Avalanche Farm Report: March 1
Prospect Spotlight On Lake Erie Forward Luke Walker
Tuesday, 03.01.2011 / 12:18 PM / Features
By Aaron Lopez - Special to ColoradoAvalanche.com
Spotlight On: Luke Walker
Avalanche prospect and current Lake Erie Monster Luke Walker seems to have found his offensive groove in recent weeks.
Selected by the Avalanche in the fifth round (139th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft following a solid three-year stint with the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks, Walker took some time to get adjusted to the professional game.
Playing primarily a third-line energy role early in the season, Walker posted just eight points (6g/2a) in his first 47 games with the Monsters.
However, the month of February was kind to the New Haven, Conn., native.
In eleven February contests, Walker recorded four goals and two assists to help the Monsters to a 7-3-0-1 record.
More recently, the forward has notched five points (3g/2a) and a +1 rating in his past seven contests to help the Monsters make a push for their first playoff berth in franchise history.
The Monsters posted a 2-1 record last week and are now tied for first in the North Division with 70 points (31-24-3-5).
Lake Erie picked up a 4-1 victory over the Hershey Bears on Thursday behind a 20-save performance from Jason Bacashihua. Joel Chouinard, Matthew Ford, Greg Mauldin and Luke Walker scored in the win, while David Van Der Gulik and Ben Walter recorded three helpers apiece.
The Monsters then suffered a 5-3 setback Friday against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Mark Olver, Ford and Mauldin each scored, and John Grahame made 22 saves in a losing cause.
Lake Erie finished the week on a high note, topping Grand Rapids by a 3-2 count. Bacashihua made 36 saves and Mauldin and Van Der Gulik each recorded a goal and an assist, while Patrick Bordeleau netted the game-winning tally.
The Oilers swept a weekend set against Mississippi, earning a 6-5 victory on Friday followed by a 3-2 triumph on Saturday. Tom Fritsche had an assist in Friday’s win, while Trevor Cann received the starting nod on Saturday and picked up the victory after making 38 saves.
Tulsa currently sits third in the Berry Conference with 60 points (29-22-2).
-Kent Patterson picked up two victories last weekend as Minnesota earned a pair of identical 5-2 wins over Michigan Tech. Patterson made 28 saves in Friday’s victory and then stopped 24 shots on Saturday to improve his record to 13-7-5 with a .920 save percentage and 2.51 goals-against average in 26 games.
-Paul Carey scored the game-winning goal on Friday as Boston College defeated Massachusetts, 4-3. Carey ranks fourth on the Eagles’ scoring chart with 24 points (12g/12a) in 31 games.
-Boston University goalie Kieran Millan made 38 saves in a 3-3 tie with Vermont on Friday and then turned aside 27 shots during Saturday’s rematch, a 3-1 win by the Terriers. Millan has posted a 14-7-8 record with a .922 save percentage and a 2.59 goals-against average this season.
-Brad Malone scored a power-play goal and added an assist in North Dakota’s 5-1 triumph over Bemidji State on Sunday. Malone ranks fifth on the Fighting Sioux in both goals (10) and points (29) and is tied for second with 19 assists in 34 games.
-Stefan Elliott continues to pace all WHL blueliners in scoring after totaling three points (2g/1a) in three games last week. Elliott had a goal and an assist Wednesday during the Blades’ 7-4 win over Brandon and then netted the team’s only regulation goal on Saturday in a 2-1 shootout triumph over Moose Jaw. The Avalanche prospect is tops among league defensemen in goals (26) and points (72) in 62 games.
-Kelowna’s Tyson Barrie had an assist last Tuesday in his team’s 4-2 loss to Kootenay, added another the next night during a 3-2 shootout victory over Medicine Hat and then picked up two helpers in a 4-3 overtime win against Calgary on Saturday. Barrie is tied for ninth among WHL defensemen with 49 points (8g/41a) in 45 contests.
-Seattle’s Calvin Pickard went 2-2 last week, earning victories over Spokane on Wednesday (39 stops in a 5-1 win) and Everett on Sunday (39 saves in another 5-1 win). Pickard also made 29 saves in a 5-2 loss to Tri-City on Friday and stopped 52 shots in a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Portland on Saturday. Having played in a league-high 60 games so far, the netminder has a 23-29-3-5 record with a .914 save percentage.
-Portland’s Troy Rutkowski scored a goal and added two assists last Tuesday in the Winterhawks’ 6-3 win over Prince George. Rutkowski ranks second among Portland defensemen with 39 points (8g/31a) in 62 games.
-Belleville’s Stephen Silas recorded back-to-back multi-assist games last week. The defenseman had two assists Thursday in a 5-2 win over Peterborough and then notched three helpers during a 4-1 triumph over Mississauga on Saturday. Silas leads all Belleville blueliners with 29 points (1g/28a) in 59 games.
-Brandon Maxwell split a pair of decisions in Kitchener’s net this past week. The goaltender made 26 saves Friday in a 4-3 win over Saginaw and then dropped a 2-1 decision to Erie on Saturday despite making 26 stops. In 41 appearances, Maxwell is 22-12-3-2 with a .902 save percentage.