Welcome back to the Flyers CHL Prospect Report.
As COVID-19 continues to affect everyone inside and outside the world of sports, the CHL announced earlier this week that the Memorial Cup for 2021 has been cancelled. This is the latest in a string of COVID related disruptions currently present in junior hockey. The QMJHL has had to postpone games for 5 teams that have had issues with the virus, and teams based in Alberta and British Columbia have been affected as well.
The OHL season has still not resumed. With the spread of the virus variants throughout the Province of Ontario and the Stay at Home Order by Premier Doug Ford, it is increasingly likely that the OHL season will be abandoned and look to return to play in the fall of 2021. With record amounts of people in ICU’s around the province and many sporting facilities being used to distribute vaccines to the population, it would be incredibly selfish and short-sighted to attempt to comeback at this time. While no official word of a decision has been made, it just makes the most sense politically that the OHL cease the attempted return to play at this time in order to prepare for what is expected to be a full regular season with fans in September.
While this is incredibly difficult for everyone employed by the various clubs and the fans, the players also deserve acknowledgement for the disruption that has been caused to their young hockey journey. While some of the expected top prospects in this year’s 2021 NHL Draft decided to play in leagues overseas to maintain their competitive edge and get valuable playing time to not only hone their skills but also allow for scouts to get more familiar with their respective skillsets.
This hasn’t been easy for anyone, but I truly feel for everyone associated with junior hockey that has not been able to fully play, watch, or earn a living from this great game during these trying times.
As always, any news that comes out will be updated in this space in the coming weeks.
Let’s get back to the games that are happening on the ice and the Flyers prospects from the CHL that are playing.
This edition covers the week that was in the CHL from Wednesday March 31st – Tuesday April 13th.
WHL (Western Hockey League)
Connor McClennon #94 (RW) – Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
- Wednesday (Mar. 31) had Winnipeg Ice and the Saskatoon Blades face off in the hub city of Regina. Winnipeg drew first blood with a goal at 11:10 of the first period courtesy of Anderson MacDonald’s 2nd of the season. Saskatoon would tie the game 1-1 later in the frame, as Brandon Lisowsky snuck a puck past Ice goaltender Gage Alexander at 16:12. Alexander came up big with a flurry of acrobatic stops on a Saskatoon sequence in the latter stages of the period to go into the intermission tied 1-1. In the second period, the Blades took over the game scoring twice (one even-strength and one on the powerplay) to take a 3-1 lead. In the third period, Winnipeg dominated the shots on goal 11-4 and were rewarded with a goal by Connor McClennon as he jammed away at a loose puck through a crowd of bodies for his 5th of the season at 7:14 to make it a 3-2 game. Despite some good chances to tie the game, the Ice could not find the tying goal and dropped the 3-2 decision to the Saskatoon Blades. McClennon finished the game with 1 goal, 5 shots, an even rating, and 2 PIMs courtesy of a charging minor at 13:48 of the third period.
- On Saturday (Apr. 3) the Winnipeg Ice were back in action as they took on the Regina Pats. Winnipeg jumped out to an early lead as Skylar Bruce scored his 1st of the season at 1:52 of the opening period. McClennon took a big hit close to the end of the period but was not hurt on the play. In the second period, Connor McClennon had a puck go into the net off his leg while Winnipeg was on the powerplay only 0:26 in to make it 2-0. Jakin Smallwood would pot a rebound off a great effort by Peyton Krebs for his 9th of the year to make it 3-0 for the Ice. The Pats and the Ice would alternate powerplay goals for the remainder of the game with both sides scoring twice. Conor Geekie and Zachary Benson scored the goals for the Ice who ended up downing the Regina Pats by a score of 5-2. McClennon finished the game with 1 goal, an even rating, and 2 shots on goal.
