-Going into the weekend, the question was what was up with Jeff Zatkoff after a winless opening weekend and letting in nine goals in those two games against Lehigh Valley and Manchester?? Travelling to St. John’s and Zatkoff bounced back in a big way, letting in two goals in two games and gathering two wins for the WBS Penguins. Despite having a .871 save percentage, Zatkoff’s goals-against average dropped from 4.51 to 2.72
-The Bridgeport Sound Tigers took two of their three meetings this weekend and are the highest scoring team in the AHL right now with 19 goals, while also having three players in the top-ten in points: Harry Zolnierczyk, CJ Stretch, and Anders Lee. However, this is a team that could win a lot of games 6-5, as they are only ahead of the Adirondack Flames in goals against. That’s not to say that Kevin Poulin and David Leggio won’t get better as the year goes on, but I wonder if there needs to be more coaching addressed to the defense at the early going.
-Don’t let the 0-4-0 record fool you, the Iowa Wild are playing better than their record indicates. Only getting blown out on Saturday, the Wild’s other three losses have been one or two goal losses. Trying to find a stable scorer will be the thing that the Wild will have to search out. Jordan Schroeder has five assists, but all seven goals on the year for the Wild have been from different sources, which could cause great variety, but also great headaches when it comes to who the go-to guy will be for Schroeder to set-up.
-Definitely not the championship raising banner weekend the Alaska Aces were hoping for, dropping all three games to the Ontario Reign, while only scoring two goals in those three games– both by rookie Quinn Sproule. It’s going to be a learning experience for the Aces, who had a huge turnover in the off-season and have two new goalies in net, but it’ll be on the shoulders of the returnees like Ross Ring-Jarvi and Brendan Connolly to wrangle the Aces back into the winning tradition that they have been known for since their inception in the WCHL.
-An interesting team to watch for will be the Orlando Solar Bears, who have been led in this young season by former NHL prospects like Brad Ross and Stefan Della Rovere. Add in Tyler Biggs and the reigning ECHL MVP Mickey Lang, and the offense could be huge for the Solar Bears and definitely get the attention of the Eastern Conference as the season goes along. Yet another Maple Leaf prospect in Garret Sparks played amazingly in the first two games, too– posting a shutout in the back-end of the weekend set against Greenville.
-The Central Division of the ECHL is going to have a hard act to follow when it comes to the Rapid City Rush showing off to their new league, taking one of their first two games against the Colorado Eagles. And the scoring is very spread out, with 11 players chipping in on the seven goals on the weekend, showing that a balanced attack will go forward and helping the Rush go ahead and succeed in the Central Division.