Ashton, Carter

NHL Game Night: 10-13-11 Lightning at Islanders

At what point are these guys going to feel embarrassed?

TB-1
NYI-5

Dwayne Roloson allowed 5 goals on 18 shots for the loss before being lifted for Mathieu Garon, who stopped all 16 he faced the rest of the way.

First Period
NYI Tavares (1), (unassisted), 0:36
TB Stamkos (1), (Bergeron), 7:10
NYI Moulson (1), (Tavares, Eaton), 9:28
NYI Tavares (2), (Moulson, Parenteau), 15:15
NYI Parenteau (1), (Tavares), 18:39

Second Period
NYI Grabner (1), (Okposo), 6:47

Third Period
NO SCORING

Let me put this in very simple terms: in the last 3 games the Lightning have allowed 14 goals, and if you take Tomas Vokoun's softies out of the equation, they've only scored 4. They should have been -10 over the past 3 games, and that's terrible no matter how you slice it.

You would think they would've shown more pride than to allow the team that they fought tooth and nail to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals to steamroll them in Boston. Nah. Their division nemesis who they battled in the playoffs and that has tormented them over the past 3-4 seasons? Nah. No pride displayed in either of those games. No forecheck. No focus. No attention to detail.

Having one of the best coaches in the league I wouldn't have expected that kind of effort in back-to-back games, and I damned sure wouldn't have expected it in 3 straight games. But, 36 seconds in, the Lightning started the cycle all over again, and this time they do it against a perennial bottom feeder in the Islanders. Seriously, other than Downie, Ritola, Moore, and maybe one or two others, did anyone else on the team mentally show up for the first 30 minutes?

Will they feel embarrassed now? I don't know. If I were GM, I'm not sure I'd wait for the team to decide to play focused, determined hockey. There are players like Carter Ashton and Tyler Johnson who already are playing focused, determined hockey in the minors. Why on earth they should be working for pennies on the dollar behind guys who should be -10 the past 3 games and have been stealing money from the organization. The complacency and the arrogance have to stop now.

Brett Connolly was +1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 14:41. To finish a plus in a game you get clobbered 5-1 isn't shabby.

Mattias Ritola was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 8 shots, and 1 hit in 15:11. The +/- is ugly, but the effort he made on the forecheck and in the offensive third wasn't. I was impressed with how he played. If only a few more players on the team cared about more than their image.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Carter Ashton Receives 2 Weekly Awards

The American Hockey League announced today that Norfolk Admirals right wing Carter Ashton was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 9, 2011. Ashton scored three goals and recorded an assist in two games to help Norfolk to a pair of victories.

The AHL stole our thunder as we at Bolt Prospects were set to name him our Prospect of the Week today. Yes, we're putting ourselves in the same category as the AHL Player of the Week. It's our site.

AHL Game Night: 10-8-11 Checkers at Admirals

The kids are still alright...

CHA-3
NOR-4

Jaroslav Janus allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the win. With Dustin Tokarski being hurt in camp and after giving up 5 goals on opening night, there's a bit of an opening for Janus to win a few more starts. He helped his stock tonight with a perfect 13/13 in the final frame to slam the door shut and secure the win.

First Period
NOR Ashton, (3) (Barberio, Conacher), 12:58 (PP)
CHA Bowman, (1) (Sanguinetti, Matsumoto), 16:12 (PP)

Second Period
CHA Roy, (1) (Matsumoto, McNicoll), 9:40 (PP)
NOR Picard, (2) (Wright, Fornataro), 10:38
NOR Johnson, (2) (Vernace, Conacher), 15:44
CHA Bowman, (2) (Matsumoto, Bellemore), 19:50

Third Period
NOR Conacher, (1) (Ashton, Johnson), 5:50

Cory Conacher (pictured) and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars. Their linemate, Carter Ashton, also chipped in his 3rd goal of the season, and as a group they accounted for 3 of Norfolk's 4 goals.

Norfolk outshot Charlotte 44-29 in the match.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-7-11 Checkers at Admirals

Comeback kids bury the Checkers.

CHA-5
NOR-6 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 5 goals on 29 shots for the win. He should be thankful his guys picked him up tonight.

