Junior hockey notebook: Ice Hawks get shot at revenge

Rochester Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis said this weekend isn't necessarily about revenge. But that doesn't mean the Ice Hawks haven't had this weekend circled on their calendars.

Rochester Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis said this weekend isn't necessarily about revenge. But that doesn't mean the Ice Hawks haven't had this weekend circled on their calendars.

The Ice Hawks face a two-game weekend, with home tilts both Friday and Saturday at the Rochester Recreation Center.

Saturday figures to offer a bit of a break as the Ice Hawks host the struggling Minnesota Owls, who are 2-20 this season and have scored two goals or fewer in all 20 of their losses.

But Friday night is the big one. The Ice Hawks host the Forest Lake Lakers at 7:05 p.m.

The Lakers are the only team to defeat the league-leading Ice Hawks this season. Since their upset win over the Ice Hawks on Nov. 8, the Lakers have struggled to a 3-3 record. However, two of those losses came against the second-place Ducks.


Fatis said he expects to see the Lakers' best effort when they hit Rochester on Friday night. But his team will be ready, too.

The Ice Hawks didn't play poorly in the loss to the Lakers, Fatis said. The coach wasn't thrilled with the officiating in that contest. The Ice Hawks had been averaging 5.8 penalties per game but were whistled for 18 infractions against the Lakers. That led to 13 power-play chances for the Lakers, including a whopping eight minutes of five-on-three action.

"I'm our harshest critic when it comes to taking penalties. But so many of those calls, I wouldn't have had our kids do anything differently," Fatis said.

The season series against the Lakers (13-8) is tied at 1-all, but Fatis said he expects his team's beset effort Friday night. The Ice Hawks bring a 20-1 record into the contest.

Player movement

The Ice Hawks will be without one of its top players again this weekend. Trevor Sabo suffered a lower-body injury and will be out as long as six weeks. The injury originally was thought to be minor, but now it seems unlikely Ice Hawks fans will see him again in 2014. They're targeting a January return for the top-line forward.

Back in the mix this weekend is Jake Kelly. He played for the Ice Hawks last season but returned to his former team, the Glanbrook Rangers (Canada), this season. After contacting Fatis last week, Kelly rejoined the team and has practiced all week. He is likely to see action this weekend.



Bruins' Driscoll is Star of the Week

Zach Driscoll suffered some tough-luck losses early in his rookie season in the North American Hockey League. The 17-year-old goalie from Apple Valley has held the Austin Bruins in every game he has played, though, while sharing time equally in goal with Jake Kielly this year.

Driscoll was a key reason why the Bruins earned their first series sweep in more than a month last weekend. He backstopped Austin to 3-0 and 4-1 victories at Aberdeen.

He stopped 27 shots in a shutout last Friday, then made 23 saves on Saturday to earn Central Division No. 1 Star of the Week honors. He improved to 6-5-3, with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

"Anytime you give up one goal on a weekend, you are going to win a lot of games," Bruins coach Chris Tok said. "The series with Aberdeen was very close and some of his key saves enabled our guys to keep the momentum going our way and play aggressive."

Austin (12-7-7 overall, 31 points) has a home-and-home weekend on tap. It plays at the Minnesota Magicians in Richfield at 7:15 p.m. Friday, then plays host to the Minnesota Wilderness at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

• A former Bruins forward, C.J. Smith, has been named the Rookie of the Month in Hockey East, an NCAA Division I conference. Smith, a freshman at No. 7-ranked Massachusetts-Lowell, had nine points (four goals, five assists) in eight games in November for the River Hawks (8-3-3 overall).

Smith was a dynamic scorer in his two seasons with the Bruins, putting up 92 points in 129 games from 2011-13. He played in the USHL last season, scoring 27 goals and 45 points in 59 games split between Muskegon (Mich.) and Chicago.


Bruins add to roster

Not only did Austin acquire goal-scorer Tony Uglem in a trade with the Magicians last week, they also added a pair of affiliate players to the roster.

Uglem came to Austin on Nov. 25 in a trade that sent Brady Jones to the Magicians. Uglem had 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 22 games for the Magicians this season. He has played in three games for Austin, putting up a goal in his first game in a Bruins uniform.

Austin also added affiliate players Samu Suominen and Sam Richter to the roster last week.

Suominen, a 6-1, 194-pound defenseman, is from Forssa, Finland. He had 20 points in 24 games for the California Titans of the North American Prospects Hockey League last season. Richter is a 6-0, 175-pound forward from Waterloo, Iowa. He had 14 points in 11 games for the Iowa Wild AAA team this season. He'll turn 18 on Dec. 19.

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