Spotlight On: Cale Makar, D, University of Massachusetts
Makar, the first-round selection (fourth overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, continued his standout sophomore season at the University of Massachusetts this week, helping the Minutemen reach the Frozen Four for the first time in the program's history.
The Hobey Baker Award finalist has tallied 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 39 games this season, tied for the most in the NCAA among blueliners this season. He earned The Hockey East Player of the Year honor in addition to being named the Northeast Region's Most Outstanding Player.
Prior to his sophomore season with the Minutemen, Makar tallied 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 34 contests as a freshman for UMass, earning a spot on Hockey East's All-Rookie Team and Third All-Star Team in addition to being named Rookie of the Year.
The Calgary, Alberta, native helped his country earn a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. Makar totaled eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven contests and was named to the World Juniors Tournament All-Star team.
The defenseman is back in action on April 11 when the Minutemen face off against the University of Denver Pioneers in the Frozen Four in Buffalo, New York.
The Eagles split their two-game road trip against the Tucson Roadrunners this week. Colorado beat Tucson 4-3 in a shootout on Friday as Dominic Toninato reached the twine and Logan O'Connor contributed three helpers in the win.
Mark Alt and Sheldon Dries each added an assist while Pavel Francouz stopped 34 shots in regulation and overtime before denying all three shootout attempts to earn the victory for the Eagles. Scott Kosmachuk netted the only goal of the skills competition to decide the winner.
The next night, Colorado fell 5-2 against the Roadrunners as Toninato tallied his second goal in as many games. Max McCormick and Mark Barberio, who was with the Eagles on a conditioning stint, registered assists as Francouz recorded 38 saves.
The Eagles are tied for third in the Pacific Division with a 34-25-4-1 mark (73 points) with four regular-season games to play.
April 6 - at Chicago Wolves
April 7 - at Chicago Wolves
April 12 - vs. San Jose Barracuda
April 13 - vs. San Jose Barracuda
The Avalanche's ECHL affiliate went 1-2-1 in four road contests this week. The squad fell 5-2 against the Wichita Thunder on Wednesday as Ty Lewis registered two assists in his Grizzlies debut and netminder Joe Cannata stopped 33 shots in net. The team was victorious in a 5-3 decision against the Allen Americans on Friday. Lewis scored two goals and added a helper as Josh Anderson notched an assist in the win. Between the pipes, Cannata made 16 saves in the winning effort. In the second game of the three-in-three set, Utah fell 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday to the Tulsa Oilers as Cannata made 46 saves. The following day, the Grizzlies fell 6-0 to the Oilers and Cannata turned away 27 shots. The team has clinched a spot in the Kelley Cup playoffs and stands third in the Mountain Division with a record of 35-25-4-5 (79 points).
University of Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 3-2 overtime win against Clarkson on Friday night. Cam Morrison scored the game-winner in the extra frame while Nate Clurman added a helper on Notre Dame's first tally of the game, but the squad saw its season come to an end with a 4-0 loss against the UMass Minutemen the following night. Morrison was named to the NCAA Northeast Regional All-Tournament Team and finished his season tied for fifth on the team with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 32 games. Clurman skated in both games at the tournament had three assists in 39 outings and Nick Leivermann, who played against UMass, recorded a goal and a helper in 23 appearances, as both defensemen finished their freshman seasons for the Fighting Irish.
Cale Makar (University of Massachusetts): Makar was named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament and was selected to the All-Tournament Team after producing points in both of the UMass victories this week. The blueliner registered an assist in a 4-0 win over Harvard on Friday, then reached the back of the net against Notre Dame in another 4-0 victory on Saturday to help send the Minutemen to their first Frozen Four in program history. The club will take on the University of Denver on April 11 in Buffalo, New York for a spot in the NCAA Division I National Championship Game.
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, also 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 Friday and will report to the Colorado Eagles to finish the season.
Sampo Ranta (University of Minnesota): Ranta finished out his season on March 16 as the Gophers fell to Notre Dame in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals. During his freshman year, Ranta played in 36 games with Minnesota, racking 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 with 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 run for the Nittany Lions.
Tyler Weiss (University of Nebraska-Omaha): Weiss' season ended on March 16 in Game 2 of the NCHC Tournament Quarterfinals against Minnesota-Duluth. The freshman produced 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 25 games after missing the first part of the season due to injury.
