First, my apologies for the delay in getting updates out this week. Now let's go!
We saw an IceHL record get positively shattered in Week 11. For six weeks, the Portland Pioneers held the record for points in a single week with 92. Then the New York Guardians came along, destroying the Lagers 108-24 — and securing first overall in the IceHL EAST standings. The Guardians primarily have Patrick Maroon to thank, as he amassed 45 penalty minutes during the week and tacked on a goal and an assist for 52 points! That, too, may be a new IceHL record. But you can't discount the big help from T.J. Brennan, who tallied a goal, 5 assists and 6 PIMs for 25 points.
The Lagers, meanwhile, continue their slide with one win in the last eight weeks. Mikael Granlund came back in a big way with 3 goals and an assist for 15 points. But Milwaukee got little else as three players, including goalie Justin Peters, were held scoreless this week.
The Archers, who held the No. 1 spot last week, fell all the way to fourth at the hands of the Olympiques by a score of 62-51. Cory Conacher led Montreal with 2 goals and 3 assists for 24 points. Taylor Hall added another 3 goals and 2 assists for 18 points. It all proved to be a bit too much for St. Louis, despite a combined 33 points from Cam Atkinson and Matt Frattin.
The Steelcats jumped back above .500 after a surprising 69-42 victory over the Hitmen. Hamilton all but one member of its roster in double digits this week. Nino Niederreiter notched 3 goals for 12 points while Marcus Foligno added another 18 points. The Cats even got help from another shutout win by goalie Braden Holtby. A pair of wins from goalie David Leggio (12 points) along with an offensive burst from blue-liner Mark Barberio (11 points) gave Chicago a boost, but couldn't get the job done.
Finally finding their second win of the year were the Mammoths, who defeated an imploding Sentinels club 35-10. Minnesota was led by 12 points from goalie Robin Lehner. D-man Tim Erixon also contributed 3 assists for 9 points. Washington, on the other hand, got production from just two players — and the only offense was a single goal by Joe Colborne. The Sentinels have some roster changes in store for the second half of the season.
Elsewhere, the Barracudas just edged the Mariners 41-40 to move back into second overall. The Blue Crabs again have a winning record after pinching the Motorheads 46-37. The Colonials topped the Arsenal 23-20 in the week's lowest-scoring match-up. And in a battle of titans, the Nighthawks wiped out the Armada 54-40 with the help of 11-point performances from Kyle Palmieri and Brendan Smith.
Time to go out west.
If Week 11 brought surprises to the IceHL EAST, it brought some major shockers to the IceHL WEST. For one thing, the Winterhawks were dethroned, falling out of first place for the first time since Week 4, as they lost 80-58 to the Wave. California got big help from Patrick Maroon's penalty-heavy 52-point effort as well as another 11 points from James Sheppard.
Winnipeg put up strong numbers as well, but almost nothing can touch a team when one of its players tallies more than 50 points. Marcus Foligno grabbed 2 goals, an assist and 7 penalty minutes for 19 points. Brett Connolly was good for another 13 points on 3 assists and 4 PIMs. The Winterhawks have now lost back-to-back games for the first time all season.
Taking the Hawks place at the top this week are the Aviators, following a 44-16 trouncing of the Gators. Seattle got points all the way down the roster, including a combined 21 from Kris Newbury and Tyler Johnson. New Orleans was again led by Jordan Eberle, who earned a goal and 2 assists for 10 points, but half the team was left with goose eggs in this one.
Also continuing a climb up the IceHL WEST standings are the Kodiaks, after a 68-58 win over the Sharpshooters. Edmonton sits atop its division after getting double digits from four players in Week 11. Taylor Hall and Mark Arcobello each picked up 18 points this week, including a combined 4 goals and 6 assists. Despite the loss, Saskatoon is continuing to improve with its second-best performance of the season. Ondrej Palat and Radko Gudas both earned 13 points to lead their team.
After a couple of weeks of relying on self-proclaimed "goon hockey," the Cavalry beat the Narwhals 48-27 on a bit of an offensive explosion. D-man T.J. Brennan got a goal, 5 assists and 6 PIMs for in impressive 25 points. Northwest was led by goalie Carter Hutton with 12 points as most of the roster was pretty quiet.
Elsewhere, the Renegades held off the Beasts 49-44 with a solid offensive showing. The Pioneers locked up the surging Outlaws with a 42-31 victory. The Hellcats got the edge over the Lumberjacks 25-22 as both teams relied on goaltending. And the Huskies had one of the best weeks while the Scorpions had their worst with Alaska coming out on top 62-19.
Some interesting notes from the standings at the halfway point of 2012-13:
- Week 10 brought us a 4-way for first in the IceHL EAST. In Week 11, we got the same thing in the IceHL WEST as the Aviators, Winterhawks, Wave and Outlaws each sit at the top with 8-3 records.
- It'll take more than just a winning record to make the playoffs in the IceHL EAST. After 11 weeks, 10 of 16 teams are above .500, but only 8 teams can qualify for the postseason. And three of the top four are in the Southeast Division.
What else have you picked up on this year? What do you expect for the second half of the season? Who will make the playoffs?