Jaroslav Janus stopped all 24 shots he faced tonight for his first shutout as a professional. He didn't have to face a ton of quality chances, but he got himself in front of the ones Lowell did have. His athleticism is outstanding, and if his positioning ever catches up, he'll be an NHLer.
NOR Parrish, (13) (Fornataro, Fadden), 11:58
NOR Simek, (14) (Keller, Mihalik), 17:40 (PP)
NOR Tyrell, (3) (Tarkir), 17:37 (SH)
Janus, Dana Tyrell, and Mark Parrish were the game's three stars. It was a big night for the Presov Mafia all around between Janus' shutout, Juraj Simek having a power play goal, and big Vladimir Mihalik getting his 10th point of the season. All three players were born in Presov, Slovakia, and all three played well tonight.
For my money, Tyrell was the best player on the ice tonight, though. He's starting to exhibit a level of hockey sense in how to use his speed that I've never seen in his career, and it's got to have the Lightning salivating. He's so quick and his acceleration is so outstanding, defensemen are terrified of him. He's starting to use that to his advantage and curling when he gets into the zone to buy an extra 2-3 feet of ice, or slowing up a step to also buy him some space, and it gives him the chance to make the pass or shoot. It's a lot like how Martin St. Louis uses his speed, and Tyrell's shorthanded goal was a prime example of it. He barrelled into the zone on a 2-on-2, started to slow up as an Admirals trailer was jumping into the zone, and just allowed the traffic to flow by the net before blistering a top corner shot for the goal. Buy stock in Tyrell now while it's still undervalued. You'll make your money back five fold. On a related note, Mitch Fadden is an absolute magician with the puck when he has time and space. He's fun to watch when he's running the power play from the right wing half board.
Norfolk outshot Lowell 41-24 in the game, and it seemed like they played 3/4 of the night in the Devils' zone. In fairness, Lowell only dressed 4 natural defensemen tonight due to injuries and call ups. Norfolk gets Lowell again tomorrow night, and considering the way the blueliners on Lowell's tongues were wagging from fatigue, it's a prime chance for Norfolk to get back-to-back wins in two nights against the same opponent, which is difficult to do.
From a standings standpoint, it was a nearly perfect night for the Admirals. In the East Division, 2nd place Albany fell to Hershey, so the Admirals now close to within 4 points of second place with the River Rats having 1 game in hand. 3rd place Norfolk extended its lead over 4th place Adirondack, which was idle, to 4 points with the Phantoms holding 3 games in hand. They also extended their lead over 5th place Syracuse to 6 points after Syracuse was defeated by Portland. Syracuse holds 2 games in hand over Norfolk, and fell into a tie at 50 points with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which defeated Binghamton tonight in a shootout. The Pens hold two games in hand on the Admirals. The Admirals extended their lead over 7th place Binghamton to 9 points in the process, but the Sens hold 5 games in hand.
In the crossover, Providence blew out the Atlantic Division's 5th place team, Hartford, pulling the Admirals to within 1 point of the Wolf Pack with Hartford holding 1 game in hand. As readers of this blog are probably sick of hearing at this point, if the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division finishes ahead of the 4th place team in the East Division, they will still go to the playoffs, so it's important for the Admirals to not only take care of business in their division. They also need to try to make sure they outpace 5th place in the Atlantic to maximize their playoff chances. Bridgeport and Providence are tied for 6th in the Atlantic with 55 points, 1 point behind Norfolk with the Bruins having 1 game in hand on the Ads.
Norfolk has 15 home games remaining on the schedule and 11 on the road. They've pulled to 2 games under .500 at The Scope and they're 4 games over .500 away from home. Point being: if the Admirals can keep improving on their Division-worst home mark, they'll be in fantastic shape.
Jim Johnson is 9-1-1-1 in his first dozen games as Head Coach. Instant gratification.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Barrie Colts 7 @ Peterborough Petes 2
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 1-0-1, +3, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 53 GP, 35-23-58, +33, 47 PIM
Hutchings scored in his second straight game and has a new career high in goals because of it. He is 10 off his career high for points, set in 63 games last season.
Oshawa Generals 1 @ Niagara IceDogs 3
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 36 saves on 39 shots
Season Totals: 39 GP, 13-21-2-1, 3.63 GAA, .895 sv%, 2 SO
Zador is getting the starts, which is a positive, but heâ€™s also mired in a six-game losing streak. His save percentage has been over .900 twice in those six games, including Thursday.
Just think what the Lightning could've done if they actually played their game in the first period.
