A heroic comeback effort falls short.
Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the loss. Gosh that sounds familiar too.
HFD Korpikoski, (8) (Sauer, Ouellette), 2:33 (SH)
HFD Callahan, (2) (Hutchinson, Pock), 15:47 (PP)
HFD Pyatt, (4) (Parenteau, Dupont), 1:28
NOR Milley, (12) (Schneider, Jancevski), 6:53 (PP)
NOR Schneider, (3) (Keller, Jancevski), 15:46 (PP)
Justin Keller has now pulled within one point of Blair Jones in the young prospects scoring race in Norfolk. Keller's an interesting case. Athletically, there's no way this guy should be an NHL player and yet he quietly continues to be one of Steve Stirling's better young forwards in the AHL. If and when the Lightning do have to pull the plug on the season, I suspect Keller will get a cup of coffee and I will be very interested to see if he continues to defy expectations. Some players are just heady enough to overcome physical limitations.
Also, although some of the things he's said in the media pointing the finger at the team's youth didn't sit well with me, the play of captain Dan Jancevski has really picked up of late. As a whole, this team is finally starting to give a solid, honest, competitive effort on most nights and I know that's the foundation Claude Loiselle and Steve Stirling want to lay in Norfolk this year. I think they knew going in that they were thin on talent and that the playoffs would've taken an extraordinary amount of luck with injuries, callups, promotions etc but if they can establish a culture in Norfolk where work ethic is the core of the team philosophically then in the next few years as more young forward talent comes to Norfolk they can build something on that foundation.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
NCAA Game Night: 1/11
Western Michigan 1 @ No.1 Michigan 6
D Kevin Quick, UM: 1-0-1, +2, 1 shot on goal
Quickâ€™s goal, the first of his young collegiate career, came 36 seconds into the second period. The freshman took a pass at the right face-off circle and wristed the puck past WMU goaltender Riley Gill.
â€œChad (Kolarik) passed me the puck and it was a great pass,â€ Quick said in a USCHO game recap. â€œI kind of froze. I wanted to pass, but I saw an opening so I shot it.â€
There are conflicting reports as to how he scored. One Michigan site says it went over Gillâ€™s glove, a WMU site says it went 5-hole, and the USCHO recap says it was under Gillâ€™s stick. Any which way, it hit the back of the net â€“ so congrats to Quick for his first collegiate goal.
No.1 Michigan improved to 19-2-0 on the year. Quick has a goal and an assist on the year (16 games).
No.8 New Hampshire 2 @ No.5 Massachusetts 3
D John Wessbecker, UMASS: Did not play (undisclosed injury)
Lightning prospect results from the BCHL, USHL, and CHL. Two players earned first star honors and another was named the unquestioned centerpiece of a team that gave up 11 to Torrie Jung's Kelowna Rockets Friday night.
Slow start does in the Admirals.
Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 26 shots in the loss. Sounds familiar.
HFD Byers, (6) (Taylor, Baranka), 3:21
HFD Potter, (2) (Callahan, Byers), 3:54
HFD Hutchinson, (6) (Potter, Parenteau), 9:39
NOR Milley, (11) (Keller, Jancevski), 12:18 (PP)
HFD Callahan, (1) (Byers, Anisimov), 4:21 (PP)
NOR Klinkhammer, (5) (Stewart, Keller), 12:19
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The frustrating thing is the team did almost everything right tonight and still got nothing for it.
Another quality start by Karri Ramo wasted by lack of goal support. Ramo allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss, but really he did just about everything humanly possible to keep the Lightning in this game. The third Penguins goal which was a broken stick shot by Sykora of a skate to Ryan Malone at point blank range is one of the more unlucky goals I've seen in a while.
The Lightning were a Filip Kuba crossbar and/or a Vincent Lecavalier shooting the puck into Conklin's glove rather than a gaping 4x6 away from getting points out of this one. They played well with the exception of a short span in the second period when they were under siege a bit. Under ordinary circumstances over the past two seasons you could shrug this off and say "They'll get 'em next time." Problem is, there aren't many more next times if you do the math. The Lightning can't leave anymore points on the table and have hopes of making a run at the playoffs. I give it another two weeks before Jay Feaster really has to start thinking about pulling the plug on this thing and picking up assetts for a quick turnaround offseason rebuild.
Mathieu Darche had 1 assist and was +1 in 7:46 with 1 shot and 2 hits. Darche is set to graduate from overage prospect status in 4 games, putting his likely last individual stat line report at 1/19 against the Senators.