Week 10 seemed to go by in flash. In fact, it was only five days long, so maybe I'm not imagining things. However, it only took a short week to topple some giants. Let's dive in.
Can't ignore the Edmonton and Winnipeg game this week. The Kodiaks have seen their ups and downs so far this season, but did they ever luck out against the Winterhawks — who had their worst week yet! The Kodiaks slid by with a win 34-27, handing the Winterhawks their second loss all year. Oddly, D-man Tyson Barrie was the offensive juggernaut for Edmonton this week. His goal and 4 assists were worth 16 points.
Winnipeg had single digit points from its skaters and a big goose egg from Eddie Lack for the fifth week in a row. Interestingly, this is the first time all season that the Winterhawks didn't have at least one player in double digit points. The shortened holiday schedule did not treat the Hawks well at all.
Now, onto the most jaw-dropping score of the week. The Lumberjacks absolutely eviscerated the the Huskies 85-9. That's a 76-point difference and it may well be a league record. Vancouver was powered by a whopping 44 points from T.J. Hensick, who tallied a goal, 2 assists and 34 penalty minutes! Gustav Nyquist chipped in with another 15 points to help things along. Meanwhile, Alaska struggled with points from only three players and no one with more than 4. By the way, the Pioneers still hold the league record of 92 points in a single week.
Calgary and Dallas met for the second and final time this season, and just like the last meeting, it was another close one. The Outlaws edged the Cavalry 61-59 — just two points. What's funny is that in Week 5, again the Outlaws only won by a couple of points. This isn't what you'd expect from two teams at opposite ends of the standings. But Keith Aucoin and Sean Couturier each topped 20 points for Dallas while Calgary had four players in double digits, including new goalie Ben Scrivens.
The Beasts extended their winning streak to three games with a 44-30 win over the Gators. Mike Sgarbossa and Bobby Sanguinetti teamed up for 21 points for Boulder. New Orleans suffered from minimal production despite a pair of new faces this week. Blue-liner Kevin Connauton led the team with 9 points on an assist and 6 PIMs.
The Pioneers second three-game winning streak was halted by the Narwhals by a close 37-33 score. The Narwhals improved to .500 with the help of goalie Carter Hutton's 12 points. Portland was led by Mike Kostka who had a goal, 3 assists and 2 penalty minutes for 15 points. Trevor Smith also figured in offensively with 9 points.
Elsewhere, the Aviators continue flying high after a 59-30 win over the Renegades, led by Kris Newbury's 19 points. The Wave jumped back into the top four after defeating the Sharpshooters 47-42. And the Hellcats grabbed their third W of the year, finishing 42-33 over the Scorpions.
Now, back east.
The IceHL EAST is where the giant-toppling was really taking place. After six consecutive weeks at No. 1, the Barracudas dropped to third following a 45-37 loss to the Nighthawks. At 528, North Carolina has more points than any other IceHL team. And this week, it was the heroics of forward Keith Aucoin that put them over the top. Aucoin had a goal, 5 assists and 4 PIMs for an impressive 23 points.
Tampa Bay has struggled with three losses in its last four games. Still, Tyler Johnson and Jason Zucker combined for 21 points this week. But their efforts weren't enough to overcome the league's highest-scoring team. The Barracudas will need a little more stability if they're going to remain at the top.
Jumping into first place with a big win were the Archers, who trounced the Blue Crabs 71-54. T.J. Hensick was a monster for St. Louis, amassing 44 points, comprised mostly of penalty minutes. For Baltimore, Kris Newbury and Mike Kostka came together for 34 points on 3 goals and 5 assists.
The Guardians darted into second place in the EAST with a 52-31 victory over the Arsenal. Andy Miele and T.J. Brennan each racked up 15 points on the same configuration of stats — 2 goals, 1 assist and 4 penalty minutes. Curtis McElhinney also had a shutout win for another 10. Atlanta, meanwhile, was led by Tyson Barrie's 16 points but got little else in terms of production.
The rest of the games this week all had very close scores. The Colonials topped the Lagers 44-41 to get back to .500 and up a couple of places in the standings. Sean Couturier led Boston with 21 points on a goal and 5 assists while Brayden Schenn added another 10 points on a goal and 2 assists. Zach Boychuk and Bobby Sanguinetti combined for 23 points as Milwaukee continues to struggle.
The Mammoths, still in search of their second win of the season and now with new management, fell to the Mariners 44-39. Hartford was led by Radko Gudas, who had a pair of assists and 7 PIMs for 13 points. The rest of the team figured in with solid numbers. For Minnesota, however, a pair of new faces in Brendan Gallagher and Derek Meech came together for 18 points the team wouldn't have otherwise had. And goalie Robin Lehner bounced back with 12 points after three scoreless weeks.
Elsewhere, the Motorheads beat the Olympiques 38-31, thanks to 3 goals from Chris Bourque. The Sentinels trumped the Steelcats 31-26 with help from Mike Sgarbossa's 11-point week. And the Hitmen will spend another week in the top four after a 43-39 win over the Armada, who, despite the loss, got an amazing 20 points from new goalie Cristopher Nilstorp with 2 shutout wins. Three typically high-scoring players had donuts for Quebec.
So there you have it. Once we get through this holiday week, we'll be at the midpoint of our season. Think you know who's going to the playoffs? If the first 10 weeks have taught us anything, it's that predicting the IceHL is impossible!
Have a glance at this week's line-up.
And now the transactions executed for Week 10.
Take note that the next transaction deadline is Tuesday (Christmas Day) at 6pm ET. I'm offering a little extra time to get your requests submitted due to the holiday. But as always, try to get them to me sooner than later.
Good luck to all this week as we approach the season's halfway point!
Time to recap another exciting week of IceHL action. Let's start here.
