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Crunch Allow Four Third Period Goals in Loss to Comets


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After 50-plus scoreless minutes, the momentum swung firmly away from the Syracuse Crunch.

The Crunch allowed a pair of goals 16 seconds apart and the Comets tacked on two more goals before the final horn, as Syracuse was blanked by Utica, 4-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I thought it was a hard fought battle for two periods — I should say 50 minutes — and then they scored that goal and that quick goal right after,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “It seemed to break our legs. That’s what it is. I thought we had chances earlier in the game. We had five shots from the slot, but we missed the net five times. (We) can’t score.”

CHL Game Night: 1-22-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Shawinigan Cataractes 3 @ Quebec Remparts 1

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 42 GP, 30-25-55, +21, 42 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM

A 0-0 tie entering the third period turned into a 3-1 Shawinigan win by its close. Yan picked up a plus by being on the ice for the eventual game-winning goal.

Ontario Hockey League

Niagara IceDogs 2 @ London Knights 11

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 8/11 FO
Season Totals: 28 GP, 12-19-31, +18, 14 PIM
With London: 6 GP, 1-4-5, +5, 0 PIM
With Saginaw: 22 GP, 11-15-26, +13, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 39 GP, 20-18-38, -3, 14 PIM

London put 11 goals on the board against visiting Niagara, though Stephens could only get in on one of them. Four London players had two goals each.

Western Hockey League

Swift Current Broncos 3 @ Saskatoon Blades 6

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 41 GP: 3-20-23, -4, 49 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 69 GP, 3-23-26, -19, 76 PIM

Hajek has eight points in his last nine games. The Blades are on a five-game win streak and are within two games of .500 (20-22-5-1).

Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Edmonton Oil Kings 0

C Brett Howden, MJ: Did not play
Season Totals: 34 GP, 24-26-50, +5, 39 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Howden did not dress for Moose Jaw’s shutout win in Edmonton as he was a late scratch due to an illness. Zach Sawchenko (undrafted) stopped 34 shots in the win.

CHL Game Night: 1-21-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Baie-Comeau Drakkar 3 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 5

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 2-0-2, E, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 0 Hits, *First Star*
Season Totals: 43 GP, 29-11-40, +8, 66 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 48 GP, 7-12-19, -5, 86 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 1-0-1, +1, 4 PIM, 6 SOG, 1 Hit
Season Totals: 32 GP, 28-26-54, +27, 33 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM

Mathieu Joseph set a new Saint John record with a point in his 23rd consecutive game, and Boko Imama had two goals to lead the Dogs over Baie-Comeau, 5-3. Imama scored both his goals on the power play in the first period to give Saint John a 2-0 lead. Joseph scored with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation to keep the streak alive.

Ontario Hockey League

Erie Otters 4 @ Flint Firebirds 1

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 6/13 FO
Season Totals: 31 GP, 13-25-38, +20, 8 PIM
With Erie: 6 GP, 0-5-5, +2, 0 PIM
With Oshawa: 26 GP, 13-21-34, +18, 8 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 21-38-59, -15 27 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season Totals: 34 GP, 27-44-71, +42, 23 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 67 GP, 24-49-73, +19, 18 PIM

Cirelli had the primary assist on Raddysh’s 27th goal of the season, a power play marker that gave the Otters a 3-0 lead at the time.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3 @ Sarnia Sting 7

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season: 44 GP, 20-18-38, +4, 28 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 63 GP, 24-27-51, +7, 61 PIM

Sarnia had a 5-0 five minute into the second period and coasted to a 7-3 win. The Soo still leads the OHL with 67 points, just two more than Erie, London, and Windsor.

North Bay Battalion 3 @ Peterborough Petes 5

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 7/15 FO
Season Totals: 42 GP, 12-19-31, -7, 18 PIM
With Petes: 5 GP, 0-2-2, E, 4 PIM
With Niagara: 37 GP, 12-17-29, -7, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 57 GP, 5-11-16, -6, 18 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 36 GP, 5-16-21, +3, 39 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 60 GP, 5-19-24, -4, 46 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

The Petes spotted the Battalion a 3-0 lead after two periods before scoring five in the third.

