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Avalanche Farm Report: May 2

Julien Nantel extends point streak as the Eagles take the series lead against the Americans

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

Colorado Eagles (ECHL)

The Colorado Eagles will return home this week up 2-0 in their second-round playoff series against the defending ECHL champion Allen Americans.

In a matchup between the top two teams from the Mountain Division during the regular season, Colorado was victorious in both contests this past weekend in Allen, Texas. The Eagles won 4-1 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday and now host the next three outings as the series shifts to the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland. Game 3 is on Wednesday.

The Americans edged the Eagles by five points to win the division during the regular season, but it was Colorado that looked to be the better team after winning four straight games against the Idaho Steelheads in the first round. The Eagles got on the scoreboard early in Game 1 on Friday as Cam Maclise tallied just 3:30 into the contest. Allen tied the outing nearly five minutes later, but Alex Belzile scored the eventual game-winner at 9:24 of the first period to put Colorado back ahead.

Jake Marto added a pair of markers in the middle frame to keep the Eagles on top for good in the 4-1 victory.

Avalanche forward prospect Julien Nantel had one assist in the contest for Colorado, while defensemen Mason Geertsen and Sergei Boikov each picked up two penalty minutes. Boikov had four shots on goal, second on the club during the contest behind Belzile's six.

The Eagles held off a rally by the Americans on Saturday and added two late goals to pick up a 5-2 win and take the 2-0 lead in the series.

Colorado led 3-0 after 40 minutes of play, but Allen cut its deficit to one with 3:42 remaining in regulation to set up a thrilling finish. However, it was the Eagles that lit the red lamp in the end as Belzile tallied his second of the contest at 18:01 and Ryan Harrison scored into an empty net with 55 seconds left.

Nantel and Boikov each had assists in Saturday's game, while Geertsen finished with a plus-1 rating.

Nantel is on a five-game point streak (three goals and two assists), while Boikov has picked up three assists in six games during the ECHL postseason. Geertsen has a plus-3 rating and six penalty minutes in seven playoff outings this year.

Upcoming Games:
Game 3 - Wednesday vs. Allen Americans
Game 4 - Thursday vs. Allen American
Game 5 - Sunday vs. Allen Americans, if necessary

QMJHL Playoffs

Nicolas Meloche (Charlottetown Islanders): Nicolas Meloche's season has come to an end as his Charlottetown Islanders dropped four straight games to be eliminated in five contests by the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the QMJHL Semifinals.

With the series tied 1-1 entering the week, the Islanders lost 5-4 on Tuesday. Charlottetown was down by three entering the third period before Meloche jumpstarted the team's comeback bid. The Avalanche prospect tallied at 8:01 of the stanza and teammate Filip Chlapik recorded his second goal of the night less than six minutes later to get the Islanders within one. That was as close as they would get as the Armada took the lead in the series. Meloche also had an assist on Chlapik's first tally of the contest 12 seconds into the middle period that tied the outing 2-2.

Things didn't go any better later in the week as the Islanders lost Game 4 by a 4-2 score on Wednesday before being eliminated from the postseason with a 5-2 loss on Saturday. Meloche registered two penalty minutes in each of the final two outings. He finished the playoffs with seven points (three goals and four assists) in 13 contests after posting a total of 47 points (16 goals and 31 assists) in 61 games during the regular season. Meloche began the year with the Gatineau Olympiques before being acquired in a trade with Charlottetown on Dec. 22. He played 33 contests with the Islanders, recording nine goals and 17 assists.

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), points (38) and assists (23-tied) 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. 


Travis Barron (Ottawa 67's): The Ottawa 67's were knocked out of the OHL Playoffs after losing their first-round series in six games to the Mississauga Steelheads. Barron left Game 4 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. The forward scored one goal in four postseason contests. 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).


J.C. Beaudin (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies): The Huskies were eliminated in the second round of the QMJHL Playoffs after falling in seven games to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. J.C. Beaudin scored a marker in Game 7 and recorded 20 points (eight goals and 12 assists) in 13 playoff games. The forward put up 30 goals and 50 assists in 65 regular-season outings. 


Josh Anderson (Prince George Cougars): The Prince George Cougars were eliminated from the WHL Playoffs after losing in six games in the first round to the Portland Winterhawks. Prince George finished third in the Western Conference with a 45-21-6 record. Anderson competed in all six playoff matches, recording a plus-1 rating and 12 penalty minutes. He scored three tallies and contributed eight assists in 69 contests during the 2016-17 regular campaign.  


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

Tyson Jost  (University of North Dakota): The University of North Dakota (21-16-3) concluded its season with a 4-3 double-overtime loss to Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Tyson Jost finished second on the team in points (35), goals (16-tied) and assists (19) in 33 contests. Jost, who was selected 10th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche on March 29. The forward made his NHL debut on March 31 and competed in the Avalanche's 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): The University of Notre Dame finished the 2016-17 campaign with a 23-12-5 overall record. Cam Morrison and the team competed in the Frozen Four at the United Center in Chicago but lost 6-1 against the University of Denver in the national semifinals. Morrison scored the Fighting Irish's only goal in the semifinal match and finished the year with 11 goals and 12 assists in 39 contests.

Ben Storm (St. Cloud State University): St. Cloud State University finished the 2016-17 season 16-19-1 and lost in two games to North Dakota in the NCHC Quarterfinals. Ben Storm had one assist in the playoff seres and finished the season with a total of four helpers in 29 competitions. Storm signed an amateur tryout with the San Antonio Rampage on March 18 and made his professional debut on April 1. 


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 and Bjorkloven did not make the playoffs after finishing the regular season in 11th place with a 20-26-6 record. 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. 

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.


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's registered a 3.41 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.


Denis Parshin (Salavat Yulaev Ufa): Denis Parshin and Salavat Yulaev Ufa finished the 2016-17 season with 88 points (27-20-13) and lost in five games against AK Bars in the East Conference Quarterfinals. Parshin had two assists in five postseason contests after recording 20 points (eight goals and 12 assists) in 53 regular-season outings.

Andrei Mironov (Dynamo Moscow): Andrei Mironov and Dynamo Moscow concluded the regular season with 112 points (39-16-5) and finished third in the West Conference. The club was eliminated from the KHL playoffs in four games by SKA Saint Petersburg in the West Conference Semifinals. Mironov had three assists in nine playoff games and scored one goal and three helpers in 18 regular-season matches. 

High School

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

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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