Calgary Flames prospects Jon Gillies, Mark Jankowski and John Gilmour came up strong for Providence College on Saturday, helping push them to a 3-2 victory over Brown in the 28th annual Mayor's Cup game.
Gillies made 32 saves in the win and boosted his record to 10-1-2 this season. His .846 win percentage leads all netminders in Hockey East.
Gilmour notched an assist against Brown and now has a helper in his last four games. He leads all Providence defencemen in scoring with 10 points on the year.
Jankowski, who put four shots on net in the game, also recorded an assist.
The Calgary Flames aren't the only team dealing with a plethora of injuries this season.
The Abbotsford Heat have been forced to make a few recalls this year as well as their blueline has been hit with the injury bug; Patrick Sieloff, Mark Cundari, Tyler Wotherspoon and Brady Lamb are all out with maladies.
"Cundari's update is that he is starting to do better," Flames general manager Jay Feaster said on Thursday. "It's [a] back problem - spasms. His is upper back as compared to Galiardi, which is lower back. He's coming along. I don't know if he would be ready for the weekend or not but he's progressing nicely.
"Brady Lamb suffered a cut and the doctors feel he is in a situation where he can try to skate ... he might be available for the weekend. Wotherspoon with the concussion-like symptoms, he will be reevaluated by the neuro-pysch person tommorrow and he may be available for Saturday."
Sieloff is back in his home state of Michigan, dealing with an infection. His projected timeline to return to action is early in 2014.
The Providence College Friars have reached the 10-win mark in 13 games played, their fastest to 10 wins since opening the 1989-90 season, and three Calgary Flames prospects have played a big role in their success this year.
Jon Gillies, who was named Hockey East's Rookie of the Year last season, has been absolutely dominant in the 2013-14 campaign. The Flames third round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft has a 9-1-1 record with a 1.70 GAA and .946 save percentage. Earlier this month, he set a new Friars record, becoming the all-time shutouts leader with 8 in 45 games played at Providence College.
In 47 career starts, Gillies has let in two or fewer goals 33 times.
Mark Jankowski, the Flames first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, has recorded eight points (seven goals, one assist) in 13 games this year. He is currently fourth in team scoring, just a single point behind Shane Luke and Steven McParland, who are second and third respectively.
Sophomore John Gilmour leads Providence defencemen in scoring through 13 games with two goals and eight points. The Flames selected the Montreal, QC native in the seventh round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
As of Saturday, Nov. 23, the Friars were first in Hockey East with 12 points on the year.
Photo Credit: Clint Trahan
For many European players, making the leap to North America isn't an easy transition.
The pace, the physicality of the game, the ice size, language barriers, cultural differences ... all of these things impact players coming over from Europe. It takes time, hard work and dedication to work though the growing pains.
Markus Granlund appears to be ahead of the curve when it comes to adjusting to the North American game.
The Flames second round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft is just 18 games into his first professional season on North American soil and he is already an impact player for the Abbotsford Heat.
He has points in 10 of Abbotsford's first 12 games in November, scoring 7 goals and 11 points in that span. Two of his tallies have come with the man advantage. He has wired 33 shots on net in November and set a single game high on Nov. 9 when he was credited with 6 shots.
Granlund also hasn't shied away from playing in the hard spots or jostling with other players along the boards or in front of the net. He has, seemingly, embraced the physicality. What makes this more impressive is that he doesn't pick up a lot of penalties. He was whistled down for just one minor infraction this month.
"I need to find him more ice to be quite honest with you," Troy G. Ward told CalgaryFlames.com's Heat correspondent Mike Cadarette. "I've got to find him more ice. He's a really good player. He has a great feel for the game offensively. He's learning the game defensively after coming over from Europe. He's learning to play on a smaller rink. There's not as much time and space out there, but he has a great great feel for the game. He has a feel for his teammates. He's more competitive than people realize.
"So I'm the one that's the issue there. I think he's playing well. I think he can play better, but that's on me. I've got to put him with the right people and I've got to find him more ice time. But I'm really proud of him."
"They called him King of Shootouts in Switzerland," he grinned. "He comes over here and he does so great, so far. It's good for us to have him back there. It's always good to have a confident goalie and even better if the guys are confident in him."
According to Baertschi, Berra has been dubbed as the King of Shootouts for quite some time.
"I can't even remember the last time he lost in a shootout in Switzerland when I followed him. It was like, 'Shootout again? Berra won again. Stopped all five of them.' He's been so good.
"This summer, we practiced and it was like 10 guys. Reto, it was his first practice with us, and he wanted us to go on him shootouts. So everybody went twice. And one guy scored. One goal out of 20 shots."
The next time the Flames practice shootouts, Baertschi may be the only one to score on him as Berra revealed his secret for success to the young winger earlier this year.
"I'm not going to say anything but yeah, he has a secret."
On Wednesday night, Swiss netminder Reto Berra got the C of Red on their feet in the first period with a stop that could be dubbed the Save Of The Year.
While the Flames were shorthanded, an unimpeded Jack Johnson skated to the left face-off circle and, it appeared, had a wide open net to hammer the puck into.
But, Berra, who was on the other side of the net anticipating a shot from Ryan Johansen, managed to get across and threw his legs in the air just as Johnson sent a shot towards the net. He kicked the puck out of mid-air with his right foot, spurring on wild applause from the crowd at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
"We should be watching that one for years to come," Joe Colborne afterwards.
