What a great road win in the biggest game, thus far, of the season.
Dustin Tokarski allowed just 1 goal on 37 shots for the win. He kept the Admirals afloat during a bad first period where the team was under siege and allowed them to get their legs under them to scratch out the road victory.
ADK Laliberte, (10) (Bourdon, Maroon), 15:25 (PP)
NOR Fornataro, (4) (Parrish, Fadden), 19:31
NOR Keller, (7) , 16:48 (SH)
Tokarski and Justin Keller were the game's first and second stars. Keller absolutely torched a shot high and past John Grahame from the circles (sound familiar Lightning fans?) on the winning shorthanded goal. Coach Johnson has to be very thrilled with the great road third period he got protecting a one goal lead. The duo of Justin Keller and Ryan Cruthers was very good one the forecheck in the final frame and not only bled time off the clock, but also set up some decent chances to get an insurance goal. With the exception of the late penalty by Cruthers, that was almost a perfect road third period.
The win moves the Admirals into a tie for the final playoff spot in the East Division with the Phantoms at 47 points with Adirondack holding 2 games in hand. The Admirals will pick up 2 points on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, who got Moosed by Manitoba tonight, and look poised to pick up 2 points on Binghamton, which is down 4-1 to Syracuse in the third period. If that score holds up, the Crunch will actually jump ahead of the Sens into sixth place as they try to mount a charge for the playoffs as well. So the Ads will likely be 3 points up on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Syracuse, and 5 points up on Binghamton when they wake up in the morning with the Pens having 2 games in hand, the Crunch having 0 games in hand, and the Sens having 4 games in hand.
The Admirals' 7 game road trip ends tomorrow afternoon against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are trailing Hartford by 1 point as of this posting for the final crossover playoff spot in the Atlantic division at 52 points. If the Admirals were to fall out of 3rd in the East into 4th, but managed to climb over the 5th place team in the Atlantic, who they trail currently by 5 points, they could still get in. If they stay hot, that may also be an avenue for entry into the playoffs. The Admirals actually hold 1 game in hand on Hartford and 2 games in hand on Bridgeport, so that is becoming a possibility. Unfortunately, tomorrow night's game will probably have to be played short of veteran help. By the rules of his conditioning stint, David Hale can't play tomorrow night due to it being the third game in three nights, Adam Hall was apparently hurt in tonight's first period, and Lukas Krajicek has had his contract ripped up and lit ablaze after leaving the team. Tough guy Mitch Fritz is also hurt, leaving the task of capping a phenomenal road trip on the shoulders of the Admirals' young players and the few veterans who will suit up like Ryan Craig. The prize? The Ads can climb back to .500 with a win tomorrow night and possibly claim third in the North outright if Adirondack stumbles at Rochester. They're all big games now.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
HV 71 2 @ Sodertalje 4
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 34/36, 2.00 GAA, .944 sv%
Season totals: 1-0-0, 0 SO, 2.00 GAA, .944 sv%
After serving as backup in Sodertalje's match on Thursday, Helenius made his Elitserien debut today in an impressive 4-2 win over HV 71, which currently sits in first place on the Elitserien table. Ex-Kings prospect Yanick Lehoux had 1 goal and 1 assist for Sodertalje.
Acadie-Bathurst Titan 3 @ Moncton Wildcats 6
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 47 GP, 11-33-44, +29, 48 PIM
Barberio has 19 points in his last 14 games. Heâ€™s within two points of his career high (46), set two seasons ago in 70 games. Moncton, which scored four times on the power play, has won 12 straight.
Barrie Colts 4 @ Mississauga St. Michaelâ€™s Majors 0
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 48 GP, 32-23-55, +31, 38 PIM
This was a big win for conference-leading Barrie over their closest competitor in the East (10 points back).
Kitchener Rangers 5 @ Sudbury Wolves 2
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 33 GP, 6-9-15, -1, 12 PIM
With Sudbury: 12 GP, 3-2-5, -6, 6 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM
Sointu scored his first goal since December 17, but thanks to the WJCs and time missed with injury, that was only four games ago for him.
Oshawa Generals 0 @ Ottawa 67â€™s 6
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 6 saves on 9 shots
Season Totals: 34 GP, 13-16-2-1, 3.45 GAA, .897 sv%, 2 SO
Zador had won two in a row, but couldnâ€™t make it out of the first period at East Division-leading Ottawa. Kevin Balie allowed three goals on 33 shots the rest of the way. Oshawa sits in sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Regina Pats 3
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 1-0-1, +1, 5 PIM (fighting vs. Spencer Edwards), *Third Star*
Season Totals: 45 GP, 19-20-39, -7, 82 PIM
With Regina: 17 GP, 6-7-13, +1, 30 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM
Ashton (pictured) scored the game winner with 94 seconds left in the third period. The Pats are on a 6-0-0-1 streak and are within five points of the conferenceâ€™s eighth spot with a game in hand on the two teams holding that position.
Vancouver Giants 2 @ Kamloops Blazers 1 (SO)
C James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM
Wright started the game on a line with Lance Bouma (Flames 3/2008) and Tomas Vincour (Stars 5/2009). He was wearing his familiar No.19, which was taken before his arrival from Tampa. The Giants got a late goal from Vincour, then won the shootout 2-1 to break a losing streak.
No.19 Maine Black Bears 6 @ No.17 Vermont Catamounts 3
C/W Matt Marshall , UVM: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 23 GP, 1-3-4, -4, 14 PIM
Not a good night for the Catamounts as they lose to a lower-ranked conference rival at home.
Western Michigan Broncos 1 @ No.1 Miami Redhawks 4
D Luke Witkowski , WMU: 1-0-1, -1, 2 PIM (high sticking), 2 SOG
Season Totals: 23 GP, 2-3-5, -10, 28 PIM
Witkowski scored the second goal of his collegiate career to cut No.1 Miamiâ€™s lead to 2-1 early in the second period, but the Broncos couldnâ€™t get any closer.
With the point, the Lightning have entered into a five team pile-up for the final two playoff spots in the conference. But, if they were even mediocre in shootouts, they'd be snugly in.
Antero Niittymaki allowed 1 goal on 32 shots before allowing 2 of 3 shooters to defeat him in the penalty shot session.
TB 9:47, St. Louis 15 (Stamkos)
ANH 6:36, Wisniewski 3 (Getzlaf, Whitney)(PP)
ANH- Getzlaf, Wisniewski
Do I really need to say much more about the Lightning's shootout futility this season? I don't know what it is about the Lightning that makes them so ineffectual at it, despite having some ridiculously skilled players. The gimmick at the end of the game aside (which I, A. Hate, and B. Isn't really that exciting), both teams played a strong game and both teams got strong goaltending. It was a chippy game, and the Lightning answered the bell fairly well against an Anaheim team that has a lot of size and toughness.
Paul Szczechura had 1 shot and 1 hit in 9:26. He's now 4 games from graduation here on Bolt Prospects.