The playoff races are beginning to heat up in the CHL and the good news for Hurricanes fans is that many of the team's prospects should be in the post-season this spring, which will give everyone a chance to get a closer look at their performance. One team that has already clinched a playoff spot in Keegan Lowe's Edmonton Oil Kings and Lowe himself has played a pretty big role in that. Not only is he the team captain, but he was also forced to play some bigger minutes during late-December and early-January when the Oil Kings lost a couple of their defensemen to the World Junior Championships. Lowe played some very good hockey during that stretch and he continued to do so this week, adding a goal and three assists to his totals. As a third round pick, Lowe's ceiling isn't projected to be very high but he should be an invite to Carolina's training camp at the start of next season.
After the jump, we'll take a closer look at Lowe's performance and the rest of Carolina's prospect pool.
Lowe was one of the main standout this week, as he scored his 13th goal of the season, was on-ice for only two opposing goals and his Oil Kings won all three of their games. One of which was a thrilling overtime victory over the Prince Albert Raiders, who they are currently battling with for the top spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference. Lowe recorded an assist on the Oil Kings opening goal in that game.
Another team fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference is Victor Rask's Calgary Hitmen, who also won all three of their games this week. Rask was able to come up big in their 4-3 overtime win over the Seattle Thunderbirds as he scored the game winning goal. He was in the right place at the right time by cashing in on a rebound from inside the left faceoff circle for his seventh goal of the season. He now has 21 points in 22 games since returning to juniors.
Ryan Murphy also came up big on the scoresheet this past week with three points in three games. His one goal came at a very critical time, as it was the game tying marker that helped the Rangers force overtime against Guelph. They ended up taking the loss in the shootout but Murphy's goal helped them get a point. Murphy also recorded an assist in their 5-2 win over Guelph earlier in the week as he continues to be very effective offensively. He's still giving up quite a bit in his own end, though but that's expected with the type of game he plays.
Austin Levi was also on-ice for quite a few goals against but he made up for it by being on-ice for six of Plymouth's tallies in only three games, four of which came in their 7-3 win over Owen Sound.
Brock McGinn had his goal-streak snapped this past week but Guelph played in only two games, so that might be why. Trevor Carrick also played in only two games this past week, as he did not play in Sunday's game against Sudbury for some reason. He recorded a big primary assist on their game-winning goal aginst Niagara so I would assume that he didn't play for injury reasons.
Mahalak played in two of Plymouth's three games this week, giving up four goals on 27 shots in a 6-3 loss to Barrie and giving up three on 31 shots in a 7-3 win over Owen Sound. The Whalers are first in their division and have been generally be riding the hot hand with their goalies so it will be interesting to see who gets the bulk of the starts down the stretch.
Meanwhile, Daniel Altshuller started his week off by giving up three goals on 17 shots in a relief appearance against Erie but followed it up with two solid performances against Niagara and Sault Ste. Marie respectively. He gave up a weak goal in the Niagara game but was solid for the rest of the game and came up big a few times against Sault Ste. Marie.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||Michigan||2||1||0||1||2||4|
Phil Di Giuseppe was able to get goal number six of the season but that couldn't help the Wolverines beat Notre Dame in either of their games against them this weekend. Di Giuseppe was tagged with a combined -6 rating over those two games, as well. Michigan's road struggles have been very apparent this year as they have won only one game away from Yost Ice Arena and it's been a big part of their struggles this season.
Danny Biega's Harvard Crimson weren't much better this week either. They dropped their opening round game in the Beanpot Tournament to Boston College by a score of 4-1 and then tied Dartmouth later in the week. It's been a rough time for Harvard's hockey program, who are only 1-10-1 since the calendar turned 2013 and 5-15-2 on the entire season. Some good news is that Biega scored his first goal of the season in the loss to Boston College but that doesn't undo what has been a mostly forgettable season for the Crimson.
Brendan Woods also got on the scoresheet this weekend with a goal and an assist and his Wisconsin Badgers have been continuing to turn their season around with a win over Bemidji State. Woods has been very quiet offensively this year with only three goals and five points in 26 games but he plays more of a defensive role so I haven't put much thought into it. I'm kind of interested to see how he performs in his junior season and if he plays a bigger role, though. That being said, this year still isn't over and Wisconsin has really been playing some great hockey as of late. The Badgers actually have a big match coming up next week when they take on Minnesota at Soldier Field in Chicago, which should be very cool to see.
|Collin Olson||Ohio State||0.818||9||11||2|
Olson finally got to see some action in relief of Brady Hjelle who gave up four goals on 24 shots on Friday night's game against Alaska-Fairbanks. He didn't fair much better than Hjelle, though and gave up two goals on eleven shots, all of which led to a 6-1 loss for the Buckeyes. Things went much better for them the next night when they defeated Alaska 3-1 with Hjelle getting the start that night. Olson's only a freshman, so I'm sure he will play more games next year and we'll know more about him then.