Throughout most of the first half of the NCAA season, the Dallas Stars prospects playing in the NCAA played a steady game. Contributing one or two points on most nights, but not really dazzling anyone or asserting their dominance over weaker opponents.
Devin Shore changed that this weekend in the University of Maine's two victories over American International.
Shore exploded this weekend, reminding everyone why he was such a high pick in the NHL entry draft, a top-line center weeks into his college career, and why his coach trusted him enough to give him an 'A' while still an underclassmen.
In Maine and American International's first tilt of the weekend, Shore tallied a monstrous 5 points to carry the Black Bears to victory. He was a huge factor in Maine putting International away early, as he had an assist on all three of Maine's first period goals. Then, in the second period he decided he also wanted to put the puck in the net, scoring a shorthanded goal. He capped his night off with an assist on Maine's first goal of the third period. To go along with those absurd point totals, he won 17 of 19 faceoffs on the night. Talk about a dominant performance.
The next night, again against American International, Shore followed up with only one point - the primary assist on Maine's fifth and final goal of the night - and 11 out of 17 faceoffs won. A solid night by all means.
This explosion is great for the Stars and Shore alike. Shore is showing his ability to dominate other teams. Even though American International is not a good hockey school by any means, he's still playing against Division-1 players and a good goaltender. He rose above the rest of the players on the ice and asserted his dominance as a great young center in hockey east, reminding us all that he has the gamebreaking ability of a very solid NHL prospect.
With his six points in two games over the weekend, Shore was named Hockey East's player of the week. Hopefully he can take this puck and run with it.
Alex Guptill had a much more regular week than Devin Shore. Again, Michigan continues to have a somewhat funky schedule, as they played only one game, a 3-2 shootout victory over Ferris State University. Guptill scored the go ahead goal for Michigan just 38 seconds into the second period. After gaining the zone, he tried to stop up and send a pass to a teammate in the left circle, but the puck hopped up and it appeared to end up in a turnover. However, Guptill chased the puck and all in one motion settled it, dragged it, and quickly wired a snap shot past the Ferris State goaltender through the legs of a defender. It was a really crisp shot, and he got it off amazingly quickly, it was a beauty to see.
While not as crazy as Shore's weekend, Guptill continues to produce, and this time it's a goal. Something I've been waiting to see for the last couple of weeks. I've liked his ability to adapt and find his teammates when shots aren't open for him, but Guptill is a shooter, and, if he ends up playing in the NHL, will have to show that he can finish on a pretty regular basis. This is a step in the right direction as he scored a very important goal for the Wolverines over the weekend.
He finished with five shots on net and an even +/- rating on the night.
Highlights of the game can be found here: http://www.mgoblue.com/allaccess/?media=424222
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