Each Monday, NHL.com will take a look back at the weekend that was in the American Hockey League with an emphasis on the young stars and top prospects that are continuing their development. Here are some of the highlights from the past few days in the AHL:
After three weekends with plenty of scoring, AHL goalies earned some revenge this weekend, notably on Sunday. There were four shutouts, including two in the same game, and nine teams were held to two goals or less. The Springfield Falcons reached double digits in a game, but otherwise it was a better overall weekend for the netminders.
Roman Horak, Abbotsford
Horak scored a natural hat trick for the Heat in a 4-2 win against Toronto. The fifth-round pick in 2009 by the New York Rangers (acquired by Calgary in the deal for Tim Erixon) now leads the league with 10 goals in nine games. He scored the hat trick in 7:32 of game time between the end of the first and beginning of the second period. Horak had just five goals last season in 75 games split between Calgary and Abbotsford. Sven Baertschi assisted on two of the goals. The pair is tied for the team lead with 11 points each.
Emerson Etem, Norfolk
Etem had a monstrous 2011-12 season, scoring 71 goals between 72 Western Hockey League games and six more in the AHL. It took him a little while to get going in his first season as a pro, but he struck twice for the Admirals in a 4-3 loss to Binghamton. They were his first two goals and points of the season. A first-round pick by Anaheim in 2010, Etem is not only the Ducks’ top prospect but also a hometown kid from Long Beach, Calif., and someone the organization is counting on to help supplement the team’s scoring beyond the big trio of Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf.
Brendan Shinnimin, Portland
Shinnimin lead the WHL with 134 points last season, and finished second to Etem with 58 goals in the regular season (Etem had 61). He had a goal and two assists to help the Pirates to a 3-0 win against St. John’s. He helped setup fellow Phoenix Coyotes prospects Chris Brown and Brett Hextall for tallies in the win. Shinnimin was an undrafted free agent signee by Phoenix, and like Etem, he was off to a slow start in his first pro campaign with one point in his first seven contests.
NOTES: Cory Conacher, the league’s MVP last season, had his sixth goal of the season and Dustin Tokarski stopped 23 of 24 shots for Syracuse in a 4-1 win against Adirondack. … Zemgus Girgensons, a first-round pick by Buffalo in June, scored his first professional goal for Rochester in a shootout win against Hamilton. … Jordan Eberle scored twice for Oklahoma City in a 4-3 win against Houston in a game in which two top Minnesota Wild prospects -- defenseman Jonas Brodin and forward Mikael Granlund -- were injured for the Aeros. Granlund and Charlie Coyle had a goal and an assist each for Houston. … Calvin Pickard stopped 42 of 43 shots to help Lake Erie to a 2-1 win against Milwaukee. Pickard, a second-round pick by Colorado in 2010, has two shutouts and this gem among his four wins, but he’s also allowed 13 goals in his three losses. … Jordan Schroeder had a goal and two assists to help Chicago beat Rockford 6-3. Kyle Beach had two goals for the IceHogs.
Sean Couturier, Adirondack
Couturier had a goal and two assists to help the Phantoms defeat the Albany Devils 4-0. After scoring two of his 13 goals as a rookie for the Philadelphia Flyers shorthanded, he opened the scoring against the Devils with one before later assisting on a power-play goal as well. Fellow Flyers’ young star Brayden Schenn had a pair of assists. Schenn and Couturier have combined for 21 points for Adirondack, while no one else on the team has more than four.
Peter Holland, Norfolk
Like Etem, Holland was a first-round pick and represents hope for more scoring depth in the near future for the Anaheim Ducks. Holland had two goals and an assist in a 4-2 win against Binghamton. Holland was second on the Ducks’ AHL team (Syracuse) last season with 60 points in 71 games, and he co-leads the club this year with 10 points in eight games. Hampus Lindholm, the organization’s first-rounder in 2012 and one of two 18-year-olds in the league (along with Girgensons), scored his first goal in North America in the game as well.
Kyle Beach, Rockford
If there was a first star for the entire weekend, Beach might be it. He had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 win for the Ice Hogs against Lake Erie one night after scoring twice. Beach was the 11th pick in the 2008 NHL Draft by Chicago, but he missed all but 19 games last season due to injury. He had 24 goals and 49 points in 101 career AHL games before this season, but he’s got four goals and six points in eight contests. Fellow Blackhawks prospect Brandon Pirri had a goal and an assist to give him a team-leading 10 points in 10 games.
NOTES: Nino Niederreiter had a pair of assists to help Bridgeport defeat Hershey 3-2. A first-round pick by the New York Islanders in 2010, Niederreiter leads the Sound Tigers with four goals and eight points in seven games. … Brian Flynn, an undrafted free agent for Buffalo who played at the University of Maine last season, scored twice for Rochester in a 4-3 loss to Hamilton. Montreal prospect Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist in the win for the Bulldogs. … Oklahoma City’s Jordan Eberle scored twice for the second straight night, including a goal 10 seconds into the third period, in a 4-3 loss to Houston. Zach Phillips had two assists for the Aeros. … Tomas Tatar had two assists in a 4-1 win for Grand Rapids against Texas. Tatar, a second-round pick in 2009 by Detroit, has four goals and 10 points in nine games for the Griffins. … Jeremy Smith, a second-round pick in 2007 by Nashville, had a 34-save shutout for Milwaukee in a 3-0 win against Peoria.
Ryan Johansen, Springfield
A couple of Johansen’s teammates could also have landed in this spot after the Falcons thrashed Connecticut 10-2. Johansen had a pair of goals in the contest, while defenseman Tim Erixon had four points (one goal). Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (one goal) and Nick Holden had three points each. Johansen, the fourth pick in the 2010 draft by Columbus, now leads the Falcons with five goals and is second to Audy-Marchessault with nine points in nine games. Springfield is now 6-1-0-2 and leads the Eastern Conference with 14 points.
Martin Jones, Manchester
Jones is now 5-2-1 for the Monarchs, but he won’t have many tougher losses than a 38-save, 1-0 shootout loss to Worcester. He actually lost twice on the weekend while allowing only two goals on 66 shots. An undrafted free agent who is next in line for the Los Angeles Kings behind Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier, the 22-year-old Jones has a 1.62 goals against average and .939 save percentage for Manchester.
Alex Stalock, Worcester
It’s probably not fair to knock a shutout for low shot totals, but Stalock only faced 27 shots in the Sharks’ 1-0 shootout win against Jones and the Monarchs. Stalock is splitting time with fellow San Jose prospect Harri Sateri, but he’s leading that competition right now. Sateri is 0-3-1 with 13 goals allowed in four starts, while Stalock has yielded only 17 in seven appearances, including two on 61 shots this weekend in a pair of victories.
NOTES: Brian Dumoulin, added by Pittsburgh in the Jordan Staal trade, had two assists for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a 5-3 win at Bridgeport. The former Boston College defenseman has five points in eight games. … Justin Faulk had two assists for Charlotte in a 4-1 win against Chicago. Faulk is second in the AHL with 13 points, behind only fellow defenseman Justin Schultz of Oklahoma City. … Houston’s Matt Hackett stopped 31 of 32 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss to Grand Rapids. Griffins goalie Peter Mrazek turned aside 30 of 31 and then blanked four shooters, including Coyle, Phillips and Jason Zucker, in the shootout.
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