Welcome to the 2021 inaugural edition of the Flyers CHL Prospect Report.
With all of the uncertainty surrounding junior hockey due to COVID-19, this series has had to go on a bit of a hiatus. However, now that it looks like the CHL is returning to play we at BrotherlyPuck.com felt that we should re-familiarize ourselves with the Flyers draftees that have been or will be hitting the ice. Of course, the OHL is still awaiting word for it’s official return to play proposal being accepted by the province of Ontario but also approved by the Regional Health Authorities to ensure the highest level of safety possible. Hopefully, official word on a decision will happen in the next 7-10 days. Rumors suggest that a bubble format will be part of the OHL’s return to play, and that the league will look to play somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-24 games.
Last season, we covered all three leagues that comprise the CHL (OHL, WHL, and QMJHL) and all of the Flyers prospects playing for teams in those respective leagues. We also covered Jay O’Brien and his season with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. After such a successful season, O’Brien has completed his regular season with the Boston University Terriers and has continued to impress. Jay O’Brien and the Terriers were eliminated in the opening round of the Hockey East Tournament losing to UMass-Lowell by a score of 2-1.
This season, this space will be following the seasons of the following prospects as they make their way through a shortened season under difficult circumstances:
Egor Serdyuk (Forward for the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL)
Elliot Desnoyers (Forward for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL)
Roddy Ross (Goaltender for the Regina Pats of the WHL)
Connor McClennon (Forward for the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL)
Zayde Wisdom (Forward for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL)
Tyson Foerster (Forward for the Barrie Colts of the OHL)
Mason Millman (Defenseman for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL)
As always, this column will try to get video highlights of the players that are covered so long as they are available. This column will also try to keep track of any news or notes related to each of these prospects in addition to tracking their progress and development in the current season.
This week there are highlights of Connor McClennon’s shorthanded goal, and Elliot Desnoyers’ five point game.
This edition covers the week that was in the CHL from Tuesday March 2nd – Monday March 15th.
WHL (Western Hockey League)
Connor McClennon #94 (RW) – Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
- Saturday (Mar. 13) was the opening game of the season for the Winnipeg Ice and newly named Alternate Captain Connor McClennon. This game was played against the Brandon Wheat Kings in the hub city of Regina, Saskatchewan. The Ice opened the scoring in the first period as Conor Geekie scored his 1st of the season only 1:21 in. The remainder of the scoring happened in the second period. Braden Schneider tied the game 1-1 with a shot from the point at 3:48. Winnipeg retook the lead with a Jakin Smallwood powerplay goal before Brett Hyland responded for the Wheat Kings to tie it 2-2 at 6:21. Brandon would score a powerplay goal of their own through Jake Chaisson at 19:38 to take a 3-2 lead. A scoreless third period ensured that Brandon defeated Winnipeg, although the Wheat King’s Lyndon McCallum almost scored an early goal of the year candidate with a Marek Malik between the legs breakaway attempt. Connor McClennon finished the game pointless with 1 shot on goal and an even rating.
- Monday (Mar. 15) saw the Winnipeg Ice face the Swift Current Broncos. The Ice were dominant in the opening period, outshooting the Broncos by a 15-1 spread. After some great hits by both teams, Connor McClennon opened the scoring for Winnipeg by carrying the puck in on a shorthanded two on one, deking the lone defender, and rifling a wrist shot home for the 1-0 lead. The Broncos would be considered fortunate that the score was 2-0 at the end of the first period. The second period was a goal fest with both sides scoring three goals apiece to finish the second period 5-3 in favor of Winnipeg. Swift Current scored early in the third period to cut the lead to one, but a powerplay goal by Peyton Krebs was converted of a McClennon feed to end any hopes of a last second comeback. In the 6-4 victory for Winnipeg, McClennon finished the game with 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points, 7 shots on goal, and an even rating.
