Cam Charron

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Cam Charron is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports

  • Rock-solid WHL D sets up Subway Series Win – Thursday’s 3 Stars

    Kelowna's Madison Bowey anchored a very strong WHL defence Thursday (CP)Buzzing The Net's 3 Stars, and thoughts from Thursday night's 4-2 win for Team WHL over Team Russia. With the victory, the Canadians clinch the series with three regulation wins to two, with one Russian victory coming in the shutout.

    No. 1 Star - Dillion Heatherington-Madison Bowey, Team WHL (Swift Current, Kelowna)

    It's tough to name a single first star when what really gave the Western Hockey League team the victory was its defence. The home team again peppered the Russian net with shots, as they have been all series, but the defence was outrageous, holding Russia to just 17 shots and nine scoring chances, with two of those coming on the powerplay.

    Credit has to be given to Canada's No. 1 defensive pairing, which pitched about as close to a perfect game as possible, with the exception of one opportunity midway through the second period when Vladimir Tkachyovwho scored the highlight-reel goal in the first game of the series during the QMJHL leg—out-skated Heatherington through the neutral zone, but Bowey caught up to him and prevented him from coming across the net.

    WHL goaltender Tristan Jarry didn't have a heck of a lot of work to do, and he can probably thank his top defensive pairing for that. Despite Russia trailing for nearly all the third period, they only generated six total shots in the frame, and had two third period scoring chances.

    No. 2 Star - Jujhar Khaira, Team WHL (Everett Silvertips)

    You can probably make a good argument for Khaira's linemate Greg Chase in this spot, who scored two goals and was named the Team WHL Player of the Game in the building, but I think it's appropriate to appreciate Khaira's efforts in helping Team WHL tied the game on the powerplay in the second period as well as add the insurance marker in the third.

    Khaira was given two assists on the night, but he didn't earn the first with a pass to the wing on the powerplay. He earned that assist (maybe not officially) by being the screen of Russian goaltender Igor Shestyorkin, who took over goalie duties from Wednesday's first star Ivan Nalimov. His second assist was more conventional, beating his man to a puck behind the Russian goal and playing it out in front for Chase, who scored the 4-2 insurance goal with the feed.

    Read More »from Rock-solid WHL D sets up Subway Series Win – Thursday’s 3 Stars
  • WHL Star Power thwarted by Russia’s Ivan Nalimov: Super Series 3 Stars

    Other than Portland's Taylor Leier, there wasn't much going for the WHL Wednesday (CP Images)

    Buzzing The Net's 3 Stars from Game 5 of the Subway Super Series, won 3-2 by Russia over Team WHL. The Russians have won three straight and have a 16-13 edge in goals.

    No. 1 Star - Ivan Nalimov, Russian Selects (SKA-1946, St. Petersburg)

    You could perhaps pick apart the performance of one or two top defencemen, but you have to look no further than between the pipes to see why the Russian Selects have won three consecutive games in the Series. Team OHL out-shot Russia 43-22 in Game 3 and 52-23 in Game 4, with Team WHL out-shooting Russia 44-25 in Game 5. The CHL clubs have only scored six goals in that span.

    It's not like Ivan Nalimov has had to fight off a bevy of chances, but the Western Hockey League selects got a few good looks against the Russians in the fifth game. Being junior hockey, where not every goal is going to be a Grade-A chance in front of the net, and goaltenders at this age are prone to the odd gaffe, you can't fault Nalimov for the quality of shots he's faced because he's been almost perfect on everything else. All that beat him Wednesday was a puck that hopped right onto Griffin Reinhart's stick, and a shorthanded breakaway. Nalimov had to be sharp late. He held firm against the post on a shot with 90 seconds left, pinning the puck until it was frozen before Nic Petan drove the net and poked it in, albeit after the whistle. Nalimov shook off that collision to rob Taylor Leier on the doorstep moments later.

