Each week, I will be featuring the Vancouver Canucks top three prospects. Here’s a look at who stood out in week 9.
Before I get into the positive performances for the week, I feel I should mention the devastating news concerning yet another injury to Vancouver Canucks prospect Olli Juolevi.
Juolevi has been taken off the active roster of the Utica Comets and is being evaluated by the Canucks medical staff for a lower-body injury. There is no timetable for his return. Now for the positive news.
1. Tyler Madden
On Friday night with Northeastern University Huskies trailing 1-0 in the third period, Tyler Madden found a soft spot in the defensive zone coverage, took a pass from behind the net and popped it past the Providence goaltender. However, the Huskies would surrender two goals later in the third period and would drop a 3-2 decision.
The Huskies would seek revenge on Saturday night, scoring four times in the second frame on the way to a decisive 7-3 win. Madden would assist on two of those markers. He would later add a goal into the vacant net to give the Huskies a 6-3 margin.
They would add a second empty-netter to secure the victory. As a result of his three-point effort, Madden has 14 points in his last nine games after going scoreless in his first three outings. Madden has eight goals on the season, which is only one behind the leaders.
2. Kole Lind
By way of my AHL Live subscription, I have watched a vast majority of the Utica Comets games over the past two seasons.
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The most satisfying aspect of viewing those games comes from witnessing the progression of the young prospects that the Canucks have. No one exemplifies that to a greater degree than Kole Lind. His confidence increases with each game he plays, as does his contribution.
In games this past weekend, Lind was a force, particularly on the power play. Friday night versus the Syracuse Crunch, he would add a pair of helpers, both coming with the man-advantage.
On the first of those assists, Lind won the faceoff, and Reid Boucher would bury it for the game’s opening goal. His second assist came as a result of getting in on the forecheck, winning a board battle and then getting to the front of the net.
Lind deflected a pass from Nikolay Goldobin, and the puck went in off Justin Bailey, parked at the edge of the crease. The goal, which restored the Comets lead, was initially credited to Lind but was later changed to Bailey. The Comets would go on to win the game 5-2.
On Saturday night, a 4-3 loss to the Rochester Americans, Lind was once again very noticeable. Initially, he had been credited with an assist, that later taken away, but regardless, he made his presence felt on several occasions.
3. Brogan Rafferty
With the loss of Juolevi comes an increased opportunity for Brogan Rafferty. Rafferty, who had been quarterbacking the second-unit power play, will now have the chance to run the first group. Albeit, his play of late may have already substantiated that possibility. Regardless, he will need to seize the opening that increased ice-time will present.
This past week, Rafferty would add an assist on a power play tally by Goldobin. The lone goal in a 3-1 loss on Monday.
The change in the official scoring on the Bailey goal would take an assist away from Rafferty in the Friday night affair. Regardless, he was a factor on the play. Saturday, with the Comets trailing by two and the goaltender at the bench, Rafferty would jam the puck in to bring the Comets to within a goal.
However, it wasn’t enough as they fell short in a 4-3 loss to the Rochester Americans. Rafferty has two goals and seven assists in 16 games this season.
Ethan Keppen, Aidan McDonough and Francis Perron each had two assists in games this past week.
Be sure to come back next week to see which of their outstanding young players rise to the top.