Erne, Adam

AHL Game Night: 12-6-17 Crunch at Comets

Erne's hat trick keeps streaking Crunch on track.

SYR-6
UTI-1

Louis Domingue allowed 1 goal on 25 shots for the victory. He's 5-2-0 with a .927 save percentage since joining Syracuse.

First Period
9:54 UTI Wiercioch (4), (Megna, Darcy)(SH)
17:57 SYR Erne (4), (Lynch)

Second period
9:55 SYR Verhaeghe (4), (Masin, Cernak)
11:02 SYR Verhaeghe (5), (Bournival)

Third Period

7:54 SYR Spencer (1), (Cirelli, Erne)
10:50 SYR Erne (5), (Bodie, Cirelli)
12:48 SYR Erne (6), (Joseph, Cirelli)(PP)

Adam Erne, Carter Verhaeghe, and Mathieu Joseph were the game's three stars.

Erne's hat trick obviously gets the headlines, but it was a banner night for several Crunch players, Carter Verhaeghe's two goals ended up being the critical markers that swayed the momentum of the game, and Anthony Cirelli chipped in assists in triplicate to help Syracuse turn the game into a laugher in the final frame. Additionally, defenseman Matthew Spencer had a milestone moment scoring his first professional goal.

Syracuse's white hot seven game winning streak has moved them from the out house of the North Division to third in winning percentage and fourth in raw points.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-2-17 Senators at Crunch

Six straight for the Crunch puts them up over .500.

BEL-4
SYR-5 (SO)

Connor Ingram allowed 4 goals on 24 shots before stopping 6 of 7 shooters in the penalty shot session for the SO win.

First Period
2:29 SYR Masin (4), (Spencer, Verhaeghe)
17:37 BEL Chlapik (4), (McCormick, Jaros)
19:12 SYR Stephens (3), (Peca, Cernak)

Second Period
1:59 BEL White (4), (Perron, Jaros)(PP)
12:29 SYR Bodie (2), (Bournival, Lynch)

Third Period
0:57 BEL DiDomenico (5), (Paul, White)(PP)
3:47 BEL Paul (1), (DiDomenico)
19:12 SYR Erne (3), (Joseph, Bodie)(PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
BEL- White
SYR- Joseph, Loney

Ty Loney and Adam Erne were the game's first and second stars.

Syracuse came within an eyelash of seeing their winning streak go up in smoke in a frustrating Third Period, but Adam Erne's tally with 48 seconds to go kept hope alive. Syracuse actually had a staggering 25-7 shot advantage through 40 minutes before Belleville started playing score effects hockey in the Third Period to pull ahead on the scoreboard, if only for a moment.

Thankfully, Syracuse's late game heroics moved them to a 10-9-1-2 record for the campaign and above .500 after banging their heads against the wall in multiple 1 goal losses the first two months of the year.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-1-17 Rocket at Crunch

Five straight wins gets Syracuse back to .500.

LAV-1
SYR-2

Louis Domingue allowed 1 goal on 25 shots for the victory. His save percentage since joining the Crunch has now gotten to a stylish .923 mark after tonight's effort.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
5:58 SYR Erne (2), (Cirelli, McBain)

Third Period
1:56 SYR Peca (3), (Stephens, Thomas)
16:42 LAV Terry (11), (Taormina, Petti)(PP)

Matthew Peca, Domingue, and Adam Erne were the game's three stars.

Syracuse has risen from the basement of the North Division to a three-way tie for third in the division in winning percentage.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 11-18-17 Crunch at Marlies

Breakthrough for Crunch remains close, but out of reach.

SYR-1
TOR-2

Louis Domingue allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for the loss. It was a quality start in his Syracuse debut, at least.

First Period
3:05 SYR Erne (1), (Thomas, Yan)(PP)
13:54 TOR Johnsson (7), (Mueller, Kapanen)(PP)
18:56 TOR Kapanen (5), (Rosen, Johnsson)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NO SCORING

Dennis Yan was the game's third star.

