The Lightning actually found a way to beat a goaltender standing on his head tonight.
Sean Burke was outstanding stopping 35 of 36 faced for the victory. The Lightning outshot the Islanders 43-36 but Garth Snow was equal to the task until Paul Ranger sprung Martin St. Louis for the game winning short handed goal. Ranger was +1 in 13:21 of ice time with 2 blocked shots. Evgeny Artyukhin played well again in 15:11 of ice time with 3 shots on goal. Ryan Craig was scratched in favor of Dimitry Afanasenkov.
Unfortunately, the win came at a price as forwards Fredrik Modin and Rob DiMaio were forced to leave the game with leg and back injuries. It remains to be seen if the situation is serious enough to warrant recalls from Springfield.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
A year ago Joe Pearce was not playing hockey. As a sophomore, Joe Pearce was not asked to return to Boston College to make room for freshman Cory Schneider. The Eagles did not want him. The Lightning, looking to protect the investment of a 2002 5th round pick, asked Pearce to forego his elligibility and turn pro. Pearce listened to neither, and stayed in school in pursuit of his degree. His patience has paid off.
This year, with Schneider scheduled to be Team USA's starter at the World Junior Championships, Boston College knew they needed an experienced netminder to fill the void in his absence. Joe Pearce answered the call. After defeating Ferris State in a 4-3 shootout win on Friday, Pearce defeated Princeton 5-1 on Saturday to help Boston College win the Denver Cup. Pearce himself was named MVP of the tournament posting a 1.92 GAA and .930 save percentage in the two games. Pearce has a year of NCAA elligibility left after this season. With the Lightning in possession of a glut of goaltending prospects, it's uncertain what Pearce's future with the Lightning will be. But for this weekend, Joe Pearce can definitely savor what he patiently waited for last season.
Finland defeated Switzerland tonight 4-1 to improve their record to 2-2 in the round robin portion of the U20 World Junior Championships. Karri Ramo served the role of backup for the third time in 4 games as Tuukka Rask stopped 32 of 33 shots faced for his second win of the tournament. Finland finishes 3rd in Group A and will advance to the single elimination portion of the tournament. Unfortunately for Lightning prospect Karri Ramo, it looks like his last and only start of the tournament was the game against Team USA Wednesday night.
Slovakia fell 6-0 to Sweden tonight to end the round robin phase of the U20 World Junior Championships 1-3. Stanislav Lascek was held to 1 shot on goal and was a -1. Vladamir Mihalik was held shotless with 2 penalty minutes and a -1 rating. Marek Bartanus was held shotless and was a -2. Slovakia finished 4th out of 5 teams in Group B ahead of only winless Latvia.
Randy Rowe is back, and so are the Chiefs.
Randy Rowe led the way for the Chiefs potting a New Year's Eve hat trick. He wasn't the high man in points, however, as Doug Andress had an outstanding 5 helpers in the contest. Much maligned Lightning prospect Adam Henrich also had an outstanding game potting two goals. All-star Jonathan Boutin, fortunately, didn't have to be as outstanding as last night stopping 31 of 35 for the win.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.