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Zacha “Stings” Opposition; Streaks Snapped in Q; Langhamer Saves the Day

By on October 15, 2014 in North American with 18 Comments

By Margann Laurissa, CHL special for The Czech List

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The long Canadian Thanksgiving weekend allowed for the many Czechs in the CHL to have many more opportunities than usual to demonstrate just how incredible they have been. In fact, for several of them, this allowed them to enjoy their first North American holiday. The turkey and stuffing did not fill them too much as to hamper their performances, allowing for this to be a very successful second weekend of October.

In the OHL, there was cause for celebration all around for the Czech players. After being scratched in both games the weekend before, second-year Belleville Bulls forward David Tomášek returned to action on October 11, a home game against Niagara. Tomášek recorded his first goal of the season in an 8-5 Bulls victory over the struggling IceDogs; the goal, which was assisted by rookie defenceman Cole Candella and sophomore winger Aaron Berisha, stood as the game winner. It was the third game-winning goal in the Prague native’s OHL career. First-year Peterborough Petes defenceman Dominik Mašín asserted himself differently this past weekend during his team’s road trip to Windsor, Plymouth and Saginaw. The Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick played more like the pronunciation of his last name, recording fifteen penalty minutes in three games. This included Mašín’s first OHL career fight on October 12 against Spirit defenceman Ryan Orban. The scrap, which was the result of a knee-on-knee hit by Mašín, was instigated by Orban so it does not count toward the ten-fight limit that OHL players have before further discipline is implemented. It is no surprise to see how well the Sarnia Sting are doing these days and it appears as if Pavel Zacha is starting to come into his own. On October 10, the first overall pick in the 2014 CHL Import Draft recorded his first OHL career goal, one of two Sting rookies to do so that night as left winger Troy Lajeunesse did so, as well. That night, the Sting defeated the Saginaw Spirit 3-1. Zacha’s efforts allowed for him to be named third star. The next night, October 11, Zacha truly put on a show for the Sting fans. He scored the opening goal of the game for Sarnia, as well as assisted on two others; he also finished the night with a plus-5 ranking as the Sting destroyed the visiting Windsor Spitfires 9-2. The Sudbury Wolves did not have the most successful weekend, though, with two losses. Pavel Jenyš, however, decided to show that he is more than just a scorer. The Brno native and Minnesota Wild prospect got into his first OHL career fight on Friday against Attack forward Justin Brack, one of three scraps in the game.

In the QMJHL, it was a great weekend for terrible streaks to be broken. Charlottetown Islanders rookie forward Filip Chlapík broke a four-game goalless streak on October 10 when he managed to tally against the host Halifax Mooseheads. His goal came with eighteen seconds left in regulation. Chlapík’s snipe tied him with Kameron Kielly for the team lead in goals with six on the season. Gatineau Olympiques forward Václav Karabáček found himself on the scoresheet, as well, recording a powerplay assist on a goal by Yakov Trenin in a 4-2 loss to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar on October 11; the Buffalo Sabres draft pick was also even on the plus/minus ledger in a 5-2 win over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens on October 12. Rimouski Océanic defenceman Jan Kosťálek recorded his first two goals of the season in a 6-5 shootout win over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on October 10. In three games, the Winnipeg Jets prospect also had six hits. Saint John Sea Dogs rookie defenceman Jakub Zbořil may be pointless in the last three games but he is finding himself onto the scoresheet anyway, recording a penalty and two hits over the weekend. New Val-d’Or Foreurs forward Jan Mandát did not record any points this past weekend either but he was +1 in a 5-2 win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on October 10. His teammate, rookie defenceman Daniel Krenželok, recorded a powerplay assist on a goal by Stephen Anderson on October 11 against the Moncton Wildcats; additionally, he was plus-2 on the weekend, allowing him to be tied for the best plus/minus on the Foreurs with Philadelphia Flyers 2014 draft pick Nicolas Aubé-Kubel at +5. Victoriaville Tigres rookie defenceman Filip Pyrochta snapped a pointless streak of his own this past weekend, recording an assist on a goal by Tommy Veilleux on October 10 against the Québec Remparts.

In the WHL, it seems as though the points may be getting somewhat easier to come by for some but not for others. It may seem like a broken record at this point but it continues to be unfortunate how hard it has been for Kelowna Rockets forward Tomáš Šoustal to find his offensive game. Despite his stellar size (6’3″, 198 pounds) which makes him ideal for the WHL, it has still been very difficult for him to get any points together whatsoever. The Rockets had only one game this past weekend, a 4-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on October 11. Medicine Hat Tigers goaltender Marek Langhamer is still continuing to be a stabilizing force in net as the Arizona Coyotes prospect picked up his third and fourth consecutive wins over the weekend. Langhamer made 27 saves and received a tripping penalty in a 5-1 Tigers win over the Red Deer Rebels on October 10, garnering third star honours. The next night, October 11, he made 20 saves as Medicine Hat had a resounding 8-2 win over the visiting Victoria Royals. He currently sits in fifth in the WHL in goals-against average (1.68) and third in save percentage (.941%). Moose Jaw Warriors rookie forward Jiří Smejkal found himself on the scoresheet once over the long weekend. On October 9, Smejkal recorded a powerplay assist on a goal by Torrin White and got into his first WHL career fight against Jordan Steenburgen in a 3-1 win over the Kootenay Ice. Prince Albert Raiders first-year forward Šimon Stranský had reason to celebrate this past weekend. Even though the Raiders lost 3-2, the 2016 NHL Entry Draft prospect scored his first WHL career goal, a powerplay marker, against the Saskatoon Blades, his older brother Matěj’s former team. Teammate Tomáš Andrlík, a second-year defenceman, did not record any points in that game, though. (Once again, Brandon Wheat Kings forward Richard Nejezchleb is still not back; he is at the training camp of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, the affiliate of the New York Rangers.)

Now that October is rolling along, it seems as though the tide is starting to turn for the many Czech imports in the CHL. With the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge not too far away, and still a lot of discussion about the World Juniors, it will be paramount for many of these players to keep up the great work that they have done so far. This season is continuing to be one of the best for Czechs in a long time and it is good to see these players being handsomely rewarded, time and time again.

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