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Crunch Lose Special Teams Battle to Devils


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With the parade to the penalty box lasting throughout most of the game, special teams play proved to be the difference.

The Crunch allowed a pair of Devils goals on the man-advantage and didn’t convert on their nine power play opportunities until late in the third period, as Syracuse fell to Binghamton, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday.

“They had six or seven power plays. We had six or maybe eight power plays,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I think our power play was not good enough. I think our PK was OK. We can’t go into the playoffs taking five or six penalties a game, for sure.”

AHL Game Night: 4-8-18 Devils at Crunch

Penalty trouble costs the Crunch.

BNG-4
SYR-2

Connor Ingram allowed 4 goals on 22 shots for the loss.

First Period
14:53 BNG Bertschy (14), (MacDonald, Kapla)(PP)
16:51 SYR Bourke (1), (Lipanov, Verhaeghe)
17:03 BNG Kennedy (4), (Latta, Rooney)

Second Period
17:27 BNG Seney (2), (Bertschy, MacDonald)(PP)

Third Period
11:58 BNG Mandat (3), (Thomson, Baddock)
18:57 SYR Peca (12), (Cernak, Condra)(PP)

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Edge Comets in Possible Playoff Preview


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets could see a lot more of each other when the postseason starts in two weeks.

Erik Condra scored the lone goal and Eddie Pasquale made 26 saves for the shutout, as the Crunch topped the Comets, 1-0, in what could be a preview of the first round of the playoffs at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Syracuse is No. 2 in the North Division, while Utica is battling for the No. 3 spot with Rochester.

“It’s a playoff game, and they’re probably going to be our first round matchup,” Pasquale said. “It seems like every time we play them it’s a low scoring game with a lot of penalties, a lot of extra stuff after the whistle. It’s that playoff environment and that’s the way it is.”

NHL Game Night: 4-7-18 Lightning at Hurricanes

Lightning can't grind out Atlantic Division title clincher.

TB-2
CAR-3 (OT)

Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 42 shots for the OT loss. I feel sick for him, because he played his bag off and deserved better. He allowed the first goal on a horribly unlucky deflection, the second goal should've been disallowed on goaltender interference, and the third goal was an odd man rush off a horrible line change in OT. He was fantastic and to get that strong a performance from your backup with as much as what was on the line in this game speaks highly of Domingue, in my opinion.

First Period
0:19 CAR Staal (19), (Williams, DiGiuseppe)
17:36 CAR Williams (16), (DiGiuseppe, Hanifin)

Second Period
3:30 TB Callahan (5), (Hedman, Kunitz)

Third Period
11:11 TB Palat (11), (Miller, Johnson)

Overtime
0:49 CAR Lindholm (16), (Teravainen, Fleury)

I feel a little sick, honestly. Tonight's a perfect illustration of why you don't want things to go down to game 82 when you need points. All it takes is some horrible puck luck or questionable officiating and next thing you know you're having to count of the Florida Panthers to travel to Boston and take at least a point off the Bruins to win the division and set up a much easier road, on paper, through the postseason. The heart was there in this Lightning team, overall. But, I think the breaks coupled with their having to empty out too much of the tank against Buffalo yesterday landed them in this predicament. Once Palat got the tying goal it really did appear to me the Lightning just didn't have much left in the reserve tanks to finish the job.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 7:06.

Anthony Cirelli had 4 shots and 1 hit in 16:35, but was just 24% on 17 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-7-18 Comets at Crunch

Pasquale outlasts the Comets.

UTI-0
SYR-1

Eddie Pasquale stopped all 26 shots he faced for the SO victory.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
14:55 SYR Condra (9), (Peca, Stephens)(PP)

Pasquale and Erik Condra were the game's first and second stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-6-18 Crunch at Devils

Shootout loss officially locks Syracuse into the second seed in their division.

SYR-3
BNG-4 (SO)

Eddie Pasquale allowed 3 goals on 39 shots before allowing 3 of 5 to convert in the penalty shot session for the SO loss.

First Period
10:41 SYR Foote (1), (Volkov, Bodie)
15:38 SYR Dumont (5), (Cernak, Joseph)(PP)

Second Period
2:39 BNG Pietila (11), (Lappin, Bertschy)(PP)
19:57 BNG Seney (1), (Lappin, Pietila)(PP)

Third Period
4:05 SYR Verhaeghe (16), (Peca, Volkov)
6:59 BNG Rooney (13), (Lappin)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- Stephens, Verhaeghe
BNG- Pietila, McLeod, Walman

Cal Foote was the game's second star after scoring on the very first shot of his pro career. Efficient.

