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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.


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

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

Red hot Crunch throttle Bingo.


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

Juniors Game Night: 3-28-18

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.

Tri-City Storm 1 @ Omaha Lancers 2 (OT) (Sunday)

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 7 SOG
Season Totals: 48 GP, 4-20-24, +10, 32 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

After falling to Fargo in a couple of road stinkers, the Lancers returned home last Sunday and beat the Storm in OT. Perbix notched his 20th assist of the season, setting up the OT game-winner, and fired a game-high seven shots on net.

Fargo Force 3 @ Sioux City Musketeers 1 (Sunday)
Sioux City Musketeers 3 @ Waterloo Black Hawks 6 (Saturday)

F Sammy Walker, SC: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals (USHL): 9 GP, 0-5-5, -5, 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

Walker’s four-game point streak came to an end last Sunday as Fargo put the clamp down on the Musketeers with US World Junior A Challenge goalie Ryan Bischel (Clarkson commit) making 29 saves for the Force.

On Saturday, Walker extended his point streak to four games, assisting on two of Sioux City’s three goals. Waterloo jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the 1st period, but the Musketeers came back, scoring three straight to draw within one before the Black Hawks shut the door in the 3rd. Joey Cassetti (Boston College commit) scored twice for Waterloo to pace the Black Hawks.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-28-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 4 @ #16 Val-d’Or Foreurs 1 (Game 4)
Round of 16
Armada wins series 4-0

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: Did not play
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 2-2-4, +6, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Barre-Boulet missed his second straight game, but the Armada didn’t miss a beat behind a goal and three points from Alexander Katerinakis (2018 draft eligible). After a scoreless 1st period, the two teams traded 2nd period goals before Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick) scored just past the midpoint of the 3rd for what would be the game and series winner. Katerinakis scored and assisted on two empty netters late in the game as Val-d’Or threw everything at the Armada to keep the series alive. The Armada are the first to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals. The QMJHL playoff bracket is re-seeded after the first round, so it may be later in the weekend before Blainville-Boisbraind’s next opponent is named.

#1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 4 @ #16 Val-d’Or Foreurs 2 (Game 3)

On Tuesday night, the series shifted to Val-d’Or for Game 3, giving a spark to the Foreurs who twice led 1-0 and 2-1 in the 2nd period after a scoreless 1st period. But the Armada scored three straight down the stretch to take a 3-0 series lead. Barre-Boulet was scratched with an apparent injury.

#4 Halifax Mooseheads 8 @ #13 Baie-Comeau Drakkar 1 (Game 4)
Round of 16
Mooseheads leads series 3-1

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

A night after losing Game 3 in Baie-Comeau, the Mooseheads came out firing on all cylinders, running up a snowman on the scoreboard and splitting the games on Drakkar home ice. Blue Jackets free agent signee Maxime Fortier scored twice and Xavier Parent (2019 draft eligible) notched three assists to pace Halifax to the win. Somppi missed this third straight game. Both teams take a night off before coming back in Baie-Comeau for Game 5 on Friday night.

#4 Halifax Mooseheads 2 @ #13 Baie-Comeau Drakkar 4 (Game 3)
#13 Baie-Comeau Drakkar 3 @ #4 Halifax Mooseheads 5 (Game 2)

After getting injured in Game 1, Somppi was an injury scratch for Game 2 on Saturday night, but the Mooseheads powered through without Otto to take a 2-0 series lead. Halifax got goals from five players and Joel Bishop (undrafted) led the way with a goal and three points. The Drakkar twice tied the game, before Benoit Olivier-Groulx (2018 draft eligible) and Xavier Parent (2019 draft eligible) scored goals in the 3rd period to deliver a Halifax win.

On Tuesday night, the series shifted to Baie-Comeau and the Drakkar did not disappoint the 1800+ fans at the Centre Henry-Leonard, delivering a 4-2 win behind two goals from Gabriel Fortier (2018 draft eligible). The Mooseheads got off to a 1st period 2-0 lead, but the Drakkar scored four unanswered. Somppi was an injury scratch for the second straight playoff game.

