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Juniors Game Night: 1-25-18

All of Canadian Juniors were off tonight due to the annual Don Cherry / Bobby Orr CHL Top NHL Prospects Game at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph. Otto Somppi's Halifax linemate and Libor Hajek's WJC Czech Republic teammate, Filip Zadina led the way with two goals in Team Cherry's 7-4 victory over the Eric Lindros coached Team Orr. Owen Sound's Aidan Dudas and Flint's Ty Dellandrea both scored two goals apiece for Team Cherry and mobile righty London blueliner Evan Bouchard added four assists.

Minnesota State High School League

Minnetonka Skippers 2 @ Edina Hornets 8

F Sammy Walker, EDN: 2-3-5, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals (HS): 18 GP, 22-25-47, 10 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

On Boxing Day, the first day of the prestigious Schwan’s Cup holiday tournament saw the Minnetonka Skippers hand the tourney’s defending champ Hornets their only loss of the season thus far. Tonight, almost a month later, the Skippers rolled into the Braemar Ice Arena in Edina for a rematch between these top Class 2A rivals.

With that lone blemish on their record, Sammy Walker and Jett Jungels (Northern Michigan commit) both score twice, while Walker added three more assists for a five-point performance as the Hornets stung the Skippers and pasted a snowman on the scoreboard, and got some sweet redemption.

For Walker, he equaled his goal totals from last season and eclipses his point totals in seven fewer games. He sits 5th in the state in points, just four back from Luke Krause (uncommitted), the Lake of the Woods high school standout who has 51 points in just 14 games. The Hornets next play Saturday night against the Eden Prairie Eagles.

NHL Game Night: 1-25-18 Lightning at Flyers

The Lightning's big dogs come to eat in Philly.

TB-5
PHI-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 37 shots for the victory. It stinks it's All-Star Break time and he has to perform in that 3-on-3 exhibition, because he's in the zone right now and streaking all of a sudden.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
0:25 TB Point (20), (Johnson)
9:56 TB Gourde (17), (Peca, Girardi)
17:29 TB Callahan (2), (unassisted)(SH)

Third Period
13:18 PHI Konecny (10), (Voracek, Giroux)(PP)
14:05 TB Namestnikov (17), (Kucherov, Stamkos)
17:11 TB Namestnikov (18), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Vasilevskiy, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Ryan Callahan were the game's three stars.

After figuring out how to win without Victor Hedman over the past couple of games the Lightning returned to kind of a tried and true formula tonight to get the big road win. Like many times this season, the team absorbed the home sides best punch in the First Period thanks to stellar goaltending by Vasilevskiy. Vasiy holds them in the game, then the skill forwards torment the opposition the remainder of the tilt. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Fun fact: thanks to the 3 game winning streak the Lightning have a chance to clinch a successful 10-game segment of the season with a win in their next game. They have 10 points through the first 9 games of this segment.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 17:12.

Jake Dotchin was a hefty +4 with 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 20:31.

Matthew Peca had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 12:28. He was good on the forecheck and dangerous a good swath of the night teaming up with Gourde before Yanni earned a promotion to the second line in the Third Period with Cooper reuniting the top group of Namestnikov, Stamkos, and Kucherov. The biggest stat of the night though was Peca going 87% on 15 draws against the best faceoff team in the league. They won't be able to send him down if he keeps that up.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-24-18 Crunch at Rocket

Stephens continues to scorch the AHL.

SYR-3
LAV-2

Connor Ingram allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for the victory.

First Period
19:14 LAV Scherbak (7), (Taormina, Cracknell)(PP)

Second Period
7:03 SYR Yan (7), (Stephens)
16:25 SYR Cirelli (7), (Joseph, Stephens)(PP)

Third Period
2:47 SYR Stephens (15), (Joseph, Bodie)(PP)
18:50 LAV Audette (9), (unassisted)

Mathieu Joseph and Mitchell Stephens were the game's first and second stars. Since New Year's Eve, Stephens has 9 goals and 14 points in 11 games.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 1-24-18

Western Hockey League

Kelowna Rockets 4 @ Lethbridge Hurricanes 3 (OT)

D Cal Foote, KEL: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals: 37 GP, 9-30-39, +14, 31 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Kole Lind (VAN, 2017 2nd round pick) scored twice, including the OT game-winner culminating a rally by the Rockets from a 3-2 deficit. Carsen Twarynski (PHI, 2016 3rd round pick) scored the equalizer with 38 seconds left.