Western Hockey League

Prince George Cougars 4 @ Kamloops Blazers 5 (OT)

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Win, 27 saves on 31 shots
Season Totals: 27 GP, 17-9-1-0, 2.18 GAA, .932 sv%, 2 SO
2015-2016 Season: 61 GP, 34-15-5-4, 2.61 GAA, .922 sv%, 4 SO

Ingram got his second win in as many nights, and both went to overtime. On Friday night he stopped four of four shooters in the shootout to get the W. Kamloops sent the game to overtime Saturday with a goal in the final minute by Devan Sideroff (Ducks), his 27th.

NCAA Game Night: 1-21-17

No. 5 UMass-Lowell River Hawks 2 @ Providence Friars 3

C Ryan Lohin, UML: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 25 GP, 4-10-14, +2, 8 PIM

Unranked Providence completed a weekend sweep of the fifth-ranked River Hawks by winning 3-2 Saturday. England-born Scott Conway (undrafted) scored the game-winner for the Friars.

No. 3 Boston University Terriers 3 @ Maine Black Bears 1

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 20 GP, 0-4-4, +7, 16 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 26 GP, 1-1-2, -4, 26 PIM

Preds pick Patrick Harper had the game-winning goal for BU Saturday.

Miami Redhawks 0 @ No. 19 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 2

D Kristian Oldham, UNO: Did not play
Season Totals: 9 GP, 5-2-1, 3.18 GAA, .897 sv%, 0 SO

Oldham did not dress for Saturday’s game. Evan Weninger (undrafted) had a 19-save shutout for the Mavs.

No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers 3 @ Wisconsin Badgers 5

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, UMN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 21 GP, 2-3-5, +9, 27 PIM

The Badgers earned a split of their weekend series with Minnesota by winning 5-3 Saturday. The Gophers held a 2-1 lead after one period of play.

*USCHO poll used for rankings

NHL Game Night: 1-21-17 Lightning at Coyotes

Lightning's season dies in the desert.

TB-3
ARI-5

Ben Bishop allowed 5 goals on 17 shots for the loss before being pulled for Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy turned aside all 6 shots he faced the rest of the way.

First Period
8:05 ARI Reider (9), (Vrbata, Ekman-Larsson)
10:19 ARI Vrbata (11), (Hanzal, Reider)
18:39 TB Paquette (4), (Dumont, Bournival)

Second Period
14:56 ARI Stone (1), (Hanzal, Vrbata)(PP)
18:25 ARI Fischer (1), (McGinn, Burmistrov)
19:44 ARI Hanzal (10), (Vrbata, Reider)

Third Period
9:45 TB Namestnikov (6), (Filppula, Palat)
14:18 TB Palat (10), (Johnson, Nesterov)(PP)

Tampa Bay outshot Arizona by a very significant 48-23 margin, but that only underlines what a mess the team's goaltending has been this season. Bishop allowed two of the softest goals you'll see in your life in the First Period to put his team down 2-0, and lookee there, the team lost the game 5-3. Soft goals, as they often are, turn out to be the margin of error. Unfortunately, the Lightning have had a soft goal or questionable goaltending gaffe in each game of the current road trip, which is horribly demoralizing to a team. When you have to work twice as hard as the other team for a goal because your goaltending is faulty, it robs your team of its spirit. It really does.

The calculus now is pretty much impossible to overcome, to the extent that I'm ready to write the team's eulogy. They'd have to play about .750 hockey the rest of the way to get back on playoff pace, and that seems impossible given all the challenges the team is facing. The goaltending has been disappointing all season long. The center play has been steadily devolving since Steven Stamkos and subsequently Brayden Point got injured earlier in the season. Key forwards like "The Triplets" have suddenly gone missing on the scoresheet over the past several weeks. And, the defense continues to struggle to compensate for the team's inability to consistently play its possession style game and against the counters they routinely face when that style goes off the rails.

