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Avalanche Farm Report: April 9

Colorado Eagles continue their playoff push

by Miranda Einhorn /

Spotlight On: Mason Geertsen, D, Colorado Eagles (AHL)

Defenseman Mason Geertsen notched his 13th assist of the season for the Colorado Eagles in a 3-2 loss against the Chicago Wolves this past week, extending his American Hockey League career high for helpers in a season. He has also registered three goals this year, and his 16 points mark the most he's ever registered in a single season in the AHL.

Last Wednesday, the Avalanche prospect was named the Colorado Eagles' 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year for his contributions to the Northern Colorado community this season. This year, Geertsen donated his time and hair for a good cause--he grew his hair out for a year before cutting it for Children with Hair Loss, a nonprofit that benefits kids with cancer. He is now one of 31 finalists for the AHL's 2018-19 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, which is given to the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year.=

Geertsen, who was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the fourth round (93rd overall) at the 2013 NHL Draft, is in his second season with the Eagles organization. In 2017, he helped the team capture the ECHL's Kelly Cup, putting up four points (one goal, three assists) in the postseason push.

Colorado Eagles

The Colorado Eagles are in playoff position after they split their two-game set against the Chicago Wolves this week.

On Saturday, the Eagles fell 3-2 to Chicago. A.J. Greer and Logan O'Connor found the back of the net in the outing. The Eagles were tied with the Wolves until the final 1:13 when Chicago buried a late puck to take the win. Dominic Toninato extended his point streak to three games, as he and Sheldon Dries assisted on Greer's tally. Mason Geertsen and Martin Kaut recorded helpers on O'Connor's marker. Goaltender Spencer Martin made 24-of-27 saves.

Sunday saw Colorado battle into a shootout with Chicago and emerged with a 3-2 win. O'Connor had a two-point night, finding the back of the net for the 18th time this season and registering his 23rd assist. Andrew Agozzino also posted multiple points (two assists) while Anton Lindholm lit the lamp and Kaut notched his 14th helper of the campaign.

This upcoming week marks the final one of the AHL regular season. Colorado (35-26-4-1) currently stands fourth in the Pacific Division. If Colorado stays in that spot, the team will qualify for the postseason.

Upcoming Games:
April 12 vs. San Jose Barracuda
April 13 vs. San Jose Barracuda

Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)

The Grizzlies wrapped up their regular season with a three-game series against the Idaho Steelheads last week. Utah fell 3-1 to Idaho on Friday, with Ty Lewis notching an assist on the Grizzlies lone goal.

On Saturday, Lewis factored on all three goals in a 3-2 overtime win. The forward recorded both tallies for the Grizzlies in regulation and registered an assist on the game-winning score. Josh Dickinson also had a multi-point performance, accumulating helpers on two of Lewis' markers.

On Sunday, Lewis recorded a four-point night (one goal, three assists) to extend his point streak to three games as Utah exploded to score seven goals in a 7-4 victory over the Steelheads. Dickinson registered his 21st assist as he factored on Josh Anderson's second marker of the season.

With a 37-26-4-5 record this season, Utah finished fifth in the Western Conference and earned a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Grizzlies begin their best-of-seven series on Friday against the Steelheads.


University of Notre Dame: Notre Dame's season ended in the second round of the NCAA tournament against University of Massachusetts on March 30. Morrison was named to the NCAA Northeast Regional All-Tournament Team and finished the season tied for fifth on the team with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 32 games. Freshman defenseman Nate Clurman skated in both games at the national tournament and registered three assists in 39 outings during the main campaign. Fellow frosh blueliner Nick Leivermann, who played against UMass, recorded a goal and a helper in 23 appearances. Notre Dame finished the campaign with a 23-14-3 record.

Cale Makar (University of Massachusetts): This week, Makar was announced as a top-three finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to college hockey's top player.The defenseman, who has helped UMass to its first Frozen Four in program history, has produced 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 39 outings during his sophomore season. Makar and the Minutemen will take on the University of Denver on Thursday in Buffalo, New York, for a spot in the NCAA Division I National Championship Game. The winner of the Hobey Baker Award will be announced on Friday.

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 last and made his debut with the Colorado Eagles on Saturday on an Amateur Tryout.

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): The Generals are down 0-2 in their second-round playoff series against the Niagara IceDogs. In Game 1, Saigeon found the back of the net to give the Generals the initial lead but the IceDogs battled into overtime and eventually won 3-2 after tallying 4:14 into the extra frame. The Avalanche prospect was held off the scoresheet in Game 2, a 5-1 loss to Niagara. So far, Saigeon has tallied eight points (two goals, six assists) in seven playoffs games thus far.


Nick Henry (Lethbridge Hurricanes): The Hurricanes saw their season come to an end last Tuesday, as the squad fell 4-2 in Game 7 against the Calgary Hitmen. Henry recorded a team-high five shots on goal but did not mark the scoresheet. Through 69 outings, the forward produced 94 points (29 goals, 65 assists) in the regular season split between the Hurricanes and Regina Pats. He added six points in the playoffs, notching four markers and two helpers in seven outings. Henry signed an amateur tryout contract with the Colorado Eagles on Friday and made his debut with the team the following evening.

Czech Republic

Petr Kvaca (Ceske Budejovice): Kvaca spent two games between the pipes this week, as Ceske Budejovice continued its postseason schedule. On Tuesday, Kvaca turned aside 27 shots in a 2-0 loss against Rytiri Kladno. The Avalanche prospect started again on Friday but was relieved in the second period as his club fell 4-3 to Kladno. On Sunday, Kvaca served as the backup in a 4-3 loss against HC Dynamo Pardubice. 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 Budejovice returns to action on Tuesday against Pirates Chomutov.


Justus Annunen (Karpat, Liiga): Karpat is 2-2-0 in its semifinal series against HIFK. On Wednesday, Annunen's club beat HIFK 3-2. On Friday, Karpat fell to its opponent by the same score. However, the team rallied on Saturday, topping HIFK in a 3-0 shutout. Monday saw Karpat falling 2-0. Annunen served as backup in each of the contests. 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. Karpat returns to action on Friday.


Adam Werner (Farjestad BK, SHL): Werner served as the backup in three games this week as Farjestad continued its postseason play. On Wednesday, Farjestad beat HV71 3-2 in Game 7 to earn a spot in the semi-finals. On Saturday, Farjestad began a best-of-seven series against Djurgarden, winning the opening battle 5-2. The second contest was less successful for Farjestad as the team fell 5-3. Werner dressed but did not play in either outing. The team is back on the ice on Wednesday. In 26 contests during the regular season, Werner generated a 15-6-3 record along with a 2.02 goals-against average, .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 (Loko Yaroslavl, MHL): After Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the Russian pro team Kovalenko played with during the regular season, fell in the playoffs, Kovalenko joined its MHL affiliate, Loko. The forward scored the lone goal in his new team's 2-1 loss against Ugra on Monday. On Thursday, Loko topped Ugra 3-1 as Kovalenko lit the lamp once again and recorded an assist. Kovalenko extended his point streak to three games as he tallied two more times in Friday's 3-2 victory. Loko is now 3-1-0 in its best-of-seven semifinal series. 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 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, 0.99 goals-against average and a 5-0 record in seven games played.

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