Ontario Hockey League

#1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 @ #8 Saginaw Spirit 3 (Game 4)
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Greyhounds wins series 4-0

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 3-0-3, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 6-3-9, +5, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, 0/5 FO
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 4-2-6, +1, 4 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

The Soo punched their ticket to the Western Conference semifinals behind an empty net hat trick by Lightning prospect Boris Katchouk, who now leads the OHL playoffs in goals and points. Katchouk earned the First Star after knotting the score 1-1 with his first goal, and then a power play goals later before getting the hat trick with empty net insurance marker with 71 seconds remaining with the Spirit pulling out all stops in hopes of extending the series. The OHL reseeds the bracket after each round, so it will be later in the weekend before the Soo’s next opponent is determined.

#8 Saginaw Spirit 0 @ #1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 8 (Game 2)
#1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 7 @ #8 Saginaw Spirit 3 (Game 3)

In Game 2 on Sunday afternoon, the Soo pasted a snowman on the scoreboard and Matthew Villalta (LAK, 2017 3rd round pick) pitched a 21-save shutout. Morgan Frost (PHI, 2017 1st round pick) and Jack Kopacka (ANA, 2016 4th round pick) each scored a pair of goals, and Katchouk scored a goal and an assist, both on the power play.

On Monday night, the series shifted to Saginaw for Game 3 and the Soo continuing to light the lamp, scoring seven goals to take a 3-0 stranglehold on the series. The Wonder Twins, Bolt prospects Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, earned First and Second Stars respectively, with both players notching a pair of goals and Raddysh three points on the night. With the scored tied 2-2 after two periods, Katchouk and Hayden Verbeek scored 13 seconds apart to break open the game, with the Soo going on to scored three more times in the 3rd. Verbeek, nephew of Lightning AGM, and Director of Player Personnel Pat Verbeek, signed a free agent three-year entry level contract late last week with the Montreal Canadiens. Both of Raddysh’s goals were on the power play.

Western Hockey League

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

D Cal Foote, KEL: 0-0-0, -1, 1 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoffs Totals: 3 GP, 1-3-4, -4, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 19-51-70, +31, 46 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

After sweeping the Rockets 2-0 in Kelowna, the series shifted to the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington, but Morgan Geekie (CAR, 2017 3rd round pick) kept it rolling scoring his 5th and 6th goals of the series and 2017 #9 overall Red Wings pick Michael Rasmussen scored and notched a three-point night. The Americans now have a shocking 3-0 stranglehold on the series and can clinch a spot in the Western Conference semifinals with a sweep on Thursday night.

#7 Tri-City Americans 9 @ #3 Kelowna Rockets 7 (Game 2)

Game 2 last Saturday night in Kelowna was a wild affair, with the teams combining for sixteen goals. Bolt prospect Cal Foote earned First Star honors in a losing effort with a goal and three assists, and Kole Lind (VAN, 2017 2nd round pick) scored twice and also had a four point night for the Rockets. But the Nolan Yaremko (undrafted) would lead the Americans with an empty hat trick and Morgan Geekie (CAR, 2017 3rd round pick), Michael Rasmussen (DET, 2017 1st round pick), and Isaac Johnson (2018 draft eligible) would all score twice and notch four points each

#1 Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ #8 Prince Albert Raiders 0 (Game 4)
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Warriors lead series 3-1

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 71 GP, 7-19-26, +35, 62 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

Brody Willms pitched a 32-save shutout for the Warriors, as Moose Jaw takes a 3-1 lead in the series. Game 5 shifts back to the Mosaic Place Saturday night, with the Raiders facing elimination.

#8 Prince Albert Raiders 2 @ #1 Moose Jaw Warriors 3 (OT) (Game 2)
#1 Moose Jaw Warriors 5 @ #8 Prince Albert Raiders 4 (Game 4)

In Game 2 last Saturday night, former Lighting prospect Brett Howden who was traded to the Rangers organization at the deadline in the McDonagh and Miller trade, scored twice for the Warriors to help secure Moose Jaw’s first win of the series.

