Welcome back to the 14th weekly installment of the Flyers Junior Hockey Prospect Report.
As we enjoy the great hockey at the World Junior Hockey Championship, let us just be reflective and appreciate the outpouring of support from fans, players, and teams from around the NHL for Oskar Lindblom. To see even the rival New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils tweet their support and wear “Oskar Strong” tee shirts is refreshing to see.
As the NHL has returned after their brief holiday break, the World Junior Hockey Championship has gotten underway. Many of the top prospects in hockey are away from their Junior teams putting on the colors of their country. As the preliminary round wraps up by New Years Day, look to www.brotherlypuck.com for some key players to watch for when the medal round begins.
Back in CHL and BCHL prospect news, some of the Flyers related storylines from the Junior Hockey universe that are that we will be following up on in this week’s edition include:
Will Jay O’Brien get back into the lineup after missing the last 4 games for the Penticton Vees due to a lower body injury?
Can Egor Serdyuk get back to his goal scoring ways from earlier in the season and help the Victoriaville Tigres get closer to a playoff spot?
Will Mason Millman be able to return to the form that he had before he was suspended for four games after delivering a check to the head of an opposing player in a game between the Saginaw Spirit and the Sarnia Sting?
This edition covers the week that was in the CHL and the BCHL from Tuesday December 17th – Tuesday December 31st.
WHL (Western Hockey League)
Wyatte Wylie #29 (D) – Everett Silvertips (WHL)
- Wednesday night (Dec. 18) saw the Everett Silvertips host the visiting Tri-City Americans. The game was not really a close contest as Everett dominated the shots on goal for the game 42-18 and led 4-1 with under 4 minutes to play in the second period. Tri-City got a goal back 35 seconds later to end the second period down 4-2. Even thought the Silvertips only allowed 3 Americans shots in the third period, Tri-City scored the only goal of the frame to finish the game 4-3 in favor of Everett. Wyatte Wylie had 2 powerplay assists in the game (on Everett’s 2nd and 3rd goals) and finished the game with a -2 rating and 3 shots on goal. Wylie was also assessed a 2 minute minor penalty for kneeing at the end of the third period.
- The Everett Silvertips hosted the Prince George Cougars in a tilt on Friday night (Dec. 27). The Cougars jumped out to an early lead in this game and led 3-1 after the opening period. Wyatte Wylie was on the ice for 2 of the Cougars goals but was not at fault on either as the shots went right through backup rookie goaltender Keegan Karki. After a goaltending change, the Silvertips got back into the game just 0:19 seconds into the second period. Wylie got an assist by stopping a clearing attempt on the right wall and whipping a pass into the slot for Bryce Kindopp to score his 25th of the season with a nice spin move wrist shot. In the third, Everett tied the game on the powerplay when Wylie started a passing play from the left slot that crossed the ice twice before being hammered into the Prince George net. Unfortunately, less than a minute later Wylie blocked a point shot that deflected to a Prince George player in front and ended up scoring the winner. Wylie blocked the shot with his right leg and hit the ice with some discomfort as the play continued and resulted in the winning goal. For the game, Wylie finished with 2 assists, a -2 rating, and 3 shots on goal.
- On Saturday night (Dec. 28) the Everett Silvertips travelled into British Columbia to face off against the Kamloops Blazers. The Blazers had the run of play in the first period, outshooting Everett by a 19-6 spread, but both teams capitalized on opportunities as the first period ended 2-2. Wyatte Wylie assisted on the tying goal while the Silvertips were on the powerplay at 14:52 of the first period. Wylie was again involved on the powerplay to help Everett take the lead, contributing an assist on the powerplay at 1:47 of the second period. Each team would score another three goals apiece in the remaining time of the game to see the score 6-5 in Everett’s favor, until Gage Goncalves iced the game for the Silvertips with an empty netter to win the game for Everett by a score of 7-5. Wylie finished the game with 2 assists, a +2 rating, and 2 shots on goal.
