The seemingly never-ending story of Swiss prospect Luca Cunti, St. Cloud State University, and the NCAA Clearinghouse has concluded another chapter and Cunti is one step away from full clearance because of it.
Bolt Prospects has been informed by the Lightning that the NCAA Clearinghouse has approved Cunti for Division I play "academically." The club considers this a major accomplishment on Cunti's part as it necessitated his cramming for and passing the GED.
According to the club, the last remaining hurdle is obtaining Cunti's amateur status through the Clearinghouse and he will be set -- finally -- to play Division I hockey this year for the Huskies. In the meantime, the Lightning reports Cunti is proceeding with his classes and training hard off and on the ice with St. Cloud.
Final approval could come within the next few days, but the club cautions there is "nothing in stone though just yet."
Kind of a mixed bag in this game.
Karri Ramo stopped 20 of 23 shots faced for the win. He was hung out to dry on the Wings two early goals but did manage to retain composure and made some key stops in the second before surrendering a soft goal in the third. More good than bad.
Martin St. Louis potted a pair of goals with double assists going to Jason Ward and Brad Richards. Andre Roy and Andreas Karlsson also had goals. Vaclav Prospal, Craig MacDonald, and Filip Kuba all had individual helpers.
Big winner of the night: Craig MacDonald who probably just made the Lightning's opening night roster by virtue of Ryan Craig's slipped back disc. He had an assist and was +1 with 3 shots on goal to celebrate.
The other big winner of the night: the Lightning power play which might've found a temporary solution with Martin St. Louis filling in for Dan Boyle on the point.
Finally, for the winners, Mike Lundin gets 12:02 of ice time with one shot on goal. However humble that might be, it was more than Janik and Lampman got tonight. The door may be open for Matt Smaby to charge back into the race now if he can play a strong, confident game Thursday night.
I wouldn't label any losers in this game although the quest for Ramo, Mathieu Darche, and Kyle Wanvig looks to be coming to a close. Ramo and Darche look like strong possibilities for recall down the road though.
Victoria Grizzlies 1 @ Powell River Kings 3
W Justin Courtnall, VIC: 0-0-0, 2 PIM
Game Notes: Justin Courtnall did not hit the scoresheet for the Grizzlies in their loss at Powell River, the second time in two nights Victoria has fallen to the Kings. Courtnall, who was called for roughing in the game, has one goal and two assists in six games so far this season for the 1-2-1(Ties)-2 (OTL) Grizzlies.
Lewiston MAINEiacs 1 @ St. John Sea Dogs 6
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-0-0, -3, 4 PIM, 1 SOG
Game Notes: The defending league champion MAINEiacs continue to struggle and their 1-4-0(OTL)-0(SOL) record is the worst in the league. The clubâ€™s loss in New Brunswick Sunday was their fourth loss in a row after opening the season with a win. Ward has no goals and two assists in five games. He is also minus-5 with 12 PIM.
Erik Erlendsson has the lineup for tonight's game against Detroit.
At first blush, it looks like Karri Ramo is going to get the start tonight in net. Count me as in favor of Ramo having about a 34 save shutout tonight and really putting the Lightning brass under the gun. A little controversy is healthy.
More importantly though, Torts is going with seven defensemen and it looks to me like these might be the seven he is currently thinking of keeping in Tampa while Dan Boyle recovers from wrist surgery. Doug Janik and Bryce Lampman will be the #5 and #6 defensemen tonight while Mike Lundin will be the #7. Is this a signal that Matt Smaby is on the outside looking in?