2018 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Team of the Year

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Acadie-Bathurst Titan

  • Went 43-15-10 to finish first in the QMJHL Maritimes Division
  • Leading Scorer: Antoine Morand with 76 points
  • Leading Goalie: Evan Fitzpatrick with a 26-12-5 record and a 2.90 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Olivier Galipeau (QMJHL Defenceman of the Year)
  • Went 16-4 to win their second QMJHL title and their first since 1999
  • Jeffrey Truchon-Viel had 23 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Went 3-1 to win their first Memorial Cup

Alberta Golden Bears

Alberta Golden Bears

  • Went 23-4-1 to finish first in Canada West
  • Leading Scorer: Luke Philp with 40 points
  • Leading Goalie: Zach Sawchenko with a 12-1-0 record and a 2.12 goals against average (Brendan Burke had a 11-3-0 record and a 2.03 goals against average)
  • Award Winners: Jason Fram (Canada West and U Sports Defenceman of the Year), Steven Owre (Canada West Rookie of the Year) and Luke Philp (Canada West Player of the Year)
  • Went 4-0 in the Canada West playoffs to win their 27th conference title
  • At the University Cup, they beat Acadia 8-6, edged Saskatchewan 3-2 in overtime and defeated St. Francis Xavier 4-2 to win their 16th championship and their third in the last five years
  • Stephane Legault led the tournament with seven points and was named University Cup MVP

Canada Under 18 Team

Canada Under-18 Team

  • Had a 2-1 record to finish second in Group B at the Ivan Hlinka
  • Defeated Sweden 4-1 and beat the Czech Republic 4-1 to win their 21st title and their ninth in the last 10 years
  • Leading Scorer: Joe Veleno with seven points
  • Leading Goalie: Olivier Rodrigue with a 4-0 record and a 1.00 goals against average

Canada Under 20 Team

Canada Under-20 Team

  • Had a 3-1 record to finish first in Group A at the World Juniors
  • Routed Switzerland 8-2, defeated the Czech Republic 7-2 and beat Sweden 3-1 to win their 17th title and their second in the last four years
  • Leading Scorer: Jordan Kyrou with 10 points
  • Leading Goalie: Carter Hart with a 5-1 record and a 1.81 goals against average

Canada West

Canada West

  • Had a 0-2 record to finish third in Group B at the World Junior A Challenge
  • Defeated Canada East 4-3 in overtime, knocked off the Czech Republic 5-1 and beat the United States 5-1 to win their fifth title and their second in the last three years
  • Leading Scorer: Ross Armour with six points
  • Leading Goalie: Zach Rose with a 3-1 record and a 1.59 goals against average

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Chilliwack Chiefs

  • Went 26-26-6 to finish fourth in the BCHL Mainland Division
  • Leading Scorer: Will Calverley with 46 points
  • Leading Goalie: Mathieu Caron with an 18-12-1 record and a 3.07 goals against average
  • Went 3-4 in the playoffs and lost 4-3 to the Prince George Spruce Kings in the first round
  • Fired head coach Jason Tatarnic a week before hosting the RBC Cup and replaced him with associate coach Brian Maloney
  • Went 5-1 at the RBC Cup to win their first national championship
  • Will Calverley had seven points and was named tournament MVP

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Cochrane Crunch

  • Went 36-17-3 to finish second in the NOJHL East Division
  • Leading Scorer: Kyle Herbster with 86 points
  • Leading Goalie: Taylor Unruh with a 19-8-2 record and a 2.93 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Connor Lovie (MVP and Top Defenceman)
  • Went 12-4 in the playoffs to win the first title in their fourth season
  • Kyle Herbster had 17 points and finished tied for the playoff scoring title with Jacob Partridge of Rayside-Balfour
  • Connor Lovie had 16 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Went 0-3 at the Dudley Hewitt Cup and missed the playoffs

Dryden Ice Dogs

Dryden Ice Dogs

  • Went 40-8-8 to finish first in the SIJHL
  • Leading Scorer: Jacen Bracko with 81 points
  • Leading Goalie: Jacob Gnidziejko with a 15-5-3 record and a 2.38 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Jacen Bracko (MVP) and Cory Dennis (Defenceman of the Year)
  • Went 8-3 in the playoffs to win their second straight title and their fourth overall
  • Ted Davis had 12 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Went 2-2 at the Dudley Hewitt Cup and lost 7-4 to the Wellington Dukes in the final

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Edmundston Blizzard

  • Went 36-10-4 to finish first in the MHL North Division
  • Leading Scorer: Logan Johnston with 65 points
  • Leading Goalie: Francis Asselin with a 24-9-0 record and a 2.60 goals against average
  • Went 12-5 in the playoffs to win their first title in the first season in Edmundston (Franchise last won a title in 2015 as the Dieppe Commandos)
  • Kyle Ward led the playoffs in scoring with 22 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Went 1-3 at the Fred Page Cup and lost 5-1 to Longueuil College Francais in the semi-final

Fargo Force

Fargo Force

  • Went 36-16-7 to finish third in the USHL Western Conference
  • Leading Scorer: Grant Hebert with 54 points
  • Leading Goalie: Strauss Mann with a 22-8-3 record and a 1.86 goals against average
  • Went 11-3 in the playoffs to win the first title in their 10th season of existence
  • Griffin Loughran had 10 points and was named playoff MVP

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Finland Under-18 Team

  • Went 4-0 to finish first in Group B at the World Under 18’s
  • Beat Belarus 5-2, shutout Sweden 2-0 and defeated the United States 3-2 to win their fourth title and their second in the last three years
  • Leading Scorer: Niklas Nordgren with 10 points
  • Leading Goalie: Justus Annunen with a 6-0 record and a 2.00 goals against average

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Hamilton Bulldogs

  • Went 43-18-7 to finish first in the OHL East Division
  • Leading Scorer: Robert Thomas with 75 points
  • Leading Goalie: Kaden Fulcher with a 32-17-6 record and a 2.86 goals against average
  • Went 16-5 in the playoffs to win their first title in their third year of existence (The franchise last won a title as the Belleville Bulls in 1999, while Hamilton’s last OHL title came with the Fincups in 1976)
  • Robert Thomas had 32 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Went 2-2 at the Memorial Cup and lost 4-2 to the Regina Pats in the semi-final

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Longueuil College Francais

  • Went 38-8-3 to finish first in the QJHL St-Louis Division
  • Leading Scorer: Vincent Chapleau with 114 points
  • Leading Goalie: Gabriel Morency with a 19-3-2 record and a 2.31 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Vincent Chapleau (Player of the Year)
  • Went 12-1 in the playoffs to win their eighth title, their first since 2016 and their fifth in the last eight years
  • Vincent Chapleau led the playoffs in scoring with 26 points
  • Goaltender Philippe Savard-Masse had a 12-1 record and a 2.47 goals against average on his way to being named playoff MVP
  • Went 3-2 at the Fred Page Cup and lost 10-1 to the Ottawa Jr. Senators in the final
  • William Lemay led the tournament ins scoring with nine points

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Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs

  • Went 19-14-3 to finish third in the NCHC
  • Leading Scorer: Scott Perunovich with 36 points
  • Leading Goalie: Hunter Shepherd with a 25-14-1 record and a 1.91 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Scott Perunovich (NCHC Rookie of the Year and Tim Taylor Award)
  • Finished fourth in the NCHC Tournament – After sweeping Western Michigan 2-0 in the quarter-finals, they lost 3-1 to Denver in the semi-final and fell 4-1 to North Dakota in the third place game
  • In the Frozen Four, they topped Minnesota State 3-2 in overtime, edged Air Force 2-1, beat Ohio State 2-1 and defeated Notre Dame 2-1 to win their second national title and their first since 2011
  • Karson Kuhlman had a goal and assist in the final and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player

Nipawin Hawks

Nipawin Hawks

  • Had a 43-8-7 record to finish first in the SJHL Sherwood Division
  • Leading Scorer: Josh McDougall with 74 points
  • Leading Goalie: Declan Hobbs with a 22-4-3 record and a 2.20 goals against average (Jake Anthony had a 20-3-3 record and a 1.94 goals against average)
  • Award Winners: Declan Hobbs (Co-Goalie of the Year with Justen Close of Kindersley), Doug Johnson (Coach of the Year) and Josh McDougall (Defenceman oft the Year)
  • Went 11-5 in the playoffs to win their second title and their first since 1990
  • Brandan Arnold had 21 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Lost 4-2 to the Steinbach Pistons in the Anavet Cup
  • Brandan Arnold led the series in scoring with 11 points

Ottawa Jr. Senators

Ottawa Jr. Senators

  • Had a 46-9-2 record to finish first in the CCHL Yzerman Division
  • Leading Scorer: Chiwetin Blacksmith with 67 points
  • Leading Goalie: Connor Hicks with a 18-2-1 record and a 1.92 goals against average (Francis Boisvert had a 15-5-1 record and a 2.00 goals against average)
  • Went 12-6 in the playoffs to win their fourth CCHL title and their first since 2012
  • Nick Lalonde led the playoffs in scoring with 23 points
  • Goaltender Connor Hicks had a 12-5 record and 2.02 goals against average on his way to being named playoff MVP
  • Went 4-0 at the Fred Page Cup to win their first title
  • Went 2-3 at the RBC Cup and lost 3-2 to the Chilliwack Chiefs in the semi-final

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Shreveport Mudbugs

  • Had a 41-12-7 record to finish first in the NAHL South Division
  • Leading Scorer: Jordan Fader with 45 points
  • Leading Goalie: Gustavs Grigals with a 17-5-4 record and a 1.95 goals against average (Jaxon Castor had a 10-5-1 record and a 1.50 goals against average)
  • Went 9-4 in the playoffs to win their first title in their second year in the league
  • Goaltender Jaxon Castor had a 9-3 record and a 1.66 goals against average on his way to being named playoff MVP

Spruce Grove Saints

Spruce Grove Saints

  • Had a 47-10-3 record to finish first in the AJHL North Division
  • Leading Scorer: Chris Van Os-Shaw with 97 points
  • Leading Goalie: Nolan Kent with a 15-4-0 record and a 1.52 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Chris Van Os-Shaw (AJHL & CJHL Most Valuable Player and CJHL Top Forward)
  • Went 12-1 in the playoffs to win their fifth title, their first since 2015 and their fifth in the last nine years
  • Josh Harris had 15 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Lost 4-1 to the Wenatchee Wild in the Doyle Cup
  • Logan Ganie led the series in scoring with seven points

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Steinbach Pistons

  • Had a 48-8-4 record to finish first in the MJHL
  • Leading Scorer: Bradley Schoonbaert with 91 points
  • Leading Goalie: Matthew Thiessen with a 28-3-1 record and a 2.06 goals against average (Matthew Radomsky had a 20-5-1 record and a 2.16 goals against average)
  • Award Winners: Paul Dyck (Coach of the Year) and Darby Gula (Defenceman of the Year)
  • Went 12-4 in the playoffs to win their second MJHL title and their first since 2013
  • Drew Worrad led the playoffs in scoring with 18 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Defeated the Nipawin Hawks 4-2 to win the Anavet Cup for the first time
  • Went 0-4 at the RBC Cup and missed the playoffs