    Evaluating goaltenders is difficult, because some goalies make difficult saves look easy, and some manage the opposite, so all you can really look at is the saves a goalie makes. So far, through four games? Nalimov is 3-1 with a 2.25 goals against average and an incredible .945 save percentage.

    No. 2 Star - Alexei Baskov, Russian Selects (Omskie Yastrebi, Omsk)

    Baskov scored the winning goal in this one, and was the most dangerous forward for Russia, paired with the two Western Hockey League Russian players to join the team exclusively for the game in Red Deer, Seattle's Alexander Delnov and Saskatoon's Nikita Scherbak. While that line had its chances, the winning goal was mostly an individual effort, chipping the puck up by Kelowna defenceman Madison Bowey and sliding the puck past Tri-City's Eric Comrie, in net for the WHL in this one.

    Read More »from WHL Star Power thwarted by Russia’s Ivan Nalimov: Super Series 3 Stars
  • Montreal Canadiens draft pick and Chicoutimi captain Charles Hudon (CP Images)

    No. 1 Star - Charles Hudon, Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)

    After a four five-point night (!) in a 9-2 win for the Halifax Mooseheads, one might expect to see perennial Buzzing the Net first star Jonathan Drouin once again occupying the top spot in our Three Stars. However, a Chicoutimi team, without Phoenix second round pick Laurent Dauphin out to suspension, crushed the Charlottetown Islanders 6-3 Friday night on the back of a five-point night from Montreal fifth rounder Charles Hudon.

    The Sags scored the first three and the last three goals of the contest, with Hudon factoring in on all of them save the last. From le Courrier du Saguenay, translation mine:

    Captain Charles Hudon may not have been playing with Jonathan Drouin and Anthony Mantha Friday night, like he had the chance in the Subway Super Series, but all the same that didn't stop him from scoring two goals and three assists. Twinned with forwards William Gignac and Simon Tremblay, the Montreal Canadiens prospect had one of his best games ever on the ice of the Centre Georges-Vézina. It was the same for his linemates.

    So there you have it. Glowing praise from le Courrier there.

    No. 2 Star - Bo Horvat, London Knights (OHL)

    Not the biggest night offensively for the London Knight and Vancouver Canucks first rounder, but per pal Thomas Drance, Bo Horvat was matched up against the Erie Otters' dominant top line of Connor McDavid, Connor Brown and Andre Burakovsky:

    Read More »from Charles Hudon rallies shorthanded Sags; big scoring night in ‘W’ – Friday’s 3 Stars
  • Jonathan DrouinNo. 1 Star - Jonathan Drouin, Team QMJHL (Halifax Mooseheads)

    Sure, it was Drouin's linemates Charles Hudon and Anthony Mantha that wound up scoring all the goals for the QMJHL squad Monday night, but the third overall pick from last June's draft and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect had the primary assist on each goal. Team QMJHL's first goal came off a turnover created in the neutral zone by Drouin, and after gaining the line, he dropped the puck off to Hudon who wired it by Russian goaltender Ivan Nalimov for the 1-0 goal.

    Early in the second period, Drouin went on an end-to-end rush, posterizing Kirill Vorobyev and setting up Hudon again for the second goal. After a couple of goals from the Russians tied the game, Drouin took a hard shot blocked by Pavel Koledov that bounced onto Mantha's stick, and he wheeled it around Nalimov for the winning goal with 4:07 left on the clock.

    We could theoretically give No. 1A Star to Charles Hudon, but Drouin had a very special performance in the

    Read More »from Three-point night for Drouin as QMJHL takes first game of Subway Series: Monday’s 3 Stars
  • Shinkaruk has been limited to 12 WHL games by a hip injury (image from Canucks Army)First Hunter Shinkaruk wanted to "jump onto the ice" with the Vancouver Canucks and then he got jumped on ice against the Vancouver Giants.