Brandon Saigeon (Oshawa Generals): Saigeon helped the Generals advance to the second round of the OHL playoffs this week with a 4-1 series victory over the Peterborough Petes. The Grimsby, Ontario, native registered a helper in a 3-2 loss in Game 3 on Tuesday and saw action in the team's 5-2 victory in Game 4 on Thursday. Saigeon led the team with eight shots on goal and added an assist in the series-clinching 4-2 win on Saturday in Game 5. Oshawa will take on the Niagara Ice Dogs in a second-round, best-of-seven series beginning on Friday. Saigeon has tallied seven points (one goal, six assists) in five playoff games thus far.
Nick Henry (Lethbridge Hurricanes): After winning the first two games of the series, Henry and the Hurricanes dropped three straight contests to the Calgary Hitmen but won Game 6 to force a Game 7. The team fell 5-3 on Tuesday in Game 3 as the Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, native contributed an assist and paced the squad with seven shots. Lethbridge lost Game 4 by a 5-2 score on Thursday as the Hitmen evened the series at 2-2. Henry tallied a goal and an assist in a 6-5 loss in Game 5 on Saturday as the team fell behind 3-2 in the series, but Lethbridge prevailed in Game 6 the following day with a 7-6 victory. Henry reached the back of the net on a power play to help the Hurricanes force Game 7, which will take place on Tuesday, in the first-round, best-of-seven series against Calgary.
Petr Kvaca (Ceske Budejovice, Czech 2): Kvaca continued postseason play with Ceske Budejovice in the relegation round as the netminder started both contests for his team this week. The Czech netminder made 27 stops in a 4-1 loss to Dynamo Pardubice on Friday and turned away 21 shots in a 5-4 shootout win against Pirati Chomutov on Sunday. During the regular season, he had a 12-7 record, 1.80 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and three shutouts in 19 games. Ceske continues play against Kladno on Tuesday.
Justus Annunen (Karpat, Liiga): Annunen served as the backup for Karpat in a 3-2 win against Ilves on Wednesday, Game 4 of the team's first-round sweep of Ilves. Karpat advances to face HIFK in the best-of-seven semifinal round that begins this Wednesday. The goaltender spent most of the campaign with Hermes of the second-tier Mestis league, where he produced a 13-8-0 record, 2.77 goals-against average and .891 save percentage.
Adam Werner (Farjestad BK, SHL): Werner served as the backup goaltender for Farjestad BK in all four playoff games this week against HV71. On Tuesday, the team fell 3-2 in Game 3 but recovered to win the next two contests to take a 3-2 series lead. The team won 3-1 on Thursday in Game 4 and outlasted HV71 in a three-overtime battle, the second-longest playoff contest in SHL history, that resulted in a 3-2 win for Farjestad. The club fell 5-3 on Monday in Game 6 and will now play in a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday. In 26 contests during the regular season, Werner generated a 15-6-3 record along with a 2.02 goals-against average, a .926 save percentage and three shutouts.
Gustav Olhaver (Tingsryds AIF, Allsvenskan): In his first season with Tingsryds AIF, Olhaver generated eight points (four goals, four assists) in 51 appearances. His season came to a close on March 8 as the club failed to make the playoffs. Olhaver's 51 games played were a career-high for the 21-year-old.
Nikolai Kovalenko (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, KHL): Lokomotiv's season ended after it fell to SKA St. Petersburg in the second round of the KHL Playoffs. Kovalenko skated in both contests. The forward produced six points (five goals, one assist) in 33 regular-season appearances with Lokomotiv and added two assists in seven playoff games. He also recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in six games as he earned a bronze medal with Team Russia at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Danila Zhuravlyov (Bars Kazan, VHL): Zhuravlyov wrapped up the regular season with Irbis Kazan of Russia's junior league after completing the Supreme Hockey League (VHL) season with Bars Kazan. The 18-year-old defenseman finished his first full year of pro hockey with Bars Kazan by registering five points (five assists) through 40 outings. His club missed the playoffs after losing the tiebreaker in the standings. He then skated in the final four regular season games 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): Shmakov's season came to an end on March 1 after Sibirskie Snaipery failed to qualify for the playoffs. In 23 appearances with Sibirskie this season, Shmakov posted a 7-11-1 record with a .915 save percentage and 2.57 goals-against average. He was named the MHL Goaltender of the Month (East) for November after posting a .963 save percentage and a 0.99 goals-against average and a 5-0 record in seven games played.