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ECHL Game Night: 4-7-17 & 4-8-17

4-07-17: Kalamazoo Wings 2 at Wheeling Nailers 7
4-08-17: Wheeling Nailers 2 at Kalamzoo Wings 5

F Brian Hart, KAL, 2gp, 1-0-1, -2, 2 PIMS, 11 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 33 GP, 6-5-11, -7, 6 PIMs, 71 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 2gp, 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIMS, 4 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 20 GP, 5-20-25, +11, 10 PIMs, 51 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, 1gp, L, 60:00 MINS, 27/34
Season Totals: 31 GP, 18-11-0-1, 3.00 GAA, 0.903 SV%, 1 SO

Kalamazoo closed out its regular season this weekend, splitting a home-and-home with Wheeling. Friday night, Nic Riopel allowed 7 goals in the loss, while on Saturday night Lighting prospect Brian Hart scored one of the five K-Wings goals. Cam Darcy assisted on goals both nights, and finished his 20 game stint with 25 points. Kalamazoo now turns its attention to the Brabham Cup winner Toledo Walleye as the league's best team in the regular session, as their best of seven playoff series begins next weekend with the first two games in Toledo.

Howden Scores First Pro Goal, Crunch Top Devils


By Jeremy Houghtaling

In just his second pro grame, Brett Howden was focused on doing what he was told.

Drive to the net with his stick down.

Howden did just that and Tanner Richard found him on the back door with 3:22 remaining in regulation and the 19-year-old recorded his first pro goal, as the Syracuse Crunch topped the Albany Devils, 3-2, and moved closer to clinching a postseason berth at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“He’s been telling me these last two games to just go to the net with my stick on the ice,” Howden said of Richard. “He’s been trying real hard to feed it to me, and he found the seam there.”

AHL Game Night: 4-8-17 Devils at Crunch

Syracuse finally gets on the right side of a key divisional tilt.

ALB-2
SYR-3

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
5:20 ALB Auvitu (5), (Quenneville, Camper)(PP)
10:51 SYR Richard (14), (Kurtz)(SH)
17:14 SYR Masin (3), (Condra, Peca)
19:12 ALB Rooney (12), (Gibbons, Stollery)(SH)

Third Period
16:38 SYR Howden (1), (Richard, Comrie)(PP)

Brett Howden, Dominik Masin, and Tanner Richard were the game's three stars. Howden's game winner was also his first professional goal.

Syracuse now pulls to within 1 point of Toronto for the North Division crown with both clubs having just 3 regular season games left on their schedules. Syracuse finishes with Utica on Wednesday, Binghamton on Friday, and the regular season finale against Utica, again, on Saturday. Utica is in a street fight with two other teams for two playoff spots while Binghamton is out of the playoff race.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-8-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Val-d’Or Foreurs 1 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 4
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Saint John leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG, 5 Hits
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 3-2-5, +6, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 1-1-2, +1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 1 Hit
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 4-7-11, +6, 6 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 36-44-80, +37, 57 PIM

Etienne Montpetit (undrafted) was the story yet again, though despite him making 50 saves for Val-d'Or, the Sea Dogs got enough by him to win comfortably, 4-1. One of the goals was an empty-netter by Mathieu Joseph. Saint John is now 6-0 in the playoffs. Game 3 against the Foreurs is Tuesday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-8-17

KHL Gagarin Cup Final
Magnitogorsk 4 vs. St. Petersburg 5
St. Petersburg Leads the Series 1-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 6-10-16, +3, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM

Nikita Gusev had a pair of helpers, one of which game on the power play, as SKA edged Magnitogorsk 5-4 in Game One of the Gagarin Cup Final. Gusev played 16:49 in the victory, which came on Magnitka's home rink. The wild game included a pair of brilliant goals by ex-NHL'er Evgeny Dadonov for SKA on the rush, a pair of ejections (one for each team) that included ex-NHL'er Ilya Kovalchuk being sent off for a hit to the head, and a power play goal by Swedish national and SKA defender Patrik Hersley that came on a point blank slapper that actually went through the Magnitogorsk net. Ex-Lightning pick Vasily Koshechkin took the loss for Magnitogorsk after allowing 5 goals on 34 shots. Fellow ex-Lightning pick Dmitry Kazionov was scoreless in 7:07 in the loss for Magnitogorsk, as well.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-7-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Val-d’Or Foreurs 1 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 2 (OT)
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Saint John leads best-of-7 series, 1-0

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 4 Hits
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 3-2-5, +5, 12 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-1-1, -1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 1 Hit
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 3-6-9, +5, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 36-44-80, +37, 57 PIM

Etienne Montpetit (undrafted), who was the story in the Foreurs-Cataractes series, stopped 66 of 67 shots before the 68th beat him, giving the Sea Dogs an overtime win. Val-d’Or only managed 14 shots on Saint John, yet were winning 1-0 until 6:46 of the third period when Saint John scored on the power play. Mathieu Joseph had an assist on that goal. Samuel Dove-McFalls (Flyers) scored in overtime – his first of the playoffs.

