Three Stars of the Weekend: Max Jones Continues Stand-out Season

A 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, Max Jones is built like a freight train. He plays like one, too.

It’s why the Anaheim Ducks made him a first-round pick in this past June’s NHL Draft, taking him with 24th overall pick.

A power forward whose size is complemented by his strength on the puck, Jones is an impact forward with a net drive and presence in the house that is paralleled by few his age. After putting up 28 goals and 52 points in 63 games last season, helping OHL London to its first Memorial Cup title in 11 years, Jones has followed it up with a blazing start to 2016-17.

With Aaron Berisha, Christian Dvorak, Mitch Marner, and Matthew Tkachuk gone to challenge the waters of pro hockey, Jones is now one of the centerpieces of what remains a strong London team, which also includes Toronto prospect and 30-goal scorer J.J. Piccinch, and Cliff Pu (second round pick by Buffalo in 2016) up front while fifth-overall pick Olli Juolevi and Montreal prospect Victor Mete lead the charge on the back end.

Playing just six of London’s 11 games this season, Jones has five goals and 15 points, his 2.5 points per game tops in the OHL.

The 18-year-old played two of the Knights three games this weekend, putting up two goals and seven points; a three-assist performance on Thursday before posting a pair of goals and two assists on Friday.

The other two stars from CHL play this weekend:

Dylan Wells, Peterborough: The Petes netminder and Edmonton prospect had a rough go of things on Thursday, allowing four of 13 shots to go in during a 6-1 loss to Sarnia, but came back and willed Peterborough to victory on Friday, stopping 49 of 51 shots as the Petes stole a 4-2 win from Sudbury, despite being outshot 51-20. Despite his inflated GAA (3.15), Wells’ .920 save percentage is tied for fourth in the OHL.

Alexandre Alain, Blainville-Boisbriand: The 19-year-old, who leads the Armada in scoring, had four goals and six points this weekend, including a 3-2-5 performance against Sherbrooke on Friday night.

AHL

Charlie Lindgren, St. John’s: The 22-year-old stopped 73 of 76 shots this weekend, including 50 of 51 in a win over Providence on Friday.

Sven Andrighetto, St. John’s: The forward, who played 44 games with Montreal last season, scored three goals and assisted on three others in three games for the IceCaps.

Gabriel Dumont, Syracuse: The AHL veteran, in his seventh season in the American League, had three goals and an assist on Friday for the Crunch, who fell to Utica, 5-4.

NCAA

Brock Boeser, North Dakota: The Canucks prospect had five goals in two games this weekend, including a hat trick in Friday’s 3-2 win over Bemidji State.

Jake Oettinger, Boston University: The 2017 draft prospect stopped all 46 shots he faced this weekend for BU, which beat Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac to the tune of a combined 10-0 margin. His .947 save percentage is fifth in the nation, one of five freshmen ranked in the top six of that category.

Mike Vecchione, Union: The senior had four goals and an assist on Saturday against Niagara, a 5-2 win for Union. He currently leads the nation in scoring with 8-5–13 totals through six games.

Women’s NCAA

Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin: The senior had four goals for the top-ranked Badgers in Sunday’s 5-2 win over North Dakota. She’s scored goals in four consecutive games.

Sarah Potomak, Minnesota: The sophomore forward had a hat trick on Friday night against Ohio State, following up the performance with another goal on Saturday.

Katie Burt, Boston College: The junior was airtight in net as the sixth-ranked Eagles secured a win and tie in the weekend doubleheader with third-ranked Quinnipiac. She stopped 39 of the 40 shots that came her way.

 

 

Three Stars from the Weekend

CHL

Logan Brown, Windsor: The 11th overall pick of the 2016 draft is off to a blazing start for the Spitfires, with three goals and 14 points in six games. In three games this weekend, the Senators prospect had three goals and eight points. While he won just 39 of 84 faceoffs he took, he got off to a good start in the circle as he began the weekend with 19 wins in 28 draws in a 4-2 win over Mississauga on Thursday night. Brown looks to be well on his way to surpassing the 21-53–74 totals he put up in 2015-16, his second OHL season.

Taylor Raddysh, Erie: The latest playmaker to come through Erie, Raddysh scored twice and assisted on five other goals in three games, two of which were Otters wins. Alex DeBrincat, who made his return to Erie following his first camp with Chicago, which selected him in the second round of June’s draft, had all four of his goals from this weekend assisted by Raddysh. A second-round pick by Tampa Bay in the 2016 draft, the 18-year-old has 10 points in four games.

Dennis Yan, Shawnigan: Yan had five goals in two games over the weekend, both wins for the Cataractes. He scored four goals in the latter of the two wins, a 7-1 win over Val-d’Or. A left winger with good size at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, the Tampa Bay prospect has 30 goals in each of his last two QMJHL seasons. He had 32 goals and 69 points last season for Shawinigan.

