-Despite the William Nylander Show coming to town, the Hamilton Bulldogs were able to take both games in a home-and-home against their rivals the Toronto Marlies. Captain Gabriel Dumont was the offensive force with three goals and an assist between the two games, while Mike Condon stopped 52 of 55 shots heading into the All-Star break. The Bulldogs are winners of four straight and have clawed their way back to the middle of the pack of the North Division. As an aside, Nylander had no points and was a minus-1 on his first two games in the AHL.
-With Michael Chaput and Kerby Rychel combining for all four goals on the weekend (two a piece), the Springfield Falcons have slipped down a bit, losing their last four games and only winning four in their last 10 games. The cause of this has resulted in the Falcons slipping out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Even with the injury issues their parent affiliation in Columbus has had– the Falcons scorers remain in tact, with defenseman Austin Madaisky leading the way. Though they are getting solid goaltending from Anton Forsberg; the lack of output from the offense is a bit alarming and could keep them regressing to the middle in the second half of the season.
-Break up the Indy Fuel!! With three more wins on the weekend, including a 4-1 win over the Western Conference leading Allen Americans, the expansion Fuel have finally found their footing. Mac Carruth and Shane Owen only let up three goals in all three games, Carruth getting two of the three wins on the weekend. Kyle Stroh led the way with four goals (including a hat trick Saturday and game winner Sunday) and an assist, while Garett Bembridge had three goals and an assist on a big weekend for the Fuel. Scott Hillman has been known to work magic with with points in their last eight games; it seems the Fuel have finally bought into what Hillman is selling.
-Not to be outdone in the North Division, the Kalamazoo Wings are making a mid-season push for the playoffs, with points in their last nine games and getting five of six points on the weekend. The Wings also defeated the Americans, but also took it to the Cincinnati Cyclones on Saturday. Scott Munroe stopped 38 of 39 shots in Friday’s shootout lose against Toledo, while the rest of the weekend belonged to Matt Caria‘s three goals on the weekend, as Dane Fox, Gergo Nagy, and Sascha Guimond adding three assists a piece. The weekend was capped off by Zach McCullough scoring the overtime winner against the Americans– which was his first professional goal in his career.
-While he bounced around the ECHL the past couple years, Jake Hauswirth seems to have found his footing with the Louisiana Ice Gators, especially this weekend with two goals and two assists in two wins for the Ice Gators. Hauswirth has had points in 11 of the 14 games he’s played in and has seven points in his last four games. The Ice Gators have won their last three games and have moved up to the third spot in a tight, tight SPHL playoff race.
-The race is so tight that the Pensacola Ice Flyers, thanks to four straight losses, have moved from first place to fifth over the weekend thanks to that skid. With only seven goals in those four games, the Flyers seemed to have lost their touch and actually have to put forth an effort these days rather than taking the rest of the league for granted. Corey Banfield (1g, 4a) and Nick McParland (2g, 1a) have been doing their part, but the scoring by committee could just be dealing with a power outage. With the Ice Flyers eyes set on a third-straight title, they need to figure out this sooner rather than later.