That's another one down. After two weeks, the IceHL via AHL is getting into its groove and certain teams are really beginning to stand out. For the look back at Week 2, we'll start with the IceHL WEST.
It's astounding to see the Renegades thriving this season after two years of struggles. The AHL has definitely been good to the team from Regina as the club continued to display its dominance in Week 2 with a 59-36 win over the Pioneers — all thanks to an offensive outburst by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Last week, Mark Borowiecki's penalty minute explosion launch the Renegades to victory. This week, Nugent-Hopkins helped them to a more legitimate victory with an outstanding 22 points on 2 goals, 4 assists and 2 penalty minutes. But it was a group effort as all six members of the team figured into the scoring.
The best performance of the week came from the Wave, who crushed the Huskies 71-33. California picked up assists from every skater for a league-high of 11 total. Meanwhile, Alaska got less-than-stellar numbers from its stars following a solid opener.
The widest margin of victory in Week 2 saw the Winterhawks slam the Scorpions, 67-25. Justin Schultz packed in 22 points from the blue line as forwards Charlie Coyle and Brett Connolly teamed up for 29 more to lead Winnipeg to victory. Salt Lake City will be making some key roster moves in Week 3, taking advantage of the top spot in the waiver order.
The Hellcats impressed after a rocky opening week, shooting down the Kodiaks in a 69-37 stunner. Only one player failed to top double-digit points for Houston. Geoff Walker lead scoring with 18 points. On the Edmonton side, a quiet defense resulted in a mediocre week.
Keeping things interesting were the Gators and Cavalry, who actually played to a statistical tie, 57-57. But because the IceHL doesn't do draws, the tie-breaker went to New Orleans, who tallied 7 goals this week on the backs of four different skaters. If not for that, these are two of the most evenly-matched teams in the league — especially when you remember they also earned the same number of points as each other last week.
Elsewhere, the Narwhals picked up their first win of the year with a 67-46 win over the Aviators. The Outlaws outgunned the defending champion Beasts 52-39. And the Lumberjacks edged out the Sharpshooters, who were the most-improved franchise in Week 2 — despite still sitting in last place overall.
Now let's have a look at what went down in the IceHL EAST.
Things weren't as wild in the IceHL EAST in Week 2. The Lagers followed up their jersey contest victory with one that actually counts in the standings. Milwaukee steamrolled the Sentinels 61-23. Zach Boychuck and Justin Faulk each nabbed 15 points by utilizing all three stat categories while a shutout win put Justin Peters in double digits as well.
On the Washington side, big names are doing small numbers, making it hard for the team to gain traction in the early going of the season. Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad have not been living up to expectations. But they'll need to if the Sentinels hope to be a contender.
This week, the Archers claimed the top of the standings by relying on the league's widest margin of victory in a 56-16 pounding of the Mariners. The St. Louis blue line provided the offensive rush as Justin Schultz and Oliver Ekman-Larsson combined for 34 points. It was a similar situation with Hartford as defenseman Radko Gudas was the only player to register on the scoresheet, returning to action with 16 penalty minutes.
After claiming a championship in their debut season, the Nighthawks opened the new year with a sizeable loss. But they turned it around in Week 2 with a little help from the whole roster, defeating the Hitmen by a 55-48 margin. Jordan Eberle put up 16 points on a goal and 3 assists for North Carolina while Chicago got a combined 5 goals and 4 assists from Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
It was a close one for the Armada, who barely beat the Arsenal. In the 44-41 tilt, Quebec saw points from all six players while only one failed to figure in for Atlanta. Meanwhile, the Barracudas just beat out the Olympiques 50-44 on big penalty-minute points from Trevor Smith. But it was D-man Tomas Kundratek who made the most noise with a goal and 3 assists.
The Guardians nabbed their first W of 2012-13 against the Motorheads by score of 59-49. The Colonials posted a strong follow-up after a weak start, soundly beating the Blue Crabs 61-49. And the Steelcats bounced back from Week 1 woes with a 51-32 win over the Mammoths.
Big thanks to Sharpshooters GM Tony Pomposelli for giving me a hand with the manual stat-tracking this weekened! Huge help!
GMs/AGMs were given an additional day this week to make roster changes. Waiver claims will be processed Tuesday at 3pm ET. Check back for the Week 3 preview.