NCAA

Max French, Bentley: The Falcons celebrated what may have very well been the biggest win in program history over the weekend with a 5-1 win over UNH. French was the best player on the ice, assisting on three goals while winning 17 of 25 faceoffs. A senior at Bentley, the 24-year-old had 47 points in 32 games as a junior last season. He has 107 career points.

Shane Starrett, Air Force: In a landmark weekend for another Atlantic Hockey school, Air Force knocked off Boston College on Friday night before tying Ohio State on Saturday. In the two games, Starrett stopped 83 of 87 pucks that came his way. Only three of the 49 pucks that came off the tape of Buckeye sticks eluded Starrett.

Robbie Payne, Northern Michigan: Payne had six points in two games this weekend, a split with Wisconsin. Payne had two goals and five points on Saturday night.

Women’s NCAA

Brooke Webster, St. Lawrence: In a win and a tie against Clarkson this weekend, Webster had a goal and three points for the Saints. Twenty-nine of her 44 draws were wins. Coming off two seasons in which she was nearly a point-per-game performer, Webster has eight points through four games to begin her senior season.

Kassidy Sauve, Ohio State: The Buckeyes emerged from a weekend with Wisconsin winless, as most teams do. But Sauve had a strong weekend, making 81 saves on 85 shots, 37 coming in a 1-1 tie in the latter of the two contests. In her first season as a starter for Ohio State, Sauve has a .967 save percentage and 1.23 GAA through four games. Her .967 save percentage ranks third nationally.

Annika Zalewski, St. Cloud State: In a weekend sweep of Merrimack, Zalewski had a goal and five points to go along with a plus-five rating. She won 38 of the 51 faceoffs she took.

US Junior A

Andrew McGlynn, Corpus Christi: In three games, the 19-year-old had five goals in three games, two of which were game-winners. He added two assists onto that tally.

Nathan Bryer, Corpus Christi: Bryer, bound for Mercyhurst next season, had nine points in three games over the weekend, while posting a plus-four. In his third season in the NAHL, Bryer needs just seven points to match his production from last season, in which he posted 17 points in 60 games for the Ice Rays.

David Keefer, Des Moines: The Michigan State commit had three goals and five points in two games for the Buccaneers over the weekend, coming back from a slow start in which he had just two assists over his first five contests.

 

 

We’re Back

So why am I doing this?

Here’s a brief history of PuckWatching. I started it up a couple years back, got caught up in school and other things and it fell by the wayside. Rinsed and repeated another year later.

Well, now I’m out of school. I’m still busy as hell, don’t get me wrong. But maybe now I guess I have more of a plan. Bigger goals. Better vision. I don’t know. The time is also right to get started again, given we’re at the commencement of the hockey season; the World Cup of Hockey already underway, the CHL set to kick off this week, and less than a month away from the start of the NHL, AHL, and college hockey. In other words, everyone’s got that preseason pucks fever.

My hope is that this can be a place where hockey fans can go to get anything and everything hockey. And I’m not just talking NHL. I’m talking anything that involves a sheet of ice, a rubber biscuit, and a stick. That means the international circuit. It means the minors. I’ll give you college hockey, some CHL. Maybe mix in some Junior A. And of course, there’s women’s hockey, which in my opinion is the most grossly overlooked sport in our current media landscape – especially when you factor in its coverage compared with other female sports.

The game has never been in a better place. Hockey has never had a bigger following than it has now. More kids are playing. More fans are watching. The talent pool has never been so deep. We’re seeing not just players, but in some cases legit superstars, coming out of places like Florida, California, and Arizona. The top-end talent – i.e. Gretzkys, Lemieuxs, Messiers, etc. – may not be where it was in the 1980s and ‘90s, but there’s never been more players worthy of NHL employment.

I won’t be breaking any news (at least not yet, that is), but there will be plenty to see. You’ll see things you couldn’t find elsewhere, you learn things you hadn’t previously known. There will be analytics thrown in there. I’ll throw some stories your way. I’ll give my opinion (trust me, I’ve got plenty of them). But it’ll all be in moderation. There’s enough places on the internet that corsi-out its visitors or numb their minds with hot takes. You won’t find that here (especially takes).

I love this game, have since I was a little kid. My first career aspiration was to be the next great Bruins defenseman, but this is the next-best thing. The game has everything a fan craves – drama, suspense, speed, skill, pace, camaraderie, physicality. That passion will come out through this site. And hopefully it will bring out the passion for the game in all of you – whether you’re a lifelong fan or just got hooked on the game a few days ago.

And that’s why I’m resuming my work on this website.