East-4 Yale Bulldogs 2 vs East-1 Boston University Terriers 3 (OT)
East Regional Semifinals
D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 32 GP, 2-7-9, +18, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM
The No. 2 Terriers rallied from a 1-0 deficit entering the third period, nudging ahead 2-1 before Yale tied the game and sent it to overtime. Danny O’Regan scored on a rebound in front in the extra session to advance BU to the regional finals against Minnesota-Duluth. MacLeod was on the ice for both of BU’s regulation goals.
West-4 Quinnipiac Bobcats 1 vs West-1 North Dakota 4
West Regional Semifinals
F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 39 GP, 7-29-36, E, 27 PIM
2014-2015 totals: 40 GP, 12-26-38, +4, 16 PIM
F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 38 GP, 13-7-20, +11, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM
The storied career of Matthew Peca is over at Quinnipiac. The Bobcats’ co-captain was on the ice every other shift it seemed, creating multiple opportunities, but No. 3 North Dakota was clearly the best team on the ice and ran away with the win. No. 11 QU plays a defensive style and once they were down early and couldn’t capitalize on power plays the game was essentially over. Brendan O’Donnell and the NoDaks advance to the West Finals against conference rival St. Cloud State on Saturday night. O’Donnell had a nice set-up early to a teammate on Friday, but didn’t see the ice much outside of a late power play and the odd shift.
While O’Donnell moves on in the tournament, Peca will likely move on to professional hockey. The Lightning will attempt to sign him in the coming days and bring him to AHL Syracuse for the stretch run and playoffs. Peca’s speed and compete-level was on display Friday night, as was his skill in the offensive zone and faceoff abilities. It’s possible he chooses the free agent route, but that doesn’t seem like the most likely scenario. He could also ask to join the Lightning immediately and burn the first year of his entry-level contract to put some money in his pockets. Peca is a must-sign for the Lightning and one of the bright spots in the organization beneath the NHL level.
East-3 Minnesota Golden Gophers 1 vs East-2 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 4
East Regional Semifinals
G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Loss, 25 saves on 29 shots
Season totals: 38 GP, 22-12-3, 2.42 GAA, .912 sv%, 5 SO
2013-2014 totals: 38 GP, 26-6-6, 1.97 GAA, .932 sv%, 4 SO
Though he wears Iron Man on his mask and has been known for his heroic efforts, Wilcox was made to look rather ordinary Friday night in No. 8 Minnesota’s loss to No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth. The junior netminder allowed four goals on the night, but there wasn’t much he could have done on any of them. The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead on a cross-crease one-timer from the weakside that an unmarked UMD player potted into the empty side of the net. The second goal was a screened wrist shot from the point that was deflected down in the slot and bounced over Wilcox’s pad. Goal No. 3 was a cross-crease pass that his defenseman put in off his skate and the fourth goal was a double-tip on a point shot – and both tips were made by Gopher players.
For his wonderful career at Minnesota, Wilcox deserved better in what was likely his final game. He’ll leave the Gophers with school records and a trophy case full of awards and start his professional career. While he could return for his senior season, he’ll have suitors for his services, starting with the Lightning, who own his rights. Wilcox does have the option to not sign with the Lightning and become a free agent this summer if he thinks he can get a clearer path to the NHL elsewhere. The Syracuse Crunch have a spot open with his name on it for the rest of this year and next should Wilcox sign with the Bolts. Like Peca, he could also choose to sign an NHL deal now and burn Year 1 of his entry-level contract. For now, the focus for Wilcox will be to remember his three years at Minnesota and the legacy he’ll leave there.
*USCHO poll used
After missing one game, Mike Angelidis was excited to rejoin the lineup.
The Crunch captain notched a power play goal less than three minutes into the game, added an assist on the eventual game-winner, and provided some key defensive shifts in the closing minutes, as Syracuse topped the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3, in a physical contest at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
The Crunch has won three straight and seven out of their last eight to take over second place in the Eastern Conference.
"He got us going with a power play goal to start off with and he just keeps doing what he's doing," said Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler. "He's competitive and we need that competitiveness. When a game like this happens, I need him to settle things down for us and that's what he's able to do."
Peaking at the right time?
