Saint John scoring its way to the top of QMJHL

The Saint John Sea Dogs are on fire, winners of eight straight games to streak to the top of the QMJHL standings. The Sea Dogs efforts were recognized in the most recent CHL rankings, shooting up from eighth to fourth, eclipsing Rouyn-Noranda as the top team from the ‘Q’ in the rankings.

The winning streak moved to eight games on Wednesday with a 3-2 win over Acadie-Bathurst. While the Sea Dogs won, the three goals was the second-lowest offensive output of the streak for Saint John, the lowest coming in a 1-0 win over Chicoutimi on January 20th.

The Sea Dogs have made goal scoring look easy. Saint John has scored 40 goals over the course of the streak, 46 if you include the 7-6 loss the Cape Breton on January 15th, the last time the team has come out on the losing side.

Tampa Bay prospect Mathieu Joseph has led the way with 11 points playing in seven games during the streak, including five goals. He’s on a 27-game point streak going back to October 22nd, and has 61 points in 38 games, his 1.61 points-per-game the highest on the team. Fellow Bolts prospect Bokondji Imama, amidst a breakout year in his second full season in Saint John, has five goals over the eight games to up his season total to 32, which leads the team. Montreal prospect Simon Bourque has 10 points in six games.

Bruins prospect Jakub Zboril has 10 points from the back end, with one-goal, two-point performances in each of his last three games. Ottawa prospect Thomas Chabot, who was the defensive ace of World Junior runner-up Team Canada last month, has six points in six games over the streak and has 27 points in 22 games this season.

Saint John is currently second overall in Quebec with 211 goals, eight goals behind league leader Charlottetown. The Sea Dogs have done so with a strong, balanced scoring attack, with 12 players posting 20 points and 17 with at least 10. Just two players sit in the top 20 of the QMJHL scoring list, none higher than Matthew Highmore, whose team-high 73 points are sixth-highest in the league. The Sea Dogs are also the best in the league on the powerplay, clicking at 31 percent.

It should also be noted the Sea Dogs defend well, with the third-lowest goals allowed in the league at 137.

Amateur Hour: How Harvard could (but probably won’t) win the Beanpot

One of these years it’s going to happen. Either Harvard or Northeastern is going to win the Beanpot.

The last 24 Beanpots have gone to either Boston University or Boston College, the silver chalice not leaving Commonwealth Avenue since 1993, the last time Harvard took home the trophy. Northeastern hasn’t won since 1988.

We were guaranteed at least a 50 percent chance of the title returning to Harvard Square or Huntington Avenue, as Harvard and Northeastern faced off in the Beanpot semifinal on Monday night. The Crimson won, 4-3, and will represent the two historic have-nots of the tournament, which combine for just 14 of the 64 titles and carry a collective 53-year Beanpot drought. Harvard will play for the title for the first time since 2008 against BU, which has an event-high 30 titles but has won just once since 2009. The Terriers punched their ticket with a 3-1 win over BC in Monday’s nightcap.

While neither Harvard or Northeastern have won in generations, the two schools have been knocking on the door for years. One of the two schools have appeared in the final in six of the last nine years, with three of those title games going to overtime. Both schools have been fairly competitive over that span, in and out of the national rankings, winning conference championships, and making appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

This Harvard squad has the goods to bring the Beanpot across the Charles River to Cambridge for the 11th time in the tournament’s history. The Crimson run four solid forward lines, with two exceptional top trios of Ryan Donato-Alex Kerfoot-Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Luke Esposito-Sean Malone-Tyler Moy. On the back end, Adam Fox has been one of the top rookies in the nation, his 26 points fourth among defensemen in the country.

The Crimson play a strong north-south game, with a good deal of speed and skill up and down the lineup. They’re strong on possession, with a 54 percent even strength Corsi-for, according to collegehockeynews.com, with the fourth-best powerplay nationally, at 26.5 percent.

Of course, it’s no secret what Harvard is up against. BU is the most talented team in the country. The Terriers are also the youngest, at 20.5. That’s a full year younger than the Crimson, whose roster averages out at 21.5.

The BU roster is highlighted by four players selected in the first round of the NHL Draft in Kieffer Bellows, Dante Fabbro, Clayton Keller, and Charlie McAvoy. Netminder Jake Oettinger could be a fifth this June, a favorite to be among the first 31 names called in the upcoming draft in Chicago. Eleven players of whom are property of NHL teams dot the roster.

This Terriers team isn’t unlike any other of years past. The team plays an up-tempo style. Defensemen like to hop into the rush. Up front, there’s plenty of playmakers, led by Keller, an Arizona prospect that might be the team’s best player. Oettinger has been among the standard bearers of goaltending – a position BU has always taken seriously – with a .937 save percentage, 1.75 GAA, and four shutouts in his rookie campaign.

