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Crunch's Rally Falls Short in Shootout Loss to Wolf Pack


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx believed his team deserved a better result.

The Crunch overcame a slow start and tied the score in the third after trailing by two, but the Hartford Wolf Pack prevailed in the shootout, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“The first period we weren’t doing many things right. I don’t think we had our legs and it seemed we were sluggish a little bit. Second, like I mentioned, you take two goals like that and it’s tough to recover right away. I thought we did that in the third,” Groulx said. “We had a very good third period, good overtime and we ended up losing in a shootout.”

AHL Game Night: 2-9-18 Wolf Pack at Crunch

Crunch comeback nets a point.

HFD-4
SYR-3 (SO)

Connor Ingram allowed 3 goals on 15 shots before being lifted for veteran Eddie Pasquale. Pasquale stopped all 6 shots he faced before allowing two of three to convert in the penalty shot session.

First Period
10:23 HFD Tambellini (10), (unassisted)

Second Period
1:04 SYR Volkov (14), (Archambault, Cirelli)
1:14 HFD Chytil (9), (Schneider)
7:03 HFD Gropp (10), (Chytil, Sproul)
19:43 SYR Stephens (17), (Verhaeghe, Joseph)(PP)

Third Period
8:00 SYR Joseph (9), (Verhaeghe, Thomas)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
HFD- Tambellini, Gropp
SYR- Verhaeghe

Carter Verhaeghe was the game's third star.

This was Pasquale's second appearance for Syracuse after making a brief 12 second appearance against Utica.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 2-8-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Chicoutimi Saguenéens 4 @ Halifax Mooseheads 3 (OT)

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 14/21 FO
Season Totals: 45 GP, 18-47-65, +34, 20 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Top ranked goaltending prospect Alexis Gravel (2018 draft eligible) allowed 4 Chicoutimi goals on just 17 shots as the Saguenéens mounted a 3rd period rally to overcome a 3-1 deficit at the 2nd intermission. Somppi assisted on Filip Zadina’s (2018 draft eligible) goal just 40 seconds into the 2nd period to give the Mooseheads the 3-1 lead, but Chicoutimi scored twice in the 3rd to force the extra session before Kevin Klima (undrafted) potted the overtime game-winner, his 27th of the season, for the Saguenéens just 22 seconds into the extra frame. Liam Stevens (undrafted) scored twice for Chicoutimi and Zachary Bouthillier (2018 draft eligible) turn aside 43 of 46 Halifax shots for the victory.

Ontario Hockey League

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 @ Niagara IceDogs 3

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 1-2-3, -1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, *First Star*
Season Totals: 43 GP, 34-31-65, +39, 20 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 1/1 FO
Season Totals (SSM): 12 GP, 10-9-19, +9, 4 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 42 GP, 25-38-63, +19, 20 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

Katchouk (pictured) scored on a 2nd period penalty shot and added two power play assists en route to earning First Star honors in the Greyhounds 7th straight win. OHL point and assist leader Morgan Frost (PHI, 2017 1st round pick) scored twice as the Soo built up a 4-0 lead early in the 3rd. Kirill Maksimov (EDM, 2017 5th round pick) had a goal and an assist in Niagara’s 3rd period three-goal rally that fell short. Katchouk eclipsed his point and assist totals from last season in 23 fewer games. Frost and Katchouk are #1 and #2 in the OHL in plus-minus.

Owen Sound Attack 6 @ Peterborough Petes 5

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-1-1, -4, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 17/25 FO
Season Totals: 47 G, 14-8-22, -30, 14 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

Paquette assisted on a 2nd period Nick Robertson (2020 draft eligible) goal to give the Petes a 4-2 lead as the 2nd intermission. Win a period, win a hockey game, right? But like so many other times this season, Peteborough gave up 4 straight 3rd period Owen Sound goals in yet another collapse as the Petes winless streak hits 10 games. Aidan Dudas (2018 draft eligible) netted a hat trick and and two assists to pace the Attack, and Ethan Szypula (undrafted) scored twice and added two assists of his own.

Western Hockey League

Vancouver Giants 1 @ Kelowna Rockets 4 (Wednesday)

D Cal Foote, KEL: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 43 GP, 13-35-48, +20, 33 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Carsen Twarynski (PHI, 2016 3rd round pick) and Dillon Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) both scored 3rd period goals to ice a 2-1 Rockets lead after the 2nd intermission. Twarynski and Cal Foote both assisted on Dube’s tally. Kole Lind (VAN, 2017 2nd round pick) opened the scoring for Kelowna with his 28th of the season, and added an assist on Twarynski’s 3rd period marker. Kyle Topping (2018 draft eligible) added a pair of assists for the Rockets.

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.

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