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AHL Game Night: 3-31-18 Checkers at Crunch

Checkers put abrupt end to Crunch win streak.

CHA-4
SYR-1

Connor Ingram allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss.

First Period
7:56 CHA Carrick (9), (Poturalski, McKegg)

Second Period
13:08 CHA McKegg (12), (Poturalski, Saarela)

Third Period
1:39 CHA McKegg (13), (Saarela, Poturalski)
6:23 SYR Archambault (12), (Condra, Peca)(PP)
18:37 CHA Saarela (24), (unassisted)(EN)

Ingram was the game's third star despite being victimized for 2 goals and 1 assist by ex-Lightning legend Greg McKegg. The betrayal cuts deep.

The Crunch are now off until Friday, when I suspect the game will be a-Foote in Bingo against the Devils.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch's Win Streak Snapped By Checkers


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch couldn’t overcome their slow start.

The Checkers controlled play throughout most of the first period and the Crunch trailed by two heading into the final frame. Syracuse rallied in the third, but Charlotte held on for a 4-1 victory at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

The loss snaps the Crunch’s seven game win streak.

“It’s two teams that are playing playoff style hockey right now,” Crunch captain Erik Condra said. “They gave us a little bit of a wake-up (call) in the first and second period with their speed, and we came out and it was too little, too late in the end.”

Juniors Game Night: 3-29-18

United States Hockey League

** Note: Cole Guttman (Dubuque) was placed on injured reserved on December 22nd following the completion of the World Junior A Challenge tournament.

Omaha Lancers 4 @ Muskegon Lumberjacks 2

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 50 GP, 4-20-24, +12, 32 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

Cole Gallant (Western Michigan commit) scored twice for the Lancers, first the equalizer and then the game-winner as Omaha doubled up the Lumberjacks. Zach Driscoll (Bemidji State commit) was inserted into the crease at the 2:34 mark of the 2nd period after Muskegon scored the 2-1 go-ahead goal on 16 year-old starter Christian Sbaraglia (Penn State commit). Driscoll stopped all 24 shots and got the back-door win after Omaha’s second-half rally.

Tri-City Storm 2 @ Sioux City Musketeers 5

F Sammy Walker, SC: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals (USHL): 10 GP, 0-6-6, -4, 4 PIM
’16-’17 Totals (USHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 6 PIM
Season Totals (HS): 31 GP, 35-44-79, 16 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

The Walker-Koepke-Mills line continues to produce for the Musketeers with Walker and Dylan Mills (Niagara commit) setting up Cole Koepke (Minnesota-Duluth commit) for his first goal of the game as part of a Sioux City three-goal 1st period. Mills notched his goal in the first, as well as Finnish University of Wisconsin commit Sampo Ranta (2018 draft eligible) netting the first of his two goals. Koepke would seal the game with an empty netter shortie with 73 seconds remaining. Walker is a point-per-game player in the six games since rejoining Sioux City, but still looking for his first goal.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-30-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#4 Halifax Mooseheads 4 @ #13 Baie-Comeau Drakkar 0 (Game 5)
Round of 16
Mooseheads wins series 4-1

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: Injury Scratch
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 59 GP, 28-55-83, +39, 28 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The Mooseheads punched their ticket to the quarterfinals behind a 41-save shutout by Alexis Gravel (2018 draft eligible), the #1 ranked North American goalie prospect. Arnaud Durandeau (NYI, 2017 6th round pick) notched a pair of goals and Benoit Olivier-Groulx tallied three assists to pace Halifax. Somppi remains sidelined with that upper body injury he sustained midway through Game #1.

NHL Game Night: 3-30-18 Lightning at Rangers

Lightning restore order to their world by crushing their farm team.

TB-7
NYR-3

Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the win. Made a handful of timely saves and eventually got to bathe in the deep, cool waters of sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
14:59 NYR Skej (4), (Buchenevich, Desharnais)

Second Period
3:15 TB Paquette (4), (Miller, Sergachev)
4:33 TB Killorn (15), (Cirelli, Hedman)

Third Period
0:35 TB Miller (22), (Hedman, Killorn)(PP)
1:53 TB Paquette (5), (Conacher, Kunitz)
2:38 TB Point (29), (Gourde)
8:14 NYR Chytil (1), (Zuccarello, Hayes)
16:31 NYR Kreider (16), (Zibanejad, Fast)
18:16 TB Point (30), (Gourde)(EN)
19:26 TB Girardi (5), (Paquette, Kunitz)(PP)

Cedric by God Paquette, J.T. Miller, and Alex Killorn were the game's three stars.

After the tough outcome last night the team had a little hangover in the First Period, but ultimately pulled it together to have another strong effort that keeps things pointing in the right direction heading toward the postseason. They were facing an overmatched Rangers team that, on paper, they should've trounced and that's ultimately exactly what they did.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:15 of ice time. He was also 60% on 20 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-30-18 Senators at Crunch

Alexander's greatness puts red hot Crunch over Belleville.

BEL-1
SYR-4

Eddie Pasquale allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
3:19 BEL Leier (2), (Paul)
5:57 SYR Volkov (20), (Dumont, Gallant)

Second Period
10:08 SYR Volkov (21), (Joseph, Thomas)

Third Period
3:16 SYR Joseph (15), (Dumont)
16:12 SYR Lynch (14), (Lipanov, Verhaeghe)

Alexander Volkov, Pasquale, and Gabriel Dumont were the game's three stars. Volkov becomes the first Crunch player to clear 20 goals this season, which is quite the rookie campaign for a 2nd round pick who didn't have a huge body of work coming into this season. He's definitely justified the love of the Lightning scouts.

