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VHL Weekly Review - S73 Week 3


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Welcome to the third edition of VSN’s S73 Weekly recap (Games 236-354).  We’ll cover a host of things in this recap each week including highlights of important VSN happenings, three stars of the week, power rankings, rookie profiles, and anything else of importance.

 

Speaking of other VSN content, make sure to check out the other great work from the greater VSN family! Here are a few handy links to check out, from our weekly podcasts to in-depth history articles, scouting reports, and more!

Talents Behind the Trophies | Under 250 | Ringless: S49 Quebec City Meute | VSN Australia | S73 Future Watch: EU

 

Recap

Week 3 saw goalies struggle massively, with only 3 shutouts recorded the entire week, scorers are seeing their point totals inflate. We have numerous players on pace to break 100 points, and as we pass the midway point of the season, goalies are finding it tough. The playoff race is heating up in both conferences, and while the teams outside looking in have some work to do, the gap is definitely manageable and a win streak could shake things up immensely. The trade deadline is coming up very quickly and things could be shaken up at the drop of a hat, things have been quiet this season and I expect the trade talks to start heating up very shortly.

 

3-Stars

 

First Star

Lewis Dawson (MAL) - 9 G, 20 A, 29 P
Second Star

Raymond Bernard (MOS) - 0.920 SV%, 2.36 GAA, 1 Shutout

Third Star

Hulk Hogan (SEA) - 7 G, 19 A, 26 P

 

Power Rankings

Featured on this week’s graphic we have Erik Summers of the Helsinki Titans, Ambrose Stark who plays for the Seattle Bears, and Grekkark Gyrfalcon, Malmo Nighthawks goaltender.

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@Pengu with the solid template that is just oh so sweet

 

Week 3 was a week of dominating performances by our number 1 ranked team, the Helsinki Titans. Helsinki climbs up 4 spots from last week and posted an amazing 13-2 record this week, including an 11 game winning streak. Both Zamboni Driver and Samuel Ross were great in net for the Titans, helping them gain a 4 point cushion for the number 1 spot in the VHL standings. Our #2 team this week is the Seattle Bears. Seattle falls one spot from last week but still posted a solid 10-4-1 record this week behind a great week by Hulk Hogan. Seattle is tied with New York for the first seed in the North American Conference with 61 points on the season.

 

The number 3 team this week is the Malmo Nighthawks. Malmo was one of this week’s biggest jumpers as they didn’t appear on our week 2 rankings. They were led by Lewis Dawson, who recorded 29 points in 15 games and leading Malmo to a 10-5-0 record through the week. Not too far behind them in 4th is the Moscow Menace, led by an amazing week from their goaltender, Raymond Bernard. Bernard posted a 0.920 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average in 13 starts this week, going 9-4 and recording a shutout along the way. He’s a big part of the recent surge for the Menace.

 

Finishing in 5th this week are the New York Americans. New York went 8-4-3 this week and actually took a fall in the standings, moving from sole possession of the first place in the NA Conference into a tie with the Seattle Bears. New York will have to pick up their game if they want to contend for that top spot. Right behind them in 6th are the defending Continental Cup Champions in the Riga Reign, who went 8-5-2 this week. Goaltender Greg Eagles had another great week, winning 8 of his 13 starts and posting a 0.910 save percentage and 3.13 goals-against average. Riga is another team that may have to pick up their game to contend, especially with the EU conference standings being so close this year.

 

The 7th ranked team this week is the D.C. Dragons. The Dragons fought and clawed their way to an 8-6 finish this week. Rookie Groovy Dood has been having a solid campaign with a surging D.C. squad and he will be a big part of their push for a playoff spot. The last team on our rankings is the Calgary Wranglers, who continue to fall in our rankings, falling 1 spot from last week. Calgary finished the week with an 8-6-1 record. Not the worst numbers, but with the expectations of this Calgary team, they have to pick up their play if they want a shot at a higher seeding and possible Continental Cup glory.