Good to see Adam Erne rebound with a goal after his... inartful... breakaway attempt last time out made Sportcenter bloopers.

Syracuse outshot the division-leading Marlies, but couldn't crack Garret Sparks for the equalizer. The team remains tantalizingly close to a breakthrough but is still struggling to figure out how to finish off and win games.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-21-17 Thunderbirds at Crunch

Crunch finally break through with a big win.

SPR-1
SYR-4

Connor Ingram allowed 1 goal on 23 shots for the victory. He played well in relief against the Devils and followed it up with another solid effort.

1st
17:45 SYR McGinn (2), (Conacher, Lynch)

Second Period
14:44 SYR Akeson (1), (Erne)

Third Period
3:19 SYR Bournival (2), (Erne, Masin)
4:42 SPR Valk (1), (Hawryluk, Wittchow)(PP)
19:57 SYR Bournival (3), (Lynch, Cirelli)(EN)

Ingram, Jason Akeson, and Adam Erne were the game's three stars.

After a healthy dose of one goal losses, the Crunch finally picked themselves off the mat against the 0-6-0 Thunderbirds. Is the win impressive given the quality of opponent? Who cares. It was necessary, and the team got it.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Erne Looks to Prove Himself With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Erne is back in the AHL and ready to demonstrate why he belongs at the next level.

The winger earned his first promotion to Tampa Bay last year and finished the regular season with the Lightning. Erne was returned to Syracuse for the playoffs, and suited up for all 22 games on the Crunch’s road to the Calder Cup Finals.

As he begins his third professional season, Erne knows making that next step to the NHL full-time is all about consistency.

"I think just being dominant every night and proving that I deserve to be at the next level," Erne said of what it would take to earn a spot with the Lightning. "I think I have the tools to get there, it's just a matter of using them every night."

NHL Preseason Game Day: 9-24-17 Panthers at Lightning

Peca makes his case.

FLA-4
TB-2

Petr Budaj allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
5:39 FLA McGinn, (McCoshen, Bjugstad)

Second Period
14:30 TB Volkov, (Peca, Killorn)
15:02 FLA Dadonov, (Huburdeau, Barkov)

Third Period
4:34 FLA Vrbata, (Hawrlyuk, Malgin)(PP)
12:44 TB Volkov. (Killorn, Peca)
18:55 FLA Huburdeau, (Petrovic)(EN)

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Tonight's lineup looked to be a little closer to Tampa Bay's first choice defense playing with a more Syracuse-flavored forward corps.

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 penalty minutes in 17:05.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 blocked shots in 17:14.

Brett Howden was 56% on 9 draws in 15:52.

Ben Thomas was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 17:44.

Matthew Peca had 2 helpers and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot and he was 30% on 10 draws. Peca's had a solid camp and preseason with his play in all three zones and seems to be making a serious challenge to make the big league squad.

Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot in 11:30.

Anthony Cirelli was -3 and 54% on 13 draws in 16:03.

Adam Erne was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 16:37.

Alexander Volkov had a pair of goals and 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:25. He's played well throughout camp and the preseason. His first goal was a wraparound which might've been a bit of a soft goal gift that Florida's netminder should've gotten to. His second goal was pretty much a tap in driving to the net on a nice backhand feed by Killorn. He'll be an interesting player to watch in Syracuse this season.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 23:46. The ice time doesn't lie. The Lightning have big league plans for young Sergachev.

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.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-19-17 Hurricanes at Lightning

Junior Lightning nearly pull off comeback against Canes.

CAR-2
TB-1

Michael Leighton allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for the loss. The veteran netminder will enter the season the number one for AHL Syracuse.

First Period
3:46 CAR Williams (1), (Carrick, Teravainen)(PP)

Second Period
4:03 CAR Taravainen (1), (Rask, Carrick)(PP)

Third Period
TB Erne (1), (Peca, Conacher)(PP)

Alexei Lipanov was the game's third star.

