As the Kamloops Blazers’ top trio continues to light up the Western League, two Medicine Hat Tigers are assaulting the scoring list and earning honors.
Undrafted 1993-born Curtis Valk was named the CHL Player of the Week with his seven goals and 10 points in four games. His most impressive effort was a four-goal, five-point night during a 10-1 dumping of Calgary.
But who is driving this line? Is it Valk, who scored a career-high 24 goals and 55 points last season, or draft-eligible Hunter Shinkaruk, who had 49 goals and 91 points in 2011-12?
It’s worth noting that Shinkaruk scored one goal and four assists in that win over Calgary and that his goals-to-assists ratio is almost the exact inverse of Valk. A late 1994 birthday, Shinkaruk is projected to be a top 10 selection in this summer’s draft and is currently tied for fifth in WHL scoring, whereas Valk sits fourth.
The streaky Tigers have won four in a row, but still sit fifth in the six-team Central Division. They are a ways away from making our CHL Power Rankings, but these individual performances had to be acknowledged.
As always, here is this week’s list, based off the CHL’s weekly rankings.
This is getting ridiculous. The J.C. Lipon-Colin Smith-Tim Bozon line sit 1-2-3 in league scoring and the gap between them and No. 4 is widening. One scout described them as a throwback line: "They play '80s style hockey," he said. The biggest achievement of any opponent last week? Everett became the first team in 12 games to hold the Blazers to fewer than four goals. It was still a 3-2 Kamloops win. This is a crazy run, but it's too early to start thinking of them as historically good.
The Mooseheads finished the month of October without having been held to fewer than four goals in a game and without having dropped a single point. Nathan MacKinnon is now tied for the goal-scoring lead with 18 in 16 games.
Quebec's overflow of European talent resulted in Buffalo first-rounder Mikhail Grigorenko sitting out Sunday's narrow 2-1 win over lowly Gatineau. Something has to change there. In other news, Thursday's 8-2 loss to Baie-Comeau was the second time in a week that a division-rival thumped the Remparts (Victoriaville beat them 6-3 Oct. 19).
How good is the Armada's 1-2 punch of Etienne Marcoux and Storm Phaneuf in net? They've allowed more than one goal only once in their past five games - and that was in a 3-2 loss to Moncton. The two have held opponents to two goals or less in 12 of their past 16 games and to one goal or less in eight of their past 15.
Owen Sound Attack
Friday's match against the underachieving Kitchener Rangers was a doozy of dueling goaltenders. John Gibson (42 saves) and Jordan Binnington (33 saves), battled with the Rangers taking it in a shootout. The two teams go at it again in Kitchener this Sunday. Check it out if you can.
Undrafted Zach Hall got some love from Hockey Canada this week when he was added to the OHL’s Subway Series roster as an injury replacement. In Barrie's biggest game last week, a 4-1 win over Niagara, Hall notched a hat trick.
The only 'Q' team keeping up with Halifax's rabid scoring pace, Rouyn-Noranda is led by two undrafted scorers: Jean-Sebastien Dea and Sven Andrighetto. Dea needs to put on weight and Andrighetto is undersized, but they've clicked since Day 1 and sit 1-2 in league scoring. But it's a rare occurrence to see the Huskies hold an opponent to fewer than three goals.
The Winterhawks are starting to roll on offense. In a six-game stretch from Sept. 23 to Oct. 9, Portland scored just 14 goals. But in the six games since, they've racked up 32. St. Louis 2011 second-rounder Ty Rattie has led the charge, tallying 18 points in his past eight games. Buckle up, Victoria, you face them twice this week.
The Storm allowed too many goals and dropped games to Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie last week after both teams potted six. Though they were outshot 45-24 by division-rival London, Guelph pulled out a shootout win in that penalty-filled game. The Storm face the Knights again this Sunday.
Prince Albert Raiders
The Raiders dropped another at home to divisional-rival Moose Jaw to start the week, but avenged the loss one night later as Dallas second-rounder Mike Winther popped in a hat trick. Friday's showdown with the streaking Edmonton Oil Kings, who acquired strong-arm defenseman David Musil Wednesday, will be a stiff test.