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Stephens, Mitchell

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.

2016 U20 WJC Update: 1-5-17

Gold Medal Match
USA 5 vs. Canada 4 (SO)
Connor Ingram, Canada, DNP
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 2-1-0, 1 SO, 2.57 GAA, .833 sv%

Mathieu Joseph, Canada, 1-1-2, +1, E, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 7 GP, 1-4-5, +4, 0 PIM

Taylor Raddysh, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 7 GP, 5-1-6, +3, 4 PIM

Anthony Cirelli, Canada, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 7 GP, 3-4-7, +8, 2 PIM

Mitchell Stephens, Canada, 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 2-3-5, +4, 0 PIM

Team USA's Troy Terry had the only marker of the five round Shootout to lift his team to a 5-4 Gold Medal Match victory over rival Canada. Kieffer Bellows, son of ex-Lightning forward Brian Bellows and a New York Islanders first rounder, had a pair of goals for the Americans in their win. Lightning prospect Mathieu Joseph scored a would-be insurance marker 4:05 into the Third Period to give the Canadians a 4-2 lead, but the US scored a pair of goals within 3:02 of Joseph's marker to eventually take the game beyond regulation. Joseph also had an even strength helper on Canada's first goal. Mitchell Stephens chipped in a helper on the Canadians' second goal. Joseph played 17:52 in the match, Taylor Raddysh 13:41, Anthony Cirelli 16:55, and Stephens 18:51.

The tournament was a disappointment for netminder Connor Ingram, who struggled in 3 of his 4 starts and ultimately lost the starting job for the Canadians to Carter Hart. Forward Taylor Raddysh, one of the top scorers in the Canadian junior ranks, put on a show dominating the scoresheet against an inferior Latvian side, but struggled to make a dent against the tournament's heavies. Results were ultimately far more positive for the high energy, high character trio of Joseph, Cirelli, and Stephens. All three had a fantastic tournament from start to finish, with the exception of a couple of games missed by Stephens due to injury, proving their worth as potential NHL'ers who could find themselves up with the Lightning within the next few seasons.

2016 U20 WJC Update: 1-4-17

Semifinals
Sweden 2 vs. Canada 5
Connor Ingram, Canada, No Decision, 1/3, 14.85 GAA, .333 sv%
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 2-1-0, 1 SO, 2.57 GAA, .833 sv%

Mathieu Joseph, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 0-3-3, +3, 0 PIM

Taylor Raddysh, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 5-1-6, +3, 4 PIM

Anthony Cirelli, Canada 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 3-4-7, +7, 2 PIM

Mitchell Stephens, Canada, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 2-2-4, +2, 0 PIM

Connor Ingram was lifted 8:05 into the First Period after Canada fell behind 2-1, but they responded with 4 unanswered goals to defeat Sweden 5-2. Canada advances to the Gold Medal match against USA. Centerman Anthony Cirelli helped key the comeback victory with 1 goal, 1 assist, and a handful of other scoring chances for the Canadians. Mathieu Jospeh played 13:48 in the win, Taylor Raddysh 16:32, Cirelli 15:08, and Mitchell Stephens played 14:03.

2016 U20 WJC Update: 1-2-17

Please follow Bolt Prospects on Twitter for full coverage of the Lightning prospects at the 2016 U20 WJC's. Here are the game updates for the round robin preliminary round games and today's Quarterfinal match...

NHL Preseason Game Night: 10-1-16 Lightning at Predators

Fourth game in five nights for the barnstorming Lightning.

TB-3
NSH-4

Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss.

First Period
5:54 TB Nesterov (1), (Filppula, Drouin)
19:25 NSH Fisher (1), (Neal, Subban)

Second Period
5:56 NSH Subban (1), (Ribeiro)(PP)
12:37 NSH Ribeiro (1), (Forsberg)(PP)
15:18 TB Filppula (1), (Bishop, Wisniewski)

Third Period
3:07 TB Conacher (1), (unassisted)
15:37 NSH Bass (1), (Neal)

I'm having flashbacks of when Koules and Barrie owned the team and they signed up for a zillion preseason games every year to try to make a little extra scratch because they were so strapped. That's not the case with Vinik, but this is just a lot of games and a lot of travel in the span of less than a week.

Centers
Matthew Peca had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots in 14:20. He was also 46% on 13 draws.

Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:07. He was also 38% on 8 draws. Kind of interesting to see him play center rather than wing, which may be the better fit for him as a pro.

Wingers
Yanni Gourde had 1 hit in 12:16.

Jeremy Morin had 1 shot in 9:10.

Defensement
Slater Koekkoek had 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 20:13. I need to go back and add up all his ice time this week, but suffice it to say he might deserve some sort of iron man trophy. Tonight the Lightning decided to give him a full load after easing him in with the mid teens of minutes earlier in the week. 3 games in 5 nights is still a lot of work.

Luke Witkowski was +1 with 11 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 14:12. Witkowski also deserves an iron man trophy of his own.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-9-16 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch score bittersweet victory against one of the league's top teams.

TOR-2
SYR-3 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 34 shots and stopped all 5 shooters he faced in the penalty shot session for the victory.

