Monday, January 17, 2022

Battle Of The Titans

Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds)
It was Brennan Othmann and his Flint Firebirds visiting Will Cuylle and his Windsor Spitfires and if you follow the Ranger prospects then this one didn't disappoint you. The teams were tied in the standings each with 36 points so both teams wanted this one.

Windsor won the game 6-3 but Othmann and Cuylle were big factors in this game. The game's third star, Othmann had a 2-1-3 effort while Cuylle was 0-3-3 with all of his assists were primary ones. 

Othmann got the scoring going when he found linemate, Zacharie Giroux who scored at the 3:19 mark of the first period.  Still in the first and Othmann took the puck away from Cuylle to start his team on the attack.

Othmann would get the puck in the high slot and he went top shelf for the goal and a 2-0 Firebirds lead at 12:17. It was Othmann's prospect leading 24th goal of the season and 44th point.

The Spitfires would come back with two goals. With the score at 2-1, Cuylle got his first assist with a gem of a play. This one here was special as you have to love the passing skills that Cuylle has for a power forward.

Cuylle somehow got the puck across the crease for the tying goal. A power-play goal coming at  14:35, it sent the game into the first intermission tied at 2-2.

In the second,  Othmann needed all of 16 seconds to break the tie as he buried a feed from teammate Tyler Deline to give his team a 2-1 lead. It was his second goal of the game and 25th of the season as it gave him a three-point game. The lead held until the 10:46 mark of the second period when Cuylle would register his second assist.

The Spitfires were on the power play and Cuylle with his linemate Wyatt Johnston played a passing game until they found linemate Pasquale Zito wind open and Zito went top shelf for the game-tying goal.

In the third with his team up 4-3, Cuylle earned his third assist of the game when he cycled the puck until he found teammate Matt Maggio in the slot for Windsor's fifth goal of the game. It was Cuylle's third straight game with three or more points (3-7-10). 

Othmann finished 2-1-3 on six shots with a +3 and 1-0 on faceoffs. He is now 25-20-45 in 30 games which is eight best in the OHL in points and third in goals. Cuylle was 0-3-3 on three shots with a -2, a minor for boarding, and 1-0 on faceoffs.

I was in Portland to see goalie Dylan Garand and his Kamloops Blazers play their third game in three nights What I got to see was a Kamloops team that barely had a thing in the gas tank. 

The Blazers had about 20 minutes of energy but after that, they were running on fumes. It also didn't hurt the Winterhawks that they changed their game to a physical hitting style and that wore the Blazers down.

Yet as you can see not all was bad for Garand as he made a few plays like this despite stopping just 29 out of 33 shots. It wasn't his best night and when I got a chance to talk to him, I loved the fire he had inside of him. 

I am saying this here just as I told Garand in person that he will be the starter for Hartford by this time next season. Yes, he is that good as not every great NYR goalie has to be European. 

 Postgame, Garand saw his numbers go to 2.09 goals against, a save percentage of 0.923 and a record of 17-6-1-1. He remains second in the WHL in goals against and wins and third in save percentage. I want him as my goalie of the future.

There has to be something about being on the starting line for Brody Lamb of the Green Bay Gamblers. When he was just on it, Lamb had a five-game goal-scoring streak. But for some reason, they took Lamb off it for a couple of games and his scoring stopped. 

So Lamb was restored to the starting line against the Muskegon Lumberjacks and scored the only goal that the Gamblers scored. It took overtime but the Lumberjacks the extra session to defeat the Gamblers. 

Lamb earned his 10th goal of the season just 4:13 into the contest. It was part of a two-shot effort from Lamb who improved to 10-7-17 after 30 games.

Evan Vierling had two secondary assists as his Barrie Colts just spanked the North Bay Battalion 8-2. Vierling was his 0-2-2 on just one shot with a -1 and was 13-9 on faceoffs. 

That gives Veirling an 8-13-21 after 25 games. Not the superstar numbers but workable as well as a sign of hope for the future.

Jayden Grubbe was scoreless on three shots as his Red Deer Rebels defeated the Medicine Hat Tigers 5-2. But Grubbe still contributed as he was 15-8 on faceoffs as the Rebels took over third place in the WHL's Eastern Conference.

