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The Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Farm Report: March 15

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Spotlight On: Luke Moffatt

Luke Moffatt has been a regular member of the University of Michigan’s lineup during his freshman season in Ann Arbor, which is no small feat when you consider that the Wolverine’s are a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Selected by the Avalanche in the seventh round (197th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Moffatt has appeared in 30 of Michigan’s 38 games thus far (including 27 of the past 31) and ranks second among team freshmen with 13 points (5g/8a) while posting a +5 plus/minus rating.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., native scored his fifth goal of the season on Friday night, helping the Wolverines top Bowling Green State by a 5-1 score during the CCHA Quarterfinals. Michigan completed the sweep with a 4-1 win on Saturday to advance to the conference semifinals, where the team will face Western Michigan this Friday.

The Wolverines, who came in at No. 4 in the latest USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll, have now reached the semifinal round of the CCHA Tournament each year dating back to 1990.
Lake Erie Monsters
No team in the American Hockey League has clinched a playoff berth yet, but the Lake Erie Monsters took another step in the right direction by earning a pair of victories last weekend.

Cameron Gaunce recorded a goal and two assists for his first multi-point game as a professional and John Grahame made 19 saves to lead Lake Erie to a 4-2 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday. Julian Talbot, David Van Der Gulik and Greg Mauldin also scored in the victory.

The Monsters then took down Toronto, 3-2, on Saturday.  Talbot had a goal and an assist, Mauldin and newcomer Shawn Belle also scored and Jason Bacashihua stopped 29 shots as Lake Erie won for the fourth time in five games.

With 13 contests remaining, the Monsters rank fourth in the North Division with 76 points (34-25-3-5).

Tulsa Oilers
Colorado’s Central Hockey League affiliate posted a 1-2 record last week.

Trevor Cann made 36 saves, but the Oilers dropped a 3-2 decision to Wichita last Tuesday. Tulsa also fell to Rapid City by a 2-1 count on Friday, despite 31 saves from Cann.

The Oilers got back into the win column Saturday night, defeating the Colorado Eagles by a 5-1 final score. Cann served as Ian Keserich’s backup in the victory.

With a 32-25-3 record (67 points), Tulsa has already clinched a postseason berth.

-Paul Carey and Boston College swept Massachusetts in the Hockey East Quarterfinals, winning by a 4-1 score on Friday and a 4-2 final on Saturday. The Eagles now move on to the league semifinals, where they will face Northeastern on Friday. Carey, who was held pointless over the weekend, has registered 25 points (12g/13a) in 35 games during his junior campaign.

-North Dakota beat Michigan Tech by an 8-0 score on Friday and a 3-1 count Saturday in their WCHA First Round series. Brad Malone had two assists Friday for the Fighting Sioux, who will take on the winner of Thursday’s Alaska Anchorage/Colorado College tilt in Friday’s WCHA Semifinal. Malone is fifth on North Dakota’s scoring chart with 35 points (12g/23a) in 38 games.

-Yale lost the opener of its ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal series with St. Lawrence by a 4-3 score in overtime on Friday, but bounced back with a 5-2 win on Saturday and a 4-0 shutout on Sunday to advance. The Bulldogs will next face Colgate on Friday in the conference semifinals. Avalanche prospect Gus Young played in Saturday’s contest, but was held without a point. The freshman defenseman has one assist in five games this year.

-Boston University was upset by Northeastern in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. The Terriers fell, 4-2, on Friday and bounced back with a 5-2 triumph on Saturday, but dropped a 5-4 decision in Sunday’s rubber match. Boston University junior goaltender Kieran Millan stopped 83 of the 94 shots he faced in the series, and now owns a 16-10-8 record with a .919 save percentage in 36 appearances. Boston University is widely considered to be “on the bubble” for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

-Minnesota’s season came to an end after the team fell to Alaska Anchorage by 4-3 (Friday) and 2-0 (Saturday) scores in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs. Minnesota’s Kent Patterson made 32 saves in Friday’s loss and turned aside 23 shots on Saturday. The junior netminder finished the campaign with a 14-9-6 record, a 2.54 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Fellow Avalanche prospect Nathan Condon ended his freshman season with 17 points (8g/9a) in 35 outings.

-Stefan Elliott recorded a goal and an assist Saturday as Saskatoon blanked Edmonton, 4-0. The goal placed Elliott in a tie with Pat Price’s franchise record for points by a defenseman (239) and his assist later in the game surpassed that mark. Elliott has now totaled 240 points (82g/158a) in 279 WHL games and leads all league backliners this season with 80 points (31g/49a) in 68 games. The Blades now have 109 points (53-13-1-2) and have clinched not only the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, but also the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the top regular season team in the league.

-Tyson Barrie recorded a goal and two assists as Kelowna downed Kamloops, 5-1, on Friday night. Barrie ranks fifth among WHL defensemen with 57 points (11g/46a) in 52 games. With 85 points (42-26-0-1), the Rockets have clinched the B.C. Division title and will hold the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference when the postseason begins.

-Portland blueliner Troy Rutkowski registered assists in back-to-back games to help the Winterhawks beat Everett by a 6-3 score on Friday and a 2-1 count in Saturday’s rematch. Rutkowski ranks second among Portland defensemen with 45 points (9g/36a) through 68 games. Portland currently sits atop the Western Conference with 97 points (47-18-0-3), just one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

-Calvin Pickard made 23 saves to lead Seattle to a 3-2 overtime triumph over Chilliwack on Friday. Pickard then made 30 saves on Saturday against Prince George, but the Thunderbirds fell, 5-1. In a league-high 65 appearances, Pickard has a 26-31-3-5 record with a .916 save percentage. With only four games remaining, the Thunderbirds (26-33-4-5; 61 points) have officially been eliminated from playoff contention.

-Joey Hishon returned to action this weekend and posted four points (2g/2a) in Owen Sound’s two games. Hishon netted his fourth short-handed goal of the season during a 3-2 win over Kitchener on Friday. He then scored a goal and added two assists on Saturday as the Attack downed London, 5-2. The center has now set OHL career-highs in assists (47) and points (83) despite playing in only 48 games. Owen Sound has clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference on the strength of its 43-17-1-4 record (91 points).

Hishon, who signed an entry-level contract with the Avalanche on March 14, was also recently voted the “Best Playmaker” and “Best Stickhandler” in the OHL Western Conference Coaches Poll for the 2010-11 season.

-Belleville’s Stephen Silas picked up an assist Friday in his team’s 4-3 shootout win over Sudbury and added another the following night during a 5-1 loss to Barrie. Silas leads all Belleville blueliners and is tied for third on the team overall with 33 points (2g/31a) in 65 contests. The Bulls (20-41-0-4; 44 points) have a three-point cushion over Peterborough for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, with three games remaining for each club.

-Kitchener’s Brandon Maxwell was saddled with a defeat during his one appearance last week, making 28 saves in the Rangers’ 3-2 loss to Owen Sound on Friday. In 44 appearances this season, Maxwell has posted a 23-13-4-2 record with a .904 save percentage. The Rangers have locked up a postseason berth and currently occupy the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference with 85 points (38-18-4-5).
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