First Period
NOR Ashton, (1) (Conacher, Barberio), 6:37 (PP)

Second Period
CHA Matsumoto, (1) (Sanguinetti, Boychuk), 4:26 (PP)
CHA Samson, (1) (Peters), 8:20
NOR Johnson, (1) (Barberio, Tyrell), 10:00 (SH)
CHA Samson, (2) (Sanguinetti, Matsumoto), 14:48

Third Period
CHA Boychuk, (1) (Krueger, Terry), 6:08
NOR Angelidis, (1) (Smith, Picard), 8:01 (PP)
CHA Matsumoto, (2) (Bowman), 12:44
NOR Labrie, (1) (Quick, Fornataro), 13:19
NOR Picard, (1) (Ouellet, Smith), 16:38 (PP)

Overtime
NOR Ashton, (2) (Petiot, Wright), 1:55

Carter Ashton (pictured) and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars. The kids are alright.

Mark Barberio starts his season with assists in triplicate.

Alexandre Picard had the biggest goal of the game on the power play to cap a 2 goal third period comeback and send the game to overtime. Who started the comeback? Pierre-Cedric Labrie with a nifty move to cut past the defense and cut the deficit in half. Somewhere Bolt Prospects writer and secret P-C Labrie fan Chad Schnarr is cringing and chuckling.

Norfolk outshot Charlotte 45-29 in the victory.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-23-11 Panthers at Lightning

God even hates Panthers fans in preseason.

FLA-2
TB-5

Dwayne Roloson stopped 31 of 33 for the win. Hide the children and the silverware, old man Roli is back in town.

First Period
08:06 TB Ritola, (Kubina, Connolly)(PP)

Second Period
06:31 TB Shannon, (Kubina, Bergeron)(PP)
12:55 TB Shannon, (Stamkos, Clark)

Third Period
00:23 TB Ashton, (Brewer)
04:20 FLA Skille, (Robak)(PP)
16:20 FLA Repik, (Robak, Derlyuk)
18:46 TB Lecavalier, (Purcell, Hedman)

As the Lightning move a little closer to icing their opening night lineup, now reading the tea leaves gets more interesting.

Carter Ashton and Brett Connolly each got over 14 minutes of ice time, while Cory Conacher, Dana Tyrell, and Blair Jones got less, especially Jones. Connolly and Conacher remain decisive underdogs, but the battle between Ashton, Tyrell, and Jones for positioning is fascinating. Boucher knows what he has in Tyrell, and to a lesser extent Jones. For Ashton to get himself a goal and play 14+ quality minutes is a key step for him in trying to establish a comfort level with Boucher.

And, then there's the matter of Mattias Ritola, who is a different player now than when Boucher had him in the lineup the first half of last season. He got over 14 minutes and quite a bit of PK ice time. Like Ashton, for him to get a goal and play 14+ quality minutes helps establish a comfort level with the coaching staff. I'd say he was probably the big winner on the night.

Box score from NHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4/23/11 Admirals at Penguins

A brave Norfolk Admirals team has nothing to be ashamed about effort-wise in this playoffs.

NOR-3
WBS-6

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wins the Series 4-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 27 shots, including an unsuccessful third period penalty shot by Joe Vitale in the third period. Considering the winning goal was essentially a 3-on-1, there's not much more Tic could've done tonight. He finishes the playoffs with 1 shutout, a 2.20 GAA, and a .924 save percentage, and he looks like a lock to be Norfolk's starter next season. In all likelihood, Cedrick Desjardins will be the backup in Tampa Bay next season, and Tokarski's play down the stretch seems to indicate he's the type of netminder who wants and needs to be the clear cut #1 in order to be at his best after struggling a bit as a tandem starter with Desjardins. He's regained the title of the Lightning's "Goaltender of the Future" and the priority for next season, his third pro season, will be for Tokarski to prove he can be that consistent #1 goalie before potentially moving up to the NHL in the 4th season of his pro career. At least, that seems to be what the plan is for Tic.

First Period
WBS Wagner, (1) (Walker, Craig), 2:13 (PP)
WBS Wagner, (2) (Potter, Walker), 3:58 (PP)
WBS Wagner, (3) (Wallace, Potter), 18:36

Second Period
NOR Pouliot, (4) (Ritola, Vernace), 14:18
NOR Jones, (1) (Ritola, Milam), 16:03 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Vitale, (2) (Wallace, Collins), 7:23
NOR Wright, (1) (Fornataro, Pouliot), 10:35 (PP)
WBS Wallace, (1) (Vitale, Potter), 18:57 (EN)
WBS Sill, (1) (Strait, Thiessen), 19:21 (EN)

Marc-Antoine Pouliot was the game's third star.

