Ben Thomas soaked in what he could in last year’s eight-game stint in Syracuse.
The defenseman joined the Crunch after the conclusion of his junior season last spring, and recorded his first pro goal and three assists. More importantly, Thomas learned what to expect and gained confidence knowing he could play at the AHL level.
Thomas is continuing to show progress during his rookie season as he adjusts to pro hockey.
“I think it was good for me last year to step in at the end, get some experience and show myself that I can play at this level,” Thomas said. “That gave me confidence coming into this year, and I was able to get off to a pretty good start. Those games last year really helped me.”
Comeback Crunch steal a point.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 25 shots before surrendering to 2 of 4 in the penalty shot session for the SO loss.
19:38 BRI Jones (3), (Burroughs, Jones)
11:31 BRI Jones (2), (Burroughs, Jones)(SH)
16:09 SYR Taormina (1), (Condra, Richard)(PP)
17:09 SYR Dotchin (1), (Gourde)(SH)
BRI- Kearns, Verhaeghe
Gudlevskis and Ben Thomas were the game's first and third stars.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Peca's first multi-goal game as a pro.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the OT loss.
UTI Zalewski, (15) (Gaunce, Valk), 0:18
SYR Thomas, (1) (Broll, Darcy), 4:58
UTI Friesen, (14) , 14:10 (SH)
SYR Peca, (7) (Walcott), 3:02
UTI Zalewski, (16) (Fedun, Gaunce), 6:00
SYR Peca, (8) (Tambellini, Tammela), 14:07
UTI Gaunce, (16) (Zalewski, Fedun), 0:33
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Syracuse crushes Utica, keeping extremely slim hopes alive.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory.
UTI LaBate, (9) (Hensick, Landry), 9:02 (PP)
UTI Bancks, (14) (Hensick, Landry), 5:11
SYR Vermin, (7) (Peca), 7:04 (SH)
SYR Darcy, (4) (Taormina, Dotchin), 9:06
SYR Vermin, (8) (Peca, Taormina), 10:04 (PP)
UTI Friesen, (12) (Grenier, Fedun), 13:50 (PP)
SYR Erne, (13) (Walcott, Blujus), 2:01
SYR Ikonen, (3) (Richard, Thomas), 3:39
SYR Tambellini, (25) (Peca), 17:56
SYR Tambellini, (26) (Thomas, McGinn), 19:18
It's kind of remarkable that the day Jonathan Drouin sat out due to a lower body injury that the Crunch went and scored 7 goals.
Peca continues his strong late season charge, extending his points streak to 6 games with 1 goal and 10 points in that span. Going back to March 6th, he's got 1 goal and 16 points in a 13 game stretch, including 5 multi-point games. He's definitely throwing his hat in the ring to be the next Conacher/Johnson type in the Lightning organization.
Speaking of multi-point efforts, Ben Thomas had his first as a pro today. He's got 3 helpers in his first 4 pro games. He's been like found money thus far for Syracuse.
Unfortunately, despite the severity of today's whipping of the Comets, it still only counts as 2 points in the standings. That places Syracuse 6 points back of Utica for 3rd in the North Division with the Comets still holding a game in hand. Portland and Bridgeport maintain an 8 point gap on Syracuse in the crossover scenario, so it looks like catching Utica in the final 5 regular season games is the formula for the postseason. The Crunch do have 2 more head-to-head matchups against the Comets, but it's still going to be like threading the needle for the Crunch to make the playoffs.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Streaking Crunch lose tight one to league's most talented team.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the loss.
SYR Drouin, (10) (Thomas), 18:04
TOR B. Smith, (9) (Kolomatis, Leipsic), 19:00
TOR B. Smith, (10) (Stanton, Doherty), 15:01
SYR Taormina, (13) (McGinn, Peca), 19:04 (PP)
TOR Leivo, (17) (Arcobello, Brown), 6:56
SYR McGinn, (20) (Peca, Taormina), 14:36 (PP)
TOR Frattin, (12) (Leipsic), 15:28
Look at Toronto's lineup. Count the number of guys who have played in the NHL over the past couple of years. Look at their place in the standings. Then, realize the Crunch gave that team all they can handle. It points to a Syracuse team that has started to turn a corner and may be back on their way to being a very good team in the AHL. Unfortunately, at this time of year, there's no such thing as moral victories. The Crunch can't afford to spare any points in the short time left in the season if they'll have any chance of making the postseason. They're 6 points back of Utica for 3rd place in the North Division and 6 points back of Portland, which would crossover and take the 4th playoff spot in the North Division by virtue of the current playoff format. Both the Comets and Pirates also have a game in hand on Syracuse. So, it's going to just about take running the table for Syracuse to make the dance.
Matthew Peca, quietly, has 1 goal and 10 points in the last 10 games.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
It took a shift or two, but Ben Thomas’ nerves subsided.
Less than a week after signing his entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 19-year-old defenseman made his professional debut with the Syracuse Crunch in a 3-1 win over the Rochester Americans Saturday.