BU has an upper-hand in the season series with Harvard this season, with a 5-3 win on November 22nd. The Crimson haven’t beaten BU since November 2014, the Terriers winning the last three of the meetings, including a double-overtime win in the Beanpot semifinal two years ago.

Three of the last four meetings have been decided by one goal, two have gone to overtime. Given the Beanpot’s history of one-goal games and extra sessions, there’s a good chance we’ll see another one of these affairs between the two teams.

And we might even witness something that hasn’t been done in nearly a quarter-century.

Other tidbits..

*Lacrosse numbers are being put up in Erie. Alex DeBrincat has 23 points in a nine-game points streak, in which he’s scored eight goals and 18 points over his last five. He has points in 39 of 45 games. Dylan Strome has points in 16 of 17 games. He has 17 points in his last five games, and 41 overall in 17 contests.

*Charlottetown Islander Filip Chlapik scored his 200th QMJHL point with a five-point weekend, including a hat trick in a 13-2 smackdown of Moncton.

*10 goals in 13 games out of the holiday break for Flint Firebird Nicholas Caamano, with four two-goal games in that span.

*Third overall pick of the 2016 NHL Draft Pierre-Luc Dubois had four points on Saturday and has 21 points in 12 games since being traded to Blainville-Boisbriand.

*Atte Tolvanen stopped all 75 shots he faced in Northern Michigan’s weekend sweep of Bowling Green, upping his shutout streak to three games. He’s gone 215:49 without allowing a goal.

*Trent Frederic has 23 points in 18 games for surging Wisconsin, which is up to 17th in this week’s USCHO.com poll. He’s second on the Badgers in scoring behind Luke Kunin (26 points).

*As for the Badgers, they’ve won five in a row and are tied with Minnesota for first place in the Big Ten, with 8-2 record in conference play. Wisconsin hasn’t lost in regulation since December 11th.

*In the Nolan-Nico sweepstakes: Nolan Patrick had four assists on Friday night and has points in six of eight games since returning to the ice. He has 23 points in 14 games overall for Brandon. Hischier had five points in a 7-2 Halifax win over Moncton on Sunday. He has point in eight consecutive games and has 14 goals and 28 points in 12 games since returning from World Juniors.

*Minnesota-Duluth retained the top spot in the USCHO.com men’s poll while Denver and BU were second and third, respectively, for the second straight week. Minnesota moved up two spots to No. 5 while Penn State dropped from six to 10. Air Force broke into the poll at No. 20.

*On the women’s side, Wisconsin is the top-ranked team once again, while Minnesota-Duluth follows at No. 2.

Thoughts are my own: Henrik Lundqvist finally wins at The Joe

Thoughts are the countdown to the Super Bowl begins:

*First off, on a non-hockey note, how about the Atlanta-New England Super Bowl? Matt Ryan vs. Tom Brady in what should be a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair. Here’s hoping the Patriots get the win and Roger Goodell has to hand the Lombardi Trophy to Robert Kraft and Co. in the aftermath of the Deflategate saga.

*OK, now to hockey.

*Talk about a game Henrik Lundqvist needed. The Rangers netminder gets the shutout win in Detroit, stopping all 21 shots he faced in the Blueshirts 1-0 overtime win. Lundqvist is coming off what is probably the worst stretch of his career. In 18 games prior to Sunday going back to November 23rd, the 34-year-old had allowed 55 goals while posting a .890 save percentage. Lundqvist had allowed four-plus goals in nine of those 18 games, including a stretch of four in a row.

*Something I find shocking: Lundqvist had never won at The Joe prior to Sunday.

*The prayers of the Hockey Needs More Offense crowd are being answered. A 7-6 final in Ottawa as the Blue Jackets take down the Senators in overtime.

*My personal thoughts on the issue of offense in the game: I have zero qualms with a 2-1 game. I also don’t believe low-scoring necessarily means lack of offense. There’s nothing more thrilling than a great game of goalie. With that said, goal scoring certainly doesn’t hurt, and I don’t particularly hate the high-scoring games.

*On another note: Cam Atkinson is quickly becoming one of my favorite players in the league. He’s up to 23 tallies after a two-goal effort on Sunday, including the winner for Columbus in overtime.

*Love these ‘One More Shift’ ceremonies the Blackhawks have been holding. Sunday night it was Jeremy Roenick’s turn, not only one of the greatest to wear the Chicago sweater but one of the greatest American-born players in the history of the game. As great a player as he was, he was – and still is – one of hockey’s premier personalities and a great ambassador for the sport.

