Each week, I will be featuring the Vancouver Canucks’ top three prospects. Here’s a look at who stood out in week 20.
This week’s top prospects of the Vancouver Canucks features two goaltenders, with both providing superb performances in helping their respective teams gain crucial points in the standings.
The third highlighted prospect is a Hobey Baker hopeful whose top-notch all-around game sparked his team to victory in a Hockey East battle of utmost importance.
1. Michael Dipietro
The Utica Comets traveled to Cleveland for a pair of weekend games against the Monsters, hoping to get back on track following the All-Star break. The Comets lost their last four games before the break and had slipped to third place in the North Division. Michael DiPietro drew the starting assignment and was magnificent throughout the contest, turning aside all 27 shots he faced in earning his first AHL shutout.
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DiPietro appeared dialed in from the outset of the contest, his puck-tracking skills and post-to-post movement were both exceptional and evident in the opening period.
On a couple of occasions, he slid across the crease to take away quality scoring chances, saving one off his mask. The Comets jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead while being outshot 8-7.
The Monsters had a decisive territorial advantage in the second period thanks to a full two-minute five-on-three advantage.
However, the penalty-killers — Olli Juolevi and Ashton Sautner — in particular, blocked shots and took away passing lanes. The pucks that did get through the traffic, DiPietro stopped handily due to his sound positioning. The score remained 2-0 going to the second intermission.
That territorial advantage carried over to the third period where the Monsters outshot the Comets 10-3. However, DiPietro remained calm and confident throughout in earning the shutout and the first star of the game recognition.
2. Arturs Silovs
Arturs Silovs had a busy week starting three of the four games the Barrie Colts played. He faced a total of 117 shots in those contests while stopping 109 for a .932 save percentage. The Colts managed five of a possible six points in those games, with their only blemish being a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sudbury Wolves.
In the first of those encounters, Silovs turned aside 34 of 36 shots in a 3-2 overtime decision versus the Oshawa Generals. That performance culminated in being named the first star of the game. His next start was the overtime loss to the Wolves. Silovs, once again, earned the first star of the game recognition for a 38 save effort. The Colts were 5-3 winners in their next game with Silovs stopping 37 of the 40 shots sent his way.
The Colts are 5-0-1 in their last six starts with the acrobatic Silovs leading the way.
3. Tyler Madden
The Northeastern Huskies went into their most recent game ranked 13th in the nation. Meanwhile, their opponent, the Providence Friars, were ranked ninth. The Hockey East rivals had split their previous two meetings this season and were battling for position in the pairwise rankings, which determine the seeding for the NCAA playoffs.
Tyler Madden opened the scoring for the Huskies when he anticipated a pass in the neutral zone and went in alone, faked a shot, and then slid the puck into the open side.
The Huskies would add a second goal late in the opening period and led 2-0 after twenty minutes.
The Huskies took a string of penalties in the second period, putting their penalty-killing unit, ranked 4th in the NCAA, to a test. The Friars managed one powerplay marker to draw within one.
Northeastern was called for a hit from behind handing Providence a five-minute man advantage. Madden was very prominent in helping the Huskies escape unscathed. A minute after the major penalty elapsed, Madden entered the Friars’ zone and made a spin-around pass to linemate and fellow Canucks prospect Aidan McDonough, who buried it to put the Huskies up 3-1.
The Huskies prevailed 4-3 in the match and improved their ranking to 12th, while Providence slipped to 13th.
It wasn’t the scoring prowess of Madden that impressed me as much as his complete all-around game. Madden is a candidate for the Hobey Baker award. Fans can vote for Madden at here.
Northeastern will face Harvard in the Beanpot tournament on Monday afternoon. With the Canucks playing in Boston on Tuesday, I expect Canucks general manager Jim Benning and other members of management to be in attendance.
Swedish prospects Arvid Costmar and Linus Karlsson both continue their impressive play. Costmar registered two goals and two assists, while Karlsson added three helpers. Jett Woo had four assists in four games this past week for the Calgary Hitmen.
Please come back next week to see which of the exciting young prospects of the Canucks are featured.