Calgary Flames 2013 first round draft pick Morgan Klimchuk got his first taste of the pro game on Friday, suiting up for the Abbotsford Heat in their 3-2 win over the Oklahoma City Barons.
Heat bench boss Troy G. Ward was satisfied with the rookie's play, which saw him pick a up plus-one rating while skating on a line with AHL veteran Corey Locke and Heat sophomore Brett Olson.
"I thought he did a good job," he said on Friday evening. :I thought he battled hard on the walls as a young kid. He didn't get a lot done offensively but we didn't as a group, in general, at times. I thought it was a good first game for him.
"It's kind of one of those games where you've got to clean out everything from your past and start fresh. I was happy with him. I thought he was good on the bench. I thought he played hard for us and he'll only get better."
Klimchuk did not register a shot his first AHL outing but was a plus-one at the end of the night.
The Flames selected the Calgary, AB native 28th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. He has spent his entire WHL career with the Regina Pats.
Klimchuk compiled 30 goals and 74 points through 57 regular season games with the Pats. The winger potted three goals and five points in four postseason games.
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Today's Frozen Four semi-final showdown between Boston College and Union could come down to one thing: the Eagles top line's ability to crack the Dutchmen's defence and netminder Colin Stevens.
Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold, and Kevin Hayes were placed together on a line on Dec. 6 and have been rolling ever since. Since that point, the Eagles have gone 20-3-2 and the trio have combined for 128 points (53 goals, 75 assists), which amounts to 45.7 per cent of the team's offence.
Since being placed together, they have all scored at least one point-per-game in 18 of their last 25 games. Twice this season, the trio has combined for 13 points in a game, most recently against Denver on Mar. 29 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
They have also combined plus/minus rating of plus-86 since Dec. 6.
Needless to say, a lot of attention will be paid to the trio tonight at Wells Fargo Center.
"They're a tremendous line," Union captain Mat Bodie said on Wednesday. "It shouldn't be about limiting the damage. They haven't been kept off the score sheet all that much all year. It's going to be about taking time and space away.
"It's not simply a line matching up or d-pair matching up. It's the five guys on the ice. We work as a unit in the [defensive] zone, and it's going to be up to everyone to chip in to try to stop those guys."
Shayne Gostisbehere, a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick, is one of the pillars on Union's defence and will likely spend a lot of time on the time with Gaudreau, Arnold, and Hayes.
He has first-hand knowledge of how just how dangerous one of the "Big Three" can be. He played with Gaudreau at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia and roomed with him for a portion of the tournament.
"He's an amazing player," Gostisbehere said on Wednesday. "Every time he touches the puck something special is going to happen. The crowd gets on their feet.
"He's not a kid who you can just try to hit because he's pretty much unhittable. He's so shifty. He's a great kid. He's a very humble kid, too. He was my roommate at the pre-tournament in Finland, and you couldn't tell he was the best college hockey player because he was so humble about it. He's an easy going kid and definitely a great hockey player."
BROADCAST NOTE: Today's game will be aired at 3:00 PM MST on TSN2.
PHILADELPHIA, PA — Last year, Bill Arnold, Johnny Gaudreau, and Boston College were pitted against Union in the NCAA regionals and the Eagles were considered the favourites in the one-and-done match-up.
After all, Boston College is recognized as a hockey power in the NCAA and head coach Jerry York is the winningest bench boss in college hockey history. Union didn't have that kind of prestige behind it.
As it turned out, Union doled out a 5-1 thumping, ending Boston College’s season.
“I mean, they definitely beat us pretty good last year, and I think that's fresh in everyone's mind,” Arnold stated after Boston College’s practice in Philadelphia on Wednesday. “But it's a new year. We've got a completely different team, and I think we're much better, and I think they've obviously made it farther this year than they did last year, so they're a better team.
“We're going to respect them as an opponent, but like we've been doing the last month here, we're focused on our game and what we have to do to win. We know it's made us successful throughout the year, so that's our main focus here.”
Union has made great strides over the last few years, particularly under head coach Rick Bennett, but despite their continued progression, Gaudreau admitted his team was caught off guard by the Dutchmen in 2013.
“Last year we got caught coming off a 2012 National Championship,” Gaudreau stated. “I think we didn't take our opponent seriously. I think we took them a little too lightly. I mean, last year in the 2012 season we had a great team and really had a great run at the end of the season. I think we should have went into the game a little more motivated or a little more focused.
“This year after that first loss against Union, I know a lot of the guys from our team last year didn't want to go through that again. So, all the guys are pretty motivated.”
Arnold, who was drafted by the Flames in the fourth round of the 2010 NHL Draft, may have just a bit more motivation than some of his teammates. This is his senior year at Boston College and his last opportunity to capture a national championship.
The 21-year-old will move on to professional hockey when his collegiate career comes to a close but he hasn’t let thoughts of what lays ahead creep into his mind.
“I don't think anyone in our locker room is thinking about what's going to happen after this weekend. Everyone's focused on taking this day-by-day and getting better every day. I'm certainly in no rush for this week to be over. I loved my time at BC, and it would mean a lot to me to go out on a high note with a national championship. So, that's where all my focus is right now.”
