1st Star: C Tanner Kero, Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 2GP, 2G, 1A
The Rockford IceHogs opened their 2015-16 campaign with a decisive 4-2 victory against the San Jose Barracuda on Oct. 9, powered by the line of Tanner Kero, Jeremy Morin and Marko Dano. Kero netted the team’s first goal of the season just 1:01 into the contest and tallied on a redirect early in the third period for the eventual game-winner; he also added an assist for a career-high three points. Kero is in his first full professional campaign after joining Rockford for the tail end of 2014-15, when he scored five goals in six regular-season games.
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2nd Star: D Gustav Forsling, Linkoping (SHL)
The Line: 2GP, 2A
Gustav Forsling was acquired in a trade with Vancouver for Adam Clendening last season after finishing the 2015 World Juniors tournament as the highest-scoring defenseman, and the 19-year-old is off to a blistering start with seven points (1G, 6A) in his first eight games, which currently shares third among league defenseman. Forsling collected an assist in each of his two outings with Linkoping last week—a 7-1 win over Malmo and a 3-2 shootout loss to Skelleftea.
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3rd Star: RW Radovan Bondra, Vancouver (WHL)
The Line: 4GP, 1G, 3A
In his first North American season, 2015 fifth-round pick Radovan Bondra has gotten off to an impressive start for Vancouver in the Western Hockey League, sharing third on the team with seven points (3G, 4A) in his first eight games. The Slovakia native posted a goal and an assist in an 8-5 loss to Moose Jaw last Wednesday, then picked up two more helpers in a 6-5 overtime loss at Regina on Friday.
Honorable mentions: G Ivan Nalimov, Admiral Vladivostik (KHL); RW Jeremy Morin, Rockford (AHL)
Nalimov has appeared in 13 of 20 games so far this season for Admiral after spending last season in a backup role, and he’s been solid, posting an 8-4-0 record and .932 save percentage. Chicago’s sixth-round pick in 2014 made 25 saves on 26 shots in a 3-1 win over Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg on Thursday, in addition to picking up an assist for his second career point.
Morin’s return to the IceHogs was electric, as the AHL veteran found linemate Kero twice for goals. The 24-year-old netted his first of the season on a slap shot, and he added a game-high five shots on goal.
Around the system:
- Carl Dahlstrom, teammate of Forsling, netted his first goal of the season to open the scoring for Linkoping in their big win over Malmo last Thursday. Not known for offense, Dahlstrom posted six points (3G, 3A) in 55 games last season, his first full campaign in the SHL.... John Dahlstrom has lit up the scoreboard for Frolunda’s J20 squad, racking up eight points (6G, 2A) in six tilts. The Blackhawks’ final pick in the 2015 draft contributed a pair of goals and an assist in two games last week.
- Four prospects made their collegiate debuts last weekend: Jack Ramsey (2014 seventh-rounder) and Matheson Iacopelli (2014 third-rounder) were held without a point in their first appearances the Minnesota and Western Michigan, respectively. Liam Coughlin, acquired in a trade with Edmonton over the summer, posted an assist for Vermont in their 3-0 win at Minnesota. And Fredrik Olofsson (2014 fourth-rounder) notched an assist in two games for Nebraska–Omaha to help the team sweep Minnesota State over the weekend.
- Chris Calnan, a 2012 third-round pick, scored the game-winning goal in Boston College’s 5-1 victory over Army West Point; it was the first of his junior season.... Goaltender Matt Tomkins started one of two games for Ohio State over the weekend. The 2012 seventh-round pick stopped 28 of 30 shots in a 2-0 loss to Bowling Green on Saturday.
- Dennis Rasmussen scored the IceHogs’ fourth and final goal in their season-opening win in San Jose. The center finished last season with 27 points (13G, 14A) in 73 games.... Michael Leighton made 30 saves on 32 shots on Friday to pick up his first win of the season, but was pulled the next night in Stockton after giving up four goals on 10 shots; Mac Carruth allowed three goals on 17 shots in his season debut for the IceHogs.