Swift Current Broncos.jpg

Swift Current Broncos

  • Had a 48-17-7 record to finish second in the WHL East Division
  • Leading Scorer: Glenn Gawdin with 125 points
  • Leading Goalie: Stuart Skinner with a 30-21-4 record and a 3.07 goals against average
  • Award Winners: Aleksi Heponiemi (CHL and WHL Sportsman of the Year) and Manny Viverios (WHL Coach of the Year)
  • Went 16-10 in the playoffs to win their third title, their first since 1993 and the first for a Saskatchewan team in 25 years
  • Glenn Gawdin had 32 points was named playoff MVP
  • Went 0-3 at the Memorial Cup and missed the playoffs

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United States Under-17 Team

  • Had a 2-1 record to finish first in Group A at the World Under-17 Challenge
  • Defeated Sweden 5-1, routed Canada White 9-1 and beat Canada Red 6-4 to win their fourth title and their first since the January 2014 event
  • Leading Scorer: Jack Hughes with 15 points
  • Leading Goalie: Spencer Knight with a 3-0 record and a 2.33 goals against average (Cameron Rowe had a 3-0 record and a 2.62 goals against average)

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Wellington Dukes

  • Had a 33-13-8 record to finish first in the OJHL East Division
  • Leading Scorer: Mitchell Martan with 67 points
  • Leading Goalie: Jonah Capriotti with a 21-11-3 record and a 2.56 goals against average
  • Had a 16-9 record to win their third title and their first since 2011
  • Colin Doyle had 24 points and was named playoff MVP
  • Went 4-1 at the Dudley Hewitt Cup on their way to the third title and their first since 2011
  • Mitchell Mendonca and Ben Evans led the tournament in scoring with eight points
  • Went 2-3 at the RBC Cup and lost 4-2 to the Chilliwack Chiefs in the final

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Wenatchee Wild

  • Had a 37-16-5 record to finish third in the BCHL Interior Division
  • Leading Scorer: Jasper Weatherby with 74 points
  • Leading Goalie: Seth Eisele with a 20-11-0 record and a 2.64 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Bliss Littler (Coach of the Year), Jasper Weatherby (Most Valuable Player) and Cooper Zech (Top Defenceman)
  • Went 16-4 in the playoffs to win their first title in their third year in the league (Became the first American team to win the BCHL Title since the Bellingham Blazers in 1979)
  • Jasper Weatherby led the playoffs in scoring with 38 points
  • Defeated the Spruce Grove Saints 4-1 to win the Doyle Cup for the first time (Became the second American team to qualify for the RBC Cup and the first since the Minnesota Wilderness in 2013)
  • Went 4-1 at the RBC Cup and lost 2-1 to the Wellington Dukes in the semi-final
  • Jasper Weatherby led the tournament in scoring with eight points

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2018 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Rookie of the Year

Jake Anthon

Jake Anthony (Nipawin Hawks)

  • Joined the Hawks after a season with the Sherwood Park Kings
  • Had a 20-3-3 record with a 1.94 goals against average and a .929 save percentage
  • His 1.94 goals against average and .929 save percentage were the best in the SJHL
  • His 20 wins were the most by a rookie in the SJHL
  • Played in 28 minutes during the SJHL playoffs
  • Has gone undrafted the last two years.

Riley Brandt

Riley Brandt (RMC Paladins)

  • Joined the Paladins after three seasons with the Vernon Vipers
  • Had 21 goals and 12 assists in 33 games
  • His 21 goals were the most in U Sports
  • Was named OUA East Rookie of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has has yet to sign a pro contract

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Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes)

  • Joined the Hurricanes after a season with the Yale Hockey Academy
  • Had 22 goals and 31 assists in 57 games
  • His 22 goals were the most by a rookie in the WHL
  • His 0.93 points per game was the best by a rookie in the WHL
  • In the playoffs, he had seven goals and six assists in 15 games
  • Was named WHL Rookie of the Year
  • At the World Under-17’s, he had a goal and six assists in six games for Canada Red
  • Is a potential first round pick for the 2019 NHL Draft

Colten Ellis

Colten Ellis (Rimouski Oceanic)

  • Joined the Oceanic after two years with the Cape Breton West Islanders and following a trade with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in June 2017
  • Had a 33-8-6 record with a 2.35 goals against average and a .913 save percentage
  • His 33 wins and six shutouts were the most by a rookie in the CHL and the QMJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 3-4 record with a 3.12 goals against average and a .885 save percentage
  • At the World Under-18’s, he had a 2-0 record with a 3.50 goals against average and a .887 save percentage for Canada
  • Is eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft

Matthew Galadja Rookie

Matthew Galadja (Cornell Big Red)

  • Joined the Big Red after two seasons with the Victoria Grizzlies
  • Had a 21-5-2 record with a 1.51 goals against average and a .939 save percentage
  • His 1.51 goals against average was the best in the NCAA
  • His nine shutouts were the most in the NCAA
  • His 21 wins were the most by a freshman in the NCAA
  • His .939 save percentage was the best by a freshman in the NCAA
  • Was named the ECAC’s Goalie of the Year and Rookie of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to sign a pro contract

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Mitchell Gibson (Lone Star Brahmas)

  • Joined the Brahmas after two seasons with the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers
  • Had a 26-7-9 record with a 1.59 goals against average and a .935 save percentage
  • His 11 shutouts were the most in the NAHL
  • His 1.59 goals against average and .935 save percentage were the best in the NAHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 5-3 record with a 1.37 goals against average and a .950 save percentage
  • His 1.37 goals against average and .950 save percentage were the best in the NAHL playoffs
  • Was named the NAHL’s Goalie and Rookie of the Year
  • Was selected in the fourth round by the Washington Capitals at the 2018 NHL Draft
  • Is committed to play for the NCAA’s Harvard Crimson for the 2019-20 season

Jack Hughes

Jack Hughes (US NTDP)

  • Joined the US NTDP after a season with the Toronto Minor Midget Marlboros
  • Had 21 goals and 33 points in 27 games
  • His 2.00 points per game was the best in the USHL
  • At the World Under 18’s, he had five goals and seven assists in seven games
  • His 12 points were the most at the event
  • Was tied with Maxim Cajkovic for the most assists at the event with seven
  • At the World Under-17’s, he had five goals and 10 assists in six games
  • His 10 assists and 15 points were the most at the event
  • Is currently projected to be the first overall pick at the 2019 NHL Draft

Arthur Kailyev

Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)

  • Joined the Bulldogs after a season with the Compuware U16 program
  • Had 31 goals and 17 assists in 68 games
  • In the playoffs, he had three goals and eight assists in 21 games
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had no points in four games
  • Is eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft

Peyton Krebs

Peyton Krebs (Kootenay Ice)

  • Joined the Ice after a season with the CFR Chemical Bisons
  • Had 17 goals and 37 assists in 67 games
  • His 54 points were the most by a rookie in the WHL
  • At the World Under 17’s, he had a goal and five assists in five games for Canada Red
  • Is projected to be a Top 10 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft

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Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski Oceanic)

  • Joined the Oceanic after a season with the Saint-Eustache Vikings
  • Had 42 goals and 38 assists in 60 games
  • In the playoffs, he had four goals and three assists in seven games
  • Was named CHL and QMJHL Rookie of the Year
  • At the World Under 18’s, he had four goals and two assists in five games for Canada
  • At the World Under 17’s, he had three goals and three assists in six games for Canada Red
  • Is currently projected to be the first overall pick at the 2020 NHL Draft

Alex Newhook

Alex Newhook (Victoria Grizzlies)

  • Joined the Grizzlies after a season with the York Simcoe Minor Midget Express
  • Had 22 goals and 44 assists in 45 games
  • His 1.47 points per game was the most in the BCHL
  • His 44 assists, 66 points and 1.47 points per game was the most by a rookie in the BCHL
  • In the playoffs, he had three goals and six assists in 12 games
  • Was named BCHL and CJHL Rookie of the Year
  • At the World Under 17’s, he had a goal and three assists in five games for Canada Black
  • Is projected to be a top 10 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft
  • Has committed to the NCAA’s Boston College Eagles for the 2019-20 season

Zachary Okoabe.jpg

Zachary Okabe (Grande Prairie Storm)

  • Joined the Storm after a season at Shawnigan Lake School
  • Had 22 goals and 35 assists in 58 games
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and four assists in nine games
  • Was named AJHL Rookie of the Year
  • Is eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft
  • Has committed to the NCAA’s Vermont Catamounts for the 2019-20 season

Max Paddock

Max Paddock (Regina Pats)

  • Joined the Pats after two seasons with the Brandon Midget Wheat Kings
  • Had a 19-7-2 record with a 2.90 goals against average and a .904 save percentage
  • Did not play in the WHL playoffs due to an injury
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had a 3-1 record with a 3.65 goals against average and a .908 save percentage
  • Went undrafted at the 2018 NHL Draft

Matej Pekar

Matej Pekar (Muskegon Lumberjacks)

  • Joined the Lumberjacks after one season with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies
  • Had 14 goals and 40 assists in 56 games
  • His 40 assists were the most by a rookie in the USHL
  • Was named the USHL’s Rookie of the Year
  • At the World Under 18’s, he had a goal and four assists in five games for the Czech Republic
  • At the Ivan Hlinka, he had an assist in five games for the Czech Republic
  • Was selected in the fourth round by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2018 NHL Draft
  • Has committed to the NCAA’s Miami RedHawks for next season

Scott Perunovich.jpg

Scott Perunovich (Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs)

  • Joined the Bulldogs after a season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
  • Had 11 goals and 25 assists in 42 games
  • Was named the NCHC Rookie of the Year
  • Won the Tim Taylor Award as the top freshman in NCAA Hockey
  • At the World Juniors, he had a goal and two assists in seven games for the United States
  • Was selected in the second round by the St. Louis Blues at the 2018 NHL Draft

Emile Samso

Emile Samson (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada)

  • Joined the Armada after a season with the Sainte-Foy Dynamiques
  • Had a 17-3-2 record with a 2.12 goals against average and a .907 goals against average
  • His 2.12 goals against average was the best by all rookies in the CHL and QMJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 13-7 record with a 2.21 goals against average and a .916 save percentage
  • Has gone undrafted the last two years

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Rasmus Sandin (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

  • Joined the Greyhounds after five games in the SHL with Rogle, where he had an assist
  • Had 12 goals and 33 assists in 51 games
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and 12 assists in 24 games
  • At the Ivan Hlinka, he had three assists in five games for Sweden
  • Was selected with the 29th overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2018 NHL Draft

JOrdan Spence.jpg

Jordan Spence (Summerside Western Capitals)