Ontario Hockey League

Owen Sound Attack 1 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4
Western Conference Semifinals
Sault Ste. Marie leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals: 7 GP, 5-5-10, +4, 4 PIM
Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

The Soo won both home games to start their series with Owen Sound, taking Game 2, 4-1. Katchouk has had at least a point in every playoff game this season. Game 3 is in Owen Sound Sunday.

Kingston Frontenacs 2 @ Peterborough Petes 4 (Thursday)
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Peterborough leads best-of-7 series, 1-0

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 14/22 FO
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 1-2-3, +4, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 1-4-5, +11, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 7-22-29, +9, 58 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

The Petes took Game 1 against the Fronts, winning 4-2 Thursday. Paquette scored his first goal of the playoffs and Spencer added his fifth point in five games. Game 2 is Sunday.

London Knights 1 @ Erie Otters 5
Western Conference Semifinals
Best-of-7 series tied, 1-1

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 4-0-4, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 1-4-5, +7, 2 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 13/22 FO
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 4-3-7, +5, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, *Second Star*
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 4-10-14, +9, 6 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Erie bounced back from a Game 1 shutout loss to take Game 2, 5-1. Undrafted free agent Darren Raddysh, a right-handed puck-moving defenseman, had a hat trick and an assist for Erie. He has nine points in six playoff games after an 81-point regular season. Taylor Raddysh’s power play goal with 2.5 seconds left in the second period extended Erie’s lead to 4-1. Cernak assisted on Darren Raddysh’s empty-net goal, and Cirelli’s assist came on the rebound of his wraparound attempt on Tyler Parsons (Flames). The series moves to London for Game 3 on Sunday.

AHL Game Night: 4-7-17 Crunch at Senators

Crunch choke in ongoing listless crawl to the finish line.

SYR-3
BNG-4 (OT)

Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss. My goodness was he awful tonight.

First Period
9:28 BNG Varone (15), (Akeson, Blunden)
16:22 SYR McGinn (8), (Richard, Blujus)

Second Period
14:57 SYR Ikonen (5), (McGinn, Thomas)

Third Period
9:22 SYR McGinn (9), (Condra)(PP)
15:45 BNG Akeson (20), (Varone, Rumble)
15:54 BNG Rodewald (18), (unassisted)

Overtime
1:01 BNG Paul (15), (Rumble, McCormick)

Tye McGinn was the game's second star.

At this time of year, if you get to under 6 minutes left in a game with a 2 goal lead, that's got to get you 2 points in the standings. Having failed to accomplish that, the Crunch still linger 3 points back of Toronto for the lead in the North Division. Syracuse will make the postseason, but a 3-4-1-2 record in their last 10 points to the probability they won't stick around long unless they find some consistency and some ability to make some situational plays in a hurry.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 4-7-17 Lightning at Canadiens

Carey Price FEARS Yanni Gourde.

TB-4
MTL-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 29 saves for the win, including a couple of brilliant jaw-dropping saves to put a national TV audience on notice. From here on out, there's a crime wave coming any time you play Tampa Bay. #Vasilarceniy

First Period
11:42 TB Gourde (5), (Kucherov, Witkowski)
19:50 TB Kucherov (40), (Palat, Point)

Second Period
9:59 MTL King (9), (Lehkonen, Nesterov)
14:19 TB Killorn (19), (Conacher)

Third Period
4:36 MTL Lehkonen (17), (unassisted)(SH)
4:57 TB Gourde (6), (Conacher, Dotchin)

Gourde and Nikita Kucherov were the game's first and second stars.