    Suffice to say, the Medicine Hat Tigers had a more memorable homecoming to his NHL team's city than most first-round draft choices. After time ran out on the Tigers in a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Giants at the Pacific Coliseum, push led to shove and soon all 10 skaters on the ice were involved in a full-on line brawl. The focal point was the hand-to-hand combat between the captains, as Giants captain and Montreal Canadiens second-rounder Dalton Thrower chopped down Shinkaruk.

    Read More »from Canucks pick Hunter Shinkaruk pounded in line brawl during Vancouver homecoming
  • Vicious stick swinging incident at Chicago minor hockey tournament

    The above video comes courtesy of Youtube user toms2352. During a game between the San Diego Gulls (orange) and the Toledo Cherokee (black) at a AAA tournament between 1999-born players, a Cherokee player viciously swings his stick at his opponent, before punching him in the head onto the ice. The video cuts out then.

    It's pretty brutal. Per the uploader:

    Fortunately the player wears a slash guard and he was not seriously injured just bruised. That doesn't change the seriousness of the act. In response to other comments on here attempting to justify the action, there is a lot of contact that goes on in a game that refs do not catch. That shouldn't be an excuse to full bore attack someone with a stick as a weapon.... PERIOD!! That is assault no matter if you are in a hockey game or not.

    Read More »from Vicious stick swinging incident at Chicago minor hockey tournament
  • Portland retains top spot despite a loss to Parker Bowles and Tri-City (The Spokesman)

    If you'd checked in last week with us, you'd have known that Portland had won 11 consecutive games and Guelph had won 10 in a row. Neither of those streaks made it another game in length, with the Winterhawks losing to Tri-City on a breakaway goal with 26 seconds remaining in the contest, and with Guelph falling in overtime to London.

    Despite those losses, both the Winterhawks and Storm remain highly-ranked. The upper echelon of the CHL is super competitive in the early going, and many of them playing in the same divisions which is an added bonus to viewers. An explanation for our rankings can be found below, and we kick it off this week in familiar territory, the state of Oregon.

    1. Portland Winterhawks, WHL (.597 RPI, +2.0 SRS, —) — The Winterhawks retain the top spot in our rankings, despite going 1-1-1 at home this week including a loss to the Victoria Royals. The loss to the Royals isn't surprising insofar as that the Royals haven't exceeded expectations this year, but that the Winterhawks swarming offence couldn't break a goalie that had seen 40+ shots the previous night.

    Despite the soft week, the Winterhawks retain the No. 1 rank partly because of their otherwise hot start to the season, partly because they play in the Western Hockey League's U.S. Division that is probably the toughest in junior hockey right now. They have the highest strength of schedule rank in the CHL.

    2. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, QMJHL (.582 RPI, +1.7 SRS, +1) — The Armada performed well in a tough week, rebounding from a loss to Drummondville to defeat Chicoutimi and Rouyn-Noranda by 5-2 and 6-2 scores. Given that both Portland and Guelph's long winning streaks were snapped this week, the Armada should continue to hold down the top spot in the Bank of Montreal CHL Top 10 for this week.

    Here's a riddle though. How are the Armada able to have by far the best defence in the Q (46 goals given up in 21 games) despite the lowest-ranked penalty kill? Again, as we saw with the Soo Greyhounds last week, it comes down to the fact that the Armada draw 1.5 penalties more per game than they take, best in the league.

    3. Guelph Storm, OHL (.579 RPI, +2.1 SRS, -1) — The big news this week in Guelph was that Robby Fabbri's 10-game suspension for a headshot was finally handed down, and Dakota Mermis of the London Knights ended the team's 10-game win streak before it hit 11 a day later.

    Still, the Storm are third place in the ultra-competitive OHL Western Conference. Time to talk reinforcements before the trade deadline? Columbus Blue Jackets first rounder and Windsor Spitfire Kerby Rychel is reportedly a name on the Storm's radar.

