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Avalanche Farm Report: March 30

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Spotlight On: Zach Cohen

Recently-signed forward Zach Cohen has quickly made his presence felt with the Lake Erie Monsters.

Cohen, 23, scored his first career professional goal in his third game with the Monsters, a 5-4 victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday. He has now totaled three points (1g/2a) in his first four games in the American Hockey League.

The Avalanche signed Cohen to an entry-level contract last Tuesday after he completed his senior season at Boston University.

The Schaumburg, Ill. native led Boston University with 15 goals this season and finished with 25 points (15g/10a) overall, which was sixth-best on the club.

The 6-foot-3, 208-pound winger looks to help Lake Erie try to move into the playoffs for the first time in team history. Cohen is no stranger to playing in key situations. He scored one of his 31 career collegiate goals in the 2009 NCAA title game, which helped the Terriers to victory over Miami (Ohio).
 
Lake Erie Monsters
The Lake Erie Monsters kept busy last week, playing four games between March 24 and March 28. The stretch proved to be a tough one for the Monsters, who posted a 1-2-1-0 record in that span.

Lake Erie suffered a 3-1 loss to the Rochester Americans on Wednesday. Brian Fahey scored his ninth goal of the season and Tyler Weiman stopped 18-of-21 shots in a losing effort.

Two days later, the Monsters recorded their first overtime loss of the season, dropping a road contest against the Houston Aeros, 3-2. Ray Macias scored his sixth goal of the season and Brian Willsie notched his 23rd of the campaign.

The next day, Lake Erie picked up its 32nd victory in a tight 5-4 triumph over San Antonio. Mike Bartlett, Zach Cohen, Mike Carman, Justin Mercier and Philippe Dupuis all scored in the victory while John Grahame made 37 saves.

Playing its third game in three days, Lake Erie dropped the second game of back-to-back contests against the Rampage in San Antonio, 4-3. Ryan Stoa scored twice, Willsie added a goal and an assist and Grahame stopped 35-of-39 shots in the defeat.

Charlotte Checkers
The Charlotte Checkers continued their hot play of late, winning three of four games last week. Last Tuesday, Charlotte won its eighth-straight game, beating the Florida Everblades, 6-2. Florida responded by ending the Checkers’ winning streak two days later, beating Charlotte, 4-3.

Charlotte came back from the defeat and won its next two games, beating the Reading Royals twice by scores of 4-2 and 2-1 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Charlotte, which has already clinched a playoff berth, took over first place in the South Division with its second win against Reading.

ECHL
-Billy Sauer stopped 36-of-37 shots to pick up a victory over Ontario during his first start for the Alaska Aces. Sauer has appeared in 10 ECHL games this season with Alaska, Las Vegas, Toledo and Charlotte.

NCAA
-Paul Carey and Boston College are heading to the Frozen Four. Carey picked up an assist Saturday to help his club top Alaska, 3-1, in the Northeast Regional Semifinal. The Eagles then gained a berth in the Frozen Four after a wild 9-7 triumph over Yale the following night. Boston College will take on Miami (Ohio) University in the NCAA Frozen Four Semifinal on Thursday, April 8.

-Mark Olver recorded an assist, but Northern Michigan was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament following a 4-3 double overtime loss to St. Cloud State in the West Regional Semifinal. Olver concluded his junior campaign as the Wildcats’ leader in goals (19), assists (30) and points (49).

-Brad Malone and the University of North Dakota saw their season come to a close with a 4-3 loss to Yale in Northeast Regional Semifinal on Saturday. Malone finished his junior season with 25 points (11g/14a) in 43 games.

QMJHL
-Coming into the week with a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against Cape Breton, the Kelsey Tessier and the Moncton Wildcats quickly extended that advantage to 3-0 following a 3-2 overtime victory on Tuesday. After Cape Breton staved off elimination with a 4-1 win on Wednesday, Moncton closed out the series Saturday with a 4-0 shutout victory. Tessier recorded his fourth goal of the playoffs during the clincher.

-Joel Chouinard and his Victoriaville squad were even with Shawinigan, 1-1, heading into Game 3 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday. Shawinigan took that contest by a 4-3 count, but Victoriaville battled back with three straight wins to earn a 4-2 series victory. Chouinard recorded at least one point in each game, including a three-point effort (1g/2a) in Friday’s Game 5, a 4-3 Tigres’ victory.

WHL
-Tyson Barrie, who helped the Kelowna Rockets get past the Everett Silvertips in seven games during their Western Conference Quarterfinal series, was named the Boston Pizza WHL Player of the Week.

After entering the week down 2-0 in the series, Barrie totaled eight points (2g/6a) to help the Rockets come back and win four of the final five contests. Barrie’s performance included a three-assist effort in a 5-3 Kelowna victory in Game 3 and a two-goal performance during a 5-4 Rockets triumph in Game 6 on Saturday.

-Stefan Elliott and the Saskatoon Blades finished off their four-game sweep of Red Deer in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals with a pair of wins last week. Elliott netted a power-play goal in the second period of the Blades’ 2-1 overtime win on Wednesday before tallying another goal with the man-advantage and adding an assist Thursday in Saskatoon’s 5-2 series clinching victory.

OHL
-Mississauga closed out its Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series with a sweep of Peterborough. Already up 2-0 in the series, the Majors topped the Petes by a 5-3 score on Tuesday before advancing with a 3-0 triumph on Thursday. Gaunce recorded two assists in Game 4 and finished the first-round series with three helpers. Mississauga will next face the Ottawa 67’s in the Eastern Conference Semifinals beginning Thursday.

In addition, the Gaunce gained recognition when the OHL announced the results of the 2009-10 Eastern Conference Coaches Poll last week. The defenseman finished third in the voting for “Smartest Player” and tied for third in the “Best Playmaker” category.

-The Kitchener Rangers advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals after winning their best-of-seven quarterfinal series against Saginaw, 4-2. Kitchener goaltender Brandon Maxwell played every minute of every game for the Rangers in the first round, posting a 2.00 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. Maxwell and the Rangers will take on the London Knights in the quarterfinal round starting Thursday.
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