Saskatoon Blades 3 @ Regina Pats

D Libor Hajek, REG: 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals (REG): 5 GP, 1-3-4, -3, 2 PIM
Season Totals (SAS): 33 GP, 8-17-25, -10, 26 PIM
Season Totals: 38 GP, 9-20-29, -13, 28 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 65 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 81 PIM

Hajek scored the 2-1 go-ahead goal in the 1st and the Pats didn’t look back. Hajek’s marker was the first of four straight by Regina, bookended by Hajek assisting on a Jared Legien (undrafted) power play marker in the 2nd that gave the Pats a 5-1 lead over the Blades. Sam Steel (ANA, 2016 1st round pick) notched five assists, Cameron Hebig (undrafted) scored twice, and Josh Mahura (ANA, 2016 3rd round pick) had a four point game inleading the Pats in putting up a touchdown against Saskatoon. Max Gerlach (undrafted) scored twice for the Blades.

NHL Game Night: 1-23-18 Lightning at Predators

Everything is good, all of a sudden.

TB-4
NSH-3 (OT)

Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals* on 33 shots for the OT victory. Why the asterisk? Because he got hosed on an uncalled goaltender interference where a Preds forward launched himself into Domingue's shoulder as Subban's shot arrived, turning him around in the net. Despite this injustice, Domingue played well with several ten bell saves in a First Period where the Lightning could've easily allowed 4 or 5 goals were it not for the exploits of the Dominguenator.

First Period
6:24 TB Kunitz (7), (unassisted)
7:28 NSH Ellis (3), (Josi, Sissons)(PP)
9:11 NSH Arvidsson (14), (Aberg, Irwin)
10:48 TB Namestnikov (16), (Stamkos, Kunitz)

Second Period
19:10 NSH Subban (11), (Ekholm, Joahnsen)(PP)*

Third Period
17:48 TB Stamkos (18), (Koekkoek, Kunitz)

Overtime
1:45 TB Gourde (16), (Namestnikov)

Yanni Gourde was the game's first star.

Take away the first 10 minutes of this game, and the Lightning were the better team tonight and they deserved the two points. Even without Hedman, they came into this game against the reigning Western Conference champs and they took two points the hard way, even after the Predators got gifted that bogus lead goal* at the end of the Second Period. After suffering some embarrassing debacles the Lightning have seemingly started to figure out how to compete without their stud number one defenseman and they will be a much stronger team for the experience once he returns.

NFL: "We created this really confusing reception rule that the refs, media, and fans can't possibly comprehend and creates frustration that tarnishes our brand and makes us all look like fools. No one will ever top the ignominy of our rule."

NHL looks at the crease: "Hold my beer."

If the rationale behind allowing that goal really was something to do with the blue paint of the crease, it's a horrible rule and it needs to be rewritten. The goaltender should have the right to come out and challenge the shooter and cut down the angle on a long shot. Domingue established his position and he was leapt into and spun around before the puck arrived. Textbook goaltender interference (heck, probably should've been a 2 minute minor, to boot) and it's unfathomable how that goal was allowed to stand. If that's a goal then it's open season on goaltenders because nothing is interference. Just go hog wild and Darcy Tucker-style start running netminders to your heart's content.

Thankfully, the Lightning overcame.

Slater Koekkoek was +2 with a helper, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in a hefty 18:34 of ice time. It was a quiet 18:34, which is good, right up until Koekkoek swooped into the zone as the late man and made a heck of a long diagonal pass to Stamkos for the big one timer to equalize late in the Third Period. That's what everyone has to be hoping from with Koekkoek: the total package for all 200 feet.

Jake Dotchin had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 17:03.

Matthew Peca had 2 hits and was 50% on 10 draws in 13:03.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 1-21-18

Catching up from Sunday...

Ontario Hockey League

Peterborough Petes 1 @ Ottawa 67’s 6 (Sunday)

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-1-1, -2, 2 PIM, 0 SOG, 12/19 FO
Season Totals: 41 G, 12-6-18, -24, 12 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

Paquette assisted on Logan DeNoble’s (undrafted) game opening power play goal in the 1st, but it was all 67’s after that with Austen Keating (undrafted) and Tye Felhaber (undrafted) both scoring a pair of goals for Ottawa..

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 5 @ Saskatoon Blades 3 (Sunday)

C Brett Howden, MJ: 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 12/20 FO, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 25 GP, 18-26-44, +24, 28 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-2-2, +1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 47 GP, 7-14-21, +33, 50 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

Raise your hand if back in August you predicted Oleg Sosunov would break 20 points on a loaded Moose Jaw squad, be an everyday player, and be among the league leaders in plus/minus rating? And then what if I told you there’s a dang good chance he scores 30 points? Sosunov assisted on Howden’s game opening goal less than two minutes in, and then assisted on Brayden Burke’s (undrafted) game-winning goal in the 3rd. Howden and Burke also tallied helpers on Justin Almeida’s (2018 draft eligible) goal less than a minute into the 2nd period. Howden earned Third Star honors for the Warriors in the win, and Josh Paterson (undrafted) scored twice for the Blades in a losing effort.

