Following an impressive three-year run with the Ontario Hockey League’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, defenseman Cameron Gaunce
made his way to the professional ranks in 2010-11.
A two-time member of the OHL Second All-Star Team, the 6-foot-1, 203-pound blueliner spent the majority of the season with the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters but was also skated in 11 games with the Avalanche.
The following is a look back at the rookie’s first professional campaign.Starting in Lake Erie
Gaunce made his professional debut during Lake Erie’s season opener (a 3-2 victory over Syracuse on Oct. 8) and would go on to appear in 61 games for the Monsters during the 2010-11 season.
When all was said and done, Gaunce finished the year ranked first among Lake Erie defensemen in points (22) and penalty minutes (84) while placing third in plus/minus rating (+13).Receiving The Call
After spending the first four months in Cleveland, the rookie received his first NHL recall on Feb. 12.
With defensemen Kyle Cumiskey, Adam Foote and Jonas Holos
all having been recently injured, Gaunce promptly suited up that same night as the Avalanche visited the Nashville Predators. He logged 11:11 of ice time in his NHL debut and recorded a hit and a blocked shot.First Goal
The blueliner recorded his first career NHL goal (and the only point of his rookie campaign) during his third game with Colorado.
The Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins were tied, 1-1, in the second period of their Feb. 16 matchup at Pepsi Center when Gaunce’s wrister from the right point made its way through traffic and snuck past Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.Dropping The Gloves
Along with being a solid two-way defender, Gaunce also gained a reputation both at the major junior and AHL levels as someone who had a bit of a mean streak and wasn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates.
He displayed that part of his game on Feb. 27 at Anaheim when he recorded a career-high nine penalty minutes, which included his first career NHL fight against defenseman Luca Sbisa.Riding The Shuttle
Gaunce spent part of March traveling back and forth between Colorado and Ohio. The defenseman was reassigned on March 5 and recalled by Colorado on March 24.
He would play in three games with the Avalanche before being reassigned to the Monsters on March 29. That reassignment didn’t last long, as he was once again summoned to Colorado on March 31.Out Of The Lineup
After being recalled for the final time on March 31, Gaunce took the ice that night against the Nashville Predators as a result of the Avalanche only having five other healthy defensemen on its roster.
Gaunce suffered a hand injury midway through the second period of that contest, but returned for the start of the final frame. However, it was revealed later that the injury was more severe than initially thought and ending up knocking him out of the lineup for the rest of the season.