1st Star: G Brandon Whitney, Victoraville (QMJHL)
The Line: 2 GP, 1-0-1, .968 SV%, 1 SO
Whitney anchored the Tigres in their first two playoff games at Moncton, earning his first shutout of the postseason after stopping all 37 shots in Game 1 on March 22. The next night, Whitney made an astounding 55 saves on 58 shots, but allowed an overtime game-winner from former teammate and fellow Blackhawks prospect Phillip Danault. The 2012 seventh-round pick ended the weekend with 92 saves on 95 shots for a .968 save percentage and a 1.31 goals-against average, as the series heads to Victoriaville for the next three games.
2nd Star: D Stephen Johns, Notre Dame (CCHA)
The Line: 2GP, 1A, +4 plus/minus, Notre Dame won CCHA championship
Johns logged an assist in the CCHA title game on March 24 as the Fighting Irish downed the University of Michigan 3-1. Notre Dame defeated Ohio State 3-1 in the semifinal game two days earlier. Johns finished the weekend with a helper, six shots on goal and a +4 plus/minus rating. UND earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA playoffs and will face St. Cloud State in the Midwest Regional Semifinal on March 30.
3rd Star: C Alex Broadhurst, London (OHL)
The Line: 2GP, 1G, 2A, +3
The top-ranked London Knights took a 2-0 lead at home in their first-round matchup against the Saginaw Spirit, but needed 70 shots on goal and two extra periods to pull out a 3-2 victory in Game 2. Alex Broadhurst logged four points in his first two OHL postseason appearances, logging a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win on March 22 and collecting a pair of helpers, including one on the double-OT game-winner. The series now shifts to Saginaw for the next three games, where fellow Chicago prospect and team captain Garret Ross will try to turn the tables against London.
Honorable Mention: C Phillip Danault, Moncton (QMJHL); G Kent Simpson, Toledo (ECHL)
Danault scored the overtime game-winner and added two helpers in a 3-2 win that gave the Wildcats a 1-1 tie in their first-round series against the Victoriaville Tigres—Danault's former team.
Simpson recorded his second shutout of the season, a 26-save effort against Evansville on March 20. In three starts last week, Simpson went 2-1-0 and made 79 saves on 83 shots for a .952 save percentage.
Around the system:
Teuvo Teravainen scored one goal in three playoff games for Jokerit last week, tallying in the second period of Game 1 on March 20. Jokerit is currently down 2-1 in their quarterfinal series against Lukko.
After wrapping up conference play last weekend, the college hockey playoff brackets have been determined. Five Blackhawks prospects are set to battle for a spot in the Frozen Four, which will be held April 11-13 in Pittsburgh. Defenseman Paul Phillips and University of Denver will face off against the University of New Hampshire on March 29 in the Northeast Division. The Pioneers are one of five WCHA teams on the docket in the NCAA tournament.
The University of Minnesota lost to Colorado College 2-0 in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Five on March 22, but earned a playoff berth. The Gophers, including defenseman Justin Holl, face their first test against Yale University in the West Regional semifinal. The other semifinal in that bracket pits Niagara against the University of North Dakota, featuring defensemen Joe Gleason and Nick Mattson, who lost to Colorado 4-3 in overtime in the Final Five quarterfinal.
The Rockford IceHogs earned points in both of their weekend games, winning 5-2 on March 22 before falling 4-3 in overtime the next night. Rostislav Olesz tallied once in each game, including the game-tying goal that secured a point on Saturday, and added an assist for three points in his first two games of the season... Martin St. Pierre recorded three points (1G, 2A) Friday... Ben Smith logged points in both games, including a goal and an assist in Saturday’s overtime loss... Jeremy Morin registered two assists Saturday after missing Friday’s game.
Defenseman Steve Montador scored the game-winning goal, and Dylan Olsen collected a pair of helpers, in Friday’s 5-2 win... Joakim Nordstrom made his Rockford debut over the weekend, but was held without a point in his first two games on North American ice. Nordstrom recently completed his second full season with the Swedish Elite League’s AIK, logging nine points (5G, 4A) in 43 games.
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