Boston University Terriers 2 @ No.18 Vermont Catamounts 3
C/W Matt Marshall , UVM: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 31 GP, 1-4-5, -3, 14 PIM
Vermont (15-11-6) completed a weekend sweep of the Terriers.
Don Simek makes sure the Crunch will sleep with the fishes.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for the win.
NOR Simek, (17) (Lashoff, Tarkir), 4:21 (PP)
NOR Tyrell, (5) (Lashoff, Parrish), 19:40
SYR Bell, (10) (MacKenzie), 2:26 (PP)
SYR LaVallee-Smotherman, (6) (Sestito, Frischmon), 19:32
NOR Simek, (18) (Szczechura, Mihalik), 15:54
Juraj Simek and Matt Lashoff were the game's first and second stars. Simek, the Don of the Presov Mafia, is now 2 goals shy of the first 20 goal season of his AHL career and has had multi-point nights in each of the past two games.
Vladimir Mihalik, the Luca Brasi of the family, assisted on Simek's winner and finishes the month of February at +13 with 6 out of 11 games at +2 or better. He had only one minus game the entire month, and had 2 goals and 5 points, too. He's now 2 points shy of his AHL career high of 16 points set in his rookie season.
Norfolk moves back into a tie for 2nd in the East Division at 70 points with Albany. The Rats are losing 4-2 late in the third period to Portland as of this posting. If that score holds up, all will be square with Albany holding 1 game in hand. Norfolk picked up 1 point on 4th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which lost in a shootout to Hershey 2-1. They are now 7 points back of the Admirals with 3 games in hand. Norfolk also picks up 2 points on idle Adirondack, which is 10 points back with 3 games in hand. The Crunch are now 12 points back with 2 games in hand, but are on a 2 game losing streak and sub-.500 in their last 10 games. They're falling out of the mix quickly. Binghamton is being fitted for a toe tag. They're now 20 points behind the Admirals and not even 6 games in hand can save them.
In the crossover, the Atlantic's 5th and 6th place teams, Bridgeport and Providence, are idle, so Norfolk is now 7 points up on Bridgeport and 9 points up on Providence with the Sound Tigers holding 1 game in hand and the Bruins holding 3 games in hand. Hartford, which is tied in points with Providence, is down 3-1 to Lowell in the 2nd period as of this posting. They'll burn one of their 2 games in hand they hold over the Admirals, win, lose, or draw tonight. If the Admirals were to fall to 4th in the East Division, they would have to finish above the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division to make the postseason.
So, it was a critical weekend, and the Admirals got their minimum requisite 4 of 6 points and came 1 goal shy of really burying the Phantoms' playoff chances too. That leaves Norfolk in a very nice position schedule-wise for the rest of the season. The Admirals have just 5 games left on the road and 12 games left at the friendly confines of The Scope left on the schedule. That's a potentially huge advantage for the Admirals down the stretch. Compare that to Albany, which has just 7 home games left this season.
And, on a very nice note, the Admirals' win tonight places them at 19-13-3 this season on the road, so they've clinched a better than .500 road record. That's pretty impressive for a team that was 10 games under .500 away from Scope last year. Their 33 wins also ties their win total of all last year and they are just 5 points shy of their point total for all last season, too. The corner is being turned. It'll be interesting to see if the Admirals can finish off this run they're on and clinch home ice for the first round of the playoffs, and if they'll be able to utilize some of the Lightning's best prospects as ATO's once their junior seasons are over to help push the team over the top in the postseason.
Expect a couple of moves with the Lightning returning to work on Tuesday. Janus heading back down seems a certainty, and my money is on Parrish moving back up as well.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Moncton Wildcats 4 @ Halifax Mooseheads 3
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 56 GP, 12-40-52, +37, 54 PIM
Any win over your rival is a good win. In the game, Moncton goalie Nicola Riopel (Flyers 5/09) allowed his first goal in his last 179min 59sec played. It was the second longest shutout streak in the QMJHL history behind Mathieu Chouinard (Chicoutimi) in 97-98.
Kingston Frontenacs 5 @ Belleville Bulls 4 (OT)
C Richard Panik, BEL: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM (holding)
Season Totals: 54 GP, 16-16-32, +4, 39 PIM
With Bulls: 21 GP, 7-7-14, -11, 20 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM
RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 56 GP, 18-14-32, -19, 47 PIM
With Bulls: 43 GP, 16-13-29, -17, 29 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM
Both Lightning prospects broke personal three-game scoreless streaks.