For Game 3, the series moved to Prince Albert Tuesday night and saw Arizona Coyote free agent signee Brayden Burke score twice and Howden adding a goal and an assist to pace the Warriors to a 2-1 series lead.

Crunch Beat Devils, Extend Win Streak to Six Games

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch were opportunistic early.

The Crunch netted three goals in the first period and cruised to a 5-1 win over the Binghamton Devils at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday. Syracuse has won six straight and has points in 15 of the last 16 games.

“We had a very slow start in the first period, but we were very opportunistic,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “(Goalie) Connor Ingram was obviously very ready to play. He had to make some stops early in the game. … We did some good things, but I don’t think we were consistent enough.”

NHL Game Night: 3-26-18 Coyotes at Lightning

Upstart Coyotes humiliate Lightning.


Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period

Second Period
10:45 AZ Murphy (1), (Martinook, Cousins)
17:22 AZ Chychrun (3), (Panik, Keller)(PP)

Third Period
10:28 AZ Perlini (17), (Strome, Connauton)
14:37 TB Kucherov (38), (Miller, Hedman)(PP)
19:52 AZ Keller (23), (Goligoski)(EN)

The Lightning got outshot 35-20 in their own barn by a young team that had nothing to play for but pride. 35-20? Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Yeah, I guess Stamkos out day-to-day hurts the continuity, but c'mon. 35-20?

Now the scene turns to a high-stakes battle for control of the division against Boston on Thursday with the Lightning looking extremely mortal over the past couple of weeks. Put up or shut up time is fast approaching.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 shots and 2 hits in 7:37.

Anthony Cirelli was 47% on 17 draws in 17:53.

Adam Erne had 1 shot in 3:52.

Box score and extended statistics from

Stephens, Ingram Lift Crunch Over Comets

By Jeremy Houghtaling

For the Crunch and Comets, it felt like the playoffs came early.

The two teams battled for 50 scoreless minutes before Mitchell Stephens crashed the net to put Syracuse on the board, as the Crunch topped the Utica Comets, 2-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Syracuse has won five straight games, and has points in 13 of its last 14 contests.

“The way that this series has been against Utica throughout the year, it’s becoming more and more like playoff hockey. Tonight was a classic example of playoff hockey,” Stephens said. “It was 0-0 going into the third. For us to bear down and come away with that win. … It goes to show we’re working for 60 minutes.”

NHL Game Night: 3-24-18 Lightning at Devils

Gritty Devils outlast Lightning.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the loss. I thought he dropped a pretty bad rebound in his crease on the first goal allowed and that ultimately was the margin in this one.

First Period
17:51 NJ Hischier (18), (Butcher, Mueller)

Second Period
10:59 NJ Palmieri (21), (Zacha, Hall)

Third Period
4:22 TB Palat (9), (Sergachev, Point)(PP)

New Jersey played last night so this game, on paper, should've been a schedule loss on paper for them. But they're trying to hang onto playoff position and they played a really high intensity, gritty game that the Lightning didn't match up to for 40 minutes. Between that and the fact Kincaid outplayed Vasilevskiy, the Lightning ended up on the wrong side of this one despite outshooting, outchancing, and outpossessing New Jersey for several stretches, especially in the Third Period.

Anthony Cirelli had 2 shots and 1 hit and was 54% on 13 draws in 14:04.

Adam Erne had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 9:43.

Box score and extended statistics from

AHL Game Night: 3-24-18 Comets at Crunch

Ingram blanks Comets in goaltending duel.


Connor Ingram stopped all 23 shots he faced for the SO victory. The performance raised his save percentage up for the season to the .910 plateau.

First Period

Second Period

Third Period
12:21 SYR Stephens (19), (Dumont, Masin)
19:57 SYR Cernak (5), (Peca, Condra)(EN)

Ingram and Mitchell Stephens were the game's first and second stars. Stephens with the gritty GWG to break a 12 game goalless drought and put him just one shy of the 20 goal mark for this rookie campaign.

Box score from

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