  • Joined the Western Capitals after a season with the Charlottetown Midget Islanders
  • Had 13 goals and 39 assists in 50 games
  • His 39 assists were the most by all defencemen in the MHL
  • His 39 assists, 52 points and 1.04 points per game were the most by all rookies in the MHL
  • In the playoffs, he had four goals and 13 assists in 12 games
  • His 13 assists, 17 points and 1.42 points per game were the most by all defenceman in the MHL playoffs
  • Was named MHL Rookie of the Year
  • After being undrafted in the 2017 QMJHL Draft, he was selected in the second round by the Moncton Wildcats in June and later signed a contract with the team
  • Is eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft

Matthew Thiessen Rookie.jpg

Matthew Thiessen (Steinbach Pistons)

  • Joined the Pistons after one year with the Rink Hockey Academy
  • Had a 28-3-1 record with a 2.06 goals against average and a .923 save percentage
  • His 2.06 goals against average was the best in the MJHL
  • Was tied with Troy Martinyuk for the most wins in the MJHL with 28
  • His 28 wins were the most by a rookie in the CJHL and MJHL
  • His .923 save percentage was the best by a rookie in the MJHL
  • Was tied Ethan Peterson for most shutouts by a rookie in the MJHL with two
  • In the playoffs, he had a 10-4 record with a 1.60 goals against average and a .944 save percentage
  • His four shutouts were the most in the MJHL playoffs
  • His 1.58 goals against average and .944 save percentage were the best in the MJHL playoffs
  • Was tied with Riley McVeigh for the most wins in the MJHL playoffs with 10
  • In the Anavet Cup, he had a 4-2 record with a 2.47 goals against average and a .904 save percentage
  • At the RBC Cup, he had a 0-1 record with a 3.03 goals against average and a .896 save percentage
  • Was selected in the seventh round by the Vancouver Canucks at the 2018 NHL Draft
  • Has committed to the NCAA’s Maine Black Bears for the 2019-20 season

Filip Zadina

Filip Zadina (Halifax Mooseheads)

  • Joined the Mooseheads after five seasons with HC Pardubice
  • Had 44 goals and 38 assists in 57 games
  • His 44 goals and 82 points were the most by a rookie in the CHL and the QMJHL
  • His 38 assists were the most by a rookie in the QMJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and seven assists in nine games
  • At the World Juniors, he had seven goals and an assist for the Czech Republic
  • Was selected with the sixth overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings at the 2018 NHL Draft


2018 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Goalie of the Year

Mitchel Benson

Mitchel Benson (Brooks Bandits)

  • Had a 43-12-1 record with a 2.20 goals against average and a .911 save percentage during his second AJHL season
  • His 43 wins were the most in the AJHL and the CJHL
  • His five shutouts were the most in the AJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 9-6 record with a 2.10 goals against average and a .921 save percentage
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to play for the NCAA’s Colgate Raiders next season

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Brandon Bodnar (Thunder Bay North Stars)

  • Had a 23-7-2 record with a 3.01 goals against average and a .892 save percentage in his third SJHL season and his first with Thunder Bay after two years with the Fort Frances Lakers
  • Was tied with Matthew Radomsky for the most shutouts in the CJHL with eight
  • His 23 wins and eight shutouts were the most in the SIJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 8-5 record with a 2.01 goals against average and a .936 save percentage
  • His eight wins and two shutouts were the most in the SIJHL playoffs
  • At the Dudley Hewitt Cup, he had a 2-2 record with a 2.75 goals against average and a .910 save percentage
  • Was named the SIJHL’s Goaltender of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to commit to a post-secondary program

Michael DiPietro

Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)

  • Had a 29-21-4 record with a 2.79 goals against average and a .910 save percentage in his third OHL season
  • His seven shutouts were the most in the OHL
  • Was tied with Carter Hart for the most shutouts in the CHL with seven
  • In the playoffs, he had a 2-4 record with a 2.81 goals against average and a .934 save percentage
  • His .934 save percentage was the best in the OHL playoffs
  • Was named the OHL Goaltender of the Year
  • He was part of Canada’s fourth place side at the World Hockey Championship but did not play in any games
  • A third round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Vancouver Canucks in May

Evan Fitzpatrick

Evan Fitzpatrick (Acadie-Bathurst Titan)

  • Had a 26-12-5 record with a 2.90 goals against average and a .893 save percentage in his fourth QMJHL season
  • He started the season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix and had a 9-9-4 record with a 3.48 goals against average and a .874 save percentage
  • Was traded to Acadie-Bathurst in January and had a 17-3-1 record with a 2.24 goals against average and a .915 save percentage
  • In the playoffs, he had a 16-4 record with a 2.10 goals against average and a .925 save percentage
  • His 16 wins and two shutouts were the most in the QMJHL playoffs
  • His 2.10 goals against average was the best in the QMJHL playoffs
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had a 3-1 record with a 2.96 goals against average and a .906 save percentage
  • Became the first goalie since Adam Dennis of the London Knights in 2005 to have a shutout in the Memorial Cup final
  • A second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the St. Louis Blues in March 2017

Kaden Fulcher

Kaden Fulcher (Hamilton Bulldogs)

  • Had a 32-17-6 record with a 2.86 goals against average and a .899 save percentage in his third OHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had a 16-5 record with a 2.70 goals against average and a .905 save percentage
  • His 16 wins were the most in the OHL playoffs
  • His .905 save percentage was the best in the OHL playoffs
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had a 2-2 record with a 2.27 goals against average and a .918 save percentage
  • An undrafted player, he signed an entry level contract with the Detroit Red Wings in October

Matthew Galadja

Matthew Galadja (Cornell Big Red)

  • Had a 21-5-2 record with a 1.51 goals against average and a .939 save percentage in his freshman season in the NCAA after two years in the BCHL
  • His 1.51 goals against average was the best in the NCAA
  • His nine shutouts were the most in the NCAA
  • His 21 wins were the most by a freshman in the NCAA
  • His .939 save percentage was the best by a freshman in the NCAA
  • Was named the ECAC’s Goalie of the Year and Rookie of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to sign a pro contract

Mitchell Gibson

Mitchell Gibson (Lone Star Brahmas)

  • Had a 26-7-9 record with a 1.59 goals against average and a .935 save percentage during his first NAHL season after two years with the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers organization
  • His 11 shutouts were the most in the NAHL
  • His 1.59 goals against average and .935 save percentage were the best in the NAHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 5-3 record with a 1.37 goals against average and a .950 save percentage
  • His 1.37 goals against average and .950 save percentage were the best in the NAHL playoffs
  • Was named the NAHL’s Goalie and Rookie of the Year
  • Was selected in the fourth round by the Washington Capitals at the 2018 NHL Draft
  • Is committed to play for the NCAA’s Harvard Crimson for the 2019-20 season

Carter Hart.jpg

Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips)

  • Had a 31-6-4 record with a 1.60 goals against average and a .947 save percentage during his fourth WHL season
  • His 1.60 goals against average and .947 save percentage were the best in the CHL and the WHL
  • His seven shutouts were the most in the WHL
  • Was tied with Michael DiPietro for the most shutouts in the CHL with seven
  • In the playoffs, he had a 14-8 record with a 2.40 goals against average and a .921 save percentage
  • Was named CHL Goaltender of the Year for the second time in three years and won the WHL Goaltender of the Year award for the third straight season
  • Was the first goalie since Darcy Kuemper in 2010-11 to win the WHL Player of the Year award
  • At the World Juniors, he had a 5-1 record with a 1.81 goals against average and a .930 save percentage for Canada
  • A second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in October 2016

Samuel Harvey.jpg

Samuel Harvey (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies)

  • Had a 30-9-6 record with a 2.10 goals against average and a .930 save percentage during his fourth QMJHL season
  • His 2.10 goals against average and .930 save percentage were the best in the QMJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 3-4 record with a 2.17 goals against average and a .945 save percentage
  • His .945 save percentage was the best in the QMJHL playoffs
  • Was named QMJHL Goalie of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to sign a pro contract.

Jeremy Helvig

Jeremy Helvig (Kingston Frontenacs)

  • Had a 31-16-9 record with a 2.68 goals against average and a .916 save percentage during his fourth OHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had a 9-6 record with a 3.06 goals against average and a .909 save percentage
  • A fifth round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes in March

Connor Hicks

Connor Hicks (Ottawa Jr. Senators)

  • Had a 18-2-1 record with a 1.92 goals against average and a .933 save percentage during his first CCHL season after four years in the OHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 12-5 record with a 2.02 goals against average and a .920 save percentage
  • His 12 wins and two shutouts were the most in the CCHL Playoffs
  • Was named the CCHL Playoffs MVP
  • At the Fred Page Cup, he had a 4-0 record with a 1.44 goals against average and .933 save percentage
  • At the RBC Cup, he had a 2-3 record with a 2.63 goals against average and a .903 save percentage
  • He started the season with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, where he had a 1-1-1 record with a 3.93 goals against average and a .888 save percentage
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to the Dalhousie Tigers in U Sports for next season

Declan Hobbs

Declan Hobbs (Nipawin Hawks)

  • Had a 22-4-3 record with a 2.20 goals against average and a .919 save percentage in his second SJHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had an 11-5 record with a 2.10 goals against average and a .929 save percentage
  • His 11 wins were the most in the SJHL playoffs
  • In the Anavet Cup, he had a 2-4 record with a 3.02 goals against average and a .907 save percentage
  • Split the SJHL Goaltender of the Year honours with Justen Close
  • He also spent time in the WHL with the Spokane Chiefs, where he had a 1-1-0 record with a 2.44 goals against average and a .894 save percentage
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to commit to a U Sports program.

