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NHL Game Night: 2-8-18 Canucks at Lightning

Lightning return home and smoke the Canucks yet again.

VAN-2
TB-5

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for the victory.

First Period
14:36 TB Kucherov (28), (Killorn, Hedman)

Second Period
1:38 TB Gourde (20), (Johnson, Sergachev)(PP)
13:40 TB Erne (1), (Sustr, Namestnikov)
17:14 TB Stamkos (20), (Johnson, Gourde)

Third Period
6:28 VAN Boeser (26), (Edler, H. Sedin)(PP)
10:55 VAN Baertschi (12), (Horvat, Edler)
16:21 TB Hedman (8), (Stamkos, Kucherov)(PP)

Yanni Gourde, Nikita Kucherov, and Adam Erne were the game's three stars.

The old saying from the boxing world is "Styles make the fight." Sometimes, though, styles create a mismatch and a horribly lopsided fight and that's been the case between Tampa Bay and Vancouver over the past week. The Lightning have disposed of the Canucks pretty effortlessly building 3-0 leads and 4-0 leads, respectively, in the opening 40 minutes of the two games before embarking into the glory of garbage time. Simply put, I don't think Vancouver's team speed, overall, is good enough to handle what the Lightning bring to the table.

Matthew Peca was -1 with 1 shot in 12:02. He also put up an ugly 17% on 12 draws in the circles tonight. He definitely suffered from having Gourde taken off his line.

Erne had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 11:11. Showed good hands finishing off the goal on the one-timer. It's a good start to his callup and he needs to play well and flash early and often with so many other worthy candidates sitting in Syracuse also waiting for their shot.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 2-6-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 6 @ Charlottetown Islanders 2

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-2-2, +3, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 13/25 FO
Season Totals: 44 GP, 18-46-64, +36, 20 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Somppi notched the primary assist on two of Filip Zadina’s (2018 draft eligible) four goals, as the Mooseheads put up 6 on the road against the Islanders. Derek Gentile (2018 draft eligible) factored on both Charlottetown goals.

Western Hockey League

Regina Pats 5 @ Brandon Wheat Kings 2
D Libor Hajek, REG: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals (REG): 10 GP, 2-3-5, -2, 2 PIM
Season Totals (SAS): 33 GP, 8-17-25, -10, 26 PIM
Season Totals: 43 GP, 10-20-30, -12, 28 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 65 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 81 PIM

Bruins prospect Jesse Gabrielle (BOS, 2015 4th round pick) and Cameron Hebig (undrafted) led the Pats in an impressive road win over the Wheat Kings. Gabrielle ignited Regina with two goals in a three-goal run to take a 3-1 lead into the 2nd intermission, and then Hebig added two 3rd period markers. Sam Steel (ANA, 2016 1st round pick) notched three assists, as the Pats pelted Brandon goalie Logan Thompson (undrafted) with 51 shots.

Stephens Shining on Crunch's Scoring Lines


By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, Mitchell Stephens may have been on the fourth line, but he wasn't a fourth-liner.

With a glut of healthy forwards and Tampa Bay not calling for reinforcements early this season, Groulx had the rookie center the team's fourth line. Once the inevitable injuries happened, Stephens earned more time on the Crunch's scoring lines.

With a point in 12 of the last 15 games, Stephens has become one of Syracuse's most consistent contributors offensively.

"I remember sitting down with him at one point and telling him that we had no injuries, no call-ups, and it's not because he was playing on the fourth line that we saw him as a fourth liner. ... We had four healthy lines and those lines were made in order to have the team balance," Groulx said. "We didn't see him as a defensive player. I think he needed those 10 games to get more confident and feel the water a little bit to see what it's like to play in this league. Then he started scoring and putting up points. He hasn't stopped since then."

NHL Game Night: 2-5-18 Lightning at Oilers

Long road stretch ends with a thud.

TB-2
EDM-6

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss before giving way to Louis Domingue who allowed 2 on 9 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
1:48 EDM McDavid (18), (Strome, Klefbom)(PP)
9:42 TB Killorn (8), (Gourde)
17:24 EDM Draisaitl (13), (Strome, McDavid)(PP)

Second Period
2:33 EDM McDavid (19), (Draisaitl, Benning)
12:59 EDM Pakarinen (1), (Slepyshev, Letestu)

Third Period
1:54 TB Gourde (19), (Johnson)(PP)
6:55 EDM McDavid (20), (unassisted)
13:49 EDM McDavid (21), (Draisaitl, Cammalleri)

If you want to look at this glass half full, you might be able to explain this one away as a bit of a schedule loss. The Lightning were concluding an 8 game road trip and a stretch of 13 out of 16 on the road against a team that poses some unique athletic problems with their speed. That's especially true with young Mr. McDavid with the pace he brings to the game. With all that said, it's inescapable that the Lightning really have been pretty inconsistent over the past month or so and they've had bad habits creep into their game. When you're on the road so much sometimes practice time is scarce and the grind of constant travel leads to lack of focus. The good news is typically the Lightning get a more home-heavy schedule down the stretch of the year, traditionally, and that will allow them to get their game better tuned up for the ride into the postseason. That's good, because their game right now isn't good enough. Too many shots given up, too many chances, and too many odd man rushes surrendered. Improvement is needed for sure.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot and 4 hits in 13:19.