- Tuesday (Apr. 6) had the Winnipeg Ice face the Prince Albert Raiders. Although the opening period was scoreless, both teams provided a good amount of action. Krebs took a big hit on the left wall trying to forecheck past a defender, and the Raiders had a goal from Ozzy Wiesblatt negated by a referees’ quick whistle. Connor McClennon was fortunate as he coughed up the puck at his own blueline leading to a great scoring chance that the Raiders would have converted if not for the puck striking the post. In the second period, Winnipeg opened the scoring through Cole Muir’s 4th of the season while on the man-advantage to take a 1-0 lead. The Ice would extend their lead with Owen Pederson scoring his 6th of the season on the powerplay off a backdoor feed from McClennon. Winnipeg would get an insurance goal in the third period and Gage Alexander would stop all 31 shots that he faced as Winnipeg beat Prince Albert 3-0. The Ice looked comfortable in this game despite only getting 18 shots on goal (6 each period) in the game. McClennon finished the game with 1 assist, an even rating, no shots on goal, and 2 PIMs from an interference call in the opening period.
- On Wednesday (Apr. 7), the Winnipeg Ice were back in action taking on the Moose Jaw Warriors at the Brandt Center in Regina, Saskatchewan. Winnipeg opened the scoring with the man advantage as Connor McClennon passed the puck to Peyton Krebs who snapped home his 8th goal of the season from the high slot to make it 1-0 for the Ice. McClennon figured in on the scoring once again with the man advantage; this time pouncing on a loose puck from the left circle and wristing it home to make it 2-0. Winnipeg would add two more goals by Zachary Benson and Cole Muir, before the Warriors finally got on the board and scored two goals of their own to make it 4-2 after 20 minutes of play. In the second period, the Warriors scored the only goal at 18:18 to make it a one-goal game heading into the third period. With the slimmest of leads, Winnipeg’s Jakin Smallwood struck for his 10th of the season with the Ice on the powerplay to make it 5-3 at 15:59. With the Warriors net empty, McClennon scored his second goal of the game and 8th of the season to give the Winnipeg Ice a 6-3 win over Moose Jaw. McClennon finished the game with 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points, an even rating, and 4 shots on goal. McClennon was named the game’s Third Star.
Here is video of Connor McClennon’s 3-point game against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Video is courtesy of the Winnipeg Ice and the WHL.
- Saturday (Apr. 10) had the Winnipeg Ice back in action as they took on the Prince Albert Raiders. The Raiders opened the scoring in this one with a powerplay goal at 7:16 to take a 1-0 lead. Winnipeg responded a few minutes later as Zachary Benson and James Form scored consecutive goals to put the Ice up 2-1 going into the intermission. In the second period, Peyton Krebs added to the Winnipeg lead by scoring a powerplay goal at 3:54 for his 9th goal of the season. Connor McClennon registered a secondary assist on the Krebs goal that made it 3-1 in favor of Winnipeg. Prince Albert responded less than a minute later to make it 3-2, and tied the game at the 8:04 mark with a powerplay of their own to make it 3-3. McClennon had a glorious chance in the beginning of the third period to regain the lead for the Ice, but he was stopped by Carter Seryhenko. With regulation unable to produce a winner, overtime commenced and it was Connor Geekie who was the hero for the Winnipeg Ice scoring his 5th of the season to lead Winnipeg to a 4-3 win over Prince Albert. McClennon finished the game with 1 assist, a -1 rating, 3 shots on goal, and 6 PIMs thanks to two cross-checking penalties and a roughing penalty.
- On Monday (Apr. 12), the Winnipeg Ice played the Regina Pats. Winnipeg opened the scoring in the opening period as Conor Geekie put away a breakaway chance by getting Pats goaltender Roddy Ross to bite on a fake for his 6th of the season. After the Pats tied the game 1-1, the Ice regained the lead with a powerplay goal by Connor McClennon who fired in a loose puck in front of the goal for his 9th goal of the season. In the second period, McClennon would get his second goal of the game (this time at even strength) by one-timing a feed from Peyton Krebs while in the slot to give the Ice a 3-1 lead. Looking for the hat-trick, McClennon almost got his third goal put fired a wrist shot into the chest protector of Ross who denied him his third goal of the game. Winnipeg ended up victorious in this game as the Ice defeated the Pats by a score of 3-1. McClennon finished this game with 2 goals (including the game-winner), a +1 rating, 10 shots on goal, and 2 PIMs for a roughing call with about 5 minutes to go in the contest.