 

 

Notable Games

 

Game 244 - Warsaw Predators vs London United

Our first game of the week was between two brand new teams to the league, and wow did they ever put on a show in this one. The scoring was opened by Warsaw just under 3 minutes into the game, and it was Alex Bridges who unleashed a slapshot from the point to capitalize on an early power play. London didn’t let the early goal get to them, as they regrouped quickly and prevented any more goals. About halfway through the 1st period, James Rose, who is having a fine rookie season, stepped up with 2 very quick goals just 41 seconds apart and just like that London had a lead. They took that lead into the 2nd period, and this is where the game started to open up. Damien Wolfe decided that he could do one better than Rose and he scored 2 goals of his own, but this time just 26 seconds apart, and again the lead had changed this time in favour of the Warsaw Predators. The goals in this one were coming in pairs, and they were coming quickly at that. London replied with another couple of goals to take back the lead by Guy Lesieur and The Terrible Trivium, and again these were less than a minute apart with just 33 seconds separating them. Taking advantage of a power play, Hunter Hearst Helmsley scored a nice goal to tie the game back up, but London struck back shortly after through Chico Smeb to once again take the lead. The 3rd period wasn’t as eventful as the 2nd but London finally got more than a 1 goal lead and it was Guy Lesieur getting his 2nd of the game to increase the lead. In the final minute of the game with the goalie pulled, Damien Wolfe scored a clutch goal to notch a hat trick and set up a thrilling end to the game, but it was London who managed to hold on for a 6-5 victory in this absolutely amazing game.

 

Game 326 - New York Americans vs Helsinki Titans

This inter-conference game between the top teams in the league proved to be one of the best matchups of the week. The two teams did not disappoint and things were off to a quick start with Owen Nolan notching the opener just 1:46 into the game. Helsinki answered that with 2 goals of their own, with one from Spencer Elsby on the power play, and one from Daldo. However, just 6 seconds after taking the lead, the New York Americans had tied the game right back up with Owen Nolan burying his 2nd of the game. Still, in the 1st period, the Americans started taking it to Helsinki and scored another goal, this time from Julius Freeman and then adding a 4th goal from Hugh Jass to end the 1st period. The rest of the game was mostly Helsinki trying to chip away at that 2 goal deficit that they found themselves in, and midway through the 2nd period, they got their lifeline from Erik Summers who finished a great passing play with a quick shot that fooled the goalie. Helsinki kept up the good play through to the 3rd period where they just needed 1 more goal to tie it up. With less than 8 minutes to play in the 3rd, Erik Draven unleashed a rocket one-timer past the New York netminder and tied the game at 4 apiece. The game ended up needing a shootout to decide the winner, and after Valtteri Vaakanainen scored in round 4 with a nice deke, the rookie goaltender Zamboni Driver came up with a big save to secure the comeback win for Helsinki.

 

Game 329 - HC Davos vs Malmo Nighthawks

Our final matchup of the week is between these European Conference rivals that left everything out on the ice in this particular game. The game started off slowly, with both teams feeling each other out before Lewis Dawson opened the scoring halfway through the 1st period. Davos was eager to get back on level terms though, and just 3 minutes into the 2nd frame they had their equalizer from David OQuinn. The Nighthawks took exception to that go-ahead goal and came back shortly after with a goal from Marshall James Frostbeard and just like that their lead was restored. The wheels then fell off the wagon for Malmo and Davos scored 4 unanswered goals with 2 each from SS Hornet and Jerry Garcia. The game had been turned on its head and Davos took a 5-2 lead into the 2nd intermission. Malmo’s coach must’ve had some very inspirational words for his team, because they stormed out of the gates in the 3rd period and had scored 2 goals within 36 seconds, from Dawson and Frostbeard once again. Finally, up stepped the top rookie scorer this season, Chris Hylands, who tied the game up with just over 7 minutes to play. He then popped up again with 1:06 left on the clock and buried the game-winner with a one-timer from Condor Adrienne. A great comeback victory for Malmo and a phenomenal game to end our games of the week on.  

 

Events of the Week

 

Fights

  • Game 236 - BRAWL!
    • This game between London and Vancouver was feisty right from the get-go. Each team came out and made a statement by hitting early and hitting often. This would eventually erupt into a line brawl that saw Jungkok ejected for instigating. The original fight was between Balentine Kidd and Gregg Stallion, which had punches landed by both but Kidd was able to dispatch the rookie. Jungkok then took it upon himself to fight with Koda Adok which didn’t have a clear winner, unfortunately for Jungkok who was ejected for picking the fight. Meanwhile, Jeff Downey and β-LDN RW1 ended up in a scrap of their own which Downey easily won without much effort.

