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.
Second time in a week? Why not. Ferris State alum Chris Kunitz is thriving in Pittsburgh, and it’s hard to not take notice. The former Bulldog had two goals and an assist for the Penguins last night in their 5-4 win over their in-state rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. Kunitz tied the game at one with a power-play tally at the 12:05 mark of the first period, then scored the game-winning goal at the 0:18 mark of the third period. The second goal of the night for Kunitz – his 14th of the season – came on a one-timer off a give-and-go with linemate Sidney Crosby. Kunitz is now fourth in the NHL in goals, third in points (with 31) and first in plus-minus (+17). Talk about having some post-lockout fun.
More MiHockey articles on Kunitz:
Former Plymouth Whalers star Chris Terry had strong showing on Wednesday night. The Charlotte Checkers forward picked up a goal and an assist in their overtime victory over the Norfolk Admirals. Terry’s 22nd goal of the season tied the contest for the Checkers halfway through the first period, and his assist came on Marc-Andre Gragnani’s game-winner 36 seconds into overtime. Terry ranks No. 14 in all of the AHL for total points – No. 12 if you count only active players. In his final season with the Whalers, Terry scored 94 points – good for second in the entire league.
It was a special night for Chesterfield native Steven Oleksy. The Lake Superior State grad made his NHL debut yesterday, playing in his first game with the Washington Capitals after signing a three-year deal with the club two days ago. The 27-year-old defenseman was never drafted by an NHL club, but that didn’t stop him from working his way through the IHL, ECHL and AHL before finally getting his shot with the Caps last night. He didn’t disappoint, either; Oleksy picked up an assist and two shots on goal, and, most importantly, was +2 on the night. We can’t wait to see what the founder of the Eastside Elite League can do next.
More MiHockey articles on Oleksy:
Chris Kunitz just won’t stop scoring. The four-year Ferris State alum has been thriving in Pittsburgh of late. Last night, Kunitz opened up the scoring for the Penguins when he fired in a one-timer off a feed from Sidney Crosby at the 4:13 mark of the first period. The goal marked the Bulldog’s fifth in his last four games, and his 12th of the season. The goal helped the Penguins to a 4-3 win over the Lightning last night in Pittsburgh. Kunitz ranks third in the entire NHL with 28 points (behind only Crosby and Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos) and fifth in goals. During his college days, Kunitz posted 175 points in 152 games for the Bulldogs.
More MiHockey articles on Kunitz:
There were a whole bunch of Michi-gamer candidates to pick from this weekend, which is awesome in itself. Yet we had to pick one, and we’re going to with Justin Florek. The Marquette native played a huge part in the Providence Bruins’ 7-1 thrashing of the Portland Pirates yesterday, picking up two goals and two assists in the win. Florek kicked off the scoring spree at the 7:23 mark of the first period, then added another at the 4:31 mark of the third; the latter could be viewed as the final backbreaker for the opposition as it increased the Bruins’ lead to 4-1 in the final frame. Florek, a four-year letter-winner at Northern Michigan, now has seven goals and 14 assists in 52 AHL games this year – his first full professional season. The Michigan native was a fifth-round pick by the Boston Bruins in the 2010 NHL Draft.
To see last week’s Michi-gamer nominations, click here.
This week’s Michi-gamer list assembled by MiHockey’s Michael Caples.