LW Justin Keller scored all three goals for Kelowna tonight, including the overtime game winner, as the Rockets defeated the Calgary Hitmen 3-2. Keller now has an even 30 goals on the season which leads the WHL in goal scoring. His 49 points places him in third in the league in scoring just one shy of Saskatoon's Devin Setoguchi and 6 shy of Moose Jaw's Troy Brouwer.
And, while it's expected that Mark Tobin will be moved by Rimouski by the QMJHL's January 8th trade deadline, he was an Oceanic tonight. Tobin scored 2 goals as Rimouski went down in overtime 4-3 to Shawinigan.
For the first time in this tournament, Lightning prospect winger Stanislav Lascek was held without a point as Slovakia was defeated 5-3 by the Czech Republic to fall to 1-2 on the tournament. Defenseman Vladamir Mihalik, however, had his best game offensively in a major international tournament notching two power play assists in the third period to key a futile comeback bid. Mihalik was -1 in the game while Lascek was also -1 with 4 shots on goal. Alternate Marek Bartanus also made his first appearance for Slovakia with a -1 rating, 2 penalty minutes and 0 shots on goal.
Tip of the cap to Hannu Toivonen.
I attended the game and have to say, I thought the Lightning played pretty well but had a point or two stolen by Hannu Toivonen. They generated some outstanding chances but tonight the young Finn was simply better. He gave them a chance to win and a terrible weak pass from Modin to Richards on the power play and the resulting Patrice Bergeron breakaway was the difference. Sean Burke played well in my opinion, but you simply cannot allow breakways because the old man simply is not quick enough anymore to handle one on ones. Let him play his angles and use his size though and he will eat shots up all night long, which is what he did most of this night.
Ryan Craig led the rookies with 17:19 of ice time and was +1. He has settled onto the team's second penalty killing unit and got a lot of even strength ice time because the checking line played well tonight. He was 0-for-3 in the faceoff circle though, and the whole Lightning team got their lunch eaten in that category tonight. Paul Ranger played 13:58 of even hockey and was good with the exception of a second period miscue that nearly ended up in the back of the net. One of the best players in the game though, in my opinion, was young Evgeny Artyukhin. He had 5 hits in 12:05 of playing time and 4 3rd period shots in the comeback bid. Most impressive of all was a play where he chipped the puck to himself off the right wing boards and nearly beat both Bruins defenders to get a partial breakaway to draw a late power play. He gave the Lightning a golden opportunity to score the tying goal which is outstanding to get out of a checking liner.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
In case you didn't know why Jonathan Boutin is an all-star...
Jonathan Boutin made a brilliant 42 saves on 43 shots faced to carry Johnstown to the victory. Only a late Scott Bertoli goal with under three minutes left in the game managed to beat the ex-Quebec Rampart netminder.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.