When you consider the Penguins came into this series the best team in the Eastern Conference, and the Admirals had to win their last game just to avoid having to cross over into the Atlantic Division, the Admirals have nothing to feel ashamed of in playing this series so tightly. The hard work and character of this Admirals team is worthy of mention, and the team and organization have come such a long way in 4 seasons since the Lightning started their affiliation with Norfolk.

Coincidentally, the East's crossover team, Binghamton, just knocked off Manchester in Game 7 to advance to the Atlantic Division final against Portland. One wonders what shape a Norfolk/Manchester series might have taken if Norfolk hadn't beaten Connecticut to close the regular season.

The big question now is what this Norfolk Admirals team will look like next season, with several of their older players facing contract decisions and several of the Lightning's best young prospects ticketed for Virginia next season.

Will veterans like Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Chris Durno, Mike Vernace, Mathieu Roy, and Troy Milam be back with the team next year? What about long-time pros like Blair Jones, Mike Angelidis, Mattias Ritola, and Vladimir Mihalik? Mihalik and Ritola just finished their 4th years of pro hockey and Jones and Angelidis finished their 5th. Many of these players will surely have opportunities to play in European leagues next season. We know Johan Harju will, for instance, and the question is whether Johan will stay in North America after a disappointing second half. And will Kevin Quick's time in the Lightning organization be over as well?

Conversely, the Admirals will need to free up spots for several of the Lightning's top prospects. Carter Ashton and Charles Landry have already made appearances for the club this season in the playoffs. Richard Panik and Tyler Johnson seem like locks to be in Norfolk next season, too.

Next season could be a big change for the Admirals organization, as the last vestiges of previous regimes pass on. Change is inevitable for a minor league club, but the Admirals seem destined for even more change than is the norm. The good news is that they seem to have good goaltending locked down and even better coaching after a successful inaugural campaign by Head Coach Jon Cooper and assistant Mike Flanagan along with player development consultant Steve Thomas. This group seems to have taken a decent foundation laid by earlier teams and made it even stronger this year, and that foundation can help the new Admirals grow to be even more successful than this year's edition, in time. Look at how well guys like Mark Barberio and Radko Gudas took to the league this season. It portends good things.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Ashton Joining Admirals

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned forward Carter Ashton to the Norfolk Admirals from his junior club, the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Ashton, 20, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound right wing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, is a first-round draft pick of the Lightning (29th overall in 2009). He split this season between Tri City and the Regina Pats, scoring 33 goals and 71 points with 106 penalty minutes in 62 games between the clubs. He also netted 17 power play goals, tying him for fifth place in the WHL.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4/20/11 Penguins at Admirals

Shorthanded Admirals can't quite get over the hump.

WBS-4
NOR-2

Series Tied at 2-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the loss.

First Period
WBS Potter, (1) (Sill, Wagner), 4:48
NOR Harju, (1) (Pouliot, Fornataro), 16:04

Second Period
WBS Strait, (1) (Sterling, Vitale), 2:38
NOR Pouliot, (3) (Mihalik, Fornataro), 13:25
WBS Craig, (1) (Lerg, Sterling), 18:17 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Vitale, (1) (Collins, Potter), 15:38

Marc-Antoine Pouliot was named the game's second star.

Norfolk was allowed to insert Alex Hutchings in the lineup and they added Charles Landry, but they were still without 6 of their best forwards due to injuries and recalls. They may get one or both of Mattias Ritola and/or Blair Jones back for Game Five and with Tri-City being eliminated last night, there's the possibility of adding Carter Ashton to the lineup. Maybe they can get Angelidis or Berry back too? We'll see.

