Cernak, Erik

AHL Game Night: 12-9-17 Crunch at Senators

New Crunchning Death Star vaporizes Sens to run streak to nine.

SYR-6
BEL-0

Connor Ingram stopped all 18 shots he faced for the shutout victory, his first shutout as a pro.

First Period
9:01 SYR Volkov (5), (Lynch, Thomas)
14:37 SYR Stephens (4), (Volkov, Verhaeghe)

Second Period
7:35 SYR McBain (4), (Volkov, Peca)(PP)
15:05 SYR Stephens (5), (Masin)(SH)

Third Period
10:37 SYR Cirelli (6), (Erne, Joseph)(PP)
16:09 SYR Volkov (6), (Peca, Masin)

Alexander Volkov, Mitchell Stephens, and Ingram were the game's three stars.

Tonight you started to see the quality of the depth the Crunch have, prospect-wise, start to show. This isn't a team that has top scoring line NHL caliber skill on it, but everywhere you look there's a really high energy player who is a strong 200 foot player and plays a strong possession game. Cirelli and Joseph, in particular, had their way in the previous two games. Tonight was Volkov and Stephens' turn.

I'll also throw some love Dominik Masin's way tonight, as he had two assists and has been really good since joining the Crunch after some injuries nagged him in camp. He's formed a very solid pair with rookie Erik Cernak, and the mind wanders to thoughts of whether that may be a pair in the NHL in a couple of years time.

Syracuse is now 4 games over .500 and sits just 3 points back of Rochester for second in the North Division after the Americans dropped their game a shootout tonight.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-20-17 Devils at Crunch

The struggle continues.

BNG-3
SYR-2

Michael Leighton allowed 2 goals on 2 shots before being lifted quickly in the First Period. Connor Ingram allowed 1 goal on 20 shots for the injustice of the backdoor loss.

First Period
0:11 BNG Quenneville (4), (Bastian, Strait)
3:57 BNG Speers (1), (Pietila, Rooney)
11:49 BNG Lappin (4), (Erixon, Kapla)

Second Period
11:54 SYR Bournival (1), (unassisted)(SH)
13:26 SYR Cernak (2), (Bodie)(SH)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Michael Bournival and Erik Cernak were the game's second and third stars.

Syracuse sits alone in the North Division basement at a dismal 1-4-1-0. That said, they've only really been run off the rink in one of the losses (against the Penguins) and there's probably an alternate dimension where Syracuse could just as easily be 4-1-1-0. There's no such thing as moral victories, though, and Syracuse needs to figure out how to get on the right side of these 1 goal decisions quickly.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-14-17 Comets at Crunch

Crunch drop another tightly fought battle.

UTI-3
SYR-2

Michael Leighton allowed 3 goals on 19 shots as the Comets overcame a 26-19 shot disparity to pull out the win.

First Period
7:57 UTI Goldobin (3), (Boucher, Holm)
19:14 SYR Conacher (2), (Bodie, Cirelli)

Second Period
12:41 UTI Holm (1), (Bancks, Goldobin)(PP)

Third Period
3:22 SYR Cernak (1), (Stephens, Walcott)
6:38 UTI Chaput (1), (McEneny, Holm)(PP)

Mitchell Stephens was the game's second star. He assisted on Erik Cernak's first professional goal in the defeat.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Cernak's Work Ethic Impresses Crunch's Groulx


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After Erik Cernak’s first weekend with the Syracuse Crunch, head coach Benoit Groulx’s assessment was nothing but positives.

Strong skater. Big body. Good shot.

Most importantly, Groulx believes Cernak’s work ethic is what could eventually earn the 20-year-old defenseman a spot in the NHL.

“I like the package, now I think it’s about more maturity in his game,” Groulx said of the 6-3, 221-pounder. “He’s got a lot of qualities as a person and a player, and he’s probably one of the hardest working guys we have here. That’s a compliment, because we have many guys that are working hard.

“He’s played well so far in the two games. He has to bring more consistency, but I think he’s got a lot of room to develop and become a very good player.”

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-22-17 Predators at Lightning

First string Lightning (closer to, at least) dismantle Preds.

NSH-1
TB-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory. He looked pretty locked in staring down multiple breakaways and keeping a clean sheet until a garbage goal late in the Third Period spoiled his shutout bid.

