Spotlight On: Chris Bigras
Chris Bigras signed a three-year entry-level contract during this year's training camp and was one of the last prospects to be sent back to junior during the preseason. He was so impressive in camp that there were whispers of him possibly making the Avalanche's opening-night roster. Coach Patrick Roy had mentioned his camp as “outstanding” and was “very excited” about his future.
The 6-foot-1, 189-pound defenseman just wrapped up his third regular season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Owen Sound Attack. As a member of the Attack, Bigras has appeared in 172 games and has 83 career points (15 goals and 68 assists).
He has showed his physical presence in his junior career while also helping his team on offense by amassing 113 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in his three seasons in the OHL.
Bigras was also a member of Team Canada's fourth-place squad at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden this past winter. He appeared in all seven games at the tournament for the Canadians and finished with a plus-2 rating.
Chosen by the Avalanche with the 32nd pick of 2013 NHL Draft, Bigras was thought by many scouts to have first-round talent in a deep draft pool. The Avs are hoping they have hit another second-round jackpot with him, much like they did with Ryan O’Reilly (No. 33) in 2009.
Scouts have noted that Bigras has room to fill out physically and projects to be an intimidating force on the blue line. His outlet passing and strong on-man defense are attributes that should help him make an impact at the pro level in the future.
Related Links: World Junior Update Bigras Signed Q&A With Bigras Draft: Avs Select Bigras Draft: Press Conference Draft: One-on-One
Lake Erie Monsters
The Monsters were in Charlotte, N.C., this past weekend for a two-game matchup with the Charlotte Checkers. Lake Erie split the series and now has a 26-28-6 record this season.
Lake Erie was upended 5-2 in the series opener. After Charlotte opened the game with a two-goal lead, the Monsters scored back-to-back goals to tie the game at 2-2, but they couldn't pull out a win in the end.
Trevor Cheek and Stefan Elliott scored for Lake Erie on Saturday. Both players were able to get on the scoreboard in the second period, helping the Monsters tie the game. David Van Der Gulik was able to get an assist on Elliott’s 10th goal of the season.
The Checkers would add three goals in the third period to pull away with the win. Lake Erie goalie Calvin Pickard stopped 21 of 26 shots in the game, moving his record to 15-16-1 on the year.
On Sunday, the two teams matched up for their final meeting of the season. Brett Clark made sure the Monsters went home on a positive note when he tallied a late game-winning goal to secure a 3-2 win and a series split with the Checkers.
Trent Daavettila opened the scoring for the Monsters when he was able to put home a rebound off of a Karl Stollery shot in the first period. Stollery and Van Der Gulik were both credited with assists on Daavettila's goal. Stollery would add to his point total midway through the second period when he capitalized on assists from Mark Olver and Trevor Cheek for his sixth goal of the season.
Clark’s goal came late in the third on a beautiful pass from Van Der Gulik that secured the win for the Monsters.
Kent Patterson was in net for Lake Erie on Sunday. He stopped 21 of 23 shots and improved his record to 1-1-0 in the AHL this season.
March 19 vs. Toronto
March 21 vs. Rochester
March 23 vs. Rochester
The Cutthroats were able to stay hot this week by going 4-0. They won their last game of a four-game road trip in Quad City on Wednesday, 4-2. They were back in Denver on Friday for a 6-3 victory over Quad City. The Cutthroats kept it going on Saturday, winning 6-5 to sweep their three-game set with Quad City. On Sunday, Denver defeated Allen 4-3.
March 19 at Arizona
March 21 at Arizona
March 22 at Arizona
Kieran Millan (Wheeling Nailers): Millan and the Nailers went 3-0 this week. The Nailers began the week with a 5-1 win over Reading on Friday before defeating Cincinnati 2-0 on Saturday. On Sunday, Wheeling defeated Reading again, this time in overtime by a score of 3-2. Millan has appeared in three games for the Nailers this season going 2-1 with a 1.67 goals-against average.
Chris Bigras (Owen Sound Attack): Bigras and the Attack were able to pick up two late goals to take a 2-1 victory over Plymouth on Thursday. Bigras had an assist on one of the key goals for the Attack. Owen Sound would lose 4-2 to London on Friday before closing the regular season on a winning note on Saturday by defeating Guelph 2-1. Bigras appeared in 55 games for the Attack this season and had 26 points (four goals and 22 assists). Owen Sound begins the OHL West Quarterfinals on Friday at Sault Ste. Marie.
Joseph Blandisi (Barrie Colts): Blandisi and the Colts will start their playoffs at home with a first-round matchup with Sudbury. The Colts closed the regular season with a 6-3 win over Peterborough on Saturday. They had also picked up a 7-5 win over Kingston on Wednesday and a 5-3 win over Ottawa on Thursday. Blandisi has appeared in 47 games this season with Ottawa and Barrie. He has 50 points on 24 goals and 26 assists.
Michael Clarke (Peterborough Petes): Clarke and the Petes are set to begin their first-round playoff matchup with Kingston on Friday. They closed the regular season on a rough three-game losing streak. On Wednesday, they lost 6-2 to Belleville with Clarke scoring a goal for Peterborough. Clarke would pick up an assist in both Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Barrie and Sunday’s 5-4 loss to Niagara. He has appeared in 65 games for the Petes this season, tallying 48 points on 21 goals and 27 assists.
