The expectations for Hurricanes 2010 third round pick Austin Levi were somewhat high heading into this season. He started the year in camp with the Charlotte Checkers but ended up being one of the final cuts and is now playing his fifth year with the Plymouth Whalers. Seeing how this is his Overage year and he has gotten better with every season, there was little reason to think that he wouldn't perform well after returning to juniors. Unfortunately, the season hasn't gone as planned for Levi as he has struggled to make an impact for most of the year and even found himself out of the lineup for a few games recently. I'm not 100% sure if this was due to performance or a possible injury that I haven't heard of, but I think most would agree that Levi has been somewhat underwhelming thus far.
It is still a very long season, so Levi has plenty of time to make up for his slow start to the year and he began to right the ship on Sunday against the Oshawa Genearls. Levi made his return to the Whalers lineup that night and recorded two assists, one of which came on the powerplay. The Whalers ended up losing that game 4-3 so I'm sure Levi isn't happy about that but he can at least look at his performance and be happy that he made the most of his return to the lineup. You can't really judge his performance based on goals and points alone but that is the easiest way to get noticed for those who are unable to watch the games, so that is one way to make yourself standpoint. Hopefully Levi can continue to do that on more than just the scoresheet for the rest of the year.
There were quite a few players in the Hurricanes CHL prospect pool who posted big numbers this past weekend and we will take a closer look at them after the jump.
Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers - 3 GP, 0 G, 1 Pt, 0 PIM
The once hot Rangers hit a bump in the road this past weekend by losing all three of their games, two of which coming in the shootout. They still earned a couple points in the standings and remain in contention for now, so that's one bright spot for them this weekend. Murphy had a pretty ugly week despite the one assist. He was on-ice for what was the game-tying goal int the third period against Guelph and was on-ice for two goals in a 3-1 loss to the Belleville Bulls. The Rangers powerplay also went 1/14 over three games, which doesn't speak well for Murphy's performance since he plays a large role there.
Murphy did manage to salvage an overall forgettable weekend by recording an assist against Ottawa and being on-ice for the Rangers only goal of the game and no Ottawa goals. Although, that may have been different had the 67's managed to score off of what was a horrific turnover by Murphy in the defensive zone during the third period. Murphy's had tougher weeks than this over the season so I'm sure that he will be able to rebound.
Brock McGinn, Guelph Storm - 3 GP, 3 G, 3 Pts, 0 PIM
McGinn continues to come around offensively with three goals in three games this past week, two of which came in Guelph's 8-0 thrashing of the Erie Otters. His other goal came in a 4-1 over the Owen Sound Attack, who the Storm are currently chasing in the West Division of the OHL. The Storm were very impressive that night as they completely dominated Owen Sound both on the scoreboard and territorially by outshooting them 36-19. Guelph has now won eight of their last 10 game and have passed Kitchener in the West Division. This Storm team has been so hot and cold throughout the year, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of their season plays out. Let's hope that McGinn continues to be a contributing player to their success. He now has nine goals and 24 points in 32 games.
Trevor Carrick, Mississauga Steelheads - 2 GP, 0 G, 2 Pts, 5 PIM
The Steelheads played in two games this past week and Carrick had bi-polar nights in both of them. Against Sudbury, Carrick was on ice for three goals against, all at even strength and the Steelheads were heavily outshot. The next night against London, Carrick recorded a pair of assists. One came after he got a long shot to the net and the forward in front was able to pick up the loose change and tuck in the rebound. The Steelheads ended up losing both games, though and Carrick also had a fighting instigator penalty dealt to him in the London game. Mississauga is now winless in their last five games.
Keegan Lowe, Edmonton Oil Kings - 2 GP, 0 G, 0 Pts, 4 PIM
Lowe sat out the Oil Kings game against Lethbridge but was able to return for their home-and-home series with the Calgary Hitmen where the two teams traded wins. Lowe had a very ugly showing in the first game where he was a -3, took two penalties and the Oil Kings lost 5-2. The Oil Kings returned the favor the next game by winning 4-2 but Lowe ended up being a -1 and didn't get on the scoresheet at all. Let's hope his performance on the ice was better than what the stat sheet indicates.
Austin Levi, Plymouth Whalers - 1 GP, 0 G, 2 Pts, 0 PIM
See above. The Whalers dropped all three of their games this week but were able to at least get a point in the shootout against Owen Sound. Levi's performance is the one silver lining there, or at least it is for Hurricanes fans.
Victor Rask, Calgary Hitmen - 3 GP, 1 G, 6 Pts, 0 PIM
Rask was just a force in all three of the Hitmen's games this week, recording points in all of them. He started things off by getting an assist on the empty net goal in the 5-2 over Edmonton and could have easily recorded another one had it not been for Oil Kings goalie, Laurent Brossoit, robbing Cody Sylvester of a great scoring chance. He went on to have two assists the next game against Edmonton and one of them could have ended up being a goal, as one of his shots went off the goal post and his teammates knocked in the rebound. Rask would finally get a goal the next game against Kootenay when he had a three point night. With the World Juniors not far away, it appears that Rask is heading into the tournament in full force.
Tyler Stahl, Victoria Royals - 1 GP, 0 G, 0 Pts, 0 PIM
Returned to the lineup for Victoria's game against Swift Current and was a +2 in the Royals 2-1 win. He also earned something called the "Dickies Hardest Worker" award according ot the folks on Twitter. Like I keep saying in every update, Stahl has played well when he has been in the lineup and isn't taking bad penalties. Unfortunately, he has been subject to the latter quite a bit this year from the sound of things.
Matt Mahalak, Plymouth Whalers - 3 GP, 9 GA on 101 shots
Mahalak has returned to being the starting goaltender for the Whalers and turned in a pretty good week overall, considering that he had to stop at least 30 shots in every game he played in. He wasn't spectacular but it's hard to say that he was the reason the Whalers lost any of these games.
Daniel Altshuller, Oshawa Generals - 2 GP, 6 GA on 61 shots
Altshuller struggled with a relatively light workload in the Generals 3-2 loss to Windsor early in the week giving up three goals on 24 shots. Although none of the goales were his fault judging from the highlights. The first goal he gave up came off a deflection on the powerplay, the second was a rocket from the slot and the third was a long shot from the point with a screen in front. There was little he could do about any of those. Still, the save percentage stat wasn't kind to him at the end of that game. He performed much better in Oshawa's next game against Plymouth stopping 34 of 37 shots and helping the Generals get the win. His overall save percentage stays above .911 for the time being.