It was a choppy game with the flow marred by a lot of penalties, compounded by the discontinuity of two rosters dotted with a lot of youth getting a quick look before guys get returned to junior.

Lipanov was scoreless in 15:42 with 2 shots and was 50% on 4 draws.

Boris Katchouk had 2 penalty minutes, 4 shots, and 2 hits in 13:11.

Libor Hajek had 3 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 19:57.

Taylor Raddysh had 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 13:52.

Cal Foote had 3 shots and 2 blocked shots in 21:56.

Matthew Peca had a helper and 4 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and he was 25% on 12 draws in 17:10. He had a nice setup to Erne for the Lightning's lone goal (that counted) on the evening.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot and was 67% on 3 draws in 15:06.

Adam Erne had a goal, 1 shot, and 3 hits in 12:05.

Daniel Walcott had 3 shots and 3 hits in 13:07.

Oleg Sosunov played 16:37.

Alexander Volkov had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 3 hits, and was 60% on 5 draws in 16:38. He had the potential game tying goal waved off for goaltender interference late in the final frame.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 4-9-17 Sabres at Lightning

Lightning end a season of disappointment with an abundance of hope.

BUF-2
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory. He was solid as a rock again today, making situational saves when needed and staying sharp despite long stretches where he had very little work. One of the biggest reasons for the Lightning missing the playoffs this season was subpar goaltending the first two-thirds of the year that came from the weird limbo situation that Ben Bishop was in. Once Bishop was moved out at the trade deadline and Vasilevskiy clearly moved into the number one role, Vasilevskiy played outstanding. He justified the opinion of a lot of people that he's the best emerging young goaltender in the game.

First Period
13:56 BUF Carrier (5), (Nylander)

Second Period
5:59 TB Point (17), (Hedman, Dotchin)
12:20 TB Coburn (5), (Namestnikov, Killorn)(SH)

Third Period
11:17 BUF Kane (28), (Gionta, O'Reilly)
18:36 TB Point (18), (Kucherov, Stralman)
19:59 TB Hedman (16), (Stralman, Point)(EN)

Brayden Point, Vasilevskiy, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

You never know what you're going to get in a game like this where there's nothing on the line after Toronto eliminated the Lightning last night with a late, come-from-behind win. I was pleased to see a pretty good overall effort from the Lightning, particularly for the first 40 minutes of the game, which I think in part stemmed from a smart decision by Jon Cooper to start Vasilevskiy and treat this more like a normal game. They were pretty sound defensively the first 40 minutes and, probably feeling a little more free with things settled in the standings, I thought showed more free-flowing offensive creativity. With tee times beckoning in the Third Period, I thought there were stretches it got a little too much like a QMJHL game with matching line rushes at both ends, but all in all I think the Lightning really closed the season strong and in style. Were it not for the heroics for Linus Ullmark in Buffalo's net, the Lightning could've easily put 7 or 8 goals on the board tonight.

The Lightning ultimately finish 2 points shy of a playoff berth with 94 points. Remember how we keep harping on that 96 point number? Yep, that's the number that would've gotten them in. There's no mysticism about it, and the Lightning learned a painful lesson this season about early season complacency. The good news, I'm happy to say, is that it seems that the team understands what happened, and after their first summer of rest in a long time seem ready to return next year with a renewed team identity and a chip on their shoulder. That's not to say there won't be changes to the roster. There are warts on this team, and players on the roster who either have plateaued as players or simply can't cut it on an elite-level NHL team. I trust that Steve Yzerman will make the changes necessary to address those issues, and have a lot of hope in my heart seeing the emerging young talent on this team.

