ICE stay on top, Blazers Remain 6th – Kamloops Blazers

February 16, 2022 at 10:43 am  Kamloops Blazers, Sports


Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 16

1. Winnipeg ICE
2. Charlottetown Islanders
3. Edmonton Oil Kings
4. Everett Silvertips
5. Portland Winterhawks
6. Kamloops Blazers
7. Hamilton Bulldogs
8. Kingston Frontenacs
9. Shawinigan Cataractes
10. Sherbrooke Phoenix
HM. Seattle Thunderbirds
HM. Flint Firebirds
HM. Mississauga Steelheads

Returning to the rink with a pair of home side victories, the offensive powerhouse Winnipeg ICE combined for 14 goals in the two outings, underscored by a five-goal, one-assist week from veteran right-wing and Philadelphia Flyers 2020 sixth-round selection Connor McClennon who now sits 10th in league-wide scoring with 57 points in 39 games. Returning to play Friday to begin a seven-game road swing, the ICE will look to push their win streak to three straight when they face off against Calgary.

Climbing to third in the national rankings, the Edmonton Oil Kings came away with a pair of weekend victories underscored by a 4-0 road win in Red Deer where Detroit Red Wings 2021 first-round pick Sebastian Cossa turned aside 21 shots to record his league-leading fifth shutout. On the season, Cossa now stands at 23-6-2-1 across 32 appearances with a .914 save percentage and 2.34 goals-against average that also rank amongst the league’s best. Cossa and the Oil Kings return to action Saturday against Saskatoon.

Coming away with a pair of points in back-to-back shootout decisions, the Everett Silvertips remain unbeaten in regulation in their past 10 outings and atop the WHL’s Western Conference with a 33-7-2-4 showing and 72 points. Among the team’s top performers over the past week came from the blue line where the NHL drafted duo of Olen Zellweger, a 2021 second-round choice by Anaheim, and Ronan Seeley, a 2020 seventh-round selection by Carolina, put up five and four points, respectively, across two outings.

After piecing together an 18-game point streak, the Portland Winterhawks came just short of making it 19 in a row following a 3-2 final versus rival Spokane. Among the keys to the impressive stretch for the Winterhawks was overage netminder Taylor Gauthier who went more than 250 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal. Joining Portland in late December, Gauthier’s time with his new club has seen him come away with a perfect record through 10 appearances highlighted by a .955 save percentage and three shutouts.

Picking up four of six points on the week, the Kamloops Blazers hold steady atop the WHL’s B.C. Division with a 33-12-1-0 record and 67 points. Trailing early versus No. 4 ranked Everett on Saturday, the Blazers rallied for four unanswered markers en route to a 5-4 shootout win on the road. Key to victory for Kamloops was overage left-wing Luke Toporowski who put up a three-point effort. After beginning the year in Spokane, Toporowski is looking to close out his junior career as part of the winner’s circle in Kamloops.

In the honourable mention category, the Seattle Thunderbirds came away with a pair of victories to make it four straight. Up front, the Thunderbirds continue to see strong showings from overage centre Henrik Rybinski who picked up seven points in the two wins.

Climbing to second-best nationwide, the QMJHL-leading Charlottetown Islanders had a lone appearance on the week but made the most of it in coming out on top in a 6-5 shootout thriller versus Acadie-Bathurst. Bringing a well-balanced offensive attack, six different skaters found the back of the net for the Islanders en route to the victory, making it eight-straight wins for the club. The Islanders will look to keep up their winning ways when they open a three-game homestand Friday against Victoriaville.

Earning national recognition for the third time this season, the No. 9 ranked Shawinigan Cataractes are winners of six straight and have picked up points in eight of their past nine outings, including Sunday’s hard-battled 1-0 win over Baie-Comeau in which veteran netminder Antoine Coulombe stopped all 26 shots to notch his second shutout of the season. At the forward ranks, Shawinigan also continues to see strong efforts from Dallas Stars 2020 first-round pick Mavrik Bourque who is currently riding a seven-game point streak.

Collecting two of four points on the week, the top performance for the 10th slotted Sherbrooke Phoenix came in a 5-4 win over Moncton in which the squad rallied for five-straight goals after trailing early. The victory saw Phoenix overage captain Xavier Parent lead the way with a hat-trick plus one assist, part of a successful week in which he collected six points across two outings. Tune in Friday on TSN as Parent and the Phoenix take on the Rimouski Oceanic at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

Headlining the OHL and holding steady at No. 7 is the Hamilton Bulldogs who picked up two of four points on the week in which veteran centre Logan Morrison led the way with a combined seven points to earn recognition as part of the CHL Team of the Week. On the season, the Bulldogs now stand 25-11-2-2 and a lone point back of Kingston for top spot in the OHL’s East Division. Hamilton will look to return to its winning ways when it retakes the ice Wednesday versus Oshawa.

Climbing to eighth nationally, the Kingston Frontenacs notched four points on the week underscored by a perfect weekend that counted wins over Mississauga and Hamilton in which the squad combined for 14 goals. Leading the charge for the Frontenacs was the overage duo of Jordan Frasca and Lucas Edmonds, who each recorded eight points in three outings, while 2022 NHL Draft favourite Shane Wright also shined with two goals and four assists in the trio of contests. Kingston next takes to the ice Friday versus Ottawa.

In the honourable mention category, the Flint Firebirds picked up three wins on the week – including a pair of overtime victories – to make it five straight. Leading the way for the Firebirds on the week was New York Rangers 2021 first-round pick Brennan Othmann who notched one goal and five assists in three games. Elsewhere, the OHL-leading Mississauga Steelheads closed out the week on a positive note in coming away with a decisive 5-0 road win in Ottawa that saw veteran netminder Joe Ranger stop all 31 shots, giving him an OHL-best four shutouts.

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