No one can call the Syracuse Crunch quitters.
ECHL loaner Allen York allowed 6 goals on 23 shots for the OT Loss. I'll let you all speculate on whether Desjardins or Gudlevskis would have performed better under the circumstances.
SPR Prout, (1) (St. Denis, Miller), 3:19
SYR Paradis, (1) (Rankin, Cote), 5:45
SPR Skille, (6) (Jacques, Chaput), 9:18 (PP)
SPR Jacques, (7) (Prout, Bass), 8:50
SPR Aleardi, (6) (Thompson, Chaput), 12:55
SYR Tyrell, (6) (Richard, Korobov), 15:36 (PP)
SYR Rankin, (11) (Richard, Sustr), 8:19 (PP)
SPR Miller, (1) (Marchessault), 14:35
SYR Angelidis, (8) (Tyrell, Connolly), 15:46
SYR Mormina, (3) (Richard), 17:28
SPR Prout, (2) (Marchessault, Bass), 3:52
Springfield is the top team in the Northeast Division. Syracuse is last in the East Division. Syracuse came into this game with an ECHL loaner goaltender. They came into this game without Namestnikov on top of all the other players they lost due to recalls. They fell behind 4-1 more than halfway through the Second Period. Would've been easy to make an excuse and quit. They battled back and got it to 4-2 headed into the Third Period. Then Springfield cuts the comeback off making it 5-3 with less than 6 minutes to go. "Nice try, better luck next time, boys?" No. They found a way to tie it up with 2 goals late and Panik hit a post in OT before they finally surrendered the OT winner.
Springfield is the top team in the Northeast Division. Syracuse is last in the East Division. The Crunch outshot them 41-23. No one can accuse the Syracuse Crunch of being quitters.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Lightning manufactures a huge win when the absolutely had to have one.
Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 33 shots for the victory. As with the victory against Montreal, if this doesn't get you fired up about Ben Bishop nothing will. The guy's hurt, and Cedrick Desjardins was telling everyone who would listen he was going to start tonight. Bishop showed physical bravery and mental toughness outlasting Howard and the Wings in a game the Lightning had to have. They couldn't lose this game. Their backs were against the wall and, depleted or not, they had to win this game. Bishop willed them over the finish line to the Olympics break. Simply inspiring.
17:18 DET Alfredsson (14), (Datsyuk)
1:44 TB Palat (13), (St Louis, Hedman)(PP)
11:19 DET Jurco (3), (Sheahan, DeKeyser)
17:14 TB Pyatt (1), (Salo, Brown)
16:49 TB Killorn (14), (Purcell, Pyatt)
18:57 TB Palat (14), (Johnson, Salo)(EN)
Bishop and Ondrej Palat were the game's first and second stars.
Was that the Lightning's best game of the season tonight. No. Absolutely not. There were several stretches in this contest where they were owned, territorially, by the Wings. But, the effort was there. They scratched, they clawed, they held on by their fingernails, and they got the break they needed on the Pyatt goal to have a tie game going into the Third Period before they manufactured Killorn's greasy goal.
It's huge. I can't tell you how different this feels being at 71 points in 3rd in the East, 8 points up on 9th place going into the break as opposed to 69 points and being in a Wild Card spot by just 6 points. The win tonight gives the Lightning 8 points 8 games going into this segment of the season. They still would have to win both remaining games in this segment to hit that magical 12 points you'd like them to have, but they had 3 insurance points going into this segment, so they just need 1 more point in the next 2 games to be where they want to be heading into the stretch run of the season. That's a stretch run where, once the 3 weeks of the Olympics break is up, they should get back a healthy Anders Lindback, a healthy Valtteri Filppula (who had a fractured ankle and not a hurt hip, as I speculated after the Leafs game), and knock-on-wood a healthy Steven Stamkos, to say nothing of Bishop getting an opportunity to heal (his back must be incredibly sore from carrying this team). So, they'll be rested and healed and have a ton of home games to play, especially in March. Catching Boston for the Atlantic Division title may be extremely difficult now after this last little slump, but pinning down the 3 seed and sailing into the playoffs in solid shape is now entirely do-able.
Young team. Flagging health. Flagging confidence. They had to have the win. Great win. Big win. Huge win.
Mark Barberio was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 18:13. I wasn't thrilled with his game tonight. When the possession tilts against the Lightning, Barberio becomes a liability and not a plus. But, you know, he's one of those guys who fought and clawed his way through the game. So, there's that.
J.T. Brown had a helper and was +1 with 5 shots in 14:57. Sooner or later shots are going to start going in for J.T., and then watch out. Teams have no answer for his speed and work ethic. None. And, he showed his skill a bit tonight undressing Brian Lashoff to create a First Period breakaway. He just can't seem to find the finish.
