The Halifax Mooseheads were expected to be a Memorial Cup contender this year and early indications are that everything is on track.
Well, almost everything. Martin Frk, a Detroit second-rounder this past summer, only has four points in six games so far. He’s also been suspended twice already, once for a spear and another for a slew foot. No worries. Halifax has a great trio of draft eligible players who are more than prepared to pick up the slack.
Sensation Nathan MacKinnon and linemate Jonathan Drouin sit tied at seventh in Quebec League scoring with 15 points, three more than Jonathan Huberdeau of Saint John. The two have driven the bus for the league’s top offense so far – an offense backed up by another player up for the 2013 draft.
Goalie Zach Fucale is improved his numbers from an average 2011-12, ranking fifth in GAA at 2.25, to go with a respectable .901 SP. Is it possible the Mooseheads are even more dangerous than originally expected? They’ve been strong, but with Quebec and Blaineville-Boisbriand topping this week’s ranking, Halifax still has work to do.
The high-powered Remparts handed Rimouski its first regulation loss in a big way, 7-2 on Saturday. But Quebec got a taste of its own medicine the following day in Blainville-Boisbriand, where they were handed their first loss, 4-2. Quebec plays Saint John and Gatineau this week, so should have no trouble hanging on to No. 1.
The Armada's first regulation loss had to be disappointing, since Gatineau isn't a very strong team. But a huge win against Quebec is why they jumped up. This week features another huge match when they travel to Rimouski. Look for goalie Storm Phaneuf to have an epic showdown with Oceanic netminder Carl Hozjan.
Kamloops has earned five out of a possible six points against division rival Victoria this season. In fact, Kamloops held Victoria to zero shots in the second period of Wednesday's 5-2 win. It's a busy week for Kamloops, who has four games and only one at home. All four (Spokane, Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton) will provide a challenge.
The Gens moved up five spots after two wins against division rivals Kingston and Belleville. The Thanksgiving matchup at home against the Bulls was especially thrilling, as Oshawa coughed up the lead with 24 seconds left in regulation, then won on Flyers prospect Scott Laughton's overtime tally. Boone Jenner has at least one point in each game.
Check out this sweet goal by top 2013 draft prospect Nathan MacKinnon and you'll understand what all the fuss is about. Halifax outscored their opponents 20-6 last week and are being carried by their big three draft eligible: Mackinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Zach Fucale.
Prince Albert Raiders
It was a terrific week for the Raiders, who get in the top 10 for the first time. Prince Albert faced four road games and won all of them, despite the fact they were outshot 50 percent of the time. Overage goalie Luke Siemens (undrafted) is off to a great start with a .929 SP and 2.07 GAA.
The start hasn't been smooth for London, but this is a team you can't ignore. The Knights trounced Windsor at home, but then barely squeaked by Connor McDavid and the lowly Erie Otters in a nine-round shootout with one goal. London travels to Oshawa Sunday to play the top team in what is regarded as the weaker OHL conference - a loss may bump them off this list.
AHL Rockford reassigned overage goalie Mac Carruth, who promptly logged a shutout in his first start. Now Portland, who has struggled offensively, has a glut in net, with Carruth, a second overager in Cam Lanigan (3-0, .960 SP, 1.00 GAA) and draft eligible Brendan Burke (1-3-1, 3.57 GAA, .866 SP). Something has to give.
Edmonton Oil Kings
The defending WHL champions have struggled with injuries, as puckmoving blueliner Martin Gernat (Oilers 2011 fifth-rounder) has been out all season and assistant captain Keegan Lowe (Hurricanes 2011 third-rounder) just returned Wednesday. Edmonton has been inconsistent to start the season and face two teams this week who haven't yet lost in regulation, Calgary and Kamloops.
Owen Sound Attack
The coaching staff hasn't been overly pleased with the effort from its players early on, but the Attack managed three tight wins last week, including a shootout victory over division rival Guelph. Owen Sound now sits atop the Midwest Divison and faces the OHL's bottom two teams, Peterborough and Ottawa, this week.