I'm done talking about the heart of this Lightning club. They just bounced Toronto and Montreal in back-to-back games on the road despite the slim odds they have to make the playoffs. They've got character and refusal to quit. It'll still take an inside straight for Tampa Bay to make it to the big dance, but kudos to them for making Toronto earn it. Worst case scenario, this is a club with a freshly minted 40 goal scoring superstar in Kucherov, one of the best emerging goaltenders in the game in Vasilevskiy, Brayden Point laying in the weeds to become another star in his own rights, and plenty of other talent coming with them. Jon Cooper's found a formula down the stretch here that, at a minimum, portend very very good things for next season.

A little over 2 months ago this team was dead last in the Eastern Conference. It's Game 81 on April 7th and they're still playing meaningful hockey. Give these guys credit for what they've done and the resiliency and chemistry they've found.

Luke Witkowski had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 4 hits in 11:25.

Greg McKegg was 64% on 11 draws in 10:59.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and was +2 with 4 hits in 17:03. I still have it in my head there's a sweet spot of around 17-18 minutes where Dotchin goes from being a good player to a really good player.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 shot, 6 hits, 2 blocked shots, and was 58% on 12 draws in 13:48.

Gourde had 2 goals and was +3 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 14:57. He was also 38% on 8 draws. Fun fact: Yanni Gourde has 3 of his 6 goals this season against Carey Price. True story.

Adam Erne was -1 with 4 hits and 2 blocked shots in 9:40.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-6-17

Ontario Hockey League

London Knights 2 @ Erie Otters 0
Western Conference Semifinals
London leads best-of-7 series, 1-0

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 8 GP, 4-0-4, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 1-3-4, +6, 2 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 13/18 FO
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 4-2-6, +4, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 7 SOG
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 3-8-11, +8, 6 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

London did the unthinkable Thursday, shutting out the high-powered Otters in Erie. The Otters scored 29 goals in their 4-game sweep of Sarnia in the first round. Flames pick Tyler Parsons stopped 46 shots for the shutout. London only managed 12 shots on Troy Timpano (undrafted), but scored on two of them. One of those was Stephens’ second period goal, which turned out to be the game-winner.

NHL Game Night: 4-6-17 Lightning at Maple Leafs

As sun continues to sink on the season, Lightning continue to fight against the darkness.

TB-4
TOR-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory. Another really strong performance down the stretch by Vasilevskiy, who has answered all of my questions about whether he's ready to be the starter in the affirmative.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
7:34 TB Point (15), (Palat, Hedman)(PP)
9:42 TOR Kadri (32), (Hunwick, Bozak)
11:50 TB Kucherov (39), (Hedman)

Third Period
2:00 TB Bournival (2), (Sustr, Hedman)
14:11 TB Point (16), (Palat, Dotchin)

Victor Hedman, Brayden Point, and Vasilevskiy were the game's three stars.

Even as the Lightning's mathematical odds were dwindling ever closer to zero due to other results around the league, Tampa Bay reaffirmed their character in a convincing win over a Toronto team ready for a playoff coronation. There was a lot of, in my opinion unfair, hand wringing in the Lightning fan base after their loss to Boston with copious accusations that the Lightning somehow lacked heart in the game. Reiterating what I said after the game, I think the real culprit was the fatigue of trying to maintain a pace above .700 in the standings for close to two months with injury problems and trade deadline departures piling up around the team's ears. The truth is the complacency of the first two-thirds of the season caught up with the Lightning in Boston, as it was almost inevitably bound to do. But, that shouldn't invalidate the resolve the Lightning showed the final third of the campaign in fighting hard enough to still be playing meaningful games in April. That's no small feat, and a testament to both the coaching staff and the character of the team and its young, emerging stars. Tonight was the Lightning giving an RSVP for better things ahead next season.

With Ottawa defeating Boston in a Shootout tonight, the Lightning are now 3 points out of a playoff spot with 2 games left to play. Toronto still looks extremely likely to slip into the playoffs even despite tonight's effort and eliminate the Lightning, but credit to the Lightning for making them earn it.

Luke Witkowski had 2 hits in 4:53.

Greg McKegg was +1 with 1 hit in 9:16. He was also 38% on 8 draws.

Jake Dotchin had a helper, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 20:43, and made friends and influenced people all throughout the metro-Toronto region stepping up at his blueline for an awkward leg to leg hit on Leafs golden child Austen Matthews.

Gabriel Dumont returned from paternity leave to deliver 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 12:21. He was also 33% on 12 draws.

Yanni Gourde was 15% on 13 draws in 13:51.

Adam Erne had 1 shot and 2 hits in 11:54.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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