Roddy Ross #31 (G) – Regina Pats (WHL)
- On Thursday night (Apr. 1), Roddy Ross got the start in goal as the Regina Pats faced the Brandon Wheat Kings. Ross did not get much help on this night as the Pats defense was careless with their puck management on April Fool’s Day and helped Brandon jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the opening period. Of all the goals, the third one was one that Ross would like to get back as he stopped a one-timer, but the puck trickled through his legs to Wheat Kings forward Lynden McCallum who potted his second goal of the opining period. The Pats would get one back in the second period through Colby Wotton’s 1st of the season after Ross made two saves during the same sequence to send the Pats on the counterattack. But Brandon restored the four goal lead only 1:42 later on a breakaway to make it 5-1 after forty minutes. Brandon continued to flex their offensive muscle in the third period, scoring twice more with a Pats goal sandwiched in between. The first Wheat Kings goal was off a tip in front which left Ross with no chance; but the second Brandon goal of the period came from a puck-handling miscue by Ross who could not stop the puck from inching past the goal line. Brandon handed Regina a 7-2 loss with Ross allowing 7 goals on 28 shots (21 saves).
- The Regina Pats were back in action on Saturday (Apr. 3) as they took on the Winnipeg Ice. Roddy Ross got the start in goal but the Ice wasted no time in getting on the board and took a 1-0 lead only 1:52 in. The remainder of the period was entertaining, as Ross stared down Peyton Krebs on a breakaway and made a nice pad save on a wrap around attempt to keep the score 1-0. Connor Bedard even attempted a lacrosse style goal in the frame! In the second period, Winnipeg extended their lead while on the powerplay as Connor McClennon had the puck go in off his leg only 0:26 in. Winnipeg would add another goal at 18:49 after Jakin Smallwood pounced on a loose puck after Ross stopped Krebs at point blank range. In the third period, both teams would end up trading goals with one another and scoring twice each (all on the powerplay); but the Ice handed the Pats a 5-2 loss. Ross took the loss and allowed all 5 goals on 37 shots (32 saves). Ross was also assessed 2 PIMs for slashing in the third period which led to Winnipeg’s fourth goal of the game.
- Monday (Apr. 5) had Roddy Ross get the night off as Matthew Kieper got tagged with the start as the Regina Pats faced the Moose Jaw Warriors. After a scoreless first period which saw Regina outshot 11-5, the Pats got on the board in the second period with two goals in 34 seconds to take a 2-0 lead. With the lead entering the third period, the Pats made it 3-0 at 5:01, and then the wheels fell off as the Pats could not close out the game. Moose Jaw scored 3 goals in the second half of the period, including the tying goal with 17 seconds to go to force overtime. With overtime solving nothing, the Warriors scored twice in the shootout with the only Pats reply coming from a Connor Bedard goal as Moose Jaw defeated Regina 4-3 in the shootout.
- On Tuesday (Apr. 6) the Regina Pats played the Swift Current Broncos with Roddy Ross getting the start in goal. With a back and forth first period, the Pats got on the board first with goals from Carson Denomie (12th) and Logan Nijhoff (6th) to take a 2-0 lead. Swift Current got a goal back as Mathew Ward wristed a shot into the top corner that Ross may not have seen fully due to the presence of a defenders stick. With no scoring in the second period, the Pats got two goals from rookie phenom Connor Bedard to pace them to a four-goal outburst in the final period of the game. Ross stopped every Broncos shot after their first goal as the Regina Pats defeated Swift Current by a score of 6-1. Ross got his third win of the season and only allowed one goal on 21 shots (20 saves).