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Nolan Kent (Spruce Grove Saints)

  • Had a 15-4-0 record with a 1.52 goals against average and a .934 save percentage during his second AJHL season
  • His 1.52 goals against average and a .935 save percentage were the best in the AJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 12-1 record with a 1.58 goals against average and a .923 save percentage
  • His 12 wins and four shutouts were the most in the AJHL Playoffs
  • His 1.58 goals against average was the best in the AJHL Playoffs
  • In the Doyle Cup, he had a 1-4 record with a 3.36 goals against average and a .903 save percentage
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to the NCAA’s Northern Michigan Wildcats for next season

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Strauss Mann (Fargo Force)

  • Had a 22-8-3 record with a 1.86 goals against average and a .932 save percentage during his first USHL season after two years at Brunswick School
  • In the playoffs, he had an 11-3 record with a 2.09 goals against average and a .932 save percentage
  • His 11 wins were the most in the USHL Playoffs
  • Was tied with Jared Moe for the most shutouts in the USHL Playoffs with two
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines for the 2019-20 season

Cale Morris

Cale Morris (Notre Dame Fighting Irish)

  • Had a 27-8-1 record with a 1.94 goals against average and a .944 save percentage during his sophomore season in the NCAA
  • His 27 wins were the most in the NCAA
  • Was tied for Colton Point for the best save percentage in the NCAA with a .944 mark
  • Was named Big Ten Goaltender of the Year and Player of the Year
  • Won the Mike Richter Award as the top goalie in the NCAA
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to sign a pro contract

Riley Morris

Riley Morris (Okotoks Oilers)

  • Had a 31-2-2 record with a 1.98 goals against average and a .922 save percentage during his fourth AJHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had a 9-6 record with a 2.18 goals against average and a .916 save percentage
  • Was named the AJHL and CJHL Goalie of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to commit to a post-secondary program

Zach Sawchenko Rookie.jpg

Zach Sawchenko (Alberta Golden Bears)

  • Had a 12-1-0 record with a 2.12 goals against average and a .911 save percentage during his freshman season in U Sports after four years in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors
  • In the Canada West playoffs, he had a 1-0 record with a 1.00 goals against average and a .966 save percentage
  • At the University Cup, he had a 2-0 record with a 1.95 goals against average and a .917 save percentage
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to sign a pro contract

Pats/Broncos

Stuart Skinner (Swift Current Broncos)

  • Had a 30-21-4 record with a 3.07 goals against average and a .905 save percentage during his fourth WHL season
  • He started the season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and had a 14-15-2 record with a 3.38 goals against average and a .897 save percentage
  • Was traded to Swift Current in January and had a 16-6-2 record with a 2.68 goals against average and a .914 save percentage
  • In the playoffs, he had a 16-10 record with a 2.20 goals against average and a .932 save percentage
  • His 16 wins and six shutouts were the most in the WHL Playoffs
  • His 2.20 goals against average and .932 save percentage were the best in the WHL Playoffs
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had a 0-3 record with a 4.02 goals against average and a .902 save percentage
  • A third round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Edmonton Oilers in May

Matthew Thiessen

Matthew Thiessen (Steinbach Pistons)

  • Had a 28-3-1 record with a 2.06 goals against average and a .923 save percentage during his first MJHL season after one year with the Rink Hockey Academy
  • His 2.06 goals against average was the best in the MJHL
  • Was tied with Troy Martinyuk for the most wins in the MJHL with 28
  • His 28 wins were the most by a rookie in the CJHL and MJHL
  • His .923 save percentage was the best by a rookie in the MJHL
  • Was tied Ethan Peterson for most shutouts by a rookie in the MJHL with two
  • In the playoffs, he had a 10-4 record with a 1.60 goals against average and a .944 save percentage
  • His four shutouts were the most in the MJHL playoffs
  • His 1.58 goals against average and .944 save percentage were the best in the MJHL playoffs
  • Was tied with Riley McVeigh for the most wins in the MJHL playoffs with 10
  • In the Anavet Cup, he had a 4-2 record with a 2.47 goals against average and a .904 save percentage
  • At the RBC Cup, he had a 0-1 record with a 3.03 goals against average and a .896 save percentage
  • Was selected in the seventh round by the Vancouver Canucks at the 2018 NHL Draft
  • Has committed to the NCAA’s Maine Black Bears for the 2019-20 season

Matthew Villalta.jpg

Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

  • Had a 40-5-4 record with a 2.58 goals against average and a .908 save percentage during his second OHL season
  • His 40 wins were the most in the CHL and OHL
  • His 2.58 goals against average was the best in the OHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a 14-9 record with a 3.30 goals against average and a .893 save percentage
  • Was tied with Mario Culina for the most shutouts in the OHL playoffs with one
  • A third round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings in April


2018 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Defenceman of the Year

Jacob Bernard-Docker

Jacob Bernard-Docker (Okotoks Oilers)

  • Had 20 goals and 21 assists in 49 games during his second AJHL season
  • His 20 goals were the most by all defencemen in the AJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had seven goals and seven assists in 15 games
  • His seven goals, 14 points and 0.93 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the AJHL playoffs
  • Was named the AJHL’s and the CJHL’s Defenceman of the Year
  • At the World Junior A Challenge, he had a goal and two assists in five games for Canada West
  • Was selected with the 26th overall pick by the Ottawa Senators at the 2018 NHL Draft
  • Has committed to play for the NCAA’s North Dakota Fighting Hawks next season

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Evan Bouchard (London Knights)

  • Had 25 goals and 62 assists in 67 games during his third OHL season
  • His 62 assists and 87 points were the most by all defencemen in the CHL and the OHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and four assists in five games
  • Was selected with the 10th overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers at the 2018 NHL Draft

Dennis Cesana

Dennis Cesana (Brooks Bandits)

  • Had 14 goals and 61 assists in 60 games during his second AJHL season
  • His 61 assists were the most in the AJHL
  • His 75 points and 1.25 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the AJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had four goals and eight assists in 12 games
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to play for the NCAA’s Michigan State Spartans next season

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Kale Clague (Moose Jaw Warriors)

  • Had 11 goals and 60 assists in 54 games during his fourth WHL season
  • His 1.31 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the CHL and the WHL
  • His 60 assists were the most by all defencemen in the WHL
  • He started the season with the Brandon Wheat Kings and had 10 goals and 37 assists in 28 games
  • Was traded to Moose Jaw in January and had a goal and 23 assists in 26 games
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and 13 assists in 14 games
  • Was named the WHL’s Top Defenceman
  • At the World Juniors, he had two assists in six games for Canada
  •  A second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings in March 2017

Rasmus Dahlin

Rasmus Dahlin (Frolunda)

  • Had seven goals and 13 assists in 41 games in his second SHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and two assists in six games
  • At the World Juniors, he had six assists in seven games for Sweden
  • He was named at the Top Defenceman at the World Juniors
  • At the Winter Olympics, he had an assist in two games for Sweden
  • Was selected with the first overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2018 NHL Draft

Acadie-Bathurst Titan v Gatineau Olympiques

Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst Titan)

  • Had 17 points and 52 assists in 67 games during his second QMJHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had three goals and 10 assists in 20 games
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had two goals and five assists in four games
  • At the Ivan Hlinka, he had three assists in five games for Canada
  • Was selected with the 12th overall pick by the New York Islanders at the 2018 NHL Draft

Sean Durzi

Sean Durzi (Owen Sound Attack)

  • Had 15 goals and 34 assists in 40 games during his third OHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had four goals and 12 assists in 16 games
  • His 1.45 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the OHL playoffs
  • Was selected in the second round by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2018 NHL Draft

Cal Foote

Cal Foote (Kelowna Rockets)

  • Had 19 goals and 51 assists in 60 games during his third WHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and five assists in four games
  • At the World Juniors, he had three assists in seven games for Canada
  • The 14th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning in April
  • Had a goal in six AHL regular season games and had a goal and an assist in seven playoff games for the Syracuse Crunch

Jason Fram

Jason Fram (Alberta Golden Bears)

  • Had nine goals and 14 assists in 28 games during his sophomore season in U Sports
  • In the Canada West playoffs, he had two goals and two assists in four games
  • At the University Cup, he had a goal and four assists in three games
  • Was named the Canada West and U Sports Defenceman of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to sign a pro contract

Olivier Galipeau

Olivier Galipeau (Acadie-Bathurst Titan)

  • Had 25 goals and 49 assists in 67 games during his fifth QMJHL season
  • His 25 goals and 74 points were the most by all defencemen in the QMJHL
  • Started the season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and had 15 goals and 25 assists in 37 games
  • Was traded to Acadie-Bathurst in January and had 10 goals and 24 assists in 30 games
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and 15 assists in 20 games
  • His 15 assists and 20 points were the most by all defencemen in the QMJHL playoffs
  • Was tied with Adam Holwell for the most goals by all defenceman in the QMJHL playoffs with five
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had three assists in four games
  • Was named the QMJHL’s Defenceman of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has yet to sign a pro contract

Darby Gula

Darby Gula (Steinbach Pistons)

  • Had 14 goals and 47 assists in 56 games during his third MJHL season
  • His 14 goals, 47 assists, 61 points and 1.09 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the MJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and eight assists in 16 games
  • In the Anavet Cup, he had two goals and two assists in six games
  • At the RBC Cup, he had two goals in four games
  • Was named the MJHL’s Top Defenceman
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to play for the NCAA’s Bemidji State Beavers next season

Nicolas Hague of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Nicolas Hague (Mississauga Steelheads)

  • Had 35 goals and 43 assists in 67 games during his third OHL season
  • His 35 goals were the most by all defencemen in the CHL and the OHL
  • In the playoffs, he had four assists in six games
  • Was named the CHL and OHL Defenceman of the Year
  • A second round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Vegas Golden Knights in September
  • He had an assist in five AHL games for the Chicago Wolves and also suited up in three playoff games

Connor Lovie

Connor Lovie (Cochrane Crunch)

  • Had 15 goals and 34 assists in 54 games during his fourth NOJHL season
  • His 49 points were the most by all defencemen in the NOJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had three goals and 13 assists in 16 games
  • His 13 assists, 16 points and 1.00 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the NOJHL playoffs
  • At the Dudley Hewitt Cup, he had an assist in three games
  • Was named the NOJHL’s Most Valuable Player, Top Defenceman and Playoff MVP
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to the Waterloo Warriors in U Sports for next season

Cale Makar of UMass photo courtesy of UMass.

Cale Makar (UMass Minutemen)

  • Had five goals and 16 assists in 34 games during his freshman season in the NCAA
  • At the World Juniors, he had three goals and five assists for Canada in seven games
  • His eight points were the most by all defencemen at the World Juniors
  • The fourth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he has yet to sign a contract with the Colorado Avalanche

Josh McDougall

Josh McDougall (Nipawin Hawks)

  • Had 17 goals and 57 assists in 55 games during his second SJHL season
  • His 57 assists, 74 points and 1.35 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the SJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had six goals and 14 assists in 16 games
  • His six goals, 14 assists, 20 points and 1.25 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the SJHL playoffs
  • In the Anavet Cup, he had a goal and two assists in six games
  • Was named the SJHL’s Defenceman of the Year
  • Has gone undrafted the last two years and is eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft
  • Is committed to the NCAA’s Mercyhurst Lakers for next season

David Quenneville

David Quenneville (Medicine Hat Tigers)

  • Had 26 goals and 54 assists in 70 games during his fourth WHL season
  • His 26 goals and 80 points were the most by all defencemen in the WHL
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and seven assists in six games
  • A seventh round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the New York Islanders in April
  • He played in three AHL games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the end of the season

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Colby Sissons (Swift Current Broncos)

  • Had 13 goals and 58 assists in 72 games during his third WHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and 18 assists in 26 games
  • His 18 assists and 23 points were the most by all defencemen in the WHL playoffs
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had a goal and three assists in three games
  • An undrafted player, he signed an entry level contract with the New Jersey Devils in October 2016

Ty Smith

Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs)

  • Had 14 goals and 59 assists in 69 games during his second WHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had two goals and five assists in seven games
  • Was named the WHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year
  • At the World Under-18’s, he had no points in five games for Canada
  • At the Ivan Hlinka, he had three assists in five games for Canada
  • Was selected with the 17th overall pick by the New Jersey Devils at the 2018 NHL Draft