Ryder Korczak and his Moose Jaw Warriors ran into a buzzsaw of a team as Connor Bedard's Regina Pats used a four-goal first period to get the jump on the Warriors and never looked back for a 7-1 win.

Playing their third game in three nights didn't help the Warriors either. Korczak had the primary assist on Moose Jaw's only goal as part of a four-shot night that also had a -1 and he was 8-8 on his faceoffs.

Simon Kjellberg and his Rensselaer Engineers got spanked by Clarkson 5-0. It was a poor effort by the Engineers as they dropped their straight.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Berard's Goal Not Enough To Save Friars

Brett Berard (Providence Friars)
Brett Berard must have read our call for him to shoot the puck more as he took a game-high six shots which led to his scoring his 13th goal of the season. It wasn't enough as his Providence Friars dropped their second straight to the Merrimack Warriors 2-1.

For Berard, it was a power-play goal coming at 16:46 of the first period after Merrimack had taken an early 2-0 lead. It was Berard's team-leading seventh power-play goal as he improves to a team-leading 13-13-26.

Talyn Boyko really had an easy night as his Kelowna Rockets blew out the Victoria Royals 9-1. To give you an idea of how easy a night it was, Boyko didn't face his first shot of the night until there were just seven minutes left in the first period. 

By that time the Rockets were up 4-0 as they finished the period up 5-0 as Boyko faced just six shots. It was 6-0 before Boyko surrender a goal as he stopped nine out of ten in the second period as Kelowna had an 8-1 lead after two. 

The third period saw Boyko facing just seven shots and he stopped them all. For Boyko, the win improved his season record to 13-11-1-1 with a 3.24 goals against and a 0.908.

Defenseman Hank Kempf earned his sixth assist of the season as his 10th-ranked Cornell Big Red had little trouble with Yale earning a 3-0 win. Kempf was more active in this game than he has been in any of the previous 15 games during his freshman season. 

Kempf got the primary assist on Cornell's third goal of the game as he faked a point shot and hit Jack Malone with a perfect pass as Malone converted for the goal. Kempf had a game-high six shots and was a +3 on the night. 

Kempf is still looking for his first NCAA goal but is 0-6-6 after 15 games in the NCAA.

Matthew Rempe was scoreless on two shots as his Seattle Thunderbirds defeated their archrivals the Everett Silvertips 5-1. Watching Rempe was interesting as he has one heavy shot and it looks like if it hits you then it is really going to hurt. 

While I wish the numbers were better, Rempe's game isn't bad-looking. One does not want to get hit by the 6'9 245 center as it seems Rempe has found a way to play a physical game without getting called for a penalty every time he throws a body check.

It is also clear that Rempe is going to be much more effective as a professional than he has been as a junior mainly because the professional players are older and more are bigger than the average junior player. That said Rempe is going to still be a bit of a project as a young professional, hard to see him remaining at center as his hand speed isn't that fast.

Brennan Othmann was scoreless as his Flint Firebirds shut out the Saginaw Spirit 1-0. It was a very quiet night for Othmann as he only took two shots and was 0-1 on faceoffs.

Ryder Korczak and his Moose Jaw Warriors were no match for the Winnipeg Ice as they got beaten 5-1. Korczak had a quiet night, scoreless on just three shots with a -1, and was 7-6 on his faceoffs.

Brody Lamb was scoreless on just two shots with a -1 as his Green Bay Gamblers fell in overtime to the Muskegon Lumberjacks 4-3. Lamb's scoring touch appears to have cooled off now that he is no longer starting the games for the Gamblers.

Evan Vierling returned from a two-game suspension as his Barrie Colts were dominated by the Mississauga Steelheads 3-1. Vierling had a secondary assist on the Colt's only goal which came at 18:10 of the third period after the Steelheads had already built a 3-0 lead.

Vierling was 0-1-1 on three shots and was 3-7 on his faceoffs.

Did Not Play

Hugo Ollas was the backup goalie for his Merrimack Warriors in their 2-1 win over Providence.

Dylan Garand was the backup as his Kamloops Blazers faced the Spokane Chiefs on the road. 

Riley Hughes and his ninth-ranked Northeastern Huskies saw their game against Vermont postponed due to Covid protocols. No make-up day has been announced.