Welcome to another season of MiHockey’s Michi-gamer, now powered by Bauer Hockey.
We take great pride in our homegrown talent. Whether they grew up in the Mitten or we welcomed them here for college or juniors, they are our own. They represent the best place in the world for hockey.
Every night, we’ll keep an eye on those players, and every morning, we will pick one Michi-gamer of the night – one Michigan player who stood out above the rest.
NOVEMBER 2 – BEN JOHNSON
Calumet native Ben Johnson’s wild ride continues. The 2011 high school “Mr. Hockey” is now in his second season with the Windsor Spitfires, and the first season as property of an NHL club. Any new pressure of being a New Jersey draft pick hasn’t shown in Johnson’s game, however. Last night the 6-foot, 192-pound forward picked up a goal and an assist in the Spitfires’ 6-3 win over one of their rivals – the London Knights. Johnson now has three goals and four assists on the young season; last year he recorded 18 goals and 20 assists in 68 games.
Halloween was a big night for Austin Watson, and it wasn’t because he hauled in a lot of candy. The Ann Arbor native scored his first professional goal yesterday, recording a go-ahead tally for his Milwaukee Admirals squad in the third period. Watson used his 6-foot-3, 202-pound frame to stand his ground in front of the opposition’s goal, and redirect a pass just above the goal crease. Milwaukee, the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators, would eventually prevail 5-4 over the Charlotte Checkers, with both teams scoring a goal after Watson’s goal. For Watson, however, it’s just the latest in the long list of accomplishments for the Michigan native. The Compuware AAA club alum won the Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2010, and made it back to the tournament last season with the London Knights. Oh yes, and he was a first-round pick of the Predators (18th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft. We’re expecting that more great things will come for the Ann Arbor native over the next few years.
More MiHockey articles on Watson:
OCTOBER 31 – ADAM HALL
With limited action in North America to pick through last night, we decided to take a look at how our Michigan players are doing across the pond during the lockout. Thanks to Google’s translate features, we were able to click through the official site for the Ravensburg Towerstars, who play in Germany’s ESBG league. It’s the temporary home for Adam Hall, who would have been playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning this year, if not for the lockout. Hall, a Kalamazoo native and former captain of the Michigan State Spartans, is listed as a striker for his current team – at least according to the Google translate. We also like how the translation says “shot attitude” for his right-handed choice in shooting. According to the team site, Hall has two goals and five assists so far this season, along with 17 penalty minutes. It also says he’s played in 57 games, which we think might be a typo, since it’s not even November yet. According to HockeyDB.com, he’s played in six games, but they only have him scoring two goals and two assists in the timeframe. Either way, hopefully he’s having fun in a new environment, and hopefully he can come back to an active NHL soon.
With no pro games being played last night, we’re taking a second look back at the weekend, and we’re glad we did. Former Wolverines captain and Grand Rapids native Luke Glendening has been getting his first taste of pro hockey this season, and it looks like he might finally be settling in with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. On Saturday, Glendening scored his first official professional goal – an unassisted tally at the 7:47 mark of the third period – during the Walleye’s 5-1 win over the Trenton Titans. Then, the next night, Glendening scored again, opening the scoring for the Walleye en route to a 4-2 win over the Reading Royals. Here’s to hoping it’s a sign of things to come for Glendening, who was one of only eight players in Michigan history to serve as captain for multiple seasons.
More MiHockey articles on Glendening:
When you score a game-winner in an AHL game, odds are you’re going to get a Michi-gamer nod from us. Livonia native Aaron Palushaj proved to be the difference-maker in the Hamilton Bulldogs’ 2-1 win yesterday, when he scored a power-play goal in the second period. The goal was Palushaj’s third of the season, and he’s only six games in. It’s been five seasons since Wolverines fans watched Palushaj skate at Yost Ice Arena, but we doubt anybody has forgotten about the Livonia native in that time frame. Since he left Michigan in 2008, he has been steadily working towards his NHL career, having appeared in 41 games with the Montreal Canadiens over the last two seasons. Last year, Palushaj had 35 points in 35 games with the Bulldogs, which means he’s going to be strongly considered for full-time status with the Canadiens when the NHL returns. And in case you forgot, Palushaj posted 50 points in 39 games with the Wolverines in 2008-09.
To see last week’s Michi-gamer winners, click here.