Talk Lightning Hockey with fans and staff at the BP Message Boards and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

ECHL Playoff Game Night: 4-18-17

Toledo Walleye 4 at Kalamazoo Wings 6
Toledo leads series 2-1

F Brian Hart, KAL, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIMS, 4 SOG, *SECOND STAR*
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 1-0-1, -2, 0 PIMS, 9 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 33 GP, 6-5-11, -7, 6 PIMs, 71 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 0-3-3, +2, 0 PIMS, 7 SOG
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 1-4-5, E, 2 PIMS, 13 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 20 GP, 5-20-25, +11, 10 PIMs, 51 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, W, 60:00 MINS, 17/21
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 1-1-0-0, 4.02 GAA, 0.814 SV%
Season Totals (ECHL): 32 GP, 18-12-0-1, 3.13 GAA, 0.899 SV%, 1 SO

Bolt prospect forwards Brian Hart and Cameron Darcy both featured prominently in a huge K-Wings Game 3 victory Tuesday night back at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. The K-Wings peppered Walleye netminder with 52 shots, while the Kalamazoo defense held the high-powered Toledo offense to just 21 shots. Hart scored the game winner with less than 3 minutes left in regulation, while Darcy assisted on all three of Peter Schneider's goals, including the empty netter with 22 seconds remaining to seal the four-goal 3rd period K-Wing flurry and a 6-4 win in front of nearly 1,200 hometown fans. Hart's game winner earned him Second Star honors. Both Darcy and Schneider logged a team-high 7 shots each.

Despite 20 first period Kalamazoo shots, the first frame ended knotted at 1-1 as Justin Taylor finally solved Peterson with less than 90 seconds remaining in the period. The period ended with a Kalamazoo penalty and the Walleye took a 2-1 lead on the power play just 50 seconds into the second period. Kalamazoo tied the game 5 minutes later with a power-play goal of their own started by Darcy and ending with Schneider's first of the night. Later in the period, former Cruncher Evan Rankin tallied his 4th goal of the series for the Walleye, giving the Division champs the 3-2 lead at the second intermission. Early in the third, Darcy went back to work with some nifty puck magic before feeding Schneider for his second goal and the 3-3 equalizer. Both teams traded goals before the period's midpoint, until Hart broke the 4-4 tie late in the period with a one-time blast from the slot past Peterson.

Another pivotal game awaits the K-Wings Wednesday night, as these teams battle again in Kalamazoo for Game 4. It will be interesting to see if the Walleye roll out backup Jeff Lerg in net after a three consecutive doses of Jake Peterson, and while neither K-Wing goalie has been a difference maker in the series thus far, Riopel is coming off the team's only series win.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-18-17

Ontario Hockey League

London Knights 4 @ Erie Otters 5 (OT)
Western Conference Semifinals
Erie wins best-of-7 series, 4-3

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff Totals: 14 GP, 7-3-10, -1, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, +3, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 1-6-7, +11, 4 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 13/28 FO
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 8-4-12, +9, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 5-13-18, +7, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Wow. Mitchell Stephens did it again, scoring on the power play with London’s goalie pulled to tie the game at 4 and force overtime, but this time the Knights didn’t come out on top like they did when Stephens scored in OT of Game 6. Warren Foegele (Hurricanes) scored off a savvy pass from Darren Raddysh (undrafted free agent) to win the game for the Otters and send them to the Western Conference Finals against Owen Sound. London had a 3-1 lead in the game, chasing Erie goalie Troy Timpano. The Otters fought back, starting with a goal by Darren Raddysh with less than a second to play in the first period. They’d tie it early in the third period on Cirelli’s eighth goal of the playoffs, then take the lead with 3:31 remaining on a goal by Alex DeBrincat (Chicago). That set up Stephens' temporary heroics. He was battling with Cernak in front of the net when a floater bounced off the goalie and hit the shaft of Stephen’s stick, propelling it into the net. It held up under review. Cirelli almost won it early in overtime when his wrist shot sailed barely over the crossbar. Foegele won it minutes later. Erie outshot the Knights, 63-29. Game 1 of the Conference Finals is Friday.

As for Stephens, his junior career ends with a clutch effort for a gritty London team. He finished tied for second on the team in playoff goals and was fourth in points. He’s eligible to join AHL Syracuse for their playoff run should the organization want him there. He was solid with the Crunch last year, but there are about 82 forwards in Syracuse right now (slight hyperbole). He already has an NHL contract, which will kick in next year.

