Spotlight On: Troy Bourke
Prince George is fighting for its playoff life. The Cougars are sitting in ninth place in the WHL’s Western Conference, and they are four points from a playoff spot with four regular-season games remaining. If they don’t make the playoffs, it won’t be because of poor play from Troy Bourke.
Bourke, a 2012 third-round draft pick of the Avalanche, is a talented center that can tally points in bunches. This is why he is currently the second leading scorer for the Cougars with 79 points. His 53 assists lead the team, and he is tied for third in goals with 26. He is in the top 15 for points in the WHL.
This is Bourke’s last season of junior eligibility, and he has made strides in working on his all-around game. The Prince George captain has improved from a minus-30 rating to a minus-5 this season and has scored three short-handed goals, showing a commitment to the defensive zone.
Before the 2012 draft, scouts praised the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Bourke for his non-stop motor, smooth skating, and his consistency of putting up points. He had scored over 45 points in his first two WHL seasons, giving the Avalanche enough reason to take him with the 72nd overall pick.
Since being drafted, Bourke has had two more huge offensive seasons for the Cougars. He is a play-making prospect that Avs fans can look forward to possibly making an impact at Pepsi Center in the future.
Lake Erie Monsters
The Monsters hosted the Western Conference-leading Texas Stars in a mid-week series last week. They opened the set on Tuesday with the Stars by winning a close 2-1 matchup. Calvin Pickard was good in net for the Monsters, stopping 21 of 23 shots.
Lake Erie gave up an early power-play goal to Texas, but Garrett Meurs would even the score quickly after an outlet pass from Michael Schumacher. Brett Clark was also credited with an assist on the equalizer. The Stars took the lead for good on a deflection in the middle of the second period.
Pickard and Schumacher led the way for the Monsters in a 3-2 shootout win on Wednesday in the rematch with the Stars. Pickard stopped 32 of 34 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping all four shootout attempts by Texas. Schumacher was able to score the opening goal off a Paul Carey assist in the first period and scored another one in the shootout.
The Monsters were trailing in the third when Stefan Elliott went top shelf for his eighth goal of the season. Karl Stollery and Mike Sgarbossa picked up assists on the equalizer.
After a fruitless overtime, the Monsters were able to get the win after both Schumacher and Colin Smith tallied shootout goals.
Smith continued his impressive season in the shootout on Friday in the Monsters’ 3-2 shootout loss to Hamilton. Lake Erie was able to send the game to overtime and secure a point when Elliott capitalized on assists from Meurs and Heard in the third period.
Schumacher scored the Monsters’ opening goal off a Smith centering pass midway through the first period. Pickard was strong again in net, stopping 29 of 31 shots and three of five Hamilton shootout attempts.
The Monsters traveled to Toronto on Sunday for a showdown with the Marlies.
Sgarbossa and Joey Hishon scored for Lake Erie in a 5-2 loss.
Pickard and Smith were credited with assists on Sgarbossa's goal, which came on the power play. Hishon's goal was a redirection from a shot by Stollery at the blue line. Matt Hunwick picked up an assist along with Stollery on the play.
Pickard stopped 23 of 27 shots against the Marlies and is now 13-15-3 on the season.
Mar. 7 vs. Toronto
Mar. 8 vs. Toronto
Mar. 9 at Hamilton
The Cutthroats hosted Rapid City at the Denver Coliseum over the weekend, sweeping the two-game set at home. Denver won Saturday's game 3-0. On Sunday, the Fish were explosive on offense and racked up a big 7-0 win. Denver lost 5-3 on Friday in Rapid City.
Mar. 7 at Brampton
Mar. 9 at Brampton
Mar. 10 at Brampton
Kieran Millan (Wheeling Nailers): Millan and the Nailers were back in action on Friday, winning a close 6-4 game over Elmira. It was their lone win of the week. Millan was in net for Wheeling on Saturday as it lost 4-1 to Reading. He stopped 24 of 28 shots and is currently 2-1-0 with the Nailers. On Sunday, Wheeling was on the wrong side of a 7-5 game with Cincinnati.
Chris Bigras (Owen Sound Attack): Bigras and the Attack went 2-1 this week. They opened play with a 4-3 shootout loss to London. On Saturday, they bounced back with a 4-1 win over Mississauga. Bigras had an assist in Saturday’s matchup. He finished the week on Sunday with three assists in a 7-6 overtime win versus Ottawa.
