Prospect Spotlight: Luka Burzan
Luka Burzan is in his second season with the Brandon Wheat Kings and his fourth playing in the Western Hockey league.
The Canadian center was taken in the sixth round (No. 171 overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche after his career-high, 78-point season (40 goals, 38 assists) with Brandon in 2018-19.
Burzan has 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) this year following his three-point game (two goals, one assist) on Saturday against Winnipeg and two-assist contest on Tuesday versus Swift Current.
The Colorado Eagles defeated the Stockton Heat 5-2 on Friday with multi-point outings from four players, including Erik Condra, Conor Timmins, Michael Joly and Dan Renouf. Condra found the back of the net twice in the second period, with helpers from Timmins, Colin Campbell and Jayson Megna to push the Eagles' lead to 4-0. Megna also scored a goal of his own, assisted by Renouf, at the end of the third to secure the victory for the Eagles and answer the two Heat goals in the final period. Colorado tallied two quick markers in the first period to take an early lead, with Igor Shvyrev scoring his third goal of the season, and Timmins, Joly, Renouf and Kevin Connauton notching assists in the frame.
Colorado played the second half of the back-to-back against Stockton on Saturday, but this time falling 5-4 in overtime. Timmins and Condra both recorded multi-point games again, as well as Sheldon Dries. All four of the Eagles' goals--scored by Dries, Condra, A.J. Greer and Colin Campbell--came in the second period. Connauton, Megna, Dries, Timmins and Jacob McDonald all notched helpers to give Colorado the lead going into the third period. Stockton tied the game in the last minute of the contest, sending it to overtime where the Heat eventually triumphed.
The Eagles began another back-to-back series against the Tucson Roadrunners on Tuesday. The Eagles fell 6-3 in the first game of the back-to-back, with Condra, Greer and Lindholm scoring and goaltender Adam Werner stopping 26-of-31 shots. Colorado lost 2-1 on Wednesday, with Megna tallying the lone marker for the Eagles.
Colorado now gets ready to play three straight games against the San Diego Gulls, with the first one in California before the series shifts to Loveland.
Dec. 7 at San Diego Gulls
Dec. 13 vs. San Diego Gulls
Dec. 14 vs. San Diego Gulls
Brandon Saigeon scored two of the Utah Grizzlies' three goals on Friday in a 6-3 loss to the Florida Everblades. He notched a power-play goal in the first period, the first tally of the game for either team, and an unassisted marker in the third to bring the score to 4-3. The Everblades responded with two more goals in the final stanza to get the win.
In the second half of the series on Saturday, Utah defeated the Everblades 5-4 in a shootout. Saigeon scored the power-play goal at the end of the third period to bring the score to 4-4 and send the contest to overtime. He was the only one to find the back of the net in the shootout to bring the Grizzlies the victory. Saigeon now has seven points (three goals, four assists) this season and is the team's fourth-leading point-getter.
The Grizzlies travel to South Dakota on Friday to begin a back-to-back series against the Rapid City Rush.
Boston College: The No. 10 Boston College Eagles defeated Harvard 4-2 on Friday, giving Harvard its first loss of the season and extending the Eagles' win streak to seven games. Boston College was trailing 2-0 in the second period before scoring three unanswered goals--one from Alex Newhook--to make the score 3-2 going into the third. Drew Helleson took the first penalty of the game, spending two minutes in the box for cross-checking. Newhook has the fourth-most points on his team after scoring 11 (six goals, five assists) in 13 games, while Helleson has notched four points (two goals, two assists) so far this year. Newhook will be heading to Canada's World Junior Championship Selection Camp in the coming weeks. The Eagles moved the 9-4-0 this season and will play a home-and-home series against Notre Dame at home on Friday and in South Bend on Sunday.