First Period
TOR Conacher, (2) (C. Smith, Valiev), 0:33
SYR Tambellini, (27) , 6:33
SYR Stephens, (1) (Broll), 11:53

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
TOR Arcobello, (25) (Corrin, Leivo), 4:45

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- None
SYR- Vermin

Joel Vermin and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars. Recent ATO signee Mitchell Stephens scored his first pro goal in the win, as well, and led all Crunch skaters with 5 shots on goal.

It was a big win against a very talented Toronto team that by far and away has had the best regular season in the AHL. Unfortunately, the Crunch didn't get any help in the other games around the league and were eliminated from making the postseason. It's a shame for a Syracuse team that's really seemed to find itself in the last quarter of the regular season and had a nice stretch run. As it is, they should finish well over .500 for the campaign with some momentum going into the offseason and some nice new blood coming onto the roster.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Stephens, Cirelli Get First Taste of Pro Hockey with Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

There were two new faces on the ice for Syracuse Crunch practice Tuesday.

Mitchell Stephens and Anthony Cirelli, two Tampa Bay Lightning picks from the 2015 draft, took the ice for the first time in Syracuse after signing amateur tryouts with the Crunch this week. The split practice involved lots of shooting and possession drills for the two centers, who stuck together throughout most of the workouts.

Although Stephens and Cirelli will likely return to their respective junior teams next season, the Lightning organization wanted both players to get a sample of the game at the pro level.

“They’re two smart hockey players,” Crunch head coach Rob Zettler said. “They both have another year of junior left, but we wanted to get them in here and give them a taste of pro hockey. We’ll see -- I’m not sure -- whether they’ll play or not. We’ll see what happens over the course of the next five games.”

Lightning Sign F Mitchell Stephens to Entry Level Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Mitchell Stephens to a three-year, entry-level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Stephens, 19, skated in 39 games with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League this past season, collecting 20 goals and 38 points to go along with 14 penalty minutes. Stephens missed 29 games during the regular season but still ranked fifth on the Spirit for points and tied for fourth for goals. The Peterborough, Ontario, native also appeared in four games for Saginaw during the 2016 OHL Playoffs, posting two goals and three points.

The 6-foot, 193-pound forward has skated in 158 career OHL games, all with Saginaw over three seasons, recording 51 goals and 107 points. Stephens also suited up for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Jr. Championships this past season, notching a goal and two points in five tournament games.

Stephens was selected by the Lightning in the second round, 33rd overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft.

BP Commentary:

Stephens is a young Callahan in effort and character, but can play both center and wing. He played center all year on Saginaw's top line and put up good numbers when healthy. He broke his foot early in the year and missed several weeks, but returned just in time to make Team Canada and perform well at the WJC's.

Stephens' hands are underrated and he's very poised with the puck. He's an excellent complimentary forward with some skill who will be a favorite of coaches throughout his career. He could have the same impact on the Lightning eventually as Ondrej Palat (or Callahan had with the Rangers earlier in his career).

The second rounder won't turn 20 until February, so while he can join Syracuse now, he has to go back to juniors next fall if he doesn't make the Lightning - which isn't expected. He will probably captain the Spirit next season and may wear a letter for Canada next Christmas.

U20 WJC Game Day: 1-2-16

Quarterfinal Round
Finland 6 vs. Canada 5
Brayden Point, Canada, 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-4-5, E 0 PIM

Mitchell Stephens, Canada, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-1-2, -1, 2 PIM

Brayden Point had a pair of Third Period power play helpers to allow Canada to tie home standing Finland at 5-5, but 17 year old Patrik Laine scored on a two many advantage with less than 6 minutes to go to lift Finland to the 6-5 win. Laine had 2 goals and 3 points in the match while fellow 17 year old Jesse Puljujarvi had 3 assists. Both forwards are expected to go high in this June's NHL Entry Draft.

USA 7 vs. Czech Republic 0
Dominik Masin, Czech Republic, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-1-2, -2, 0 PIM

Dominik Masin was -2 as USA steamrolled Czech Republic 7-0. Masin was named one the the Czech's three best players of the tournament following the match. Team USA was paced by a hat trick by Auston Matthews, who is the presumptive top pick in this June's NHL Entry Draft.

That concludes this year's U20 World Junior Championships for Tampa Bay's prospects.

U20 WJC Game Day: 12-31-15

Group A
Canada 2 vs. Sweden 5
Mitchell Stephens, Canada, 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 1-0-1, -1, 2 PIM

Brayden Point, Canada, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 1-2-3, E, 0 PIM

Mitchell Stephens' rebound goals was one of the few highlights in Canada's 5-2 loss to Sweden. Stephens also took a matching roughing minor in the contest. Kings first rounder Adrian Kempe was one of 4 Swedish players with 2 point games, chipping in 1 goal and 1 assist.

Group B
Finland 5 vs. Czech Republic 4
Dominik Masin, Czech Republic, 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM

Dominik Masin assisted on a key goal late in the Second Period that, at the time, was the equalizer in Czech Republic's eventual 5-4 loss to Finland. Finland scored a pair of power play goals off the sticks of 17 year olds Jesse Puljujarvi of Karpat and Patrik Laine of Tappara to pull out the win.

The day's matches closed out the round-robin portion of the tournament, setting the stage for the medal round. In the Quarterfinals, Canada will face homestanding Finland while the Czech Republic draws Team USA. Both contests are slated for Saturday.

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