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Wilcox Earns First Pro Shutout, Crunch Beat Americans


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Wilcox gave credit to the players in front of him.

The second-year Crunch goalie registered 25 saves against the Americans for his first professional shutout, as Syracuse beat Rochester, 4-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“Give credit to the guys. They battled the whole game,” Wilcox said. “The first two periods it was an easy game. … When there’s three or four minutes left, you got guys like Tanner (Richard) and (Mike) Halmo taking slap shots to the ankles. That shows what type of team we are.
“There’s a bunch of guys selling out for me, and I told them I appreciated it and it means a lot to me.”

NHL Game Night: 12-3-16 Capitals at Lightning

Lightning snap losing streak with unexpected gem against a longtime tormentor.

WSH-1
TB-2 (SO)

Ben Bishop allowed just 1 goal on 35 shots before stopping 3 of 4 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. Bishop was, apparently, pretty sore about not getting the start in hometown St. Louis and was out to make a point tonight. He played well and made key saves at key junctures, before making the big stops in the Shootout to secure the second point. That's one area I can say Bishop's looked better in this season: he's sewed up that five hole and looks a lot more competent in the penalty shot skills competition.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
12:38 TB Kucherov (13), (Hedman, Drouin)(PP)

Third Period
6:24 Backstrom (7), (Carlson, Johansson)(PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WSH- Kuznetsov
TB- Point, Boyle

Nikita Kucherov and Bishop were the game's first and third stars.

There were signs of life for the Lightning in the second half of their loss on the road in St. Louis, but coming into tonight against a Washington team that they historically struggle against (in the regular season) there wasn't a lot to hang your hat on with the way the team has been playing lately. I didn't get by Blujus recall, as he hurt his groin earlier this week in Syracuse, but the Lightning did scratch the struggling Nikita Nesterov and commit to giving more minutes to Koekkoek and Witkowski. That was a prerequisite for having any chance from the word jump, and I'm glad Cooper went ahead and made that lineup adjustment. What transpired from there was, by in large, the most focused and impressive three zone effort I think I've seen from the Lightning this season. Through about 35 minutes, they played about as clean and crisp a game as possible. They moved the puck out of their zone crisply and cleanly and contested every inch of the ice against a very quality opponent. Gone were the turnovers and odd man rushes that have marred so much of the team's games over the last two weeks. In their place was a singular resolve to win a hockey game that showed up in every single man up and down that bench. They got a little sloppier on the breakouts after Kucherov's power play goal, and didn't stay out of the box as much as they needed to in the Third Period, where Backstrom tied the game. But, in the end, they deserved the two points and they finally got them with the heroics of Point, Boyle, and Bishop in the Shootout.

Brayden Point had 1 hit in 17:13. It doesn't show up in the scoresheet, but I thought he had an incredibly poised effort tonight with the puck for the Lightning. Just made some really good decisions that allowed the Lightning to either continue possession or stay away from trouble. He's been doing it a lot this season, but tonight he did it against one of the higher quality opponents you'll see.

Luke Witkowski had 3 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 11:10. He played well tonight. He doesn't bring you the "upside" that Nesterov has, but there's something to be said of a lower pair defenseman who plays a simple game and doesn't make stupid decisions that get you in trouble. Nolan Pratt has his name on the Stanley Cup and all the love in the world from Lightning fans for just that reason.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 shot and 2 hits in 15:04. Just keep feeding him minutes. He can take it athletically. He just needs the experience. Give. It. To. Him. The Lightning will not regret it if they do.

Joel Vermin had 1 shot and 3 hits in 15:43. He played another dynamite game as evidenced by Cooper putting Vermin out for the Overtime session. He looks like a player who, if he keeps it up, has the potential to stick.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-3-16 Americans at Crunch

Syracuse puts on a clinic.

RCH-0
SYR-4

Adam Wilcox stopped all 25 shots he faced for the win and his first professional shutout.

First Period
4:17 SYR Morin (3), (Taormina, Richard)(PP)

Second Period
5:32 SYR Condra (4), (Dotchin, Taormina)
10:02 SYR Erne (4), (Taormina, Condra)

Third Period
14:39 SYR Erne (5), (Gourde, Condra)(EN)

Wilcox, Matt Taormina, and Erik Condra were the game's three stars.

Adam Erne snapped a 7 game goal drought with a pair of markers tonight, as well.

A coach's dream is when his team builds a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes, puts it on lockdown in the Third Period, and then adds an EN goal just to rub salt in the wound. That's how you draw it up.

With the win, at this moment, Syracuse finally has overtaken Albany for first place in the North Division and sits 4 points back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Bridgeport for tops in the Eastern Conference, with games in hand on each of those teams (2 in Bridgeport's case).

