N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 3/25
Three Lightning prospects helped their clubs to opening round sweeps, while goaltender Torrie Jung and his Oil Kings finished their season. Also, Fadden returns to First Star status and Tokarski wins another close one.
Witkowski a plus/minus machine ... Rimouski's streak ends at 17 ... Barberio hits 40 points ... Jung beats a former team to put Edmonton up for 8 spot ... Wright scores his 20th ... Stan Drulia reference ... New OHL record set by future member of the Lightning?
Keller is also getting in line for a recall.
Riku Helenius stopped 24 of 26 shots for the win to even his record at 4-4-0 this season. He is now sitting on 1 shutout, a 2.18 GAA, and a .938 save percentage. What's the definition of a "good problem" to have? Karri Ramo and Mike McKenna acquitting themselves fairly well in the NHL while your young #1 starter is out injured, Helenius playing well in the AHL, and young Dustin Tokarski standing on his head in junior. That is a "good problem" to have.
BNG Mauldin, (12) (Regin, Hamel), 11:54
BNG Mauldin, (13) (Fata, Regin), 17:56
NOR Potulny, (8) (Brookbank, Jones), 1:27
NOR Jones, (11) (Lundin, Konopka), 14:44 (PP)
NOR Bochenski, (21) (Keller, Konopka), 3:43
NOR Keller, (11) (Bochenski), 11:08
I find it fascinating that, despite spotting him a significant head start, Keller has caught Blair Jones in the goal department. Jones still has a mammoth lead on Keller in assists and a better points per game number, but that may be a little inflated with power play assists with Blair playing the point position so much. This may be another really good problem for the Lightning organization to have if Keller and Jones continue to hit the scoresheet and, along with Brandon Segal, continue to push for late season recalls.
For those who have been wondering, Vladimir Mihalik has been out with a nasty concussion.
Norfolk climbs back to 3 games under .500. I think the season would be considered a success, given the rocky beginnings, if the team could climb to a winning record. It could be the foundation of a return to the playoffs next season with the Admirals getting an injection of a little more speed and skill with guys like Dana Tyrell coming on board.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 @ Sudbury Wolves 6
W Kyle DeCoste, SSM: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 53 GP, 10-11-21, -23, 67 PIM
With SSM: 16 GP, 2-5-7, -10, 16 PIM
Sudbury was the only team the Soo had beaten since January 10 (1-13-0-1), a 6-4 home win on February 11.
Prince George Cougars 0 @ Tri-City Americans 4
C Mitch Fadden, TC: 1-1-2, +1, 6 PIM (hooking x 2, elbowing)
Season totals: 50 GP, 27-35-62, +19, 45 PIM
With TC: 41 GP, 25-32-57, +17, 37 PIM
Fadden has 10 goals in his last 10 games (10-9-19). Chet Pickard earned First Star while notching his sixth shutout of the year, which ties Dustin Tokarski for the team lead.
The 21st Best of the West poll of players, coaches and management in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference was recently calculated and Lightning prospects and prospects of interest include (possible draft targets in italics):
World Junior Championships â€“ Gold Medal Game
Canada 5 vs. Sweden 1
W Dana Tyrell, CAN: Did not play (injured â€“ out for tournament).
G Dustin Tokarski, CAN: Win, 39 saves on 40 shots, *Canada Player of the Game*
Thatâ€™s more like it.
Dustin Tokarski showed why heâ€™s a big game goaltender, stopping 39 of 40 shots to help Canada to their fifth straight World Junior Championship gold medal Monday night.
Tokarski took a shutout into the third period before surrendering his only goal, and outplayed Swedenâ€™s Jacob Markstrom (a Florida Panthers pick to boot) for the win.
For more on the game, see tsn.ca.