Although a sub-par March sealed the Hamilton Bulldogs’ fate as a non-playoff
team for the second consecutive season, there were some players who played quite
well. This past month also marked the end of the regular seasons for many
of the Habs’ younger prospects, many of whom had stellar performances.
Which ones made the cut for our monthly stars?
1st Star: Joey Tenute – Minor league signings usually aren’t
expected to yield top scorers but that’s what Tenute has been since signing a
few months ago. He is a mainstay on the top line and regardless of who his
wingers are, he keeps producing at a regular rate. The Habs would be wise
to work towards getting him to sign a deal for next season as soon as possible.
Stats: 13 GP, 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points, +1 rating, 25 SOG, 16 PIMS
2nd Star: Patrick Holland – The rookie winger had a very tough
start to the season but after being placed on the Bulldogs’ top line, his
offensive game took off. His overall hockey acumen and defensive awareness
from junior are also really starting to carry over to the pro game. Should
there be another injury or two in the final few weeks, Holland may have played
himself into earning a late callup.
Stats: 11 GP, 3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points, +2 rating, 33 SOG, 0 PIMS
(only two minor penalties all season)
3rd Star: Dustin Tokarski – Although he is in a platoon
situation with Robert Mayer most of the time (for reasons that I’ve yet to
figure out), Tokarski has been nothing short of outstanding since being
acquired. Yes, he only won three games in March (Mayer won two) but all
three of those victories were shutouts. In the five games he either played
in relief or lost, he had a whopping total of eight goals of support. He
has kept Hamilton in pretty much every game and given the Bulldogs’ struggles
this year, that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.
Stats: 8 GP, 3-4-0 record, 1.80 GAA, .943 SV%, 3 SO
Honourable Mention: Nathan Beaulieu – It took a while for him
to adjust but Beaulieu’s overall game took considerable steps forward in these
past few weeks. His decision making with the puck has improved and as we
saw in his brief stint with the big club, he’s capable of getting the rush going
on his own. He’s not ready for full time NHL duty yet but he is coming
Stats: 10 GP, 0 goals, 7 assists, 7 points, +3 rating, 18 SOG, 13 PIMS
All stats here include both regular season and playoff games.
1st Star: Charles Hudon (Chicoutimi, QMJHL) – Although his
junior team was ousted pretty quickly in the first round of the playoffs, the
Habs’ 5th rounder last June most certainly wasn’t the reason for it. He
had a hand in 62.5% of the Sagueneens’ goals in the postseason while also
averaging over a point per game during the regular season contests as well.
His next stop is Hamilton and it will certainly be fun to follow his progress
Stats: 12 GP, 6 goals, 11 assists, 17 points, even rating, 23 SOG, 8 PIMS
2nd Star: Tim Bozon (Kamloops, WHL) – After slowing down at the
midway point of the season, Bozon picked up his play down the stretch.
Unfortunately an upper body injury has derailed his momentum as he has only
suited up in three playoff games so far. He is hopeful to return soon but
no return date has been set as of yet. Getting back and contributing would
be a nice way to finish off his season.
Stats: 11 GP, 6 goals, 9 assists, 15 points, +10 rating, 10 PIMS
3rd Star: Darren Dietz (Saskatoon, WHL) – Despite the fact that
his team imploded in what could easily be called the greatest playoff collapse
for any Memorial Cup host team ever, March was still a pretty good month for the
recently signed blueliner. He wound up leading the WHL in goals by a
defenceman which is a great way to cap off his WHL career. Redemption will
be on his and his teammates’ minds when the Memorial Cup gets underway in May.
Stats: 12 GP, 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points, +3 rating, 15 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Danny Kristo (North Dakota, NCAA) –
Although losing in the game that would have earned them a spot in the Frozen
Four is quite a disappointing way to end his college career, last month was
still a strong one for the now Bulldog-bound winger. Reliable goal scorers
are hard to come by and Kristo has been exactly that all season long.
Stats: 10 GP, 6 goals, 3 assists, 9 points, +3 rating, 2 PIMS