Spencer Martin (Mississauga Steelheads): Martin stopped 39 of 43 shots on Thursday as Mississauga lost a close 5-4 matchup to Niagara that was decided in a shootout. The Steelheads bounced back on Friday with a 2-1 victory over Niagara behind 30 saves from Martin. He was back in net on Sunday in the Steelheads’ final regular-season game, stopping 35 of 39 shots in a 4-1 loss to Kingston. On the season, Martin appeared in 64 games and totaled 24 wins and finished with a goals-against average of 3.54. The Steelheads qualified for the playoffs and will face Oshawa in the first round beginning on Friday.
Troy Bourke (Prince George Cougars): Bourke and the Cougars split a two-game series with Kamloops to close their regular season. On Friday, the Cougars were defeated 5-1 with Bourke scoring the Cougars’ lone goal. He would put up a four-point night on Saturday in Prince George’s 8-3 victory. The Cougars did not qualify for the playoffs. Bourke closed his season by appearing in 69 games and finishing with 85 points (29 goals and 56 assists).
Cody Corbett (Edmonton Oil Kings): Corbett helped Edmonton to a 2-1 record last week and the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Oil Kings defeated Medicine Hat 3-1 on Wednesday and Red Deer 7-4 on Saturday. Corbett had a goal and three assists in Saturday's win. The Oil Kings lost 5-0 to Red Deer on Sunday. Edmonton begins the first round of the WHL playoffs on Saturday at home against Prince Albert.
Mason Geertsen (Vancouver Giants): Geertsen and the Giants were back in action on Wednesday, taking a 3-2 victory over Victoria. Geertsen was able to tally an assist in each of the Giants’ losses to Kelowna over the weekend, with Vancouver losing by scores of 6-5 on Friday and 5-3 on Saturday. The Giants have qualified for the playoffs and will face the Portland Winterhawks in the first round starting on Friday. Geertsen finished the regular season with four goals and 19 assists in 66 games.
Will Butcher (University of Denver): Butcher and the Pioneers were able to advance to the NCHC semifinals after a 2-1 series victory over Nebraska Omaha. Butcher had an assist in Denver’s 4-3 losing effort on Friday and was able to get a goal on Saturday in a 5-1 Pioneers win. They were able to win Sunday’s series-deciding matchup 2-0. Butcher has appeared in 35 games for the Pioneers as a freshman and has eight goals and seven assists.
Nate Condon (University of Minnesota): Condon and the No. 1 ranked Gophers were in Ann Arbor, Mich., for a two-game matchup with Luke Moffatt and the Michigan Wolverines over the weekend. The Gophers were able to take the opener, 3-2, in overtime on Friday with Condon picking up an assist in the win. Michigan won 6-2 in Saturday’s rematch to split the series. Condon has appeared in 36 games for the Gophers and has seven goals and 13 assists this year. Minnesota has a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and will play the winner of Ohio State-Michigan State on Friday.
Luke Moffatt (University of Michigan): Moffatt and the Wolverines hosted No. 1 ranked Minnesota and fellow Avs prospect Nate Condon in a two-game series to close the Big Ten season. Michigan lost 3-2 in a close overtime game on Friday, but the team bounced back with a strong performance on Saturday, picking up a 6-2 victory. Moffatt had a huge game in the rematch, scoring two goals and getting an assist to close the year. He finished the regular season with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 33 games. Michigan will play Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.
Ben Storm (St. Cloud State): Storm and St. Cloud State were swept out of the NCHC playoffs in the first round by Miami (OH). St. Cloud State lost 5-4 on Friday in the series opener and lost 4-3 on Saturday. The Huskies will now hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Gus Young (Yale University): Quinnipiac swept Young and the Bulldogs this past weekend at the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals. Yale lost 6-2 in Friday’s opener and fell 5-3 in Saturday's contest. Young appeared in 33 games for Yale this season and had a plus-9 rating. The senior finished the regular season with 18 points, tallying seven goals and 11 assists.
Jonas Holos (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl): Holos and Lokomotiv upset the No. 1 seeded Dynamo in a close seven-game series. Lokomotiv took the series with a 5-1 victory on Monday. They won 6-0 on Saturday to force the Game 7 after dropping games 4 and 5, 1-0 and 3-2 respectively. Holos appeared in 52 regular-season games for Lokomotiv this season, and had 14 points on six goals and eight assists.
Denis Parshin (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod): Parshin scored a huge goal for Torpedo in Sunday’s 6-2 victory in Game 6 to help force a decisive seventh game. Unfortunately, that was where Torpedo's season ended with a 2-1 loss to Salavat Yulaev. Parshin did have an assist in Game 7. Torpedo was in a must-win spot after losing 4-2 in Game 4 on Wednesday and Game 5 by the same score on Friday. Parshin appeared in 46 regular-season games for Torpedo and had 33 points (15 goals and 18 assists).
Tomas Vincour (Ak Bars Kazan): Ak Bars’ season has finished after they lost their playoff series 4-2 to Sibir. Vincour picked up an assist in both Game 4 and Game 6. On Wednesday, Ak Bars had tied the series with a 6-3 win before losing 1-0 in Game 5 and 3-2 in Game 6. Vincour appeared in 39 games this season for Ak Bars and scored six goals to go along with five assists.
Luke Walker (Medvescak Zagreb): Walker and Medvescak were eliminated in the first round of the KHL playoffs. Walker played 36 games this season with Medvescak and had three points (one goal, two assists), a minus-11 rating and 20 penalty minutes.
Wilhelm Westlund (Farjestads BK): Westlund played 11 games this season with Farjestads and finished with a minus-3 rating. He has 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) in 34 games with the Farjestads J20 team. Farjestads' SHL squad was able to secure a 2-1 win in its series opener with Brynas on Sunday. It was the first game of a seven-game series in the SHL semifinals.