 

  • Game 266 - BRAWL!
    • At the end of this close game between Toronto and Moscow, a huge fight broke out after frustrations boiled over for the Legion players. We had Gabriel Gutzwiler and Vin Calia who put on a great show, trading punches and eventually having to be broken up by the refs. There was β-TOR D2 who picked a fight with Ryo Yamazuki II which was another interesting fight with punches connecting from both players and β-TOR D2 was ejected after the fight for instigating. The last players to fight were β-TOR LW2 and Vladimir Pavlov which also had no clear winner after the refs quickly put an end to that fight so as to not let things get too out of hand. That fight also resulted in an ejection, but for Pavlov, so both teams were short 1 player by the end of that soiree.

 

  • Game 288 - Jay Jones fights twice
    • Newcomer to the league, Jay Jones had something to prove in this game, considering he fought 2 Vancouver players in the 3rd period. Just 23 seconds into the 3rd, hoping to light a fire underneath his teammates, Jones and Jeff Downey dropped the gloves and started filling each other in. Multiple punches were hit by each player but it was Jay Jones who stood tall at the end. Then, after not being happy with his team’s response, he went out and got into another fight, this time against Andrew Su. Jones came out swinging in this one again, perhaps catching Su off guard, and it was only a couple of punches before Su had hit the ice.

 

  • Game 307 - Helmsley fights twice
    • Hunter Hearst Helmsley took on two different Calgary players in this blowout loss. First, it was Kris Rice who threw fisticuffs with HHH, and he actually ended up taking the win over Helmsley. Both players landed some good blows but Rice landed some clean hits for the win. Hunter then made it his mission to get back at Calgary and he ended up coaxing RJ Jubis into a fight that ultimately ended in a draw. The refs took issue with the 2nd fight and ended up giving him game misconduct for instigating.

 

Hat-Tricks

 

  • Game 244 - Damien Wolfe
    • Warsaw Predators forward, Damien Wolfe, scored a hat trick for his team in this game against London. He gave his team the lead early in the 2nd period with 2 quick goals scored only 26 seconds apart, but the Predators weren’t able to hold on. Wolfe got his team within 1 goal with his 3rd of the night late in the final period, but they ultimately came up short.

 

  • Game 249 - Robin Winter
    • Last season’s 2nd overall pick, Robin Winter scored a wonderful 1st-period hat trick in this game against the Wolves. He helped his team take a commanding lead early on in the game and Davos never looked back in this one, eventually winning the game by a score of 5-3.

 

  • Game 264 - ACL TEAR

    • He may have announced his retirement at the start of the season, but ACL TEAR is still kicking in the VHL. He scored the 1st goal of the game, and then in the 2nd period, he helped spark a comeback with 2 goals that set the stage for a great overtime win for the Calgary Wranglers.

 

  • Game 268 - Gabriel Gutzwiler

    • This game saw a rare hat trick from a defenceman! Toronto had an amazing 3rd-period performance with 4 goals that propelled them to a 5-1 win, and Gabriel Gutzwiler put his name on the scoresheet 3 times. He scored what ended up being the game-winner, and another 2 goals late in the period to get the hat trick.

 

  • Game 275 - Guy Lesieur

    • After being traded only a few games before, Guy Lesieur made a near-instant impact with a hat trick against the Malmo Nighthawks. This game was all tied up heading into the 3rd before Lesieur took things into his own hands and scored a natural hat trick that helped the Dragons secure a 6-3 victory.

 

  • Game 282 - Andrew Su

    • Andrew Su scored a goal in each period as the Vancouver Wolves stormed to victory over the London United. He opened the scoring late in the 3rd and Vancouver kept their foot on the gas the entire game en route to a dominant 6-1 victory.

 

  • Game 284 - Hunter Hearst Helmsley

    • This battle between expansion teams was highlighted by Hunter Hearst Helmsley scoring all 3 of Warsaw’s goals and carrying them to a win. The game was tied 2-2 when HHH notched a power-play marker early in the 3rd period that ended up being the game-winner.

 

  • Game 287 - Ambrose Stark

    • Another hat trick from a retiring player, but this time it’s Ambrose Stark. This back and forth contest was close for most of the game, but a goal in all 3 periods from the veteran Stark ensured that Seattle was able to go home with a win.

 

  • Game 304 - RJ Jubis

    • Wranglers forward RJ Jubis continues his fine performance this season with his 2nd hat trick of the year. This is his first of 2 hat tricks this week and this one against LA was just what Calgary needed. He helped the Wranglers gain a crucial lead in the first and they used that momentum to dominate the game and take the win. He would complete the hat trick late in the 3rd with the team’s final goal.

