Last week, there were a few youngsters in the Carolina Hurricanes system who shined in the opening weekend of the Canadian Hockey League and it was mainly some of the organization’s lesser-known prospects like Brock McGinn and Keegan Lowe. It was good to see those players stand out but some of the team’s more highly touted prospects such as Ryan Murphy had very quiet performances over the weekend. This isn’t anything to be worried about since the OHL season is still in its very early stages, but there are big things expected from Murphy this year since he is the captain of the Kitchener Rangers and one of the most accomplished players on the team, so there are a lot of eyes on him right now. He didn’t do much in his first couple of games last week but this week was a little different in both a good and bad way.
Murphy recorded his first point of the season by getting an assist on a powerplay goal in the Rangers 2-1 over the London Knights last Friday. Murphy was also responsible for helping the Rangers powerplay go 2-4 on the night, which was a key to their success in that game. The night before, however, wasn’t so good for either Murphy or the Rangers. Kitchener dropped a 4-2 loss to the Windsor Spitfires that night and Murphy was on ice for all four Windsor goals. Judging by the highlight packages, however, Murphy was at fault for maybe two of those goals. Windsor scored their first goal after Ranger defenseman Ryan Hanes was stripped of the puck in the neutral zone and scored on a partial breakaway. Murphy had a chance to break up the play but he looked a bit slow getting to the Windsor forward. The other goal he was responsible for came later in the contest when he had trouble containing a Windsor forward off the face-off and allowed him to get to the front of the net, screen the goalie and eventually score on the rebound.
It was definitely a rough game for Murphy but those bumps in the road tend to happen in a long season and I’m sure there will be more positive things to report on regarding him over the next few months. Speaking of more positive news, let’s take a look at some of the other Canes CHL prospects.
Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers: 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, 0 PIM
Brock McGinn, Guelph Storm: 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, 0 PIM
After impressing in his first two games, McGinn didn’t make much of an impact in either of the Storm’s games this weekend. Although, I can tell you that Guelph’s penalty kill was a perfect six for six in their 3-2 loss to Owen Sound on Friday night. McGinn is one of Guelph’s regular penalty killing forwards, so that is a good sign regarding his play. Unfortunately, he was also on ice for one of Owen Sound’s goals in that game, as well. Guelph managed to battle back on Sunday when they knocked off the London Knights 4-1 despite being outshot 45-34, a game that featured a total of 73 penalty minutes. McGinn somehow managed to not take part in those shenanigans as he wasn’t penalized at all this weekend.
Trevor Carrick, Mississauga Steelheads, 1 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 PTS, 2 PIM
Carrick was listed as a healthy scratch in the Steelheads 3-2 win over the Windsor Spitfires on Friday night but he was inserted back into the lineup on Saturday against the Barrie Colts. He also made a good impression on the coaching staff that night when he recorded his first assist of the season by making a great first pass from the Colts blue-line to set up the opening goal of the contest. Carrick’s Steelheads would go onto surrender four consecutive goals and lose that game 4-1, but the good news regarding Carrick is that he wasn’t on ice for one single Colts tally. Hopefully that’s enough to keep him out of the press-box for now. I mentioned last week that he has to do more than just be a stay-at-home defender to make a name for himself in the OHL and getting himself more involved offensively like he did against Barrie is a good start.
Keegan Lowe, Edmonton Oil Kings, 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, 5 PIM
Lowe’s Oil Kings dominated the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a 3-0 shutout on Wednesday night, outshooting them 60-20 in the contest. Lowe wasn’t involved in any of the scoring but he did have his second fight of the season when he took on Jaimen Yakubowski and controlled most of the bout. Lowe won the fight but he was knocked out of the game in either the second or third period when he crashed into the Hurricanes’ net. The injury caused him to miss the Oil Kings game against the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night and they probably could have used Lowe that night as they lost 4-1. Here’s to hoping that Lowe can get back into action soon.
Tyler Stahl, Victoria Royals, 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, 2 PIM
Stahl just finished serving his six game suspension and returned to the Royals lineup on Sunday against Kamloops. The Royals ended up getting shutout 3-0 and Stahl didn’t seem to make much of an impact. The only thing worth noting that he did was take a tripping penalty in the second period and not much else. It’s good to see him back in the lineup, either way.
Daniel Altshuller, Oshawa Generals, 3-0-0-0, .913 Sv%, 7 GA
Altshuller has been a workhorse in net for the Generals this year as he has started all of their games and played three days in a row this past weekend. He managed to come out strong in those games, too as he allowed only three total goals on 47 shots in games against Belleville and Peterborough. His performance against the Brampton Battalion was a bit shaky as he allowed four goals in that contest, three of which coming on the powerplay and looked very weak on the fourth goal he gave up. The Brampton goal scorer took a shot from the top of the face-off dot and Altshuller either misjudged it or couldn’t handle it. That being said, the General still went onto win the game 7-4.
The young goaltender is having a very solid start to the season (.916 Sv%) but it seems that he’s also benefiting from playing on a very strong team, as the Generals scored at least five goals in all three of their games this weekend. Oshawa has also scored 24 goals over five games this season, so Altshuller is getting plenty of goal-support from the team around him, which is a very good thing.
Matt Mahalak, Plymouth Whalers, 1-0-0-0, .931 Sv%, 2 GA
The Plymouth netminder picked up his first win of the OHL season as Mahalak stopped 27 out of 29 shots in the Whalers 6-2 win over the Sudbury Wolves. Mahalak was given a bit of a cushion in this game as Plymouth started out ths game by taking a commanding 5-0 lead, but Mahalak definitely had to do his part in net, especially since the Wolves had eight powerplay opportunities. Mahalak’s first two games were pretty rough, so his overall save percentage this year is still under. 900. Let’s hope that improves.
All in all, this was a relatively uneventful week for the Canes CHL prospects. The top performer of the bunch is definitely Altshuller, whose sophomore season is off to a great start and it also helps that he gets to play on one of the highest scoring teams in the league on top of that. I’m interested to see how Oshawa performs over the course of the season and how much Altshuller plays a role in it.