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KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-16-17

KHL Gagarin Cup Final
Magnitogorsk 3 vs. St. Petersburg 5
St. Petersburg Wins the Gagarin Cup 4-1
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff totals: 18 GP, 7-16-23, +2, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM

Nikita Gusev had a power play goal and an even strength assist in SKA's Gagarin Cup clinching 5-3 win over Magnitogorsk. The forward played 14:39 in the match and led all SKA players in playoff scoring with 23 points in 18 games. SKA also got 1 goal and 1 assist from ex-NHL'ers Evgeny Dadonov and Ilya Kovalchuk in the victory. Up against the wall in an elimination situation, Magnitka actually outshot SKA for the first time in the series by a margin of 45-31. Ex-Lightning draft pick Vasily Koshechkin, who was valiant in defeat in the series, was named MVP of the KHL playoffs.

Gusev has one more year left on his SKA deal.

ECHL Playoff Game Night: 4-15-17

Kalamazoo Wings 1 at Toledo 4
Toledo leads series 2-0

F Brian Hart, KAL, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIMS, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIMS, 5 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 33 GP, 6-5-11, -7, 6 PIMs, 71 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIMS, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, -2, 2 PIMS, 6 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 20 GP, 5-20-25, +11, 10 PIMs, 51 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, did not play (backup)
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0-0, 4.03 GAA, 0.818 SV%
Season Totals (ECHL): 32 GP, 18-12-0-1, 3.13 GAA, 0.899 SV%, 1 SO

Toledo was ready to play Saturday when Game #2 of the Central Division Semi-finals started, scoring the opening goal just over 3 minutes into the contest. The Walleye then imposed their will over of the K-Wings, running up 3 goals before the 9 minute mark. Midway through the 2nd period, former Syracuse Cruncher Evan Rankin added Toledo's 4th goal, his 2nd of the game and 3rd of the series, to effectively nail the lid of the game shut. Kalamazoo did manage to spoil Jake Peterson's shutout bid with a shortie with less than 4 minutes left in the game. Peterson was strong in a back-to-back performance, but had lots of help from the Walleye defense who held the K-Wings to just 21 shots.

Granted, it's easy to critique in retrospect and from a distance, but an argument could be made for the K-Wings to roll right back with Riopel in Game 2 the way the Walleye did with Peterson. Riopel gave up a few goals early in Game 1, but he closed the door down the 2nd half of the game and gave his team a chance to win in a virtually even match. Something to be said of building off that momentum in Game 2. Instead, the team found itself in 3-0 hole before the midpoint of the 1st period, and the goalie wasn't even lifted. Not all those goal's were Joel Martin's fault, but you need to throw the kitchen sink at the best team in the league and try to split the road games. The series now travels to Kalamazoo for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with the K-Wings needing a critical win in Game 3.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-15-17

Ontario Hockey League

London Knights 3 @ Erie Otters 6
Western Conference Semifinals
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 4/12 FO
Playoff Totals: 12 GP, 4-2-6, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 1-5-6, +7, 4 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 1-1-2, +3, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 6/16 FO
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 7-4-11, +8, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 1-2-3, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 5-12-17, +7, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Erie had a 2-0 lead after the first period, then gave up three goals to London in the first three minutes of the second period. The Otters eventually responded, then secured a 6-3 win. Taylor Raddysh had the game-winning goal for Erie. Game 6 is Sunday in London.

Crunch Beat Comets, Win North Division Crown

By Jeremy Houghtaling

In a season filled with overcoming adversity, the Crunch were able to achieve one of their goals on the final day of the season.

Syracuse, which has dealt with a barrage of injuries and call-ups all season, rested many of their top players but still managed to pull out a 5-2 win over the Utica Comets, as the Crunch clinched the North Division championship at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Syracuse begins a best of five series against St. John’s in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs on Wednesday.

“We’re very proud of those guys. Obviously, with all the challenges we have faced this year, the way they responded is awesome,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “We managed to get points in our last five games to put ourselves in position with the last two games at home with a chance to clinch the division. We did it.”

AHL Game Night: 4-15-17 Comets at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star wins North Division crown on final night of regular season.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the victory.

First Period
5:24 SYR Ikonen (6), (Racine, Froese)
5:34 SYR Howden (3), (Vermin, Brodeur)

Second Period
3:31 SYR Kurtz (5), (Ikonen, Richard)
4:07 UTI Goldobin (18), (Robak)
10:04 SYR Vermin (13), (Froese, Blujus)(PP)
18:46 UTI Goldobin (19), (Virtanen, Sautner)

Third Period
17:28 SYR Erne (14), (Froese, Richard)(EN)

Gudlevskis, Henri Ikonen, and Joel Vermin were the game's three stars. Scary thing is, this wasn't the full Crunchning Death Star lineup with Gourde and Conacher out, and they still rolled a Utica club that was desperate to make it into the postseason.