The Everett Silvertips fell to 2nd place in the U.S. Division with the Portland Winterhawks taking over at the top spot. Everett has 52 points from 35 games and are 2 points behind the Winterhawks with the same number of games played.
Egor Zamula #9 (D) – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
- Friday night (Dec. 27) saw the Calgary Hitmen travel to Lethbridge to face the Hurricanes. Lethbridge jumped out to an early start, scoring only 3:47 into the game and ending the first period with a 3-1 advantage. Calgary pushed back with 3 consecutive goals (2 in the second period and 1 midway through the third) to take a 4-3 lead. The lead was short lived as the Hurricanes scored the tying goal with 4 minutes remaining in regulation to force overtime. In overtime, Lethbridge scored the winning goal through Dino Kambeitz at the 3:00 mark to win the game 4-3.
- On Saturday night (Dec. 28) the Calgary Hitmen visited the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Tigers did all of their scoring in this game during the first period, putting 3 goals past the Calgary netminder to lead 3-0 even though the Hitman outshot the Tigers 16-12. Calgary did get a goal back in the second period, but it would not be enough as the Medicine Hat Tigers defeated the Calgary Hitmen by a score of 3-1.
- Monday night’s action (Dec. 30) saw the Calgary Hitmen returned home to face the division leading Edmonton Oil Kings. With the game tied 3-3 in the latter stages of the second period, the Hitmen got their first powerplay opportunity of the game and capitalized to take a 4-3 lead into the third period. Midway through the third, Calgary’s powerplay converted another opportunity to put the game out of reach and win the game by a score of 5-3. The Hitmen were 2 for 2 on the powerplay in this match.
The Calgary Hitmen have 39 points from 33 games played. They continue to hold the first playoff wildcard spot and are in 4th place in the Central Division. They trail the Medicine Hat Tigers by 9 points for the 3rd seed in the division.
Roddy Ross #1 (G) – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
- On Tuesday night (Dec. 17) the Seattle Thunderbirds visited the Tri-City Americans. Roddy Ross got the start in goal for Seattle, who were looking to put a string of results together in order to get back into the playoff picture. The first period was relatively even as both sides registered 9 shots on goal, but the Thunderbirds scored twice in the frame to lead 2-1 after 20 minutes. Tri-City scored the only goal of the second period to tie that game 2-2, and both teams traded goals in the third to end regulation time knotted at 3-3. Seattle badly outshot Tri-City in the second and third periods by a combined 31-13 margin and must have felt a bit hard done by the even score. In overtime, Ross did not have to make a save as Seattle scored on their fourth shot on goal to win the game 4-3 at the 2:39 mark. Ross earned the victory allowing 3 goals on 22 shots making 19 saves. Ross played well overall as two of the Americans goals were top shelf wristers and the other was a screened shot from the point.
Here are the highlights of Seattle vs. Tri-City:
- On Friday night (Dec. 27), the Seattle Thunderbirds hosted the visiting Spokane Chiefs. Backup goaltender Blake Lyda got the start in net as Roddy Ross got the night off. Although goal scoring has been a recurring issue for the Thunderbirds, it was not on this night as Seattle put up 5 goals in the first period. The teams would trade goals back and forth for the remainder of the evening as Seattle won the game by a score of 9-5. Seattle only went 1 for 6 on the powerplay and scored 8 even strength goals in the contest.
- Saturday night (Dec. 28) saw the Seattle Thunderbirds host the Portland Winterhawks. Roddy Ross got the start in goal looking to knock off one of the best teams in the WHL. Ross was bombarded in the opening period as the Winterhawks had a 23-3 shot advantage and Ross had to make quite a few difficult saves. Seattle opened the scoring completely against the run of play as a shorthanded Portland 3 on 1 rush was broken up by the defender who passed the puck up ice for an odd man rush that Seattle converted. The Winterhawks did the remainder of the scoring in the game, putting a goal past Ross in each period and adding an empty net goal to take the game by a 4-1 score line. Ross played exceptionally well in the loss; allowing 3 goals on 49 shots while making 46 saves. Many saves were on high danger chances in the slot, including many second chances off of rebounds as well as deflections. Ross was named the game’s First Star for his efforts.