The Lightning have an excellent core of their hockey team, in general, and a rebuild is certainly not warranted. But, a serious in-season evaluation and a retooling is definitely in order. Bottom line, this team probably has one goaltending move, two or three moves on the blueline, and three or four moves at forward to make. Not big moves, in all cases, but necessary moves. If done shrewdly, and if the Lightning can get a little more luck with injuries in 2018-2019, there's little to suggest this year won't just be a little bump in the road and not a sinkhole.

Luke Witkowski was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:06.

Jake Dotchin was -1 with 4 hits in 11:47 in his NHL debut.

Gabriel Dumont had a helper and was +1 with 5 shots, 6 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:53. He was also 71% on 7 draws. His game tonight was the continuation of a fantastic road trip by the line of Paquette/Dumont/Bournival, which along with the play of Jonathan Drouin has been the real bright spot of going out west.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-21-17 Comets at Crunch

Utica pulls away in the final 20 minutes.

UTI-4
SYR-0

Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
10:42 UTI Kunyk (6), (Nilsson, Pelletier)
10:58 UTI McEneny (4), (Bancks, Virtanen)
16:19 UTI Cassels (5), (Kunyk, Zalewski)
16:54 UTI Archibald (12), (Grenier, Valk)(EN)

Gunned down in cold blood by ex-Bolt Prospect Cody Kunyk. My my.

Syracuse managed just 20 shots on goal in the game. That simply won't get it done.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Liiga Game Day: 1-21-17

Assat 5 vs. SaiPa 1
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 34 GP, 2-4-6, -7, 41 PIM

Saku Salminen was scoreless in 12:01 of ice time in SaiPa's 5-1 loss to Assat. He was also 38% on 8 draws. SaiPa remains a perilous 2 points out of the basement in the Liiga standings.

CHL Game Night: 1-20-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Chicoutimi Sagueneens 0 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 1

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 1 Hit
Season Totals: 42 GP, 27-11-38, +8, 64 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 48 GP, 7-12-19, -5, 86 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 4 Hits, *First Star*
Season Totals: 31 GP, 27-24-51, +26, 29 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM

Joseph tied the Sea Dogs’ club record for consecutive games with a point when he scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 win. Joseph’s streak is at 22 games. (Sea Dogs photo)

Baie-Comeau Drakkar 7 @ Halifax Mooseheads 4

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 8/20 FO, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 40 GP, 9-17-26, -10, 22 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 59 GP, 13-33-46, -15, 25 PIM

Jordan Martel (undrafted) had two goals to lead the Drakkar to a big win in Halifax.

Shawinigan Cataractes 5 @ Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 4

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 1 Hit
Season Totals: 41 GP, 30-25-55, +20, 42 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM

Yan hit 30 goals for the second straight year as Shawinigan edged the Armada, 5-4.

Ontario Hockey League

Erie Otters 8 @ Sarnia Sting 2

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 6/15 FO
Season Totals: 30 GP, 13-24-37, +20, 8 PIM
With Erie: 5 GP, 0-4-4, +2, 0 PIM
With Oshawa: 26 GP, 13-21-34, +18, 8 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 21-38-59, -15 27 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-2-2, +1, 4 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 33 GP, 26-44-70, +42, 23 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 67 GP, 24-49-73, +19, 18 PIM

Raddysh hit 70 points for the season and Anthony Cirelli had an assist as Erie crushed Steven Stamkos’ former team, 8-2.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 @ Flint Firebirds 4

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season: 43 GP, 20-17-37, +4, 28 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 63 GP, 24-27-51, +7, 61 PIM

It was a quiet night for Katchouk on the scoresheet, but the Soo avenged a 5-4 shootout loss to Flint last game with a 5-4 win of their own in regulation.

