The American Thanksgiving weekend provided lots of entertaining hockey, but the following week of action was a little quieter for the Blackhawks farm as a whole. However, there were some great individual efforts from Blackhawks prospects.
Notably, Philipp Kurashev continues to dominate the QMJHL and recently signed Brandon Hagel continues to dominate the WHL. Defenseman Adam Boqvist has hit his stride in London and fellow OHL player Mackenzie Entwistle has shown promise for the Hamilton Bulldogs.
BRANDON HAGEL – RED DEER REBELS – 3 GOALS, 4 ASSISTS
Brandon Hagel and the Red Deer Rebels played five games during this past week’s action. In each game, Hagel registered at least one point. Hagel collected one assist in losses to the WHL leading Prince Albert Raiders, the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
In Red Deer’s 6-2 victory on November 30th over the Calgary Hitmen, Hagel has his best performance of the week. He registered two goals and added an assist. Hagel was the only Rebels player to record three points in the win. He also collected his third goal of the week in a 3-2 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors on December 1st. The goal helped ignite the Toque Toss in Red Deer, benefiting the Red Deer Christmas Bureau Society.
— Red Deer Rebels (@Rebelshockey) December 2, 2018
Hagel has been incredibly hot of late, registering 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in ten games in the month of November. Despite being an over-age junior player, Hagel’s performances should give Blackhawks something to look forward to in Rockford next season where he will gain extra seasoning.
Hagel and the Rebels (sounds like a great band name) will return to action on Friday, December 7th against the Regina Pats and Saturday, December 8th against the Swift Current Broncos. This weekend’s action will begin a six-game home-stand for the Rebels.
PHILIPP KURASHEV – QUÉBEC REMPARTS – 2 GOALS, 2 ASSISTS
The former 2018 fourth round draft pick continued his impressive QMJHL season adding four points in three games over the past week for Québec. He collected an assist in the first game for the Remparts, which aided in the 3-2 victory over the Victoriaville Tigres on November 28th.
Kurashev had his best game of the trip in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. The young center registered one goal and one assist, helping the Remparts to their second consecutive victory. In the Remparts’ final game of the week, Kurashev registered his second goal in the Remparts’ 5-3 win over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar on Saturday, December 1st.
After this week’s action, Kurashev remains 7th in league scoring. He is tied with Jakob Pelletier for sixth in points, but has more games played than Pelletier (30 for Kurashev vs. 28 for Pelletier). Nonetheless, Kurashev has shined for the Remparts all season. He has been solid in the faceoff dot, with a 53.8% win percentage.
Remparts coach Patrick Roy relies heavily on Kurashev, starting his top line in almost every contest. At only 19-years-old, Kurashev has time to continue his junior development. If he continues on this path, the Chicago Blackhawks may have found a hidden mid-round gem.
After sweeping this past week’s games, the Remparts return to action on Wednesday, December 5th against the Saint John Sea Dogs in Saint John. The Remparts travel to Charlottetown to take on the Islanders on Thursday, December 6th and then to Cape Breton to face the Screaming Eagles on Saturday, December 8th. After these three road games, the Remparts will return to Québec for four straight home games.
ADAM BOQVIST – LONDON KNIGHTS – 1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST
Boqvist continued his red-hot tear over the weekend with one goal and one assist in the only game he played. He was held out of London’s 8-1 win on Saturday the 1st for what is reported to be illness. London’s 6-3 victory over the Sarnia Sting was kicked off by Boqvist’s 7th goal of the season. Like Hagel before him, Boqvist’s goal ignited the Teddy Bear Toss for the London Knights on Sunday, December 2nd.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) December 2, 2018
🐻🐻 We've run the numBEARS 🐻🐻
The final count is… 8,763 TEDDY BEARS! pic.twitter.com/nSmioTAeSY
— London Knights (@GoLondonKnights) December 2, 2018
The goal was not only a great play from Boqvist, but gives the impression that the young defenseman is becoming much more comfortable on the North American ice sheet. Boqvist read the play and slid to the open space in the slot. Showing off his speed, Boqvist found the pass from his teammate and took the puck to the net, finishing the play with a nice fake-forehand, backhand combination. Fans keeping up with Adam Boqvist’s play in London this season may have seen that move once or twice before. Boqvist added his second point of the game as a secondary assist on Josh Nelson’s goal.
The London Knights return to action on Friday, December 7th against the Kingston Frontenacs in London. The Knights follow that game up on the road on Saturday, December 8th against the Owen Sound Attack. The Knights look to maintain their position atop the OHL Western Conference and second place in the league overall. Only the Ottawa 67’s have more points than the Knights to this point.
MACKENZIE ENTWISTLE – HAMILTON BULLDOGS – 2 GOALS, 1 ASSIST
Blackhawks prospect MacKenzie Entwistle continues to have a solid campaign for the Hamilton Bulldogs. This week’s action gave way to Entwistle adding two goals and an assist, bringing his point total to 24 through 26 games. His 13 goals have already matched a career high in the OHL.
After being held off the score sheet in the Bulldogs’ 5-2 win against the Mississauga Steelheads on Friday, November 30th, Entwistle rebounded quite nicely on Saturday against the Windsor Spitfires. Entwistle potted two goals in the 3-2 Bulldogs’ victory, and was also tied for the team lead in shots on goal with four for the game. As the Bulldogs looked for a sweep off their weekend action, the Niagara IceDogs ended the Bulldogs’ win-streak with a 5-1 beating. The silver lining came in form of an Entwistle assist, to bring his weekend to a point-per-game pace.
🚨 BULLDOGS GOOOOAAAAL!!!🚨
🚨: Mackenzie Entwistle
🍎🍏: Brandon Saigeon, Arthur Kaliyev
— Hamilton Bulldogs (@BulldogsOHL) December 1, 2018
🚨 BULLDOGS GOAAAAL!!!🚨
🚨: Mackenzie Entwistle
🍎🍏: Matt Strome, Brandon Saigeon
— Hamilton Bulldogs (@BulldogsOHL) December 1, 2018
Entwistle has proven to be a solid contributor for the Bulldogs so far this season. Despite not being a point-per-game player as many expect top prospects to be in junior, Entwistle brings other intangibles to the team. He is able to play center, winning just under 50% of his draws, while still playing his natural wing position. He also has no fear of going to the net (as shown by the highlight above) giving himself opportunities to leverage his size against smaller players. Entwistle is also the Bulldogs’ captain, showing his leadership qualities that he brings on and off the ice.
The Bulldogs return to action on Thursday, December 6th against the Peterborough Petes in Peterborough. Hamilton follows that up with back-to-back home games on Saturday, December 8th and Sunday, December 9th. The Bulldogs will welcome the Flint Firebirds and the North Bay Battalion in those games, respectively.
- Mikael Hakkarainen – Muskegon Lumberjacks – 2 Assists
- Nicolas Beaudin – Drummondville Voltigeurs – 2 Assists
- Alexis Gravel – Halifax Mooseheads – 2 Wins
On Monday, December 3rd, the Canadian World Juniors camp roster was announced. Blackhawks’ CHL prospects Nicolas Beaudin and MacKenzie Entwistle both made the roster with fellow Blackhawks prospect Ian Mitchell. Keep an eye on these three as they push to make Team Canada for the fast approaching World Juniors, while other prospects like Kurashev, Evan Barratt, Jake Wise, Niklas Nordgren, Adam Boqvist, and Jakub Galvas could all potentially make their country’s respective rosters.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) December 3, 2018