Each week we take an in-depth look at young members of the organization while providing an overview of Habs prospects playing at the junior (OHL, WHL) and collegiate (NCAA) level.
Miami University was no match for the St. Cloud State Huskies, one of the best offensive powers in the country, this weekend. They lost the first two games of the best-of-three by a combined score of 11-5, and the Huskies comfortably advanced to the next round.
Ryan Poehling had a good performance, as he usually does against Miami. It didn’t earn him more than a point over the two games, but the scoring chances were there for the St. Cloud centreman. Not getting rewarded for his offensive displays has been a recurring theme this season.
He scored his goal on Friday after his brothers, whom he is still the pivot of, created a turnover with their heavy checking. Poehling, anticipating the turnover, stationed himself near the slot to be a quick-pass option. The puck came to him, fired off the stick of Jack Poehling, and the Habs forward deflected the feed past Miami’s goalie by rotating his body.
It was a typical Ryan Poehling goal, and how he will likely score the brunt of his markers when he reaches the NHL: timing himself with precise passes to tip them past opposing netminders with a defender on his back.
Poehling’s draft year already announced the kind of goal-scorer he would become. All but one goal he recorded were timely deflections. That season, he wasn’t as strong as his NCAA counterparts (the first rounder was the youngest player in the NCAA at the time) but had the sense to fly through the slot at the right moments to put his stick on shots from the periphery.
This is an ability that should serve Poehling well in his transition to pro hockey next year. The centreman has been used against heavier, faster competition all his life, only recently catching up in size and speed to his competition (even surpassing many of them now). He learned how to find the holes in coverage to slip in and create scoring chances, and understands that he has to rely on his timing to avoid being checked.
Against Miami, apart from his marker in the second period, Poehling repeatedly created offence with solo efforts. He carried the puck up the ice, going around and even through the weaker defence of the opposition, even pulling off a one-handed dangle while carrying an opposing defender through the neutral zone.
Ryan Poehling wears #11 with the Huskies
He also got a great scoring chance when he pressured an opposing blue-liner in a regroup. Stick on the ice, blocking the passing lanes, he made the opponent panic and freeze, allowing him to steal possession at the top of the offensive zone. He skated to the top of the circle and released a hard shot that was stopped by Miami’s goalie, one of his better saves of the game.
After falling short last year with a loss to the lower-ranked Air Force Academy, the Huskies and Ryan Poehling are on a mission in this season’s playoffs. The team has learned their lesson and now seem to know that every mistake can be very costly in the elimination format of the NCAA tournaments, especially as they go further in the rounds.
Their next opponent this weekend is Colorado College, which should already be a good test for the number-one team in the Nation.
Cayden Primeau, G, Northeastern Huskies
Primeau blocked 74 of 76 shots to carry his team past the University of Maine this past weekend. He was the main reason the (other) Huskies came out on top in two very close games. The netminder added another save to his highlight reel when he sprawled out to barely get a piece of the puck, deflecting it wide, on a breakaway attempt.
The two contests for Northeastern against Maine featured two disallowed goals from the opposition. Their strategy was clearly to disrupt Primeau, arguably Northeastern’s most important player, but it cost them those markers in the end.
With this performance, the goalie is now up to a staggering .935 save percentage over the season. His regular-season numbers were already impressive and have earned him a nomination for the Mike Richter award (given to the most outstanding goalie in the NCAA) but Primeau seems to only be pushing his statistics even further up in this post-season.
He will need to continue standing on his head if his team is to beat their next opponent in Boston University. It won’t be an easy matchup, but with Primeau’s prowess and the clutch goal-scoring of Tayler Madden, who knows how far the Northern dogs can go.
The seventh-rounder was also named to Hockey East’s All-Star Team this week and named the Hockey Three Stars Champion of the conference, which is an award based on the number of appearances among the three stars of the game over the course of the season.
Those are not the first accolades for Primeau in his college career, and they won’t be his last.
Allan McShane, C, Oshawa Generals
McShane ended his regular season with a bang. He recorded five points against the Sudbury Wolves, an impressive feat considering the new status of the Wolves in the OHL. They left the basement of the standings to impose themselves as a legitimate top team in the Junior league.
The centreman’s production came in a variety of ways: precise passes through traffic, a lob feed over the defence, a hard shot from the slot, and a chance alone with the goalie that McShane used to showcase his hands.
Allan McShane wears #61 with the Oshawa Generals
The Oshawa Generals hope to use this last crushing 8-2 victory as a springboard to the playoffs, where they take on the Peterborough Petes. It wasn’t supposed to be the Generals’ year, with them selling at the trade deadline, but the newfound chemistry of their top line, and especially McShane and Serron Noel, could have them make some noise in the post-season.
Follow David (@RinksideView) on Twitter for daily prospect updates.
CHL season to date
|Joël Teasdale||FA||LW||QMJHL||BLB / ROU||66||43||37||80|
|Nick Suzuki||2017||C/RW||OHL||OS / GUE||59||34||60||94|
|Cole Fonstad||2018||LW||WHL||Prince Albert||67||29||44||73|
|Josh Brook||2017||RD||WHL||Moose Jaw||59||16||59||75|
NCAA season to date
|Jack Gorniak||2018||LW||Big Ten||Wisconsin||37||4||11||15|
|Ryan Poehling||2017||C||NCHC||St. Cloud State||32||7||23||30|
|Jordan Harris||2018||LD||Hockey East||Northeastern||34||1||11||12|
Cayden Primeau’s season to date