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CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-15-18

Ontario Hockey League

#1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 1 @ #4 Owen Sound Attack 7 (Game 6)
Western Conference Semifinals
Series tied at 3-3

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 0/1 FO
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 8-7-15, +6, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 1/3 FO
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 7-6-13, -1, 6 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

Katchouk and Raddysh set up top prospect Barrett Hayton (2018 draft eligible) for the game-opening goal at 14:41 of the 1st period, but the Attack responded 38 seconds later to knot the score 1-1 at the end of the 1st period, with the Soo also holding an 11-8 advantage on shots. But Owen Sound turned on the afterburners in front of 3000+ fans at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, peppering Soo netminders Matthew Villalta (LAK, 2017 3rd round pick) and Tyler Johnson (undrafted) with 38 shots in the 2nd and 3rd periods. In all, seven different Attack skaters scored, and five notched multi-point games. Owen Sound was facing elimination, down 3-2, and their win forces a Game 7 Tuesday night back in Sault Ste. Marie.

The winner of Tuesday night’s Game 7 will face off against the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL Western Conference finals, who eliminated the Sarnia Sting in six games. The Eastern Conference finals is set with the Hamilton Bulldogs squaring off against the Kingston Frontenacs.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-14-18

Western Hockey League

#1 Moose Jaw Warriors 3 @ #2 Swift Current Broncos 2 (3OT) (Game 6)
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Series tied at 3-3

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 13 GP, 0-0-0, -6, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 71 GP, 7-19-26, +35, 62 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

Sharks free agent signee Jayden Halbgewachs scored a triple-overtime power play goal at the 101:14 mark to stave off a Warriors elimination and force a Game 7 Monday night back at the Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. It was an epic goaltenders dual as Moose Jaw netminder Brody Willms (undrafted) turned aside 58 shots and Swift Current goalie Stuart Skinner (EDM, 2017 3rd round pick) turned away 35.

After a scoreless first period, Former Jets prospect Matteo Gennaro scored a power play goal in the 2nd period, followed by a goal from Tyler Steenbergen (ARI, 2017 5th round pick) early in the 3rd to give Swift Current a 2-0 edge. But then former Lightning and now Rangers prospect Brett Howden put the team on his back, first setting up top prospect Jett Woo (2018 draft eligible) for his 2nd goal of the playoffs, and then scoring the equalizer himself to force the extra sessions.

The winner of Monday night’s Game 7 will draw the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals, who eliminated the Brandon Wheat Kings four games to one.

Juniors Game Night: 4-14-18

United States Hockey League

** Note: Cole Guttman (Dubuque) was placed on injured reserved on December 22nd following the completion of the World Junior A Challenge tournament.

The Dubuque Fighting Saints finished as the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference, but it’s unknown if Guttman will return from injury for the Clark Cup playoffs.

Sioux City Musketeers 2 @ Omaha Lancers 3 (SO)

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 56 GP, 4-25-29, +19, 38 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

F Sammy Walker, SC: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals (USHL): 17 GP, 2-7-9, -6, 4 PIM
’16-’17 Totals (USHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 6 PIM
Season Totals (HS): 31 GP, 35-44-79, 16 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

With playoff berths and #1 seeds on the line, Sioux City and Omaha closed out their 2017-18 USHL regular season campaign Saturday night. The Musketeers needed two points and a couple other teams to lose in order to sneak into the playoffs, and Lancers were in a battle with Waterloo for the #1 seed in the Western Conference.

The Lancers lit the lamp first, just 1:49 into the game, in front of 3700+ home fans at the Ralston Arena. But Luke Johnson (Providence commit) would set up a pair of Sioux City goals later in the 1st period, including a power play goal with one second left in the first, giving the Musketeers a 2-1 lead at the end of the first frame. Johnson was a former captain of Edina high school and teammate of Sammy Walker. Omaha would bury a power play marker of their own in the 2nd period to knot the score, and after a scoreless 3rd period and overtime session, the post season hopes of both teams would be decided by a skills competition. Both goalies turned aside the first 5 rounds of shooters before a pair of Miami (Ohio) commits squared off, with Ryan Savage (2018 draft eligible) finally solving Musketeer goalie Ben Kraws (2018 draft eligible) for the Lancer win.

