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Avalanche Prospects: A Monster Mash

The Lake Erie Monsters skated to a 4-0 penalty-filled victory in their third game of the season as visitors to the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. The Monsters iced 15 of 17 players aged 25 or younger as of Sept 15, 2012 (Mike Connolly and Joey Hishon were the only scratches).

While the Avalanche boasted youth up front, it was a pair of mobile defenders that were standouts, along with a solid effort by former Sudbury Wolves and former OHL scoring champ, Mike Sgarbossa.

I was on hand and made some notes on Tyson Barrie, Stefan Elliott and Mike Sgarbossa.

Tyson Barrie:

Scored Monsters second goal walking in off the point and snapping a hard quick shot. Showed maturity and patience while rushing, picking his spots to skate the puck out, or finding outlets when there was limited space .. actively jumped into the rush and involved offensively .. better committed to making sensible pinches, and limiting the high risk moves .. still, he got away with one with a quick move skating it out of the defensive zone where he pushed the puck through Joe Colborne's legs, eluded being hit and came out with the puck on the other end - with speed - to carry on the rush .. showed great imagination and playmaking skills, while also playing a part on the penalty kill in a penalty filled game - Marlies were 0-12 on the power play.

Stefan Elliott:

Iced on a majority of penalty kill chances due to the steady string of Monsters infractions, especially in the second period .. liked to originate the rush from behind the net, relying on initial quickness and fluid skating ability to get the puck through the zone and through center ice .. prone to make some risky decisions as the lone man back, especially if he has to fight off forecheckers where his change of pace and lateral dexterity will only help him to an extent .. aggressive on the point directing pucks through traffic and on goal .. takes a lot of shots quick, hanging on to thie puck very little .. small windup, and accurate wrist shot .. keenly joined the rush and played the point on the power play .. matured quick last season making his NHL debut and has looked every bit ready to return with a good shot of making the Avalanche full time when the NHL resumes play.

Mike Sgarbossa:

Played a solid, unspectacular overall game making few mistakes and earning two assists - his first points of the season .. quickly identified the defensive responsibility with efforts to be involved down low in front of his net .. stood next to the goal on the 3rd Monsters goal as the puck was at the point, perfectly positioned for a potential rebound .. visible on every shift, pushing the play along, or clogging lanes without the puck .. only blemish a high sticking penalty at the end of the second period, while his ice time was hampered due to the amount of time on the penalty kill .. undersized and a lacked some of the strength required to fend off bigger opponents, an issue that needs to be addressed .. good start up skater and quick lateral shifts to mazimixe his ability to escape oncoming checkers .. a work in progress, but has some good tools to kick start the process.

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