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Avalanche Farm Report: 2018-19 Season Recap

Eagles reach AHL playoffs, Makar wins Hobey Baker Award, medals at World Juniors

by Miranda Einhorn /

Colorado Eagles (AHL)

In the team's inaugural season in the American Hockey League, the Colorado Eagles reached many firsts and milestones, including making the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Colorado finished the 2018-19 campaign fourth in the Pacific Division with a 36-27-4-1 record, which included a 21-9-3-1 mark on home ice. The club's 46 points gained at the Budweiser Events Center were tied for the most at home among Pacific teams.

The squad posted the sixth-best penalty kill in the AHL, blanking its opponents while a man down 84.1 percent of the time. Led by Logan O'Connor's five short-handed tallies, Colorado tied for second in the league with 16 goals while with the man disadvantage

The Eagles earned their first-ever win in the AHL on Oct. 12 with a 2-1 victory at the San Antonio Rampage, the former affiliate of the Avalanche. The outing sparked a string of four straight wins for the Eagles, the second-longest point streak of the season for the team.

The longest win streak for Colorado came between Feb. 26 and March 17, when the team won nine contests in a row. In the nearly three-week span, the Eagles outscored their opponents 30-11 and goaltender Pavel Francouz earned eight consecutive wins, including three shutouts.

Francouz, who played in the second-most games of any netminder in the AHL (49), finished the regular season with a 27-17-3 record, 2.68 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He tied for third in the league for wins and landed sixth for save percentage. He, along with Eagles leading scorer Andrew Agozzino, was named to the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic but was unable to participate in the league's midseason showcase due to injury.  

Agozzino finished the year with 60 points through 56 outings, topping Colorado skaters in both goals (26) and assists (34). The forward recorded 13 multi-point outings this season and posted a season-long, 10-game point streak from Feb. 2 to April 4 (17 points; nine goals, eight assists). He paced the club with a plus-12 rating and netted a hat trick as part of a four-point night on Feb. 27 versus San Antonio. Agozzino was one of 13 players that played games with both the Eagles and Avalanche during the season. He skated in 11 contests with the Avs and notched his first NHL goal on Feb. 18 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Mark Alt, Sheldon Dries, Ryan Graves , A.J. Greer, Dominic Toninato, Anton Lindholm, O'Connor, Agozzino and Francouz were among the Eagles players that spent time with the Avalanche this season. Along with Agozzino, Vladislav Kamenev , Dries, Graves, Greer and Toninato also all scored their first NHL goals during their time with the Avs.

As the fourth seed in the Pacific Division, the Eagles faced off against the Bakersfield Condors in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs in April. Colorado dropped the first postseason outing, 3-2, but rallied to win 4-1 in Game 2. The team lost by 5-2 scores on both April 23 and April 27 and saw its season come to an end. Agozzino (three goals) and Greer (three assists) shared the team lead for playoff points with three each.

The Eagles will open the 2019-20 campaign on Oct. 4 when they host the Stockton Heat at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.

Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)

The Utah Grizzlies continued their strong play during their first year as the ECHL affiliate of the Avalanche, reaching the Kelley Cup Playoffs for the 11th time in its 13-season history. Despite another trip to the ECHL postseason, Utah lost in five games to the Idaho Steelheads in the first round.

The Grizzlies finished the regular season with a 37-26-4-5 record, which included a 22-12-1-1 mark at home. The team outscored its opponents 232-218 overall, netting an average of 3.22 goals per game. Utah landed in the top eight in the ECHL for special teams--finishing third with a 20.3-percent conversion rate on the power play and ranking eighth with an 84.3-percent success rate on the penalty kill.

Josh Anderson, who was selected in the third round (71st overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2016 NHL Draft, notched his first professional goal on Jan. 29 while with the Grizzlies. He put up seven points (one goal, six assists) over 55 outings in his first season with Utah.

Josh Dickinson, who split time last season in Loveland and Utah, was the highest-scoring member of the Grizzlies in the postseason. He notched seven points (three goals, four assists) to add to his season total of 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 31 contests.

Joe Cannata appeared in net 40 times during the 2018-19 campaign. He finished the season with a 17-16-6 record, 2.88 goals-against average, .904 save percentage and four shutouts. The netminder was named the ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Oct. 8-14 and Nov. 19-25, and he posted three consecutive shutouts during a stretch in November.

Avalanche prospects Ty Lewis (five goals and eight assists in seven games) Julien Nantel (six goals and three assists in 10 games), Travis Barron (two goals and six assists in 12 games) and Sergei Boikov (one game) also spent time with Utah last year.


University of Notre Dame: Junior forward Cam Morrison and freshmen defensemen Nate Clurman and Nick Leivermann helped the Fighting Irish win the 2019 Big Ten Tournament championship and reach the national tournament for the fourth straight year. Notre Dame finished the campaign with a 23-14-3 record.

Morrison finished tied for fifth on the team with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 32 games. He was named to the Big Ten and NCAA Northeast Regional All-Tournament Teams.

Clurman skated in both games at the national tournament for Notre Dame and finished his first collegiate season with three assists in 39 outings. He recorded his first point with a helper on Nov. 30 against RPI.

Leivermann recorded a goal and a helper in 23 appearances during his freshman campaign. He recorded his first NCAA point with an assist on Nov. 10 at Michigan and tallied his first goal on Jan. 11 versus Minnesota.