*Pair of Blackhawks milestones on Sunday night, a 4-2 win over Vancouver. Brian Campbell notched his 500th career point while Corey Crawford picked up his 200th career win. Crawford joins Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall, and Ed Belfour on the list of goalies to record 200 wins in Chicago. No small company.

*Crawford might be one of the most overlooked players of his generation. Going back to the start of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he’s won 135 games to go along with a 2.28 GAA, .922 save percentage, and 16 shutouts. Oh, and he’s won two Stanley Cups. Give this man more love.

*Speaking of overlooking and underlooking and ranking and overrating and underrating (OK, you get the point), Larry Brooks breaks down the NHL’s Greatest 100 list.

*Another ‘L’ for the Boston Bruins on Sunday, falling to a far-superior Pittsburgh team that may never lose again on home ice. The Bruins have won just eight of 24 going back to December 7th.

*The madness surrounding Claude Julien’s job security is all noise, in my opinion. Had the Bruins decided part ways with Julien, they’d have done it already.

*Bottom line is Julien is in the elite class of NHL coaches, and the Bruins front office believes that. This is a bridge year for Boston. Reinforcements will come in the next few years as blue-chip prospects Charlie McAvoy, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Zach Senyshyn, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, and Jake DeBrusk begin breaking into the league.

*Not so much a watch out for, rather more of a be vigilant of – the Islanders. New York is on a four-game point streak, John Tavares has come alive in the past few weeks, and hey, the Isles even scored a powerplay goal in a nice 4-2 win over the Kings on Saturday. While five teams stand between them and current eighth-seed Philadelphia, who beat the Isles, 3-2 in overtime on Sunday, the five-point difference between the Islanders and Flyers is no chasm.

*Philadelphia has a special talent on its hands in Ivan Provorov.

*Really good read by Michael Russo of the Star Tribune on former interim coach John Torchetti and how he’s handled the fallout of being passed over in favor of Bruce Boudreau last summer.

*The Lightning have more regulation losses than wins, in last place in the Eastern Conference at 21-22-5.

*The Oilers are not only winning the Battle of Alberta, they’re running away with it. Having Connor McDavid gives you a slight leg-up.

*Meanwhile in Ontario, another battle is brewing.

*Penn State’s first weekend as the No. 1 team in the nation was one to forget, coming out of a weekend series at home against Ohio State winless. While the Nittany Lions salvaged the tie on Friday night, the Buckeyes came out Saturday and won, 6-3.

*As for the new No. 1, expect Minnesota-Duluth to reclaim the top spot after a weekend sweep at North Dakota. BU, winners of eight straight and 10-1-1 in its last 12, loaded with NHL talent that appears to coming together, could take the top spot as well.

*Owen Sound upped its winning streak to 14 games on Saturday with a 6-2 win over Barrie. The Attack have Barrie again Thursday night before the big showdown with OHL Midwest leader and defending Memorial Cup champion London on Saturday.

Thoughts are my own: Touching return to St. Louis for Backes

Some thoughts as we approach the second hump day of 2017:

*The Flyers have really hit the skids since ripping off 10 straight wins. A bad loss to the hapless Sabres on Tuesday night, marking nine losses in 11 games for Philly. The Flyers still hold down the eighth spot in the East, but the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs are gaining in the Wildcard race. Carolina is three points back with two games in hand; Toronto four back with four games in hand.

*Great tribute to David Backes in St. Louis on Tuesday, his return to the city for the first time since signing with the Boston Bruins over the offseason.

*Three assist night for David Pastrnak, who has gone quiet all of a sudden after a blazing start to the season. He had just two points in 10 games going into Tuesday. He still hasn’t scored a goal since December 14th.

*Carolina is an intriguing team, gives off the vibe of being the team hiding in the bushes in the Wildcard race in the East. The Hurricanes haven’t had any time of pronounced hot streak akin to division rivals Columbus and Philadelphia (longest winning streak has been five games) and have been good, but not world-beaters over the past month (10-5-2 in 17 games going back to December 4th). But there’s talent on that team, especially on the back end.

*Anthony Cirelli had an assist in his Erie debut while Taylor Raddysh (goal, three assists), Alex DeBrincat (two goals), and Dylan Strome (goal, two assists) continued to do their thing as the Otters beat Kitchener, 6-3. The Erie/London race in the OHL Midwest will be a fun one to watch.

*Some highlights from the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game: Western Michigan recruit Paul Washe scored twice for the West in the 4-0 win over the East. Northeastern commit Cayden Primeau (11 saves) and Denver commit Dayton Rasmussen (14 saves) combined for the shutout. Quinnipiac commit Keith Petruzzelli stopped all 21 shots he faced for the East.

Tidbits

*The Flyers are now 2-6-3 in 11 games since its 10-game winning streak.

