We’re back, folks! It’s our first week post-World Juniors, and the prospect report is making its return. And for a week with not an absolute ton of games having taken place, we’ve got a whole lot to cover, so let’s just get right into it.
What’s up with the Phantoms?
First up, we’ve got our check-in with the Phantoms, who had a pretty successful weekend on the whole. They had two games on the road, and came out of the weekend with a 3-2 win over the Rochester Americans, and a 5-4 shootout loss to the Toronto Marlies. Grabbing three out of a potential four points available on the weekend is some good work done, but it hasn’t meant much for the Phantoms’ standings climbing hopes. They’re still seventh in the division (though fifth by points percentage). Now, they do only need to get into sixth place to make the playoffs with the format this year, but the team’s been inconsistent, and that’s keeping them from making real progress in a tight middle of the division, with just five points separating the seventh and third place teams. We’ll see what happens!
But let’s get to the standout individual performances. The big news of the week is that Bobby Brink, finally recovered after hip surgery, made his debut with the Phantoms. And would you look at that! He’s scoring already!
Check out that goal! pic.twitter.com/lNWfj1TLvZ— Lehigh Valley Phantoms (@LVPhantoms) January 7, 2023
Now, Brink only got in for the first game in that back-to-back, as they’re easing him back into things. And while there was definitely a bit of rust showing, it looks like he’ll need a bit of time to get up to speed, it was nice to see him back at it.
Also on the scoring front, Tyson Foerster was again getting involved. He put up a goal and an assist, plus six shots on goal on the weekend, bringing him up to nine goals and 21 points for the season. That’s good for second on the team in scoring, not too shabby at all.
But, as you might have inferred from our headline this week, the real standouts of the week were the Swedes.
Olle Lycksell, back from his stint as the extra forward on the Flyers’ road trip, picked up right where he left off this weekend. He played in both games and contributed a goal and three assists, which also allowed him to hold on to his place at the top of the Phantoms’ scoring ranking (he has 22 points on the season in 21 games played).
Adam Ginning also put up a goal this weekend, and Linus Hogberg, getting in for Saturday’s game, added an assist.
And then, of course, there was Felix Sandstrom, back with the Phantoms for his conditioning stint. He got both starts on the weekend, and held up reasonably well overall. He made 24 saves in both games, coincidentally, on 26 and 28 shots faced, which brings him to an .889 save percentage for the stint so far. Not perfect, but also not a bad start either.
The prospect world tour
And now, moving abroad, we’ll first check in with Samu Tuomaala. You may remember, back in November, Tuomaala was moved down a tier to play with Kettera in Mestis, and it seems that move is going well for him. He chipped in three goals and an assist in their two games on the week, bringing him up to 13 goals and nine assists in his first 12 games with the club. The competition he’s facing is less difficult than it was when he was up in Liiga, to be sure, but he’s settling in and working well to find his game again, which is a welcome sight.
And over in the neighboring SHL, Emil Andrae is continuing to out up some very solid play (we told you it was a big week for the Swedes). He played two games with HV71 this week, and put up a goal, an assist, and seven shots on goal therein. He’s continuing to be leaned heavily upon, as he played more than 24 minutes in each of those games, but he’s also continuing to hold up well with that workload.
Shifting back over to North America, we also have a few standout showings in the NCAA to highlight. For starters, Devin Kaplan is getting going nicely over at Boston University, and he chipped in a goal and two assists in BU’s pair of games out in Arizona on the weekend. His goal, we should add, was assisted on by Jay O’Brien (his only point of the weekend).
We get rewarded for some great work by OB, Tuchy and Kap as the puck bounces our way to make this a one-goal game! pic.twitter.com/KFkGy4xMY1— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) January 8, 2023
And back in Boston, Boston College went outside! They got to make use of the ice set up at Fenway Park for the Winter Classic for their matchup against UMass. And, surprise surprise, in his first game back from World Juniors, Cutter Gauthier got himself on the board.
On top of that one goal, he contributed an additional assist, and nine (yes, nine) individual shots on goal. So, it’s safe to say that he hasn’t missed a beat here.