 

  • Game 307 - RJ Jubis

    • Jubis’ 2nd hat trick of the week was nearly identical to his first, which is pretty crazy if you ask me, but he actually did one better and had 4 goals in this game. He once again scored 2 goals in the first which helped set the tone for Calgary, and at the end of the game, he scored the team’s final goal again which also sealed his hat trick. He did have a goal in between those in the 2nd period as Calgary added to their lead, but it was nearly a carbon copy of his hat trick in the game before. Jubis has 3 hat tricks this year and that is good enough for 2nd in the league.

 

  • Game 313 - Chad Magnum

    • Another natural hat trick this week, but this time by Chad Magnum of the Toronto Legion. Magnum came out firing on all cylinders in this contest and scored 3 unanswered goals all by himself, with 2 of them coming just 12 seconds apart. A fine performance indeed from the Toronto forward, who nearly provided all of the offence for Toronto in this one.

 

  • Game 325 - Balentine Kidd

    • This back and forth game between London and Vancouver can be highlighted by Balentine Kidd scoring a hat trick that was crucial to securing a win for the London United. He scored a goal that tied up the game in the 1st period, and that gave London some momentum which they capitalized on. Kidd also had the game-winner midway through the 3rd period.

 

  • Game 334 - Chris Hylands

    • In this comeback victory for the Malmo Nighthawks, Chris Hylands played the role of hero. Early in the game, Malmo found themselves trailing by 2 goals, but Hylands was able to cut that lead to just 1. He did the same again early in the 3rd period on the power play after LA had restored their 2 goal lead in the 2nd frame. He then popped up in overtime and scored the game-winner off a nice feed from Lewis Dawson.

 

  • Game 336 - Mat Tocco

    • Vancouver scored 4 goals in the opening period of this game against Riga, and Mat Tocco had 2 of those. The early flurry was pretty much all that the Wolves needed to secure the victory, but Tocco wanted some personal glory as well. He managed to complete his hat trick in the 2nd period as the Wolves strolled to a pretty easy 5-2 victory.

 

Shutouts

 

  • Game 266 - Moscow Menace vs. Toronto Legion
    • Earning his first shutout of the season in this stellar performance against Toronto, Raymond Bernard stopped all 42 shots that the Legion sent his way. He was busy all throughout the game, and when you play as well as he did, your team always has a chance of winning and Moscow did just that by a score of 2-0.

 

  • Game 267 - New York Americans vs. London United
    • Another shutout this week from red hot netminder A Red Guy. This is his 3rd of the season, and his solid performance continues as the New York Americans look to hold on to that top seed in the North American Conference. It wasn’t quite as miraculous of a performance as last week, having only 25 saves to make, but a strong outing nonetheless that his team will be thanking him for.

 

  • Game 345 - Helsinki Titans vs. Warsaw Predators
    • Samuel Ross also earns his first shutout of the season this week, this one being against the Warsaw Predators. It was a solid game from Ross as he pushed aside all 28 shots that Warsaw managed. The veteran goaltender was traded last season from Davos where he played his entire career and is having a solid year on the 1st placed Helsinki Titans.

 

Rookie Spotlight

Groovy Dood

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Thank you @Zetterberg for the wonderful banner

 

Being the first overall pick can put a lot of pressure on a player, especially if the team has expectations immediately after the selection. For Groovy Dood of the D.C. Dragons, this continues to be the case. D.C. jumped up 1 spot in the draft lottery, from 2nd to 1st to select Dood first overall. Despite not being the best player in the class, D.C. needed a forward and went in for Dood.

 

Dood, who made the jump to the VHL surprisingly early, has put up solid numbers so far in his rookie season. So far in 44 games, Dood has scored 8 goals to go along with 11 assists, not the best numbers but with D.C. being a fringe playoff contender this year, his output has been solid. Dood has also made his game more physical, recording 64 hits within those 44 games. 

 

We’ve seen him grow so far this year and it will be fun to see what kind of player the coaches in D.C. will mould him into. Dood has a lot of potential, not just as a two-way forward. His defensive abilities so far in the VHL have been impressive, helping D.C. keep pucks out of their net by stripping the puck from opponents in the defensive zone. While the pressure of being the top pick is a lot, Dood has done a good job handling the pressure and it will be interesting to see where he is in a few seasons.

 

 

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