Boston Bruins: Weekend Preview for Their College, Junior Prospects

Al DanielCorrespondent IIDecember 26, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Alexander Khokhlachev #76 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders during a rookie game exhibition at Nassau Coliseum on September 12, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 8-5.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Three of the five Boston Bruins prospects currently based in the OHL―Anthony Camara, Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban―have already begun their two-week holiday Russian rendezvous. Camara and Hamilton notched an assist apiece while Subban repelled 25 shots to help Team Canada to a 9-3 victory over Germany in their first round robin game at the World Junior Championships.

Hamilton's helper on Jonathan Huberdeau's strike at 4:24 of the middle frame stood as the game-clincher. Camara's primary set-up for Ty Rattie less than eight minutes later amounted to the first dose of insurance.

Elsewhere in opening day action, Alexander Khokhlachev, formerly of the OHL and now in his native KHL, tallied Team Russia’s second goal in an eventual 3-2 overtime win over Slovakia.

After facing the Americans and Germans, respectively, the Canadians and Russians will clash with each other in their third and final preliminary round game on Monday.

That along with the U.S.-Canada matchup on Friday will constitute two intersections of Bruins prospects overseas in the coming week. There will be one in North America as well.

The two OHL Bruins left behind, Seth Griffith of the London Knights and Cody Payne of the Plymouth Whalers, will cross paths with one another this Saturday. It will be the second game for each party coming out of the Christmas break, with Plymouth and London both at home Thursday against Saginaw and Windsor, respectively.

The Whalers will close out the calendar year by crossing the border into Windsor next Monday for a New Year’s Eve matinee. Griffith’s Knights will simultaneously face a Sarnia Sting team minus top scorer Alex Galchenyuk, the reigning Montreal Canadiens’ first-round pick who is representing Team USA at the WJC.

Four Boston draftees in the NCAA shall resume extramural engagements this weekend. That does not count Matt Grzelcyk, who will not be available for Boston University’s visit to Denver this Saturday as he is raring to join the Americans’ rush for World Junior gold.

In a tournament preview published Wednesday morning on USCHO, columnist Jim Connelly paraphrased general manager Jim Johansson in writing “Grzelcyk might be the most feisty player the U.S. has on its blue line.”

While Grzelcyk is Russia-bound for the next 10-plus days, a Russian Red Stars team is going the other way to visit Rob O’Gara and the Yale Bulldogs this Friday. Harvard’s Alex Fallstrom will also be close to his NHL club’s base to host a local nonconference bout with Northeastern on Saturday.

Brian Ferlin (Cornell) and Colton Hargrove (Western Michigan) are each partaking in a traditional two-day tournament between Christmas and New Year’s.

Friday’s semifinals in the Florida College Classic pit Cornell against the reigning Frozen Four runner-up Ferris State with the winner facing either Minnesota-Duluth or Maine. Either way, the Big Red will have faced two of their fellow 2012 NCAA tournament participants by the time they have packed up and returned to campus.

Meanwhile, the freshman Hargrove will have his first twirl in an NHL mansion when the Broncos return to Joe Louis Arena for the first time since clinching last year’s CCHA title. Western Michigan gets Michigan State in the opening game of the Great Lakes Invitational, seeking the right to play for the title versus Michigan or Michigan Tech on Sunday.

In the USHL, Matt Benning and the Dubuque Fighting Saints will come back after a week-long break looking to rinse out the vinegar from their pre-holiday, 7-3 sputter against Green Bay.

The Eastern Conference-leading Saints are home on Friday against the second-place Muskegon Lumberjacks before venturing out for two road games in three days, visiting Chicago on Saturday and Fargo on Monday.