Matthew Peca was -1 with 3 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 20:03. He was also 62% on 21 draws. He's been above water on faceoffs, by my count, in all but one of his games in this callup thus far. Hence the ice time keeps increasing, because they need him out there.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 2-4-18

Ontario Hockey League

Erie Otters 2 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 0/1 FO
Season Totals: 42 GP, 33-29-62, +40, 20 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 2-0-2, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 1/1 FO, *First Star*
Season Totals (SSM): 11 GP, 10-9-19, +10, 4 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 41 GP, 25-38-63, +20, 20 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

The Wonder Twins connected for a pair of 3rd period goals to inch the Greyhounds past the Otters for their sixth straight victory. Katchouk got the primary assist on both of Raddysh’s goals but was robbed of a Star. Raddysh earned First Star honors against his old team and has seen a rebirth since the trade at the completion of the World Juniors, going 10-9-19 in 11 games with the Soo.

Peterborough Petes 3 @ Ottawa 67’s 5

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 6/15 FO
Season Totals: 46 G, 14-7-21, -26, 14 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

Paquette opened the scoring with his 14th of the season, but the 67’s notched a power play goal and a shortie to take a 2-1 lead. Zach Gallant (DET, 2017 3rd round pick) and former Maple Leaf prospect Nikita Korostelev both scored 2nd period markers to give the Petes a 3-2 lead at the 2nd intermission. Win a period, win a hockey game, right? Sasha Chmelevski (SJS, 2017 6th round pick) capped off a three-goal 3rd period for Ottawa with two goals, the game-winner and the empty netter to seal Peterborough’s ninth straight loss.

NCAA Game Night: 2-3-18

No. 8 Providence Friars 3 @ Vermont Catamounts 4

C Ross Colton, UVM: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 27 GP, 14-6-20, -11, 26 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 33 GP, 12-15-27, E, 22 PIM

Colton had two primary assists Saturday in Vermont's upset win over Providence. The Catamounts improved to 5-9-4 in conference play after going 1-0-1 against the Friars this weekend.

No. 13 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 2 @ No. 6 St. Cloud State Huskies 6

D Kristian Oldham, UNO: Did not play
Season Totals: 6 GP, 1-2-1, 4.12 GAA, .867 sv%, 0 SO
’16-‘17 Totals: 10 GP, 5-3-1, 3.38 GAA, .895 sv%, 0 SO

No. 6 SCSU swept its weekend series with UNO with a 5-2 win Friday and a 6-2 win Saturday. Evan Weninger (undrafted) continues to get nearly every start for the Mavs.

*USCHO poll used for rankings

AHL Game Night: 2-3-18 Comets at Crunch

Crunch lose a squeaker to Comets.

UTI-4
SYR-2

Connor Ingram allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss.

First Period
17:14 SYR Archambault (4), (Yan, Condra)

Second Period
15:34 SYR Volkov (13), (McNeill, McBain)
18:39 UTI Holm (10), (Boucher, Chaput)
18:55 UTI Blujus (4), (Archibald, D'Aoust)

Third Period
9:12 UTI Holm (11), (Archibald, Goldobin)(PP)
18:44 UTI Hamilton (3), (Holm, D'Aoust)(EN)

Alexander Volkov was the game's second star.

The Crunch fell despite building a 2-0 lead with less than 15 minutes left to go in the game and ultimately outshooting Utica 36-24.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-3-18 Lightning at Canucks

Lightning claim two road points in workmanlike fashion.

TB-4
VAN-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 33 shots for the victory. He was his usual outstanding self tonight, putting up the forcefield to allow the Lightning to craft a 3 goal lead through 40 minutes that they ultimately nursed to the finish line.

First Period
1:26 TB Kunitz (8), (Stralman, Kucherov)
5:52 TB Hedman (7), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Second Period
15:47 TB Gourde (18), (Sergachev, Peca)

Third Period
10:00 VAN Vanek (15), (Stecher, Boeser)
14:30 VAN Boeser (25), (Sutter)
16:26 TB Conacher, (unassisted)(PP)(PS)

Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy were the game's second and third stars.