*The Blue Jackets have lost three of four since the conclusion of its 16-game winning streak.

*David Pastrnak hasn’t scored in 11 games, and has just one tally in his last 14 after beginning the year with 18 goals in 23 games.

*Anthony Mantha had his nine-game scoring streak snapped in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago.

*Marian Hossa recorded his 599th career assist on Tuesday night, which ranks seventh among active players. Daniel Sedin is one apple ahead in sixth, at 600.

*Brian Campbell is one point shy of 500.

*Mikkel Boedker recorded his fourth career hat trick on Tuesday night. He’s accomplished the feat against just two different teams; twice against Ottawa, twice against Edmonton.

*Blue Jackets prospect Kole Sherwood matched a Flint Firebirds-record five goals in a 11-2 win over Saginaw on Tuesday.

Links

*Add Max Pacioretty to the list of all-star snubs.

*Matt Larkin of The Hockey News looks into the comparison of Alex Ovechkin and Maurice Richard, whom Ovi tied on the all-time goal scoring list on Monday night.

*Elliotte Friedman with his weekly 30 Thoughts column.

*Jeff Marek puts out his latest Top 31 NHL Draft prospect rankings. To no surprise, Nolan Patrick remains the top dog. However, Timothy Liljegren remains ahead of Nico Hischier.

*The latest edition of the Pulp Hockey Show podcast, in which Ray Ferraro and Steve Matthes talk World Juniors post-mortem as well as the happenings in the NHL.

 

Thoughts are my own: Milestone Night on Monday

Thoughts as you digest that amazing ending to the college football title game:

*Alex Ovechkin ties Maurice Richard with his 544th career goal in the Capitals 4-1 win in Montreal. Another milestone in the career of what might be the greatest goal scorer in NHL history when it’s all said and done.

*What a unbelievable goal. Coming right out of Ovechkin’s office around the high left circle, he took an off-balance shot that to the naked eye looked like was just lazily throwing it at the net. A closer look showed it was a laser that went high-cheese. Amazing.

*Also amazing to think that Richard is about to be 30th on the all-time goal scoring list.

*Next for Ovechkin is 1,000 points. With three points on Monday night, he now sits at 999.

*That’s not all for milestones. Roberto Luongo recorded his 73rd career shutout in his 448th career win, moving past Terry Sawchuk to move into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time wins list. Next-up is Curtis Joseph at 454.

*How far can Luongo go? Ed Belfour (484) should be attainable. Patrick Roy (551) in second place all depends on what Father Time’s plans are. I don’t envision Martin Brodeur – who leads the pack at 691 – to be losing any sleep.

*I bet you thought we were done with the milestones. Well, Barry Trotz became the ninth coach in NHL history to coach 1,400 games and with the Washington win, won his 684th game to move into seventh place on the all-time coaching wins list with the late Pat Quinn, who interestingly enough coached exactly 1,400 games.

*I like what I’ve seen from this Montreal team in the face of some of the adversity it has faced over the past month or so, but games like Monday against Washington is going to be par for the course for this team, at least until the Habs get closer to full strength. Montreal will struggle with the NHL’s elite, but will have plenty success against the middle-to-bottom of the league’s pack. It helps to have Carey Price as well, of course, a luxury this team didn’t have last year when it went on a free fall over the final few months.

*Big pickup by Windsor, acquiring Jeremy Bracco from Kitchener as the Spitfires load up for a run at the Memorial Cup, which they will be hosting this spring. Bracco brings a much-needed offensive boost up front, a unit led by veteran Aaron Luchuk’s 32 points. The unit was already projecting better as June draft hopeful Gabriel Vilardi continued to come into his own and Logan Brown made his way back from an early-season wrist injury. Bracco can make them dangerous.

*In an arms race in the OHL Midwest, where London, Erie, and Owen Sound are duking it out, Mitchell Stephens and Mitchell Vande Sompel went to the Knights while Cameron Lizotte and Anthony Cirelli went to the Otters. The Attack picked up James Cordell.

Tidbits

*There are currently five active players within 50 points of 1,000 career points: Alex Ovechkin (999), Henrik Sedin (996), Sidney Crosby (982), Daniel Sedin (965), and Shane Doan (956).

*When Maurice Richard retired in 1960, he did so as the goal scoring king with his 544 tallies. Next-highest at the time? Gordie Howe with 446. Of course, Howe passed him a few years later and retired with a then-record 801 goals, which was shattered in due time by Wayne Gretzky.