Cale Makar (University of Massachusetts): Makar's sophomore season at UMass concluded with the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA national championship game and being named the recipient of the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player. He was also named the Hockey East Player or the month for March and April after scoring 10 points (three goals, seven assists) over nine games during that span. In addition to winning the Hobey Baker Award, the defenseman was also voted as the Hockey East Player of the Year, Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Northeast Regional, a first-team All-American and a Hockey East and New England All-Star. Makar helped the Minutemen to the national title game after tallying 16 goals and 33 assists in 41 contests during the season. At the conclusion of his college campaign, Makar signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Avalanche on April 14. He made his professional debut for the Avs in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Calgary Flames on April 15 and tallied his first career NHL goal in the outing. The defenseman played in every contest after making his NHL debut, totaling six points (one goal, five assists) over 10 games.

Shane Bowers (Boston University): Bowers notched 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 37 games during his sophomore campaign at Boston University. The native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, represented Canada on the world stage this year, playing five games and recording two assists at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. The 19-year-old signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Avalanche on March 29 and made his professional debut with the Colorado Eagles on an amateur tryout on April 6. He appeared in four regular-season games and four playoff outings with the club and notched his first professional point with an assist in Game 4 of Colorado's playoff series against Bakersfield on April 27.

Sampo Ranta (University of Minnesota): During his freshman year, Ranta played in 36 games with Minnesota and racked up 16 points (six goals, 10 assists). He recorded a season-high three points (three assists) against Notre Dame on Jan. 11.

Denis Smirnov (Penn State University): Smirnov generated 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in his junior year at Penn State. The Russian-born forward registered a career-high four points on Feb. 22 against Wisconsin with two goals and two assists. Smirnov produced one helper in the Big Ten Tournament for the Nittany Lions.

Tyler Weiss (University of Nebraska Omaha): Weiss produced 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 25 games during his freshman season of NCAA hockey for Nebraska Omaha. He missed the first part of his season due to a shoulder injury.


Brandon Saigeon (Oshawa Generals): During the regular season, Saigeon split time between the Oshawa Generals and Hamilton Bulldogs, totaling a career-best 92 points (37 goals, 55 assists) in 68 contests. He recorded 68 points (25 goals, 38 assists) in 40 games with Hamilton before being traded on Jan. 8 to Oshawa where he registered 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 20 contests. The Grimsby, Ontario, native led all Oshawa skaters in the playoffs with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists). He signed an AHL contract with the Colorado Eagles on July 17.



Nick Henry (Lethbridge Hurricanes): In 69 WHL outings, the forward produced 94 points (29 goals, 65 assists) in a regular season split between the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats. Henry registered 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 25 games for the Pats and 54 points (14 goals, 40 assists) in 44 outings after being acquired by Lethbridge. He added six points in the playoffs for the Hurricanes, notching four markers and two helpers in seven outings. Henry signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Avalanche on March 1 and joined the Colorado Eagles on an amateur tryout for the remainder of the season. He made his professional debut on April 6 at Chicago, and he went on to play in three regular-season contests and two postseason outings for the Eagles.

Czech Republic

Petr Kvaca (Ceske Budejovice): In the regular season, Kvaca posted a 12-7 record with Ceske Budejovice in the second-tier Czech pro league. He also had a 1.80 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and three shutouts in 19 games. Kvaca played in six postseason contests with the club, generating a 4-2 record, 1.00 goals-against average and .960 save percentage, the latter of which was the best in the league during the playoffs. He also played in three games in Czech Extraliga, guarding the pipes in two contests for HC Ocelari Trinec and one for HC Verva Litvinov.


Justus Annunen (Hermes, Mestis): The Finnish netminder provided assistance for Karpat during its playoff run but did not play in any of the games. Karpat eventually lost in the Liiga championship series, falling 2-1 in overtime in Game 7 against HPK. Annunen spent most of the campaign with Hermes in the second-tier Mestis league, where he produced a 13-8 record, 2.77 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. He appeared in one Liiga game for Karpat, making 18-of-22 saves in a loss on March 14 versus KalPa.


Adam Werner (Farjestad BK, SHL): Werner, who completed his first full pro season with Farjestad BK, generated a 15-6-3 record through 26 tilts in the regular season and posted a 2.02 goals-against average and .926 save percentage with three shutouts. He also appeared in two playoff contests, posting a 0-1 record, 1.54 goals-against average and .917 save percentage before Farjestad fell in seven games in the SHL semifinals. He signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Avalanche on May 13.

Gustav Olhaver (Tingsryds AIF, Allsvenskan): In his first season with Tingsryds AIF, Olhaver generated eight points (four goals, four assists) in 51 appearances. Olhaver's 51 games played were a career high for the 21-year-old.


Nikolai Kovalenko (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, KHL): The Russian forward spent the entire regular season in the KHL with Lokomotiv's men's team. He produced six points (five goals, one assist) in 33 regular-season outings and added two assists in seven playoff games. After his pro season was over, Kovalenko joined Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's junior team for the playoffs and helped the under-20 club to the 2019 Kharlamov Cup, defeating Abto 1-0 in Game 7 to seal the championship. He had three goals and six assists in 11 postseason appearances, with his nine points being the second most on the squad. A member of Russia's national team for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, Kovalenko helped his country win the bronze medal after recording three points (one goal, two assists) in six games.

Danila Zhuravlyov (Bars Kazan, VHL): Zhuravlyov finished his first full year of pro hockey with Bars Kazan by registering five points (five assists) through 40 outings in the Supreme Hockey League (VHL). After the club's season ended, he skated in the final four regular season games in the junior league (MHL) for Irbis Kazan, which also missed the postseason. Zhuravlyov earned a bronze medal in January with Russia at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he registered one assist in seven contests.

Shamil Shmakov (Sibirskie Snaipery, MHL): In 23 appearances with Sibirskie last season, Shmakov posted a 7-11-1 record with a .915 save percentage and 2.57 goals-against average. He was named the Russian junior league's Goaltender of the Month (East) for November after posting a .963 save percentage, 0.99 goals-against average and 5-0 record in seven games played.

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