University of Notre Dame: The No. 9 Fighting Irish hosted the Bowling Green Falcons on Friday in the first game of a home-and-home set and fell 5-2 to the No. 13 team. Cam Morrison scored the first goal of the game for Notre Dame assisted by Nick Leivermann, bringing the game to a 1-1 tie in the first period. While Nate Clurman (five assists on the year) did not have any shots on goal, Morrison and Leivermann recorded five and four shots, respectively, to lead the team for the game. Notre Dame played the Falcons again on Saturday and fell by the same 5-2 score. Leivermann (three goals, five assists on the season) recorded a multi-point game and Morrison (three goals, nine assists in 2019-20) notched a helper in the loss. Notre Dame (8-4-2) begins a home-and-home series against Boston College on Friday.
Sampo Ranta (University of Minnesota): The University of Minnesota fell twice on the road to the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks last week. Despite a power-play goal from Sampo Ranta in the second period, the Golden Gophers were beat 9-3 on Thursday, tied for the largest margin of defeat this season. Minnesota almost rallied for the win on Friday with a goal late in the third period but still fell 3-2 to the Fighting Hawks. Ranta is tied for the most points on the Golden Gophers with 10 (six goals, four assists) in the first 16 games of the season and will partake in Finland's World Junior Championship training camp. Minnesota fell to 5-8-3 on the season and will travel to play Ohio State on Friday and Saturday.
Denis Smirnov (Penn State University): Denis Smirnov found the back of the net in No. 6 Penn State's 7-0 victory over Merrimack College on Friday. Smirnov recorded the first goal of the third period that brought the score to 6-0. Penn State stayed on the road to face the University of Massachusetts Lowell on Saturday but lost 3-2. Smirnov is the seventh-leading point-getter for the 11-4-0 Nittany Lions with 13 points (five goals, eight assists). Penn State will begin a back-to-back series against the University of Michigan on Friday.
Matthew Stienburg (Cornell University): No. 2 Cornell shutout Boston University 2-0 on Saturday. Matthew Stienburg recorded four shots in the contest and finished with a plus-1 rating. He has one assist and a plus-6 rating this year. The undefeated Big Red (9-0-0) will play a back-to-back this weekend starting against Harvard University on Friday and finishing against Dartmouth College on Saturday.
Tyler Weiss (University of Nebraska Omaha): The University of Nebraska Omaha did not play any games this week. The Mavericks own a 6-4-2 record this season and a 1-2-1 mark in conference play. Tyler Weiss has tallied nine points (six goals, three assists) in 12 games this season and is in a three-way tie for the second-most points on the team. The Mavericks are ranked No. 18 in the country and will start a back-to-back series against the University of Minnesota Duluth on Friday.
Alex Beaucage (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies): Rouyn-Noranda defeated the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 4-2 on Friday while on the road. The Huskies were down 2-1 when Alex Beaucage scored his 19th goal of the season and the tying goal of the game on a power play in the third period. Rouyn-Noranda fell to Chicoutimi Saguenéens 7-3 on the road on Saturday, with two assists coming from Beaucage. Beaucage made it a five-point weekend by scoring two goals, including the game-winner in Sunday's 4-3 overtime victory over Chicoutimi. The Huskies lost 2-1 on Wednesday to the Rimouski Oceanic, dropping its record to 15-12-3. Beaucage leads Rouyn-Noranda with 36 points (21 goals, 15 assists) this season and a plus-15 rating.
Vancouver Giants: The Vancouver Giants defeated the Spokane Chiefs 3-2 in overtime on Friday. Trent Miner was not between the pipes in the win, but Bowen Byram ended the game with a plus-1 rating and took one shot during the contest. The Giants fell 5-1 to the Tri-City Americans on Saturday with Miner guarding the pipes and Byram contributing an assist. Miner defended the net for the first two periods, saving 11-of-15 shots. It was the 14th game that Miner has played in this season, giving him a 3.04 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage. Byram, who is joining Canada's World Junior Championship Selection Camp, has 17 points this season (three goals, 14 assists) after 24 games. The Giants lost 3-1 on Wednesday against the Victoria Royals, dropping their record 13-12-2 on the campaign. Vancouver plays the Spokane Chiefs on Friday and Tri-City Americans on Sunday.