*Roberto Luongo now has 73 career shutouts, three shy of breaking into the top 10, where Ed Belfour and Tony Esposito are tied with 76 clean sheets. After those two, there’s five bunched between 81 and 84, in Glenn Hall (84) and Jacques Plante (82), along with Alec Connell, Tiny Thompson, and Dominik Hasek, all at 81. Martin Brodeur is the standard setter at 125 while Terry Sawchuk (103) and George Hainsworth (94) trail in second and third.

*The Panthers 3-0 win in New Jersey was its second straight win in Newark, which had followed a six-game losing streak at the Prudential Center that had gone back to 2013.

*The Flames were held without a powerplay goal for the second straight game, the first time that’s happened since Calgary failed to score on the man-advantage in back-to-back games on November 28th and 30th. Calgary is 1-for-8 on the powerplay over the last three games. With that said, they’ve also killed off eight of nine penalties in those three games, and have killed off 76 of 84 (90.4 percent) going back to November 23rd.

*Since allowing a pair of powerplay goals in the third period of its 6-4 win over Tampa Bay last Tuesday, the Jets have killed off 11 straight penalties.

Links

*Gerard Gallant doesn’t feel his firing was because he didn’t adapt to the analytical culture of the Panthers.

*Mitchell Tierney touches upon how the Canadiens are relying upon depth as Montreal tries to weather the storm that has come with the injury bug. Personal opinion: having the best goalie in the world has helped, too.

*Craig Button’s monthly draft prospect rankings came out on Monday. He believes Brandon Wheat Kings pivot Nolan Patrick will still be the first overall pick despite being limited to six games this season because of a groin injury. Meanwhile, Nico Hischier’s stock rose after carry Switzerland at World Juniors, hopping into second place and supplanting Swedish defenseman Timothy Liljegren. Chances are better than not that Patrick goes first overall – especially given he’s expected to return to the ice very soon – but don’t count out Hischier.

*Speaking of Hischier, here’s a good piece on the Swiss forward out of Halifax, where Hischier is currently starring for the QMJHL’s Mooseheads.

*Mark Spector write the Oilers are now acting like contenders. Playing like it, too, I must add.

Storylines for Tuesday

*David Backes makes his return to St. Louis on Tuesday night.

*The Red Wings travel to the Blackhawks as the two former Central Division archrivals faceoff as strangers in an interconference tilt.

*The OHL and WHL trade deadlines come on Tuesday. Neither should be short on action throughout the day.

*Some more Frozen Fenway was the BC takes on Harvard in a NCAA women’s hockey showdown between two Beanpot rivals.

*Team USA takes on Canada at the IIHF U18 women’s championships in the Czech Republic. Both teams head into the matchup 2-0, the Yanks have outscored opponents 10-1 through two games while Canada has outscored the opposition, 9-3.

 

Team USA standout Bracco traded to Windsor

Jeremy Bracco just got his World Juniors gold added to his resume, when Team USA beat Canada, 5-4, last week to take the title in the annual U20 tournament.

Now he’ll get a shot at a Memorial Cup.

The skilled forward from New York was traded by the Kitchener Rangers to Windsor in a OHL trade deadline deal on Monday, the team announced. Windsor hosts the Memorial Cup, gaining an automatic bid as a result.

The Rangers get forward Cole Carter, defenseman Andrew Burns, and three draft picks in return. The Spitfires received a pair of draft picks to go along with Bracco.

Bracco, who joined Kitchener late in 2015 after a short-lived stint in the NCAA at Boston College, had 38 goals and 115 points in 76 games for the Rangers. He had 51 points in 27 games in the 2016-17 season, which began with a 26-game point streak.

The Maple Leafs prospect will bring a much-needed boost to the front-end for Windsor, which is 12th in the OHL with 128 goals, scoring a clip of 3.37 per game. Aaron Luchuk is the Spitfires leading scorer with a 14-18=32 line. The addition of Bracco, along with Ottawa first round pick Logan Brown continuing to gain his footing after missing time with a wrist injury. Windsor remains the envy of many on the back end, led by Canadiens prospect Mikhail Sergachev along with NHL prospects Logan Stanley (Winnipeg) and Sean Day (NY Rangers).

At 25-8-4, Windsor is in a two-team race with Sault Ste. Marie for the top spot in the OHL West, in which the Spitfires trail the Greyhounds by five points, but have two games in hand. The Spitfires are ranked fifth in the latest CHL poll, which features three OHL clubs in the top five (London, No. 2; Soo, No. 4).

The addition of Bracco will make Windsor that much more of a factor as it searches for its first Memorial Cup title since winning back-to-back in 2009-10.

Thoughts Are My Own: Don’t Sleep on Toronto

Some thoughts as you begin yet another long, cold, winter week:

*I love the way Mitch Marner plays the game. Blazing speed, unbelievable vision. Just another great, young talent all around. Toronto was set up well before Auston Matthews came along, and Marner had much to do with it.