    Read More »from Despite win streak snap, Winterhawks remain CHL No. 1 in BTN’s Dynamic Dozen
  • Regina's Morgan Klimchuk was selected=

    No. 1 Star - Morgan Klimchuk, Regina Pats (WHL)

    A natural hat-trick is three consecutive goals, but do they all have to be in the same period, or directed at the same net? I always forget. A lot of people seem to have differing definitions on this one. Either way, Morgan Klimchuk, one of the Calgary Flames' first round picks from June scored three goals in a row—at 15:43 of the first, 18:16 of the first and 4:18 of the second—in a four-point effort that saw him wind up as the first star in a 5-2 Regina win over reeling Lethbridge.

    Even more amazing is that Klimchuk hit for the cycle. His first goal was shorthanded, his second came at 5-on-5 and his third was on the powerplay, which has to be a pretty rare occurrence. Defenceman Jesse Zgraggen, playing his first game with the Pats after being traded by the Calgary Hitmen last week, had  a fine debut. He opened the scoring just 3:46 into the game. He also added two assists later on in the contest.

    Klimchuk's four-point effort means he now has 24 points in 19 games this season. After a red-hot start with 16 points in his first 10 games, Klimchuk had just four in his last eight before Wednesday night.

    No. 2 Star - Brian Williams, Tri-City Americans (WHL)

    It was a heavy night in the WHL. Heading into Wednesday's night's meeting at the Moda Center in Portland, the Winterhawks had won 11 straight contests and Tri-City hadn't lost in regulation in six, last being beaten against Portland 8-1 back on October 19 at home in Kennewick.

    We also like the little guys here at Buzzing the Net, and while it was Parker Bowles that scored with 26.6 seconds left on the clock to give the Americans a hard-fought 3-2 upset victory, the assist was made by the diminutive Brian Williams. The 5'8" Williams went undrafted this past June but has played very well at the start of this season, with 22 points in 21 games after a one-goal, one-assist performance against Portland. Williams assisted on the winning goal, scored the tying goal with one second left in the second period, and was a +3 rating (plus-minus isn't perfect, but it's fun in certain contexts) in a game that his team won 3-2. Not a bad night for Williams.

    No. 3 Star - Louick Marcotte, Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL)

    A quiet night for QMJHL leading scorer Anthony Mantha, who only recorded two assists in the Foreurs 5-2 win over Victoriaville (the slacker!) but the goals were picked up by his teammates. Mantha's linemate Louick Marcotte, a former first round pick of the P.E.I. Rocket, was the difference with his two-goal effort. He now has 28 points in 20 games. Turns out all you need to get going in the Q is play on the same line as the league's most dominant player.

    Marcotte opened the scoring with his 11th on the year at 7:24 of the first, and provided some insurance early in the third on a Foreurs powerplay, one of the team's two powerplay goals on the night. Also notable is Val-d'Or firing 51 shots at Tigres keeper Brandon Whitney. Seven different Foreurs players, including Marcotte, registered at least four shots on goal.

    Read More »from Pats’ Morgan Klimchuk pulls off rare hat-trick – Wednesday’s 3 Stars
  • Portland look poised to compete for a fourth straight Western Conference crown (CP)

    In our first Dynamic Dozen rankings of the season published last week, a pair of U.S. Division teams were ranked 1-2. This week, all five of the American teams from the Western Hockey League are concentrated within our top 14. Add Kelowna into the mix, and you have the makings of a Western Conference that's going to be very difficult to win come playoff time, with as many as six high quality teams in legitimate contention.

    Still (I hate to use the qualifier "it's early" so much, but...) it's early. The Winterhawks knocked off Spokane 3-1 on Saturday to cement their spot on top this week, and that's where we'll begin. An explanation for the rankings can be found below.