Here are the highlights of this game including McClennon’s shorthanded goal. Video is courtesy of the Winnipeg Ice and the WHL:
Roddy Ross #31 (G) – Regina Pats (WHL)
- On Friday night (Mar. 12), Roddy Ross got the start in goal as the Regina Pats opened their season against the Prince Albert Raiders. Ross didn’t get the start that he was hoping for as the Raiders took a 2-0 lead on only 4 shots in the first period off screens by his defenders. The second period saw Prince Albert extend their lead to 3-0, but then Connor Bedard got Regina back into the game with two goals in 48 seconds to make it 3-2. Bedard is noteworthy because he is the first player in WHL history to be granted exceptional status and be allowed to play prior to his 16th birthday. Ross was credited with an assist on Bedard’s first goal, and made a few nice saves to allow the Pats to stay in the game. The Raiders scored three goals in the final period with the last one scored on an empty net as Regina fell to the Raiders by a score of 6-3. Bedard was awarded the game’s First Star, while Ross got credited with the loss by allowing 5 goals on only 16 shots (11 saves).
- Roddy Ross and the Regina Pats were back in action on Sunday (Mar. 14) as they took on the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades struck only 56 seconds into the game as Ross made a stop, had a defenseman swat the puck back into traffic, stop a second shot, only to clear it with his glove to the goal-scorer in the slot. The Pats tied the game at 9:09 while on the man advantage, but Saskatoon took full advantage of their 18-9 shot advantage and some sloppy coverage and giveaways by the Pats to end the first period with a 3-1 lead. Regina came back with two goals to tie the game 3-3 (Carson Denomie’s second of the game, and Connor Bedard’s 3rd of the season) but the Blades scored three goals on only six shots in the final period to win the game by a score of 6-3. Ross was tagged with the loss and allowed all 6 goals on 34 shots (28 saves).
QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)
Egor Serdyuk #18 (RW) – Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
- On Tuesday night (Mar. 2) the Victoriaville Tigres hosted the Sherbrooke Phoenix. The Phoenix struck first in the opening period to lead 1-0, but Egor Serdyuk scored his 3rd goal of the season by tapping in a cross-ice feed into an empty cage to tie the game 1-1. Serdyuk assisted on Victoriaville’s second goal of the game as Mikhail Abramov skated a full revolution around the offensive zone to take a 2-1 lead. In the third period, the Tigres would add an empty-netter to make the game 3-1 but the Phoenix scored on an odd man rush in the dying seconds to make the final result a 3-2 win for Victoriaville. Serdyuk finished the game with 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points, a +1 rating, and 1 shot on goal.
- The Victoriaville Tigres were in action again on Thursday night (Mar. 4) as they visited the Gatineau Olympiques. Victoriaville got on the board first as Alex Beaucage scored his 16th of the season at 13:10 of the first period with an assist from Egor Serdyuk who got around a defender on the outside and fed Beaucage an easy tap in. The Olympique jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the second period, but Serdyuk scored his 4th of the season as Beaucage repaid the earlier assist to tie the game up at 2-2. The Olympiques did the rest of the scoring though, scoring three unanswered goals to win the game by a score of 5-2. Serdyuk scored a goal and an assist (both at even strength) to finish with 2 points, 3 shots on goal, and a +1 rating.
- Saturday (Mar. 6) had the Victoriaville Tigres back in action for the first game of a back to back. Egor Serdyuk was looking to continue his hot hand in the month of March as the Tigres played the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Serdyuk wasted no time getting started as he was wide open in the slot and potted his 5th goal of the season only 2:32 into the opening frame. After taking a 3-0 lead in the second period, Serdyuk scored again after a nice switch at the blueline with a defender, taking the puck into the slot, and wiring a wrist shot past a slew of players in front for his 6th goal of the season. Victoriaville made the score 5-0 in the third period as Alex Beaucage finished the scoring after sliding in a rebound from Serdyuk’s initial shot. The Tigres were victorious by a final score of 5-0. Serdyuk finished the game with 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points, 3 shots on goal, and a +3 rating. Serdyuk’s opening goal was credited as the game winner, and he was also awarded the game’s First Star.
