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Avalanche Farm Report: May 16

Colorado Eagles are in the ECHL Western Conference Finals

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ECHL (Colorado Eagles)

After finishing off the defending champs, the Colorado Eagles now return home after splitting the first two games of the ECHL Western Conference Finals against the Toledo Walleye.

The Allen Americans, who won the Kelly Cup in 2015 and 2016, made things interesting in the conference semifinals after Colorado took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. The Americans won Games 4 and 5 by outscoring the Eagles 8-1 before the series shifted back to Texas.

Only one game was needed in the Dallas suburb, as Colorado broke out of its scoring slump and defeated Allen 4-3 on Tuesday to end the series in six games.

Colorado Avalanche prospect Mason Geertsen had the game-tying goal and an assist in the deciding contest. Julien Nantel had two shots, while Sergei Boikov had one.

The Eagles trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes of regulation, but Geertsen tied the game at 3-3 just 35 seconds into the third period. Matt Register scored the game-winner with 1:09 left to play.

Goaltender Kent Simpson made 23 saves in the win.

Colorado didn't have much time to get ready for the first game of the conference finals on Friday, as the Walleye was waiting for the squad in Ohio after wrapping up its five-game series against the Fort Wayne Komets three days before the Eagles.

Despite the quick three-day turnaround, the Eagles were first to get on the scoreboard, tallying at 18:40 of the first period. The lead was short-lived as Toledo scored with 20 seconds left in the frame and added two more in the first 1:23 of the middle stanza.

Alex Belzile cut the deficit to 3-2 with 2:28 left in the second, but the Walleye sealed the win with an empty-net marker in the final minute of the third period.

Defensemen Boikov and Geertsen both finished with two shots, with Geertsen also getting two penalty minutes for slashing. Nantel had one shot and a plus-1 rating.

Colorado had a much better second game on Saturday, as the team scored three first-period goals and held on for a 4-3 victory.

The outing had the opposite start to the one the night before, as it was the Walleye that scored first before the Eagles railed off three straight. Nantel assisted on Jake Marto's tying goal at 5:37 before picking up his fifth marker of the playoffs 2:18 later. Belzile then scored at 8:50 to stretch the lead to 3-1.

Toledo tallied midway through the second and third periods, but Register's goal 1:44 into the third period proved to be the game-winner.

Nantel is fourth on the Eagles with eight points and third in goals with five after 13 games played. Geertsen is third on the team with 27 penalty minutes, while having also contributed a goal and three helpers in 12 contests. Boikov has three assists and six penalty minutes in 11 postseason outings.

The Eagles will host the next three contests of the series at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, with Game 3 set for Wednesday. Game 4 is Friday and Game 5 is Saturday.

Upcoming Schedule:
Game 3 - Wednesday, May 17 vs. Toledo Walleye
Game 4 - Friday, May 19 vs. Toledo Walleye
Game 5 - Saturday, May 20 vs. vs. Toledo Walleye
Game 6 - Monday, May 22 at Toledo Walleye, if necessary

IIHF World Championship

Andrei Mironov (Russia): The defenseman has played in five games for his home country at the 2017 IIHF World Championship and scored in Russia's 6-0 win over Slovakia on Saturday. He did not play in Monday's contest against Latvia.

Mironov signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Avalanche on Friday after completing his fifth season with his hometown Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League. He recorded a goal and three assist in 18 games during the regular season, which saw him miss a significant chunk of time due to injuries. He had three assists in nine playoff contests before Dynamo was eliminated in the West Conference Semifinals by eventual-league champion SKA Saint Petersburg.

San Antonio Rampage

The San Antonio Rampage finished 27-42-7 in the Pacific Division and closed out the 2016-17 campaign on a winning note, defeating the Texas Stars 6-3 in Cedar Park on April 15.

Among the highlights from the season include recording the franchise's 500th win on Jan. 27 over the Ontario Reign and finishing ninth in the league in fan attendance.

Right wing Rocco Grimaldi led the team in points (55), goals (31) and assists (24) in 72 games played. His goals scored are the second most in a single season in franchise history and finished tied for third in the league. The Anaheim, California, native moved up to eighth place in scoring in franchise history. Grimaldi also collected one helper during his four-game stint with the Colorado Avalanche. He was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week for his play from Jan. 22-29, after he scored four goals, including two game-winners, and added an assist for five points in three games. 

Off the ice, Rampage forward A.J. Greer won the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the AHL's Man of the Year. The honor is awarded to a player for outstanding contributions to his community and charitable organizations. Some of Greer's contributions included working with local children's hospitals and raising awareness about childhood cancer. On the ice, the forward finished second on the team in goals (15), assists (23-tied) and points (38) after 63 competitions. 

Greer and goaltender Spencer Martin were named to the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic and competed in the round-robin tournament from Jan. 29-30 at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The Rampage saw 20 player-recalls to the Avalanche this season, including 12 different skaters, six of whom made their NHL debuts. Sam Henley recorded his first NHL goal during his debut on Nov. 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. J.T. Compher  made his league debut on March 2 at the Ottawa Senators and finished out the last 21 games with the Avs, recording three goals and two assists. The center tallied 13 goals and 17 assists in 41 games with the Rampage. 

Brendan Ranford made a noticeable impact after he was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on March 1 at the NHL Trade Deadline. The left wing recorded 17 points (four goals and 13 assists) in 21 contests with the Rampage.