Conor Timmins

Conor Timmins (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

  • Had eight goals and 33 assists in 36 games during his third OHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and 13 assists in 23 games
  • Was tied with Riley Stillman for the most goals by all defencemen in the OHL playoffs with five and was tied with Benjamin Gleason for the most points by all defencemen in the OHL playoffs with 18
  • At the World Juniors, he had a goal and four assists in seven games for Canada
  • His +15 rating was the best plus/minus mark at the World Juniors
  • A second round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Colorado Avalanche in March

Cooper Zech

Cooper Zech (Wenatchee Wild)

  • Had 11 goals and 58 assists in 58 games during his first season in the BCHL after half a year in the USHL
  • His 58 assists were the most in the BCHL
  • His 69 points and 1.19 points per game were the most by all defencemen in the BCHL
  • In the playoffs, he had four goals and 19 assists in 20 games
  • His 19 assists and 23 points were the most by all defenceman in the BCHL playoffs
  • In the Doyle Cup, he had two goals and three assists in five games
  • At the RBC Cup, he had a goal and three assists in five games
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to play for the NCAA’s Ferris State Bulldogs next season


2018 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Forward of the Year

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Alex Barre-Boulet (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada)

  • Had 53 goals and 63 assists in 65 games during his fourth QMJHL season
  • His 53 goals, 63 assists and 116 points were the most in the QMJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had 13 goals and 14 assists in 19 games
  • Was named the CHL’s Player of the Year and the QMJHL’s Most Valuable Player
  • An undrafted player, he signed an entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning in March

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Brayden Burke (Moose Jaw Warriors)

  • Had 31 goals and 82 assists in 61 games during his fourth WHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had 9 goals and 12 assists in 14 games
  • An undrafted player, he signed an entry level contract with the Arizona Coyotes in March
  • He played in two AHL playoff games with the Tucson Roadrunners

Ryan Donato

Ryan Donato (Harvard Crimson)

  • Had 26 goals and 17 assists in 29 games in his junior season in the NCAA
  • Was named ECAC Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award
  • At the Winter Olympics, he had five goals and an assist in five games for the United States
  • His five goals were the most in the Winter Olympics
  • A second round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level deal with the Boston Bruins in March
  • Had five goals and four assists in 12 games for the Bruins and suited up in three playoff games

Morgan Frost

Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

  • Had 42 goals and 70 assists in 67 games during his third OHL season
  • His +70 rating was the best plus/minus mark in the OHL
  • Was tied with Jordan Kyrou for the most assists in the OHL with 70
  • In the playoffs, he had 10 goals and 19 assists in 24 games
  • The 24th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in August

Adam Gaudette

Adam Gaudette (Northeastern Huskies)

  • Had 30 goals and 30 assists in 38 games during his junior season in the NCAA
  • His 30 goals, 60 points and 1.15 points per game were the most in the NCAA
  • Was named the Hobey Baker Award winner and Hockey East Player of the Year
  • A fifth round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Vancouver Canucks in March
  • He played in five NHL games for the Canucks during the regular season

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Glenn Gawdin (Swift Current Broncos)

  • Had 56 goals and 69 assists in 67 games during his fifth WHL season
  • His +61 rating was the best plus/minus mark in the WHL
  • In the playoffs, he had 14 goals and 18 assists in 24 games
  • Was named the WHL Playoffs MVP
  • In the Memorial Cup, he had two goals and an assist in three games
  • After not being signed by the St. Louis Blues after they picked him in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Calgary Flames in November

Jayden Halbgewachs

Jayden Halbgewachs (Moose Jaw Warriors)

  • Had 70 goals and 59 assists in his fourth WHL season
  • His 70 goals and 129 points were the most in the CHL and the WHL
  • In the playoffs, he had four goals and four assists in 14 games
  • Was named the CHL’s Top Scorer of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he signed an entry level contract with the San Jose Sharks in December

Aleksi Heponiemi

Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current Broncos)

  • Had 28 goals and 90 assists in his second WHL season
  • His 90 assists and 2.07 points per game were the most in the CHL and the WHL
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and 25 assists in 26 games
  • His 25 assists were the most in the WHL playoffs
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had a goal and three assists in four games
  • Was named the CHL’s Sportsman of the Year
  • At the World Juniors, he had two goals in five games for Finland
  • A second round pick in 2017 NHL Draft, he has yet to sign with the Florida Panthers and will play in Finland for Karpat next season

Boris Katchouk

Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

  • Had 42 goals and 43 assists in 58 games during his third OHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had 19 goals and 18 assists in 24 games
  • His 19 goals and 37 points were the most in the OHL playoffs
  • At the World Juniors, he had three goals and three assists in seven games for Canada
  • A second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning last April

Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)

  • Had 39 goals and 70 assists in 56 games during his fourth OHL season
  • His 1.95 points per game were the most in the OHL
  • Was tied with Morgan Frost for the most assists in the OHL with 70
  • In the playoffs, he had three goals and an assist in 12 games
  • Was named the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player
  • At the World Juniors, he had three goals and seven assists in seven games for Canada
  • A second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the St. Louis Blues in July 2016

Aaron Luchuk

Aaron Luchuk (Barrie Colts)

  • Had 50 goals and 65 assists in 68 games during his fourth OHL season
  • His 115 points were the most in the OHL
  • Was tied with Dmitry Sokolov for the most goals in the OHL with 50
  • Started the season with the Windsor Spitfires and had 28 goals and 23 assists in 30 games
  • Was traded to Barrie in December and had 22 goals and 42 assists in 38 games
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and 12 assists in 17 games
  • Was named the OHL’s Overage Player of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he signed an entry level contract with the Ottawa Senators in December

Ty Ronning

Ty Ronning (Vancouver Giants)

  • Had 61 goals and 23 assists in 70 games during his fifth WHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and six assists in seven games
  • A seventh round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the New York Rangers in March
  • He played in three AHL games with the Hartford Wolf Pack during the regular season

Dmitry Sokolov of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Dmitry Sokolov (Barrie Colts)

  • Had 50 goals and 46 assists in 64 games during his third OHL season
  • Was tied with Aaron Luchuk for the most goals in the OHL with 50
  • Started the season with the Sudbury Wolves and had 20 goals and 18 assists in 35 games
  • Was traded to Barrie in January and had 30 goals and 28 assists in 29 games
  • In the playoffs, he had eight goals and seven assists in 12 games
  • At the World Juniors, he had a goal and two assists in five games for Russia
  • A seventh round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Minnesota Wild in May

Sam Steel

Sam Steel (Regina Pats)

  • Had 33 goals and 50 assists in 54 games during his fourth WHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had a goal and 10 assists in seven games
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had two goals and 11 assists in five games
  • His 11 assists and 13 points were the most at the Memorial Cup
  • Was named the Memorial Cup’s Most Valuable Player
  • At the World Juniors, he had four goals and five assists in seven games for Canada
  • The 30th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Anaheim Ducks in December 2016

Tyler Steenbergen

Tyler Steenbergen (Swift Current Broncos)

  • Had 47 goals and 55 assists in 56 games during his fourth WHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had 12 goals and 15 assists in 26 games
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had a goal in one game before being sidelined with a concussion
  • At the World Juniors, he had a goal and an assist in seven games
  • He scored the game winning goal for Canada in the World Junior gold medal game
  • A fifth round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Arizona Coyotes in March

Andrei Svechnikov

Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts)

  • Had 40 goals and 32 assists in 44 games in his first OHL season after one year in the USHL
  • His 1.64 points per game were the most by rookie players in the CHL and the OHL
  • His 40 goals and 72 points were the most by a rookie player in the OHL
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and six assists in eight games
  • Was named the CHL’s Top Prospect of the Year and the OHL’s Rookie of the Year
  • At the World Juniors, he had five assists in five games for Russia
  • Was selected with the second overall pick by the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2018 NHL Draft

Jeffrey Truchon-Viel

Jeffrey Truchon-Viel (Acadie-Bathurst Titan)

  • Had 39 goals and 23 assists in 58 games during his fourth QMJHL season
  • In the playoffs, he had 14 goals and nine assists in 20 games
  • Was named the QMJHL Playoffs MVP
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had three goals and seven assists in four games
  • An undrafted player, he signed a contract with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda in May

Chris Van Os-Shaw

Chris Van Os-Shaw (Spruce Grove Saints)

  • Had 51 goals and 46 assists in 59 games during his first AJHL season after two years in the SJHL
  • His 51 goals and 97 points were the most in the AJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had 11 goals and eight assists in 11 games
  • His 11 goals and 1.73 points per game were the most in the AJHL playoffs
  • In the Doyle Cup, he had no points in two games
  • Was named the AJHL’s and CJHL’s Most Valuable Player and the CJHL’s Top Forward
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to play for the NCAA’s Minnesota State Mavericks next season

Gabriel Vilardi

Gabriel Vilardi (Kingston Frontenacs)

  • Had 22 points and 36 assists in 32 games during his third OHL season
  • After missing the first half of the season due to an injury, he was traded by the Windsor Spitfires to Kingston in January
  • In the playoffs, he had 11 goals and 11 assists in 16 games
  • The 11th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, he signed an entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings in March

Layne Young

Layne Young (Battlefords North Stars)

  • Had 35 assists and 72 assists in 57 games during his third SJHL season
  • His 35 goals, 72 assists, 107 points and 1.88 points per game were the most in the SJHL
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and 10 assists in nine games
  • Was named the SJHL’s Most Valuable Player and Player of the Year
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to play for the Saskatchewan Huskies in U Sports next year


The Punkari Brothers Preview the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier

Written By Brett Punkari (With Cameos by Lucas Punkari)

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Now that the Olympics are officially over it’s time to return to the Season Of Champions. We are now going to look at the 2018 edition of the Tim Hortons Brier, which returns to Regina for the first time since 2006 when Jean-Michel Menard defeated Glenn Howard in the final.

This year’s field is mostly a top heavy lineup with a mix of returning veterans and first timers, with seven contenders having a possible chance of winning it all. As always, we’ll go through our top fifteen teams as a whole and mention the two wildcard teams at the end.

Firstly, here’s each Pool, which will see the top four teams advance to the championship round for a shot at the playoffs.

Pool A

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Canada
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Wildcard
  • Yukon

Pool B

  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Northern Ontario
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

    1) Team Canada (Bally Haly Golf & Curling Club – St. John’s)

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Skip – Brad Gushue, Vice – Mark “Bam Bam” Nichols, Second – Brett Gallant, Lead – Geoff Walker

Grand Slam Record – 18-5 (Champion, Champion, Quarter-Finalist, DNQ)

For a team that a lot of people penciled in to make the Olympics, their third place result at the Trials had to be a bit disappointing. Despite that, Gushue’s the odds-on favourite to win a second straight Brier title, especially if he has his early season form where no one could touch him on the Grand Slam circuit. They did struggle a little bit early on in Ottawa as they got to grips with things on their mechanics, but I don’t think they should have any issues in Regina. Having won it all last year, Gushue has nothing to lose as they seem set to go on another four-year run barring a lineup change.

