starting off just under a minute in, Calvin skated in as part of a three-on-two and passed to Nick Merkley who fire da shot that Reid Gardiner tipped to make it 1-0. Early in the second, Calvin helped out again. Calvin kept the puck in at the blueline before passing to Gardiner who fired a shot that was tipped by Rodney Southam to make it 3-0 in a 7-0 Rockets win.
In the season finale, Calvin was held pointless in a 5-2 Rockets win.
For the season, Calvin set career highs in every statistic and also led the Rockets in goals and game winning goals. At the team’s award banquet after the season, Calvin was named the team’s MVP making him the second CBJ draft pick to win the award following Kiel McLeod in 2002-03 when he shared it with Jesse Schultz.
In the playoffs Kelowna will faceoff against rival Kamloops.
Sam Ruopp-Prince George Cougars (WHL)
45-21-3-3 1st in the B.C. Division
Final Regular Season Stats 55GP 4-20-24 +24 51PIM
Sam went pointless in the Cougars final two games but I wanted to provide an update nonetheless. Sam served as captain for the first Cougars team to win its division. In the playoffs the Cougars will face the Portland Winterhawks who finished first in the Western Conference Wild Card race.
Keegan Kolesar-Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
46-20-4-2 2nd in the U.S. Division
Final Regular Season Stats 54GP 26-34-60 +28 101PIM
Keegan and the TBirds opened the week against rival Portland. The Winterhawks picked up the 4-1 win while holding Keegan without a point in the loss.
In the season finale against Vancouver, it was ugly for the Giants. Just 30 seconds in, Keegan tipped the puck to Ryan Gropp who skated down the ice before passing to Alexander True who made it 1-0. In the second period, Keegan tipped a clearing attempt that negated the icing call before fighting off two Giants players and finding Alexander True again to make it 5-0 in a 6-1 win.
For the season, despite missing the first 17 games recovering from surgery, Keegan finished fourth on the TBirds in scoring and led the team in penalty minutes with 101. In the playoffs, Keegan and the TBirds will faceoff against in-state/division rival Tri-City.
Peter Thome-Waterloo Black Hawks
Season Stats 30GP 19-6-1-1 3.04GAA .888Sv% 1SO
Thome has taken over as the Hawks top goalie lately having started the team’s last 10 games. Peter went 2-0 this week. First against Madison, Peter made 28 saves for his 18th win of the season.
Closing out the week against one of his old teams, the Chicago Steel, Peter made 22 saves for his 19th win of the season.
Quickly, it’s the best time of the year as the NCAA Hockey Tournament will get underway this weekend and two of the Jacket’s three NCAA prospects will be taking part. In fact, they’ll be standing in each other’s way. On Saturday, Ryan Collins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will be the top seed in the Northeast regional in Manchester, New Hampshire. They will face Andrew Peeke and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Another note on Andrew, the defenseman was named to the Hockey East All Rookie Team.
A quick update from over in Sweden. Oscar Dansk and Rogle are playing for their SHL lives. Rogle will play BIK Karlskoga for a chance to stay in the SHL.
As for the actual SHL playoffs, Kevin Stenlund has been held pointless in the Chainsaws’ two wins over Farjestad BK. Whereas Gabriel Carlsson has also been held without a point in the Lions two losses to Brynas IF. As much as I hate to say it, the quicker Gabriel is out of the playoffs the quicker we can get him over here in the Wine and Gold of the Cleveland Monsters. I’m not saying it’s a certainty, but it’s a definite possibility.
Vladislav Gavrikov-Lokomotiv (KHL)
Playoff Stats 11GP 1-4-5 +4 12PIM
OK I haven’t commented on Vladislav in a while and I have been missing out. In the Train’s two series wins, Vladislav has put up five points in 11 games after having only seven in 54 regular season games. One of those five points was the game winner in game five of their six game semifinal series against CSKA. Up next is the Eastern Conference Final against SKA St. Petersburg.
There you have it folks, a full on recap of the world of CBJ prospects. As for next week, it’ll be a AHL/USHL/NCAA only recap as during the playoffs I slow updates to occur after each playoff round.