Week 10 seemed to go by in flash. In fact, it was only five days long, so maybe I'm not imagining things. However, it only took a short week to topple some giants. Let's dive in.
Can't ignore the Edmonton and Winnipeg game this week. The Kodiaks have seen their ups and downs so far this season, but did they ever luck out against the Winterhawks — who had their worst week yet! The Kodiaks slid by with a win 34-27, handing the Winterhawks their second loss all year. Oddly, D-man Tyson Barrie was the offensive juggernaut for Edmonton this week. His goal and 4 assists were worth 16 points.
Winnipeg had single digit points from its skaters and a big goose egg from Eddie Lack for the fifth week in a row. Interestingly, this is the first time all season that the Winterhawks didn't have at least one player in double digit points. The shortened holiday schedule did not treat the Hawks well at all.
Now, onto the most jaw-dropping score of the week. The Lumberjacks absolutely eviscerated the the Huskies 85-9. That's a 76-point difference and it may well be a league record. Vancouver was powered by a whopping 44 points from T.J. Hensick, who tallied a goal, 2 assists and 34 penalty minutes! Gustav Nyquist chipped in with another 15 points to help things along. Meanwhile, Alaska struggled with points from only three players and no one with more than 4. By the way, the Pioneers still hold the league record of 92 points in a single week.
Calgary and Dallas met for the second and final time this season, and just like the last meeting, it was another close one. The Outlaws edged the Cavalry 61-59 — just two points. What's funny is that in Week 5, again the Outlaws only won by a couple of points. This isn't what you'd expect from two teams at opposite ends of the standings. But Keith Aucoin and Sean Couturier each topped 20 points for Dallas while Calgary had four players in double digits, including new goalie Ben Scrivens.
The Beasts extended their winning streak to three games with a 44-30 win over the Gators. Mike Sgarbossa and Bobby Sanguinetti teamed up for 21 points for Boulder. New Orleans suffered from minimal production despite a pair of new faces this week. Blue-liner Kevin Connauton led the team with 9 points on an assist and 6 PIMs.
The Pioneers second three-game winning streak was halted by the Narwhals by a close 37-33 score. The Narwhals improved to .500 with the help of goalie Carter Hutton's 12 points. Portland was led by Mike Kostka who had a goal, 3 assists and 2 penalty minutes for 15 points. Trevor Smith also figured in offensively with 9 points.
Elsewhere, the Aviators continue flying high after a 59-30 win over the Renegades, led by Kris Newbury's 19 points. The Wave jumped back into the top four after defeating the Sharpshooters 47-42. And the Hellcats grabbed their third W of the year, finishing 42-33 over the Scorpions.
Now, back east.
The IceHL EAST is where the giant-toppling was really taking place. After six consecutive weeks at No. 1, the Barracudas dropped to third following a 45-37 loss to the Nighthawks. At 528, North Carolina has more points than any other IceHL team. And this week, it was the heroics of forward Keith Aucoin that put them over the top. Aucoin had a goal, 5 assists and 4 PIMs for an impressive 23 points.
Tampa Bay has struggled with three losses in its last four games. Still, Tyler Johnson and Jason Zucker combined for 21 points this week. But their efforts weren't enough to overcome the league's highest-scoring team. The Barracudas will need a little more stability if they're going to remain at the top.
Jumping into first place with a big win were the Archers, who trounced the Blue Crabs 71-54. T.J. Hensick was a monster for St. Louis, amassing 44 points, comprised mostly of penalty minutes. For Baltimore, Kris Newbury and Mike Kostka came together for 34 points on 3 goals and 5 assists.
The Guardians darted into second place in the EAST with a 52-31 victory over the Arsenal. Andy Miele and T.J. Brennan each racked up 15 points on the same configuration of stats — 2 goals, 1 assist and 4 penalty minutes. Curtis McElhinney also had a shutout win for another 10. Atlanta, meanwhile, was led by Tyson Barrie's 16 points but got little else in terms of production.
The rest of the games this week all had very close scores. The Colonials topped the Lagers 44-41 to get back to .500 and up a couple of places in the standings. Sean Couturier led Boston with 21 points on a goal and 5 assists while Brayden Schenn added another 10 points on a goal and 2 assists. Zach Boychuk and Bobby Sanguinetti combined for 23 points as Milwaukee continues to struggle.
The Mammoths, still in search of their second win of the season and now with new management, fell to the Mariners 44-39. Hartford was led by Radko Gudas, who had a pair of assists and 7 PIMs for 13 points. The rest of the team figured in with solid numbers. For Minnesota, however, a pair of new faces in Brendan Gallagher and Derek Meech came together for 18 points the team wouldn't have otherwise had. And goalie Robin Lehner bounced back with 12 points after three scoreless weeks.
Elsewhere, the Motorheads beat the Olympiques 38-31, thanks to 3 goals from Chris Bourque. The Sentinels trumped the Steelcats 31-26 with help from Mike Sgarbossa's 11-point week. And the Hitmen will spend another week in the top four after a 43-39 win over the Armada, who, despite the loss, got an amazing 20 points from new goalie Cristopher Nilstorp with 2 shutout wins. Three typically high-scoring players had donuts for Quebec.
So there you have it. Once we get through this holiday week, we'll be at the midpoint of our season. Think you know who's going to the playoffs? If the first 10 weeks have taught us anything, it's that predicting the IceHL is impossible!