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Game Time Prospect Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010

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By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department



Due to circumstances entirely beyond our control (excessive fatigue brought on by stress and lack of sleep), the promised Prospect Sunday 2011 European Draft Preview is not yet ready. It is a work in progress, and we will make every effort to have it up by the end of the day today.


After jumping out to a 7-1-0-0 start on the season, the Peoria Rivermen have hit a sand bar this week. A hospital ship might have been more appropriate transportation for the Rivermen over the last seven days, as the flu bug bit the team hard in the Lone Star State and took key players like Graham Mink, Mark Cundari, and T.J. Hensick out of the lineup at various times.

Jared Bednar's crew went into San Antonio last Sunday riding a seven-game win streak, but repeated history by being torched at the Alamo as the Ranpage skated away with a 4-1 victory. The seven-game Texas road swing then concluded in Austin with a 3-0 whitewashing at the hands of goalie Richard Bachman and the defending AHL Western Conference champion Texas Stars

Last night, the Rivermen returned to the friendly confines of Carver Arena for the annual "Pink In The Rink" game to benefit breast cancer awareness and research. Home cooking didn't help, however, as the expansion Oklahoma City Barons continued their hot streak in early-season play by taking a 3-1 decision from the Rivermen.

Cundari and Chris Porter were the only Rivermen to find the back of the net in the last three games, and the special teams have not been particularly effective. The offense has dried up at even strength and on the power play, as Porter's goal vs. OKC was the only tally Peoria managed this week in 12 attempts with the man advantage. For the season, the Rivermen are ranked 11th in the AHL with 10 power-play goals in 48 attempts, a 20.8% success rate.

The Rivermen lead the AHL with 226 PIM in 11 games, and have been shorthanded 63 times, also the highest number in the league. For the week, Peoria killed 12 of 15 penalties for an 80.0% success rate, and have allowed 9 power-play goals in 63 times shorthanded on the year, an 85.7% kill rate that also ranks the Rivermen 11th in the 30-team AHL.

Ben Bishop played all three games for the Rivermen this week, allowing eight goals on 73 shots against in 177 minutes for a 2.72 goals-against average and an 89.0% save percentage for the week. Peoria also surrendered two empty-net goals during the three losses this week.


After the jump, the Game Time Featured Prospect Of The Week, as well as this week's "Fab Five" of players in the organization who are "Trending Up." With Peoria hitting a bump in the road this week, collegians and Euros were able to move to the forefront. Stay tuned...


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The Game Time Featured Prospect of the week for Oct. 31, 2010 is University of Minnesota center Jay Barriball.

"The Little Barriball Of Hate" missed virtually all of his senior season in 2009-10 after suffering a knee injury in an October 2009 practice, and has returned to the Golden Gopher lineup for a fifth season in 2010-11.

Barriball Prospect File

(LINKhere to SB Nation asset file for the above graphic.)

The featured video of the week is one of the few Barriball videos available at the UM website... it's from his freshman season (2006-07), scoring against Maine with Ben Bishop in goal. For a smaller guy, Barriball likes to go to the net and hang out in traffic. He may have a harder time doing that at a higher level, but you can bet he'll give it his best effort as Barriball has been playing the same hard-nosed, hard-working style for Don Lucia and the Gophers from Day One.

(Alas, you'll have to sit through a Doug Flutie commercial first... sorry.)

Barriball was a high school teammate of current Blues' defenseman Erik Johnson at Holy Angels Academy in Minneapolis, and the Blues have retained his rights for one more season due to last year's season-ending injury. His chances of making the NHL roster are slim, but Barriball is the kind of player that can contribute in a big way at the AHL level. If he signs with the Blues after his college season is done, Barriball can be a big part of building and sustaining an environment in Peoria where winning is expected, and that kind of environment provides the best opportunity for the development of the more high-profile prospects.

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Barriball Berglund Fairchild Karpowich Lehtera
Minnesota (WCHA) Färjestad (SEL) Minnesota (WCHA) Clarkson (ECAC) Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)
** 3 games played this week ** 3 games played this week ** 3 games played this week ** 1 game played this week ** 4 games played this week
** 3 G, 1 A, plus-2 ** 1 G, 1 A, plus-2 ** 1 G, 2 A, plus-4 ** 62 mins, 1 GA, 1-0-0 ** 3 G, 0 A, plus-2
** 2 PM, 1 PP, 0 SH, 2 GW ** 0 PM, 1 PP, 0 SH, 1 GW ** 2 PM, 0 PP, 1 SH, 0 GW ** 0.97 GAA, 97.1% sv pct ** 2 PM, 1 PP, 0 SH, 0 GW