Atlanta Thrashers Junior Prospects Update
(Through May 14, 2001)
The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) consists of three leagues, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), and the Western Hockey League (WHL) … The three playoff champions from each league will then face-off against each other along with a host team (Regina of the WHL) in a round-robin tournament with a sudden death final match to win the Memorial Cup as the top team in the CHL … The Memorial Cup is set to begin on May 19 … As of today, the Thrashers have Simon Gamache (Val-d’Or of the QMJHL) and David Kaczowka (Regina of the WHL) set to appear in the finals along with either Luke Sellars (Ottawa of the OHL) or Robb Zepp and Libor Ustrnul (Plymouth of the OHL) depending on the outcome of their series.
Defenseman Luke Sellars has helped the Ottawa 67’s take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven OHL finals against the Plymouth Whalers … The 67’s posted a 5-4 victory over Plymouth on the road on Sunday night, and could wrap up the best-of-seven series at home on Tuesday night … Whalers goaltender Rob Zepp posted 25 saves to beat Ottawa 3-0 on Friday night in game four.
Ottawa swept Toronto in the Eastern Conference finals, beat Belleville 4-2 in the conference semifinals and swept North Bay in the first round.
Plymouth defenseman Libor Ustrnul led the OHL during the playoffs with a plus-18 rating prior to Sunday’s game … The Whalers beat Erie 4-1 in the Western Conference finals and swept Sarnia 4-0 in the first round and Windsor 4-0 in the conference semifinals.
Center Simon Gamache finished with 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in Val-d’Or’s four-game sweep over Acadie-Bathurst in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League finals to earn the President’s Trophy as league champions … Val-d’Or advances to the Memorial Cup, which will be played May 19-27, along with the champions from the Western Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League and the host Regina Pats … Gamache, a ninth-round pick for the Thrashers in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, led the QMJHL with a Canadian Hockey League playoff record of 57 points in 21 games … Gamache, who was named the QMJHL Playoff MVP, led the league with 22 goals, 15 power-play goals, five game-winning goals and 35 assists in the postseason … Gamache broke Mario Lemieux’s record for most single-season postseason points.*
Gamache led the second-seeded Foreurs to a 4-2 victory over top-seeded Shawinigan in the Lebel Conference finals with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in six games … Gamache topped the team with 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in a 4-3 seven-game series victory over Victoriaville in the Lebel Conference Semifinals … Gamache finished third on club with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in four-game sweep of Sherbrooke in the Lebel Conference Quarterfinals.
*CHL SINGLE-SEASON PLAYOFF SCORING LEADERS 1. Simon Gamache, Val-d'Or (QMJHL), 2000-2001 57 2. Dale Derkatch, Regina (WHL), 1983-84 53 3. Mario Lemieux, Laval (QMJHL), 1983-84 52 4. Jacques Locas, Quebec (QMJHL), 1973-74 51 Frederic Bouchard, Chicoutimi (QMJHL), 1996-97 51 Marc Fortier, Chicoutimi (QMJHL), 1986-87 51 Justin Papineau, Belleville (OHL), 1998-99 51
Atlanta Thrashers World Championships Update
(Final Tournament Information)
CZECH REPUBLIC (Gold Medal)
Goaltender Milan Hnilicka made 47 saves to lead the Czech Republic to a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over Finland in the gold medal game of the 2001 World Championships at Preussag Arena in Hannover, Germany, on Sunday … The Czech Republic became the first country to win three straight gold medals since the Soviet Union claimed three straight gold medals from 1981-83 … The Czech squads have earned medals in six straight World championships since 1996.
Hnilicka was named the goaltender of the First All-Star Team for the tournament, and shared the team’s MVP award with former NHL player Robert Reichel and Martin Rucinsky of the Montreal Canadiens.
Hnilicka, who started eight games and played in all nine games for the Czech Republic at the tournament, finished second among all goalies with a 1.44 goals-against average and a 95.17 save percentage at the event … He led all goalies with 540:38 minutes played, 269 shots faced and 256 saves.
Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle finished with one goal, four penalty minutes and 17 shots in nine games for the Czech Republic … He ranked second among the team’s defensemen in shots, and was fourth among the team’s blueliners with a plus-five rating.
FINLAND (Silver Medal)
Left wing Tomi Kallio led all players at the tournament with two short-handed goals … He shared seventh overall and was third on the Finnish squad with four goals … He finished ninth on the team with five points (four goals, one assist), shared the squad lead with 34 shots and posted a plus-three rating in nine games.
SWEDEN (Bronze Medal)
Defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist, a Thrashers prospect from Sweden, tied for first overall in the tournament with a plus-12 rating … He ranked fourth in scoring among defensemen in the tourney with six points (six assists), shared fourth overall and tied for second among defensemen with six assists … He ranked sixth on his team in scoring, and shared Sweden’s MVP award for the tournament with Kim Johnsson (New York Rangers) and former NHL player Mikael Renberg.
USA (Fourth Place)
General Manager Don Waddell and assistant coach Curt Fraser helped Team USA finish fourth overall at the tourney … It was the highest finish since winning the bronze medal in 1996 at Vienna, Austria … USA lost to Sweden 3-2 in the bronze medal game on Sunday.
Thanks to the Atlanta Thrashers organization for providing the press releases.