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3 Stars of the Week: Big week for forwards, NCAA prospects set for tourneys

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks

On Mondays, the Blackhawks Blog will highlight players who stood out for their minor-league, junior, college, or European teams in the previous week’s action. All prospect/system stats will be updated weekly throughout the 2015-16 season.

(Tyler Ingham/UND Sports)

1st Star: C Nick Schmaltz, University of North Dakota (NCHC)
The Line: 2GP, 3G, 3A

Last weekend produced another offensive outburst for Schmaltz, who picked up six points for North Dakota in a two-game sweep over Colorado College. The 2014 first-round selection contributed two goals and an assist—his first multi-goal game in the NCAA—in Friday’s 7-1 win, then added a tally and two helpers in the 5-1 clincher the next night. Schmaltz now has 40 points in 31 games this season and shares fifth in the nation with 32 assists. UND will face Minnesota–Duluth in the NCHC semifinals on Friday.

(Getty Images)

2nd Star: LW Graham Knott, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
The Line: 3GP, 2G, 3A

The Blackhawks’ second-round pick in 2015 had a big week for the IceDogs, scoring against Flint on Thursday, posting a goal and two assists against North Bay the next night, and finishing the weekend with a helper on Niagara’s lone goal against Hamilton. Knott extended his point streak to four games and now has 40 points in 65 games this season, including a career-high 28 assists.

(Photo courtesy Rockford IceHogs)

3rd Star: C Tanner Kero, Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
The Line: 3GP, 2G, 1A

The IceHogs dropped both games of their weekend set in Charlotte, but first-year pro Kero contributed two goals and assist over those two games. The 23-year-old netted his seventh multi-point game of the season in a 6-3 loss on Saturday, then scored Rockford’s lone goal in a 4-1 result the following night, marking his 19th goal of the season. Kero now shares the team lead in goals and shares fifth with 31 points in 44 games this season.

Honorable mentions: RW Liam Coughlin, University of Vermont (H-EAST); D Viktor Svedberg, Rockford (AHL)

Liam Coughlin helped the Catamounts take Hockey East’s top seed, Boston College, to the brink last weekend with a three-point performance (1G, 2A) in a 4-2 win on Saturday to force a third game in the quarterfinals. Vermont ultimately fell 4-3 in overtime in Sunday’s tiebreaker, ending Coughlin’s season; the 2014 fifth-round pick finished his freshman campaign with 12 points in 35 games.

Svedberg picked up three helpers in three games with the IceHogs last week, including a pair in their 5-2 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday. The towering defenseman, who just signed a two-year contract extension on Monday, has 14 points (1G, 13A) in 36 AHL games this season.

Around the system:

  • Defensemen Carl Dahlstrom (2A) and Gustav Forsling (1A) each contributed to Linkoping’s 5-0 victory over Malmo in the regular-season finale last Tuesday. Dahlstrom ended his second full season in the Swedish Hockey League with eight points (1G, 7A) in 50 games, while Forsling collected 21 points (6G, 15A) in 48 games, both career bests. Linkoping will begin their playoff series against Vaxjo on Thursday... Djurgardens blueliners Robin Norell and Robin Press are two games into their play-in series against Byrnas, with Game 3 taking place Monday evening. Should the team prevail, they would move to the quarterfinals beginning March 18.

  • Winger John Dahlstrom tallied one goal in two playoff games for Frolunda’s J20 team, helping them advance to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face AIK beginning Wednesday. The 2015 seventh-round pick finished the regular season with 35 points (21G, 14A) in 38 games with the J20 team... Defenseman Andreas Soderberg notched one helper in two playoff games with Skelleftea J20, helping the team move on to the quarterfinals against Farjestad.

  • Radovan Bondra tallied an assist for Vancouver in the WHL last Friday in a 5-2 loss to Portland, then scored the Giants’ lone goal in a 2-1 overtime loss at Kamloops; he has 29 points in 56 games this season... Roy Radke tallied a goal and an assist for Barrie in the OHL, helping the Colts to a big 8-1 win over Owen Sound on March 9; he added an assist on Saturday in a 5-2 win over Peterborough.

  • Dylan Sikura tallied his 10th goal of the season and added a helper in Northeastern’s 6-4 win over Notre Dame on Saturday to complete the quarterfinal sweep over the Fighting Irish. The Huskies will face Boston College in the Hockey East semifinals this Friday... Anthony Louis ended his season on a high note, despite Miami crashing out of the NCHC quarterfinals against Minnesota–Duluth. The 2013 sixth-round pick notched a goal and an assist in Friday’s 5-4 loss, then added a helper in a 3-1 loss the next night; Louis shared the team lead with 11 goals and 26 points in his junior campaign... North Dakota junior Luke Johnson tallied a goal and an assist in the team’s weekend sweep over Colorado College.

  • Tyler Motte hit the 50-point mark with a pair of assists in Michigan’s 6-1 win over Penn State last Saturday; he is now one point away from hitting 100 in his collegiate career. On Monday, the 2013 fourth-round pick was named to the All-Big 10 First Team along with the other two members of the “CCM Line.” Michigan will play in the B10 semifinals on Friday.

  • Mark McNeill continued to find the back of the net for Rockford with two goals in their loss to Charlotte on Friday. The 2011 first-round pick paces the team with 37 points and shares the lead with 19 tallies... Vincent Hinostroza collected three helpers in three games last week for Rockford and now ranks second on the team with 23 helpers and 36 points.

  • Pierre-Cedric Labrie netted a hat trick in Rockford’s 5-2 win over Milwaukee... Captain Jake Dowell tallied a goal and an assist in Wednesday’s win, giving him 31 points in 58 games this season as he continues to build upon a career year in the AHL... Kyle Baun contributed two helpers in Rockford’s victory over the Admirals and now has six points in 27 games... Defensemen Ville Pokka picked up a pair of assists for Rockford and continues to lead the team with 28 on the season, and his 34 points rank 12th among active league blueliners this year.
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