The Lake Erie Monsters will have the chance to take hold of first place in the North Division of the American Hockey League later this week when they host the division leading Abbotsford Heat on Thursday and Friday.
However while the British Columbia-based Heat will be leaving the Pacific coast for Cleveland, Monsters leading scorer Michael Sgarbossa will be heading towards it as the Colorado Avalanche recalled the forward for Wednesday’s game at the Vancouver Canucks.
If Sgarbossa plays in the game, it would mark his first in an NHL sweater.
The call-up to the Avalanche is well deserved as the 20-year old from Campbellville, Ontario has been red-hot in his last few games for Lake Erie. He has collected eight points (three goals and five assists) in his last four games and helped the Monsters to wins in three of those contests before the team lost in a shootout to Hamilton on Saturday.
In a thrilling overtime victory against the Toronto Marlies last Thursday, Sgarbossa (s'gahr-BOH-suh) scored the game-winning goal in overtime to cap off a three-point night (two goals, one assist). It was his ninth multi-point game on the season.
In 38 games played with the Monsters, Sgarbossa has 36 points (16 goals and 20 assists), which is tied for second in the AHL among rookies. He is Lake Erie’s leading scorer and is tied for first on the team in goals (16) and power-play goals (6).
It has already been a busy last couple of days for Sgarbossa as after the Hamilton game on Saturday, he traveled the Providence, R.I. to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic festivities on Sunday and Monday.
“It’s an honor that they selected me in my first year,” Sgarbossa said prior to the event. “Hopefully I can keep doing the things that got me there and represent Lake Erie well.”
Despite not picking up any points in the all-star game, Sgarbossa did finish with a plus-2 rating and helped the West defeat the East, 7-6.
He originally signed with the San Jose Sharks as a free agent prior to the 2010-11 campaign but was acquired at last season’s trade deadline by Colorado in a move that also brought over Jamie McGinn and fellow prospect Mike Connolly to the organization.
Sgarbossa had a phenomenal year last season with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League where he earned the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy (OHL scoring title) after tallying 102 points (47 goals and 55 assists) in 66 games. He became the first Wolves player to win the scoring title since Mike Foligno accomplished the feat in 1978-79.
To go along with the scoring title, Sgarbossa was also named to the OHL’s First All-Star Team and was runner-up for the Red Tilson Trophy (the league’s most outstanding player).
He also had an impressive 19-game point streak with Sudbury (Jan. 27-March 6, 2012) where he accumulated 36 points (17 goals and 21 assists). The streak was the second-longest point streak in the OHL during season, only two games short of Shane Prince’s (Ottawa 67’s) 21-game stretch.
Sgarbossa already has some experience with the players on the Avalanche’s current roster as he participated in the team’s training camp earlier this month.
To make room on the roster for Sgarbossa, Colorado has reassigned Brad Malone to Lake Erie.
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