Down 3-1 in the Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference Finals against the Barrie Colts, Vancouver Canucks prospect Brendan Gaunce did what he always does, he put the Belleville Bulls on his back, scored twice in Game 6 and helped them battle back to force a Game 7.
However, all good things must come to an end at some point, as Gaunce and the Bulls came up just short, losing 3-1 on Monday night to the Colts, ending what was a tremendous season for the native of Markham, Ontario.
Gaunce finished the post-season with 22 points (8-14-22) in 17 games and on only three occasions was held off the score sheet during the Bulls’ playoff run.
The strong post-season capped off a solid regular-season that saw Gaunce post 60 points (33-27-60) in 60 games, including 42 points (23-19-42) in 34 games since the Christmas break.
The Canucks 2012 first-round pick has one more season of junior eligibility left (not including his over-age season) and should be a force to be reckoned with in the OHL next season. Look for the 215-pounder to play an important role with Team Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championships.
A leader off the ice
Gaunce not only excels on the ice, but away from the rink as well. The 19-year-old made a $1,500 donation to the Quinte Children’s Foundation last week. Gaunce donated $500 to the foundation in November and also has donated an amount for each Bulls win this season.
“This is a young man who is clearly an exceptional leader,” Connie Reid, Executive Director of the Quinte Children’s Foundation, told bellevillebulls.com. “He’s setting a tremendous example for his peers and other young players in our community.”
With his blue-collar, two-way style of play, along with his hard work in the community, Gaunce will fit in just fine in the city of Vancouver.
Canucks ink Grenier
The Canucks announced on Tuesday that they have inked Alexandre Grenier to an entry-level contract.
Grenier, the Canucks third-round selection in the 2011 draft, split this season between EC Salzburg in Austria, the Kamalazoo Wings in the ECHL and the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.
The Laval, Quebec, native began the season with Salzburg where he posted 13 points (5-8-13) in 25 games before joining Kalamazoo where he registered 31 points (10-21-31) and 51 penalty-minutes in 37 games. The 6-foot-4 forward finished his ECHL season strong with 18 points (8-10-18) in his final 15 games.
The former Halifax Moosehead also suited up in four games with the Wolves where he recorded two penalty-minutes and was a minus-1.
Grenier needed to sign a deal with the Canucks before June 1st or he would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, which leaves David Honzik, Pathrik Westerholm, Henrik Tommernes and Jeremy Price as the remaining four prospects who need to ink a deal with the Canucks before the end of May.