NHL Game Night: 1-22-18 Lightning at Blackhawks

Just when they need it the most, Vasiy delivers the kittens.

TB-2
CHI-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy snapped out of a little mini-slump with a 40 save shutout victory. Like a giant awaking from a slumber, Vasilevskiy just got stronger and stronger as the game wore on. Look out, he may go on another hot streak now.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
17:14 TB Kunitz (6), (Dotchin, Point)(SH)

Third Period
18:26 TB Gourde (15), (unassisted)

Vasilevskiy and Chris Kunitz were the game's first and second stars.

The Lightning rebounded from a couple of debacles with a team win that flowed from the goaltending brilliance of young Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy didn't look completely solid in the First Period but the Lightning PK really picked up the slack with a key kill of a 5-on-3 that invoked and once again validated the old Espo Rule. From the Second Period on it was all Vasilevskiy until Kunitz got a break on an uncalled hand pass that eventually ended up as a shorthanded goal down in the Chicago zone. Gourde pounds home a late insurance goal on a one timer on the back of more Vasilevskiy brilliance and it's a gigantic win for a team that's been limping toward the All Star break.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot in 21:23. Big minutes. Big Jake is now just 5 games from graduation from prospect status on the website.

Matthew Peca was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:03 and he was also 67% on 6 draws. He won the faceoff on the sequence that led to Gourde's insurance goal and then made a strong play along the wall to pressure the defender to help the puck squirt to Gourde for the one time goal. He showed good speed. Slick hands at times. Good start to this callup.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NCAA Game Night: 1-20-18

UMass-Lowell River Hawks 3 @ Vermont Catamounts 6

C Ryan Lohin, UML: 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 25 GP, 8-13-21, -1, 22 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 41 GP, 12-17-29, +10, 14 PIM

C Ross Colton, UVM: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 23 GP, 12-2-14, -15, 24 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 33 GP, 12-15-27, E, 22 PIM

Vermont improved to 5-15-4 on the season with a big win over the visiting River Hawks. Both Lightning prospects had a goal in the game.

Merrimack Warriors 1 @ Boston University Terriers 3

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 12 GP, 0-2-2, E, 8 PIM
’17-’18 Totals: 36 GP, 2-5-7, +8, 30 PIM

Bobo Carpenter (undrafted) had two goals for BU Saturday in their win over Merrimack.

No. 15 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 0 @ No. 5 Denver Pioneers 4

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

UNO was beat by a total of 9-0 over the weekend by DU. Oldham sat for both games.

No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers 2 vs Michigan State Spartans 1 (Madison Square Garden)

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, UMN: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 28 GP, 0-9-9, -2, 32 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 37 GP, 2-3-5, +11, 35 PIM

Zuhlsdorf assisted on a goal by Casey Mittelstadt (Sabres) to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead on the way to a 2-1 win.

*USCHO poll used for rankings

Juniors Game Night: 1-20-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 1 @ Acadie-Bathurst Titan 11

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 4/16 FO
Season Totals: 39 GP, 15-40-55, +29, 20 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Burn the tape.

Ontario Hockey League

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 2 @ Flint Firebirds 4

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 36 GP, 31-24-55, +33, 16 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 2/3 FO
Season Totals (SSM): 5 GP, 4-5-9, +2, 0 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 35 GP, 19-34-53, +12, 16 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

A night after their first regulation loss since October 27th, one of the worst teams in the league, the Flint Firebirds, hands the Soo their second regulation loss in a row. Katchouk scored this 31st of the season early in the 3rd to draw the Greyhounds within one, but the Soo couldn’t muster the equalizer. Ty Dellandrea (2018 draft eligible) paced the Firebirds with two goals, a power play game-winning tally, and a short-handed marker.

North Bay Battalion 1 @ Sudbury Wolves 2

W Alexey Lipanov, SBY: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 14/26 FO
Season Totals (SBY): 6 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 2 PIM
Season Totals (BAR): 35 GP, 11-19-30, +9, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 41 GP, 13-20-33, +7, 12 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals (VHL-Russia): 21 GP, 3-5-8, +5, 8 PIM

Lipanov assisted on David Levin’s (2018 draft eligible) 2nd period equalizer and Drake Pilon (undrafted) won the game for the Wolves late in the 3rd.