Ottawa 67’s 2 @ London Knights 7

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 12/21 FO, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 27 GP, 12-18-30, +18, 14 PIM
With London: 5 GP, 1-3-4, +5, 0 PIM
With Saginaw: 22 GP, 11-15-26, +13, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 39 GP, 20-18-38, -3, 14 PIM

Stephens was moved back to center with the Knights and scored his first goal in a London uniform.

Western Hockey League

Brandon Wheat Kings 2 @ Saskatoon Blades 3 (SO)

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 40 GP: 3-19-22, -3, 49 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 69 GP, 3-23-26, -19, 76 PIM

Hajek has seven points in eight games in 2017.

Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Prince George Cougars 1

C Brett Howden, MJ: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 34 GP, 24-26-50, +5, 39 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Howden has scored in eight of his last 10 games.

Portland Winterhawks 3 @ Kamloops Blazers 4

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Win, 33 saves on 36 shots, *First Star*
Season Totals: 26 GP, 16-9-1-0, 2.11 GAA, .935 sv%, 2 SO
2015-2016 Season: 61 GP, 34-15-5-4, 2.61 GAA, .922 sv%, 4 SO

Ingram made 33 saves in regulation and overtime, then stopped all four shooters in the shootout to get a win.

NCAA Game Night: 1-20-17

Connecticut Huskies 4 @ No. 12 Vermont Catamounts 5

C Ross Colton, UVM: 0-4-4, E, +2 PIM, 2 SOG, *Second Star*
Season Totals: 24 GP, 9-13-22, +2, 20 PIM

Colton had a career-high four points in a game as the Catamounts beat UConn, 5-4. Blues pick Tage Thompson had two goals for the Huskies to give him 16 this year. Colton continues to get comfortable in the NCAAs and is on his way to being a prime impact player in Hockey East.

Providence Friars 4 @ No. 5 UMass-Lowell River Hawks 3

C Ryan Lohin, UML: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 24 GP, 4-10-14, +2, 6 PIM

UML saw a 2-0 lead turn into a 4-2 deficit, but they could only respond with one goal before losing, 4-3. UML has climbed to No. 5 in the nation.

Maine Black Bears 1 @ No. 3 Boston University Terriers 4

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 19 GP, 0-4-4, +7, 16 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 26 GP, 1-1-2, -4, 26 PIM

Coyotes pick Clayton Keller scored his ninth of the season in BU’s win.

Miami Redhawks 3 @ No. 19 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 3

D Kristian Oldham, UNO: Did not play
Season Totals: 9 GP, 5-2-1, 3.18 GAA, .897 sv%, 0 SO

Oldham did not dress for Omaha’s 3-3 tie with Miami. The Mavs were up 2-0 at one point, then had to fight back to force a 3-3 tie.

No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers 4 @ Wisconsin Badgers 3 (OT)

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, UMN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 20 GP, 2-3-5, +9, 27 PIM

Justin Kloos (undrafted) scored his 10th goal of the season in overtime to lift the Gophers over Wisconsin, 4-3, in Big 10 action.

*USCHO poll used for rankings

AHL Game Night: 1-21-17 Senators at Crunch

Out of sync Crunch drop squeaker to Senators.

BNG-4
SYR-2

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 22 shots for the loss.

First Period
2:40 BNG Krushelnyski (3), (Varone, Gagne)
8:08 SYR Morin (8), (Richard, Walcott)

Second Period
17:35 BNG Varone (11), (Harpur)(SH)

Third Period
10:31 BNG Varone (12), (unassisted)(SH)
17:07 SYR Gourde (14), (Conacher, Morin)
19:18 BNG McCormick (11), (Varone)(EN)

Jeremy Morin was the game's third star.

Syracuse actually outshot Binghamton 36-23 in the contest, but hockey is a frustrating sport when you have to work so much harder than your opponent to get goals. Put simply, if you allow two shorthanded goals in a game, you probably deserve to lose.

Syracuse remains in a tie with Albany atop the North Division after burning a game in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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