One point for the shootout loss was not enough for Sioux City to clinch a playoff berth no matter the outcome of the other teams, and that mean that the 2017-18 hockey campaign for Bolt prospect Sammy Walker is for all intents an purposes over. It was a great season for Walker, the recipient of the prestigious Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award as the best high senior hockey player in the state. His helped lead his Edina, MN high school team to a 3rd place finish in the MN Class AA State championships, and his two goals and nine points for the Musketeers in 13 games after his high school season ended was a preview of what might be in store when he dons the Maroon and Gold for the Minnesota Golden Gophers this Fall.

For Omaha, the shootout win was not enough to clinch the top spot in the Western Conference, with Waterloo also winning their game Saturday night. Bolt prospect Nick Perbix and the Lancers will enter the Clark Cup playoffs as the #2 seed in the West.

AHL Game Night: 4-14-18 Americans at Crunch

Skeleton crew Crunch lose regular season finale.

RCH-4
SYR-2

Olivier Mantha allowed 3 goals on 42 shots for the loss. Olivier Who? Exactly.

First Period
11:13 SYR Volkov (22), (Archambault, Verhaeghe)(PP)
13:01 RCH Bailey (10), (Smith, Griffith)(PP)
18:56 RCH Nylander (8), (unassisted)

Second Period
3:22 RCH Ross (7), (Fasching, Guhle)
5:55 SYR Volkov (23), (Spencer, Archambault)

Third Period
18:36 RCH Malone (12), (unassisted)(EN)

Alexander Volkov and Olivier Archambault were the game's second and third stars.

Syracuse iced a roster filled with PTO's and recalls from Adirondack. These two teams will meet again now in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs with a very different Crunch team next time around.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Look Forward to Playoffs After Dropping Season Finale


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Although the teams will meet in the playoffs, the Syracuse game against Rochester Saturday wasn’t much of a preview.

Looking to rest many of their regulars since they already clinched home ice in the first round, the Crunch had a lineup with 11 players who spent time in the ECHL this season and two more who joined the team after the conclusion of their junior seasons.

Alexander Volkov scored twice and Olivier Mantha made 39 saves in his AHL debut, but Syracuse fell to Rochester, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

The North Division Semifinal between the Crunch and Americans starts in Syracuse Friday.

“We’ll see what kind of team we’re going to have next week,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “For me, I expect our team to be ready to play next Friday.”

NHL Playoff Game Day: 4-14-18 Devils at Lightning

Vasilevskiy carries injury fatigued Lightning to the pay window.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

NJ-3
TB-5

Tampa Bay Leads the Series 2-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 44 shots for the victory. He made a fleet of big situational saves in the Third Period with a tired Lightning team having to play down a forward and a defenseman with Callahan and Girardi in the locker room.

First Period
12:15 TB Point (1), (Palat, McDonagh)
13:38 NJ Hiscier (1), (unassisted)

Second Period
3:14 TB Killorn (2), (Kucherov, Stamkos)(PP)
4:36 TB Johnson (2), (McDonagh, Point)
6:01 TB Kucherov (2), (unassisted)
13:12 TB Killorn (3), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
19:34 NJ Vatanen (1), (Greene, Schneider)

Third Period
11:57 NJ Coleman (1), (Zajac, Moore)

Brayden Point, Alex Killorn, and Nikita Kucherov were the game's three stars. Vasilevskiy got hosed by the media.

This was a tale of two games. The Lightning once again completely outclassed New Jersey with their depth and poise through the first 45 minutes of this contest en route to building a massive 5-1 lead. They managed the puck well, only conceding on a clean faceoff loss in their own zone that led to a bad clear off a rebound. I especially liked the second power play goal by Killorn to land the kill shot on New Jersey when the opportunity came to put the game effectively out of reach. What I did not like was how the team played to close out the Second Period thereafter as they lost focus and started turning over pucks and not closing out plays. Bad habit creep in during garbage time and that was starting to happen when things went from bad to worse with Callahan and Girardi going out of the game. Callahan looked to me to either have an issue with his ribs or his shoulder and I didn't see what happened to Girardi. The Lightning came out for the Third Period looking pretty good protecting the three goal lead but looked absolutely dragging tired the last ten minutes of the contest when Vasilevskiy had to sparkle to get it over the finish line.