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 41 shots for the victory. Bridgeport made a big push in the Third Period, outshooting Syracuse 19-7 and getting a couple of goals, but Gudlevskis was ultimately able to get Syracuse over the finish line to secure the win.
SYR Angelidis, (19) (Ashton, Gourde), 2:41 (PP)
BRI Quine, (19) (Mayfield, Pelech), 15:36
SYR Martindale, (12) (Kunyk, Marchessault), 3:06
SYR Dotchin, (6) (Mormina, Marchessault), 14:31 (PP)
BRI Jeffrey, (22) (Ness), 5:21
SYR Vermin, (10) (Courtnall, Angelidis), 9:48
BRI McMillan, (3) (Sundstrom, Vaughan), 17:26
The game got a little nasty in the Second Period, with matching ejections that led to Carter Ashton's early departure from the game for being involved in a secondary altercation.
Note that none of the Crunch's recent ATO signees, including highly touted Brayden Point, made their debuts tonight. More additions could be on the way with goaltender Adam Wilcox and Minnesota already knocked out of the NCAA Tournament tonight and Matthew Peca's Quinnipiac Bobcats down 3-0 early in the Second Period at the time of this posting. Both highly touted prospects could possibly make an immediate contribution at the AHL level.
Syracuse leapfrogs over Hershey into the second seed with the win. They're 4 points behind Manchester for the top spot in the conference (and the league) with the Monarchs holding a game in hand. The Crunch have 10 games left in the regular season, which is a nice time to go on a tear like the current, ongoing 4 game winning streak.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Goaltending betrays the Lightning in its moment of need.
Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 11 shots for the loss before getting lifted in the Second Period. 1-2 of those goals were the semi-soft variety. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 8 shots he faced in relief, but he didn't look super-sharp himself, particularly with his rebound control. It was just a rare off night for the tandem on a night where they were dueling with one of the league's best in Rinne.
3:28 NSH Ribeiro (14), (Josi)
4:08 NSH Gaustad (4), (Beck)
19:31 TB Namestnikov (7), (Sustr, Barberio)
6:47 NSH Santorelli (12), (Jarnkrok, Stalberg)
13:19 TB Boyle (15), (Brown, Drouin)
Just a shame to see a reasonably good effort squandered by lackluster goaltending. The Lightning outshot Nashville 30-19 and completely dominated large swaths of play, but they were 0-for-5 on the power play and could not get the equalizer. The silver lining is that Montreal is losing 4-1 to Winnipeg in the Third Period as I type. If that score holds up, there's no harm and the Lightning will still be 1 point out in the division with time to catch up. They could've easily gotten 1-2 points out of tonight, though, and that's the part that stings a bit.
Vladislav Namestnikov had a goal and 1 shot in 10:18. This went about the way most of his games have gone lately where he gets IT and looks dangerous offensively for the first 25 minutes or so of play, and then sees the pine the rest of the way as the coaching staff taps some guys who are perhaps a little more consistent defensively. He's been very good offensively though with his speed and handles, to the extent that the team is maneuvering to try and keep him on the roster right now. He's 5 games shy of graduation from prospect status on the site now.
Phantoms never had a ghost of a chance.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. He's won 5 straight starts and put together 4 straight quality starts in the process. His save percentage has steadily risen to .904 and he's building up confidence necessary for a solid playoff run.
SYR Mormina, (4) (Kunyk), 11:46 (SH)
SYR Marchessault, (20) , 8:45
SYR Koekkoek, (5) (Martindale, Gourde), 10:56
SYR Marchessault, (21) , 2:19 (SH)
SYR Courtnall, (7) (Vermin), 4:47
SYR Martindale, (11) (Courtnall, Dotchin), 8:12
LV Jones, (7) (Comrie, Gordon), 9:22 (PP)
Jonathan Marchessault, Justin Courtnall, and Gudlevskis were the game's three stars. Marchessault is currently tied for 6th in the league in scoring. Courtnall's got 5 points and a +5 rating in 7 games since joining the Crunch. At this rate, maybe the Lightning should've signed him the first run through the organization?
It's been a long road, but Syracuse has closed back within 1 point of Hershey for the 2nd seed in the conference. For the longest time, they looked to be locked into the 3 seed, but they're playing themselves into a spot to challenge for better position.
Box score from TheAHL.com.