Vladislav Namestnikov had 1 hit and was 50% on 6 draws in 11:55. It seemed to me like he needed to make a quick adjustment to the size/strength at this level in the NHL in the First Period, but once that sunk in he looked fairly comfortable, even landing a huge hit on Brendan Smith in the Third Period. Namesy's not quite there in terms of his play without the puck, especially on the defensive end, but you could clearly see he's going to be an NHLer in the cup of coffee he got tonight helping the team get a huge win.
Nikita Kucherov had 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 12:06. He did just about everything, along with Brown, but score tonight including drawing a penalty shot where he was stopped on a deke to his backhand. Like Brown, when they start going in for Kucherov he's going to go nuts.
Dartmouth Big Green 0 @ Harvard Crimson 3
F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 21 GP, 2-7-9, -6, 16 PIM
2012-2013 totals: 29 GP, 4-13-17, +1, 10 PIM
Hart started the game on the top line for the Crimson, who shut out visiting Dartmouth, 3-0.
Western Michigan Broncos 5 @ Miami RedHawks 2
F Jimmy Mullin, MIA: Did not play
Season totals: 19 GP, 1-6-7, +3, 23 PIM
2012-2013 totals: 38 GP, 6-8-14, E, 14 PIM
Jimmy Mullin was a scratch for Miami. Former Lightning camper Austin Czarnik – a junior free agent – had two assists for the RedHawks.
Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 2 @ No. 16 North Dakota 4
F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 1-0-1, +1, 3 SOG
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-4-8, E, 6 PIM
2012-2013 totals: 29 GP, 2-8-10, E, 20 PIM
O’Donnell played wing next to Panthers pick Rocco Grimaldi and scored his fourth goal of the year.
No. 14 Clarkson Golden Knights 3 @ No. 3 Quinnipiac Bobcats 6
F Matthew Peca, QU: 2-1-3, +3, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 29 GP, 9-15-24, +7, 16 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 39 GP, 15-15-30, +14, 36 PIM
Peca had three points for the second consecutive games as the Bobcats handled the Knights, 6-3, on ESPN3. I caught the second half of the third period, just in time for Peca’s shorthanded assist. He intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and carried the puck straight at a defenseman in the slot. He tried a one-on-one move, but the puck was knocked behind him. Kellen Jones picked up the loose puck and wristed home a shot under the crossbar. The announcers talked about Peca’s abilities and how “yeah, he’s good” and “he’ll go pro” in a “isn’t it obvious” kind of way. They also joked that they’d tell friend Steve Thomas of the Lightning that Peca needs to stay in Connecticut for another year.
No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers 1 @ No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers 2
G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Loss, 25 saves on 27 shots
Season totals: 27 GP, 18-4-5, 1.97 GAA, .930 sv%, 3 SO
2012-2013 totals: 39 GP, 25-8-5, 1.88 GAA, .921 sv%, 3 SO
For the second straight night, Wisconsin got a third period goal to beat the top-ranked Gophers, 2-1.
*USCHO poll used
Overmatched Crunch make a game of it.
Allen York, back in the crease with Kristers Gudlevskis being recalled to Tampa earlier in the day, allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the loss.
SPR Sedlak, (8) (Smith), 13:00
SPR Skille, (5) , 15:51
SYR DiSalvatore, (5) (Mormina), 15:24
SPR Jacques, (6) (Weber, Marchessault), 1:56
SYR DiSalvatore, (6) (Paquette, Nesterov), 7:40
SPR Chaput, (11) (Marchessault, Jacques), 14:13
Jon DiSalvatore was the game's second star.
The team was without an AHL level goaltender and its top center, arguably, with Vladislav Namestnikov also being recalled earlier in the day. It just continues to be too much of a mountain for the team to climb, unfortunately.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Drummondville Voltigeurs 0 @ Quebec Remparts 3
C/W Adam Erne, QUE: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 2/5 FO, 2 Hits
Season totals: 42 GP, 19-38-57, E, 59 PIM
2012-2013 Season: 68 GP, 28-44-72, +11, 67 PIM
Quebec had 20 shots in the first period, but didn’t score. They had 14 the rest of the game and score three times. Go figure.
Ontario Hockey League
Peterborough Petes 6 @ Kingston Frontenacs 7 (SO)
W Henri Ikonen, KGN: 2-0-2, E, 2 PIM
Season totals: 40 GP, 17-38-55, +15, 37 PIM
2012-13 totals: 61 GP, 22-29-51, +2, 30 PIM
Ikonen had two goals and missed his shootout attempt, but it didn’t cost the Fronts, who won the shootout, 1-0, and the game, 7-6. Ikonen has five points in his last two games.
Windsor Spitfires 2 @ Mississauga Steelheads 3
D Slater Koekkoek, WSR: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 49 GP, 13-31-43, +41, 32 PIM
2012-13 totals: 42 GP, 6-23-29, -24, 28 PIM
Windsor dropped a road game against a team 20 points behind them in the overall OHL standings. Koekkoek was on the ice for a significant amount of time, reportedly, especially in the third period as the Spits attempted a comeback.