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 Mac Carruth / Portland (WHL)
The Line: 4 Games Played, 4 Wins, 0 Losses, 3 Goals Allowed
The Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks are off to a torrid start in 2012-13, with a 16-3-1 overall record and rolling with a 12-game winning streak. One of the biggest keys to that amazing run has been the play of 2010 Blackhawks draft pick Mac Carruth, who is a perfect 9-0-0 so far and has surrendered less than a goal per game on average. In four appearances this week, Carruth gave up one goal in each of his three starts – including a 43-save effort on Saturday against Spokane – and came on in relief of fellow Portland netminder Brendan Burke, securing the win as the Winterhawks tallied the final four goals in a 9-5 win at Vancouver. Carruth currently leads the WHL in save percentage (.967) and goals-against average (0.97).
2nd Star: C Mark McNeill / Prince Albert (WHL)
The Line: 3 Games, 2 Goals, 5 Assists, +2 plus/minus
McNeill, the Blackhawks’ top pick in 2011, tallied in each of his three games this week, highlighted by a four-point (G, 3A) game against Swift Current and a two-point night (G, A) Friday against Seattle. The Prince Albert captain currently leads the team in points on the year (8G, 16A) and has recorded at least a point in eight of his last 10 games.
3rd Star: C Vince Hinostroza / Team USA
The Line: 2 Games, 4 Goals, 2 Assists
Team USA and their captain, 2012 Blackhawks draftee Vince Hinostroza, brought home the World Junior A Championship title over the weekend, besting Switzerland in the semifinal and Canada West in the final game. Hinostroza was named the United States' "Player of the Game" in both contests on his way to being named the tournament's MVP.
Honorable Mention: LW Garret Ross / Saginaw (OHL)
2011-12 was a breakout season for winger Ross, and it’s likely that the OHL veteran will crush his point total from last year’s campaign if he continues on his current pace. Ross scored at least a point in three of Saginaw’s four contests this week, which included a three-point (GWG, 2A) affair against Belleville on Saturday. Ross currently ranks among the Ontario Hockey League’s top 20 scorers and second on the Spirit with 25 points (11 G, 14 A) in 21 games.
Around the system:
> While the IceHogs came up empty in two tries this week, Jimmy Hayes was the standout performer in Friday night’s contest against Grand Rapids. Hayes played a part in each of Rockford’s three goals on the night (G, 2A), netting a shorthanded goal in the second period.
> Forward Maxim Shalunov has scored three points (G, 2A) in three games for Team Russia in the annual Subway Super Series, which included the game-winner Thursday night against Team OHL. Blackhawks prospects Dillon Fournier (QMJHL), Phillip Danault (QMJHL) and Mark McNeill (WHL) were also selected by their respective leagues to take part in the series.
> Mark McNeill was named the Western Hockey League Player of the Week for the week ending Nov. 11, and Mac Carruth was nominated by the league for CHL Goaltender of the Week.
> The IceHogs selected Martin St. Pierre to be their captain for the 2012-13 season, and Ben Smith, Ryan Stanton and Wade Brookbank will serve as alternates.