Game Five seems like a must-win, and the Admirals need as many hands on deck as possible.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

North American Juniors Game Night: 4/19/11

OHL

Western Conference Finals

No.4 Windsor Spitfires 1 @ No.1 Owen Sound Attack 8
Owen Sound leads best of seven series 1-0

D Geoffrey Schemitsch, OS: 0-2-2, +1, 2 PIM (holding)
Season Totals: 45 GP, 1-19-20, +17, 14 PIM
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 0-6-6, +3, 2 PIM
G Michael Zador, OS: Did not dress.
Season Totals: 31 GP, 19-5-1-1, 3.23 GAA, .888 sv%, 0 SO
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 2-0-0, 1.10 GAA, .958 sv%, 1 SO

A springtime snowman in Owen Sound. Andrew Shaw (undrafted) and Joey Hishon (Avalanche) each had two goals and Lightning prospect Geoffrey Schemitsch had two helpers to lead the Attack to a stomping of Windsor in the opening game of the OHL Western Conference Finals. Michael Zador did not dress for the Attack, and at the rate Scott Stajcer is going in net for Owen Sound, he likely won’t see the ice again outside of a possible trophy-carrying parade around the rink. Dallas Stars first rounder Jack Campbell allowed all eight goals for the Spits. Game 2 is Thursday in Windsor.

WHL

Western Conference Semifinals

No.4 Tri-City Americans 4 @ No.2 Spokane Chiefs 5 (OT)
Spokane wins best of seven series 4-2

RW Carter Ashton, TC: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 62 GP, 33-38-71, -6, 106 PIM
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 3-5-8, E, 4 PIM
C Tyler Johnson, SPO: 0-0-0, E, 15 PIM (major-kneeing, game misconduct)
Season Totals: 71 GP, 53-62-115, +27, 48 PIM
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 5-4-9, -1, 17 PIM

Tri-City held a 3-0 lead entering the third period against an opponent whose leading scorer, Lightning prospect Tyler Johnson, was forbidden to return to the game due to a misconduct. Before the Ams could stop dreaming about a Game 6 win and 3-3 series tie, Spokane had scored four times in the first nine minutes of the period to take a one goal lead. TC needed a power play goal to send the game to overtime, but Spokane’s Levko Koper (Thrashers) scored for the Chiefs to send the club on to the conference finals against Portland beginning Friday in Oregon.

With his team eliminated, Lightning prospect Carter Ashton’s junior career is now complete. The former Lightning first rounder, who already holds an NHL contract, can join the Norfolk Admirals if the organization so chooses. Next season he’ll be competing for a spot with the big club out of camp.

North American Juniors Game Night: 4/17/11

QMJHL Quarterfinals

No.4 Drummondville Voltigeurs 3 @ No.5 Gatineau Olympiques 6
Gatineau wins best of seven series 4-2

D Adam Janosik, GAT: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 60 GP, 7-25-32, +17, 37 PIM
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 2-3-5, E, 10 PIM

Gatineau won their fourth game in a row and eliminated the higher seeded Volts in the process. Adam Janosik’s second goal of the playoffs gave the Olympiques a brief 3-2 lead in the third period. Gatineau, who scored five times in the final stanza, moves on to the league semifinals to face the winner of Game 7 between No.3 Quebec and No.7 Shawinigan.

QMJHL Quarterfinals

No.2 Montreal Juniors 3 @ No.8 Lewiston MAINEiacs 6
Lewiston wins best of seven series 4-2

D Charles Landry, MTL: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 57 GP, 11-29-40, +26, 30 PIM
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 1-2-3, +5, 12 PIM

Eighth-seeded Lewiston broke a 2-2 tie late in the second period and held on to defeat the second-seeded Montreal Juniors in Game 6 and advance to the league semifinals. Lightning prospect Charles Landry finished the playoffs with three points. He already holds an NHL contract, which will officially begin next year. He could join AHL Norfolk in some capacity in the coming days should the Lightning organization choose to extend his season.

WHL

Western Conference Semifinals

No.2 Spokane Chiefs 4 @ No.4 Tri-City Americans 3 (OT)
Spokane leads best of seven series 3-2

C Tyler Johnson, SPO: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 71 GP, 53-62-115, +27, 48 PIM
Playoff Totals: 8 GP, 5-4-9, -1, 2 PIM
RW Carter Ashton, TC: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 62 GP, 33-38-71, -6, 106 PIM
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 3-4-7, +1, 4 PIM

Lightning prospect Carter Ashton scored with just over a minute left in regulation after a timeout call to tie the game for Tri-City and send the game to overtime. Spokane’s Blake Gal came out of the penalty box in overtime and scored the game winner to give the Chiefs a 3-2 series lead. Tyler Johnson had an assist for the Chiefs. Game 6 will be in Spokane Tuesday. The winner of the series will take on Portland in the West Finals. Kootenay and Medicine Hat will battle in the East Finals.

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