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It was looking like it was going to be a really
tough week for Hamilton as they travelled to Abbotsford to take on the league
leading Heat in a pair of games.  Despite getting shelled the first game,
they managed to earn the split.  Wheeling had their first winning week of
the year as their new-look roster won both games.  There is one prospect
who really has flown under the radar this year that deserves more attention,
that player is the focus of my Final Thought.

The Dog
Pound

Hamilton has given the Heat some problems this
year – they’re the only team to beat them at home and on the road so far.

News and
Notes:

- Hamilton’s first goal on Saturday snapped a
15-game streak of letting the opposition score first.

- Joonas Nattinen, who missed time with an
undisclosed injury last week, returned to the lineup on Saturday.  He took
the place of Michael Bournival who was sick.  Louis Leblanc also played in
both games after sitting one out last week to ease him back from his earlier
injury.

- Stephane Chaput, signed to an AHL deal in the
offseason, made his season debut after being recalled prior to the road trip.

- Lines from the most recent game:

Forwards:

Holland – Dumont – Gallagher
Blunden – Boyce – Leblanc
Quailer – Chaput – Palushaj
Hagel – Nattinen – Stortini

Defence:

Beaulieu – Ellis
Tinordi – Commodore
Nash – St-Denis

Results:

November 30:

Abbotsford 5, Hamilton 1

December 1:

Hamilton 3, Abbotsford 0

StatPack:

Patrick Holland’s goal was his
first since October 19th, a span of 17 games.

SKATERS


#

Player

GP

G

A

+/-

SH

PIMS
4 Brendon Nash 1 0 0 E 1 0
5 Jarred Tinordi 2 0 0 +1 2 0
6 Joe Stejskal 1 0 0 E 1 2
8 Nathan Beaulieu 2 0 1 +2 2 0
10 Stefan Chaput 2 0 1 E 2 4
12 Zack Stortini 2 0 0 E 0 2
13 Steve Quailer 2 1 0 E 3 2
14 Michael Blunden 2 0 0 +1 3 0
15 Kyle Hagel 2 0 0 E 4 2
17 Brendan Gallagher 2 0 1 +1 4 2
18 Michael Bournival 1 0 0 E 1 0
20 Louis Leblanc 2 1 0 +1 5 0
22 Mike Commodore 2 0 0 E 2 10
23 Joonas Nattinen 1 0 0 E 0 0
28 Aaron Palushaj 2 0 0 -1 1 0
32 Frederic St-Denis 2 0 1 -1 4 2
37 Patrick Holland 2 1 0 +1 1 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 2 1 1 +2 4 2
44 Morgan Ellis 2 0 0 +1 2 0
47 Darryl Boyce 2 0 1 E 1 2

GOALIES


#

Player

Record

SV%

GAA
29 Robert Mayer 0-1-0 .821 5.00
30 Cedrick Desjardins 1-0-0 1.000 0.00

Scoring
Leaders:

Goals: Gallagher/Palushaj
(6)
Assists: Darryl Boyce (6)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (11)
+/-: Joonas Nattinen (+3)
PIMS: Zack Stortini (66)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (59)

Schedule:

December 7:
Hamilton vs Syracuse
December 8: Hamilton vs Hershey

The
Farm’s Farm

Wheeling made a pair of ‘trades’ this week,
picking up a couple of players for future considerations.  This forced Ian
Schultz off the roster; he has been re-assigned to the Utah Grizzlies.  The
new look Nailers were able to win both of their games.  They still need a
look of help though, that moved them into a 3-way tie for dead last in the ECHL.

As the Habs/Bulldogs now have players playing
for four different teams, the table below now covers all of those players, not
just the ones with Wheeling.

Player Team
GP

G

A

+/-

SH

PIMS
Olivier Fortier Orlando 3 0 0 -4 4 0
Scott Gomez Alaska 1 0 0 -1 0 4
Phillipe Lefebvre Wheeling 2 1 0 +1 5 0
Daultan Leveille Wheeling 1 0 0 E 2 0
Ian Schultz Utah 2 0 1 +2 2 7

Schedule:


December 7: Florida vs Wheeling
December 8: Florida vs Wheeling

Final
Thought

Looking at the young crop of
defencemen in Montreal’s system (Tinordi, Beaulieu, Ellis, Thrower, and Bennett
to name a few), you could certainly be forgiven for considering overage draftee
in 2011 Magnus Nygren as nothing more than an afterthought.  I know I did,
that’s why I dropped him to #30 in our prospect rankings back in the offseason
from #20 the year he was picked.  2011-12 was a huge disappointment after
he burst onto the Elitserien scene the year before with 25 points in 36 games
including the playoffs.  He totalled just 18 points last year and fell well
down Farjestad’s depth chart.

Fortunately this is not the case
for the 22 year old this season.  In 28 games, he is already just one point
shy of the 18 he had last year while his +/- has gone from being dead last in
’11-12 to inside the top-5 in ’12-13.  His ice time is also up roughly five
minutes per game; he’s averaging an impressive 22:39 per contest.  The
biggest concern I had about his game was his inability to play defensively –
comparisons to former Hab Marc-Andre Bergeron were relatively accurate although
Bergeron is a better threat in the offensive zone.  So far, he is putting
those concerns to rest.  If this keeps up, the Habs might have a decent
sleeper pick on their hands, presuming he signs before June’s deadline. 
Keep an eye on him, he is one prospect who could jump up our rankings next year
if his strong play continues. 

If you have any questions/comments, please feel
free to drop me a line at [email protected]