• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Thursday wasn't a big day for draft prospects, as only three make this top-performances list. A number of players who would have been in action on Thursday were away from their teams, prepping for the World Junior A Challenge, which begins Sunday.
After the World Junior A ends, the World Junior Championship tune-ups begin. It's hard to believe that World Junior season is upon us. So much to look forward to in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, here is Thursday's list:
MATTHEW GROUCHY -- Charlottetown edged Drummondville 4-3 on Thursday, thanks in large part to Grouchy, who erupted for three third-period points. The game's No. 3 star finished with a goal and two assists as his scoring continued to surge. His primary assist at 3:54 put the Islanders up 2-1. His goal at 14:23 restored a lead at 3-2, and his primary assist on a power-play goal with 1:55 to go set up the game-winner. With four goals in the past six games, Grouchy now has 10 goals and 22 points in 29 QMJHL games, leaving him one goal shy of his goals total for last season. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KIRILL NIZHNIKOV -- After being traded from Barrie to Sudbury for draft picks earlier in the day, Nizhnikov had a goal and two assists in his Thursday debut with the Wolves. Although Sudbury fell 5-4 at Peterborough in OT, there was cause for excitement. Nizhnikov, the No. 2 star, began his scoring burst with the primary assist on a 5-on-3 power-play goal at 11:31 of the first period, tying the game 1-1. In the second, he had the lone assist on a goal at 18:54 for a 3-2 lead and then made it 4-2 by scoring at 19:53. This was Nizhnikov's first three-point game since opening night and snapped a seven game scoring drought. He has four goals and 10 assists in 26 games. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
AKIL THOMAS -- Early in the season, Thomas was on fire, but his scoring had declined. On Thursday, he was back with a goal and assist in Niagara's 4-2 win over London. Thomas, the No. 2 star, assisted on a goal at 10:41 of the first period for a 1-1 tie. Four minutes later, at 14:40, he scored on a power play to make it 2-1. Thomas, a Grade A Central Scouting center and projected first-round pick, is still averaging over a point-per-game in the OHL with 30 in 28, but he has definitely picked it up of late. He now has a three-game point streak and points in six of the past seven games. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)