The IceHL saw twists and turns this week, complete with a few upsets. Here's a look.
The upset of the week in the IceHL EAST was delivered by the Arsenal, who proved that a bow and arrow is no match for military firepower, as they struck down the Archers 47-22. Atlanta's efforts were led by Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who picked up 2 goals, 2 assists and 8 penalty minutes for 22 points. Francis Wathier chipped in with 14 penalty minutes.
With its first loss of the season, St. Louis fell from 1st place in the overall league standings to 6th. Justin Schultz picked up three assists on the week, but with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Ben Bishop missing in action, the Archers were bound to take a beating in Week 3.
The Nighthawks reigned as the highest-scoring team of the week, handily defeating the Steelcats 53-34. Jordan Eberle amassed an impressive 4 goals and an assist for 19 points as one of three players in double digits for the Charlotte club. Nino Niederreiter's goal and two assists led Hamilton but — even with five players putting up points — it wasn't quite enough to avoid a losing record.
With a new AGM at the helm this week, the Olympiques showed they're ready for a turnaround with a stunning 51-27 win over the Colonials. Newcomers Taylor Hall, Thomas Pock and Marc-Andre Gragnani combined for 24 points as Peter Holland tallied 3 goals and assist for 15 points, himself. Like Holland, Sean Couturier also notched 15 points for his team, but only two other Colonials earned any points.
The Lagers continued their march up the standings with a 46-32 victory over the Mariners. Both teams saw production from their entire rosters, but Milwaukee got more as new arrival Drayson Bowman notched a pair of goals and Justin Faulk grabbed a goal and 3 assists. The two combined for half of the Lagers' total points this week. For Hartford, only Chris Mueller found the back of the net as he picked up 11 points.
Elsewhere, Tampa Bay and Quebec quietly continued their undefeated runs to open the season. The Barracudas topped the Sentinels 38-32 while the Armada sank the Motorheads 46-21. Conversely, the Mammoths continued to go winless, falling 42-31 to the Hitmen. And in the league's lowest-scoring match of the week, the Guardians just edged out the Blue Crabs, 14-13.
Now let's see what happened on the other side.
The unstoppable Renegades maintained their dominance of the IceHL WEST with a 47-35 win over the Hellcats in Week 3. And for once this season, a goalie was the star in a match-up. Jeff Zatkoff stood tall for 2 wins and a shutout, leading Regina with 16 points. But once again, the Renegades got points from every man on their roster.
And it's not like Houston didn't put up a fight, either. Coming off a huge win in Week 2, the Hellcats were led by Justin Faulk's 13 points. All but one player worked his way onto the scoresheet this week. But only one other player besides Faulk actually figured in offensively, as Ben Holmstrom scored the team's only other goal.
Outscoring all other teams this week were the Kodiaks, who tackled the Beasts 55-37. Four players hit double-digit points! Taylor Hall's goal and 10 penalty minutes (14 points) were second only to Tyson Barrie's 16 points (includes carryover). Netminder Ben Scrivens was the only Kodiak not to earn points this week. Chris Kreider led Boulder with 13 points on an assist and 10 PIMs as Mikael Granlund was the only guy with a goal. Newcomer Rob Klinkhammer was the only player without points in Week 3.
The week's closest match-up saw the Huskies sneak past the Gators 46-44. And really, this one was all about Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Jordan Eberle as they dominated for their respective teams. Audy-Marchessault amassed 22 points on 2 goals, 2 assists and 8 minutes in the box while Eberle notched 4 goals and an assist for 19 points. Each team got production from five of their six players.
It was more of the same for Dallas and Saskatoon this week as the Outlaws kept up their winning ways with a 42-19 victory over the Sharpshooters, who are still struggling to find a foothold. For the Outlaws, this one was all about Sean Couturier and Keith Aucoin, who combined for 31 points. Couturier had a goal and 3 assists as Aucoin sat in the box for 16 minutes. Chris Bourque was the only player to bring substantial production for the Sharpshooters on 2 assists and 4 PIMs.
Elsewhere, the Lumberjacks hit a new league-low, falling 26-6 to the Pioneers. Vancouver was the only team without a single goal or assist in Week 3. Winnipeg and California remain undefeated as the Wave beat the Cavalry 20-14 and the Winterhawks edged the Narwhals 40-35. And the Aviators doubled up on the Scorpions 52-26 with a defense that collaborated for 23 points.
One more item worth a mention. If it seems like the IceHL WEST's scores tend to be higher than the EAST's, you're not imagining it. Overall, the IceHL EAST teams have scored 1,881 total points through three weeks while WEST teams have scored 1,994 total points. So based on that stat alone, it certainly seems like the GMs/AGMs of the WEST are better at picking AHL talent.
What other conclusions are you starting to draw from the IceHL stats this season?