Just couldn't get over the top in a one goal game.
Gerald Coleman stopped 27 of 31 shots faced for the loss before Trenton scored an empty net goal with 17 seconds remaining to seal the Chiefs' fate. The Johnstown attack was lead by Maxime Boisclair's pair of helpers, his first professional points. Andre Deveaux, Zbynek Hrdel and Doug Andress had Johnstown's goals with individual helpers going to Radek Smolenak, Stanislav Lascek and Jean Desrochers.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Tonight is the season opener for a Johnstown team that has had an almost complete identity overhaul in the offseason. Gone are former GM Toby O'Brien as well as many of the familiar ECHL veterans who used to make up the team. In their place the Lightning have set up a new management team and a revamped roster that includes much more youth, skill and speed. Coach Frank Anzalone is the constant, and the veteran coach will go for his 300th ECHL win tonight. Stanislav Lascek and Radek Smolenak should form a potent offensive attack for the Chiefs and they are expected to get strong goaltending from Gerald Coleman and Morgan Cey, but it's the progress of the team's defensemen that may decide how much it can improve over last season's short playoff run.
Congratulations to Coach Anzalone on his 300th ECHL win.
Morgan Cey stopped 31 of 33 for the win. Veteran Jean Desrochers had a first period natural hat trick to set the pace for the Chiefs. Doug Andress had a goal and two assists while Zbynek Hrdel racked up three assists. Doug Adams had two assists and Radek Smolenak added his first professional goal while individual helpers went to PJ Atherton, Stanislav Lascek and Brandon Elliot.
And that's just game one.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Boutin will now battle with yesterday's signee Gerald Coleman to see which prospect be next in line behind Brian Eklund. Hrdel adds some desperately needed potential scoring punch to a Lightning organization which is extremely threadbare for skill at the forward position at the minor and junior level.
A quick blurb from the Sunday paper:
Jay Feaster intends to sign three of the team's 2003 draft picks by Thursday: G Jonathan Boutin, G Gerald Coleman and LW/C Zbynek Hrdel. All would be elligible to re-enter the draft if not signed by that time, although the new CBA will be less favorable economically for prospects if they choose to go that route.
Speaking about the goaltending prospect situation earlier this season, Feaster had hinted only one of the prospects might sign. But Boutin and Coleman both showed the ability to dominate their respective junior leagues at times last season and with the Lightning becoming part owners of the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL there should be plenty of room for new arrivals.