Our first stop in this week’s edition of the Prospect Report is the Canadian Hockey League, where prospects Brendan Leipsic (third round/2012) and Brent Andrews (seventh round/2011) are battling for their respective league championships and a spot in the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
Leipsic and Portland Winterhawks are one step closer to taking home the Western Hockey League’s Ed Chynoweth Cup after defeating the Edmonton Oil Kings, 2-1, in Game Four on Wednesday night. The 5-9, 167-pound winger got his ninth goal of the playoffs late in the first period, then added an assist on Troy Rutkowski game-winning, power-play goal as the Winterhawks – who now own an 8-1 postseason road record – took a 3-1 lead over Edmonton in the best-of-seven series. Leipsic is tied for third in postseason points (9g-14a-23pts), seventh in goals, sixth in assists, fourth in power-play goals (4), fifth in power-play assists (6) and second in penalty minutes (39). The Winterhawks and Oil Kings will square off in Game Five on Friday night in Portland.
In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Andrews and the Halifax Mooseheads were dealt their first postseason loss on Tuesday night, but rebounded on Wednesday to put Baie-Comeau in a 3-1 hole heading into Game Five on Friday night. Andrews has tallied one assist in the finals series, giving the 200-pound center 11 points (4g-7a) in 16 playoff contests. Halifax has posted a 15-1-0 record this postseason, outscoring the 85-35 during that span.
In the ECHL, the Cincinnati Cyclones trail the Reading Royals, 2-1, in their Eastern Conference Finals series. The Cyclones posted their first win of the series in overtime on Wednesday as extra time has become the norm in the series – the Cyclones dropped the first two games at Reading, 5-4 in double-overtime last Friday and 3-2 in overtime on Sunday. The Preds have three prospects suiting up for Cincinnati this postseason – defenseman Charles-Olivier Roussel has tallied five points (1g-4a) and a +8 rating through 15 playoff games, forward Josh Shalla has tallied four points (1g-3a) in five games since returning from Milwaukee and defenseman Taylor Aronson has been held off the scoresheet in both his postseason outings.
Switching gears, we head across the pond to Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland where the 2013 World Championships are being played. The Predators are represented on the ice by American forwards Bobby Butler and Craig Smith, and Swiss defenseman Roman Josi. Head Coach Barry Trotz is assisting Lindy Ruff behind the Canadian bench, while Pete Rogers, Nashville’s head equipment manager and a Rochester, N.Y., native, is assisting Team USA. The Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile is serving as a member of the advisory board for the United States and will join the team in Finland next week.
Smith tallied a hat trick and earned best player of the game honors on Wednesday in the United States 4-1 win over Finland. Among all skaters, the Madison, Wis., native is tied for third in points (5) and second in goals (3) through four tournament games. Butler, a Marlborough, Mass., native, has posted a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over Latvia. The Americans have posted a 3-1-0 record in the tournament thus far.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament has been the Swiss team, who has posted four straight wins to begin the Worlds, beating Sweden, Canada, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Josi has posted one assist in four games for the Swiss, while averaging a team-high 19:42 of ice time. The Bern, Switzerland native was also named his country’s best player in their 5-2 win over the Czech Republic.
|Back to top ↑|