First Period
0:33 TB Hedman, (Stamkos, Kucherov)
15:37 TB Kucherov, (Stamkos, Palat)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
3:26 TB Gourde, (Callahan, Killorn)
14:05 NSH Watson, (Petterson, Girard)

Vasilevskiy, Steven Stamkos, and Matthew Peca were the game's three stars.

Playing against a B-team Nashville roster, I'm not going to celebrate this game too heartily, but I think it had the fingerprints of a lot of the things I feel give the Lightning the potential to have a very good season this year. Vasilevskiy's going to have a monster year, in my opinion, now that he enters as the clear number one netminder. Hedman and Kucherov continue to grow as team leaders as they did late in the last campaign. Steven Stamkos looks good in his return from injury and I like the initial form of the top two lines in appears Jon Cooper is forming. The only thing this game was missing was a scoring outburst by Brayden Point, but I expect that'll come in time, too. Long story short: I'm probably more bullish on the Lightning's outlook going into this season than a lot of my Bolt Prospects colleagues and tonight's performance added a little touch of validation to that opinion (as much as a preseason win can, I suppose).

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 11:33.

Dennis Yan was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 8:02.

Ben Thomas had 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 3 hits in 20:55.

Peca was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:15. He was also a gaudy 90% on 10 draws.

Matthew Spencer had 1 shot in 18:06.

Daniel Walcott had 4 hits in 14:13.

Erik Cernak was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:16. He's shown well in camp and his exhibition game performances and appears to be moving up the organizational depth chart at right D.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 20:03. Eat those minutes young fella. Eat those minutes.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-20-17 Lightning at Hurricanes

Junior Lightning strike back in Carolina.

TB-4
CAR-3

Petr Budaj allowed 2 goals on 20 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Michael Leighton who allowed 1 goal on 12 shots the rest of the way for the back door win.

First Period
6:33 TB Erne, (Brown, Dumont)
12:37 CAR Wallmark, (Lindholm, Necas)(PP)

Second Period
2:29 TB McGinn, (Stephens)
4:28 TB Sergachev, (Point, Conacher)
9:25 CAR Ryan, (Miller, Hanifin)

Third Period
12:02 TB Katchouk, (Cirelli, Howden)
18:24 CAR Aho, (Skinner, Linholm)(PP)

Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli were the game's first and second stars. Nice to see a younger Lightning lineup pull out a game on the road against a Carolina lineup that included more of their first choice players in front of their home crowd. These back-to-back games, if anything, have helped confirm the quality of the Lightning's prospects as many of these players move into their seasons in the junior and minor league ranks.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 4 blocked shots in 19:01.

Boris Katchouk had the GWG and was +1 with 1 shot in 12:52.

Libor Hajek had 1 shot in 17:47.

Brett Howden had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 12:19. He was also 38% on 8 draws.

Cal Foote was -1 with 1 shot and 5 blocked shots in 18:36.

Matthew Peca had 2 shots and 1 hit in 17:28. He was also 43% on 7 draws.

Mitchell Stephens had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 11:10.

Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 9 penalty minutes, 4 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:01. He was also 17% on 6 draws. His penalty minutes game for a brawl started after boarding a Hurricanes opponent.

Adam Erne notched his second of the preseason and was +1 with 3 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:54. It will be tough, waiver eligibility being a concern, for Erne to make the Lightning out of camp. That said, I feel he gives the team a dimension it lacks as a creative power forward and from a pure hockey standpoint, he'd be on my first choice 23-man roster.

Erik Cernak was +3 with 2 shots, 7 hits, and 4 blocked shots in 20:27. The stay-at-homer's dream box score.