    1. Portland Winterhawks, WHL (.640 RPI, +2.4 SRS, +1) — Portland have won 11 in a row, making their record more "Portland-like" after starting just 3-3-1. Though Spokane boast the WHL's leading scorer, Portland have No. 1 and No. 2 in the league, Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand, in the "non-overage" category. Both were taken in the most recent NHL Draft in their first year of eligibility, and it's become a little ridiculous how well this team can replace elite talent when it leaves to the NHL.

    Not only do the Winterhawks have a five-point cushion on every other WHL team, but they've also played the strongest schedule out of every team in the nation. They'll face unranked Tri-City, Victoria and Regina this week.

    2. Guelph Storm, OHL (.597 RPI, +2.5 SRS, +1) — Not to be outdone, the Guelph Storm can win a franchise-best 11th straight game Thursday in London, which isn't as daunting of a task this year as it was in previous years (although the Knights did recently end the Erie Otters' extended win streak). Can any team actually shut down their speed? The Storm have already scored 95 goals on the season, the most in the Ontario Hockey League by 17, and coach Scott Walker seemed to indicate after Sunday's 3-1 comeback win over Sudbury that they're a group that can score at will. So far, they have, but sustainability is key.

    Read More »from Portland takes control of crowded U.S. Division and BTN’s Dynamic Dozen
  • Mississauga's Spencer Martin (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    No. 1 Star - Spencer Martin, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

    Most goaltenders at the top of the OHL save percentage list, such as Matt Murray, Oscar Dansk or Matt Mahalak have absurd win-loss records to go along with their fine play. Not so much the case for Spencer Martin this season, the Colorado Avalanche third rounder. Perhaps that's why his name was left off of the rosters for the OHL Super Series later this month, in favour of Murray, Jake Paterson and Daniel Altshuller. After tonight's 39-save performance on the big ice at Belleville, Martin actually pulled himself into a tie with Altshuller in save percentage and above Paterson, and though it is early, Martin looks primed for another fantastic year.

    There wasn't a whole lot of outrageous offensive performances in any of the CHL's 13 games Wednesday night, so we'll hand over the first star on the night to a goaltender and highlight Martin's shutout over Belleville. Not that the Bulls are an offensive juggernaut by any stretch, but 39 shots is 39 shots, and Martin earned praise on social media for his performance. In addition to 39 shots, the Bulls had six powerplays, failing to convert on any of them. For Martin, however, he's now 3-1 in his last four games, stopping 158 of his last 165 shots and getting two shutouts in the process. Even without the Super Series invite, here's hoping his name stays in the mix for Team Canada's potential goaltenders at the World U-20s in December.

    The Steelheads scored three times, with Carolina prospect Trevor Carrick earning a goal and an assist.

    No. 2 Star - Martin Reway, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)

    Though they were without Calgary Flames first rounder Emile Poirier, who was out due to suspension, the Gatineau Olympiques managed a solid 5-2 win over the streaking Halifax Mooseheads. They were paced on offence by team captain Taylor Burke who scored two goals and added an assist, but the Montreal Canadiens prospect and Czech national Reway had three assists in the win. Each assist came on a dominant Gatineau powerplay that went 3-for-7 on the night , and Reway added three shots on goal for good measure.

    Reway had a modest three-game point streak snapped in Quebec on Sunday, but he recovered for a three-point effort Wednesday. Fun fact? Reway has just one one-point game on the season, and seven multi-point efforts.

    No. 3 Star - Aspen Sterzer, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

    Two WHL players earned three points in their games Wednesday, both of them playing for the rebuilding Blazers playing at home to Spokane. Sterzer scored the winning goal in a 5-4 game with 9:39 remaining on the clock. That capped off a two-goal, one-assist night for the undrafted Canal Flats, B.C.-native. Linemate Cole Ully, taken by Dallas back in June, had a goal and an assist in the Blazers victory.

    Read More »from Martin shuts out Bulls, Reway helps lead shorthanded Olympiques – Wednesday’s 3 Stars

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