- Friday (Apr. 9) had the Regina Pats facing a very strong Brandon Wheat Kings squad with Roddy Ross getting the start in goal. Looking to build on an impressive win during their last outing, Ross stopped all 11 shots in the opening period to keep the game scoreless heading into the first intermission. The Wheat Kings did have a goal disallowed due to the puck being gloved into the net by a Brandon forward, but Ross was strong on his angles and made a few key saves in the period. In the second period, Connor Bedard scored his 11th of the season only 22 seconds in to give the Pats a 1-0 lead. Brandon outshot Regina 16-5 in the second period, with Ross continuing to make big stops on a few high danger chances and was also bailed out by the post and the crossbar. In the third period, Brandon found the equalized as Jake Chiasson snuck a puck through Ross on the short side which the goaltender would probably want back. Ross shut the door the rest of the way in regulation, and in overtime the Pats got the winner from Bedard to defeat the Wheat Kings by a score of 2-1. Ross was very strong in this game getting the win (his 4th of the season) and only allowing 1 goal on 34 shots (33 saves). Roddy Ross was awarded the game’s Second Star for his performance in this game.
Here are highlights of Ross and the Pats 2-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. Video footage is courtesy of the Brandon Wheat Kings and the WHL.
- On Monday (Apr. 12) the Regina Pats were back in action as they took on the Winnipeg Ice. Roddy Ross got the start in goal looking for his third consecutive win and trying to continue the positive run that he and the Pats have been on. The Ice opened the scoring at 5:09 through a breakaway goal that Conor Geekie potted after getting Ross to bite on a fake to put Ross down early. The Pats would tie the game with a powerplay goal from Logan Nijhoff at 16:08 to tie the game 1-1. But Winnipeg would regain the lead only 1:19 later as Connor McClennon picked up a loose puck in front of Ross to capitalize on the opportunity. In the second period, McClennon would score his second goal of the game by one-timing a wrist shot from the slot off a feed from Peyton Krebs to make it 3-1. There were no more goals scored for the remainder of the game as the Winnipeg Ice defeated the Regina Pats 3-1 and the Ice outshot the Pats 33-23. Ross was tagged with the loss although he did play a good game overall and allowed 3 goals on 33 shots (30 saves).
- Tuesday (Apr. 13) saw the Regina Pats play the Prince Albert Raiders. Roddy Ross got the evening off as Matthew Kieper got the start in goal. In the opening period, the Raiders carried the bulk of the play by building a 16-7 shots advantage but Kieper stopped everything that came his way. The second period was a different story as Prince Albert scored four goals on 12 shots to take a 4-0 lead. Regina scored twice in the latter stages of the third period, but it was not enough as the Prince Albert Raiders defeated the Regina Pats by a score of 4-2.
QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)
Egor Serdyuk #18 (RW) – Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
- On Wednesday night (Mar. 31) the Victoriaville Tigres played the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. Victoriaville got on the board first with Zachary Gravel’s 2nd goal of the season at 9:10 to give the Tigres a 1-0 lead. Chicoutimi would tie the game at 1-1 less than three minutes later while on the man advantage at 11:47. Near the end of the period, Egor Serdyuk had a glorious opportunity to give Victoriaville the lead on a breakaway cutting in from the left side, but he was denied by Sagueneens goaltender Alexis Shank. In the second period, Chicoutimi took the 2-1 lead as Dawson Mercer one-timed a blast home for his 18th of the season. Victoriaville would tie the game up 2-2 through Sean Larochelle’s 4th, but Chicoutimi retook the advantage with a goal at 14:05 to lead 3-2. In the third period, Mikhail Abramov notched his 10th of the season on a breakaway to even things up 3-3; and Serdyuk had the game on his stick but was robbed at point blank range to ensure that the game went into overtime. In overtime, Dawson Mercer was the hero with his 19th goal to give the Sagueneens a 4-3 overtime win over the Victoriaville Tigres. Serdyuk finished the game with no points, a -1 rating, and 4 shots on goal.
