Spotlight On: 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
Four Colorado Avalanche prospects are representing their countries at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. Forwards Shane Bowers (Canada), Martin Kaut (Czech Republic) and Nikolai Kovalenko (Russia) and defenseman Danila Zhuravlyov (Russia) will all participate in the under-20 tournament in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, from Dec. 26, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019.
The Czech Republic took on Switzerland to open the tournament on Wednesday, and Kaut factored in on both of his country's goals as the Czechs won 2-1 in overtime. The Avs' first-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft scored the tying tally and assisted on the game-winner.
Canada started with a 14-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday, and Colorado prospect Shane Bowers had one assist in the contest, helping on his country's 11th goal of the evening.
Sampo Ranta participated in Team Finland's training camp this month but was not among the names submitted by the country to the IIHF on Dec. 25. However, he could be included on the tournament roster later as the nation can add an additional three players to get to the 23-man limit.
The Colorado Eagles split a two-game set with the Bakersfield Condors in Loveland this week before the holiday break.
Ty Lewis netted the first marker of the game on Friday with an assist from Mark Alt but Colorado fell 5-3 after Bakersfield scored five times in the second period. Lewis, Dominic Toninato and Scott Kosmachuk also added helpers later in the contest. Spencer Martin made 22 saves in net in the loss.
On Saturday, the Eagles defeated the Condors 3-2 in a shootout as Kosmachuk netted the deciding goal in the skills competition. Rookie forward Logan O'Connor recorded his ninth of the season with assists from Toninato and Andrew Agozzino late in the second period to knot the game at 2-2. Martin made 33 saves and denied both shootout attempts to earn the win.
The Eagles are now 10-3-2-1 at Budweiser Events Center and rank third in the Pacific Division with 34 points (15-9-3-1) through 26 outings this campaign.
Dec. 27 at San Jose Barracuda
Dec. 30 at Manitoba Moose
Dec. 31 at Manitoba Moose
The Utah Grizzlies went 1-1-0 in a back-to-back at the Idaho Steelheads this weekend. Utah opened set with a 5-1 victory on Friday as Julien Nantel scored his second of the year on the power play. Nantel added an assist on Saturday but the Grizzlies fell 7-3 to the Steelheads. The Grizzlies open a five-game homestand on Friday against the Allen Americans.
University of Notre Dame: Junior forward Cam Morrison has tallied six goals and six assists in 14 games for Notre Dame. Nate Clurman has appeared in 17 outings and Nick Leivermann has played in 10 games and each first-year defenseman has recorded one assist. The team holds a 11-5-1 record thus far into the season. The Fighting Irish will take on Boston College on Monday.
Shane Bowers (Boston University): Bowers skated in all three of Team Canada's pre-tournament outings ahead of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship this week. Canada defeated Switzerland 5-3 on Wednesday, Bowers had a goal in his country's 6-1 win over Slovakia on Friday and he skated in his team's 5-2 loss to Finland on Sunday. He made the team out of training camp and is headed to his first World Junior Championship. His college team, Boston University, is on break until it returns on Jan. 8 against Harvard.
Cale Makar (University of Massachusetts): Through 16 games this year, sophomore defenseman Makar has 19 points (six goals, 13 assists). The alternate captain has five multi-point outings and was named the Hockey East player of the month for October after being named the player of the week for two weeks in a row. UMass has been on break since its 5-2 win over Yale on Dec. 11 but will return on Jan 4 at UMass Lowell.
Sampo Ranta (University of Minnesota): Sampo Ranta spent the past week at the Finland National Junior Team's training camp in preparation for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. He played in a pre-tournament game against Denmark on Wednesday when Finland won 7-0. Ranta did not play on Sunday in his country's 5-2 win over Canada. He was not among the names submitted by the country to the IIHF on Dec. 25. However, the forward could be included on the tournament roster later as Finland can add an additional three players to get to the 23-man limit. Ranta's college team, the University of Minnesota, will return to action on Friday against Ferris State University.
Denis Smirnov (Penn State University): Through 15 outings this season, Smirnov has four goals and six assists. Penn State will return to action on Jan. 4 at Minnesota.
