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Avalanche Farm Report: Jan. 5

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Spotlight On: Justin Mercier

It may have taken Justin Mercier a little longer than expected to pot his first American Hockey League goal, but now the tallies are coming in bunches.

Mercier scored the first two goals of his professional career on Saturday during his 32nd AHL contest, a 3-2 Lake Erie victory over Hamilton. The forward’s second tally was an empty-net goal that gave the Monsters a 3-1 lead, but ended up as the game-winning goal after the Bulldogs tacked on a late marker.

Less than 24 hours later, Mercier scored two more goals in a 7-2 win over Grand Rapids.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward netted the game’s first two goals, the second of which came just 17 seconds into the second period. The goal was the fastest by a Monster to start a game this season. Mercier also assisted on a Mike Bartlett goal late in the contest, giving him five points (4g/1a) in two games.
Lake Erie Monsters
The Monsters continued their hot streak, winning three out of four games last week.

Lake Erie began the week with a 5-3 loss to Peoria last Tuesday (Dec. 29). T.J. Hensick, Ryan Stoa and Brian Willsie each scored in the loss.

The club bounced back on Thursday with a convincing 5-1 triumph over Rochester, with Darren Haydar, Marty Sertich and Willsie leading the way offensively with a goal and an assist apiece. Tyler Weiman stopped 19-of-20 shots to gain the victory between the pipes.

The Monsters then picked up a pair of road wins to end the week, topping Hamilton by a 3-2 count on Saturday and tying a franchise record for goals in Sunday’s 7-2 win over Grand Rapids. Rookie forward Justin Mercier scored twice in each contest for the Monsters.

Lake Erie has now won eight of its last 10 games to improve to 16-18-0-3 on the season.

Charlotte Checkers
Colorado’s ECHL affiliate had a light week, gaining a 5-2 win over Gwinnett in the club’s lone contest. The Checkers currently occupy third place in the American South Division with a 17-10-3-1 record (38 points).

-Mark Olver totaled five points (1g/4a) to lead Northern Michigan to the Dodge Holiday Classic title. Olver scored and added an assist during the Wildcats’ 4-0 shutout of Clarkson on Saturday and then recorded three assists in Sunday’s championship game, a 4-2 win over Minnesota. As a result, Olver was named the CCHA Offensive Player of the Week.

The junior forward now ranks 19th nationally in points-per-game (1.30) with 26 points (11g/15a) in 20 contests.

-Minnesota forward Mike Carman scored a power-play goal and added an assist as the Gophers topped Bowling Green, 3-1, in the first round of the Dodge Holiday Classic. Carman added an assist during Minnesota’s loss to Northern Michigan in the championship game.

-Colby Cohen scored two goals, including the game-winner, and added a pair of assists as Boston University topped Massachusetts by a 7-3 count on Saturday. Kevin Shattenkirk pitched in with three assists, while netminder Kieran Millan made 20 saves. In light of his performance, Cohen was named Hockey East's Athletic Republic Co-Player of the Week.

-Boston College forward Paul Carey had an assist Friday in the Eagles’ 5-2 loss to St. Lawrence to increase his scoring output to 12 points (5g/7a) in 17 games.

-The Quebec Remparts suffered a 4-3 overtime loss to Rimouski on Wednesday, with Kelsey Tessier registering an assist and Peter Delmas making 27 saves. Three nights later, Tessier recorded three helpers and Delmas turned aside 35 shots, but the Remparts fell to Rimouski, 5-3.

-Victoriaville’s Joel Chouinard tallied an assist in both of the Tigres’ contests last week and continues to lead all team defensemen in scoring with 35 points (11g/24a) in 38 games.

-Kelowna’s Tyson Barrie recorded points in three of the Rockets’ four games last week. Barrie notched a multi-point effort on Thursday during a 4-3 loss to Chilliwack, scoring a goal and adding an assist.  With 41 points (8g/33a) in 33 games, Barrie is tied for second among WHL blueliners in scoring.

-Stefan Elliott totaled six points (2g/4a) during Saskatoon’s four games last week. Included in that stretch was a three-point (1g/2a) outing on Saturday in a 6-5 victory over Portland. Elliott scored a power-play goal in the first period and was credited with the primary assist on the overtime winner.

-Cameron Gaunce picked up a pair of assists in Mississauga’s 5-4 win over Ottawa on Sunday. Gaunce leads the Majors’ defensive corps in scoring with 29 points (4g/25a) in 38 games.

-Kitchener goaltender Brandon Maxwell split a pair of decisions last week. Maxwell made 29 saves in a losing cause on Tuesday against Barrie and then picked up a victory by stopping 42 shots in the Rangers’ 7-5 triumph over Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday.

-Nathan Condon scored the game-tying goal and also had an assist in Fargo’s 4-3 victory over Team USA on Thursday.
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