Each week, NHL.com/de looks back on notable performances by German-speaking draft players and emerging developments in the AHL, ECHL, and junior hockey. This week covers the action from Saturday 12th March up to and including the matches on Friday 18th March.
The strikers from Germany and Switzerland in the AHL can look back on a very successful past week. JJ Peterka and Lukas Reichel were able to continue working on their points account, as was Sven Bärtschi. Reichel and Bärtschi were each awarded a First Star and Peterka a Second Star in their respective games. The defenders had less to celebrate, with the exception of Tim Berni, who scored his second goal of the season. Goalkeeper Akira Schmid had one good game and one less good game.
The Swiss Schmid and the Utica Comets, who are the clear leaders in the North Division with 76 points (35-12-6), were able to beat the Bellevile Senators 3-2 after extra time on Tuesday. The keeper made 24 saves and a good catch rate of 92.3 percent. He was less happy three days earlier in a 2-3 loss to the Rochester Americans. 16 saves resulted in 84.2 percent. But that doesn’t change Schmid’s successful season so far (18-4-3-2; 2.28, 92.2%).
Opposite Schmid was JJ Peterka last Saturday. This could not overcome him, but prepared a hit. Peterka should improve from game to game this week. On Sunday against the Syracuse Crunch, he equalized 3-3 in the 52nd minute and provided the overtime that the Americans won. On Friday Rochester defeated the Cleveland Monsters 5-4 and again Peterka was instrumental. He scored the two decisive hits to make it 4:3 (40th) and 5:3 (44th) and was named the second star of the game. He built his season tally to 16 goals and 34 assists in 52 games.
At Cleveland, Peterka faced Switzerland’s Berni. The latter missed three games before making his comeback against the Rockford IceHogs (3-4 OT) on Tuesday. After all, he was able to contribute his second goal of the season to the 4:5 goal against Rochester. Most recently, Berni had scored on the first day of the game (October 15).
In addition to Peterka, Berni also met Reichel, who also didn’t let the Swiss player stop him. Born in Munich, he scored twice to make it 2-1 in the 14th minute and to win 4-3 after 3:46 minutes in extra time. The following award for the first star of the game was logical for Reichel. So it didn’t matter that he lost 4-1 against the Monsters two days earlier without Berni’s involvement and didn’t get a point. Reichel has 18 goals and 22 assists in 40 games.
The Austrian Marco Rossi fought two duels with the Iowa Wild and the Swiss Sven Bärtschi with the Henderson Silver Knights. While the teams were level after a 4-1 for Iowa and a 6-1 for Henderson, Bärtschi was more successful. Rossi remained without a point overall. Bärtschi made a gala appearance in the Silver Knights’ win with one goal and two assists and was voted First Star of the game.
The Manitoba Moose have five points in three games with defenseman Leon Gawanke, although Wednesday’s encounter with Abbotsford Canucks was a bitter experience. At the beginning of the 3rd period, Gawanke provided an assist for the 3:1, which was expanded to 4:1 a little later, ten minutes before the end. Nevertheless, the Moose still lost 4:5 after extra time. Gawanke has eight goals and 20 assists in 48 games.
[Related: Gawanke firmly believes in NHL breakthrough]
Defender Tobias Geisser was unable to score anything in the end and, like he has been since February 2 or 15 games in a row, was without a point. The Swiss’s Hershey Bears scored three points in three games with an even balance of 1-1-1.
Also out of action since November is German striker Marc Michaelis from the Toronto Marlies.
Finally, we look at the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), where Brian Zanetti plays for the Peterborough Petes. It was an unusually successful three-win week for the bottom of the East Division, just as 13 games before the end of the regular season made it clear that the Petes would miss the playoffs. The Swiss defender recorded two assists in three appearances and extended his season tally to three goals and 20 assists in 43 games.