Lake Erie Monsters
Spotlight On: Kieran Millan
Kieran Millan is familiar with achieving new milestones throughout his hockey career. He added a new one to his resume last week as he recorded the first playoff win in franchise history for the Denver Cutthroats of the Central Hockey League.
The No. 8 seeded Cutthroats, who are in their inaugural season, defeated the top seed Allen Americans 2-1 last Thursday with Millan making 34 saves in the first game of the 2013 playoffs. In three playoff games for Denver, Millan is 1-2 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
During the regular season, Millan went 15-15-4 with two shutouts, a 2.91 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. He finished the season as one of the best goaltenders in the CHL with the fourth best save percentage in the league.
Millan, drafted by the Avalanche in the fifth round (124th overall) of the 2009 Entry Draft, was recalled by the Lake Erie Monsters on Dec. 29 and made his American Hockey League debut on Jan. 4 against Charlotte. Millan finished with 22 saves in the game.
The Edmonton, Alberta native is currently in his first professional season after he had a successful career at Boston University.
He finished his BU career in 2012 with an 81-42-12 overall record and left as the school’s all-time leader in victories (81), games played (138) and saves (3,768).
Millan was named the team’s Most Valuable Player as a junior and a senior, but he also had an impressive start to his college career. As a freshman, he earned the 2009 Hockey East Conference Rookie of the Year award with a 29-2-3 overall record and a 1.94 goals-against average. He also helped the Terriers win the NCAA National Championship that season.
Millan will look to continue collecting milestones in the Cutthroats’ playoff series against Allen. Denver is behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The Monsters (29-30-3-7) currently sit six points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference after beating Milwaukee and losing to Chicago and Peoria last week.
Rookie netminder Sami Aittokallio earned his first professional career shutout as he stopped 33 shots in a 1-0 Monsters win on March 27 against Milwaukee, completing a four-game sweep of the Admirals this season. Aittokallio is 13-11-1 in 25 games with Lake Erie this year.
Paul Carey scored his 15th of the season and the only goal in the game against Milwaukee. Carey has 33 points (18 assists) for the Monsters.
On Friday, Lake Erie lost 5-2 to Chicago, but Joey Hishon scored his first professional goal and dished out an assist in the effort. Hishon has recorded three points (1g/2a) in five games since being out for nearly two years with a head injury.
Stefan Elliott scored the other goal for Lake Erie against Chicago. Elliott, who was reassigned to the team on March 24, has five goals and five assists (10 points) in 42 games with the Monsters this season.
Lake Erie was shutout 2-0 on Saturday night against Peoria, despite a 33-save performance by Calvin Pickard. Pickard has a 2.59 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage this year.
Two Monsters players, David van der Gulik and Brad Malone, were recalled by the Avalanche on Monday and played in the NHL team’s game in Detroit that evening.
With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Lake Erie in the midst of a playoff race and will look to take advantage of playing four of their final five games at home.
April 3 at Toronto
April 5 at Rochester
April 9 vs. Syracuse
In the first round of the Central Hockey League playoffs, the Cutthroats trail the No. 1 seed Allen Americans 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Denver earned the franchise’s first playoff win in a hard-fought 2-1 victory last Thursday in Allen, Texas. Goalie Kieran Millan shutout the Americans in the third period and finished the game with 34 saves.
The Cutthroats have lost the last three contests, falling 4-2 on Friday in Allen, and 3-2 on Sunday and 4-0 on Monday in Denver. Millan recorded the 22 saves in game 2 and 27 saves in game 3.
Kent Patterson made the start in net for game 4 on Monday and made 18 saves on 21 shots.
Game 5 – Sat., April 6 at Allen
*Game 6 – Tue., April 9 vs. Allen
*Game 7 – Thu., April 11 at Allen
Colin Smith (Kamloops Blazers) had one goal and nine assists (10 points) in the Blazers’ series against Victoria. Kamloops defeated Victoria 6-2 on Monday to win its conference quarterfinal series, 4-2. Smith dished out three assists in the 5-4 victory in game 4 last Thursday.
Duncan Siemens (Saskatoon Blades) and the Blades lost in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series to Medicine Hat, 4-0. Siemens was the only player on Saskatoon to record a positive plus/minus rating (+1) in the series. He finished the regular season second on the squad with a plus-31 rating. Siemens also had an assist in the series. Saskatoon will now be off for nearly eight weeks until they host and participate in the 2013 Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup, which begins on May 17.
Garrett Meurs (Plymouth Whalers) and the Whalers swept their first round series against Sarnia, 4-0. Meurs had a goal in Plymouth’s series-clinching win on March 27. Meurs finished with four points (3g/1a) in the series
Mitchell Heard (Plymouth Whalers) tallied three goals and two assists (five points) in the four-game series against Sarnia. Heard had three points (2g/1a) in the Whalers’ series-clinching win. Plymouth will begin their second round series against Owen Sound on Friday.
Dillon Donnelly (Quebec Remparts) had an assist, 12 penalty minutes, and was a plus-6 in Quebec’s first round playoff series. The Remparts won 4-3 in overtime on Sunday to end their first round matchup against Chicoutimi. They won the series 4-2. The second round begins Friday for Quebec against Rouyn-Noranda.
Nathan Condon (University of Minnesota) and the No. 1 seeded Gophers lost 3-2 in an overtime thriller against Yale on Friday in the NCAA West Regional Semifinals. Condon finished the year with 31 points (12g/19a) in 40 games.
Gus Young (Yale University) and the Bulldogs defeated No. 1 seeded Minnesota 3-2 in overtime on Friday. Young scored the second goal for Yale in the game as he wristed the puck past the opposing goalie and inside the left post on a power play. The following night, Yale overcame a 1-0 third period deficit to beat North Dakota 4-1. Young was named to the NCAA West Regional All-Tournament Team. The Bulldogs will resume play in the Frozen Four on April 11 against Massachusetts-Lowell.
Joachim Nermark (Linkoping HC) has yet to tally a point this postseason. Linkoping HC is down 2-1 in its second round series against Skelleftea AIK, with all three games being decided by a 3-2 score in overtime. Nermark ended the regular season with four points (1g/3a) in 53 games.