-It was a huge weekend for the Manchester Monarchs. Not so much because they won all three games, adding to their five-game win streak. Not so much because they had to go from an away game in Worcester to a home game against Providence, then back on the road to Hartford. No, for the Monarchs– the 14-goal output on the weekend accounted for 30% of their goals-for this season. which is a pultry 46 so far. With three goals and two assists Nick Shore lead the way, with Jordan Weal putting up three goals and an assist, while Derek Forbort putting up two goals from the back-end. In two of the wins, J-F Berube stopped 50 of 54 shots, while Patrik Bartosak stopped 24 in Sunday’s OT victory.
-Though just a rookie, Ryan Pulock is making his mark as a power play specialist for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Putting up four goals in three games this weekend, Pulock only had one that wasn’t a power play goal; which is the only one out of his six goals that haven’t been with the extra-man advantage. With the most power play goals in the AHL and 2nd-best percentage in the league, Pulock will probably have plenty more chances to add to his total; though he may want to work on contributing more points when he’s on the ice at even-strength.
-Someone has awaken the Beast, as Brampton has won three straight (their only three wins of the year) and took the five-game series over the Quad City Mallards three games to two over the past two weekends. This past weekend had two wins in overtime for the Beast, with Chad Painchaud and newcomer Rob Ricci playing the heroes of the weekend in OT. There’s going to be a big test for the Beast, as 14 of their next 17 games are on the road to end the calendar year, which has a couple of series in Rapid City, Allen, and Quad City– but a stretch where they travel through Missouri, Tulsa, and Wichita. Luckily, the slow start could be countered, so long as they’re able to string a few road series wins.
-Winning five of their last seven, the Alaska Aces have finally found their stride, it seems, after an early hiccup in the road. The Aces’ 23 goals in those seven games have accounted for almost 60% of their goals on the season. In those seven games, defenseman Brad Richard has put up all five of his goals on the year, which Olivier Archambault adding six, with Greg Wolfe contributing seven helpers in that timespan. Conversely, the team they swept this weekend– the Stockton Thunder– have lost eight of their last nine, scoring only 16 goals in those nine games with their win coming in a shootout.
-The curse has been broken, as the Louisiana IceGators were able to get their first win against a team not named the Fayetteville FireAntz, while also handing the Pensacola Ice Flyers their first loss of the season on Saturday. It was a key win, as Louisiana lost two-in-a-row to the Pensacola through the week, but Tanner Burton‘s two-point night and Jason Cohen‘s contribution from the blue-line help the Gators take down the defending SPHL champs.
-Though it happened Thursday, the Huntsville Havoc and Knoxville Ice Bears game brought back firewagon hockey with 16 total goals, seven in the first, six in the third– including a five-goal third by Knoxville to help the Ice Bears stay three points out of the top spot in the SPHL. Only three goals were scored on the power play. No hat tricks were scored, but there were five two-goal scorers: Nick Lazorko and Mike Gurtler for Huntsville; Berkley Scott, Ben Power, and Francis Drolet for Knoxville. While it’s hard for a goalie to have a bright spot, but Kevin Genoe of Huntsville had 32 saves in 40 shots for Huntsville in the loss and was taken out before the last goal was scored.
Photo by Mark’s Graphics
-They’re just an expansion team, but the Watertown Wolves are the class of the league. Eight wins in regulation, one in OT, and only one loss in their first 10 games and averaging 5.6 goals a game. Even with all of that, though, Justin McDonald (13g, 11a) leads the league in points, while Lucas LaBelle (5g, 9a) is the only other Watertown player in the top-10 in scoring. Ludlow Harris is the team’s second leading goal-scorer with eight, but only has four assists to his credit.