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1) Team Canada (Brad Gushue)

Olympic Trials disappointment aside, the Gushue rink has been the team to beat over the last calendar year and they come in to Regina as the easy favourites. With not as much pressure as there was a year ago playing at home, expect the Newfoundland squad to have a strong week with a couple of challenges here or there. They may have struggled a little bit at some recent events, but we said that about Kevin Koe the last two years and they did okay at the Brier. 

2) Manitoba (West St. Paul Curling Club – Winnipeg)

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Skip – Reid Carruthers, Vice – “Pimp” Braeden Moskowy, Second – Derek Samagalski, Lead – Colin Hodgson

Grand Slam Record – 10-10 (DNQ, Quarter-Finalist, Quarter-Finalist, Quarter-Finalist)

This season has been full of ups and downs for Reid Carruthers, especially after just missing out on the playoffs at the Roar of the Rings. That being said, they’ve bounced back in style by running the table at the Manitoba Provincials. Their first trip to the Brier together in 2015 left a lot to be desired with a 4-7 record, but these guys have more experience under their belts and they can make a ton of shots. If they play at their best, they should easily make the playoffs and give Carruthers a chance to win his first title as a skip.

World Mixed Double Curling Championship 2017, Lethbridge, Canada

2) Manitoba (Reid Carruthers)

Over the last couple of years, Carruthers has led one of the top rinks on the men’s side but hasn’t the result to show for it. Well other than last year’s runner-up with Joanne ‘Frizz’ Courtney in the mixed doubles worlds, but that’s another story. Given how well they’ve played from top to bottom, Carruthers has a great chance to defeat Gushue if they come out of the gates strong. Plus, with the Brier being in Regina, you can bet that Moskowy will want to play well in front of his hometown. 

3) Northern Ontario (Community First Curling Centre – Sault Ste. Marie)

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Skip – Brad Jacobs “Cups”, Vice – Ryan “Medium Size” Fry, Second – E.J. Harnden, Lead – Ryan “Pete” Harnden

Grand Slam Record – 14-7 (Semi-Finalist, Quarter-Finalist, DNQ, Semi-Finalist)

Speaking of teams who have had up and down stretches, Brad Jacobs got off to a pretty promising start to the season until the Roar Of The Rings where things just fell apart and they missed out on the playoffs. Then at the Northern Ontario provincials, Jacobs had to grind his way big time through the playoffs as he won a tie-breaker game then came from behind to beat Canadian Junior runner-up Tanner Horgan. Those showings remind me a bit of what this rink went through in 2013 and 2014 where they always did things the hard way way before winning. With that said, if the provincial win gives them their confidence back, the rest of the field needs to watch out.

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3) Northern Ontario (Brad Jacobs)

Not only is the beard back, but this squad has already announced that they’ll be back for another four-year cycle and another run at the Olympics. With a nothing to lose attitude, I expect them to be in the mix once again to win it all. Like we said in Ottawa though, they’ll need to get wins early or risk getting down on themselves and falling out of the mix.

4) Alberta (Saville Community Sports Centre – Edmonton)

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Skip – Brendan Bottcher, Vice – Darren Moulding, Second – Brad Thiessen, Lead – Karrick “The Jackhammer” Martin

Grand Slam Record – 8-3 (Semi-Finalist, Quarter-Finalist – Only competed in two Slams)

Brendan Bottcher has been putting in some pretty good performances this season, including being our biggest surprise at the Olympic Trials. Out of the other potential contenders that aren’t the main title threats, I feel like this rink is the most consistent out of the group, even if their shooting percentages don’t quite add up. Sure they didn’t do well at the Brier last year with a 3-8 record, but Bottcher and the rest of the team should have a much improved showing, especially with being in an easier pool.

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4) Ontario (John Epping)

Now that he’s finally won a provincial title as a skip and handing the title of best curler yet to make a Brier to Jason Gunnlaugson (?!?!?!) in the process, expect Epping to hit the ground running in Regina. We’ve talked a lot about his ability to make crazy run-backs out of nothing and I expect to see some of those great shots all week long. I’m not sure he’ll make the final, but he’s an instant threat for a championship nevertheless. 

5) Ontario (Leaside Curling Club – Toronto)

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Skip – “Big” John Epping, Vice – Matt Camm, Second – Patrick Janssen, Lead – Tim March

Grand Slam Record – 11-10 (Quarter-Finalist, DNQ, Semi-Finalist, DNQ)

Well it finally happened, John Epping beat Glenn Howard in a provincial final (only took you 12 years). Anyway, of the title contenders this is one of the wild cards as we really don’t know how Epping and his team will perform. They’ll play well as a group or be off their game and force John into making his insane runbacks. There’s pretty much no in between here, but I think Epping will be riding high after making a Brier and be a playoff threat. Oh, and he’ll make two big runbacks this week.

Portage la Prarie Mb.January 2, 2018.Canad Inn Mixed Doubles Curling Trials.Dana Ferguson, Brendan Bottcher. Curling Canada/ michael burns photo

5) Alberta (Brendan Bottcher)

If there’s any team that can break up the status quo in the playoffs, it’s this squad. Having been to a Brier before and coming off a strong showing at the Olympic Trials, the Bottcher rink is continuing their rise through the ranks. A top four finish might come around in their next trip to the nationals, but a tiebreaker game wouldn’t shock me.

6) Saskatchewan (Nutana Curling Club – Saskatoon)

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Skip – Steve Laycock, Vice – Matt Dunstone, Second – Kirk Muyers, Lead – Dallan Muyers

Grand Slam Record – 3-6 (Quarter-Finalist, DNQ – Only competed in two slams)

After a pretty rough year and a half, Steve Laycock has somewhat righted the ship with the chance to compete at his home province’s Brier, even though he had to take the Brad Jacobs route to win Saskatchewan. It’s kind of difficult to tell how Laycock will perform, since we haven’t seen a lot of him this year and he didn’t play well at the Roar of the Rings. This will be a coming-out party for fourth stone thrower Matt Dunstone, another former Canadian Junior champion who has awesome hitting ability. I expect Dunstone to stand on his head this week and there’s a chance here for a winning record with the rest of the team’s experience at the Brier.

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6) Saskatchewan (Steve Laycock)

Like his fellow Manitoban Shannon Birchard did at the Scotties, Dunstone has a chance to have a huge breakout week on a national stage in Regina. With Saskatchewan still looking for their first Brier title since 1980, Laycock is still the best bet to end that drought, though his bronze medal showing in 2015 is quickly fading in the rear view mirror. Like Bottcher, he can get in a tiebreaker but the playoffs might be a tall task.

7) Nova Scotia (Halifax Curling Club)

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Skip – Jamie “Don’t Call Me Charlie” Murphy, Vice – Paul Flemming, Second – Scott Saccary, Lead – Philip Crowell

Grand Slam Record – N/A

Jamie Murphy returns to the Brier for the fourth as he looks to build off of his 4-7 showing a year ago. He did have some close games in the round-robin last year, so he won’t be a push over for anyone. Plus, he’s in the easier of the two pools, so he has a good chance of making it to the championship round.

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7) Nova Scotia (Jamie Murphy)

There’s a bit of a drop-off when it comes from the top teams to the rest of the pack, but Murphy should lead the way when it comes to the second half of the field. Given how well the Bluenosers women’s team did at the Scotties, I’m sure Murphy and his team want to match that performance. If they get to the Championship round, anything is possible.

8) British Columbia (Kelowna Curling Club)

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Skip – Sean Geall, Vice – Jeff Richard, Second – Andrew Nerpin, Lead – David Harper

Grand Slam Record – N/A

In the first of two provincial surprises we’ll talk about in this preview, Sean Geall makes his first trip to the Brier since going 6-5 in 2009 after upsetting Jim Cotter. Geall’s been a contender in British Columbia for quite a long time and having another former Brier competitor in Jeff Richard on the roster should help a bit. It’s tough to say how they’ll end up, but like Nova Scotia, they are in an easier pool and have a good chance of making it into the championship pool.

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8) Northwest Territories (Jamie Koe)

Having returned from causing chaos in South Korea while watching his brother at the Olympics, national hero Jamie Koe is back at the Brier yet again. The last time the event was held in Saskatchewan, he led the Northwest Territories to a fourth place showing at the 2012 Brier in Saskatoon. I don’t expect him to match that result, but his Twitter feed will be the star of the event as he runs wild in the #Patch.

9) Quebec (Glenmore Curling Club – Dollard-des-Ormeaux)

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Skip – Mike Fournier, Vice – Felix Asselin, Second – William Dion, Lead – Jean-Francois Trepanier

Grand Slam Record – N/A

In the other upset of the provincials Mike Fournier knocked off multi-time Quebec champion Jean-Michel Menard in a slugfest of a final. Fournier does have a couple of former junior players in the lineup in Felix Asselin and former national champion William Dion, so that should help them out a bit, even though they are in a tougher pool compared to some of the other mid-pack teams.

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9) British Columbia (Sean Geall)

After a great last shot to beat Jim Cotter, Geall is back at the Brier and has a good shot of making the championship round if things work out. Jeff Richard is a great pick up to the rink and British Columbia usually has some fairly good curlers waiting in the wings behind the big names. Don’t be shocked if this ends up being out surprise team of the week.

10) Northwest Territories (Yellowknife Curling Centre)

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Skip – Jamie Koe “Patch”, Vice – Chris Schille, Second – Brad Chorostkowski, Lead – Robert Borden

Grand Slam Record-N/A

So the king of the patch is back to drink and party, along with apparently having to curl in between. Last year was a week to forget with a 1-10 record, but he did hand Brad Gushue his last loss before he ran the table at the Brier and the Worlds. This rink isn’t a pushover for anyone and the pool format might allow him to contend for more wins. Or Jamie can just go party in the #patch as he usually does.

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10) New Brunswick (James Grattan)

Remember when Grattan finished third in 1997 as a skip and again in 2002 as the third for Russ Howard? Those were good times. He has been in the middle part of the field in his last trips in 2013 and 2014 so there’s a chance he could surprise here in Regina. I just don’t see it happening.

11) New Brunswick (The Gage Golf & Country Club in Oromoctooooooooooo, New Brunswick)

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Skip – James Grattan, Vice – Chris Jeffrey, Second – Andy McCann (With a great Expos hat!), Lead – Peter Case

Grand Slam Record – N/A

It’s been four years since we’ve seen James Grattan at the Brier and his results have been mixed as a skip along the way. The usual problems will probably come up during the week with the teams from the East Coast having to play on different ice surfaces, and that will probably happen early on. If they can get a couple of wins early, they might be in the playoff hunt. Also, how did New Brunswick get Papa John’s to sponsor their playdowns?

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11) Quebec (Mike Fournier)

Like British Columbia, Quebec is another province where the depth is pretty solid even if the big favourite doesn’t come through. Having two top junior alumni should help Fournier out, but it’s hard to see him cracking the top half of the field at the Brier given what’s ahead of him.

12) Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown Curling Club)

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Skip – Eddie Mackenzie, Vice – Josh Barry, Second – Christopher Gallant, Lead – Sean Ledgerwood

Grand Slam Record – N/A

One person who is glad the pre-qualifying round is gone is Eddie Mackenzie as he missed out on the main event last year. He’s been to the Brier but has not had a lot of success with his best result being a 4-7 showing in 2014. The addition of Josh Barry at vice should help them get a few more wins, but he’ll be in tough as he’s in the harder of the two pools.

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12) Yukon (Thomas Scoffin)

Like Sarah Koltun, Scoffin is the future of curling in the Territories once national hero Jamie Koe retires to open #Patch Breweries or something along those lines. It will be a learning week for this talented youngster but expect Scoffin to make some noise in the years to come, especially if some lineup changes happen in the next few months and he joins a veteran lineup.

13) Yukon (Whitehorse Curling Club)

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Skip – Thomas Scoffin, Vice – Tom Appleman, Second – Wade Scoffin, Lead – Steve Fecteau

Grand Slam Record – N/A

A seven-time Canadian junior participant that led the Yukon to a 7-5 record in 2011 and won a silver medal with Alberta in 2012 after losing to Matt Dunstone in the final, Thomas Scoffin has returned to his home province with a pretty solid squad. Not only is he playing with his dad, but he’s also brought along Tom Appleman who used to play with Brendan Bottcher. Like Jamie Koe has done with the Northwest Territories, Scoffin has a chance to carry the Yukon for many years. He might struggle this week, but if his success at the Juniors is any indication, expect him to pull off some big upsets over the next few years.

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13) Prince Edward Island (Eddie MacKenzie)

He’s gotten a little bit better after a few trips to the Brier, but it’s hard to see MacKenzie finishing anywhere else but the bottom of the field. With no true young talent set to lead a team after Adam Casey went to Saskatchewan, it might be a long while before Prince Edward Island is near the upper half of the standings.

14) Newfoundland & Labrador (Bally Haly Golf & Curling Club – St. John’s)

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Skip – Greg Smith, Vice – Matthew Hunt, Second – Andrew Taylor, Lead – Ian Withycombe

(Could Curling Canada not get a better photo than this blurry one of the rink?)

Grand Slam Record – N/A

This is where we find out what the depth of curling in Newfoundland is like on the men’s side if someone other than Brad Gushue makes it to the Brier. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to see plenty of teams in the provincials after just two took part a couple of years ago, but this is going to be a long week for Smith. With that said, it’s going to be a big help to have someone else at the Brier from the province. I mean, Gushue can’t play forever right?

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14) Newfoundland & Labrador (Greg Smith)

Had the defending U Sports national champion Adam Boland won the provincials, I may have had this province in a higher slot. Granted, Smith did represent Newfoundland at the juniors a few years ago, but I suspect this will be a long week for the rink. They will get to play Gushue though, so that will be fun.

15) Nunavut (Iqualit Curling Club)

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Skip – Dave St. Louis, Vice – Wade Kingdon, Second – Peter Mackey, Lead – Jeff Nadeau

Grand Slam Record – N/A

This is pretty much a similar story to our preview for the Scotties regarding this territory. Yes, Dave St. Louis will be able to get more games under his belt and be able to help Nunavut progress, but he’ll be in a really tough group and will have to play Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba and Northern Ontario along the way. Their might be some big blowouts coming, but if they can keep these games somewhat close it might be a good week.

Ottawa Ont.Mar 4, 2016.Tim Hortons Brier. Team Nunavut skip Wayne Kingdon, Curling Canada/ michael burns photo

15) Nunavut (Dave St. Louis)

The big question for Nunavut is of course if they will win a game this week. Their best chance would be against Prince Edward Island in Pool Play, but they may have a shot in the seeeding games to wrap up the week depending on who they face. Either way, it’s going to be a long week.

Wildcard Game Preview

Team Mike McEwen (Fort Rouge Curling Club – Winnipeg)

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Skip- “ Magic” Mike McEwen, Vice – B.J. Neufeld, Second – Matt Wozniak, Lead – Denni Neufeld

Grand Slam Record – 11-7 (Semi-Finalist, Semi-Finalist, Quarter-Finalist – Only competed in three slams)

This almost has a very similar feel to Chelsea Carey’s trip to the Scotties, as the Canadian Trials runner-up failed to win the provincials. Granted, McEwen missed almost all of the Manitoba provincials due to the chicken pox, which forced the team to play with just three guys and put B.J. Neufeld at skip. They made it to the finals, which saw McEwen make a shocking return at vice, but they came up just short against Reid Carruthers. McEwen is healthy once again and is the favourite to win this game. If he make it to the main field, he should easily make it to the podium.

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Provided he doesn’t look like Sickly Sam again, McEwen should bounce back from two tough losses and make it to the Brier field if all goes well in the winner-take-all contest. If he does make it there, this rink should be the biggest threat to knocking off Brad Gushue. It remains to be seen if this lineup will stay intact after the season, so this might be their last shot at a major crown if changes are in store.

Team Jason Gunnlaugson (Granite Curling Club – Winnipeg)

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Skip – “Gunner” Jason Gunnlaugson, Vice – Alex Forrest, Second – Ian McMillan, Lead – Connor Njegovan

Grand Slam Record – 15-6 (Champion, Quarter-Finalist, Quarter-Finalist, Quarter-Finalist)

Now we come to potentially the biggest wildcard in the field, provided he actually wins this game. Gunner has had a pretty good season for the most part although his provincial was a total disaster that lasted only three games. The squad is pretty solid but they just can’t seem to get over the hump come playoff time at the Grand Slams, other than than Tier II win earlier this year at the Tour Challenge. Gunner’s hitting ability is something to behold and that could help his team finish anywhere from third to seventh in this field. It’s so hard to guess where he’ll end up, but it will be lots of gun watching Gunner throw throw giant quadruple takeout bombs though.

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A cult icon to be sure, Gunner is having his best season to date as a men’s skip and has been rewarded with a chance to sneak into the Brier. If he beats McEwen, this is a true wild card of a rink as they could be anywhere from the finals to missing out on the playoffs. Personally, I’d probably have them in fourth place behind the big three, but the Gunner and Koe matchup will be the game of the week for pure comedy. TSN probably won’t show it, but  that’s their loss. 


The Punkari Brothers Review the 2018 Winter Olympics Men’s and Women’s Curling Events

Written by Brett Punkari (With Cameos by Lucas Punkari)

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The 2018 Winter Olympics will go down as one of the most historic events in curling history, as there were some incredible performances from nations you would not expect to be medal contenders and shocking disappointments for teams you would expect to be at the top.

We also saw yours truly lose his mind over CBC’s tire fire coverage of the curling, but that’s another rant for another day.

It will take some time to see how these results will affect things globally for curling, but it should mean a ton of positives going forward as we look back on what happened over the last couple of weeks.

Women’s Event

Gold Medal – Sweden (Anna Hasselborg)

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In terms of the favorites coming in to the Olympics, Anna Hasselborg was pretty much rock solid all tournament long. Even though she had a couple of blips late in the round-robin, it felt like most of her strong showings from events in the last couple of years, though there was that question mark lingering about whether or not her playoff woes would happen.

She silenced any doubt with a convincing victory over Great Britian in the semi-final and a dominant performance in the gold medal game against South Korea. Hasselborg has now finally gotten over the hump with a major event title and with no one in the pipeline for Sweden she should be a formidable force for another Olympic cycle as she’s only 28.

It was only a matter of time before Hasselborg’s rink would break through with a win and they did so at the biggest stage of them all. A solid squad from top to bottom, it was only their lack of success in event finals that was their biggest weakness. Now that they’ve won the gold, they are probably already penciled in as the team to lead the way in China in four years time. Before that though, a clash with Jennifer Jones awaits at the Worlds in North Bay in March in what should be a must-see contest.

Round-Robin Stats

Lead – Sofia Mabergs – 83% -Tied for 4th

Second – Agnes Knochenhauer – 84% – 1st

Vice – Sara McManus – 84% – 1st

Skip – Anna Hasselborg – 82% – 1st

Team – Sweden – 83% – 1st

Silver Medal/Biggest Surprise – Korea (Eun-Jung Kim)

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Raise your hand if you predicted that this team would not only be be first in the round-robin but make it all the way to the final. I can imagine that no one is.

In our preview, we mentioned that although the team was solid, they hadn’t done a lot on the Grand Slam circuit and we felt like they were still some time away from being a contender. Instead, they went on a run that stunned everybody, especially with their stats not adding up to their record until their last few round-robin games.

There was a feeling that at some point the drop-off would occur, and it did in the final as they seemed a little nervous and maybe kept things a little to simple, which is a bad mistake against a strong hitting team like Sweden. Despite that, this going to be huge for Korean curling going forward, especially now that they have a facility that can be used for events in the future.

I’ve been watching curling since 1993 and a Korean gold medal run would easily be the most shocking thing I’ve seen since watching the sport (I think Jenn Hanna beating Rachel Homan in the 2016 Ontario Scotties still tops the list, but that’s another story for another day).

This was a hard team to figure out early on as their stats didn’t really match up with their record and it felt like they were benefiting from their opponents struggles. However, with some dominant games to end the round-robin and an aggressive approach against Japan in the semifinals, I started to buy in to the a gold medal upset. Alas, they went away from the rocks in play approach and played a wide-open game against Sweden, which may have been their undoing. Now it’ll be interesting to see if Korea can keep up this level of play over the next four years, or if they’ll go the way of Rui Liu after his surprising fourth place result in 2014.

Round-Robin Stats

Lead – Yeong-Mi Kim – 83% – Tied for fourth (played in six of nine round-robin games)

Second – Seong-Yeong Kim – 77% – Tied for 6th

Vice – Kyeong-Ae Kim – 76% – Tied for 5th

Skip – Eun-Jung Kim – 78% – Tied for 2nd

Team – Korea – 79% – Tied for 3rd

Bronze Medal – Japan (Satsuki Fujisawa)

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Japan also picked up their first medal in curling at the Olympics this year, but unlike Korea, this isn’t as much of a shocker as Fujisawa won a silver medal at the Worlds in 2016 and we know what this rink can do. They got off to a 4-1 start and beat Korea but struggled with three losses in their last four games, although they did beat Sweden in that stretch.

In the playoffs, they had a valiant effort to take Korea to an extra-end and then bounced back a day later to steal away the bronze medal from Great Britain. With this showing by Fujisawa, and the improved play of Yuskue Morozumi on the men’s side, Japan is on solid ground internationally and should have more great results in the future.

With the team laughing their heads off after forcing an extra-end against South Korea and Fujisawa stretching in the middle of the 10th end of a bronze medal game, we really need to have this rink playing more at Grand Slam events as they are a ton of fun to watch. Although their stats didn’t show it, they were in every game this week and will be a team to keep an eye out for over the next few years as they gain every more experience at big events.

