It has been a rough month of November for the Guelph Storm, as they have gone through a bit of a cold spell after starting off the season on a very strong note. They had won only three of their 10 games in November heading into last week and were losing ground in the race for the top spot of the Western Conference of the OHL. While the team wasn’t playing very well, Hurricanes second round pick Brock McGinn was quietly playing some of his best hockey of the season. In has recorded at least a goal in every week this month and was on-pace to have his best offensive season in junior hockey.
Not much was expected out of McGinn this year because he’s still pretty young and his boxcar numbers have always been pretty underwhelming for most of his OHL career. That and his skillset is more suited for a checking line role and he has never been much of a scorer (career high in goals is 12), so it’s hard to judge him based only on goals and points. After this week, it might be time to raise the bar for McGinn just a little bit, as he had six points (two goals, four points) in Guelph’s three games this week and has already topped his career high in points. His six goals and 20 points in 27 games will not win him any scoring titles but it’s still a career offensive season for him and he is on-pace to have a very respectable season from an offensive standpoint. A large part of that is due to his scoring outburst this week, but McGinn had been playing well prior to that so hopefully we will see him get his name on the scoresheet more frequently.
McGinn wasn’t the only player who lit it up this week, as there were a couple other big performances to talk about among Carolina’s CHL prospect pool.
Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers – 2 GP, 0 G, 3 Pts, 0 PIM
The Rangers have won eight of their last 10 games and are really starting to pick up some ground in the race for the top spot of the OHL’s Western Conference. Murphy has been slightly instrumental in Kitchener’s resurgence because he has been playing much better as of late, which is good to see after getting off to such a tough start. His three assists over the last two games were just another week at the office for him. Two of those assists came in Kitchener’s 5-0 shutout over the Sarnia Sting and he picked up another one in a 4-2 win over Erie.
Kitchener has a few players firing on all cylinders right now and Murphy appears to be one of them, as he now has 19 points in 25 games. This is still a step down compared to what he has done in the past, but it is still a respectable season from an offensive defenseman’s standpoint. Hopefully he can continue to improve.
Brock McGinn, Guelph Storm – 3 GP, 2 G, 6 Pts, 2 PIM
Quite a big week for McGinn and the Storm. Not only did McGinn have six points, but his team won all three of their games and outscored their opponents 18-7 in the process, scoring seven or more goals in two of those games. This is more like the Storm team we saw earlier in the season but the main difference here from Carolina’s standpoint is that McGinn is being more of a contributor than he was previously. I don’t think he’ll have another week as good as this for the rest of the year, but if he continues to get himself involved offensively and put up points, then I’m sure there will be more people optimistic about his future.
McGinn got things started off early this week, scoring a shorthanded goal in the Storm’s 8-0 win over Mississauga and never looked back after that.
Trevor Carrick, Mississauga Steelheads – 1 GP, 0 G, 0 Pts, 0 PIM
The only game Carrick played in this week was the 8-0 beatdown Mississauga took at the hands of the Guelph Storm. He was scratched in the two games after that and I’m not sure why. Carrick was on-ice for three even strength goals and one powerplay tally for that game so it might be related to his performance but Carrick was having a very good year prior to that so it’s possible that he may be nursing an injury, as well. Hope all is well for him.
Keegan Lowe, Edmonton Oil Kings – 3 GP, 2 G, 2 Pts, 2 PIM
It was a very good week for the Oil Kings as they won all three of their games and are still neck-and-neck with the Prince Albert Raiders and Calgary Hitmen for the top spot in the WHL. Lowe played a key role in the Oil Kings 2-1 win over Medicine Hat on Saturday night, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. His other goal came on the powerplay in a 5-1 over Moose Jaw and how he scored it was pretty interesting.
As a defenseman, you’d expect most of Lowe’s goals to come from the blue-line or deep in the slot, but the Oil Kings actually had low parked in front of the net on their powerplay as if he was playing a forward. This set-up was a little odd but it worked in their favor that night, as Lowe’s great positioning put him in perfect position to bang in a rebound chance. Lowe played a great game in both ends that night in addition to that.
Tyler Stahl, Victoria Royals – 1 GP, 1 G, 1 Pt, 4 PIM
There is some good news and some bad news here. The good news is that Stahl scored his third goal of the season in Victoria’s win over the Saskatoon Blades. The bad news is that he was also called for a double minor in that game and suspended because of it. This is the second time this season that Stahl has been suspended and it’s starting to get a little concerning because he had been playing well prior to that incident. This is something that may affect his future not just at the NHL, but at any level of hockey so hopefully for his and the Royals sake he can clean things up a bit.
Austin Levi, Plymouth Whalers – 2 GP, 0 G, 1 Pt, 0 PIM
Levi recorded a primary assist in the Whalers 3-0 win over the Windsor Spitfires and followed it up the next night against Kingston by not getting on the scoresheet. The only noise he made on the scoresheet was being on-ice for a powerplay goal against, so there isn’t much to go by here. That’s been the case all season for Levi as there hasn’t been much good or bad to report on with him. I was hoping he would have some better offensive numbers by now, though.
Victor Rask, Calgary Hitmen – 3 GP, 1 G, 3 Pts, 2 PIM
Rask immediately made an impact in his season debut with the Hitmen by recording an assist in his first game and he followed it up by having three points in his next three games. He also scored his first goal of the WHL season against Medicine Hat, which was a snipe from inside the face-off dot that the goalie didn’t have much chance of stopping.
Since Rask already has experience at the next level, the thought is that he should be able to dominate in the WHL and while he isn’t “dominating” yet, he is playing very well. Rask should be able to give the Hitmen the boost they need to help stay in first place and he is definitely doing his job of providing an offensive spark so far.
Matt Mahalak, Plymouth Whalers – 2 GP, 7 GA on 58 shots
The week started off very well for Mahalak when he recorded a 26-save shutout against the Windsor Spitfires but it all ended the next game when he got lit up for seven goals against Kingston in a 7-6 loss. Mahalak still has a save percentage of .908 despite the seven-goal performance, so there is one small silver lining to that. The Whalers are also still in first place in a pretty weak division, so Mahalak will probably get more chances in the future.
Daniel Altshulller, Oshawa Generals – 2 GP, 3 GA on 48 shots
The Generals have returned to their winning ways but picking up victories in both of their games this week and while Altshuller wasn’t the main reason they won, he had a couple of very strong performances in net. He didn’t have a big workload in either game but he still made the saves that he needed to and didn’t give up any weak goals. The only one I thought was questionable was the powerplay goal he allowed against Niagara where he surrendered a big rebound into the slot. Other than that, there isn’t much bad to speak of regarding Altshuller this week. He managed to get his season save percentage back to above .910, as well.