- The Victoriaville Tigres were back in action again for the second game in back-to-back nights on Thursday night (Apr. 1) as they hosted the Shawinigan Cataractes. Victoriaville stormed out of the gates with goals from Zachary Gravel, Mikhail Abramov, and Maxime Pellerin to lead 3-0. After outshooting the Cataractes 13-7 in the first period, the Tigres would outshoot the Cataractes with the exact numbers in the second although both teams got on the board. Victoriaville made it 4-0 with Brooklyn Kalmikov’s 8th of the season at 1:36, but Shawinigan would respond at 17:55 to end the second period 4-1. In the third period, Mikhail Abramov scored his second goal of the game (12th of the season) after Egor Serdyuk stole the puck at his own blue line and passed the puck to him unselfishly in a two-on-none break to make it 5-1. Mavrik Bourque got a goal back for the Cataractes to make it 5-2 at 9:02, but Jeremy Michaud potted an empty net goal to put the game out of reach as Victoriaville defeated Shawinigan 6-2. Serdyuk finished the game with 1 assist, a +2 rating, and 3 shots on goal.
Elliot Desnoyers #91 (C) – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
- Thursday (Apr. 1) saw the Halifax Mooseheads host the Charlottetown Islanders in an April Fools evening tilt. Halifax only could muster a total of 15 shots in this game (compared to the Islanders 45) with the score line reflecting the festivities of the day. The Islanders got on the board at 3:11 to take a 1-0 lead, but the Mooseheads tied the game 1-1 through Justin Barron’s 6th goal of the season at 13:30. The Islanders reasserted their dominance with two more goals in the opening period; including one in the final minute of play to go into the intermission up 3-1. Th Islanders continued their goal scoring ways in the second period with two goals in the opening 3:49 to extend their lead to 5-1. Landon Miron scored his 11th of the season for Halifax to cut the lead to 5-2, but Charlottetown scored a powerplay goal at 12:52 to regain the four goal lead. The third period saw the Mooseheads get outshot 8-3, but no goals ended up being scored by either team as the Islanders defeated the Mooseheads by a score of 6-2. Elliot Desnoyers did not play in this game.
- Friday night (Apr. 2) saw the Halifax Mooseheads return to action for their second game of a back-to-back against the Cape Breton Eagles. Looking to bounce back after a disappointing game the night before, Halifax came out looking to redeem themselves with a three goal first period. Liam Peyton got the Mooseheads on the board with his 5th of the season only 2:08 in. Halifax would extend the lead with the man-advantage as Elliot Desnoyers won the offensive zone face-off which was passed back to the point where Attilio Biasca scored his 1st goal of the season to make it 2-0. The Mooseheads would get a third goal from the stick of Lucas Robinson to go into the intermission up 3-0. In th second period, Cape Breton would get on the board at 8:15 to make it 3-1; but Zachary L’Heureux scored his 16th of the season to reclaim the three goal lead for Halifax. In the third period, L’Heureux would score his second of the game (17th of the season) with Desnoyers picking up a secondary assist to make it 4-1. James Swan and Robert Orr would make it 6-1 by the 3:53 mark, as Halifax cruised to a 6-2 win over Cape Breton. Desnoyers finished this game with 2 assists, a +2 rating, 4 shots on goal, and 2 PIMs due to being assessed an interference penalty at 8:37 of the third period.
- On Sunday night (Apr. 4) the Halifax Mooseheads took on the Charlottetown Islanders for the second time in their last three games. The early going of the opening period went the Islanders way, as Charlottetown had two breakaways that were denied by Mooseheads backup goaltender Brady James and Charlottetown would outshoot Halifax 18-10. Charlottetown did open the scoring on a tic tac play finished off by Cedric Desruisseaux for his 36th of the season. Halifax would tie the game 1-1 on the powerplay at 16:33 with Elliot Desnoyers feeding the puck back the point and the rebounded point shot being backhanded upstairs by Zachary L’Heureux. With only 2.3 seconds left, Desruisseaux scored his second goal of the game to give Charlottetown the 2-1 lead heading into the intermission. In the second period, Zachary L’Heureux scored his second of the game (19th of the season) while shorthanded as he stole the puck from an Islanders defenseman and wristed a shot home to tie the game 2-2. Halifax would outshoot Charlottetown 12-6 in the third period and overtime, but could not find the winning goal despite some good chances being created. The lack of finish would cost Halifax a point as five Mooseheads could not convert in the shootout, and Lukas Cormier scored the only goal for the Islanders as Charlottetown defeated the Mooseheads 3-2. Desnoyers finished the game with 1 assist, a -1 rating, and 3 shots on goal.