Tyler Weiss (University of Nebraska): Weiss missed the first part of the season with an injury but has played in six games with the University of Nebraska-Omaha this year. He recorded his first collegiate point with an assist on Dec. 8 against St. Cloud State. The freshman and his team will take on Alaska Anchorage on Dec. 29.
Brandon Saigeon (Hamilton Bulldogs): Through 34 games this campaign, Saigeon leads the Bulldogs and ranks sixth in the OHL with 54 points (24 goals, 28 assists). Hamilton ranks fourth in the East Division with a 15-17-2-0 record and 32 points. The team returns from the holiday break on Friday at the Guelph Storm.
Nick Henry (Lethbridge Hurricanes): Henry has played a total of 34 outings this season and has recorded 49 points (16 goals, 33 assists). He began the season with the Regina Pats and netted 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 25 games before he was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Henry has skated in nine matchups with his new team and has nine points (one goal, eight assists). Lethbridge will return on Friday against the Victoria Royals.
Nikolai Kovalenko (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, KHL): Kovalenko spent the past week at the Russian National Junior Team's training camp in preparation for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, and he was later named to the squad's roster. In pre-tournament exhibitions, Russia lost 4-2 to Sweden last Tuesday, 3-2 to the United States on Thursday and won 4-1 against Switzerland on Sunday. Kovalenko's KHL club, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, went 3-1 last week, losing 4-2 to Sibir Novosibirsk on Tuesday before winning 2-1 against Barys Astana on Thursday, 2-0 versus Avangard Omsk on Saturday and 4-3 in overtime to Salavat Yulaev Ufa on Monday. Kovalenko has four goals and an assist in 24 KHL games this year.
Danila Zhuravlyov (Bars Kazan, VHL): Zhuravlyov was with Team Russia's junior team last week for training camp and made the squad's roster for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. He played in all three of Russia's pre-tournament contests: a 4-2 loss to Sweden on Tuesday, a 3-2 loss to the U.S. on Thursday and a 4-1 win against Switzerland on Sunday. His VHL team, Bars Kazan, went 2-1 with wins on Wednesday against Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk (3-2) and Friday against Khimik Voskresensk (3-0) and a loss on Sunday to Zvezda Moscow (2-0).
Shamil Shmakov (Sibirskie Snaipery, MHL): Shmakov's club went 1-1-0 this past week. Sibirskie lost 5-1 on Wednesday to Omskie Yastreby in an outing that Shmakov made six of nine saves. The team bounced back with 2-1 shootout victory versus Omskie on Thursday. In 14 games this season, Shmakov has posted a 6-5-0 record, 2.32 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.
(Petr Kvaca, HC Ocelari Trinec): Kvaca didn't play in either of Ocelari Trinec's two games this past week in Czech Extraliga, as he served as the backup in both contests. Trinec won 4-1 against Trhaci Kadan on Wednesday and 7-3 on Saturday versus Kladno. Kvaca has a 2-0-0 record, 1.97 goals-against average and .925 save percentage for Ocelari after having a strong showing to begin his season in the second-tier Czech league. In 10 games with Ceske Budejovice, he recorded a 6-4-0 record, 1.54 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and two shutouts.
Justus Annunen (Hermes, Mestis): There were no games this past week for Justus Annunen and Hermes in the second-tier Finnish pro league. Hermes next plays on Friday against Roki. In 11 games this season, Annunen has registered a 2.91 goals-against average and .877 save percentage.
Adam Werner (Farjestad BK, SHL): Adam Werner saw action twice this past week. He stopped all 13 shots he faced in a relief appearance on Dec. 19 and helped Farjestad rally from a three-goal deficit in the third period to win 4-3 in overtime. Werner suited up again on Friday and made 26-of-30 saves in a 4-3 loss to HV71. He was the backup goalie in the club's 3-2 victory on Wednesday against Vaxjo. Werner has a 6-3-1 record, 1.98 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and one shutout in 11 contests this season.
Gustav Olhaver (Tingsryds AIF, Allsvenskan): Tingsryds played two games last week, losing 3-2 to Sodertalje last Thursday and 4-1 to Pantern on Wednesday. Gustav Olhaver played in both contests. He has six points (three goals and three assists) in 30 outings this season.