Round-Robin Stats

Lead – Yurika Yoshida – 78% – 9th

Second – Yumi Suzuki – 74% – Tied for 9th

Vice – Chininami Yoshida – 76% – Tied for 5th

Skip – Satsuki Fujisawa – 73% – Tied for 6th

Team – Japan – 75% – 9th

Fourth Place – Great Britain (Eve Muirhead)

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This year’s Olympics was a tale of inconsistency for Eve Muirhead as she would have great games and not so great games during the round-robin. Although they got some big wins to get into the playoffs (including an important victory over Canada), it didn’t really feel like they were on the same level as Sweden and Korea when it came to being gold medal threats.

Eve was close to getting the bronze medal though for the second straight Olympics, but a couple of risky shots in the last ends proved to be her undoing. Obviously it’s a dissappointing way to end the week, but with her and Hasselborg both in their late 20’s, expect the Muirhead rink to be back strong in 2022 as a gold medal threat.

Eve’s takeout attempt for the win instead of going for the draw in the 10th when she was already lying one will haunt me for years. As Brett said, Eve had an up and down week but when they were playing well, they looked really good. I highly recommend seeing the finish to the game against Canada, as Eve made a brilliant shot in the ninth end and played a picture perfect 10th to get into the playoffs.

Rough finish aside, I still feel like Eve’s rink is on the right track with arguably their best campaign since winning the bronze in 2014. They have one more chance to finish the year out strong at the Worlds, provided they beat Hannah Fleming in a best-of-three series.

Round-Robin Stats

 

Lead – Lauren Gray – 81% – 7th

Second – Vicki Adams – 79% – 4th

Vice – Anna Sloan – 76% – Tied for 5th

Skip – Eve Muirhead – 78% – Tied for 2nd

Team – Great Britain – 79% – Tied for 3rd

Biggest Disappointment – Canada (Rachel Homan)

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Wow….just wow. To go from running the table at the World Championships and win Canada’s first women’s world title since 2008 to becoming the first Canadian Curling Team to miss the playoffs at the Olympics is a big stunner. Getting off to a 0-2 start with losses to Korea and Sweden is bad enough, but to cause controversy over a burned rock and choking against Denmark to fall to 0-3 is even worse.

Homan and crew did start to make a run by winning three in a row but a late loss to China and a late-game collapse against Great Britain took them out of it. In all honesty, it’s been more a case of not say bad games but it’s more of bad mistakes at the worst times for the team over the last.

In terms of Rachel Homan herself, she is also in the same age group with Hasselborg and Muirhead so she does have another crack at the Olympics, although it is always tough to come out of Canada. I’m pretty sure they’ll be together for another four-year run, but it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll bounce back from this going forward.

Remember when Brett and I said all of the questions we had about Rachel Homan’s team were over and done with since they won the Olympic Trials? Now they are all back again after a maddingly incosnstent week in South Korea. With games that were all over the map (especialyl that Switzerland game that saw them give multiple three-enders and still win) and Homan having some tire fires along the way, this was one of the most confunding performances in quite some time.

With everyone being young they’ll make another run at the Olympics in the future, but the next four years in Canada should be interesting with Jennifer Jones seemingly not going anywhere. Plus, with Kerri Einarson forming a crazy super rink in Manitoba, it might not be as clear-cut of redemption story as one might expect.

Round-Robin Stats

Lead – Lisa Weagle – 86% – 1st (Perfect Game in Draw 8 against the United States)

Second – Joanne Courtney – 80% – 3rd

Vice- Emma Miskew – 92% – 2nd

Skip – Rachel Homan – 77% – 4th

Team – Canada – 81% – 2nd

Men’s Event

Gold Medal/Biggest Surprise – United States (John Shuster)

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It’s “The Miracurl On Ice” everyone. After starting 2-4 and having a bad finish against Norway, it looked another dissapointing run for the United States was coming up with their last three gaems being against Canada, Swizterland and the United States. Instead, they rattled of three straight wins (including an extra-end steal over Canada and a steal of four in the eight to beat Great Britain) to make the playoffs.

With momentuon on their side, the Shuster rink would stun Canada yet again in the semis and then had the game of their lives against the heavy favourites Sweden to give the United States their biggest result in curling history. It’s also a huge redempetion story for Shuster, as he was kicked to the curb by USA Curling’s High Performance Comitteee after 2014 and bounced back on the scene with his own team of misifts as he put it.

Going forward, this win has a chance to get more people playing curling in the United States, and that should be huge for the sport going forward. Don’t forget that this year’s men’s worlds will be in Las Vegas, and you can bet the crowds will be huge is Shuster is playing in it or the team makes an appearence.

Seeing that Brett and I both felt like Shuster was the favourite to get the bronze medal, maybe it’s not that much of a shock that they won a gold medal, but the way that did teh Americans did it with their backs against the wall was remarkable to watch. Not only is Shuster now among the top teams in the world now with this win, but he’s also become an folk hero south of the border with his comeback story. Plus, Matt Hamilton is now a legend with his great mustache and his super out-going personality in the style of a John Morris. Personally, I can’t wait to see what these guys do over the next four years, as they have another run left in them and they are an easy team to get behind. 

Round-Robin Stats

Lead – John Landsteiner – 83% – Tied for 7th (Perfect Game in Draw 4 against Sweden)

Second – Matt Hamilton – 82% – 5th

Vice – Tyler George – 79% – Tied for 8th

Skip – John Shuster – 77% – Tied for 7th

Team – United States – 80% – 10th

Silver Medal – Sweden (Niklas Edin)

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Everything was pretty much going status quo for Niklas Edin at the Olympics. Although he lost two of his last three round-robin games, his rink was pretty much dismantling everyone in their patch and advanced to the gold medal game with a 9-2 win over a Switzerland rink that beat in him the round-robin.

Then came the finals against the United States, where a big double by John Shuster to tie the game up in the third end seemed to change and everything as Sweden never got back on track after that. Sure they were in the game, but they were on their back heels untl everything came apart in the eighth end when the Americans got five points.

This has to be a disspointing result for the entire team, but especialy Niklas as he was the the best team in the round-robin for a second straight Olympics but didn’t come away with the gold medal. If this group sticks around for another four-year run they should be the big favourites. However, it all depends on Edin’s health as he’s talked about being 32 years old with a body that feels like it’s 56.

An Olympic gold medal win would have put Edin head and shoulders above everyone else as the top skip of this decade, but instead it’s another big punch to the gut on the biggest stage of the sport. As Brett mentioned, Edin’s overall health is a question mark and he might not play as much on the Tour as a result if that’s an issue, but everyone on the rink is still young enough to contend for another crown in four years time with no one else on his level in the European scene as of yet.

Round-Robin Stats

Lead – Christoffer Sundgren – 86% -Tied for 5th

Second – Rasmus Wrana – 88% – 1st

Vice – Oskar Eriksson – 89% – Tied for 1st

Skip – Niklas Edin – 85% – Tied for 1st

Team – Sweden – 87% – Tied for 1st

Bronze Medal – Switzerland (Peter De Cruz)

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Peter De Cruz was very close to becoming our dissapointment of the week at the end of round-robin play. After pummling Sweden to end their unbeaten run, he lost last two games against Korea and the United States to go into a tiebreaker, where fourth stone thrower Benoit Schwarz made a great takeout to score five in the ninth end and beat Great Britain. Things didn’t go well in the rematch against Niklas Edin in the semifinal, but the rink bounced back with a great showing against Kevin Koe to take home the bronze. While the women’s teams have had more success internationall lately, we can expect De Cruz tao carry the mantle just fine for the men’s side for years to come.

The losses to finsih off the round-robin was a slightly concerning, but a bronze medal performance that included a win over Niklas Edin and knocking off Kevin Koe certainly was a great one for the Swiss side. They won’t be at the Worlds this year, but this group will be among the favourites going forward at any event they compete in. They certainly proved me wrong with my prediction of a sixth place showing in South Korea.

Round-Robin Stats

Lead – Valentin Tanner – 87% – Tied for 2nd

Second – Peter De Cruz (Skip) – 81% – Tied for 6th

Vice – Claudio Paetz – 84% – 3rd

Fourth – Benoit Schwarz – 82% – 3rd

Team – Switzerland – 83% – Tied for 3rd

Fourth Place/Biggest Disappointment – Canada (Kevin Koe)

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Early on Canada were doing just fine as they won their first four games of the round-robin to set up a huge game against Sweden. It was a tight contest early on, but Sweden controlled the second half as they picked up a 5-2 win and hand the Canadians their first loss.

That’s when things started to snowball as Kevin Koe fell off his game and the team lost tight contests. They turned things around at the end of the round-robin to finish second, but then things got worse. They gave up two points to the States on a light draw in the eighth end to lose the semifinal and Koe himself only shot 63% in the bronze medal game against Switzerland. This led to more history, and not the kind you want to be involved with, as the Canadian men’s curling side joined the women in failing to earn a medal and they also become the first men’s rink to not even make the final.

I’m not really sure what happened to this team, but it felt like the Sweden game was the turning point as they didn’t quite look the same after that loss. In terms of the team itself, I have no idea what direction they are going in as they are a little bit older than some of their competitors. There will probably be a different looking rink on the men’s side representeing Canada in China in 2022, but you can bet that Curling Canada will be eager to turn things around after a rough week.

Even when they got off to a perfect start, I didn’t feel like Canada was on the same level as the Sweden rink they were favoured with when the tournament began. As the week wrapped up, it felt like the Koe squad had aged dramatically and looked nowhere close to the level of the other teams in the medal round, which was truly shocking.

Rough week for Canadian curling aside (which if you paid attention to the world curling scene isn’t a super surprise, though the results happening at the Olympics is not ideal in the least), the big question mark is what will happen to the Koe squad going forward. While many men’s sides do stick around near their 50’s, I wouldn’t be shocked if some sort of changes occur going forward with this lineup. I hear John Morris might be avaliable. Okay maybe I’m making that up, but it makes sense in my head at least.

Round-Robin Stats

Lead – Ben Hebert – 86% – Tied for 5th (Perfect game in the Bronze Medal Game against Switzerland)

Second – Brent Laing – 86% – 2nd

Vice – Marc Kennedy – 89% – Tied for 1st

Skip – Kevin Koe – 85% – Tied for 1st

Team – Canada – 87% – Tied for 1st

Punkari Brothers Shots of the Week

Women’s Event – Eve Muirhead’s double raise double takeout to sit two in the ninth end against Canada in the round-robin (Go to the 2:24:30 mark)

Source: Women’s curling, Feb. 20: Draw 11 Canada vs. Great Britain | Video | CBC Olympics | PyeongChang 2018

Men’s Event – Benoit Schwarz’s takeout for five in the ninth end of the tiebreaker against Great Britain (Go to the 2:22:00 mark)

Source: Men’s curling tiebreaker, Feb. 21: Switzerland vs. Great Britain | Video | CBC Olympics | PyeongChang 2018