Time to recap another exciting week of IceHL action. Let's start here.
Without question, the game to watch in the IceHL EAST in Week 9 was Milwaukee and North Carolina. Could a team riding five straight losses stand up to Jordan Eberle's incredible performance? In fact, the Lagers did beat the Nighthawks, if only by a point, 67-66. Credit goes to goalie Justin Peters who was a wall with 3 wins and a shutout for 22 points! Add to that Zach Boychuk's 5-assist effort for another 15 points as the Lagers held on for the win.
The Nighthawks also got production from all six guys so the disappointing loss wasn't for lack of trying. Eberle scored 5 goals, 3 assists and 4 penalty minutes for an amazing 33-point week! Other than that, Keith Aucoin chipped in with 2 goals while Kyle Palmieri had 2 assists. As a group, the Nighthawks just didn't have quite enough to overtake Milwaukee and dropped from 3rd to 6th in the league standings.
The team that tallied the most points this week ended up facing the team that earned the fewest. The Archers walloped the Mammoths 73-24. St. Louis picked up an impressive 10 goals this week from all five skaters, including 3 each from T.J. Hensick and Justin Schultz. Minnesota, meanwhile, remains the only team in either league without multiple victories so far this season.
Swimming at top speed once again were the Barracudas, who topped the Motorheads 60-29. Dustin Tokarski led Tampa Bay from the crease with 2 wins and a shutout for 16 points. Trevor Smith and Matt Taormina each picked up another 10 points. Detroit saw minimal scoring from its side as Jon Matsumoto was the only one with a goal this week.
Taylor Hall powered the Olympiques to a 69-28 beating of the Sentinels. Hall notched 3 goals, 3 assists and 4 PIMs for 25 points. Cory Conacher, who's hot streak has cooled in recent weeks, chipped in mostly with time in the box this week. For Washington, half of the roster was left with goose eggs. Mike Sgarbossa, however, picked up a solid 15 points on a goal and 3 assists.
The Guardians pulled ahead of the Armada in the standings with a 57-44 victory. Four players were in double digits for New York, led by Martin St. Pierre's 3 goals and assist. Meantime, Nazem Kadri and Sena Acolatse combined for 27 points, including 12 penalty minutes from Acolatse.
Elsewhere, the Hitmen were led by the boys behind the blue line as they beat the Arsenal 43-28. Chicago's defense and goaltending came together for 34 of those points. Chad Johnson's 3 wins weren't enough to put the Colonials in the win column this week as they fell 40-32 to the Steelcats. And the Mariners defeated the Blue Crabs 55-47 with the help of 19 points from Jon DiSalvatore.
That's how it was in the East. Now the West...
The Wave were the high-scorers this week in the IceHL WEST as they shattered the Lumberjacks 70-34. Four players had a dozen points or more for California. Most impressive was a combined 29 points from the blue line, but James Sheppard led the way individually with 16 points on 3 goals and 4 PIMs.
Vancouver has now followed a three-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak. T.J. Hensick was sharp with 3 goals for 12 points but overall the team underwhelmed this week. On the other hand, the Lumberjacks are seeing good numbers from newcomer Zach Redmond who picked up a goal, an assist and 4 penalty minutes for 11 points after getting 9 points last week.
Week 9's biggest shocker saw the 1-7 team crush the 7-1 team. Records were of no issue as the last-place Gators knocked off the 2nd-place Outlaws 56-37. Jordan Eberle was the driving force behind New Orleans' upset as he tallied 5 goals and 3 assists for 33 points! Little else happened on the scoresheet in this one. Dallas' top-scorer was netminder Braden Holtby with 2 wins and a shutout for 16 points.
The Winterhawks now remain the only team with no more than one loss this season as they stunned the Sharpshooters 68-42. Winnipeg's forwards had a solid 44 points this week on 6 goals and 4 assists. But it was D-man Justin Schultz who grabbed 3 goals and 3 assists for 21 points. Sasktoon was no match as Jeff Taffe led the team with 12 points on 4 assists. The silver lining for the Sharpshooters, however, was that all six players produced points.
Back above .500 are the Beasts after a 42-32 victory over the Pacific Division-leading Aviators. Mike Sgarbossa led Boulder with 15 points on a goal and 3 assists. Mikael Grandlund, with a goal and an assist, is also helping out once again since returning from his injury. Seattle suffered from substandard efforts this week, including only one minor penalty each from the defense.
Calgary's newfound strategy for piling up penalty minutes failed them this week as the Cavalry lost 51-41 to the Pioneers. Portland is nipping at the heels of the divisional-rival Aviators. Cam Atkinson posted 2 of each stat category for 16 points as Mike Kostka pitched in 11 points on D. And after depending upon penalties for their first wins of the season — and 47 points last week from their goon pairing — Calgary saw just 18 points from Bobby Robins and Brett Gallant in Week 9.
Elsewhere, the Huskies held off the Steelcats 49-44 thanks to 2 wins and a shutout from Dustin Tokarski. The Kodiaks, with the help of a 25-point effort from Taylor Hall, defeated the Scorpions 57-50. And in this week's low-scoring match-up, the Renegades edged the Narwhals 27-22 as each team saw only three players earn points.
And that's the way it was in the IceHL in Week 9.