The Weekend That Was: December 12th-14th

AHL

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-With points in five straight games and in eight of their last 10, the Hartford Wolf Pack are moving up the Eastern Conference standings, sitting 5th at the quarter-pole of the season. This weekend, two wins against Worcester and Bridgeport help them vault upward. Ryan Bourque and Justin Vaive had two goals a piece this weekend, with Chris Mueller putting up a goal and two assists, including Sunday’s overtime winner. If they the goaltending of Mackenzie Skapski, Cedrick Desjardins, and Jeff Malcolm settled in, they could be a solid, all-around team.

-As their parent team in Calgary gets back to full health, the Adirondack Flames are getting their top guys back and it seems they haven’t missed much of a beat. With two wins over the weekend, the Flames extended their streak to four straight wins, jumping up to 4th in the West. With solid performances by Brad Thiessen and Joni Ortio in goal– both only let up one goal a piece– the Flames didn’t need much offense, with Turner Elson being the top scorer with two goals in Friday’s win. With Michael Ferland back, the Flames will have a nice little nudge offensively from that.

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ECHL

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-A couple weeks back, I mentioned the goaltending of the Colorado Eagles. This past weekend, it was their offense that too center stage as they scored 21 goals in their three-game set with the Stockton Thunder, despite letting up nine goals in those games. Brock Nixon had five goals and two assists, Darryl Bootland put up three goals and three assists, and Collin Bowman had a goal and five assists. However, it wasn’t all rosy as the series got seriously dicey with many fights and game misconducts handed out through the weekend, including Stockton’s Lukas Sutter getting an abuse of official misconduct on Sunday. Bootland was the big penalty guy on Friday for Colorado with “continuing altercation” penalty call. The entire weekend had Stockton pile up 133 PIMs with Colorado having 96.

-After a small reprieve, the Brampton Beast had a down weekend, mustering only one goal in their two games this weekend. Stephon Thorne was the only goal-scorer for the ECHL’s least scoring team. With only four goals in this new four-game losing streak, the Beast are definitely facing a rough ride in this section of the season. It might mean that head coach Brent Hughes is on the hot seat, but who knows that a new voice in the room will compensate for their long travels that they still have left to go.

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SPHL

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Image by Toni Hill, Pro Hockey News

-The Columbus Cottonmouths are the hottest team in minor league hockey. They have won 10 straight games and are in the thick of the standings, only eight points out of first in the league. Though they needed extra time to get wins in the home-and-home with Louisiana, the Cottonmouths had Matt Gingera to help carry most of the load– with four goals on the weekend and the shootout winner on Friday night. Bryce Williamson chipped in three assists over the weekend, while Andrew Loewen and Shannon Szabados each got a win.

-While it may seem that the Pensacola Ice Flyers are running away with the SPHL, especially having the top three scorers in the SPHL, they are only four points clear of the Peoria Rivermen. With a split against the RiverKings this past weekend, you have to wonder if the Ice Flyers can depend solely on their top line of Corey Banfield, Adam Pawlick, and Cody Ferriero or if they need to muster more depth out of their line-up. Also, despite Max Strang being undefeated in regulation, can the Ice Flyers wear him out by overplaying him since it seems that no other back-up can be as dominate when called upon. While it may be meaningless to fret, it is something that needs attention as the season rolls on.

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