*Connor McDavid has just 10 points in his last 13 games. That said, he’s still the best player on the ice, he’s still getting the opportunities. No cause for concern. He’s on a 94-point pace. He’ll still reach 100.

*I go back and forth on what to make of John Klingberg and where he projects. But this is what I do know, for sure: there’s few players in the league on the back end as skilled as he is.

*Brent Burns is appointment viewing. One of the top-five hockey players in the world right now. Watching him probably mean staying up past bedtime on the East Coast, but you’ll be glad you did.

*Bo Horvat is emerging as one of the NHL’s better players.

*Here’s something out of the old baseball cliche ‘nothing matters before Memorial Day’, aka don’t overplay early-season happenings: the Calgary Flames were in tatters after the first month, but now look like the contending team many expected prior to the season. The Flames 17-8-1 record since November 15 has them in possession of the first Wildcard spot in the Western Conference. I’d be surprised if we’re talking about Calgary missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons come spring.

*Michigan Tech has seven losses in regulation this year, but none to an unranked team. The Huskies got what may have been its biggest win of the season on Saturday against Notre Dame. Expect Tech to be ranked this week.

*Frozen Fenway never fails to be a spectacle. And it was perfect conditions for it in Boston on Sunday, temperatures hovering in the 20s with snow on the ground. As is usually the case, it was the two Commonwealth Ave powerhouses; BU and BC, emerging victorious. The Terriers beat UMass, 5-3, in the early game before the Eagles beat Providence, 3-1, in the nightcap.

*Huge two points for Columbus on Sunday, with a 2-1 overtime win over Philadelphia, avoiding the three-game losing streak after winning 16 in a row.

*Sebastian Aho will be a NHL star in short order.

Tidbits

*Max Pacioretty has 14 goals in his last 16 games.

*The Oilers are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, seven of which have come on the road.

*Owen Sound has now won 10 straight games in the OHL.

*The good times continue for Minnesota prospects. Dmitry Sokolov scored his 30th goal of the season for Sudbury on Sunday night. He matches his same total from last season, which he assembled over 68 games. He got there in 36 this year.

*Mississauga’s Owen Tippett moved into the OHL goal scoring lead with his 33rd goal on Sunday. Tippett has 15 goals and 24 points in his last 13 games.

*UNH’s Tyler Kelleher had five assists in Sunday’s 7-4 win over Brown to take the national lead in points, eclipsing Union forward Mike Vecchione. The senior won the race to 40 points, reaching the total in 20 games. His scoring line is 14-26=40.

Storylines for Monday

*With 543 career goals, Alex Ovechkin is one tally shy of Maurice Richard for 29th on the all-time goal scoring list. The Captials will be playing in Montreal on Monday.

*Roberto Luongo needs a win to take sole possession of fifth place on the all-time wins list. He’s tied with Terry Sawchuk, with 447.

*Patrik Laine and Matthew Tkachuk faceoff against one another when the Flames visit the Jets.

Three Stars From the Weekend: Spencer Watson Gives Mississauga Boost

Expectations were high for Mississauga coming into the OHL campaign.

The Steelheads were coming off a 71-point season; a 18-point improvement from the year before and the franchise’s best since 2011-12, when Mississauga finished with 73. With a strong returning core led by Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian (both of whom were selected by New Jersey in this past June’s draft) along with McLeod’s younger brother, Ryan (who will likely follow in his brother’s footsteps and be a first-round pick in 2018), Nicolas Hague, and Owen Tippett, the Steelheads were expected to rise to the top of a relatively weak OHL Central Division.

That has not happened.

Mississauga has underachieved for much of the 2016-17 OHL campaign. The Steelheads had a 7-14-3-3 record as of last week, their 20 points tied with Barrie for last place in the Central. Mississauga sat 10 points out of first place, a perch held down by North Bay.

The Steelheads were able to make up some ground, however, this past weekend, sweeping the slate of games that included Kitchener, London, and Niagara to move into third place as the rest of the division slumped its way to a 2-7-1 weekend. Mississauga made up four points on North Bay, whom it now sits six behind. The Steelheads are two-points behind second-place Sudbury.

It should come as no coincidence that the trio of wins came along with Spencer Watson’s addition to the lineup.

Watson, who was voted the best overage player in the pre-season OHL coaches poll, was acquired from Kingston in early November for the sole purpose he served the weekend, where he made his Mississauga debut after recovering from offseason wrist surgery, to provide a boost to the struggling young club.

He did so to the tune of seven points in three games, registering hat tricks in the latter two. The first three-goal performance came in a 7-3 win over defending Memorial Cup champion London; the second a crucial divisional match with Niagara as the Steelheads spotted the IceDogs a 2-0 lead before Watson scored twice to force overtime, punctuating his weekend performance with a third 31 seconds into overtime.

