Latest Features

Cernak, Erik

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-25-18 Panthers at Lightning

Lightning blow the "worst lead in hockey."

FLA-3
TB-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:17 TB Erne (1), (Joseph, Miller)(PP)
10:15 TB Killorn (1), (Stamkos, Miller)

Third Period
2:16 FLA Dadonov (1), (Pysyk)
7:03 FLA Ekblad (1), (Sceviour, MacKenzie)(SH)
12:31 FLA Barkov (1), (Dadonov, Bjugstad)

Brayden Point was the game's second star.

Things looked to be going well with the Lightning up two goals going into the final frame in a game with a lot of front line players from both clubs. It's concerning to cough up that lead and to give up a shorty, especially given that special teams has been a bit of a smoldering disaster thus far in the preseason. Practices will fix that last problem, but you can see some ragged edges as the process moves along to the opener.

Coming into this game, I really felt like this roster was nearly complete with three players fighting for one roster spot with two players fighting for another spot. I believe Adam Erne, who keeps scoring goals, has made the team and that the Lightning are unlikely to carry both Cory Conacher and Danick Martel, who are somewhat similar players in at least a superficial way, on the roster. Given the Lightning had to take the step of claiming Martel off waivers, you'd presume he has a slight edge on the more tenured Conacher. Those two will fight over a single spot, if I'm right the Lightning won't carry both and will try to fish the other through waivers down to Syracuse.

That leaves the final spot on the roster, and I handicap that as a three player race between Erik Cernak, Mathieu Joseph, and Alexander Volkov. If the Lightning decide to carry eight defensemen, Cernak makes the team, period, full stop. A lot of that probably depends on the team's confidence in Sergachev's switch to the right side and their confidence that Slater Koekkoek is finally ready to be more of a contributor to the team (yes, I'm assuming the waiver-eligible Koekkoek will make the club). Most teams don't carry 8 defensemen, but the Lightning have been one of the few teams that regularly have and there is, of course, Jon Cooper's proclivity to dress seven defensemen. Whether he makes the team on opening night or not, expect Cernak to see significant time in Tampa Bay over the course of the season, as he's clearly separated himself as the number eight on the depth chart.

If they go to a more conventional seven defensemen on the roster, though, it comes down to Joseph and Volkov, each of which have the DNA to be contributing complimentary wingers. Joseph's speed and forechecking would be a big plus to the lower lines. Volkov is perhaps a more complete 200 foot player (but only slightly so, Joseph's no slouch) and has a blink-quick release. Either player would be a nice weapon on the roster, but I honestly think the Lightning's style and the overall trend of the league perhaps favors a Joseph promotion.

In my opinion. All speculative, but that seems to me to be the one remaining twist we might see in the final shaping of the roster.

Joseph had a helper and 2 hits in 15:15.

Koekkoek had a shot, a hit, and a blocked shot in 11:59.

Martel had a shot and a blocked shot in 12:23.

Mitchell Stephens had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:02. He was also 44% on 16 draws.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 16:04. He was also 67% on 15 draws.

Adam Erne had a goal and was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 14:24.

Cernak had 2 penalty minutes 4 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 17:18.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-22-18 Predators at Lightning

Connor Ingram FTW.

NSH-2
TB-5

Ingram allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the victory.

First Period
3:09 NSH Jarnkrok (1), (Arvidsson, Turris)

Second Period
4:16 TB Miller (1), (Killorn, Joseph)
10:15 TB Volkov (1), (unassisted)
19:59 NSH Ellis (1), (Arvidsson, Turris)

Third Period
13:01 TB Yan (1), (Stralman, Coburn)
18:29 TB Verhaeghe (1), (Barre-Boulet, Coburn)(EN)
18:52 TB Paquette (1), (Joseph)(EN)

Dennis Yan, Ingram, and Mitchell Stephens were the game's three stars.

Kneel before the might and glory of a Brayden Coburn multi-point game.

Mathieu Joseph had a pair of helpers and was +1 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 13:55.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 19:04.

Yan had the game winner and was +2 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 14:21. All Dennis Yan does is score goals.

Boris Katchouk had 1 shot and 6 hits in 11:15.

Otto Somppi was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 13:48. Somppi was also 64% on 11 draws.

Carter Verhaeghe had a goal and was +1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 16:01.

Alex Barre-Boulet had a helper and was +2 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 16:51.

Stephens was +1 with 2 shots in 13:03.

Alexander Volkov had a goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 16:02.

Erik Cernak was +1 with 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 20:05.

Ross Colton had 2 hits in 13:02. He was also 22% on 9 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-21-18 Lightning at Predators

Lightning youth shows up. Shows out.

TB-5
NSH-1

Louis Domingue allowed just 1 goal on 39 shots for the victory. Nice way to ease into the season.

First Period
7:18 TB Erne (1), (Volkov)
9:06 TB Erne (2), (Cirelli)
9:24 TB Katchouk (1), (Colton, Andreoff)

Second Period
8:34 NSH Josi (1), (Subban, Forsberg)(PP)
9:25 TB Andreoff (1), (Dumont)(SH)

Third Period
17:12 TB Masin (1), (unassisted)(EN)

Adam Erne and Andy Andreoff were the game's first and second stars.

After a pair of ultra flat games against Carolina to start the preseason, the Lightning youth roared to life tonight in the First Period against a veteran NHL'er-laden Predators lineup to get the 3-0 lead and never look back. Kudos to the Lightning after a performance so bad in Carolina, I didn't write a story about it (actually, a full and complete box score was never published with correct goaltender statistics, so there's that).

Mathieu Joseph was +2 with 2 penalty minutes and 5 shots in 16:49. He's having a pretty good preseason. Knocking on the door.

Slater Koekkoek was +5(!) with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 20:10 of duty. Dare we dream this is the year for Slater?

Cameron Gaunce had 3 shots in 21:11.

Boris Katchouk had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 14:48. Goals in back to back preseason tilts for Katchouk.

Taylor Raddysh had 1 hit in 16:08.

Kevin Lynch had 1:00 of ice time.

Matthew Spencer had 1 hit in 15:00.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 19:12 and he was 56% on 18 draws.

Erne had 2 goals and was +2 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 15:31. Annual reminder that Adam Erne has the goods athletically, and just needs to stay healthy.

Dominik Masin had a goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 3 blocked shots in 15:43.

Alexander Volkov had a helper and was +2 with 1 hit in 17:18.

Erik Cernak had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 20:35.

Ross Colton had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 shots in 10:18. He was also 38% on 8 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Opinion: Lightning at the Halfway Mark

Forty games into a historic 2017-2018 season, let's take a moment to pause, step out of the moment, and take stock of where the club is. Sitting halfway through the campaign expectations for the team, which missed the postseason just a year ago, are sky high for good reason. Not only is the Lightning atop the NHL standings a full 13 points ahead of the pace they need to be in order to make the postseason, but the team leads a bevy of organizational and individual statistical categories.

Let's pump the breaks on prematurely planning a Stanley Cup championship parade, though. There's still half of the regular season and the postseason left to play, and as good as the team is, it's not without blemishes. How General Manager Steve Yzerman addresses those blemishes (or doesn't) and how any potential changes alters team chemistry (or doesn't) will have a lot to say about whether the team lives up to its perceived potential. So, with all of that in mind, let's look at how the team got here, what its weaknesses are, and what might happen next.

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.

Syndicate content