The Weekend That Was: February 27th-March 1st

AHL

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-Expect Petr Mrazek to be named the Player of the Week in the AHL as he only let in two goals this week and shutout both the Milwaukee Admirals and Chicago Wolves this weekend in his three games played. A taste of the NHL has gotten Mrazek a more competitive edge to his game since returning to Grand Rapids and shows he could be ready for the prime time next season. However, Mrazek got some solid help from Tomas Nosek and Landon Ferraro, who potted two goals this weekend in the victories. The Griffins sit first in the Midwest Division and second in the Western Conference after this weekend.

-With three wins this weekend, the Hershey Bears moved to the top spot in the Eastern Conference and AHL. Each weekend’s game had different offensive stars, with Friday having Casey Wellman pot two goals and an assist, Saturday showed off Chris Conner having a goal and two assists, finished on Sunday by Dustin Gazley and Stanislav Galiev having the only markers in the game. Philipp Grubauer let all but one of the 66 shots he faced in two games in, while Pheonix Copley 24 of the 26 shots he faced on the weekend.

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ECHL

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-If not for a subpar start, the South Carolina Stingrays could be running away with the East Division. Yet, their 13-game winning streak, which is fourth-longest and ties a franchise record that was set in 2009, has bolstered them back into playoff position and only seven points out for tops in the division. The team their chasing, in the Reading Royals, strung together a 12-game win streak earlier in the season and pulled a bit away from the rest of the field. The Stingrays took care of the Florida Everblades this weekend, closing the gap between those two teams in 2nd and 3rd in the division. Andrew Rowe and Brandon Wong both had a goal and two assists this weekend for the Rays, with Jeff Jakaitis getting both wins in net while only facing 47 shots all weekend.

-In their sixth attempt this season, the Brampton Beast finally beat the Allen Americans on Saturday in overtime 6-5. Previous to this, the Americans outscored the Beast 29-6. On Saturday, however, Chad Painchaud’s hat-trick with Jason Pitton’s two goals and an assist help lead the way. Jeff Brown had two assists and Bobby Hughes added a goal and two assists. It has been a forgettable season for the Beast– who lost Friday to Wichita– but with less travel next year; it could be a set-up for a solid 2015-16 campaign.

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SPHL

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-As the last month of the season starts for the SPHL, there is plenty of room for teams to bandy back and forth between spots in the standings. Though the Peoria Rivermen have a nine-point lead on the second place Columbus Cottonmouths; there’s still very little breathing room between second and seventh– 11 points being that margin. With the top-six getting in and an odd playoff format where the highest seed who wins after the first round getting a bye into the Finals, you can bet teams want to be able to improve their standing and hope they don’t get upset in the process.

-Though they are pulling away, the Rivermen are still digging to make sure they are at the top of the table when the season is over. With 18 goals in three games against Fayetteville this weekend (two of which were win), the Rivermen are showing they have the offensive firepower to beat teams week after week. Josh Harris led the charge this weekend with three goals and five assists, Matt Summer had six assists, and Grant Vermeersch potting a hat-trick with four total goals on the weekend and two assists. Though Dustin Carlson got knocked around Friday, he bounced back with a 27-save win Sunday. Kyle Rank came in for Carlson relief on Friday and stopped 27 in his win on Saturday.

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