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Liiga Game Day: 12-3-16

SaiPa 2 vs. Assat 3 (OT)
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, DNP
Season totals: 20 GP, 2-2-4, -5, 39 PIM

Undrafted 24 year old forward Simon Suoranta had the winning goal for Assat in their 3-2 OT victory over SaiPa.

KHL Game Day: 12-3-16

Khabarovsk 1 vs. St. Petersburg 2
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 35 GP, 15-30-45, +27, 6 PIM

Nikita Gusev was scoreless in 12:31 of ice time as SKA eked out a 2-1 win over Amur Khabarovsk. Ex-Canucks pick Sergei Shirokov had both goals in the win for SKA.

NCAA Game Night: 12-2-16

Connecticut Huskies 3 @ No. 4 UMass-Lowell River Hawks 2

C Ryan Lohin, UML: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 14 GP, 3-7-10, +3, 4 PIM

Blues first rounder Tage Thompson had his ninth and 10th goals, helping unranked UConn to an upset win over UMass-Lowell. Ryan Lohin had an assist for the River Hawks.

No. 6 Boston University Terriers 2 @ Providence Friars 1

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 11 GP, 0-4-4, +4, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 26 GP, 1-1-2, -4, 26 PIM

Jake Oettinger (2017) stopped 38 shots to lead BU to a win over the Friars. Providence outshot BU, 39-18.

Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 3 @ Wisconsin Badgers 3 (OT)

D Kristian Oldham, UNO: Did not dress
Season Totals: 5 GP, 2-2-1, 2.75 GAA, .898 sv%, 0 SO

Oldham wasn’t dressed for Friday’s game in Wisconsin. The Badgers put 50 shots on the Omaha net, outshooting the Mavs, 50-30. Wisconsin won the entertainment-only shootout, 2-0.

No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes 3 @ No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers 5

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, UMN: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 12 GP, 2-1-3, +4, 8 PIM

Minnesota had a 4-1 lead and held on against the visiting Buckeyes. Sophomores Leon Bristedt (undrafted) and Tyler Sheehy (undrafted) each had two goals for the Gophers.

*USCHO poll used for rankings

CHL Game Night: 12-2-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 4 @ Chicoutimi Sagueneens 1

W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, 10/20 FO, 1 Hit
Season Totals: 23 GP, 6-12-18, -2, 16 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 59 GP, 13-33-46, -15, 25 PIM

Somppi assisted on Connor Moynihan’s 16th goal of the season to give Halifax a 1-0 lead.

Quebec Remparts 3 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 2

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 9 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 24 GP, 16-10-26, +3, 30 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM

Yan led Shawinigan in shots Friday with nine.

Ontario Hockey League

Oshawa Generals 2 @ Hamilton Bulldogs 1

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 14/26 FO
Season Totals: 24 GP, 13-20-33, +18, 8 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 21-38-59, -15 27 PIM

Cirelli had the primary assist on the game-winning goal scored four minutes into the second period.

Barrie Colts 3 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 (OT)

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season: 26 GP, 13-11-24, +6, 15 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 63 GP, 24-27-51, +7, 61 PIM

Katchouk had his eight-game point streak snapped, though the Soo ended up with a win. Bruins first rounder Zach Senyshyn had four goals for the Greyhounds to raise his season total to 14.

Niagara IceDogs 0 @ Flint Firebirds 4

W/C Christopher Paquette, NIA: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 23 GP, 10-8-18, -4, 12 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 57 GP, 5-11-16, -6, 18 PIM

Paquette was back in the IceDogs lineup after missing Sunday. Connor Hicks (undrafted) made 25 saves for the Flint shutout.

Erie Otters 1 @ Guelph Storm 3

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals: 25 GP, 23-33-56, +34, 15 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 67 GP, 24-49-73, +19, 18 PIM

Raddysh was named the OHL Co-player of the Month earlier this week, sharing the award with linemate Alex DeBrincat. Raddysh had an assist Friday as the high-powered Otters were shut down by last-place Guelph. Former London OHL first rounder Liam Herbst (undrafted) had 35 saves for the Storm.

Peterborough Petes 5 @ Mississauga Steelheads 3

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 17 GP, 2-7-9, +4, 12 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 beat the Steelheads by two goals for the second night in a row.

Saginaw Spirit 2 @ Sarnia Sting 3 (SO)

W Mitchell Stephens, SAG: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 16/28 FO
Season Totals: 21 GP, 10-13-23, +11, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 39 GP, 20-18-38, -3, 14 PIM

Stephens led the Spirit in shots Friday. He did not convert his shootout attempt.

