Linkorama: Week 19 UPDATED

Linkorama is here with updates on 10 recruits and 6 alumni, not to mention a ton of stories related to the Huskies' outstanding series with the #1-ranked Minnesota–Duluth Bulldogs.

Recruits

Alex Petan returned to action for the Coquitlam Express (BCHL) last Friday after dealing with an injury. He picked up right where he left off, scoring two goals and adding three assists, helping the Express to a dominating 9–2 victory over the Victoria Grizzlies. His five-point effort marked the tenth time Petan has scored at least one goal and one assist in a game this season, earning him the 1st star of the game. In case you missed it, THG featured Alex Petan in this week's edition of Future Huskies.

Jujhar Khaira led all scorers, by putting the puck in the net twice, to help the Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL) defeat the Vernon Vipers 7–2. His 2-goal game marked the fifth time this season Khaira had a multi-goal game and he was awarded the 2nd star.

Walker Hyland had a great weekend for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (BCHL). He had three goals and two assists to led the way for the Bulldogs. On Saturday night, Hyland had an assist and scored a goal to bring the Bulldogs to within one but they failed to tie the game and lost to the Powell River Kings 5–4. In the Sunday night rematch with Powell River, Hyland picked up where he left off, scoring the first goal of the game unassisted on the power play to give the Alberni Valley the early lead. After the Bulldogs squandered their lead, Hyland again scored on the power play to tie the game 3–3 before the Bulldogs fell to the Kings in overtime. Hyland also had an assist to go along with his two goals and was awarded the 2nd star of the game. Hyland has really picked up his offensive game lately, scoring goals in three of his last four games.

C.J. Eick scored his fourth goal of the season, but it wasn't enough as the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) fell to the Chicago Steel 5–2.  It was only the seventh loss of the season for the league-leading Gamblers, who are currently ten points ahead of second place Indiana in the Eastern Conference.

Tyler Heinonen continued his hot streak for the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) by scoring three goals over the weekend including two power play goals on Saturday night versus the Indiana Ice to bring the 'Jacks within one, but the they failed to tie the game and lost 5–3 in Indiana. Heinonen followed up that performance with the 'Jacks' first goal in Sunday's 4–3 overtime loss to Dubuque.

Jamie Phillips had a pretty good weekend for his new team, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens (OJHL). He made 48 saves on 53 shots to backstop the Jr. Canadiens to a 6–5 shootout win over Kent McPherson and the Trenton Golden Hawks. Phillips stopped two of three skaters, including McPherson, in the shootout to help his team gain the big victory. Two days later, Phillips allowed only 2 goals on 42 shots, earning 1st star honors and the win for the Jr. Canadiens by a score of 3–2 over Toronto Lakeshore.

Reid Sturos continued tearing it up for the Alexandria Blizzard (NAHL) in January. On Friday night, Sturos led the Blizzard with a goal and two assists as they throttled the Minot Minotauros by score of 8–2. Sturos was recognized as the 1st star of the game.  Then on Sunday versus the Bismarck Bobcats, Sturos scored the first goal for the Blizzard to tie things up in the third, but the Bobcats were too much in a 3–2 loss for the Blizzard. Sturos was awarded the 2nd star of the game in a losing effort. Over nine games in January, Sturos had 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 of his 34 points on the season and is now the second leading scorer on the Blizzard. THG missed this news last week, but Sturos was honored as the Combat Hockey 3rd Star of the Week on January 23rd.

Joe Schuldt and Minnetonka (MSHSL) remain second in this week's Let's Play Hockey Rankings despite splitting their games this week, defeating Wayzata (#9) 5–1 and losing to Eden Prairie (#7) 4–2. Schuldt had an assist on Max Coatta's goal in the win over Wayzata.

Joel L'Esperance scored the first goal of the game for Detroit Compuware (HPHL) to help them gain a 3–1 lead over Detroit Honeybaked after one period but it wasn't enough as Honeybaked responded with three unanswered goals in the second and third periods to win the game 4–3 over L'Esperance and Compuware.

Alumni

On Monday night in Atlantic City, Clay Wilson and teammate Krys Kolanos represented the Abbotsford Heat in the AHL All-Star game. Wilson also participated in the the skills competition, losing his fastest skater heat to former Canisius forward Cory Conacher.

Rob Nolan helped the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) defeat the Chicago Express by stopping 27 of 29 shots in a 3–2 victory on Saturday night. Nolan's 27 saves were good enough to be recognized at the 2nd star of the game.

Riley Nelson opened up the scoring for the Colorado Eagles (ECHL) but the Las Vegas Wranglers were too much, defeating Nelson and the Eagles 3–2 in overtime.

Malcolm Gwilliam scored the game-winning goal to complete a third period comeback for the Evansville IceMen (CHL). Gwilliam was the 1st star of the game. The 2–1 win over the Dayton Gems marked the fourth straight time the IceMen had won a game when trailing after forty minutes.