Luka Burzan (Brandon Wheat Kings): The Brandon Wheat Kings hosted the Winnipeg Ice on Friday and claimed a 7-4 victory over the club. Luka Buzan spent four minutes in the penalty box for goaltender interference and roughing, but still recorded five shots and won six of the 12 faceoffs he took. Burzan notched a three-point game in Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Winnipeg ICE, scoring two goals and a helper. He scored the fifth goal for Brandon to tie the game in the third before Winnipeg tallied the game-winner later in the period. Burzan added two assists on Tuesday in a 7-3 win over the Swift Current Broncos, bringing his season total to 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists). Brandon (12-15-1) next takes on the Kamloops Blazers on Friday and Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday.
Sasha Mutala (Tri-City Americans): The Tri-City Americans fell 3-1 to the Victoria Royals at home on Friday. Sasha Mutala took a two-minute hooking penalty in the first period and attempted five shots over the course of the game. Mutala notched three assists in Saturday's 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants, making him one of two players to have a three-point game. He has tallied a team-leading 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) this season for the 12-10-3 Americans. Tri-City will visit the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday and Vancouver Giants on Sunday.
Shamil Shmakov (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders): Cedar Rapids traveled to the Waterloo Black Hawks and was shutout 4-0 on Thursday. Shamil Shmakov was in goal for the RoughRiders during the first period but was taken out after making 10-of-12 saves. Shmakov was out of the lineup in the RoughRiders' 1-0 loss to Waterloo on Saturday. He has a 3.03 goals-against average this season and a .901 save percentage after seven games. Cedar Rapids (10-9-1) will begin a home-and-home series against the Chicago Steel on Friday.
Justus Annunen (Kärpät): Justus Annunen is preparing for the World Junior Championship training camp with the Finnish national team. Annunen enters the camp with a 1.26 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage this season after playing in 13 Liiga games, recording five shutouts and no losses. Kärpät played back-to-back games last weekend, falling to HIFK 2-0 on Thursday before defeating Saipa 2-1 on Friday. The club took on TPS on Tuesday and won 4-1; Annunen did not play. Karpat will travel to play KooKoo on Thursday.
Sergei Boikov (Dynamo Moscow): Dynamo Moscow defeated Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Region in a shootout on the road on Friday. Sergei Boikov did not skate against Torpedo nor against Ak Bars Kazan when Dynamo fell 3-2 on Sunday. Boikov has two goals this season and has played in nine games. Dynamo visited CSKA Moscow on Wednesday and now heads into matchups against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on Friday and SKA St. Petersburg on Monday.
Nikolai Kovalenko (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl): Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was shutout 1-0 by Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg on Saturday. Nikolai Kovalenko had four hits in the contest, the most of any forward in the game. Kovalenko recorded a helper in Lokomotiv's 6-3 victory over Dinamo Minsk on Friday and notched five hits, again the most by any Lokomotiv player. Lokomotiv hosted Metallurg Magnitogorsk on Tuesday, and Kovalenko had 12 points (seven goals, five assists) through 31 games. The club will host Dynamo Moscow on Friday before travelling to Severstal Cherepovets on Sunday.
Danila Zhuravlyov (Ak Bars Kazan): Ak Bars Kazan was shutout 1-0 on Friday by HC Sochi. Danila Zhuravlyov had 16 shifts in the contest for a total of 11:33 on the ice. In Saturday's 5-2 victory over Dynamo Moscow, Zhuravlyov finished with a plus-1 rating after skating for 14:39. Zhuravlyov has recorded seven points (seven assists) through 27 games this year. Ak Bars travelled to SKA St. Petersburg on Wednesday and will remain on the road to take on Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Region on Friday and Avangard Omsk on Sunday.