The best performance from last week among the players listed in The Telegram’s Newfoundlanders Away feature easily belongs to defenceman Adam Holwell of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
In three games played over four nights — all resulting in Titan wins — the 20-year-old defenceman from St. John’s had two goals, four assists and a plus-seven rating.
Holwell was the first star with a goal and three helpers in a 6-1 victory over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and followed up with a goal and second-star selection two nights later as Acadie-Bathurst shaded the Halifax Mooseheads 5-4.
The Titan (15-7-5) are the hottest team in the QMJHL with eight wins in their last 10 games. They lead the Maritimes Division and entering the week, were just a point out of the league’s overall lead.
Holwell has played a large part in that regard, with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 27 games, third most among ‘Q’ rearguards, and a plus-22 rating, which is best among all skaters in the league.
The six-foot, 190-pound Holwell, who is in his fifth season in the QMJHL, has never been drafted, but his performance thus far in 2017-18 would suggest that he could have a hockey career beyond the major juniors ranks.
Holwell isn’t the only Newfoundlander helping the Titan reach for the top. Jordan Maher, a 19-year-old right-winger from Gander, has eight goals, eight assists and plus-10 rating for Acadie-Bathurst.
Honourable mention for the week’s unofficial NLers Away honours goes to another ‘Q’ player, goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick of the Sherbrooke Phoenix, who backstopped his team to two wins last week.
The second-round draft choice of the St. Louis Blues allowed just one goal each time out and posted an overall save percentage of .941 over the two contests. Included was a Sunday game that saw the 19-year-old from St. John’s earn a first-star selection as Sherbrooke edged the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 2-1 in overtime.
Holwell is helping fashion what is becoming sort of an annual tradition of an overage player from Newfoundland making his mark on the QMJHL.
Last season, it was centre Tyler Boland of St. John’s who finished second overall in league scoring during his final campaign with the Rimouski Oceanic.
This season, Boland is skating with the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds, the defending U Sports national champions.
The Varsity Reds look to be a powerhouse again this season, with no regulation losses (a 14-0-2 record through their first 16 games) and ranked second overall in the country as of last week.
The 21-year-old Boland has fit right in at UNB, with 15 points (3-12) in 16 games and a plus-19 rating that is tied for the best (with Varsity Reds teammate Stephen Anderson) for best in the Atlantic conference.