The Lightning did exactly what you want to do in a road game against an inferior opponent: they jumped on them early to get out to the 2-0 lead, built it to 3-0 after 40 minutes with some opportunism and some good goaltending. And, once you've got a 3 goal lead through 40 minutes, that's typically a knockout. As proven again in this game, teams may pull to within a goal in that scenario (the so-called "false hope goal") but they rarely get closer.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot on goal in 12:51.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 15:10. With tonight's appearance, his 41st of the season, Dotchin has graduated from prospect status on the website.

Matthew Peca had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 17:53 of big ice time. He was also 65% on 20 draws, too.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 2-3-18

Plus a catch-up from last week...

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Acadie-Bathurst 1 @ Halifax Mooseheads 3

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-2-2, +3, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 16/26 FO, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 43 GP, 18-44-62, +33, 20 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Somppi assisted on the game’s first two goals, both markers by Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible), including what would be the game-winner in the 2nd period. Somppi earned Third Star honors. Sompii now sits tied for 3rd in the Q for total points, 3rd in league in assists, and continues to lead the Q in plus-minus.

Friday:: Halifax Mooseheads 1 @ Moncton Wildcats 5
Sunday:: Saint John Sea Dogs 2 @ Halifax Mooseheads 8

Last Sunday afternoon, Sompii earned First Star honors scoring two goals and assisting on another, leading the team in putting up a snowman on the Sea Dogs.

Ontario Hockey League

Saginaw Spirit 3 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 (OT) (Friday)

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 41 GP, 33-27-60, +39, 20 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 4/5 FO
Season Totals (SSM): 10 GP, 8-9-17, +9, 4 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 40 GP, 23-38-61, +19, 20 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

Raddysh scored and assisted on two 2nd period goals that gave the Soo a 3-0 lead at the 2nd intermission, but the Spirit scored thrice in the 3rd to send the game to overtime where Morgan Frost (PHI, 2017 1st round pick) netted the game-winner for the Greyhounds. Since dropping two straight, the Soo have won five consecutive games as they lead the OHL as the best team.

Wedneday:: Sudbury Wolves 0 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4
Sunday:: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 @ Saginaw Spirit 2

Last Sunday, both Raddysh and Katchouk assisted on Hayden Verbeek’s (undrafted) game-winning goal in the Soo’s road win 5-2 over the Spirit. Raddysh potted an empty netter and assisted on another goal in that game. On Wednesday night, Raddysh scored on the power play and Katchouk assisted on a Morgan Frost tally as the Greyhounds blanked Sudbury.

Erie Otters 4 @ Sudbury Wolves 2 (Friday)

W Alexey Lipanov, SBY: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 0/6 FO
Season Totals (SBY): 11 GP, 2-2-4, -9, 4 PIM
Season Totals (BAR): 35 GP, 11-19-30, +9, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 46 GP, 13-21-34, E, 14 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals (VHL-Russia): 21 GP, 3-5-8, +5, 8 PIM

Former Sudbury winger Troy Lajeunesse scored twice for the Otters as Erie doubled the hapless Wolves. The Sudbury winless streak stands at five games, as the Wolves are by far and away the worst team in the league.

Wedneday:: Sudbury Wolves 0 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4
Sunday:: Sudbury Wolves 1 @ Mississauga Steelheads 4

Oshawa Generals 8 @ Peterborough Petes 2

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 13/20 FO
Season Totals: 45 G, 13-7-20, -26, 12 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

Sixteen year-old Nick Robertson (2020 draft eligible) scored both Petes goals, but the Generals got goals from eight different players as Oshawa put up a snowman Peterborough in front of 3800+ of their fans. The Petes winless streak now reaches eight games.

Thursday:: Hamilton Bulldogs 4 @ Peterborough Petes 3
Sunday:: Peterborough Petes 0 @ Kingston Frontenacs 2

On Thursday night, Paquette assisted on Pavel Gogolev’s (2018 draft eligible) 2-1 go-ahead power play marker in the 2nd period. But the Bulldogs would reel off three straight and steal two points on road.

Western Hockey League

Kelowna Rockets 2 @ Everett Silvertips 8

D Cal Foote, KEL: 2-0-2, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 42 GP, 13-34-47, +19, 33 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Cale Foote scored both of the Rockets goals, but the Silvertips put up the snowman on the scoreboard to sweep the home-and-home series between Everett and Kelowna. Getting a Third Star from hometown Everett press on a eight-goal night speaks volumes to Foote’s play, along with that +1 rating. Patrick Bajkov (undrafted) netted a hat trick and five points for the Silvertips and Garrett Pilon (WAS, 2016 3rd round pick) scored twice and tallied four points of his own.

