Good morning.

Welcome to the Thanksgiving/Turkey Day weekend! No school on Monday!

We start off the Branches with the only bit of hockey that actually matters from Friday: prospects!

The Toronto Marlies beat the Manitoba Moose 3-2 in Winnipeg. Egor Korshkov, Pierre Engvall, and Tyler Gaudet all scored in the game and were likely the three stars for the Marlies in the game. All three were dynamic, strong, smart players who really helped push their lines on offense and defense. Timothy Liljegren also had a strong outing, playing all special teams, including the majority of the penalty kill minutes and at the end of the game to hold the lead.

Here’s a sneak peak from the recap, in progress:


This goal from Pierre Engvall was a beautiful snipe from the left faceoff dot off the rush. He was able to get away when Aberg sent him a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone while falling. From there, it was all talent. Engvall’s shot is so nice. With his tall, giraffe-like frame, he can use his whole body to get some serious power on his shots from distance. We saw goals like this a lot in Europe before he made the jump to North America, but rarely since. Hopefully this is him opening the floodgates.

I’ll have a full recap of the game after tomorrow’s matinee against the Moose. It’ll be a two-for-one special. Puck drop for the Marlies third game of the season goes at 3pm on AHL TV.

Continuing on the prospect front, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev and Nick Robertson (who is a forward) have been tearing up the OHL together like Batman and Robin except they both look like Robin.

Here are their stat lines (with context) following their 6-3 win over the Sarnia Sting on Friday night.

Nick Robertson:
8 games, 11 goals, 6 assists, 17 points (including 4 power play points), 43 shots on goal

Semyon Der-Arguchintsev:
8 games, 2 goals, 15 assists, 17 points (including 4 power play points), 13 shots on goal

Some secondary stats that are fun: Robertson has 3 game-winning goals, while SDA is 53% on faceoffs to start the season.

Kalle Loponen

Not to be out-done, Kalle Loponen got his first (and second!) North American goals yesterday in a loss to the CHL leading Oshawa Generals. His first goal with an assist from NHL top prospect Quinton Byfield and was a ripper to make it 2-0. His second came on the power play to make the game 3-0 and showed some nice patience and confidence. His Sudbury Wolves eventually went on to give up three unanswered goals leading to a 5-4 loss in regulation.

The first goal was a beautiful shot. Video of the goal comes 0:09 into the highlights, second goal right after and was a sweet dangle. I watched his game against the Mississauga Steelheads last week and he was showing a good shot in the game but seemed a little out of sync with the flow of the game. That definitely seems to have gone away now.

Wow, yesterday was a busy day for Leafs prospects. Over on The Rock, the Newfoundland Growlers made their season debut as ECHL champions. Joseph Duszak *and* Mac Hollowell got assists in the 6-5 loss. Duszak and Hollowell make the right side of the top-four in Newfoundland, playing with Michael Kapla and Ryan Johnston (brother to Rebecca) respectively.

Here is Duszak’s assist that was originally credited as a goal to him.

And Hollowell’s assist on the Giorgio Estephan goal. good zone entry.

Today is a Leafs game day, 7pm Hockey Night in Canada match against the Detroit Red Wings on the road. We’ll have a the usual preview, GDT, and recap for you throughout the day. It’ll be an interesting tryout for those at the bottom of the lineup. Road game against a weak opponent.

The thoughts in the PPP offices are that this could be the do or die game for Dmytro Timashov. He has shown little to impress the team and is running out of games as Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott near their returns. Also, the Marlies will return home for their next game on Wednesday. The Leafs have two games before then.

In the complete opposite of prospect news: Mats Sundin

The only news I have for you outside the Leafs is that the Carolina Hurricanes are so scary the mainstream media is using advanced stats to talk about them!

And as we enter into a Saturday full of hockey, let us always remember that October hockey is October Hockey.