Toronto clinched the North Division and the best record in the AHL tonight with the outcomes of the various games of the night. Syracuse therefore will finish second in the North Division.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 4-6-18 Sabres at Lightning

Lightning move onto the cusp of clinching a division title... barely.

BUF-5
TB-7

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 32 shots for the win. Somehow.

First Period
0:30 TB Cirelli (4), (Gourde)
2:57 BUF Mittelstadt (1), (Scandella, Rodrigues)(PP)
4:35 TB Kucherov (39), (unassisted)
6:32 BUF Nylander (1), (Guhle, Ristolainen)
9:40 TB Gourde (25), (Killorn)

Second Period
1:04 TB Girardi (6), (Kucherov, Palat)
8:59 BUF Pominville (15), (Guhle, Rodrigues)
15:58 BUF Nolan (4), (Larsson)
18:45 BUF Okposo (15), (Eichel, O'Reilly)(PP)

Third Period
6:15 TB Cirelli (5), (Killorn, Sergachev)
7:02 TB Point (32), (Killorn, Gourde)
18:34 TB Hedman (17), (Vasilevskiy)(EN)

Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde, and Anthony Cirelli were the game's three stars.

With Boston failing to keep pace in their tilt last night the Lightning came into this game just needing a regulation or OT win in each of their last two games in order to clinch the Atlantic Division and force Boston into a first round matchup against a Toronto team the Bruins have struggled mightily against in the regular season. Strategically, this was a must-win game and the Lightning seemed to bring the intensity necessary for the task... right up until they got a 4-2 lead. Then they let their foot off the gas and soon found themselves chasing the game down 5-4 heading into the Third Period. That the Lightning found a way to pull this one out is fantastic, but the unevenness of their intensity level is troubling (along with their awful penalty kill) and may be potentially costly if the energy they had to expend tonight costs them in their contest with Carolina in the regular season finale tomorrow.

Cirelli had 2 goals and was +4 with 3 shots in 13:33. He was also 63% on 16 draws including winning the draw against arguably the league's finest, Ryan O'Reilly, en route to manufacturing the critical goal that tied the game at 5-5. With Stamkos out hurt Cirelli's had to step up and you could make an argument he was Tampa Bay's best forward tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-6-18

Friday night's results...

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#14 Moncton Wildcats 1 @ #1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 6 (Game 1)
Quarterfinals
Armada leads series 1-0

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 2-0-2, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 7/15 FO, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 4-2-6, +7, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Barre-Boulet retuned to the Armada and claimed First Star honors, scoring twice including a power play marker and the game-winner. The outmatched Wildcats scored first, but the Armada reeled off six straight. Game #2 of the series is scheduled for Sunday

#9 Charlottetown Islanders 4 @ #4 Halifax Mooseheads 3 (OT) (Game 1)
Quarterfinals
Islanders leads series 1-0

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: Injury Scratch
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 59 GP, 28-55-83, +39, 28 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Somppi remained out of the Halifax lineup as the Islanders rallied to take Game 1 on the road in overtime. After the Mooseheads took a 1-0 lead, Charlottetown scored twice to open a 2-1 that evaporated to two Halifax goals to re-take the lead at 3-2. Keith Getson (2018 draft eligible) scored the equalizer for the Islanders, his second of the game, to force overtime, and then Pascal Aquin (undrafted) netted the OT game-winner. Both teams fired 40+ shots. These two team are back at it Saturday for Game #2.

Ontario Hockey League

#4 Owen Sound Attack 4 @ #1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 (OT) (Game 2)
Western Conference Semifinals
Series tie at 1-1

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, +2, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, 1/2 FO
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 7-3-10, +5, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 1-1-2, +1, 2 PIM, 6 SOG, 2/4 FO
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 5-3-8, E, 6 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

Raddysh scored a power play marker and added an assist as the Soo knotted the series with a Game 2 overtime win against the Attack. Recent Canadiens free agent signee Hayden Verbeek opened the scoring with a pair of 1st period goals. Owen Sound rallied with a pair of goals early in the 2nd period to knot the score before Raddysh’s power play goal reinstated the Greyhounds lead. The Attack equalized the score twice more in the 3rd period, ending with Golden Knight prospect Nick Suzuki tying the game once more with a power play goal with just 85 seconds left in regulation, but the Soo would prevail in overtime. Game #3 shifts back to Owen Sound on Monday night.

