To put it succinctly, it was the Cristopher Nilstorp show last week for the Texas Stars. Nilstorp put up back-to-back shutouts (including a 1-0 shootout win in which he stopped eight of nine attempts) and carried the Stars to their longest win streak of the year (three games).
Nilstorp might have been fired up by the competition that Josh Robinson presented in his recent call-up. Whatever it was, he was great in stopping all 43 shots that he faced and he was huge in overtime against the Charlotte Checkers. He’s made a solid case to be the main guy going forward as Jack Campbell stumbles along. Campbell just needs to regain some confidence as he’s let some very stoppable shots get by him lately.
Other guys that impressed this weekend include: Matt Fraser and his second multi-goal game in the last two weeks and Jamie Oleksiak. Oleksiak has settled down in the past couple of weeks and has been playing very well. Patrik Nemeth filled in for the injured Jordie Benn and did decently enough, though he did have penalty problems.
Scott Glennie also scored his first goal of the season last week.
On a less positive note, Cody Eakin was injured midway through the Checkers game and did not return after blocking a shot. He’ll be a huge loss if he misses any amount of significant time.
Nov. 21 – Oklahoma City Barons @ Texas Stars
Nov. 23 – Abbotsford Heat @ Texas Stars
Nov. 25 – Texas Stars @ San Antonio Rampage
The Overseas Pros
Jamie Benn – Hamburg Freezers
Benn continues to tear through the DEL as he had another goal and two assists in two games last week. He had each of his points on a different unit of his team. He scored while short-handed and assisted on even strength and the power-play so Benn has been all over the place for the Freezers.
He’s the only player on his team averaging over a point per game and he sits just three behind the team leader in points despite playing seven fewer games.
Nov. 23 – Eisbaren Berlin @ Hamburg Freezers
Nov. 25 – Hamburg Freezers @ Krefeld Pinguine
Jaromir Jagr – HC Kladno
The bye week gave Jagr some time to rest and he put that to good use. Jagr had three goals in three games last week as he stays hot (though his team didn’t do so well by losing all three games). He started out really slow for Kladno this year but he’s been their most efficient player for the past month.
Nov. 20 – Kladno vs Slavia Prague
Nov. 23 – Kladno vs Plzen
Nov. 25 – Kladno vs Litvinov
Stephane Robidas – HIFK Helsinki
Robidas actually had a goal last week as Helsinki went split their two games. Robidas has been getting about one point a week for the past month so he’s been consistent.
Nov. 20 – Helsinki vs Tappara
Nov. 24 – Helinki vs Kalpa Kuopio
Tom Wandell – Severstal Cherepovets
At this point it would be a huge shock to see Wandell tally a point at all. In two games last week, Wandell somehow managed to go pointless despite Severstal scoring eight goals. Keep in mind that he plays top line minutes for the Cherepovets so I would have hoped that Wandell would have at least gotten one assist, but no.
Nov. 21 – Severstal vs SKA St. Petersburg
Nov. 23 – Severstal vs UHC Dynamo
Nov. 25 – Severstal vs Dinamo Minsk
Philip Larsen – Rauman Lukko
Larsen had a solid week with two goals in two games for Rauman Lukko. They were his first points of November and the first time he’s been on the scoresheet at all for a month. Two goals in two games was basically an explosion for him.
Nov. 21 – Rauman Lukko vs Saipa
Nov. 22 – Rauman Lukko vs Jokerit
Nov. 24 – Rauman Lukko vs Tappara
Radek Faksa – Kitchener Rangers
Last week was a basically a massive success for Faksa. He’s been dealing with a weird illness and fatigue now for a while and it was questionable if he would even get on the ice during the weekend.
Faksa ended up playing two of the three games (avoiding the back-to-back) and had four assists. It was, points-wise, his best week of the season and was really encouraging to see. His team did lose two of the three games though, including being shut-out in the game Faksa missed.
Nov. 23 – Sarnia Sting @ Kitchener Rangers
Nov. 24 – Kitchener Rangers @ Erie Otters
Brett Ritchie – Niagara IceDogs
At this point, it would be a complete shock to see Ritchie go one game without registering a point of some kind. Ritchie had at least a point in all three games last week and totaled four goals and two assists.
Ritchie is now riding both an eight game point and goals streak and has scored in every game so far in November.
He’s continues to sit in third in total points in the OHL and is now tied for the league lead in goals. He’s also top 20 in assists.
I noted last week just how often Ritchie is set up for his goals by Ryan Strome, the leading scorer in the OHL. Strome had an assist on all four of Ritchie’s goals last week (primary assist on three of them) and Strome has now assisted on 13 of Ritchie’s 20 goals this season. That basically means that in someway, 65% of Ritchie’s goals are a result of Strome’s play. These two guys are really going to miss each other when they move to the next level.
Nov. 23 – Bellville Bulls @ Niagara IceDogs
Nov. 24 – Sudbury Wolves @ Niagara IceDogs
Nov. 25 – Niagara IceDogs @ Oshawa Generals
Gemel Smith – Owen Sound Attack
Smith continues his own consistent pace with another two goals in three games last week. While it’s not as eye-popping as Ritchie, it’s still damn impressive. Since the beginning of October, Smith has not gone more than two games without scoring a goal. He has at least a point in 15 of the last 18 games.
His team also continues to lead the OHL in points. This upcoming week will be very interesting for Smith as the Attack take on the three best teams in the OHL this year (besides themselves).
Nov. 21 – Barrie Colts @ Owen Sound Attack
Nov. 24 – London Knights @ Owen Sound Attack
Nov. 25 – Owen Sound Attack @ Mississauga Steelheads
Matej Stransky – Saskatoon Blades
It was a great week for Stransky as he had three goals and an assist in two games last week. He’s had at least a point in 11 of the last 13 games for the Blades. The Blades end this week on a three game road trip, including a game against the league best Kamloops Blazers.
Nov. 20 – Saskatoon Blades @ Victoria Royals
Nov. 23 – Saskatoon Blades @ Kamloops Blazers
Nov. 24 – Saskatoon Blades @ Kelowna Rockets
Mike Winther – Prince Albert Raiders
Winther had a goal and two assists in three games last week to put up two good weeks in a row. The Raiders still have six games left in November and it’s already been Winther’s best month this season.
The Raiders have two games this week against the defensively porous Brandon Wheat Kings so Winther should tally some more points.
Nov. 21 – Prince Albert Raiders @ Moose Jaw Warriors
Nov. 23 – Prince Albert Raiders @ Brandon Wheat Kings
Nov. 24 – Brandon Wheat Kings @ Prince Albert Raiders
Branden Troock – Seattle Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds had two more games last week and Troock had two more scratches. He’s only played in three games since Oct. 16.
Nov. 21 – Kootenay Ice @ Seattle Thunderbirds
Nov. 24 – Portland Winterhawks @ Seattle Thunderbirds
Troy Vance – Victoriaville Tigers
Vance had one of his first pointless weeks in a while as he had nothing in two games last week. It broke a string of three straight games with a point for Vance.
Nov. 21 – Victoriaville Tigers @ Gatineau Olympiques
Nov. 23 – Chicoutimi Saguenéens @ Victoriaville Tigers
Nov. 25 – Drummondville Voltigeurs @ Victoriaville Tigers
Maxime Lagace – Prince Edward Island Rocket
The Rocket had three games last week and Lagace played in half of one. He had 35 minutes of ice time against Acadie-Bathurst and gave up three goals on 24 shots (which actually isn’t too bad for him).
Nov. 23 – Baie-Comeau Drakkar @ PEI Rocket