CHL Game Night: 3-13-10

QMJHL

Just a reminder: Mark Barberio and Moncton will play St. John Sunday night at 7:00 PM Eastern time on NHL Network.

OHL

Belleville Bulls 1 @ Niagara IceDogs 8
C Richard Panik, BEL: 1-0-1, -1, 4 PIM (hooking, tripping)
Season Totals: 60 GP, 21-20-41, +3, 55 PIM
With Bulls: 27 GP, 12-11-23, -12, 36 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM

RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: Did not play.
Season Totals: 57 GP, 19-14-33, -19, 51 PIM
With Bulls: 44 GP, 17-13-30, -17, 31 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM

Panik’s junior career likely came to an end Saturday night when the Bulls were destroyed in their 2009-10 finale. Panik, who impressed the Lightning during last fall’s NHL training camp, is a candidate to join AHL Norfolk and finish the year with the Admirals on a tryout agreement. Panik started his first season in North America slowly, but had a good World Junior Championships for Slovakia, performed moderately well after being traded from Windsor, and finished with a bang, scoring five goals and nine points in his last six games. The 2009 second round pick ended the year with a three-game point streak in which he scored six points. As for DeCoste, his season was ended two weeks ago when he suffered a concussion against Barrie. DeCoste’s game blossomed after a trade to Belleville, but the 2008 fifth rounder was inconsistent despite setting moderate career highs for goals, assists, and points. Speculation is DeCoste has an outside shot of being signed for depth at forward in the system, but is more likely to return to the OHL next year as a free agent overager. The Lightning chose not to fill their 50-man organization roster by a handful of spots this year, so if the new ownership decides to use all 50 spots next year and utilize an ECHL affiliate, DeCoste may have a better chance of earning a professional contract from the club.

Kingston Frontenacs 2 @ Barrie Colts 4
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM (tripping)
Season Totals: 68 GP, 47-34-81, +44, 58 PIM

Hutchings’ regular season came to an end Saturday, but he and the Colts should have a long future ahead of them in the playoffs. As the top seed, they will play either Niagara or Sudbury in the first round depending on Sunday’s results. Hutchings tied career highs for games played and assists, and smashed previous highs for goals (+13), points (+13), and plus/minus (+17). He finishes his OHL regular season career (we’re projecting him to be signed this offseason) with 111 goals, 97 assists, 209 points, and a plus-79 rating in 229 games. The 2009 fourth rounder also had 190 PIM for his career.

Oshawa Generals 3 @ Peterborough Petes 10
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 12 saves on 18 shots
Season Totals: 49 GP, 14-28-2-1, 4.15 GAA, .884 sv%, 2 SO

The Gens’ horrific year was finally put out of its misery Saturday night, and almost fittingly, it came with another defensive meltdown. Oshawa gave up 299 goals this season, four more than last-place Sarnia. The only difference is Oshawa had 14 more points in the standings than Steven Stamkos’ alma mater. With any kind of defense and/or goaltending, the Gens would be comfortably in the playoffs. Zador had his ups and downs this season, including win streaks of five- and four-games, but also had losing streaks of six, six, eight, and five. He ended the year on a five-game losing streak. Both Zador and and his goaltending partner Kevin Bailie were high OHL picks and both can return to the Gens next year, but does Oshawa want both or either back? Zador doesn’t have to be signed by the Lightning, and has very good size and raw skills. In the right situation with the right mind-set, he could thrive. He'll play in the OHL again next season ... somewhere.

WHL

Regina Pats 1 @ Brandon Wheat Kings 3
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 64 GP, 24-27-51, -12, 102 PIM
With Regina: 36 GP, 11-14-25, -4, 50 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM

This was Ashton’s final game of the season and the young power forward and 2009 first rounder will likely join the Norfolk Admirals shortly as Dana Tyrell did in 2008. Ashton set career highs for assists (+1) and points (+1) this year, but finished with six fewer goals than the 30 he scored with Lethbridge last season. It was thought Ashton’s game would flourish next to Oilers super-prospect Jordan Eberle, and no doubt the Pats thought that when they acquired Ashton mid-season, but Eberle left for World Juniors right after the trade and the two never really clicked after that. In fact, Ashton was eventually dropped off Eberle's line and finished the year with just a goal and an assist in his last six games. There have been no reports of injuries to Ashton, so we’re hoping he can look at any potential move to Norfolk as a clean slate and provide the Ads with a power forward presence as they make their way toward the playoffs. Ashton already holds an NHL contract.

Kamloops Blazers 5 @ Vancouver Giants 6 (SO)
C/W/D James Wright, VAN: 1-2-3, +2, 0 PIM, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 20 GP, 6-13-19, -1, 13 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

The Giants have struggled the last two weeks, but play Seattle Sunday for a chance to enter the playoffs on a win-streak. Their first round opponent has yet to be determined.