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."
The Saskatchewan Roughriders or the Hamilton Tiger-Cats?
Unbiased Hamilton, ON product Brian McGrattan had the answer.
“Hamilton, for sure,” he said. “It’d be great to see them win.”
“I said 34-20 yesterday.”
That’s a result Joe Colborne could live with. The Calgary native isn’t overly fond of his provincial neighbours.
“I refuse to cheer for the Riders,” he said. “I’m cheering for the East.
“When I went out to Notre Dame (to play midget), I was one of two or three Stampeders fans. It was painful. Every day someone was wearing Riders gear. I can’t cheer for them. I can’t do it.
“I would cheer for the (Edmonton) Eskimos before the Riders and that’s saying something because I hate Edmonton. Riders fans are so obnoxious. It’s hard to deal with. I think they thrive on that.”
That attitude might land the 23-year-old in hot water with coach Bob Hartley, though.
After the Ticats roughed up his Montreal Alouettes in the East final, Hartley is throwing his support behind the West’s Riders.
“Riders, Riders, I love the Riders,” Hartley said. “My Alouettes didn’t make it on the East side, so I’ll rally to the Western boys.”
Sean Monahan might challenge the throne in Calgary.
Though Berra has stopped 10 of 14 opposing shooters in two shootout victories this week, Monahan went 2-for-2 on opposing goalies in the same span - nabbing the extra point with both shootout winners for the Flames in each contest.
What would happen if the irresistible force meets an immovable object? Could the shooter beat the stopper?
Monahan wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know, Berra’s a good goalie,” he said. “He’s big and he’s quick. It’d be tough. You’ve got to read goalies and I think it’s tough to figure him out in that instance. I don’t know what would happen.”
The 6-foot-4 keeper felt he knew the answer.
“I have to say I’d probably stop him,” he said. “I think I would beat him.”
Baertschi was quick to weigh in, throwing support behind his countryman.
“You really put me on the spot here,” Baertschi said. “It’s tough to say. I’d probably go with Berra.
“I mean, Monny had two goals with the same move. I don’t know if he can pull any other moves out. That’s the thing. I don’t know if he can stickhandle and pull a nice move on Berra. Right now, Berra would probably be ready for that shot.”
Coach Bob Hartley was a little more scientific, and diplomatic, in his approach to answering the question.
“Usually, percentages the goalies always have the edge because you miss the net, hit the post, it still counts as a no-goal,” he said. “The pressure’s always on the shooter. On a one-shot (scenario), it could go either way."
The notion piqued Hartley’s curiousity though, promising a showdown to determine shootout supremacy.
“We’ll do it at practice on Monday.”
"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.
CALGARY, AB -- Bob Hartley is going back to Reto Berra.
And it’s the right crease call.
A day after the Calgary Flames goaltender allowed three goals in a six-minute span -- including one from below the goal line -- that pulled the Edmonton Oilers from a 2-0 deficit into their first win in six games, Hartley gave Berra vote of confidence by announcing him as the starter for Monday’s tilt against the Winnipeg Jets.
“Obviously we all saw the third goal and I sat with him,” Hartley said. “It’s a mental challenge for him also. I felt that he played very well, gave us a chance. He was not overly busy but in the second period he made two, three pads saves at the other end and I felt that he was sharp.”
The stats may say otherwise. Berra allowed three goals on 23 shots as the Flames fell for a fifth consecutive game. The 6-foot-4 goaltender has been tagged with four of those losses.
But working Berra through his struggles as he adapts to both North American ice and the National Hockey League is essential for his development.
“Even though he’s 26 years old, there’s still a lack of experience at this level,” Hartley said. “He’s learning too, but he’s working and giving us a chance to play and I like everything I see out of him.”
The numbers may not reflect it, but he’s right.
In his six starts, Berra has recorded a save percentage of .900 or better just twice -- his debut against the Chicago Blackhawks (.955) on November 3rd and Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks (.914). In both contests, Berra singlehandedly stole points for Calgary.
Throwing him up against the Jets shows that Hartley thinks Berra can do it again.
And might just give Berra the confidence he can, too.