Joseph Blandisi (Barrie Colts): Blandisi and the Colts opened play last Thursday with a 4-1 loss to Windsor. On Friday, they bounced back, winning 2-1 over Plymouth. They were dominant in Saturday’s 7-1 win over Ottawa.
Michael Clarke (Peterborough Petes): Clarke and the Petes had a great week, as they went 3-0. They kicked things off with a 5-2 win over Oshawa on Thursday. Clarke tallied an assist in the opener. Stellar defense led the way over the weekend with the Petes winning 2-1 over Sarnia on Saturday and 3-1 over London on Sunday.
Spencer Martin (Mississauga Steelheads): Martin was strong in net for the Steelheads on Thursday, stopping 31 of 32 shots in Mississauga’s 3-1 win over Niagara. He was back in net for the last two periods of Saturday's 4-1 loss to Oshawa. He stopped all 19 shots he faced in the game. On Sunday, he stopped 31 of 34 shots in a 4-1 loss to Owen Sound.
Troy Bourke (Prince George Cougars): Bourke had a three-point night on Tuesday, as he picked up a goal and two assists in the Cougars' 9-5 loss to Kelowna. He tallied another assist on Friday when Prince George fell 5-3 to Victoria. The Cougars fell again to Victoria on Sunday, losing 2-1.
Mason Geertsen (Vancouver Giants): On Friday, Geertsen and the Giants were on the wrong side of a 6-0 matchup with Kelowna. They were beat 3-1 in the rematch on Saturday.
Will Butcher (University of Denver): Butcher and the Pioneers bounced back from a tough weekend, splitting a tough road series with Western Michigan. On Friday, they won the opener 4-2. Butcher scored a goal early in the third period to give the Pioneers a lead they would not lose. Western Michigan was able to defend its home ice on Saturday, winning 3-1.
Nate Condon (University of Minnesota): Condon and the Gophers swept a home series over Penn State this weekend. On Friday, Condon had a short-handed goal in Minnesota’s 5-1 win. The Gophers had a close 2-1 win on Saturday to secure the weekend sweep.
Luke Moffatt (University of Michigan): Moffatt and the Wolverines split a weekend series against Ohio State. On Friday, they lost in a shootout after a close 2-2 tie. Moffat scored a big goal in the Saturday rematch and helped Michigan to a 4-3 win.
Ben Storm (St. Cloud State): Storm and St. Cloud State split a weekend series with the University of North Dakota over the weekend. On Friday, North Dakota took the opener 5-2. St. Cloud State was able to bounce back on Saturday, winning 3-1.
Gus Young (Yale University): Young and the Bulldogs were upended 3-0 by Union on Friday. They were able to pick up a 5-0 win on Saturday over Rensselaer. Young pitched in with an assist in the victory.
Jonas Holos (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl): Holos and Lokomotiv came out of the Olympic break streaking and have gone 3-0 since play resumed. They kicked things off on Wednesday with a 5-3 win over Avtomobilist. Holos scored the eventual game-winning goal. On Friday, he pitched in with an assist in a 6-2 win over Ugra. They closed the week on Sunday by defeating Avangard 4-1. Holos picked up another assist, ending his week with a three-game point streak.
Denis Parshin (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod): On Wednesday, Parshin and Torpedo opened play with a 2-1 overtime loss to Salavat. Parshin opened the scoring for Torpedo by getting a power-play goal early in the first period. They bounced back on Friday with a 5-3 win over Neftekhimik. On Sunday, Torpedo finished its week with a 1-0 win over Traktor.
Tomas Vincour (Ak Bars Kazan): Vincour came out of the break hot with a two-assist night for Ak Bars in Wednesday’s 7-3 win over Neftekhimik. It was the team's only win of the week as it lost 1-0 to Salavat on Friday and 1-0 to Metallurg on Sunday.
Luke Walker (Medvescak Zagreb): Walker and Medvescak were back in action on Wednesday but lost 5-1 to Dinamo. They were able to get a 3-1 win over CSKA on Friday before falling 2-1 in overtime to Lev on Sunday.
Wilhelm Westlund (Farjestads BK): On Tuesday, Westlund's Farjestads team picked up a 4-3 overtime win over AIK. They weren’t as fortunate on Thursday, losing 4-2 to Vaxjo. On Sunday, they finished their week with a 1-0 win over MODO. The SHL regular season concludes this week.