- The Seattle Thunderbirds were back in action on New Years Eve (Dec. 31) as they travelled to Portland to face the first place Winterhawks. Roddy Ross got the start in goal and was tasked to keep the Thunderbirds in this game against one of the WHL’s best teams. The game was indeed lopsided as the shots on goal totals would indicate: 22-8 in the first period, 16-8 in the second period, and 12-3 in the third period; all in favor of the Portland Winterhawks. With half of the game completed and a 3-2 score in favor of Portland, Ross shut the door the rest of the way and did not allow the Winterhawks a fourth goal. Unfortunately, Seattle could not convert on a late powerplay opportunity to find the tying goal in the third period as the game finished 3-2. Ross was charged with the loss but played a wonderful game allowing 3 goals on 50 shots (47 saves). He performed his duties admirably on the road against a top team in the WHL; and because of that Ross was named the Second Star of the game.
The Seattle Thunderbirds gained some ground in their fight for the final wildcard spot. With 29 points in 35 games, Seattle now trails the Tri-City Americans by only 2 points with Tri-City having one game in hand.
OHL (Ontario Hockey League)
Mason Millman #12 (D) – Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
|2019-2020 Saginaw Spirit||31||8||11||19||+6||55||34|
- On Thursday night (Dec. 19), the Saginaw Spirit hosted the visiting Sarnia Sting hoping to repeat their 11 goal outburst when the teams last met. While the offense didn’t quite live up the last game, both teams combined for 9 goals in what ended up being a 5-4 overtime win for the Saginaw Spirit. Mason Millman returned to the lineup after serving his 4 game suspension, and was productive in his return with a goal and an assist. Both points were at 5 on 5, and Millman’s goal (7th of the season) tied the game at 4-4 before the end of regulation. In overtime, Damien Giroux notched his 21st goal to extend Saginaw’s winning streak to 4 games. Millman took home the Third Star of the game with 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, an even rating, 3 shots on goal, and 2 PIMs for tripping. Cole Perfetti had another exceptional game with 3 assists and a +3 rating and has been incredibly productive since being cut on the final day of Canada’s World Junior camp.
- Saturday night (Dec. 28) had the Saginaw Spirit hosted the Windsor Spitfires. Windsor got on the board quickly, nabbing an even strength goal at 2:41 of the first period. The remainder of the scoring in the game though would be done by the Saginaw Spirit. Mason Millman assisted on the tying goal less than two minutes after falling behind at 4:12 of the opening frame. Millman streaked down the right side of the ice to snipe a backhander into the top corner for his 8th goal of the season at 9:20 of the second period. The goal ended up being the game winner as Saginaw added two more goals in the third period on their way to a 4-1 victory. Mason Millman was named the First Star of the game and finished with 1 goal, 1 assist, a +2 rating, and 3 shots on goal.
- The Saginaw Spirit were in action on Monday night (Dec. 30) as they hosted the Soo Greyhounds. Despite dominating the shots on goal department through two periods of play (26-14), the Spirit and the Greyhounds were tied 1-1. Saginaw scored early in the third and added an insurance empty net goal to win a close game by a score of 3-1. Mason Millman did not get any points in the game and finished with a +2 rating and no shots on goal. Millman also picked up a 2 minute minor penalty for holding at 7:41 of the first period. That penalty led to the powerplay goal that was the Greyhounds only goal of the game.
The Saginaw Spirit have continue to lead the West Division with 46 points from 35 games played. They are 2 points ahead of the Windsor Spitfires but have three more games played.
QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)
Egor Serdyuk #18 (RW) – Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
|2019-2020 Victoriaville Tigres||25||10||11||21||-9||54||12|
- Saturday night (Dec. 28) saw the Victoriaville Tigres travelled to Drummondville to face the Voltigeurs. Drummondville opened the scoring in the firs period to lead 1-0, but the tide turned in the second period as the Tigres outscored the Voltigeurs by a 4-1 margin to take a 4-2 lead into the third period. Egor Serdyuk assisted on Victoriaville’s third and fourth goals of the period a mere 20 seconds apart to firmly entrench Victoriaville’s lead. Serdyuk scored his 9th goal of the season after tapping in a rebound while completely left alone in front of the Drummondville net. It was Serdyuk’s first goal in over 2 months as his last goal came on October 16th. At the final buzzer, the Tigres were victorious with the final score of 6-2. For the game, Serdyuk finished with 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, a +3 rating, and 1 shot on goal.
- On Sunday evening (Dec. 29), the Victoriaville Tigres returned home to face the Shawinigan Cataractes. Shawinigan got on the board first to take the 1-0 lead, but Egor Serdyuk scored his 10th goal of the season to tie the game 1-1. Serdyuk picked the pocket of a Shawinigan defenceman trying to skate the puck out of his own zone and snapped a wrist shot through the legs of another defender and into the Shawinigan goal. With the game tied 2-2 in the second period, Serdyuk notched an assist on Mikhail Abramov’s 23rd of the season to give Victoriaville a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. The Tigres added two more goals in the third period despite being outshot 11-4 and won the game by a final score of 5-3. Serdyuk finished the game with 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, a -1 rating, and 1 shot on goal.
- On New Years Eve (Dec. 31) the Victoriaville Tigres hosted the Rimouski Oceanic. Egor Serdyuk looked to stay hot in this game, as he has 5 points (2 goals and 3 assists) in his last 2 games. The Tigres opened the scoring in the second period while on the powerplay, and added another goal with the man advantage in the third period. With a 2-0 lead, Victoriaville iced the game with an empty net goal and Tigres goaltender Fabio Iacobo stopped all 29 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout win. Serdyuk did not pick up a point and finished with an even rating and 2 shots on goal.
The Victoriaville Tigres remain in 7th position in the Western Conference with 35 points from 38 games. Their recent run of form has seen the Tigres close the gap on a playoff spot. Victoriaville is 1 point behind Shawinigan and 2 points behind the Val d’Or Foreurs for the final two playoff spots. Both of those teams have two games in hand on Victoriaville.
BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League)
Jay O’Brien #9 (RW) – Penticton Vees (BCHL)
|2019-2020 Penticton Vees||33||15||32||47||41|
- Friday night (Dec. 20) saw the Penticton Vees face off against the Powell River Kings without Jay O’Brien. O’Brien has been out of the lineup since December 4 with a lower body injury and has missed the last five games. The Vees outshot the River Kings in every period of the game to a final total of 33-19. Vees goaltender Yaniv Perets stopped all 19 shots that he faced, and got the goal support that was needed in O’Brien’s absence in a 4-0 shutout victory.
- On Saturday night (Dec. 21) the Penticton Vees looked to carry over their momentum from their shutout victory at the expense of the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Jay O’Brien was once again not dressed and missed his sixth consecutive game with a lower body injury. The Vees opened the scoring less than 3 minutes into the game, but Cowitchan Valley scored 3 consecutive goals to find themselves ahead of Penticton 3-2 after the first period. The Vees tied the game in the second period, but the Capitals retook the lead only 53 seconds into the third and added another by the middle of the period to lead 5-3. The Vees did not give up and scored twice in the final four minutes to tie the game 5-5 and force overtime. The extra period solved nothing, and the Cowichan Valley Capitals outscored the Penticton Vees 3-2 in the shootout to win the game 6-5.
After this week, the Penticton Vees remain on top of the Interior Division with 56 points from 39 games. They lead the 2nd place Trail Smoke Eaters by 6 points and have a game in hand.
Jay O’Brien remains at 47 points in 33 games for a 1.42 points per game average.
Hope you enjoyed this end of December and end of the decade edition of the Flyers Junior Hockey Prospect Report. Happy New Year to everyone and I hope that 2020 is full of good health and good fortune for you and your families.
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Until next time from BrotherlyPuck.com,