Watson, a seventh round pick by the Kings in 2014, is in his fifth OHL season. He spent the previous four in Kingston, putting up 43-46=89 totals last season in 64 games for the Fronteacs.

We’ll see if Mississauga can turn it around with Watson in the lineup. If anything, his addition certainly has them moving in the right direction.

Other CHL stars

Michael DiPietro, Windsor: The 2017 draft prospect registered back-to-back-to-back shutouts for the Spitfires over the weekend, stopping all 64 shots that came his way. After allowing 23 goals over a seven-game stretch from November 6-27, he’s allowed just three in five games since.

Jayden Halbgewächs, Moose Jaw: The 19-year-old center had five goals and 10 points over the weekend to extend his point streak to nine games. Over that stretch, he had 14 goals and 24 points to catapult himself to the top of the WHL points leaders list. Only Regina Pats Sam Steel and Adam Brooks, with 48 points apiece, have more points than Halbgewachs’s 47.

AHL

Jake Guentzel, Wilkes-Barre Scranton: The forward – at this point a 4-A player who soon should be in Pittsburgh’s lineup put up six points in three games this weekend for the Penguins.

Oskar Sundqvist: Like Guentzel, a guy who will rove between being a Pittsburgh bottom-sixer and Wilkes-Barre top liner for the time being, Sundqvist had four goals in a Pens victory on Saturday. The Swede has 11 goals and 21 points in 22 games in the AHL.

Zach Sanford: The rookie had three goals and six points in three games for Hershey this weekend. He’s got seven points in six games.

NCAA

Max Veronneau, Princeton: Veronneau had six points in the weekend sweep of Quinnipiac. The sophomore had 18 points to lead the Tigers, who are rolling with five wins in six games, a stretch that also includes a sweep of then-No. 10 Bemidji State. He has 14 points over that span.

Spencer Foo, Union: A four-goal weekend for Foo, three of which came in a 5-3 win over Yale on Saturday. Foo now has 30 points in 17 games, joining teammate and NCAA leading scorer Mike Vecchione (35) and UNH’s Tyler Kelleher (31) in the 30-point club.

Chase Pearson, Maine: Five goals and six points in a two-game sweep of American International in Orono.

NCAA Women

Emily Clark, Wisconsin: A seven-point weekend for Clark in a two-game sweep of Ohio State, including five on Friday.

Ann-Renee Desbiens, Wisconsin: Didn’t necessarily have to stand on her head facing just 25 shots overall on the weekend, but she stopped every single puck that came her way. She leads the nation with eight shutouts and a 0.75 GAA. Her .957 save percentage is highest among goalies that have played double-digit games.

Megan Hinze, Minnesota State: A pair of third period goals for Hinze led Minnesota State past third-ranked Minnesota-Duluth.

Three Stars of the Weekend: Carter Hart Continues Strong Season in WHL

Carter Hart was the first goaltender taken in the 2016 NHL Draft, selected by Philadelphia with 48th overall pick.

If he’s a success, Hart will be the answer to the generations-long problem that is the Flyers goaltending; a large reason the Stanley Cup hasn’t paraded down Broad Street since 1975. If he’s the latest to come up short in the Philly crease, he’ll be further proof of why goalies aren’t worth the risk atop the draft (Ilya Samsonov, taken 22nd overall in 2015 by Washington, is the only goalie to go in the first round in the last four drafts).

Of course, the jury remains out on the type of netminder Hart will be, and will remain that way for a long time. But if his first year of hockey as property of an NHL organization is any indication, the Flyers have something to look forward to in net.

In 20 games for Everett, the 18-year-old is 13-3-3, with a 1.67 GAA and .937 save percentage, both WHL highs. He has a shutout streak of two-plus games, having not allowed a goal since a 2-1 loss to Lethbridge on November 19, when Tyler Wong beat Hart with 8:25 left in regulation.

He followed up the loss with a pair of shutouts; 37 saves in a 3-0 win over Seattle on Wednesday before stopping 26 of 26 in a 3-0 win over Prince George on Friday.

In 115 games since making his WHL debut in February 2014, the 6-2, 180-pound Hart has 66 wins, a 2.12 GAA and .920 save percentage. His clean sheet on Friday was his third of the season and 13th in major junior.

Other CHL Stars

Alexandre Goulet, Victoriaville: The 20-year-old had a pair of four-point games this weekend to extend his point streak to five games. His 38 points lead the Tigres, and is fourth in the Quebec League.