- Wednesday (Apr. 7) saw the Halifax Mooseheads back in action as they faced the Charlottetown Islanders again for the third time in the last four games. Halifax opened the scoring at 4:37 as Elliot Desnoyers fed the puck from the left wall to the right point where Justin Barron’s wrist shot went bar down for his 7th goal of the season. Desnoyers would pick up another assist only 1:56 later, picking up the puck behind the Islanders goal, attempting a wrap around, but having the rebound slammed home by Robert Orr who scored his 14th goal of the season. Desnoyers would light the lamp at 12:52 with a powerplay goal, as he took a feed at the bottom of the right circle from behind the net and wristed his 21st goal of the season. Halifax led the game 3-0 going into the first intermission despite getting outshot 17-8 in the period. In the second period, the Islanders would get back into the game by scoring two powerplay goals and dominating the shots on goal by a 16-6 margin to cut the lead to 3-2. Halifax would regain their three goal advantage in the third period, as the Mooseheads got goals from Senna Peeters and Jordan Dumais to secure a 5-2 victory for the Mooseheads over the Islanders despite being outshot 44-22. Desnoyers finished the game with 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points, a +2 rating, 4 shots on goal, and 2 PIMs after taking a minor penalty for roughing during his impressive first period. Elliot Desnoyers was named the game’s Second Star of the game.
- On Friday (Apr. 9) the Halifax Mooseheads played the Charlottetown Islanders for the third time in a row and the fourth time in the last five games. The Mooseheads would look to reverse the recent trend of being outshot badly at the hands of the Islanders, but unfortunately for Halifax the trend would indeed continue. Charlottetown scored the only goal of the first period to take a 1-0 lead at 9:15. Halifax would respond in the second period through a Robert Orr shorthanded goal (his 15th) to tie the game 1-1 at 13:05. But the tide would turn in the game as 41 seconds later, the Islanders retook the lead by scoring on the same powerplay that they allowed the Mooseheads to score on to retake the lead. They would score again less than two minutes later to take a 3-1 lead into the third period. In the third period, Charlottetown would score twice more to make it a 5-1 lead and hand the Mooseheads the loss. Halifax could only muster 15 shots on goal in the game and were outshot badly in every period (10-5, 21-3, and 15-7). Elliot Desnoyers did not play in this game.
- The Halifax Mooseheads returned to action on Tuesday (Apr. 13) as they faced the Charlottetown Islanders once again. After struggling mightily the last few times these two teams met, the Mooseheads got dominated once again. With Elliot Desnoyers not dressed, the Islanders jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period after scoring their first goal only 1:18 into the game. The second period fared only marginally better for the Mooseheads, as Charlottetown scored again shortly after the restart (1:07) and followed it up with another to lead 5-0. Halifax pulled one back on the powerplay through Attilio Biasca’s 2nd goal of the season at 17:10 to cut the lead to 5-1. In the third period all hell broke loose as the scoreline of this game got out of reach with the Islanders scored twice more to take a 7-1 lead. The results of the previous few games and the lopsided score in this game boiled over. At 9:47, a line brawl broke out after Mooseheads goaltender Alexis Gravel speared Charlottetown’s Zachary Beauregard. After Beauregard took exception, Halifax Captain Justin Barron began the fisticuffs and leading to 6 player ejections with multiple majors for fighting. In total 76 minutes of penalties were assessed in the game with the Mooseheads losing to the Islanders by a score of 8-1 and being outshot badly 42-13.
Hope you enjoyed this edition of the Flyers CHL Prospect Report.
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photo credit: regina.ctvnews.ca