Now the series shifts to New Jersey and there's still a lot of series left to go here, I think. We'll wait to see the fate of Callahan and Girardi. Girardi's injury could be particularly costly if it draws in Andrej Sustr for what appears on paper to be a terrible matchup against the quick Devils on the road where they have last change. The Lightning have done what they needed to do at home holding serve for the 2-0 lead, but the old wise men will tell you it's not a series until someone wins a road game. The Lightning need to lick their wounds and then play a sober, professional road style in hopes of stealing at least one in Newark to give themselves a shot to eventually close this series out early and prevent further attrition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 15:22. He was also 70% on 10 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-13-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 8 @ ] #14 Moncton Wildcats 3 (Game 5)
Quarterfinals
Armada wins series 4-1

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: Injury Scratch
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 8-5-13, +12, 6 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

The Armada punched their ticket to the QMJHL semifinals, putting up snowman on the Wildcats scoreboard en route to closing out the series on the road. Recently minted Bolt prospect Alex Barré-Boulet sat out the game after leaving Game 4 early with an injury. The Armada was paced by two goals each from Alexander Katerinakis (2018 draft eligible) and Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick), with Katerinakis also serving up a 4-point night. James Phelan (undrafted), by far and away Moncton’s best player in the series, scored and added an assist for the outmatched Wildcats along with Alexander Khovanov (2018 draft eligible). Former Lightning camper Mark Grametbauer (undrafted) was pulled at the 11:22 mark of the 2nd period after allowing Armada’s 5th goal on 18 shots. Matthew Waite (undrafted) would allow just 1 goal on 16 shots for the balance of the game.

Barré-Boulet has time to heal up as Game 1 of the Armada’s semi-finals series against the upstart #9 seed Charlottetown Islanders doesn’t start until Friday, April 20th. The lslanders defeated the #8 seed Quebec Remparts in a Game 7 in Round 1 and then swept #4 seed Halifax Moosehead in Round 2.

Ontario Hockey League

#4 Owen Sound Attack 1 @ #1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 (Game 5)
Western Conference Semifinals
Greyhounds lead series 3-2

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-3-3, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 2/2 FO, *Second Star*
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 8-6-14, +8, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 2/7 FO, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 7-5-12, E, 6 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

Katchouk and Raddysh starred for the Soo in Game 5, helping the Greyhounds take their first lead in the series against the Attack. Katchouk earned Second Star honors, assisting on three of the Soo’s four goals, and Raddysh earned Third Star honors for his goal and assist. Top prospect Barrett Hayton (2018 draft eligible) scored twice for Sault Ste. Marie, in what might be the Soo’s best game of the OHL playoffs thus far. Raddysh scored 58 seconds after Owen Sound’s game-opening goal in the 1st period, and then Hayton gave the Soo a 2-1 lead later in the period with a power play goal. Hayton scored his second in 2nd period to give the Greyhounds some breath room before Raddysh and Katchouk set up Morgan Frost (PHI, 2017 1st round pick) for the empty netter with less than a minute remaining to seal the victory. Despite not scoring a goal in this contest, Katchouk remains tied for 3rd in OHL playoff goals scored. The series shifts back to Owen Sound for Game 6 on Sunday, with the Soo having a chance to a clinch a spot in the Western Conference finals against either the Kitchener Rangers or the Sarnia Sting. Kitchener leads that series 3-2 win Game 6 also scheduled for Sunday.

Western Hockey League

#2 Swift Current Broncos 2 @ #1 Moose Jaw Warriors 0 (Game 5)
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Broncos lead series 3-2

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 12 GP, 0-0-0, -5, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 71 GP, 7-19-26, +35, 62 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

After being down 2-1 in the series, the Broncos have reeled off two straight to take a 3-2 series lead back to Swift Current Saturday night and a chance to advance to the WHL Eastern Conference finals against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Broncos netminder Stuart Skinner (EDM, 2017 3rd round pick) turned away 36 Moose Jaw shots for the road shutout in front of 4700+ Warriors fans at the Mosaic Place. Bolt prospect Oleg Sosunov was on the ice for both Swift Current goals.

Over in the WHL West, Tri-City followed up their 1st round sweep of Kelowna with a 2nd round sweep of Victoriaville and will meet the Everett Silvertips in the Eastern Conference Finals. Everett won both their Round 1 and 2 series 4-1 against Seattle and Portland, respectively.

Juniors Game Night: 4-13-18

United States Hockey League

** Note: Cole Guttman (Dubuque) was placed on injured reserved on December 22nd following the completion of the World Junior A Challenge tournament.

Lincoln Stars 1 @ Omaha Lancers 4

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 55 GP, 4-25-29, +19, 36 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

The Lancers got goals from four skaters and goalie Zach Driscoll (Bemidji State commit) stopped 35 of 36 Lincoln shots to lead the Lancers to the win. Omaha closes out their USHL regular season Saturday against Sammy Walker and the Sioux City Musketeers at Ralston Arena in Omaha. Perbix is one-point shy of a 30-point season going into the Lancers’ final game. Omaha sits one point behind the Waterloo Black Hawks for the best record in the Western Conference.

