Up until last week, the performance of Carolina Hurricanes prospects that are currently playing in the Canadian Hockey League has been a bit underwhelming to say the least. That all changed this past weekend as almost every Carolina prospect had an explosive performance and have finally started to make more of an impact on the scoresheet than they were before. The biggest name in the group is obviously Ryan Murphy, who recorded two goals and eight points in the three games he played over the weekend to guide Kitchener to three straight wins. It's been a slow start for him and the Rangers but he definitely took things to another level this weekend and it could be a sign of him returning to the level of play we are more used to seeing from him.
Expecting Murphy to keep up this kind of pace all season is unreasonable, but he really needed a big performance sooner or later with the way his season has started and he was able to do that this weekend. To make things even better, Murphy wasn't the only player in Carolina's system to have a great weekend as there is a lot more good news to report on out of the CHL in regards to Carolina prospects.
Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers - 3 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 Pts, 4 PIM
Murphy had the kind of offensive performance that most of us have been waiting for all season. Being one of the top players on the Rangers, the team's performance usually goes with how he plays so it's no coincidence that the Rangers won all three games to get their record back to above .500. Now, one of their wins came against a couple mediocre clubs like Sarnia and Kingston but they also picked up a 4-2 victory over the second place Oshawa Generals on the road, which was very impressive.
The powerplay is where Murphy plays the biggest impact, and he definitely made his presence felt there as four of his points from the weekend came with the man advantage, one of which was a hard slapshot from long-range that somehow beat Kingston's netminder. Murphy's other goal, however, was an empty-netter. Even with that, it's hard to discredit the kind of weekend Murphy had as he was able to produce both at even strength and on special teams, which is basically him getting back to what he does best. Hopefully he can keep it up and continue to produce for the rest of the year.
Brock McGinn, Guelph Storm - 3 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 Pts, 4 PIM
McGinn finally scored his second goal of the season in Guelph's 7-1 rout of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds as the Storm continue to blow away most of the Ontario Hockey League. The Storm are by far the best offensive team in the OHL as they lead the league in goals with 59 and have made a habit of blowing out their opponents, which is exactly what they did this weekend. Guelph outscored their opposition 21-9 in the three games they played and it was good to see McGinn finally join in on the fun since he produced much offense compared to the rest of the team. I know that he's more of a checking-type player but with how much offense the Storm are creating this year, I'm expecting McGinn to produce more points than usual and it looks like he did just that this weekend.
Trevor Carrick, Mississauga Steelheads - 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, 2 PIM
Carrick was held off the scoresheet completely this weekend and was on-ice for two goals against. That may sound bad at first but the Steelheads gave up eight goals in two games so it really isn't in the grand scheme of things. There isn't much else to report on for him other than the Steelheads were outshot 40-28 in a 5-3 win over Sarnia and the PK was a perfect 4/4 in that game. Unfortunately, they only killed off one of three penalties in the Saginaw game, which is an area that Carrick is often heavily utilized in.
Austin Levi, Plymouth Whalers - 3 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, 0 PIM
Levi didn't do much in his first week back with the Whalers but he picked up the pace a little bit in his second week, recording two assists and being on ice for five Plymouth goals. The Whalers have definitely improved a lot since Levi returned as they outshot all three of their opponents this weekend and have been on a bit of a winning streak as of late. I don't think the addition of Levi is the only reason for their recent success but it's worth noting that they have given up fewer shots in each of the games he has played in and it's certainly made things easier on their goaltender and the rest of the team. Speaking of which...
Matt Mahalak, Plymouth Whalers - 3 GP, 6 GA on 79 shots, .924 Sv%
Mahalak appears to have earned the starting job back for now as he performed very well in all three of Plymouth's games this weekend. He got off to a shaky start this year but the Whaelrs defense has improved quite a bit since then and it's defintiely taken some pressure off him and his performance speaks for itself. Although, it's worth noting that he gave up some ugly goals over the weekend, two of his worst offenses coming against Plymouth's 4-2 win over Oshawa where he let in a long, weak looking slapshot and was handcuffed by another shot where Oshawa swept in the rebound. Mahalak can not continue to let those in if he wants to keep the starting job.
Daniel Altshuller, Oshawa Generals - 3 GP, 9 GA on 83 shots, .892 Sv%
It was a rough weekend for Altshuller as he had one of his worst performances of the season in Oshawa's 6-2 loss to Kitchener. He gave up 5 goals on 31 shots in that contest and was chased in the second period. He wasn't much better against Plymouth, giving up 3 goals on 25 shots in that game and he looked very weak on the first goal when he gave up a huge rebound. Thankfully, he was able to turn things around the next day against Owen Sound in giving up only 1 goal on 27 shots, the only goal coming on the powerplay. I've voiced my concerns about Altshuller in the past and he definitely struggled this week but on the other hand, he played a big role in the Generals defeating Owen Sound when they were not giving him a ton of goal support.
Keegan Lowe, Edmonton Oil Kings - 3 GP, 0 G, 4 A, 4 Pts, 8 PIM
Aside from the penalties, Lowe had a very good weekend and it was a nice rebound from him after missing time with an injury. He played a big role in the Oil Kings powerplay going 7/18 on the weekend and them winning two out of their three games, their only loss coming in the shootout to Kamloops. Lowe's offensive skills have been talked about a bit over the off-season and they were showcased this weekend as he tallied four assists. The most noteworthy came in the Oil Kings' 4-2 over Medicine Hat when he made a beautiful outlet pass to set up a breakaway goal. Lowe's hot start to the year was derailed by an injury, so it's good to see him get back on the scoresheet.
Tyler Stahl, Victoria Royals - 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, 0 PIM
There isn't much to report on with Stahl other than his Victoria Royals getting a huge 3-1 win over the Calgary Hitmen.
Like I said, there were a lot of good things to report on from this weekend. Let's hope that it continues in the next coming months.