One of the biggest keys for Boston College to skate away with their second NCAA Championship title in the past three years will be Arnold and Gaudreau’s line. They, along with Chicago prospect Kevin Hayes, have decimated opposition defence and goaltenders all season.
They’re the highest scoring line in college hockey this season but they also pride themselves in playing a 200-foot game. York preaches defensive responsibility and they take it very seriously.
“Obviously, as a line we like to score goals, but all three of us really embrace a two-way game,” Arnold explained. “Just talking about Johnny specifically, he's super offensive. He has over 70 points. But, whenever you ask him what he wants to work on, he's always saying improve on his defensive play, and he's really embraced that. So, as much as we like to score goals, we know if we get scored on, we have to put two in to be a positive for the team.
“It's a lot easier to keep them off the board and make sure we're helping our team by scoring goals every chance we get.”
Boston College faces off Union on Thursday. Watch CalgaryFlames.com for more coverage from the Frozen Four in Philadelphia.
Calgary Flames 2012 third round draft pick Jon Gillies has announced he will return to Providence College for his junior year.
In two seasons with the Providence College Friars, Gillies has suited up for 69 games, going 36-21-11 with a 2.12 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
Gillies compiled a 19-9-5 record this season with a 2.13 GAA and a .931 save percentage, making 979 saves on 1052 shots.
He helped carry the Friars to the NCAA East Regional Final last weekend, turning aside 37 shots in Providence's 4-0 victory over Quinnipiac on Mar. 28.
He is the Friars all-time shutouts leader with nine goose-eggs on his resume. The South Portland, ME native also holds the season-single shutout record, which he set in his freshman year when he collected five shutouts.
On Jan. 18, the Flames and Canucks started their respective fourth lines and within seconds of the game starting, 142 penalty minutes were dished out thanks to a line brawl that featured all 10 skaters dropping the gloves.
So, the big question heading into tonight's tilt is just who is head coach Bob Hartley going to start against the Canucks.
"I don't know yet. I'll check it," he grinned. "I always sit with Jacques [Cloutier] and Marty [Gelinas] so we'll see. And the opening lineup ... what's the difference between the opening lineup and the second line. What's the big difference?
"I think I've tried over the past 15 or 20 games to share it between the four lines. Guys are working hard. Guys are having fun. We're a tight group so we're trying to share responsibilities and guys are answering well. I think they like it."
The Flames face off against the Canucks at 8:00 PM MST.
Calgary Flames prospect Ryan Culkin has been traded from the Quebec Remparts to the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
Culkin, who was the Flames fifth round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, served as the Remparts captain prior to the trade. In 38 games this year, the Montreal, QC native has recorded five goals and 36 points.
Drummondville sits fourth in QMJHL standings and is second in the TELUS West Division with 54 points and a 26-13-2 record.
Emile Poirier came through with another big game for the Gatineau Olympiques on Friday, scoring three goals and four points in a 8-4 victory over the Sherbrooke Phoenix.
Poirier opened the scoring at 5:21 of the first period, notched a power play marker early in the third frame and gave the Olympiques their eighth goal of the night at the 17:20 mark of the final stanza.
In his past three games, Poirier has six goals (two hat tricks) and seven points.
The Flames 2013 first round pick now has 27 goals and 57 points in 37 games this season. He was selected 22nd overall.
Calgary Flames 2013 first round pick Morgan Klimchuk will return to the lineup on Friday night in the Regina Pats' battle with the Saskatoon Blades.
Klimchuk, who signed a three-year entry level deal with the Flames last month, has missed 14 games with a lower body injury he sustained in the 2013 Subway Super Series.
Through 26 games played this season, the Calgary, AB product has 12 goals and 29 points.
Since joining the Alaska Aces after being acquired in the Ladislav Smid trade, netminder Olivier Roy has been absolutely tremendous.
The 22-year-old has played 14 games in Aces silks, going 8-6-0 with three shutouts to his name. He has a 2.07 GAA and a .925 save percentage through those 14 games. He was named the ECHL Goaltender of the Week for his play Dec. 2 through Dec. 8; he went 2-1-0 in three games at Utah that week with back-to-back shutouts, a 0.65 GAA and .976 save percentage.
Check out one of Roy's incredible saves this season - highway Roy-Bery on Utah!
Calgary Flames prospect Joni Ortio will close out 2013 with a 15-2-0 record - the best record in terms of wins in the AHL.
Drew MacIntyre, who plays for the Toronto Marlies, has also has 15 wins to his name but slides into second overall with a 15-8-1 record.
Ortio, who was the Flames sixth round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, has been the backbone of a young Heat squad this season and the coaching staff has placed a lot of responsibility on the Finn's shoulders due to his consistency in the cage.
"The biggest thing I've been impressed with has obviously been his consistency and his calmness in the net," goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet said earlier this month.
"It kind of reminds you a little of Danny Taylor with how calm he is in there. The biggest things we've been trying to work on has been his rebound control. Just getting better with his stick and not relying on his pads as much."
Ortio also ranks high amongst AHL netminders in goals-against-average (2.21) and save percentage (.926). He has made 473 saves on 511 shots.