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Crunch Goalie Wilcox Finds Groove in Consecutive Starts

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Wilcox has run with the opportunity given to him.

Coming off a recent slide, the Crunch turned to the rookie netminder to take over between the pipes. With a chance to show what he can do, Wilcox has registered 117 saves and backstopped Syracuse to seven out of eight points in the last four games.

Wilcox hopes the consistent starts helps him find the groove that made him a standout at the University of Minnesota.

“I’m feeling really confident and I’m feeling really good, and now I feel like I can play well in this league on a nightly basis,” Wilcox said.

Juniors Game Night: 3-9-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 4 @ Moncton Wildcats 7

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 2 Hits
Season totals: 44 GP, 5-12-17, -4, 78 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 13-15-28, +2, 137 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: Did not play
Season totals: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 21-21-42, +18, 46 PIM

With Joseph out of the lineup, Saint John fell in Moncton, 7-4. Joseph was injured in Saint John’s last game against Charlottetown. He is reportedly considered day-to-day.

Rimouski Oceanic 1 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 7

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG, 0 Hits
Season totals: 58 GP, 31-34-65, +6, 82 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM

Shawinigan had a goal party against the visiting Oceanic, but Yan couldn’t get in on the fun.

Ontario Hockey League

Kingston Frontenacs 5 @ Oshawa Generals 3

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 13/25 FO
Season totals: 57 GP, 20-33-53, -14, 25 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Oshawa had 2-0 and 3-1 leads before Kingston took over late in the second period and through the third.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-9-16

KHL Western Conference Semifinals
(1)CSKA 5 vs. (7)Novgorod 1
Series Tied 1-1
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 31 PIM
Regular season totals: 46 GP, 13-10-23, +3, 61 PIM

CSKA got 2 goals and 3 points from ex-Crunch forward Geoff Platt as they spanked Novgorod 5-1 to knot their second round playoff series at 1-1. Carter Ashton was scoreless in 17:04 in the match.

(5)Dynamo Moscow 4 vs. (6)St. Petersburg 3 (OT)
Series Tied 1-1
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff totals: 7 GP, 3-4-7, +1, 0 PIM
Regular season totals: 56 GP, 20-29-49, +15, 14 PIM

Nikita Gusev had an even strength goal and a power play helper in 23:40 of ice time in SKA's 4-3 OT Game Two loss to Dynamo Moscow.

NHL Game Night: 3-8-16 Bruins at Lightning

One bad shift costs the Lightning a signature win.

TB-0 (OT)

Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 33 shots for the OT loss. He was excellent in the game, and it was a difficult game to be excellent in because it had long stretches of inactivity after which Bishop would have to make a Grade A save on a high quality chance. He deserved better than the finish.

First Period

Second Period

Third Period

0:10 BOS Marchand(34), (Bergeron, Krug)

Bishop was the game's second star.

Considering the setup to this game, with the clunker in Philly last night and Stralman missing the game, this was a strong, strong effort by the Lightning. They got everything but the result, which robs them of a richly deserved signature moment. This felt like a playoff game. "Playoff atmosphere" is an overused cliche in the regular season, but it would've actually been applied correctly tonight. Unfortunately, the Lightning just couldn't get anything past Gustavsson and one flat shift by the 4-man unit to start OT cost them, big time.

With 3 games left to play in this 10-game segment of the season, Tampa Bay needs just 1 more point to stay on minimum playoff pace. They also retain a lead in the Atlantic Division title chase based on the ROW tiebreaker and their game in hand on Boston.

There are just 15 games left to go in the regular season, and they'll be gone in the blink of an eye.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 shot in 11:05. Rookie defender in a 0-0 game all the way through regulation? He simply wasn't getting the ice time tonight under those circumstances.

Jonathan Marchessault had 1 shot in 12:02. He had 5 other attempts on goal, though, that were either missed or blocked. So he was active in limited IT.

Box score and extended statistics from

Liiga Game Day: 3-8-16

Tappara 0 vs. KalPa 1
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 36 GP, 4-7-11, +8, 16 PIM

Ex-Stars pick Eero Kilpelainen stopped all 33 shots he faced to blank Tappara 1-0. Jonne Tammela was scoreless in 15:28 in the match.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-8-16

KHL Eastern Conference Semfinals
(2)Magnitogorsk 3 vs. (3)Novosibirsk 1
Magnitogorsk Leads the Series 1-0
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, 30/31, 1.00 GAA, .968 sv%
Playoff totals: 3 GP, 3-0-0, 2 SO, 0.34 GAA, .988 sv%
Regular season totals: 50 GP, 22-19-5, 4 SO, 2.12 GAA, .925 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin allowed a goal for the first time in these KHL playoffs, but stopped the other 30 shots he faced in Magnitka's 3-1 Game One win over Novosibirsk. Ex-NHL'er Alexander Semin had 2 goals, while fellow ex-NHL'er Wojtek Wolski assisted on both goals in the win. Ex-Lightning defenseman Andrej Meszaros had Novosibirsk's lone goal in defeat.