Friday:: Everett Silvertips 3 @ Kelowna Rockets 2
Tuesday:: Medicine Hat Tigers 2 @ Kelowna Rockets 5

Last Tuesday, Foote earned First Star for his goal and two assists against the Tigers, leading the Rockets to a 5-2 victory. Foote opened the scoring late in the first and then assisted on a pair of 2nd period power play goals by Carsen Twarynski (PHI, 2016 3rd round pick) and Kole Lind (VAN, 2017 2nd round pick).

Prince Albert Raiders 4 @ Regina Pats 5 (OT)
D Libor Hajek, REG: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals (REG): 9 GP, 2-3-5, -4, 2 PIM
Season Totals (SAS): 33 GP, 8-17-25, -10, 26 PIM
Season Totals: 42 GP, 10-20-30, -14, 28 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 65 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 81 PIM

Sam Steel (ANA, 2016 1st round pick) scored twice and added a couple of assists for a four-point night to lead the Pats to the OT win against the visiting Raiders. Prince Albert rallied from a 4-1 deficit at the 2nd intermission, scoring thrice in the 3rd to force overtime. Cameron Hebig (undrafted) fired a game-high eight shots, finally converted in overtime to give Regina the win.

Wednesday:: Prince George Cougars 1 @ Regina Pats 4
Sunday:: Swift Current Broncos 4 @ Regina Pats 1

Hajek fired a team-high seven shots last Sunday as part of a Regina 42-shot effort against the Broncos in a losing effort. On Wednesday night, Hajek racked up five more shots in a winning effort against the Cougars.

Prince George Cougars 1 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 4

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 17/31 FO, *Second Star*
Season Totals: 29 GP, 18-28-46, +19, 30 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 51 GP, 7-14-21, +32, 50 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

Howden earned Second Stars honors, assisting on Justin Almeida’s (2018 draft eligible) 30th goal of the season, a power play marker in the 2nd as the Warrior built up a 4-0 lead before Josh Maser (undrafted) finally solved Adam Evanoff (undrafted) late in the 3rd for Cougars lone goal.

Friday:: Red Deer Rebels 3 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 1

Friday night, Howden assisted on Moose Jaw’s lone goal by Josh Brook (MTL, 2017 2nd round pick) in a losing effort at home to the visiting Rebels from Red Deer.

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.

Central Illinois Flying Aces 2 @ Omaha Lancers 4

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-2-2, +3, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, *Second Star*
Season Totals: 32 GP, 1-15-16, +17, 14 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

Perbix assisted on both of Omaha’s 1st period goals, including a shortie by Filip Suchy (undrafted) and earned Second Star honors. The Lancers added two more goals in the 3rd period to earn the victory over the Flying Aces to sweep the back-to-back series.

Friday:: Central Illinois Flying Aces 1 @ Omaha Lancers 8
Sunday:: Tri-City Storm 3 @ Omaha Lancers 2 (SO)

Minnesota State High School League

Hopkins Royals 0 @ Edina Hornets 20

F Sammy Walker, EDN: 1-3-4, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals (HS): 22 GP, 25-28-53, 12 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

Walker scored a goal and added three assists as the Hornets scored twenty against the outmatched Royals. Mason Nevers notched four goals and seven points, and Liam Malmquist (uncommitted) and Evan Shoemaker (uncommitted) both netted hat tricks in the win. The Hornets next play the Minnetonka Skippers next Saturday night.

Thursday: Edina Hornets 3 @ Wayzata Trojans 1
Tuesday: Centennial Cougars 2 @ Edina Hornets 3

Last Tuesday, Walker scored a power play goal in Edina’s three-goal rally to beat Centennial and was held scoreless in the Hornets tough road win against Wayzata on Thursday night.

Crunch Allow Four Unanswered Goals in Loss to Comets


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch's effort early was erased by the Utica Comets’ four unanswered goals.

The Crunch allowed two goals in a 16 second span late in the second period to tie the score and the Comets scored the eventual game-winner on the power play in the third, as Syracuse fell to Utica, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I think we’ve got to be pleased with the way we played for 29 minutes,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Then they had that bad goal late in the … second and then they made a good play and scored the second goal. The game changed and then we had some chances. I thought (Comets goalie Richard) Bachman was the best player for them tonight. He made some great stops and then they were very opportunistic scoring on that power play.

“They’re a good team. We were a good team tonight. We’ve got to be pleased with what we accomplished tonight, but obviously it wasn’t enough.”

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