Sioux City Musketeers 3 @ Tri-City Storm 2

F Sammy Walker, SC: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals (USHL): 16 GP, 2-7-9, -6, 4 PIM
’16-’17 Totals (USHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 6 PIM
Season Totals (HS): 31 GP, 35-44-79, 16 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

The Storm scored a couple of late 3rd period goals to attempt a 3-0 deficit rally to the Musketeers, but Sioux City goalie and Miami (Ohio) commit Ben Kraws (2018 draft eligible) didn’t surrender the third. The Musketeers close out their USHL regular season Saturday against Nick Perbix and the Omaha Lancers at Ralston Arena in Omaha. Sioux City is in a three-way battle with the Chicago Steel and the Cedar Rapid Roughriders for that final 12th slot in the USHL playoffs, although it will a longshot for Musketeers with 59 points to leap frog Chicago with 61 and Cedar Rapids with 60. Chicago is playing Central Illinois, by far the worst team in the league, and Cedar Rapids is playing Madison, the 3rd worst team in the league. With Walker’s NCAA eligibility to play for the Minnesota Gophers next season, there’s no chance he would join the Crunch in the event of Sioux City not making the playoffs.

AHL Game Night: 4-13-18 Crunch at Comets

Crunch knock off another prospective playoff opponent.

SYR-2
UTI-1 (OT)

Eddie Pasquale allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
3:29 SYR Walcott (5), (Tammela, Verhaeghe)
19:35 UTI Carcone (15), (unassisted)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
4:21 SYR Verhaeghe (17), (Volkov, Thomas)

Carter Verhaeghe and Pasquale were the game's first and second stars.

Syracuse became the third Eastern Conference club to hit 100 points for the season with the win. The victory also significantly increased the odds the Crunch will draw the Rochester Americans in the opening round of the postseason.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-12-18 Devils at Lightning

Lightning show off maturity, quality, and professionalism in Game One win.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

NJ-2
TB-5

Tampa Bay Leads the Series 1-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the victory. This wasn't the sharpest Vasilevskiy we've seen because he did seem to struggle a little at times with his rebound control, but he made the situational saves he needed to make and maintained focus despite some long stretches of inactivity in the game. Good performance with room to improve.

First Period
15:00 TB Palat (1), (Johnson, McDonagh)
19:31 TB Johnson (1), (Palat, Point)

Second Period
1:54 TB Gourde (1), (Palat, Sergachev)(PP)
13:55 NJ Hall (1), (unassisted)

Third Period
9:35 NJ Zajac (1), (Hall, Butcher)(PP)
12:14 TB Killorn (1), (Gourde)
18:48 TB Kucherov (1), (unassisted)(EN)

Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson, and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars.

Wow. I'm pretty amazed at what we witnessed tonight. For 82 games the Lightning never really played a disciplined, professional, poised, mature 60 minute game. Tonight, this team just threw the switch from the opening drop tonight and played a nearly flawless, simple, highly mature game. It wasn't without blemishes, such as the Palat turnover on Hall goal that allowed the Devils back into the game, but that was incredible. We saw the high percentage, good habits all over the rink and an intense effort by the Lightning that saw them win an incredibly high percentage of 50/50 pucks.

I'd even say the mistake Palat let the Devils back into the game with a turnover might be a silver lining, because I think the fact the Lightning never really got into garbage time cruise mode should help stave off complacency and bad habits. That's important, because as nice as tonight's win is, if the Lightning come out flat and drop Game Two the Devils will have accomplished what they came to Tampa to do in the first couple of matchups in this series.

I'd say the one big key takeaway from the night is that the Lightning's depth really appeared to give them a tremendous advantage against New Jersey. Both teams were pretty successful in nullifying the other's top lines, so the game really came down to the fact the Lightning have three pretty decent scoring lines and the checking line was also solid tonight, whereas New Jersey didn't really have a lot depth-wise that looked threatening. So long as the Lightning manage the puck well and don't give away unearned scoring chances, that depth advantage should carry them to a series win.

Anthony Cirelli was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 14:20. He was also 56% on 9 draws. Cirelli continued to play like a young man with an old soul in this game and impressed in one encounter in the corner against ex-Lightning forward Brian Boyle where he used body position and guile to stay strong on the puck despite a significant size disadvantage. You get the feeling that with a summer of intense training to get his body even more NHL ready that Cirelli could become a quiet beast.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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