Things get interesting now. I don't entirely know what to make of this team because it's a brand new, incredibly deep roster, that's only been together the final 4 or so games of the regular season. The North Division was obviously the weak stepsister of the Eastern Conference, so on the face of it the division title isn't super-impressive when you hold the Crunch up against clubs like Pens, Phantoms, Bears, and Bruins. BUT, the Crunch team that played the bulk of those games was often playing defensemen at forward or short of players because of injuries up top. The Crunchning Death Star absolutely has the depth and quality to compete with those teams, but they'll need to develop chemistry on the fly in the postseason in order to do so.

Box score from

ECHL Playoff Game Night: 4-14-17

Kalamazoo Wings 3 at Toledo 4
Toledo leads series 1-0

F Brian Hart, KAL, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 33 GP, 6-5-11, -7, 6 PIMs, 71 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG, *THIRD STAR*
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 20 GP, 5-20-25, +11, 10 PIMs, 51 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, L, 59:30 MINS, 18/22
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0-0, 4.03 GAA, 0.818 SV%
Season Totals (ECHL): 32 GP, 18-12-0-1, 3.13 GAA, 0.899 SV%, 1 SO

The K-Wings comeback bid fell short Friday night in their opening game of the Kelly Cup playoffs against the Brabham Cup winning Toledo Walleye. Kalamazoo opened the scoring less than 4 minutes in with early pressure, but the Walleye pushed back and scored the next 4 goals on K-Wings netminder Nic Riopel. Just past the midpoint of the 2nd period, the momentum shifted as the K-Wings mounted a push of their own. Bolt Prospect forward Cam Darcy got the next goal less than 6 minutes left in the 2nd to cut the deficit to 4-2 when he tapped in the rebound of a Kyle Bushbee point shot. Kalamazoo kept the pressure on in the 3rd, holding Toledo to just 3 shots and closing the gap to a single goal. Darcy burst into the zone and dropped a pass to a trailing Charlie Vasaturo who fired a shot past Walleye goalie Jake Peterson. The K-Wings amassed a 22-10 shot differential in the 2nd and 3rd periods, but could never get the equalizer. Darcy was named 3rd Star in a playoff road loss, signaling the kind of effort he displayed. These two teams square off for Game #2 Saturday night, again at the Huntington Center in Toledo, before heading back to Kalamazoo for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-14-17

Ontario Hockey League

Owen Sound Attack 4 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3
Western Conference Semifinals
Owen Sound leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 8-5-13, +6, 12 PIM
Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

Owen Sound won their third in a row in the series, taking a pivotal Game 5 on the road, 4-3. Katchouk extended his playoff scoring streak to 10 games when he scored his eighth goal. The Soo was down 3-0 after the first period before cutting the lead to 3-2 on Katchouk’s goal in the first minute of the third period. The Attack went back up by 2 with 2:26 remaining. The Hounds got within one with a minute and a half left in regulation, but couldn’t get it tied. Owen Sound can close out the series at home Sunday.

Groulx Likes Result But Not Effort in Crunch's Win

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx liked the result, but not the effort.

The Crunch picked up a 4-1 win over the Binghamton Senators at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday, but Groulx believed they could have played better.

Syracuse remains one point behind Toronto for first place in the North Division with one game remaining in the regular season.

“Very average,” Groulx said of his team’s performance. “I thought we were a one effort hockey club tonight.”

“We’ve got to be a second effort hockey club in the three zones,” Groulx added. “That was not the case tonight.”

AHL Game Night: 4-14-17 Senators at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star destroys Bingo.


Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 29 shots for the victory.

First Period
19:08 SYR Bournival (9), (Peca, Thomas)

Second Period
9:26 SYR Condra (15), (Conacher, Taormina)(PP)
11:09 SYR Peca (12), (Taormina, Condra)(PP)
13:01 BNG Gagne (2), (McCormick, Flanagan)(PP)

Third Period
18:17 SYR Howden (2), (McGinn, Vermin)(EN)

Matthew Peca, Erik Condra, and Slater Koekkoek were the game's three stars.

With 1 game to go on each team's schedule, Syracuse remains 1 point back of Toronto for the North Division crown. Toronto holds the ROW tiebreaker, so Toronto will have to lose their final contest in regulation for the Crunch to pull out the title. Syracuse closes out tomorrow night at home against Utica. Toronto is in St. John's to play the IceCaps tomorrow night. Interesting to note the IceCaps and Comets are both battling for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Box score from

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-14-17

KHL Gagarin Cup Final
St. Petersburg 3 vs. Magnitogorsk 2
St. Petersburg Leads the Series 3-1
Nikita Gusev, 0-3-3, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff totals: 17 GP, 6-15-21, +2, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM

Nikita Gusev assisted on all three of SKA's goals in a 3-2 come from behind Game Four triumph over Metallurg Magnitogorsk. One of Gusev's helpers came on the power play, and he played 15:20 in the match. Ex-Lightning pick Vasily Koshechkin was again valiant in defeat stopping 47 of 50 shots in the loss as his club was outpaced on the shot board 50-24. SKA now sits on the precipice of winning the Gagarin Cup and will have their first crack at clinching the title on Sunday.

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