ICE return to top spot – Kamloops Blazers

March 30, 2022 at 9:52 am  Kamloops Blazers, Sports


Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 22

1. Winnipeg ICE
2. Hamilton Bulldogs
3. Edmonton Oil Kings
4. Everett Silvertips
5. Charlottetown Islanders
6. Sherbrooke Phoenix
7. Kamloops Blazers
8. Quebec Remparts
9. Windsor Spitfires
10. North Bay Battalion
HM. Acadie-Bathurst Titan
HM. Saint John Sea Dogs
HM. Portland Winterhawks

The Winnipeg ICE are breaking free. Following a 12-week run atop the circuit earlier this season, the ICE have returned to first overall in the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings on the backs of a 15-game span that has seen the squad go undefeated in regulation. Picking up three more victories over the past week in which the club combined for 15 goals, among the highlights was Saturday’s 6-2 takedown of Prince Albert that saw Tampa Bay Lightning 2020 second-round selection Jack Finley push the pace with his second hat-trick of the season.

Picking up two points following a home-and-home set with Lethbridge, the Edmonton Oil Kings continue to chase down Winnipeg for top spot out West, currently standing at 46-13-2-1 and four points back of first overall. Coming away with a 5-2 victory Friday, five different skaters found the back of the net for the Oil Kings including overage left-wing Carter Souch who led the way with a four-point performance. Already reaching new career highs in all major offensive categories, on the season Souch sits third in Oil Kings scoring with 68 points in 62 games.

Coming in at No. 4, the Everett Silvertips picked up a pair of victories on the week to push their win streak to four straight. Combining for 14 goals in back-to-back wins over Spokane and Portland, leading the way for Everett was Tampa Bay Lightning 2021 seventh-round selection Niko Huuhtanen who scored four times and added two assists to shift to second in Silvertips scoring with 74 points through 58 appearances.

Wrapping up the week with the final two contests of a six-game set versus rival Kelowna, the Kamloops Blazers found the win column Friday, coming away with a 6-0 decision in which star netminder and New York Rangers 2020 fourth-round selection Dylan Garand stole the show with a 41-save performance that marked his fourth shutout of the season. Standing second in the WHL’s Western Conference with a 44-15-2-0 showing and 90 points, the Blazers will look to return to the win column when they retake the ice Wednesday versus Prince George.

Earning honourable mention, the Portland Winterhawks came away with a pair of points on the week following a 7-1 decision over Tri-City that saw 2003-born centre Gabe Klassen lead his team to victory with a two-goal, two-assist showing.

Undefeated in regulation in their past six outings, the Hamilton Bulldogs continue to lead the way in the OHL, holding down a record of 43-12-3-2 and 91 points. Picking up seven of eight points on the week, among the highlights was Thursday’s 6-3 triumph over nationally ranked North Bay that saw Anaheim Ducks 2021 first-round selection put up a goal and three assists for four points. Arriving in Hamilton in January, McTavish has been a force through 17 games with the Bulldogs as he has recorded nine goals and 19 assists.

Earning time in the national spotlight for the second time this season, the Windsor Spitfires have pieced together a dominant second half underscored by a seven-game win streak that has boosted the squad to top spot in the OHL’s Western Conference with a showing of 38-16-3-3 and 82 points. One of only three OHL clubs with a triple-digit point producer, the Spitfires are home to league-leading scorer Wyatt Johnston, a 2021 first-round selection of the Dallas Stars who headlines the OHL with 41 goals and 71 assists in 60 games. The Spitfires will look to keep up their winning ways Thursday versus Sarnia in the CHL TV Game of the Week presented by Kubota with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

Coming in at No. 10, the North Bay Battalion continue to earn national attention after closing out the week with four of six points. After a hard-battled 6-3 finish versus first-place Hamilton on Thursday, the Battalion responded two nights later in piecing together a 6-4 victory over Niagara that saw the team rally for a trio of goals in the final frame while the contest was highlighted by a two-goal performance from overage right-wing Mitchell Russell who now paces the squad with 38 goals on the season.

Leading the QMJHL for the 15th week running, the Charlottetown Islanders continue to make waves after adding four of six points on the week, including Saturday’s 7-3 thriller over Cape Breton that witnessed rookie left-wing Michael Horth put up his first multi-goal game. Standing atop the QMJHL with a 36-10-6-0 showing and 78 points, the Islanders bring a potent offensive attack that counts five players who have scored 50 or more points this season.

Extending their undefeated streak to 11 games, the rising Sherbrooke Phoenix closed out the week with five of six points that began with a come from behind 5-4 victory over Chicoutimi on Wednesday in which captain Xavier Parent led his squad with a two-goal, one-assist performance, part of an eight-point week that ultimately saw him earn recognition as part of the CHL Team of the Week.

Rounding out recognition from the QMJHL, the Quebec Remparts went perfect on the week, coming away with a pair of victories versus Gatineau, punctuated by Saturday’s 4-3 overtime triumph in which St. Louis Blues 2021 first-round selection Zachary Bolduc scored twice including the game winner to push his team-leading goal total to 36, production outpaced by just four skaters league wide. On the season, the Remparts continue to challenge for top spot in the QMJHL’s Eastern Conference with a 36-10-6-0 showing, a lone point back of top-seeded Charlottetown.

In the honourable mention category, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan continue to make noise as the winners of nine straight following a week that counted a pair of victories versus Halifax and a third over Cape Breton. Elsewhere, the 2022 Memorial Cup presented by Kia host Saint John Sea Dogs continue to earn national consideration after adding three points on the week underscored by Friday’s 8-3 win over Moncton that saw the team jump to an early lead backed by four goals in the opening frame.

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