Western Hockey League

#2 Swift Current Broncos 3 @ #1 Moose Jaw Warriors 5 (Game 1)
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Warriors lead series 1-0

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals: 8 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 71 GP, 7-19-26, +35, 62 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

Moose Jaw lept out to a 3-0 lead that the Broncos could just never overcome, as the Warrior took Game #1 behind a pair of goals from recent Predator free agent signee Tanner Jeannot. The line of former Blues prospect and now Flames free agent signee Glenn Gawdin, Aleksi Heponiemi (FLA, 2017 2nd round pick), and Tyler Steenbergen (ARI, 2017 5th round pick) scored in the 3rd to draw the Broncos within a goal, but Jeannot potted an empty with nine seconds left to preserve the Warrior victory. The series resumes Saturday night with Game #2 in Moose Jaw.

Juniors Game Night: 4-3-18

Somehow I missed this Sioux City game from Tuesday night...

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.

Sioux City Musketeers 3 @ Waterloo Black Hawks 4 (Tuesday)

F Sammy Walker, SC: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals (USHL): 12 GP, 1-6-7, -4, 4 PIM
’16-’17 Totals (USHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 6 PIM
Season Totals (HS): 31 GP, 35-44-79, 16 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

Walker was held pointless in Tuesday night’s road game in Waterloo, as the Black Hawks rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the last half of the match with three unanswered goals. Micah Miller, future teammate of Nick Perbix at St. Cloud State, scored twice for the Musketeers to help build that 3-1 lead, but Czech 17 year old Matej Blumel (Connecticut commit) paced Waterloo with a goal and two assists, including the primary on Waterloo local boy Hunter Lellig’s (uncommitted) game-winner midway through the 3rd period.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-3-18

Western Hockey League

#8 Prince Albert Raiders 4 @ #1 Moose Jaw Warriors 5 (Game 7)
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Warriors win series 4-3

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff Totals: 7 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 71 GP, 7-19-26, +35, 62 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

Game 7 of this tightly fought series lived up to all expectations as both clubs held leads and both clubs rallied in this see-saw affair. The Raiders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, scoring twice in the first six minutes of the contest before Shark’s free agent signee Jayden Halbgewachs and Ryan Peckford (2018 draft eligible) scored within a span of 25 seconds to knot the score at 2-2. Senators free agent signee Parker Kelly responded with his second goal of the period to restore Prince Albert’s lead before the teams broke for the first intermission. Coyote’s free agent signee Brayden Burke and Kale Clague (LAK, 2016 2nd round pick) set up Justin Almeida (2018 draft eligible) for a pair of power play goals in the 2nd and 3rd periods to give Moose Jaw its first lead at 4-3. The Raiders received some heroics from tough guy blueliner Brayden Pachal (undrafted), who scored short-handed to knot the score at 4-4, but those heroics were short-lived as Clague and former Lightning prospect Brett Howden setup Burke for the game-winning power play marker just 30 seconds after Pachal’s shortie. Clague paced Moose Jaw with four assists, Burke tallied three points, and Almeida scored twice as the Warriors’ best players showed up to help clinch the series win.

Moose Jaw advances to Round 2, the WHL’s Eastern Conference semifinals, against a very tough Swift Current Broncos team that features former Blues prospect and now Flames free agent signee Glenn Gawdin, Aleksi Heponiemi (FLA, 2017 2nd round pick), and Tyler Steenbergen (ARI, 2017 5th round pick). Along with Moose Jaw’s Halbgewachs, Burke, and Almeida, these are six of the WHL’s Top 10 regular season point leaders. Game 1 starts Friday night at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.

Elsewhere in the CHL, the 2nd round brackets for all leagues are finally set. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the hopeful return to the lineup of Alex Barré-Boulet takes on the Moncton Wildcats in Game 1 on Friday. Likewise, the hopeful return of Otto Somppi to the Halifax lineup as the Mooseheads begin their series with the Charlottetown Islanders also on Friday night as the QMJHL quarterfinals get underway. In the OHL, the Western Conference semifinals get underway Thursday night with Lightning prospects Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh and Flyer 2017 1st rounder Morgan Frost lead the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in Game 1 against the Owen Sound Attack that features Vegas 2017 #13 overall pick Nick Suzuki.

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