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NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-26-14

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Val-d’Or Foreurs 3 @ Halifax Mooseheads 4 (OT)
Mooseheads lead best-of-7 semifinal series, 3-2

C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 Hits, 5 SOG, 21/34 FO
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 13-24-38, +9, 12 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 29-70-108, +49, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Halifax won its third straight game in the series to take a 3-2 lead over the Foreurs. The Mooseheads got a goal by Maxime Fortier, his first of the playoffs, in the first overtime to claim the win. Halifax outshot Val-d’Or, 28-8 over the last two periods of regulation, but the Foreurs outscored the Mooseheads, 3-2, during that time. Jonathan Drouin did not register a point for the first time in 26 games. He had 75 points in those 26 games. Game 6 of the series is Monday in Val-d’Or.

OHL Note: Dylan Blujus and North Bay will play West champion Guelph in the OHL Finals, starting on Thursday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-26-14

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(1)Magnitogorsk 2 vs. (3)Praha 1 (OT)
Magnitogorsk Leads the Series 3-2
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, 35/36, 0.87 GAA, .972 sv%
Regular season totals: 51 GP, 30-12-8, 9 SO, 1.88 GAA, .940 sv%
Playoff totals: 19 GP, 15-4-0, 2 SO, 1.73 GAA, .941 sv%

Ex-Blue Jackets draft pick Sergei Mozyakin scored 8:43 into Overtime with his second goal of the game to deliver Magnitogorsk the critical 2-1 Game Five win over Praha in their Gagarin Cup Finals. Mozyakin appears to be closing in on being named the playoffs MVP, although his teammate Koshechkin may have something to say about that, while his linemates Danis Zaripov and Jan Kovar each had 2 assists in the game, as well. It should be noted the goaltending of Vasily Koshechkin allowed Magnitogorsk to overcome a 36-25 shot deficit in the game. Ex-Kings pick Justin Azevedo had Praha's only goal. Game Six is Monday and Magnitogorsk will get their first of two cracks to hoist the Gagarin Cup.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-24-14

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(3)Praha 3 vs. (1)Magnitogorsk 5
Series Tied 2-2
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, 18/21, 3.00 GAA, .857 sv%
Regular season totals: 51 GP, 30-12-8, 9 SO, 1.88 GAA, .940 sv%
Playoff totals: 18 GP, 14-4-0, 2 SO, 1.78 GAA, .939 sv%

Longtime KHL star Danis Zaripov scored 2 Third Period goals to break a 3-3 tied and lead Magnitogorsk to a critical Game Four win over Praha. The 5-3 victory squares the series at 2 games each. Zaripov also had a helper in the match. His linemate, ex-Blue Jackets draft pick Sergei Mozyakin, had 4 helpers in the win. Game Five is Saturday.

NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-23-14

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 5 @ Val-d’Or Foreurs 4
Best-of-7 semifinal series tied, 2-2

C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 2-3-5, +1, 0 PIM, 2 Hits, 9 SOG, 20/35 FO, *First Star*
Playoff totals: 13 GP, 13-24-38, +9, 12 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 29-70-108, +49, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Jonathan Drouin’s second goal of the game at 13:37 of the third period put Halifax up 5-3 and turned out to be the game-winner as the Mooseheads won Game 4, 5-4, to tie the series at two games apiece. The Foreurs won both opening games in Halifax and returned home for a chance to close out the series, but dropped both games – both by one goal. QMJHL MVP Anthony Mantha (Red Wings) had a goal for the Foreurs. Kevin Darveau stopped 31 shots for Halifax, starting over Habs pick Zack Fucale. Drouin leads the QMJHL in playoff scoring by 12 over Val-d’Or’s Louick Marcotte. Game 5 is Saturday in Halifax.

Ontario Hockey League

Oshawa Generals 2 @ North Bay Battalion 3
Battalion win best-of-7 Eastern Conference Finals, 4-0

D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 17 GP, 3-4-7, +5, 16 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 4-26-30, +12, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM

No one saw this coming. North Bay completed the four-game sweep over top-seeded Oshawa, winning Game 4, 3-2. North Bay will now play the winner of Guelph and Erie for the OHL championship. The Storm lead the Otters, 3-1 in the West semifinals.

Bolt Prospect of the Week: April 23, 2014

With the end of the Lightning and Crunch seasons, we conclude our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for April 23, 2014 is … Luke Witkowski, D, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).

Twenty-eight Bolt Prospect of the Week awards have been handed out this season, usually for offensive production or goaltending mastery. Not this week.

This week’s award goes to a rarely appreciated player type, a stay-at-home defenseman.

Luke Witkowski finished his rookie pro season last week, taking another step toward his dream of playing in the NHL. Not every prospect can step right into the NHL. Most have to be grown, groomed, and guided along the developmental path to the big show. Witkowski, who is now six seasons removed from his draft year, was named the Syracuse Crunch’s Most Improved Player for the year last week. To celebrate, he scored his second goal of the season on Sunday, though it didn’t make any highlight reels.

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