Thomas has quickly settled in on the Crunch’s blue line.
“I was a little nervous going in, obviously, but I thought after I got that first shift out of the way and felt the puck a little bit I settled down,” Thomas said. “I think it went pretty smoothly.”
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Ben Thomas to a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Thomas, 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, began the 2015-16 season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. He recorded three assists in 14 games with Calgary prior to being traded to the Vancouver Giants, also of the WHL, on October 27. Thomas skated in 60 games with the Giants, registering eight goals and 25 points with 40 penalty minutes. He led all Vancouver defensemen for goals and ranked second for assists and points.
The Calgary native has appeared in 213 career WHL games with the Hitmen and Giants, recording 22 goals and 90 points. He also played for Team Canada at the 2014 Under-18 World Championships, tallying one assist in seven games en route to earning the Bronze Medal.
Thomas was drafted by the Lightning in the fourth round, 119th overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Sherbrooke Phoenix 2 @ Gatineau Olympiques 1
C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 0-0-0, -1, 4 PIM, 2 SOG, 12/21 FO, 0 Hits
With Sherbrooke: 19 GP, 13-15-28, -2, 20 PIM
With Cape Breton: 19 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 38 GP, 14-28-42, -8, 34 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM
Darcy was held scoreless but Sherbrooke was able to eke out a road win against the club at the bottom of the West Division thanks to netminder Evan Fitzpatrick, who stopped 34 of 35 shots in the match.
Victoriaville Tigres 4 @ Quebec Remparts 9
W Adam Erne, QUE: 0-2-2, +1, 7 PIM, 4 SOG, 3/5 FO, 0 Hit
Season totals: 44 GP, 28-35-63, +16, 74 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM
Quebec followed up Friday night's win with a solid thumping of visiting Victoriaville. Erne was in on the action with a couple helpers wrapped around a bout with defenseman Phil Pietroniro.
Ontario Hockey League
North Bay Battalion 3 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 (SO)
D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 1-0-1, +3, 7 PIM
With SSM: 9 GP, 3-12-15, +6, 17 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 38 GP, 13-40-53, +7, 81 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM
DeAngelo's point streak hit eight games with a first period marker that put the powerhouse that his club is up by three and he engaged in a round of fisticuffs that might very well have made some of the denizens of his hometown proud. It bears repeating that the Soo still hasn’t lost since DeAngelo (and others) were acquired at the OHL trade deadline.
Windsor Spitfires 2 @ Plymouth Whalers 3 (SO)
W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-1-1, +2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 42 GP, 15-17-32, -7, 83 PIM
2013-14 totals: 50 GP, 17-11-28, +8, 101 PIM
Windsor erased two deficits to push the game on into extra time only to fall in the skills competition. Scoreless in Windsor's last game, DiGiacinto provided a secondary dish that made for his fourth point in his last four games.
Ottawa 67's 4 @ Peterborough Petes 2
D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Season totals: 37 GP, 7-13-20, -19, 57 PIM
2013-14 totals: 39 GP, 2-19-21, +6, 102 PIM
Masin's seven-game point streak and Peterborough's brief run came to a grinding halt against the 67's.
Western Hockey League
Brandon Wheat Kings 6 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 0
C Brayden Point, MJ: 0-0-0, -1, 5 PIM
Season totals: 39 GP, 21-33-54, +9, 32 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 36-55-91, -27, 53 PIM
Point was reduced to denting the score sheet being credited with a fight -- his second of the season -- and that about tells you all you need to know for how things were going for Moose Jaw on the ice Saturday night.
Edmonton Oil Kings 0 @ Calgary Hitmen 5
D Ben Thomas, CAL: Did not play
Season totals: 39 GP, 5-16-21, +6, 18 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM
Thomas sat this one out but Calgary rolled anyway en route its sixth straight victory. In the past three games, the Hitmen have put up an eye-popping 23 goals while allowing just a single goal against.
I finally had the chance to make it out to the Ice Sports Forum to catch up with some of the attendees and observe a good chunk of the 3v3 action. Following are some brief impressions and takeaways from my time at the rink:
"Play has become a bit mechanical and telegraphed." - Red Line Report
Assertive, aggressive player at both ends of the ice. Strong upper body with a high compete level. Excellent puck handler with the much coveted righty shot who loves to jump in the play, but responsible enough not to get caught for odd man rushes the other way. High compete level.
Poor backward skater with mediocre lateral agility compounded by poor reads and hockey sense in the defensive third.
#5 offensive defenseman
|2009-2010||CNHA Blazers Bantam AA||HCBAA||28||1||3||4||20|||||Playoffs||2||0||1||1||0|
|Calgary Northstar Sabres Btm AAA||AMBHL||1||0||0||0||0||||
|2010-2011||Calgary Northstar Sabres Btm AAA||AMBHL||32||1||10||11||46||||
|Calgary North Stars||Alberta Cup||5||1||3||4||2||||
|2011-2012||Calgary Northstars Midget AAA||AMHL||34||2||15||17||46|||||Playoffs||6||0||0||0||8|
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