Sergachev had a goal and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 22:16. I'm not shocked. He's the real thing. I don't believe a 30+ point season is a reasonable expectation for Sergachev as a rookie, if he makes the squad, but I do believe he can be a solid minutes eater in his premiere campaign if the team keeps him in Tampa Bay.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Erik Cernak

Basics

Type: 
Prospect
Position: 
Defense
Shoots/Catches: 
Right
Height: 
6.03
Weight: 
221
Born: 
05/28/1997
Age: 
20
Hometown: 
Kosice, SVK
Acquired: 
Acquired in a trade with Los Angeles on February 26, 2017
Last Team: 
Syracuse (AHL)
Projects As: 
Big shutdown defenseman with upside

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2015
Drafted By: 
Los Angeles Kings
Round: 
2
Pick No.: 
43
Draft Team: 
HC Kosice (SVK)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Signed
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Exempt
Signing Date: 
07/14/2015
Contract Type: 
Entry-level
Contract Length: 
3 years
Cap Number: 
$708 333
Contract Start Year: 
2017
Contract End Year: 
2020
Contract End Status: 
RFA
Salary: 
$697 500
Salary: 
$742 500
Salary: 
$685 000

Bio

Awards: 

2012-13

  • U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team


2013-14

  • Slovakian Extraliga Champion
  • U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team


2014-15

  • Slovakian Extraliga Champion
  • U20 WJC Bronze Medal


2015-16

  • U20 WJC Top 3 Player on Team

Scouting Report

Scouting Comments: 

Černák is a big defenseman with excellent reach and strength. Is brilliant defensively and in front of his own net. Can also play on the powerplay thanks to his hockey sense. Doesn't take a lot of penalties for a physical player. However, he could improve his skating ability.
- Vladimir Kubik EP

Strengths: 

A huge defenseman with both size and a great stick, he is also strong enough to compete against big NHL opponents already. Also boasts pretty good hockey sense and some offensive upside.

Weaknesses: 

Doesn't have optimum skating ability, which may become an issue as he climbs the organizational ladder. Also, his long-range scoring upside is limited. Must focus on being a shutdown blueliner.

Projection: 

Big shutdown defenseman with upside.

Statistics

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2011-2012 HC Kosice U18Slovakia U1837 5 49 61|        
 2012-2013 HC Slovan Bratislava U18Slovakia U180 0 00 0|Playoffs1 0 22
  HC Slovan Bratislava U20Slovakia U2030 4 610 18|Playoffs12 0 11
  Team Slovakia U20Slovakia28 2 02 18|        
  Slovakia U17WHC-175 0 00 8|        
  Slovakia U17 (all)International-Jr9 1 12 10|        
  Slovakia U18WJC-186 0 22 8|        
  Slovakia U18 (all)International-Jr8 0 33 8|        
 2013-2014 HC Kosice U20Slovakia U208 1 34 16|        
  HC KosiceSlovakia13 0 00 0|Playoffs7 0 00
  Team Slovakia U20Slovakia20 2 13 2|        
  Team Slovakia U20Rona Cup3 0 11 8|        
  Slovakia U18WJC-185 0 00 6|        
  Slovakia U20WJC-205 0 00 4|        
  Slovakia U20 (all)International-Jr7 0 11 4|        
 2014-2015 HC KosiceSlovakia43 5 813 16|Playoffs7 0 11
  HC KosiceChampions HL6 0 11 4|        
  Slovakia U20WJC-206 0 22 4|        
  Slovakia U20 (all)International-Jr5 3 25 8|        
  Slovakia (all)International3 1 01 6|        
 2015-2016 Erie OttersOHL41 4 1115 35|Playoffs13 0 66 10 
  Slovakia U20WJC-204 0 00 2|        
 2016-2017 Erie OttersOHL50 3 1821 53|Playoffs22 1 89 10 
  Erie OttersM-Cup5 0 22 2|        
  Slovakia U20WJC-205 0 11 2|        
 2017-2018 Syracuse CrunchAHL26 2 68 20|        
  Slovakia (all)International2 0 00 2|        

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com

Bolts Deal Bishop to Kings; Acquire Budaj, Cernak, and picks

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired goaltender Peter Budaj, defenseman Erik Cernak, a seventh-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft as well as a conditional pick in 2017 from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goaltender Ben Bishop and a fifth-round selection in 2017, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Budaj, 6-foot-1, 196 pounds, has played in 53 games with the Kings this season, posting a 27-20-3 record with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage with seven shutouts. Budaj, 34, has appeared in 350 NHL games with Los Angeles, the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, with a 152-127-39 record with 18 shutouts.

Cernak, 6-3, 221 pounds, has skated in 41 games with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters this season, registering three goals and 17 points, along with a plus-27 rating. The 19-year-old defenseman has played in 82 career OHL games with Erie, recording seven goals and 32 points with a plus-34 rating.

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