- In the second game of the back to back on Sunday (Mar. 7), Victoriaville hosted the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The Tigres opened the scoring through Brooklyn Kalmikov’s 6th goal of the season, but the Huskies would do the remainder of the scoring in this game. The Huskies tied the game in the second period, and added two more goals in the third period to defeat Victoriaville by a score of 3-1. Egor Serdyuk did not register a point in this contest and finished the game with 4 shots on goal and a -2 rating.
Elliot Desnoyers #91 (C) – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
- Tuesday (Mar. 9) saw the Halifax Mooseheads host the Charlottetown Islanders. While the play was pretty even in the opening period, the Islanders scored twice at even strength to take a 2-0 lead. After the first Islanders goal, Elliot Desnoyers was denied on a breakaway from getting the Mooseheads on the board. In the second period, Desnoyers completed a cross-ice pass from dot to dot on the powerplay for Seena Peeters to score his 1st goal of the season. The Mooseheads would tie the game 2-2 later in the period as Desnoyers rifled his 15th goal of the season at 16:35 on a wrist shot from the left circle. Desnoyers just missed giving the Mooseheads an advantage at the end of the period as he couldn’t jam the puck in from the right side of the goal. The Islanders though would have a strong third period, scoring 3 goals including an empty-netter to defeat the Mooseheads by a score of 5-2. Desnoyers finished the game with 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points, 3 shots on goal, and a -2 rating. Desnoyers was also awarded the game’s Second Star and was very impactful throughout the hockey game.
- Thursday night (Mar. 11) saw the Halifax Mooseheads take on the Cape Breton Eagles. This game was a high scoring affair even though the shots on goal were fairly competitive with the Mooseheads claiming a 35-27 advantage. 2021 draft eligible prospect Zachary L’Heureux opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season. Elliot Desnoyers led the rush into the Eagles zone and deftly performed a blind back pass after receiving the puck just outside to crease to L’Heureux who made no mistake. After Cape Breton tied the game, Desnoyers got his second assist of the night while the Mooseheads were on the powerplay as Seena Peeters scored his 2nd goal of the season to make it 2-1. With a 3-2 lead, the Mooseheads would score three goals in the period to make it 6-2. On the fifth goal, Desnoyers got another powerplay assist on Peeters 2nd goal of the game. The third period saw no let up from the Mooseheads as they outscored the Eagles 5-2 in the final period to win the game convincingly by an 11-4 score. Desnoyers added 2 more assists at even strength in the third period to finish the game with 5 assists, 2 shots on goal, and a +3 rating. He also picked up 2 PIMs with a tripping call at 13:30 of the third period. Amazingly, Desnoyers was not awarded as one of the game’s Three Stars selections.
Check out the highlights of this game (especially the first Mooseheads goal) to see Desnoyers’ deft touch pass. Video is courtesy of the QMJHL:
- On Sunday night (Mar. 14) the Halifax Mooseheads took on the Charlottetown Islanders. The Mooseheads scored the only goal of the opening period through Markus Vidicek’s 10th of the season to lead 1-0. The second period again saw shots even but it was the Mooseheads who converted their opportunities. Seena Peters scored his 5th of the season by taking a feed from Elliot Desnoyers who drew a defender towards him on a two on one break. Desnoyers then made the game 3-0 with his 16th of the season by wiring a powerplay goal with a one timer from the slot. The Mooseheads would extend the lead to 4-0, but then it was the Islanders who took over the game. Charlottetown would score six unanswered goals in the contest (two in the second period and four in the third) to come from behind to defeat Halifax by a score of 6-4. The third period in particular was a one-sided affair as the Islanders outshot the Mooseheads 17-1 in the final frame (46-30 overall). Desnoyers finished this game with 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points, 2 shots on goal, and a -1 rating.
Hope you enjoyed this reboot edition of the Flyers CHL Prospect Report.
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Until next time from BrotherlyPuck.com,
Manny Benevides @mannybenevides
photo credit: cbssports.com