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Avalanche Farm Report: April 6

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Spotlight On: Joel Chouinard

Victoriaville defenseman Joel Chouinard has been a leader for the Tigres all season. Serving as an alternate captain for his club, Chouinard finished second among league defensemen with 68 points (23g/45a) during the regular season to help Victoriaville tie its franchise record with 46 victories.

His on-ice performance led to a nomination for the Emile “Butch” Bouchard Trophy as the QMJHL’s top backliner.

This past week, Chouinard was honored for his off-ice performance. The Longueuil, Quebec native earned the Paul-Dumont Trophy as the QMJHL’s “Personality of the Year” for his ambassador work in the local community.

Also a runner-up for the Marcel-Robert Trophy as the Scholastic Player of the Year, Chouinard has helped the Tigres jump out to a 3-0 advantage in their quarterfinal series against the Quebec Remparts.

The blueliner posted two assists Friday in a 4-1 Tigres victory and was then held without a point in both Game 2 and Game 3, which ended in 4-2 and 6-1 Victoriaville wins, respectively.
Lake Erie Monsters
The Monsters were officially eliminated from playoff contention this past week.

Lake Erie started the week on the right foot, gaining a 3-1 victory over the Peoria Rivermen on Thursday. T.J. Hensick, Brian Willsie and Mark Olver scored for the Monsters and Tyler Weiman stopped 25-of-26 shots.

The Monsters then fell to Rockford by a 2-1 count on Friday night. Justin Mercier scored the club’s lone goal and Weiman turned aside 21 shots.

A 4-2 loss to the Rivermen on Saturday officially eliminated the Monsters from the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs. Willsie and Travis Gawryletz tallied for the Monsters and John Grahame made 19 saves.

Lake Erie will conclude its season this week with a pair of home contests against Abbotsford sandwiched around a road game versus Grand Rapids.

Charlotte Checkers
The Checkers closed out their regular season schedule by winning two of their three games last week.

Charlotte earned a 2-1 overtime victory over Gwinnett last Tuesday before topping Florida by a 3-1 score on Friday. The Checkers lost their season finale, falling to Florida on Saturday by a 4-3 score in a shootout.

Charlotte will face Toledo in a best-of-five series in the first round of the 2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs beginning on Tuesday. The first two games will be contested on Toledo’s home ice, while the Checkers will host the final three.

-Billy Sauer helped the Alaska Aces finish their regular season slate with three wins in four games. Sauer was a tough-luck loser last Tuesday after stopping 29-of-30 shots in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Idaho. The netminder then reeled off three straight wins, stopping a combined 52-of-58 shots and helping Alaska earn the No. 3 seed in the National Conference.

The Aces opened their best-of-give National Conference Quarterfinal series on Monday against Stockton.  Sauer made 27 saves to lift Alaska to a 4-3 win over the Thunder.

-Paul Carey and Boston College were off this week. The Eagles will take on Miami (Ohio) University in a Frozen Four Semifinal matchup on Thursday evening. The winner will earn a berth in Saturday’s NCAA title game, facing the winner of the Wisconsin/RIT showdown in Thursday’s other semifinal.

-The Moncton Wildcats have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven QMJHL Quarterfinal series with Rouyn-Noranda. Avalanche prospect Kelsey Tessier scored a power-play goal Friday in a 6-1 Moncton triumph, but was held without a point Saturday in his club’s 4-3 overtime victory. Tessier ranks second on the Wildcats in scoring this postseason with nine points (5g/4a) in seven games.

-Tyson Barrie and the Kelowna Rockets have split the first two games of their WHL Western Conference Semifinal matchup with the Tri-City Americans. Barrie notched an assist Friday in Kelowna’s 5-3 loss. The defenseman was held off the scoresheet in Game 2 on Saturday, but the Rockets earned a 3-2 victory. Barrie, who tied for first in the WHL in regular season scoring, is currently the WHL’s top scoring defenseman this postseason with 10 points (2g/8a) in nine games.

-The Saskatoon Blades currently find themselves in an 0-2 hole to the Brandon Wheat Kings in their WHL Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Stefan Elliott scored a power-play goal for Saskatoon during Friday’s 6-5 loss and was held pointless the following night in a 4-1 defeat.

-The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors find themselves down a game through three contests in their best-of-seven OHL Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup with the Ottawa 67’s. Mississauga’s Cameron Gaunce had an assist and was +2 in Game 1, a 4-1 Majors victory on Thursday. The defenseman went on to record two helpers in a 7-2 loss Friday and was held pointless in his club’s 2-1 overtime defeat on Sunday. Gaunce is leading the Majors with six assists this postseason and is tied for first with six points in seven games.  He is +6 during the playoffs.

-Brandon Maxwell has started in goal for all three of Kitchener’s second-round playoff series against the London Knights. Maxwell stopped 25 shots in an 8-5 loss Thursday, but bounced back with a 39-save effort as Kitchener evened the series Friday with a 5-2 win. London took a 2-1 series lead with a 6-3 victory on Monday evening. Maxwell made 37 saves in a losing cause for the Rangers.

-The Fargo Force dropped their final three regular season contests last week, with Nathan Condon going pointless. Condon finished the regular season third on the Force’s scoring chart with 51 points (23g/28a) while playing in all 60 games.

Fargo will open the Clark Cup Playoffs with a best-of-five series against the Sioux Falls Stampede beginning Wednesday.
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