BOS 4:24, Satan 3 (Savard, Morris)
BOS 11:21, Lucic 4 (Ryder, Ference)
BOS 15:44, Ryder 14 (Wheeler, Morris)
BOS 17:19, Ryder 15 (Savard, Bergeron)(PP)
BOS 4:53, Lucic 5 (Chara, Paille)
TB 16:10, St. Louis 21 (Hedman, Stamkos)
TB 19:02, St. Louis 22 (Foster, Stamkos)(PP)
TB 11:09, Downie 12 (Hedman, Stamkos)
TB 16:47, Downie 13 (Hedman, St. Louis)
The good news is that, after scoring 4 unanswered goals, what looked like a demoralizing spanking shouldn't destroy the team's confidence heading into the final two games before the Olympic break. They won both of the final two periods decisively after failing to show up for the first period. The bad news is the damage was already done, and it was significant if you look at the standings. Boston climbed into a virtual tie with the Lightning at 63 points in 8th in the conference. They have two more 4-point games against the Isles and Rangers before the break, and they need to capitalize in both contests.
PS, memo to Brian Lawton: you've got to get someone better than Veilleux for the line with Lecavalier and Tanguay. It could be the difference between mediocrity and being a terrifying team come playoff time.
Moncton Wildcats 4 @ Lewiston MAINEiacs 5
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 51 GP, 12-35-47, +31, 52 PIM
Moncton remained No.6 in the CHL Top-10 rankings this week.
Ottawa 67â€™s 6 @ Belleville Bulls 3
C Richard Panik, BEL: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 46 GP, 14-12-26, +4, 31 PIM
With Bulls: 13 GP, 5-3-8, -11, 12 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM
RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 48 GP, 16-12-28, -13, 41 PIM
With Bulls: 35 GP, 14-11-25, -11, 23 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM
DeCoste, who has four points in his last two games, tied his career high for points in a season, set in 63 games last year with Sault Ste. Marie and Brampton.
Calgary Hitmen 6 @ Regina Pats 2
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 52 GP, 23-21-44, -2, 86 PIM
With Regina: 24 GP, 10-8-18, +6, 34 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM
Calgary scored four times in the second period on their way to a relatively easy win over Regina in Saskatchewan. Brendan Kozun (Kings 6/09) had a hat trick for Calgary.
Hats off to Justin Keller.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 22 shots for the win.
NOR Fornataro, (6) (Parrish, Lashoff), 1:57
WBS Guenin, (2) (Tangradi, Vitale), 4:19
WBS Lee, (7) (Wallace, Caputi), 9:54
NOR Keller, (10) (Szczechura), 11:13
NOR Keller, (11) (Simek, Wishart), 19:54
WBS Guenin, (3) (Vitale), 1:50
NOR Simek, (13) (Lashoff, Szczechura), 13:34 (PP)
NOR Keller, (12) (Parrish), 19:07 (EN)
Keller and Juraj Simek were named the game's first and second stars. Keller was awarded his third goal when he was tripped on a breakaway with the Penguins' goaltender pulled. For the Admirals, the victory was a critical win in a 4-point game and, after playing so poorly last Saturday, it allowed the team to pick its confidence level back up. Norfolk is 8-1-1-1 since Jim Johnson took over as Head Coach.
Norfolk maintains its hold on 3rd place in the East Division by 2 points over 4th place Adirondack, which defeated Rochester tonight. The Phantoms aren't going anywhere, and it's taking on the feeling that the playoffs may come down to the remaining head-to-head games Norfolk has left with Adirondack. The Phantoms also hold 2 games in hand. Norfolk extends its lead over idle 5th place Syracuse to 4 points with the Crunch holding 2 games in hand. The Admirals extend their lead over 6th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to 6 points with the Pens holding 2 games in hand. Pulling up the rear in 7th place, Binghamton defeated Albany in a shootout tonight, so the Admirals maintain an 8 point edge on the Sens with Bingy having 5 games in hand. Norfolk is 6 points back of 2nd place Albany with the Rats having 1 game in hand. If Norfolk's heart is set on catching 2nd place, they'll have that opportunity with 4 head-to-head games left on the schedule.
In the crossover chase, Norfolk closes to within 3 points of Hartford, which holds 5th place in the Atlantic Division, with the Wolf Pack having 1 game in hand. If the 5th place team in the Atlantic finishes ahead of the 4th place team in the East, they will make the playoffs by AHL rule this season. So, for Norfolk, catching 5th place in the Atlantic is another goal to pursue.
Norfolk improved to 1 game over .500 with the victory. They have 16 games remaining at home and 11 games left on the road.
Box score from TheAHL.com.