Lightning Power Play Live: April 17, 2017

Chad was on Lightning Radio’s Lightning Power Play Live Monday to discuss the following:

· Playoffs
· GMing 101
· Creativity within structure
· Jo Drouin’s future with TB (or is there one?)
· Syracuse’s run to the playoffs
· Juniors update

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-16-17

Ontario Hockey League

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 0 @ Owen Sound Attack 1
Western Conference Semifinals
Owen Sound wins best-of-7 series, 4-2

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 8-5-13, +6, 12 PIM
Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

Owen Sound eliminated the higher-seeded Soo from the playoffs with a 1-0 shutout in Game 6 Sunday. Habs prospect (and free agent signing) Michael McNiven made 23 saves for the Attack, while Joseph Raaymakers (undrafted) made 41 saves for the Hounds. Katchouk had his 10-game playoff point streak broken in the shutout loss. With the Soo eliminated, Katchouk is eligible to join a packed Syracuse roster for at least practice duty. His combination of size, grit, and skill could be an asset in the playoffs for the Crunch if both parties agree. Katchouk is unsigned.

Erie Otters 1 @ London Knights 2 (OT)
Western Conference Semifinals
Best-of-7 series tied, 3-3

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 13 GP, 5-2-7, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 1-5-6, +8, 4 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 10/20 FO
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 7-4-11, +8, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 5-13-18, +7, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Erie scored in the first minute, but spent the rest of the game trying (unsuccessfully) to beat London goalie Tyler Parsons (Flames), who was the story in Game 6. Parsons made 44 saves and was under near constant pressure in the third period and overtime against Erie’s skill. Mitchell Stephens scored the game winner when 2017 draft eligible forward Robert Thomas beat two defenders down the left wing and set him up for a weak-side goal into the top of the net. That kept London alive another game. The two teams will play Game 7 Tuesday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-16-17

KHL Gagarin Cup Final
Magnitogorsk 3 vs. St. Petersburg 5
St. Petersburg Wins the Gagarin Cup 4-1
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff totals: 18 GP, 7-16-23, +2, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM

Nikita Gusev had a power play goal and an even strength assist in SKA's Gagarin Cup clinching 5-3 win over Magnitogorsk. The forward played 14:39 in the match and led all SKA players in playoff scoring with 23 points in 18 games. SKA also got 1 goal and 1 assist from ex-NHL'ers Evgeny Dadonov and Ilya Kovalchuk in the victory. Up against the wall in an elimination situation, Magnitka actually outshot SKA for the first time in the series by a margin of 45-31. Ex-Lightning draft pick Vasily Koshechkin, who was valiant in defeat in the series, was named MVP of the KHL playoffs.

Gusev has one more year left on his SKA deal.

ECHL Playoff Game Night: 4-15-17

Kalamazoo Wings 1 at Toledo 4
Toledo leads series 2-0

F Brian Hart, KAL, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIMS, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIMS, 5 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 33 GP, 6-5-11, -7, 6 PIMs, 71 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIMS, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, -2, 2 PIMS, 6 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 20 GP, 5-20-25, +11, 10 PIMs, 51 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, did not play (backup)
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0-0, 4.03 GAA, 0.818 SV%
Season Totals (ECHL): 32 GP, 18-12-0-1, 3.13 GAA, 0.899 SV%, 1 SO

Toledo was ready to play Saturday when Game #2 of the Central Division Semi-finals started, scoring the opening goal just over 3 minutes into the contest. The Walleye then imposed their will over of the K-Wings, running up 3 goals before the 9 minute mark. Midway through the 2nd period, former Syracuse Cruncher Evan Rankin added Toledo's 4th goal, his 2nd of the game and 3rd of the series, to effectively nail the lid of the game shut. Kalamazoo did manage to spoil Jake Peterson's shutout bid with a shortie with less than 4 minutes left in the game. Peterson was strong in a back-to-back performance, but had lots of help from the Walleye defense who held the K-Wings to just 21 shots.