Syracuse is 8-0-0-1 in their last nine games and, oh by the way, the game's about to be a-Foote.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Score Four Unanswered Goals to Roll Past Senators


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch continue to roll down the homestretch.

Alexander Volkov scored two of the Crunch’s four unanswered goals, as Syracuse beat the Belleville Senators, 4-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

Syracuse has won seven straight and has points in 16 of its last 17 games.

“Especially this time of the year heading into the playoffs, you want to get on a roll,” Crunch forward Kevin Lynch said. “It’s easy for teams who are doing as well as we are to take their foot off the gas a little bit. I think (Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx) does a great job keeping us humble and not complacent.”

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-29-18

Western Hockey League

#3 Kelowna Rockets 3 @ #7 Tri-City Americans 5 (Game 4)
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Americans win series 4-0

D Cal Foote, KEL: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoffs Totals: 4 GP, 1-4-5, -4, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 19-51-70, +31, 46 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Morgan Geekie (CAR, 2017 3rd round pick) notched his second hat trick of the series, leading the Americans in a shocking sweep of Kelowna and advancing to the WHL Western Conference semifinals. Dillon Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) scored twice for the Rockets, once on the power play in which Foote tallied his fourth assist of the series and his fifth point. Kelowna fought hard to keep the series alive, knotting the game three times at 1-1, 2-2, and 3-3, before Geekie scored two of this three goals in the last minute of the game to give Tri-City the dramatic series sweep in front of 3,000+ fans at the Toyota Center.

The loss all but draws a close to the junior career of the WHL Western Conference Defenseman of the Year and Bolt prospect Cal Foote. He will surely join the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse as that team finishes up their regular season and prepares for what would hope to be a deep Calder Cup playoff run. Foote brings the potential of a big minute eater for that team's Top 4 and player that can be the motor to an offense in transition. And with Foote turning 20 on December 13, 2018, he will be eligible to begin AHL play for the 2018-19 season out of camp this fall, so there is really no reason for Foote to return to juniors for an overage season after racking up 70 points and goal shy of 20.

In addition to an ATO contract with Syracuse for the remainder of this season, I’m sure a three-year entry level contract will happen rather quickly now that Foote and the Rockets have been eliminated from Memorial Cup contention. And with the organization lean on right-handed defensemen, Andrej Sustr as a pending UFA at season’s end, and Jake Dotchin perhaps hitting a ceiling in his own development, a spectacular NHL camp this fall could even see Foote make the Lightning squad, especially if Braydon Coburn is dealt at the NHL draft in June. But surely by 2019, with the contracts of Coburn, Girardi, Stralman, and McDonagh expiring, Foote’s time in Syracuse will likely be a short one.

NHL Game Night: 3-29-18 Lightning at Bruins

Lightning can't overcome early mistakes and the referees to hold onto first place.

TB-2
BOS-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss. Dropped a pretty bad rebound in his crease on the first goal. Otherwise I have no big complaints, but that's a big situational save he needed to make.

First Period
19:02 BOS Schaller (12), (Wingels)
19:34 BOS Pastrnak (32), (Krug, Bergeron)(PP)

Second Period
1:44 TB Miller (21), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Third Period
11:59 BOS Bergeron (28), (Krug, Marchand)
13:54 TB Hedman (15), (Gourde, Girardi)
19:04 BOS Marchand (34), (Bergeron, Pastrnak)(EN)

The result and the fallout in the standings stings, but this felt like a turning point tonight. After 2-3 months of playing unfocused pond hockey and struggling to realign the team to get ready for the postseason, tonight was the first time the Lightning looked like they had really put their playoff faces on. It was a tight checking, physical game and the Lightning began paying a price in a way that they were laughably failing to do in the debacle against Arizona. Had some questionable officiating not interceded, the score of this game could've easily been flipped. The injustice of that officiating and the bitter taste of not getting a better result than the team deserved should carry over to Tuesday's return match in Tampa Bay. So, there's silver linings in this game, although the PK still looks horrible. I've never seen a four man box for a NHL team collapse down into what almost looks like a three man triangle at times so often. It's the gravest concern heading down the stretch into the playoffs.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots, but he got abused in the faceoff circles going 10% on 10 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-28-18 Devils at Crunch

Red hot Crunch throttle Bingo.

BNG-1
SYR-5

Connor Ingram allowed just 1 goal on 35 shots for the victory. Ingram is now 10 games over .500 on the campaign and is boasting a stout .913 save percentage all of a sudden.

First Period
6:47 SYR Verhaeghe (14), (Cernak, Archambault)(PP)
9:28 SYR Archambault (11), (Lynch, Joseph)
19:59 SYR Verhaeghe (15), (Dumont, Joseph)(PP)

Second Period
5:30 BNG Santini (2), (Seney, Quenneville)

Third Period
8:09 SYR Volkov (19), (Joseph)
10:59 SYR Lynch (13), (Lipanov)

Carter Verhaeghe, Matieu Joseph, and Kevin Lynch were the game's three stars. The game also featured the first point of Alexey Lipanov's AHL career with his helper on a Lynch goal.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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