Without question, the game to watch in the IceHL EAST in Week 9 was Milwaukee and North Carolina. Could a team riding five straight losses stand up to Jordan Eberle's incredible performance? In fact, the Lagers did beat the Nighthawks, if only by a point, 67-66. Credit goes to goalie Justin Peters who was a wall with 3 wins and a shutout for 22 points! Add to that Zach Boychuk's 5-assist effort for another 15 points as the Lagers held on for the win.
The Nighthawks also got production from all six guys so the disappointing loss wasn't for lack of trying. Eberle scored 5 goals, 3 assists and 4 penalty minutes for an amazing 33-point week! Other than that, Keith Aucoin chipped in with 2 goals while Kyle Palmieri had 2 assists. As a group, the Nighthawks just didn't have quite enough to overtake Milwaukee and dropped from 3rd to 6th in the league standings.
The team that tallied the most points this week ended up facing the team that earned the fewest. The Archers walloped the Mammoths 73-24. St. Louis picked up an impressive 10 goals this week from all five skaters, including 3 each from T.J. Hensick and Justin Schultz. Minnesota, meanwhile, remains the only team in either league without multiple victories so far this season.
Swimming at top speed once again were the Barracudas, who topped the Motorheads 60-29. Dustin Tokarski led Tampa Bay from the crease with 2 wins and a shutout for 16 points. Trevor Smith and Matt Taormina each picked up another 10 points. Detroit saw minimal scoring from its side as Jon Matsumoto was the only one with a goal this week.
Taylor Hall powered the Olympiques to a 69-28 beating of the Sentinels. Hall notched 3 goals, 3 assists and 4 PIMs for 25 points. Cory Conacher, who's hot streak has cooled in recent weeks, chipped in mostly with time in the box this week. For Washington, half of the roster was left with goose eggs. Mike Sgarbossa, however, picked up a solid 15 points on a goal and 3 assists.
The Guardians pulled ahead of the Armada in the standings with a 57-44 victory. Four players were in double digits for New York, led by Martin St. Pierre's 3 goals and assist. Meantime, Nazem Kadri and Sena Acolatse combined for 27 points, including 12 penalty minutes from Acolatse.
Elsewhere, the Hitmen were led by the boys behind the blue line as they beat the Arsenal 43-28. Chicago's defense and goaltending came together for 34 of those points. Chad Johnson's 3 wins weren't enough to put the Colonials in the win column this week as they fell 40-32 to the Steelcats. And the Mariners defeated the Blue Crabs 55-47 with the help of 19 points from Jon DiSalvatore.
That's how it was in the East. Now the West...
The Wave were the high-scorers this week in the IceHL WEST as they shattered the Lumberjacks 70-34. Four players had a dozen points or more for California. Most impressive was a combined 29 points from the blue line, but James Sheppard led the way individually with 16 points on 3 goals and 4 PIMs.
Vancouver has now followed a three-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak. T.J. Hensick was sharp with 3 goals for 12 points but overall the team underwhelmed this week. On the other hand, the Lumberjacks are seeing good numbers from newcomer Zach Redmond who picked up a goal, an assist and 4 penalty minutes for 11 points after getting 9 points last week.
Week 9's biggest shocker saw the 1-7 team crush the 7-1 team. Records were of no issue as the last-place Gators knocked off the 2nd-place Outlaws 56-37. Jordan Eberle was the driving force behind New Orleans' upset as he tallied 5 goals and 3 assists for 33 points! Little else happened on the scoresheet in this one. Dallas' top-scorer was netminder Braden Holtby with 2 wins and a shutout for 16 points.
The Winterhawks now remain the only team with no more than one loss this season as they stunned the Sharpshooters 68-42. Winnipeg's forwards had a solid 44 points this week on 6 goals and 4 assists. But it was D-man Justin Schultz who grabbed 3 goals and 3 assists for 21 points. Sasktoon was no match as Jeff Taffe led the team with 12 points on 4 assists. The silver lining for the Sharpshooters, however, was that all six players produced points.
Back above .500 are the Beasts after a 42-32 victory over the Pacific Division-leading Aviators. Mike Sgarbossa led Boulder with 15 points on a goal and 3 assists. Mikael Grandlund, with a goal and an assist, is also helping out once again since returning from his injury. Seattle suffered from substandard efforts this week, including only one minor penalty each from the defense.
Calgary's newfound strategy for piling up penalty minutes failed them this week as the Cavalry lost 51-41 to the Pioneers. Portland is nipping at the heels of the divisional-rival Aviators. Cam Atkinson posted 2 of each stat category for 16 points as Mike Kostka pitched in 11 points on D. And after depending upon penalties for their first wins of the season — and 47 points last week from their goon pairing — Calgary saw just 18 points from Bobby Robins and Brett Gallant in Week 9.
Elsewhere, the Huskies held off the Steelcats 49-44 thanks to 2 wins and a shutout from Dustin Tokarski. The Kodiaks, with the help of a 25-point effort from Taylor Hall, defeated the Scorpions 57-50. And in this week's low-scoring match-up, the Renegades edged the Narwhals 27-22 as each team saw only three players earn points.
And that's the way it was in the IceHL in Week 9.
This podcast is no longer available from SoundCloud.
Click here to download the MP3 version (36 MB).
It's the last IceHL Podcast of 2012!
The IceHL Podcast hits five shows as host and Sharpshooters GM Tony Pomposelli is joined by Motorheads GM Mike Kelly, Blue Crabs AGM Jacob Born and IceHL Commissioner and Barracudas GM Chris Smith. The foursome discusses the continuing NHL labor negotiations, the AHL players who could soon make an impact in the NHL, and their Christmas wish — NHL hockey.
The podcast is taking a break for the holidays but will return with special contests in 2013. Thanks for listening!