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3 Stars of the Week: Leighton nears AHL record, McNeill extends point streak

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks

Each Monday, 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.

(Photo courtesy Rockford IceHogs)

1st Star: G Michael Leighton, Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
The Line: 2-0-1, 44th career AHL shutout

Leighton appeared in all three games for the IceHogs this week, going 2-0-0-1 and totaling 76 saves on 79 shots for a .962 save percentage. The 34-year-old stopped all 28 shots he faced in a 1-0 win over Iowa on Saturday, marking his third shutout of the season and 44th of his career. Leighton is now one blank sheet away from matching the AHL’s all-time record, held by Johnny Bower. He has a 21-4-1-3 record this season, ranking second in the league in wins and third with a .930 SV%.

(Photo courtesy Rockford IceHogs)

2nd Star: C/RW Mark McNeill, Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
The Line: 3GP, 2G, 1A

McNeill earned his first career NHL recall on Monday morning after a productive week for Rockford. The 2011 first-round pick extended his season-long point streak to six games with two goals and an assist in three games for, including the lone tally in the IceHogs’ 1-0 result over Iowa. McNeill has 19 points (9G, 10A) in 29 games in his third full season in the AHL.

(Chase Agnello-Dean / Chicago Blackhawks)

3rd Star: C Dylan Sikura, Northeastern University (H-EAST)
The Line: 2GP, 3G

With three goals in two games last weekend, sophomore center Dylan Sikura extended his goal-scoring streak to four games. The 2014 sixth-round pick connected twice in Northeastern’s 5-2 win over Merrimack on Friday, then added a power-play goal the next night in a 4-1 victory. Sikura now ranks second on the team with eight tallies and shares fifth with 16 points in 23 games this season.

Honorable mentions: C/RW Vincent Hinostroza, Rockford (AHL); RW John Dahlstrom, Frolunda J20 (SuperElit)

Hinostroza tallied two goals and added an assist in three games for Rockford last week, posting a multi-point outing in a 4-3 shootout loss to Iowa on Friday. The 2012 sixth-round pick ranks fourth on the team with 20 points (7G, 13A) in 35 games in his first professional season.

Dahlstrom had a big game for Frolunda J20 last Wednesday, scoring twice and adding an assist in a 4-0 win against HV71 J20. On Saturday, the 2015 seventh-round pick tallied the game-winner on the power play in a 4-3 win over MODO J20; he now has 23 points (15G, 8A) in 28 games this season for Frolunda’s under-20 team.

Around the system:

  • Defensive prospects Carl Dahlstrom and Gustav Forsling each picked up an assist for Linkoping in a 5-0 win over Frolunda on Saturday. It was Dahlstrom’s third helper of the campaign, while Forsling now has 12 on the season... David Rundblad posted a goal and an assist in Zurich’s 5-4 loss to EV Zug on Friday, then added a helper the next night in a 4-2 win over Geneve-Servette. He has seven points in five games since being loaned.

  • Graham Knott collected a goal and an assist over three games for Niagara last week in the OHL and now has 26 points (8G, 18A) in 44 games this season... Defenseman Ryan Shea notched an assist for the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms in a 3-2 win over Bloomington on Saturday, marking his first point after missing the first four months of the season with an injury.

  • Chris Calnan contributed a goal and an assist over the weekend, scoring his third of the season in Boston College’s 8-0 win over UMass on Friday and posting his sixth helper of the campaign the next night in a 3-3 tie against UConn... Freshman forward Jack Ramsey notched a pair of helpers in a big 9-2 win for Minnesota over Wisconsin on Saturday, doubling his season total to four assists in 21 games... John Hayden Hayden netted his team-best and career-high 10th goal of the season in Yale’s 2-2 tie against Clarkson on Friday; the junior forward has 13 points in 19 games this year.

  • Anthony Louis extended his point streak to four games with a goal and an assist over the weekend to help Miami sweep their set against Nebraska–Omaha; the 2013 sixth-round pick leads the team with 12 assists and is second with 17 points in 23 games this season... UNO defenseman Luc Snuggerud picked up a helper in both games over the weekend to extend his point streak to four games. The 2014 fifth-round pick shares fourth on the team with 10 assists this season... North Dakota junior Luke Johnson tallied twice in a 5-5 tie against Colorado College on Friday and added an assist on Saturday in a 5-1 win... Matheson Iacopelli notched a helper for Western Michigan in two games over the weekend against St. Cloud State and now has seven points in 18 games this season.

  • Ryan Hartman picked up two helpers in three games for Rockford last week; his 22 points (10G, 12A) are third-best on the team... Bryan Bickell tallied a goal and an assist after being reassigned to the IceHogs... Marko Dano collected a helper in all three games last week and now ranks third on the team with 14 this season... Tanner Kero posted a multi-point outing (1G, 1A) on Friday against Iowa and now has 13 points (8G, 5A) this season... Defenseman Kirill Gotovets’ first goal of the season was the game-winner in a 3-1 victory over Lake Erie last Monday.
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