Lake Erie Monsters
The Monsters have concluded their 2012-13 regular season and head into the offseason on a positive note as they won their final game and six of their last seven contests.
Despite a goal and assist each from the dynamic duo of Paul Carey and Tomas Vincour, Lake Erie lost 5-2 to Chicago on Friday night at home. The loss ended the Monsters’ season-best five-game win streak, which began on April 3.
Lake Erie quickly put the loss behind them and bounced back the following night to edge the Midwest Division Champion Grand Rapid Griffins 1-0 in the team’s season finale. A crowd of 14,290 witnessed the game at Quicken Loans Arena.
Rookie netminder Calvin Pickard had 29 saves for the Monsters and recorded his fifth shutout of the season.
Luke Walker scored the Monsters’ lone goal in the game, his third game-winner of the year. Walker finished with 25 points (12g/13a) in 47 games with Lake Erie this season.
Carey’s six-game point streak (5g/4a) and Vincour’s five-game point streak (5g/6a) both came to an end in the Monsters victory on Saturday night. Carey finished the regular season tied for third on the team in goals (19) – including tied for the team lead with two shorthanded goals – and finished fourth in points (41).
Vincour had an impressive 11 points (5g/6a) in six games with the Monsters after the Avalanche acquired him from the Dallas Stars on April 2. Vincour finished the season with 39 total points (18g/21a) in 53 games between the two organizations. He was called up to the Avalanche on April 22.
Michael Sgarbossa had a strong rookie campaign for the Monsters, accumulating 44 points (19g/25a) – second most on the team – in 57 games this season. He also finished the year tied for third on the team in goals and assists, second in power play goals (8) and was tied for the most game-winning goals (4). Sgarbossa had a brief stint with the Avs in which he played in six games.
Bill Thomas’s 22 goals – and 10 power play goals – led the team this season. He also finished with 21 assists. His 43 points on the year was the third most on the squad.
For David van der Gulik, he collected 35 points (18g/17a) in 60 games with Lake Erie and was tied with Carey for the most shorthanded goals (2) on the team. He was called up and skated in nine games with the Avalanche this season, dishing out two assists.
Thomas Pock finished the year with 33 points (11g/22a), the second-most by a defenseman on the team this season.
Goaltender Sami Aittokalio posted a 14-12-1 record with a 3.00 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage this season with Lake Erie. The rookie enjoyed a short call-up with the Avs where he started his first NHL game and stopped 23 shots on April 11 against Los Angeles.
Kent Patterson and Kieran Millan, both rookie goaltenders with the Denver Cutthroats for most of the season, also saw time with Lake Erie during the year. Patterson played in five games (1-2-1, 2.55 GAA, .907 save percentage) while Millan played in one (0-1-0, 4.00 GAA, .846 save percentage).
Mitchell Heard, currently with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, began the season with Lake Erie. Heard totaled four points (1g/3a) in 23 games for the Monsters. He was Colorado’s first selection (second round, 41st overall) in the 2012 Draft.
Lake Erie (35-31-3-7) finished third in the North Division of the Western Conference with 80 points. It is the team’s third consecutive winning season.
Colin Smith (Kamloops Blazers) returned to action for the Blazers after missing the last three games with a head injury. He did not record any points in Kamloops’s first two games of the Western Conference Finals. The Portland Winterhawks lead the best-of-seven games series, 2-0, with victories of 4-1 and 4-0 on Friday and Saturday. The series resumes in Kamloops with game 3 tonight. In nine playoff games, Smith has 11 points (1g/10a) and has a plus-2 rating.
Garrett Meurs (Plymouth Whalers) had an assist on the game-winning goal in a thrilling, come-from-behind, 4-3, victory over London on Sunday. The series is now tied 1-1. In 12 playoffs games this season, Meurs has five goals and five assists (10 points).
Mitchell Heard (Plymouth Whalers) has yet to record a point in Plymouth’s Western Conference Championship series against the London Knights, who won 2-1 in the first game on Friday. Heard has 12 points (7g/5a) in 12 postseason games for the Whalers this season. The series continues in Plymouth with game 3 tonight and game 4 on Wednesday.
Prospect Spotlight On: Calvin Pickard
Lake Erie’s rookie goaltender Calvin Pickard does not have any trouble making an impact wherever he plays.
The Moncton, New Brunswick product just completed his first professional season with the Monsters and has already inscribed his name into the team’s record book.
In 47 games played this season, Pickard finished with a 20-19-5 record, a .918 save percentage, a 2.47 goals-against average and five shutouts. His five shutouts place him third on the Monsters all-time list and his 47 games played put him fourth on the squad’s all-time appearance list for goalies.
Pickard, who the Avalanche selected in the second round (49th overall) of the 2010 Entry Draft, won his final four starts this year and played a significant role in Lake Erie (35-31-3-7, 80 points) winning six of their final seven games of the season. His last lost occurred on March 30 against Peoria.
Before starting the 2012-13 campaign with the Monsters, the 21-year-old netminder spent the previous four years playing with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
In 241 games with Seattle, Pickard recorded a 91-120-27 record and posted a 3.27 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. He also tallied 12 career shutouts, and he finished his junior career as the WHL’s all-time leader in minutes played (14,025) and saves (7,727).
In the 2011-12 season, Pickard continued to build his goalie resume as he led all WHL netminders in games (64-tied), minutes (3,630) and saves (2,085). It was the third consecutive year that he accomplished this feat. He joined Lake Erie at the completion of Seattle’s season where he appeared in two games.
Pickard isn’t the only goalie in the family either as his older brother, Chet, was the WHL’s 2008 and 2009 Goaltender of the Year and was selected by the Nashville Predators in the first round (18th overall) of the 2008 Entry Draft.
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