YOUR SAY: Is Berra's bicycle stop Save Of The Year material?
When asked who he was sizing up on the Winnipeg Jets roster, sniper-turned-pugilist Lee Stempniak broke out into a grin.
"I think I'm done," he chuckled. "It's been weird. I think its some frustration boiling over."
The winger has been in two fights in the Flames last two games, dropping the gloves with Brendon Dillon (Dallas Stars) on Thursday and Andrew Ference (Edmonton Oilers) on Saturday.
"I think Big Ern (Brian McGrattan) is a little bit worried. He's only got one more major than me this year. He's feeling threatened."
Prior to those two scraps, Stempniak had been in just three regular season fights in his 577 games in the NHL and one pre-season tilt with Dan Carcillo back in 2009.
Forward Tim Harrison, who was drafted by the Flames in the sixth round this past summer, picked up his first collegiate points in the Colgate Raiders 4-3 win over Clarkson on Saturday night.
As per the Raiders post-game press release, Harrison was credited with two assists in the victory. The freshman has dressed in 10 games for Colgate this year.
Calgary Flames prospect Jon Gillies, a sophomore, has become the Providence College Friars all-time shutouts leader after making 22 saves in a 3-0 victory over the University of Vermont on Saturday night.
It is Gillies' eighth collegiate shutout and his eighth win of the year.
The Flames selected Gillies in the third round (75th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft.
When Jay Feaster called out Mark Jankowski's name on Friday night in Pittsburgh, the immediate reaction was loud and varied.
Some were shocked. Some were angry. Some were pleased.
But, all in all, there were a lot of questions about the selection and the trade that sent the Flames original first round pick, 14th overall, to Buffalo for picks 21 and 42.
Here's why I like the move:
Jankowski absolutely dominated his competition this season, playing for Stanstead College in Quebec. He put up 53 goals and 94 points in just 57 games. Yes, the competition level isn't the same as playing major junior but his raw skill and incredible vision got people talking. By the second half of the season, there were NHL scouts at every single game he played.
"I give our guys credit - they look past what the level of competition is and say, ‘What’s the skill level?’" Feaster said. "Our guys are pretty confident that that skill is going to translate into the next level and ultimately make him an NHLer."
The pivot is headed to the USHL next year, suiting up for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Dubuque has garnered the reputation as an excellent development program and Jankowski will benefit greatly from the tutelage of Fighting Saints general manager and head coach Jim Montgomery.
Taking these factors into consideration, remember Jankowski's birthday is September 13, 1994. If he was born just two days later, he would have been eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft. Where would he have been ranked with NHL Central Scouting next spring? Given his progression this season, which saw him jump over 30 spots to land at 43 at the end of the year, one could easily argue Jankowski could have been a top 10 draft pick.
Another complainant thrown around is that the Flames could have grabbed Jankowski with their second round pick, 42nd overall. John Weisbrod broached that topic on Friday night, stating he knew at least two other teams that would have taken him in the first round.
If you doubt that claim, remember where the Flames were picking in the second round. With the kind of raw talent Jankowski displayed this season, you have to think a team with an early second round pick would have snapped him up. With the 11th pick in the second round, the Flames would have likely been out of luck with that strategy.
There is also argument that there were better players available at 21 but really, I take that notion with a grain of salt. The draft turns a lot of people into armchair GM's and scouts when in reality they haven't seen any of these kids play live. And you need to have seen a prospect play live to truly evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Sitting on your couch and watching the World Juniors or the Memorial Cup doesn't make you a scout.
So, when it comes to evaluation of a player, I think I'm going to trust the opinion of people who have spent countless hours in rinks, watching these prospects game in and game out, more than a person who has seen a game or two on TV.
To sum up that lengthy missive on the Jankowski pick, if you are confident in a guy's abilities and see him being the best player to come out of this draft, why wouldn't you take him?
You also have to factor Patrick Sieloff, the Flames second round pick, into the equation. The shutdown blueliner ranked highly on Calgary's list heading into the draft and there was some discussion about, if Jankowski had been drafted before the Flames got to him at 21, taking Sieloff in the first round.
A lot of scouts think he could be a top four defenceman in the NHL and he is exactly the kind of prospect all teams need. Sieloff is that defensive-minded d-man who, first and foremost, takes care of business in his own end. He's also known for his absolutely ferocious checks. One scout told The Hockey News Sieloff was "probably the best open-ice hitter in the draft."
Playing for the US Development Team for the past two years, Sieloff logged big minutes every night playing alongside Jacob Trouba as the team's top pairing. Last year, he captured gold with Team USA at the IIHF Men's World U18 Championship.
He has been invited to Hockey USA's National Junior Evaluation Camp this summer where he will audition for a spot on Team USA's 2013 World Junior roster. After that, he's off to the OHL to spend the 2012-13 season with the Windsor Spitfires.
A pretty solid resume for an 18 year-old, if you ask me.
At the end of the day, the Flames picked up two individuals that look like they have the potential to be impact players in the NHL. Yes, you're going to have to wait a few years as they need the proper amount of time to develop but if they both reach their ceilings, what a home run for Calgary.