Colin Murphy, Brett Engelhardt and the Hamburg Freezers (DEL) are currently in 6th place in the German Elite League.

Other Items

Here is a direct link to the January 30th edition of the Mel Pearson Show on Mix 93 (broadcast live every Monday at 8:30 AM on 93.5FM WKMJ and rebroadcast every Monday at 5:30PM on 920AM WMPL).

Stephen Anderson (@steander), Michigan Tech hockey beat writer for The Daily Mining Gazette, posted his weekly column, about the Huskies recent success in Duluth being More Than a Defining Moment. UPDATE: His series preview for this weekend's games versus Minnesota State-Mankato was posted Friday morning: Tech must take care of business in Mankato.

Even Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdonPHT) at ProHockeyTalk.com mentioned the Huskies' big weekend and linked to THG's game recap from Saturday.

Josh Robinson and Blake Pietila were recognized as Red Baron® WCHA Players of the Week for their efforts in helping Michigan Tech take 3 points on the road from #1 Minnesota–Duluth. Robinson received the Defensive Player of the Week award after shutting out the Bulldogs for over 109 consecutive minutes, while making 52 saves in that span. When asked to comment by THG, Josh Robinson said the following:[quote]Its an honor to win the award again, but a lot of the credit has to go to the team in front of me.[/quote]Pietila received the Rookie of the Week award for scoring a power play and three assists over the weekend. He probably played the best game of his young college career Saturday night, leading the Huskies with three points. We also caught up with him and here's what he had to say about the honor:[quote]Its an honor to be selected for it and I couldn't do it without the help of my teammates.[/quote]

College Hockey News had a nice summary of Saturday's game on their Game Gab, which you can find here (including every other Game Gab related to the Huskies for this season.) and their WCHA Weekend Wrap also talks about Michigan Tech's successful weekend.

John Gilbert had a nice article, Michigan Tech Turns Tables, up on WCHA.com discussing their success in Duluth over the weekend.

Michigan Tech's successful weekend in Duluth also made it to the pages of The New York TimesA Bruising Weekend for Minnesota Duluth

The WCHA Blog on USCHO finally took a moment to give Michigan Tech some credit for their big three points against Minnesota-Duluth. THG realizes the vast majority of the blog was a backhanded compliment, but we don't expect much more than that from Tyler Buckentine and don't know what to expect from Brian Halverson (@FroznPondrings) yet. UPDATE: This blog post was written by Brian Halverson and he did apologize in a comment on the blog post itself, here is his comment with the formatting cleaned up: [quote]When I wrote “no one is insinuating the one-point weekend is a sign of anything more than a bad weekend for UMD” the point I did a poor job of conveying was that the sky isn’t falling in Duluth despite losing three of four points. Although it clearly came off that way, slamming Tech was not at all on my mind at the time it was written.

It was written, not taken, out of context and I can’t fault anyone for interpreting my words the way they did, if that makes any sense.

My choice of headline was not meant to be an indictment of Michigan Tech’s talent but an acknowledgment of UMD’s recent success. MTU is obviously talented but sometimes two teams play at their very best and one team happens to lose while other times it takes two to tango in determining an outcome.

I think there’s no question the Huskies had to have played outstanding to be as dominating as they were in those final five periods, but I also think it’s unrealistic to think UMD’s play wasn't a factor. Likewise, I find it hard to believe the Huskies played as well as they could in losing 5-2 to Northern Michigan the previous weekend and that NMU is simply that much better.

Anyone close to me will tell you I have been raving about coach Pearson since I first spoke to him back in October and admire the way the players have bought in so quickly and turned their college careers around.

Michigan Tech is a good college hockey team, one that anyone would be foolish to want to play in the postseason.[/quote]

A little bit of redemption for Brian Halverson at USCHO as he wrote a nice article about Michigan Tech: Playing for pride becomes a remarkable turnaround for Michigan Tech

UPDATE: Adam Wodon at CollegeHockeyNews.com posted an article about Michigan Tech's "defining moment" early Friday morning: Michigan Tech Back on Course

Polls and Rankings*

Polls: USCHO.com Poll (NR ↑[5 votes]) , USA Today Poll (NR)

Computers: KRACH Rankings (29 ↑), Pairwise Rankings (28t ↑), USHSHO.com (31 ↑/31 ↑)

NCAA Power Rankings: Inside College Hockey (NR ↔), College Hockey Weekly (NR ↑[1 vote]), Bleacher Report (NR ↔[mentioned])

WCHA/Michigan Power Rankings: Hockey State of Mind (TBD)†, Goon’s World (7 ↑), Pride On Ice (TBD)†, College Hockey News (6 ↑), Michigan College Hockey (5 ↑)

*Michigan Tech's ranking and their change in ranking from the previous week is in parentheses

†Not updated yet; we'll update the links when it becomes available