Oshawa Generals 4 @ Peterborough Petes 3 (SO)

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 13/18 FO
Season Totals: 40 GP, 12-5-17, -22, 10 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

Paquette assisted on the shorthanded opening goal by Zach Gallant (DET, 2017 3rd round pick). Matt Brassard (VAN, 2017 7th round pick) scored on a shorthanded penalty shot and then converted in the shootout to lead the Generals to victory.

Western Hockey League

Victoria Royals 4 @ Kelowna Rockets 8

D Cal Foote, KEL: 1-1-2, +4, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 36 GP, 9-29-38, +12, 22 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Cal Foote and Dillon Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) worked together to score two 1st period goals and helped give the Rockets an early 3-0 lead, and Kelowna never trailed. Jack Cowell (undrafted) tallied two goals, and Kole Lind (VAN, 2017 2nd round pick) had 4 points to pace the Rockets.

Regina Pats 3 @ Saskatoon Blade 4 (OT)

D Libor Hajek, REG: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals (REG): 4 GP, 0-2-2, -2, 2 PIM
Season Totals (SAS): 33 GP, 8-17-25, -10, 26 PIM
Season Totals: 37 GP, 8-19-27, -12, 28 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 65 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 81 PIM

Hajek notched an assist in his first game against his old team. The Blades opened up a 2-0 lead in the 1st before former Blade Cameron Hebig (EDM, FA ELC) and Pats captain Sam Steel (ANA, 2017 1st round pick) helped the Pats score three straight for the 3-2 lead at the end of the 2nd. The Blades knotted the game in the 3rd and then Eric Florchuk (2018 draft eligible) scored the OT game-winner for Saskatoon.

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 5 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 1

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-2-2, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 27 GP, 1-12-13, +12, 12 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

Perbix notched a power play assist on a 2nd period Noah Cates (PHI, 2017 5th round pick) goal and another shorthanded assist on a 3rd period Ethan Price (undrafted) goal. Cates scored twice to lead the Lancers over the Buccaneers, and split the home-and-home series.

Minnesota State High School League

Edina Hornets 7 @ Hill-Murray Pioneers 1

F Sammy Walker, EDN: 2-2-4, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals (HS): 16 GP, 20-22-42, 10 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

Mason Nevers scored a natural hat trick for the Hornets and Walker added two goals and two assists in Edina’s road win over Hill-Murray. A rematch with Minnetonka awaits the Hornets Thursday night, the team that handed Edina its only loss this season.

NHL Game Night: 1-20-18 Lightning at Wild

Everything is bad, all of a sudden.

TB-2
MIN-5

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 34 shots on the loss. He might like the third Minnesota goal that wedged in short side back... but then again he might like the defense in front of him to show up, too.

First Period
10:07 MIN Spurgeon (6), (Staal)(PP)
17:24 MIN Parise (1), (Suter, Staal)

Second Period
7:11 MIN Prosser (2), (Eriksson Ek, Rau)
15:35 TB Point (18), (Sergachev, Johnson)

Third Period
3:10 MIN Foligno (4), (Cullen, Ennis)
6:37 TB Point (19), (Johnson, Stamkos)(PP)
19:01 MIN Zucker (18), (Dubnyk)(EN)

This suddenly is taking on the feel of last season. Yes, Victor Hedman's injury has blown an undeniably large hole in the Lightning blueline, but that doesn't fully explain the recent futility. The same lack of intensity and attention to detail that marred the first 50 or so games of last season has crept back into Tampa Bay's game and their revamped leadership council has yet to be successful in pulling the club out of the funk. First goal: clean faceoff loss by Johnson. Back of the net. Second goal: blind, weak clear up the middle on a broken play by Koekkoek. Third goal: complete defensive zone coverage bust and the resulting shot gets in short side on Vasilevskiy. Fourth goal: Sergachev coasts behind his net on a 50/50 puck and is a bystander while Point whiffs trying to cut off the pass to yet another open Wild shooter in the slot. It's pathetic, and it's a virus that's effecting several different players, not just a handful of offenders. The defense isn't very good right now and Mikhail Sergachev is playing his worst hockey of the season at the moment. True. But, you know what? Vasilevskiy's not cloaking himself in glory either and, even more damning, the backchecking and defensive zone coverage by the forwards is completely and utterly unacceptable at the moment. Can't find the scoresheet and get the glory if you don't have the puck, boys. And you'll never have the puck if you don't work, and work smart, to get it back. This isn't difficult, conceptually.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 blocked shot in 10:00 of ice time. Pretty much got his ice time cut off after the First Period turnover under duress.

Jake Dotchin was -1 with 4 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 16:23. He might've been in the upper half of the Lightning d-men tonight in quality, but that was an awfully low bar to clear. You could roller skate over it.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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