Granted, it's easy to critique in retrospect and from a distance, but an argument could be made for the K-Wings to roll right back with Riopel in Game 2 the way the Walleye did with Peterson. Riopel gave up a few goals early in Game 1, but he closed the door down the 2nd half of the game and gave his team a chance to win in a virtually even match. Something to be said of building off that momentum in Game 2. Instead, the team found itself in 3-0 hole before the midpoint of the 1st period, and the goalie wasn't even lifted. Not all those goal's were Joel Martin's fault, but you need to throw the kitchen sink at the best team in the league and try to split the road games. The series now travels to Kalamazoo for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with the K-Wings needing a critical win in Game 3.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-15-17

Ontario Hockey League

London Knights 3 @ Erie Otters 6
Western Conference Semifinals
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 4/12 FO
Playoff Totals: 12 GP, 4-2-6, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 1-5-6, +7, 4 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 1-1-2, +3, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 6/16 FO
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 7-4-11, +8, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 1-2-3, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 5-12-17, +7, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Erie had a 2-0 lead after the first period, then gave up three goals to London in the first three minutes of the second period. The Otters eventually responded, then secured a 6-3 win. Taylor Raddysh had the game-winning goal for Erie. Game 6 is Sunday in London.

Crunch Beat Comets, Win North Division Crown


By Jeremy Houghtaling

In a season filled with overcoming adversity, the Crunch were able to achieve one of their goals on the final day of the season.

Syracuse, which has dealt with a barrage of injuries and call-ups all season, rested many of their top players but still managed to pull out a 5-2 win over the Utica Comets, as the Crunch clinched the North Division championship at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Syracuse begins a best of five series against St. John’s in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs on Wednesday.

“We’re very proud of those guys. Obviously, with all the challenges we have faced this year, the way they responded is awesome,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “We managed to get points in our last five games to put ourselves in position with the last two games at home with a chance to clinch the division. We did it.”

AHL Game Night: 4-15-17 Comets at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star wins North Division crown on final night of regular season.

UTI-2
SYR-5

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the victory.

First Period
5:24 SYR Ikonen (6), (Racine, Froese)
5:34 SYR Howden (3), (Vermin, Brodeur)

Second Period
3:31 SYR Kurtz (5), (Ikonen, Richard)
4:07 UTI Goldobin (18), (Robak)
10:04 SYR Vermin (13), (Froese, Blujus)(PP)
18:46 UTI Goldobin (19), (Virtanen, Sautner)

Third Period
17:28 SYR Erne (14), (Froese, Richard)(EN)

Gudlevskis, Henri Ikonen, and Joel Vermin were the game's three stars. Scary thing is, this wasn't the full Crunchning Death Star lineup with Gourde and Conacher out, and they still rolled a Utica club that was desperate to make it into the postseason.

Things get interesting now. I don't entirely know what to make of this team because it's a brand new, incredibly deep roster, that's only been together the final 4 or so games of the regular season. The North Division was obviously the weak stepsister of the Eastern Conference, so on the face of it the division title isn't super-impressive when you hold the Crunch up against clubs like Pens, Phantoms, Bears, and Bruins. BUT, the Crunch team that played the bulk of those games was often playing defensemen at forward or short of players because of injuries up top. The Crunchning Death Star absolutely has the depth and quality to compete with those teams, but they'll need to develop chemistry on the fly in the postseason in order to do so.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

ECHL Playoff Game Night: 4-14-17

Kalamazoo Wings 3 at Toledo 4
Toledo leads series 1-0

F Brian Hart, KAL, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 33 GP, 6-5-11, -7, 6 PIMs, 71 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG, *THIRD STAR*
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 20 GP, 5-20-25, +11, 10 PIMs, 51 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, L, 59:30 MINS, 18/22
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0-0, 4.03 GAA, 0.818 SV%
Season Totals (ECHL): 32 GP, 18-12-0-1, 3.13 GAA, 0.899 SV%, 1 SO

The K-Wings comeback bid fell short Friday night in their opening game of the Kelly Cup playoffs against the Brabham Cup winning Toledo Walleye. Kalamazoo opened the scoring less than 4 minutes in with early pressure, but the Walleye pushed back and scored the next 4 goals on K-Wings netminder Nic Riopel. Just past the midpoint of the 2nd period, the momentum shifted as the K-Wings mounted a push of their own. Bolt Prospect forward Cam Darcy got the next goal less than 6 minutes left in the 2nd to cut the deficit to 4-2 when he tapped in the rebound of a Kyle Bushbee point shot. Kalamazoo kept the pressure on in the 3rd, holding Toledo to just 3 shots and closing the gap to a single goal. Darcy burst into the zone and dropped a pass to a trailing Charlie Vasaturo who fired a shot past Walleye goalie Jake Peterson. The K-Wings amassed a 22-10 shot differential in the 2nd and 3rd periods, but could never get the equalizer. Darcy was named 3rd Star in a playoff road loss, signaling the kind of effort he displayed. These two teams square off for Game #2 Saturday night, again at the Huntington Center in Toledo, before heading back to Kalamazoo for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Syndicate content