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Farm Report: Shooting For a Title

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Spotlight On: Nathan Condon

Nathan Condon, a forward for the USHL’s Fargo Force, wrapped up the regular season by notching an assist in a 4-3 loss to the Lincoln Stars.

In his first year with the Force, a USHL expansion club, Condon finished as the team’s fifth leading scorer with 29 points (11g/18a) in 58 games.

Prior to joining Fargo, Condon posted 59 points (33g/26a) and was named to the Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association All-State Team during his senior year at Wausau West High School. After his final year of high school hockey, Condon was selected by Colorado in the seventh round (200th overall) of the 2008 Entry Draft.

Next up for the Force will be a match-up with the defending Clark Cup Champion Omaha Lancers in the first round of the Clark Cup Playoffs. The best-of-five series opens on Friday at the Mid-America Center in Omaha.

This season will likely be Condon’s last with the Force, as he has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2009.
Despite a valiant late-season push, the Lake Erie Monsters have officially been eliminated from the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Playoffs.

Lake Erie opened the week with a 5-2 home loss to the Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday. Chris Durno and Bryan Marshall each notched goals in the defeat.

Philippe Dupuis, Per Ledin and Brandon Biggers staked the Monsters to a 3-0 lead on Friday en route to a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals. Jason Bacashihua received the starting nod between the pipes and posted 23 saves to pick up the win.

On Saturday, Tyler Weiman turned away all 22 shots he faced to earn his AHL-leading eighth shutout as the Monsters took a 3-0 decision from the Houston Aeros. Matt Hendricks notched a goal and one assist, while Durno and Mike McLean also scored for the victors.

Monday marked the conclusion of a game between the Monsters and the San Antonio Rampage from March 21 that had been suspended due to insufficient ice conditions. Play started at the beginning of the second period, with San Antonio leading, 1-0. Darcy Campbell and Per Ledin netted goals for Lake Erie, but the Monsters gave up a power-play goal and two empty-net tallies in the third period to fall, 5-2.

Lake Erie has two games remaining on its schedule; an April 8 contest in Chicago and its April 11 regular season finale versus Manitoba.

Johnstown Chiefs
The Chiefs ended their regular season by posting an 0-2-1 mark in a three-game weekend set against the Cincinnati Cyclones. As a result, Johnstown, which finished the campaign with a 37-30-5-0 record (79 points), ended up fifth in the American North Division and one point out of a berth in the ECHL Playoffs.

-Justin Mercier and the Miami (Ohio) University RedHawks will face off with the Bemidji State University Beavers on Thursday in the semifinals of the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship in Washington, D.C. Miami’s game is set for 3:00 p.m. MT and can be seen on ESPN 2.

Following that contest, Colby Cohen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brandon Yip and their Boston University teammates will take on the University of Vermont at 6:30 p.m. MT for a berth in championship game. The BU/Vermont tilt will also be televised on ESPN 2.

The NCAA Frozen Four Championship Game will be held Saturday, with the two remaining schools doing battle at 5:00 p.m. MT on ESPN.

-Ryan Stoa was named to the Inside College Hockey 2008-09 All-America Second Team on Wednesday. Stoa led the Gophers with 46 points (24g/22a) in 36 games this season and signed an entry-level contract with the Avalanche on March 27.

-The University of Michigan presented its team awards during a banquet on Saturday. Wolverine netminder Billy Sauer garnered the Joseph E. Barss Award, given to the best team player as determined by the coaching staff. Sauer posted a 5-6-0 record with a 2.02 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and two shutouts during his senior season in Ann Arbor.

-Cedric McNicoll and the Shawinigan Cataractes split the first two games of their QMJHL quarterfinal series with Gatineau. McNicoll scored a power-play goal during a 4-3 Shawinigan victory in Friday’s series opener and notched a goal and an assist on Saturday in a 5-3 loss. Game 3 of the series will take place on Tuesday.

In other news, McNicoll was named a First-Team QMJHL All-Star on Wednesday and was also the recipient of the Frank J. Selke trophy as the league’s most sportsmanlike player. McNicoll posted 104 points (38g/66a) and only 22 penalty minutes in 65 regular season games in earning the Selke trophy for the second consecutive season.

-Kelsey Tessier and the Quebec Remparts currently find themselves down two games to Cape Breton in their quarterfinal playoff series. Cape Breton outlasted Quebec in Game 1 on Friday, taking a 3-2 decision in a contest that needed four overtimes to decide a winner. All told, the game lasted 132:57 and was the second longest in QMJHL history. Cape Breton needed only 60 minutes to dispatch the Remparts in Game 2 on Sunday, earning a 5-3 victory. Quebec looks to get into the win column when Game 3 is staged on Tuesday.

-After dropping the first two games of their best-of-seven, second round playoff series to the Brampton Battalion, Cameron Gaunce and the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors stormed back with a 5-1 win in Sunday’s Game 3. Gaunce didn’t factor into the scoring, but posted a +3 plus/minus rating in the victory. The teams will play Game 4 on Tuesday night.

-Trevor Cann made 32 stops and Kevin Montgomery notched an assist as the London Knights cruised to a 7-3 win over the Saginaw Spirit on Thursday in Game 1 of their second round series. London would go on to take a 3-0 series lead with a 4-3 win on Saturday and a 4-1 victory on Sunday, with Cann turning away a combined 48-of-52 shots. The Knights will look to close out the best-of-seven series on Tuesday evening.
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