Niagara IceDogs 1 @ Barrie Colts 6
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 61 GP, 43-29-72, +41, 52 PIM
Already with a career high for goals and points, Hutchings is starting to flirt with the 50-goal plateau.
Regina Pats 3 @ Saskatoon Blades 0
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 23-26-49, -5, 100 PIM
With Regina: 32 GP, 10-13-23, +3, 48 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM
Ashton hasnâ€™t scored a goal in eight games. A day after losing an important road game to eighth-place Swift Current, the Pats shutout the conferenceâ€™s top team (tied) in their own barn, holding them to 19 shots. Swift Current also won, however, so Regina remains a seemingly insurmountable nine points back of a playoff spot.
Vancouver Giants 3 @ Swift Current Broncos 5
C/W James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 15 GP, 4-10-14, -1, 4 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM
The Giants have now lost two in a row. Wright hasnâ€™t registered a point in his last three games and is minus-six during that time.
Harvard Crimson 3 @ St. Lawrence Saints 4
C/W Alexander Killorn, HAR: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 29 GP, 9-11-20, E, 26 PIM
Killorn improved his seasonâ€™s plus/minus back to even on a team thatâ€™s now 12 games under .500.
No.14 Ferris State Bulldogs 1 @ Western Michigan Broncos 1 (OT)
D Luke Witkowski , WMU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 29 GP, 2-4-6, -11, 61 PIM
WMU won the official/unofficial shootout 1-0. It was a good weekend for the Broncos, who took the nationally ranked Bulldogs to a shootout twice.
Don Simek is so money in shootouts it's painful.
BNG- 2 (SO)
Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 37 shots and stopped 3 of 4 shooters to secure the shootout victory.
BNG Smith, (11) , 2:05 (SH)
NOR Bochenski, (21) (Simek, Tarkir), 7:53
BNG O'Brien, (5) , 16:05
NOR Jones, (7) (Simek, Lawrence), 2:05
NOR- Szczechura, Simek, Jones
Tokarski and Brandon Bochenski were the game's first and third stars.
Juraj Simek, the Don of the Presov Mafia, remained perfect in shootout attempts this season to go along with his pair of regulation helpers. His enforcer, Vladimir Mihalik, was +2 in the game. That pushes Mihalik's +/- for the month of February to +11 with one more game left this month. He's been +2 or better in 5 of 10 games in that span. Mihalik's career best season was a +9 set in his rookie season, and he is now at +8 so far this year.
Blair Jones scored his first goal since being reassigned from Tampa Bay and scored the clinching goal in the shootout session to send the paying faithful in Binghamton to their automobiles.
Mark Parrish missed tonight's game after getting nicked in the game against Adirondack. He is questionable for tomorrow, as is whether Interim Head Coach Leigh Mendelson will ride Tokarski for a third straight game, insert PTO Matt Lundin, or if the Lightning will FedEx Jaroslav Janus to Syracuse in time for the key 4-point matchup.
It was a critical win for Norfolk because almost all of their competition in the East Division playoff race won tonight. 2nd place Albany beat Manchester 5-2 to stay 2 points up on Norfolk with 1 game in hand. 4th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton dismantled Providence 5-1 to stay 6 points back of Norfolk with 3 games in hand. 5th place Adirondack pulled out a 3-2 shootout win against Lowell to stay 8 points back of Norfolk with 2 games in hand. 6th place Syracuse was the only team that didn't keep pace. They fell 2-1 to Springfield and are now 10 points back of the Admirals with 3 games in hand. If Norfolk can beat the Crunch tomorrow afternoon, it may be the straw that breaks their back. Binghamton is done. They're 18 points back with 5 games in hand, but they're also 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. Which team needs a fork stuck in them? Bingo is their name-o.
In the crossover, Hershey beat 5th place Atlantic Division team Bridgeport like the Sound Tigers had stolen a large sum of money from Chocolate Town. The 9-2 spanking drops Bridgeport 5 points back of Norfolk. 6th place Providence falls 7 points back of Norfolk with 2 games in hand. They are now tied in points with Hartford, which lost 2-1 to Portland in overtime. Hartford has 1 game in hand on the Admirals. So, the Admirals did gain ground in the crossover. If Norfolk were to drop to 4th in the East Division, they must finish ahead of the 5th place team in the Atlantic to make the postseason.
Box score from TheAHL.com.