Going into next season, you can see the Lightning have five forwards in particular that look to me to be capable of being among the NHL's best. Steven Stamkos, returning from injury, obviously is already well proven as an NHL superstar and Nikita Kucherov added himself to that echelon of players with his 40-goal, over a point-a-game campaign this year. Beyond those two, you saw two other players who I think have the capability of becoming top-10 NHL scorers: Jonathan Drouin and Brayden Point. Drouin's talent is undeniable, and it remains not a question of "if" but rather "when" he makes that transition to being a 30 goal, 80+ point a year player. He could've had 4 goals easily today were it not for Ullmark's heroics. Point, on the other hand, came into this year with significantly lower expectations as a guy who was selected outside of the top-60 in his draft year who wasn't even expected to make the NHL roster this year. Had he not missed a month with a broken paw, he would've topped 20 goals this season and something about his rookie campaign gives me all the same feels that Brad Richards' rookie campaign in Tampa Bay did as a third round pick who played like a high first rounder. Rounding out this group is veteran Ondrej Palat, who has looked lost at times over the past two seasons but down the stretch of this year started to look like the two-way beast of a player he's shown he can be. Those give on the Lightning's forward corps give me the belief the team will be dynamic offensively next year.

The defensive corps is a bit more unsettled, but Victor Hedman made a serious campaign for the Norris Trophy down the stretch of this year in finishing second in the NHL in points among defensemen. I wouldn't bet against him winning it next year, and what we saw in Hedman's game this season was the checking off of the last boxes he needed to in order to transition to becoming a great NHL defenseman. Namely, the rise of the Lightning power play this year can be directly traced to the rise of Hedman as a legit power play threat. Maybe that's the silver lining of Stamkos' injury. With Stammer out, the Lightning became a much more "left handed" power play with things primarily playing off of Kucherov's triggers in the right wing circle. Hedman at the center point fed into that change from a "right handed" power play, and he started to really sharpen up his shot and improve his distribution skills. We always knew he was a wizard off the rush, but Hedman learned to thrive in the more stationary/lateral third-ice game of the power play. Supplementing Hedman is stalwart righty defenseman Anton Stralman and the found money that was youngster Jake Dotchin. Anybody who tells you they saw the rise of Jake Dotchin coming is either a (bleeping) liar or has a time machine. One of the magical things in sports is that sometimes a guy just "gets it" out of the blue and comes out of nowhere to become a good player. That was Dotchin this year. Those three form half of a solid NHL defense corps, and with two righties already nailed down, the job of filling out the rest of the Lightning blueline becomes a lot easier for Steve Yzerman to deal with. Lefties are a lot easier to come up with. Righties are rare as hen's teeth.

And then there's Vasilevskiy. Russia's answer to Carey Price. Mark my words: as talented as the Lightning are there will be other clubs in the NHL that will have better skaters and more skill... and the Lightning will have the answer in the form of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Watching him become what he looks destined to become is going to be fun.

Luke Witkowski had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:25.

Greg McKegg played 10:51.

Dotchin had a helper, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 17:07. I'd be interested to know if he draws any attention from the Canadian hockey program as a potential IIHF World Championships player.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:13 and was 63% on 8 draws. He will be headed back to Syracuse to help the Crunch in the playoffs, which Syracuse clinched a spot in today.

Yanni Gourde had 1 shot in 16:35 and was 40% on 10 draws. What a weapon for Syracuse to be getting back into the lineup.

Adam Erne was -2 with 4 hits and 1 blocked shot in 13:01. The stat line looks ugly, but I thought he played a whale of a first 40 minutes in the game. The whole reason Drouin could've had 3-4 goals in this game was that Erne was absolutely dealing on the forecheck and was super-creative distributing once he forced Buffalo to turn it over. He needs to follow up this stretch run with a strong playoffs for Syracuse. He'll enter next season on the roster bubble, and if he approaches the task with the proper intensity and focus he can help this Lightning team. He has obvious size and strength and surprising explosiveness and skill. The fact he can work so well with Drouin like he did today speaks to the upside he has. He's not some bogus faux power forward plugger. He's got the tools to be a serious scoring line contributor in this league. You all saw the flashes of it over the last month.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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