OHL 

Travis Barron (Ottawa 67's): Barron recorded 13 goals and 21 assists in 59 competitions during the regular season as Ottawa finished seventh in the Eastern Conference (26-34-8). The forward scored one goal in four postseason contests. Barron left Game 4 of the OHL Playoffs first-round series with an upper-body injury after an incident with Mississauga's Nicolas Hague, who was suspended indefinitely by the league for the play. Barron did not compete in the final two playoff games, which saw the 67's be eliminated in six contests.

QMJHL

J.C. Beaudin (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies): Beaudin put up 30 goals and 50 assists in 65 regular-season outings. The forward recorded 20 points (eight goals and 12 assists) in 13 playoff games. Rouyn-Noranda was eliminated in the second round of the QMJHL Playoffs after falling in seven games to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.

Nicolas Meloche (Charlottetown Islanders): Meloche began the year with the Gatineau Olympiques before being acquired in a trade with Charlottetown on Dec. 22. He posted 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 61 games during the regular season before adding seven points (three goals, four assists) in 13 postseason matches. The Charlottetown Islanders were eliminated in the QMJHL Semifinals after dropping four of five contests to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

WHL

Josh Anderson (Prince George Cougars): Anderson scored three tallies and contributed eight assists in 69 contests during the 2016-17 regular campaign, which saw the Prince George Cougars win the B.C. Division. He played in all six playoff matches, recording a plus-1 rating and 12 penalty minutes, but the Cougars lost in the first round to the Portland Winterhawks.

NCAA

Will Butcher (University of Denver): Defenseman Will Butcher won the 2017 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to college hockey's top player, and then helped the University of Denver Pioneers win the 2017 NCAA National Championship. The Pioneers defeated Minnesota Duluth 3-2 in the final to bring home Denver's eighth national title. Butcher, who also received first team All-American honors during his senior campaign, recorded seven goals and led the team with 30 assists in 43 games during the season.

Tyson Jost  (University of North Dakota): Tyson Jost began the season as a freshman at the University of North Dakota and concluded it in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche. The forward finished second on UND in points (35), goals (16-tied) and assists (19) in 33 contests, but the team's season was cut short after it lost 4-3 in double overtime to the Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Jost, who was selected 10th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Avalanche on March 29. He made his NHL debut on March 31 and competed in the Avs' final six competitions. Jost scored his first NHL goal on April 6 against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center. 

Cam Morrison (University of Notre Dame): Cam Morrison and the University of Notre Dame competed in the Frozen Four at the United Center in Chicago but lost 6-1 to the University of Denver in the national semifinals. Morrison scored the Fighting Irish's only goal in the semifinal match and ended the year with 11 goals and 12 assists in 39 contests.

Ben Storm (St. Cloud State University): Ben Storm finished the season with four helpers in 29 games for St. Cloud State University, which lost in two games to North Dakota in the NCHC Quarterfinals. After concluding his senior year, Storm signed an amateur tryout with the San Antonio Rampage on March 18 and made his professional debut on April 1. 

Sweden

Gustav Olhaver (Rogle BK J20, Super Elit): Gustav Olhaver and Rogle BK concluded their season after losing their best-of-three playoff series 2-1 to HV71. Olhaver, who had one goal in the postseason, collected 15 goals and 23 assists in 38 contests during the regular season. He also played in 10 games with Rogle in the Swedish Hockey League, tallying an assist.

Adam Werner (Bjorkloven, Allsvenskan): Adam Werner posted a 12-13 record and registered a 2.98 goals-against average, .892 save percentage and two shutouts in 25 matches this year. Werner and Bjorkloven did not make the playoffs after finishing the regular season in 11th place with a 20-26-6 record.

Wilhelm Westlund (Timra IK, Allsvenskan): Wilhelm Westlund and Timra IK wrapped up the 2016-17 season after being eliminated from the Meca Hockey Race by IK Pantern. The defenseman finished with one tally and eight helpers during the regular season and had three points (one goal and two assists) in five postseason outings.

Slovakia

Maximilian Pajpach (HK Poprad, Slovak Extraliga): Maximilian Pajpach split time this season between HK Poprad of Slovak Extraliga and MHC Martin B in Slovakia's second-tier pro league. Pajpach had a 4.22 goals-against average and a .872 save percentage in nine games for Poprad. He also recorded a 7.05 goals-against average and a .828 save percentage in five contests with MHC Martin B and played in four games with Poprad's under-20 team, where he registered a 3.41 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.

KHL

Denis Parshin (Salavat Yulaev Ufa): Denis Parshin recorded 20 points (eight goals and 12 assists) in 53 regular-season outings. He had two assists in five postseason contests as Salavat Yulaev lost in the East Conference Quarterfinals to AK Bars.

High School

Nate Clurman (Culver Academy): Nate Clurman recorded six goals and 22 assists in 36 competitions this season. Culver Academy went 3-1 in USA Hockey's U-18 Tier I National Championship. Clurman registered a helper in the team's heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Mid-Fairfield Chiefs in the semifinals.

Central Interior Hockey League

Luke Walker (Terrace River Kings): Luke Walker helped the Terrace River Kings win the Coy Cup in the Central Interior Hockey League in British Columbia. Walker led all players in postseason scoring with seven points (three goals and four assists) in five games after he recorded 24 points (12 goals and 12 assists) in 14 regular-season contests.

Nicole Morris and Heather Ward contributed to this story

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