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Farm Report: Four Prospects in Frozen Four

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Spotlight On: Ryan Stoa

On Friday, the Avalanche signed prized prospect and University of Minnesota forward Ryan Stoa to an entry-level contract. After flying to Denver for the signing and attending Friday night’s contest against Vancouver, Stoa returned to Minnesota, where he picked up a few laurels.

Stoa, the Gophers’ captain in 2008-09, earned the John Mariucci Most Valuable Player Award. He also received the Elwin “Doc” Romnes Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and Tom Mohr Playoff MVP honors during Minnesota’s season-ending banquet on Sunday.

A native of Bloomington, Minn., Stoa was crowned the WCHA’s scoring champion with 36 points (19g/17a) in 27 conference games and earned First Team All-WCHA honors after totaling 46 points (24g/22a) overall this season.

Also included in Stoa’s honors this week was a nod to the College Hockey News All-America First Team.

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The Lake Erie Monsters posted a 1-2 record last week, beginning with a 5-4 loss to San Antonio on Thursday (March 26). Jason Bacashihua made 30 saves in a losing cause, while Ray Macias (1g/1a) and Bryan Marshall (2a) recorded multi-point efforts.

Friday night brought a 4-2 triumph in Rochester, as Codey Burki, Mike McLean, Darcy Campbell and David Marshall each scored for the Monsters. Tyler Weiman picked up the win by stopping 21-of-23 shots.

Lake Erie rounded out the weekend with an 8-5 loss to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday. Macias and Chris Durno each notched a goal and one assist, while Nigel Williams chipped in with a pair of helpers.

-The Monsters have announced a date for completing their suspended game from March 21 against San Antonio. The contest, which will resume with the start of the second period and the Rampage ahead, 1-0, will be finished on Monday, April 6 at Hoover Arena.

-Left wing J.D. Corbin has been named Lake Erie’s American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year for his outstanding contributions to the Cleveland community. Corbin is now one of 29 finalists for the AHL’s 2008-09 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the league’s overall American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year.

Johnstown Chiefs
The Chiefs picked up a 6-4 victory against Reading on Friday night, but then lost games to Cincinnati (2-1 on Saturday) and Reading (2-1 on Sunday) to round out the week. Johnstown closes out its regular season this weekend with a trio of contests in Cincinnati. A playoff berth will be on the line for the Chiefs, who currently sit fourth in the American North Division.

The Avalanche will be represented by four prospects at the 2009 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four. Boston University, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, boasts prospects Colby Cohen, Kevin Shattenkirk and Brandon Yip, while Miami (Ohio) University features Justin Mercier.

-The Terriers routed Ohio State University by an 8-3 score in Saturday’s Northeast Regional Semifinal, with Yip (1g/1a) and Cohen (2a) both posting multi-point efforts. Boston University then punched its ticket to the Frozen Four on Sunday with a 2-1 win over the University of New Hampshire. Cohen earned an assist on the game-winning goal.

-The RedHawks gained entrance into the Frozen Four with a pair of upsets in the West Regional, first taking down the No. 1 seeded Denver Pioneers before topping the No. 2 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. Justin Mercier opened the scoring in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Pioneers on his 12th goal of the season. Mercier then notched both of the RedHawks’ goals in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Bulldogs, striking on a short-handed effort and a power-play goal in the second period.

For his efforts, Mercier was named the Most Outstanding Player of the West Regional.

-Brad Malone notched a goal and an assist, but the University of North Dakota dropped a 6-5 overtime decision to New Hampshire in the Northeast Regional Semifinal on Saturday. Malone finished his sophomore campaign with 17 points (5g/12a) in 41 games.

-The University of Michigan – the No. 1 seed in the East Regional – was upset by the fourth seed, Air Force Academy. The Wolverines’ 2-0 loss meant the end of Avalanche prospect Billy Sauer’s collegiate career. The netminder, who dressed as his team’s backup against Air Force, finished his four-year stint at Michigan with a 71-30-8 career record.

-Kelsey Tessier and the Quebec Remparts earned a 4-1 series victory over Baie-Comeau in the first round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Playoffs. Quebec dropped Game 4 by a 4-3 count on Tuesday, with Tessier notching an assist. The center then scored two goals (including one on the power play) as the Remparts closed out the series with a 5-2 victory on Wednesday. Tessier has five points (4g/1a) in five playoff contests.

-The Shawinigan Cataractes swept the Victoriaville Tigres in their first-round series. Shawinigan earned a 4-3 overtime victory on Tuesday, led by Cedric McNicoll’s three-point night (2g/1a). Joel Chouinard notched an assist for the Tigres in a losing effort. Neither player recorded a point in Wednesday’s series finale, a 2-1 overtime win for the Cataractes.

-The Lewiston MAINEiacs were swept out of the first round by Drummondville. Lewiston suffered a 7-2 loss on Tuesday, followed by a 9-3 defeat on Wednesday. Peter Delmas started Game 4 on Wednesday, but was pulled at the 15:15 mark of the first period after allowing five goals on 16 shots.

-The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, led by defenseman Cameron Gaunce, eliminated the Barrie Colts in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League Playoffs, taking the series by a 4-1 count. The Majors fell by a 3-2 count in overtime during Game 4 on Thursday, but bounced back with a 4-3 victory in triple overtime during Saturday’s Game 5 to clinch the series. In Saturday’s thriller, Gaunce scored two power-play goals, added an assist and was named the game’s first star. The blueliner is leading all OHL defensemen in playoff scoring with nine points (3g/6a) in five games. Mississauga’s next opponent is yet to be determined.

-Trevor Cann led the London Knights to a 4-1 series victory over the Erie Otters in the opening round of the OHL Playoffs. Cann and the Knights suffered a 4-0 loss in Game 3 on Wednesday, but bounced back with a 4-2 victory on Thursday to take a 3-1 series lead. The Oakville, Ont., native made 23 stops in Thursday’s win and then closed out the series with a 36-save effort Saturday in a 6-2 London triumph. Cann ranks fourth among OHL netminders with a .940 save percentage and fifth with a 2.01 goals-against average in the postseason.

-Fargo’s Nathan Condon totaled three assists in a pair of victories over Tri-City last weekend, and has now totaled 28 points (11g/17a) in 56 contests. The Force, which has qualified for postseason play, will finish up its regular season slate this weekend with games against Omaha and Lincoln.
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