Keanu Yamamoto, Spokane: Yamamoto had six assists in the Chiefs 10-1 thrashing of Vancouver on Friday. He has 14 points in his last nine games and is third on Spokane with 26 overall. Keanu’s brother, Kailer, leads the team with 31.

AHL

Teemu Pulkkinen, Iowa: The right winger had three goals and five points over the weekend for the Wild. He has points in 10 of his last 11 games.

Kyle Wood, Tucson: The rookie had two goals and six points over the weekend. His 16 points leads all AHL rookie defensemen. Only Jake Guentzel (7-10=17) has more points among all rookies in the American League.

Dan DeSalvo, Manitoba: DeSalvo had four points on the weekend, including his third multi-point night of the season on Saturday, with three points in a 4-3 overtime win against Milwaukee. He has five goals and 10 points in the eight games.

NCAA

Stefanos Lekkas, Vermont: The freshman goaltender stopped 73 of 76 shots over the weekend at the Friendship Four in Belfast, Ireland, including 40 of 41 in a 5-1 Catamounts win over Quinnipiac in the championship game. He’s ranked fourth in the nation in both save percentage (.940) and GAA (1.72). He’s allowed nine goals in his five games, stopping 165 of 174 shots that have come his way.

Dylan Sikura, Northeastern: The junior forward had three goals and an assist on Friday night as the Huskies beat 11th-ranked Minnesota, 6-4. He’s tied with teammate Zach Aston-Reese for fourth in the nation with 22 points. Northeastern has three players in the top 10 for points.

Alex Kerfoot, Harvard: The senior had four assists in the Crimson’s lone game this weekend, a 5-2 win over Bentley.

USHL

Gabriel Mollot-Hill, Bloomington: The Providence recruit stopped all 32 shots that came his way in Bloomington’s 2-0 win over Green Bay on Saturday. He has a .932 save percentage and 1.91 GAA for the Thunder this season.

Jacob Hamacher, Dubuque: The RIT recruit had three goals and five points on the weekend as the Fighting Saints picked up a pair of wins.

Reggie Lutz, Chicago: Lutz, committed to Minnesota State, had two goals and four points over the weekend. He’s 13th in the USHL with 18 points.

Women’s NCAA

Cassidy MacPherson, Providence: Had four assists for the Friars on Sunday, assisting on all three goals Blair Parent scored, as PC took the Mayor’s Cup against crosstown rival Brown.

Heather Schwarz, Syracuse: The junior had two goals and an assist on Friday as the Orange shutout seventh-ranked North Dakota.

Kelly Pannek, Minnesota: Pannek had two goals and four points on the weekend for the second-ranked Gophers. She leads the nation in points (32) and assists (24).

Three Stars from the Weekend: Cam Johnson Posts Back-to-Back Shutouts

It was a show-me weekend for North Dakota.

After roaring out to a 6-0 start in its national title defense to the season, the Fighting Hawks suddenly found themselves on a winless skid of a similar length in a tough three-weekend stretch that featured double-headers with Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota, and Denver. All of a sudden North Dakota was ranked eighth in the national poll, going into another challenging weekend with 12th-ranked St. Cloud State.

The Fighting Hawks answered with a weekend sweep, winning 4-0 and 3-0 in dispatching the Huskies.

It all began with Cam Johnson in net, who posted back-to-back shutouts on the weekend, stopping all 62 shots he faced on the weekend. He made 36 saves for NoDak on Saturday night in leading the visitors to a 3-0 win.

Johnson, who was sensational between the pipes last year in leading North Dakota to its first national title since 2000, has a 2.07 GAA and .915 GAA. The shutouts were numbers two and three of the year for the netminder.

Other NCAA stars

Adam Huska, UConn- Another big-time goaltending performance, this time from the Huskies netminder, who made 37 saves in a 4-0 shutout win over BU on Saturday. Mike Cavanaugh is the envy of many with Huska and Robbie Nichols on his roster. UConn is tied with BU for ninth in the country with a .921 team save percentage.

Mike Marnell, St. Lawrence: Marnell had four goals for the Saints on Saturday, a 7-2 win over Brown.

CHL

Alexis D’Aoust, Shawinigan: The 20-year-old forward had six goals on the weekend, five on which came on Friday night, a 6-2 win over Gatineau.

Alexander Katerinakis, Blainville-Boisbriand: Katerinakis went into the weekend with a goal and eight points in 14 games. He left with five and 15 in 16, as he put up four goals and seven points in two games over the weekend.

Reid Duke, Brandon: Duke had five goals in two games for the Wheat Kings, four coming in Friday’s 8-1 win over Saskatoon. The Minnesota prospect has 12 points in his last six games, picking up the slack in the absence of Brandon ace centerman and presumptive 2017 first overall pick Nolan Patrick, who has been limited to six games with an injury.