Drouin Returns to Crunch Practice

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Jonathan Drouin didn’t want to sit out any longer.

The 20-year-old forward returned to Syracuse Crunch practice on Tuesday, nearly two months after leaving the team on a game day in Toronto. After Drouin’s trade demand went public in January, he was assigned to the Crunch and played seven games before heading home to await a move.

Not dealt by the NHL trade deadline, Drouin just wants to get back to playing hockey.

“Obviously, I’m a hockey player and I wanted to play hockey,” Drouin said. “Sitting at home is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to play hockey with the Crunch. We’ll deal with that stuff when the summer comes.”

NHL Game Night: 3-7-16 Lightning at Flyers

All good things...


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 39 shots for the loss. It was an unfortunate result for Andrei, because he was the only reason the Lightning had any chance at all tonight. He played really well.

First Period
4:07 TB Palat(11), (Koekkoek, Johnson)

Second Period
16:51 PHI Gostisbehere(13), (Raffl, Couturier)

Third Period
7:21 PHI Gostsbehere(14), (Giroux, Streit)(PP)
13:57 PHI B. Schenn(22), (Giroux, Simmonds)
14:53 TB Namestnikov(11), (Johnson, Kucherov)
19:33 PHI Simmonds(24), (B. Schenn)(EN)

Vasilevskiy was the game's third star.

So ends the Lightning's franchise record 9-game winning streak. The Lightning got the goal early in the First Period and then played the role of spectator the rest of the night. They were flat, lifeless, and unfocused. They were second to loose pucks all night long, they were weak on their sticks, and their decision-making, positioning, and passing were remarkably poor. That's one of the worst games the Lightning have played in years, and would be easier to shrug off if, A.) They hadn't played poorly in their last game a stolen a win, and B.) They didn't have a good Boston team on a back-to-back tomorrow night. Just as concerning, as quickly and unexpectedly as Callahan and Killorn started playing well on Stamkos' line, that trio has gone back into the witness protection program again. Look, I love "The Triplets," but the Lightning will go as far as the vets like Stamkos and Callahan can take them, because they will have to give the Lightning the scoring balance they need to compete in the playoffs.

Get well soon Brayden Coburn and Andrej Sustr.

Slater Koekkoek had a helper, his first NHL point, and was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 13:27.

Jonathan Marchessault had 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:12. If you blinked, you probably missed him tonight. He's 7 games from graduation from prospect status on the website.

Box score and extended statistics from

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-7-16

KHL Western Conference Semifinals
(1)CSKA 1 vs. (7)Novogorod 2
Novgorod Leads the Series 1-0
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 0-0-0, E, 31 PIM
Regular season totals: 46 GP, 13-10-23, +3, 61 PIM

Ex-Avs pick Linus Videll had a goal, assisted by ex-NHL'er Nikolai Zherdev, in Novgorod's 2-1 Game One win over CSKA. Ex-Preds first rounder Alexander Radulov had the lone goal in the match for CSKA. Carter Ashton was scoreless with a minor for high sticking in 13:50 of ice time in the victory.

(5)Dynamo Moscow 2 vs. (6)St. Petersburg 3
St. Petersburg Leads the Series 1-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 2-3-5, E, 0 PIM
Regular season totals: 56 GP, 20-29-49, +15, 14 PIM

Nikita Gusev scored the GWG on the power play to lift SKA to a 3-2 Game One win over Dynamo Moscow. He also had a power play helper on the game's opening goal in 18:36 of ice time. Ex-NHL'er Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the lineup for SKA in the match after his Round One exile for poor play.

Drouin's Suspension Lifted, So What's Next?

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced Monday that disgruntled forward Jonathan Drouin would be re-joining the AHL's Syracuse Crunch after his suspension was lifted.

Drouin left the Crunch on January 20 in Toronto when he and his agent, Allen Walsh, thought a trade was imminent and he wanted to stay healthy to protect the deal. Lightning General Manager, who was not on the verge of making a deal, suspended Drouin without pay for leaving the team.

Drouin stayed at home through the NHL trade deadline, when he wasn't dealt to a new organization. He quickly said he would not be returning to the Lightning (or Syracuse), though Yzerman stated publically the door was open for his return to the AHL. Last week, reportedly, Drouin called Yzerman and said he wanted to return. Yzerman told reporters it was "a pleasant surprise."

Yzerman told reporters he wouldn't rule out Drouin possibly earning a call-up to the Lightning later in the year, or that the relationship could be mended.

Time will tell.

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