Each week, the Blackhawks Blog takes you around the AHL, ECHL, NCAA and junior hockey ranks to award three Hawks prospects the chicagoblackhawks.com Three Stars of the Week.
1st Star: G Carter Hutton / Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 3 Games Played, 5 Goals Allowed, 99 Saves, 3-0-0 Record
A daunting road schedule was kind to the IceHogs this week - three away games in five days all resulted in wins for the Blackhawks' top minor league affiliate. Hutton got the starting nod in all three contests and performed like the top netminder he has become, racking up three victories while allowing just five total goals. Rockford enters Monday atop the AHL's Midwest Division and Hutton's stability in net is a big reason why they've climbed to the top.
2nd Star: RW Ben Smith / Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 4 Games, 2 Goals, 4 Assists, +5 Plus/Minus
While Hutton was dutifully defending the crease, Ben Smith played hero in two of Rockford's three wins this week, netting the game-winners Wednesday at Chicago and Saturday at Charlotte. Smith also added an assist during the second part of Rockford's weekend series against the Checkers. The 24-year-old forward currently ranks second on the team in points (19) and goals (8).
3rd Star: D Adam Clendening / Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 4 Games, 1 Goal, 5 Assists
Clendening, an AHL rookie, lit up the scoreboard like a seasoned vet this week. The 19-year-old blueliner recorded two multi-point games in four appearances and leads all IceHogs defensemen with 16 points (4G, 12A) this year. Four of Clendening's five assists on the week came on the power play.
Honorable Mentions: RW Kevin Hayes / Boston College (NCAA) and LW Garret Ross / Sagnaw (OHL)
Some Blackhawks prospects didn't find much success in the win column this week, but while the teams' results were mixed, Ross and the Blackhawks' junior Hayes brother both had standout performances.
Hayes recorded three assists Saturday as B.C. salvaged a weekend split with their arch-rivals from Boston University in a 5-2 win. The victory also gave Eagles coach Jerry York 924 career NCAA wins, which ties the all-time collegiate record.
Meanwhile, the OHL's Sagniaw Spirit went a disappointing 1-2-0 this past week, but 2012 draft pick Garret Ross made a big impact during the team's sole victory, a 10-3 thrashing of Ottawa; Ross recorded two goals and two assists in the contest, as well as a fighting major, and added another goal and assist in the Spirit's 7-4 loss to Sarnia.
Around the system:
> With a win this week, Portland goalie Mac Carruth raised his season record to a stellar 12-1-0. The 2010 Blackhawks draft pick currently leads the WHL in save percentage (.942) and ranks second in goals-against average (1.55).
> Rockford forward Jimmy Hayes raised his plus/minus rating from +2 to +8 in four games, which leads his team.
> Defenseman Joe Gleason, currently a senior playing for the University of North Dakota, recorded his first goal of the year over the weekend. Notre Dame defenseman Stephen Johns also registered his first tally this season on Saturday, part of the Fighting Irish's weekend sweep of Lake Superior State.
> Waterloo (USHL) forward Vince Hinostroza recorded three points (2G, A) during the Black Hawks' 3-0 win over Dubuque Friday.
> Defenseman Travis Brown picked up a shorthanded goal in Moose Jaw's (WHL) 3-2 shootout win over the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday.
> Rockford IceHogs captain Martin St. Pierre netted four goals in four games this week.
> 2011 draftee Mark McNeill had three helpers in a two-game weekend series that saw the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders outscore Regina 13-5.
> Five of Jeremy Morin's nine goals for Rockford this season have come courtesy of the power play.