Western Hockey League

Saskatoon Blades 1 @ Edmonton Oil Kings 4

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 27 GP: 0-10-10, -9, 41 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 69 GP, 3-23-26, -19, 76 PIM

Saskatoon has lost seven of their last eight games. Hajek is scoreless in his last five games.

Moose Jaw Warriors 3 @ Prince Albert Raiders 5

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 14 GP, 11-9-20, E, 8 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Howden had three points in each of his first two games after returning from injury, but was scoreless and minus-3 Friday.

MHL Game Day: 12-2-16

Novgorod Jr. 2 vs. Yaroslavl Jr. 0
Oleg Sosunov, Yaroslavl Jr., 0-0-0, E, 12 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 20 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 48 PIM

Oleg Sosunov had a minor for a check to the head and later took a 10 minute misconduct, all in the First Period of Loko Jr.'s 2-0 loss to Novgorod Jr. Undrafted 20 year old netminder Andre Sukhanov stopped all 29 shots he faced for the shutout win.

CHL Game Night: 12-1-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 3 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 2 (SO)

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 2-0-2, +2, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 25 GP, 15-6-21, +4, 27 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 48 GP, 7-12-19, -5, 86 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-2-2, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 25 GP, 23-17-40, +20, 25 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-1-1, -1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, 1 Hit
Season Totals: 23 GP, 16-10-26, +3, 30 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM

Twenty-some games into the season and Boko is within one goal of Dennis Yan. Didn’t see that coming. To make matters more confusing, Yan has more penalty minutes than Boko. What a weird world we live in. On Thursday night in Shawinigan, Boko’s Dogs beat Yan’s Cataractes, 3-2, in a shootout. Boko scored both his goals with less than two minutes left and within 45 seconds of each other. All three Lightning prospects in the game were involved in the shootout, and all three missed their opportunities. All three Lightning prospects will probably be in Syracuse next season together.

Ontario Hockey League

Mississauga Steelheads 2 @ Peterborough Petes 4

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 16 GP, 2-7-9, +2, 12 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 broke a 2-2 third period tie and went on to beat the visiting Steelheads, 4-2.

NHL Game Night: 12-1-16 Lightning at Blues

How many mistakes by #89 do you need to see before you make a move?

TB-4
STL-5

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 16 shots before giving way to Ben Bishop who allowed 1 goal on 10 shots for the dreaded backdoor loss. I can't blame the goaltenders for any of those 5 goals.

First Period
1:39 STL Tarasenko (11), (Parayko)
9:37 STL Tarasenko (12), (Steen, Shattenkirk)(PP)
10:39 TB Paquette (2), (Drouin, Vermin)
13:17 STL Shattenkirk (5), (Steen, Fabbri)(PP)

Second Period
1:44 STL Shattenkirk (6), (Steen, Tarasenko)(PP)
14:25 TB Johnson (8), (Kucherov, Palat)

Third Period
1:41 TB Kucherov (12), (Hedman, Boyle)(PP)
8:11 STL Tarasenko (13), (Fabbri, Shattenkirk)
11:56 TB Paquette (3), (Drouin, Vermin)

Cedric Paquette was the game's third star.

Valiant effort by the Lightning who overcame a ton of early mistakes in this game to make it competitive in the Third Period. There were a lot of silver linings in this loss that hopefully the team can build off, presuming they can correct the stupid mistakes that led to all 5 goals, be it the turnovers than yielded 2 of the goals directly or the penalties that yielded the other 3.

With that said, I'm placing the goat horns firmly upon the brow of Nikita Nesterov. He had two turnovers that led to a penalty and a goal in the first case and a goal directly in the second case. When you couple that with the fact that just before the second mistake he had the tying goal on his stick and missed the net, I'll come out and say it: I'm over 89. The whole calculus with an offensive defenseman is he's supposed to give you a possession and skill advantage that cancels out any negatives at the defensive end of the ice. But when a guy stinks this bad at his decision making in the offensive zone, struggles regularly with corralling pucks and moving them, and doesn't put points on the board when the chances come, why should the Lightning waste 17:00 of ice time on him? I'll take Dylan Blujus over that tomorrow. Cripes, I'll take the ghost of Yves Racine over him right now.

Halfway through the third 10-game segment of the season, the Lightning are in significant trouble with 27 points. They need 9 of 10 possible points to close the segment to stay on playoff pace and 10 of 10 if they want to get to the desired 12 for the segment. That seems incredibly unlikely at this hour, so the question of the night may be just how deep the hole will be that the Lightning have to dig out of once the next 5 game stretch concludes.

Brayden Point was -2 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 12:24.

Joel Vermin had 2 helpers and was +2 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 16:13. He made a definitive statement tonight. He was active and he was dangerous, far more so than fellow call up Bournival. He gave the Lightning exactly what they needed from that transaction. Very impressed.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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