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CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-30-2015

Ontario Hockey League
Western Conference Finals

West-2 Erie Otters 2 @ West-1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM
Playoff Totals: 12 GP, 0-15-15, +14, 14 PIM
With SSM: 26 GP, 15-36-51, +33, 51 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 25-64-89, +34, 115 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

The Greyhounds forced a Game 6 with a close-fought, 4-2 win at home Thursday night. The Soo outshot Erie 28-13 through two periods, but the score was 1-1 entering the final frame. The teams traded goals before Bryan Moore scored at 12:55 to give the Soo a 3-2 lead. They added an empty net shorthanded goal with DeAngelo in the box for delay of game in the final minute. DeAngelo had his first assist in his last four games played. Game 6 is Saturday in Erie.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-29-15

Western Hockey League
Eastern Conference Finals

East-1 Brandon Wheat Kings 8 @ East-2 Calgary Hitmen 3
Brandon leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 15 GP, 0-4-4, -2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

After an overtime loss in Game 3, Brandon made a statement in Game 4, thrashing the Hitmen 8-3. The Wheat Kings can close out the series Friday night.

Crunch Swept By Penguins in First Round


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Down to the final buzzer, the Syracuse Crunch couldn't find a way out of their slump.

The Crunch tied the score late in the first period but the Penguins finished with three power play goals and goalie Matt Murray shut the door with 33 saves, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beat Syracuse, 5-2, in Game 3 the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

The Crunch lost 12 of their final 13 games and was swept 3-0 in the series.

"I thought we had a great run up until the last three weeks of the season," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "I didn't see a lot of ups and downs. I saw a pretty consistent hockey team that won a lot of games and worked extremely hard and played really well."

NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-29-15 Red Wings at Lightning

Bishop rises up.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game Seven

DET-0
TB-2

Tampa Bay Wins the Series 4-3

Ben Bishop stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shutout win in the clutchest of clutch moments. He was not on his game to start, fighting the puck hard for the first 25 minutes or so of the game. But, the longer it went on, the stronger Bishop got. By the end, Bishop looked sharp as a razor and ready to hand out his brand of U of Maine Justice in the postseason for the very first time. It's appropriate that on the night of Bobby Taylor's last broadcast at color of Sun Sports that his fellow Goalies Union, Local 813 member stole the show.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
3:58 TB Coburn (1), (Callahan, Killorn)
18:42 TB Stralman (1), (Bishop)(EN)

The Lightning pilfered this one. They were incredibly nervous and played about 45 minutes of scared, hot potato hockey. That said, they hustled, they worked hard, and they capitalized on the break when it came to them on Coburn's goal. It wasn't pretty. Cripes, even the anthem singer was playing hurt. But, in the end, figuring out how to pull out a series like this is so critically important for an extremely young team trying to make a transition to becoming an elite franchise. Now that they have that experience, it's going to get easier from here on out because they've lived through a tight series against a difficult, veteran opponent where they had to overcome a lot of adversity. It bodes well for the Montreal series and on into the future.

It also bodes well, in a weird way, that Stamkos and Kucherov still couldn't get a goal. For those two guys to go 7 games without a goal has to be the very definition of, "due." If I were the Canadiens, I'd be pretty terrified because if either of those guys get 1, especially Stamkos, the floodgates are liable to open. Both players had ten bell opportunities they just missed in Game Seven.

Going against hometown Montreal, might we also see Jonathan Drouin again starting Friday? It still seems that Stamkos needs a little more speed/skill on his wing, and Drouin has it. Just sayin'.

Nikita Nesterov had 1 shot in 10:02. For the little he played, he was very assertive and nearly won the game himself with a near end to end rush on one power play. He's forced his way into the lineup and forced Cooper and the staff to play 7 defensemen.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-29-15 Penguins at Crunch

Too little, too late.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game Three

WBS-5
SYR-2

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wins the Series 3-0

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 23 shots for the loss. He finishes the playoffs with the ugly 0-3 mark and an .833 save percentage after seeing his regular season save percentage slip to .900 at the finish line. He's a prospect at a crossroads.

First Period
WBS Wilson, (1) (Sheary, Ebbett), 7:53 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (1) (Witkowski, Peca), 16:53

Second Period
WBS Sheary, (1) (Kostopoulos, Pouliot), 2:39

Third Period
WBS Sheary, (2) (Wilson, Dumoulin), 1:59 (PP)
WBS Pouliot, (1) (Kapanen, Chorney), 4:30 (PP)
SYR Richard, (1) (Koekkoek, Gourde), 5:36
WBS Ebbett, (1) (Uher), 18:42 (EN)

Yanni Gourde was the game's second star.

This team accomplished a lot of good things this season, particularly when you look at the development of their young defensemen. It's a shame they just ran out of gas at the end of the season, because they showed amazing resiliency and the ability to really fight above their weight class all season long. There are some reinforcements coming in the way of some top Lightning prospects like Erne and DeAngelo next season, but it'll be critical for the team to find the right mix of veterans and semi-veterans to form the heart of the team next year.

We'll see which prospects go up top to join Tampa Bay as Black Aces. For the ones that do, it'll be a great opportunity to see what the big time is like up close.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-28-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Semifinals

QMJHL-2 Moncton Wildcats 0 @ QMJHL-4 Quebec Remparts 7
Quebec wins best-of-7 series, 4-0

W Adam Erne, QUE: 2-2-4, +5, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 3 Hits, *Second Star*
Playoff totals: 15 GP, 15-5-20, +11, 6 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 41-45-86, +21, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Adam Erne scored 1:13 into Game 4, and five minutes later had an assist and another goal to give Quebec an early 3-0 lead. Kurt Etchegary (undrafted) added on a natural hat trick and Quebec coasted to a 7-0 elimination-game win over the higher-ranked Moncton Wildcats. Erne is now averaging a goal a game in the playoffs. The Remparts await the winner of Rimouski-Val-d’Or, which is currently 3-0 Rimouski, in the QMJHL Finals.

Ontario Hockey League
Western Conference Finals

West-1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 @ West-2 Erie Otters 7
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 0-14-14, +14, 12 PIM
With SSM: 26 GP, 15-36-51, +33, 51 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 25-64-89, +34, 115 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

Anthony DeAngelo was back in the Soo lineup after missing Game 3 due to an injury. DeAngelo continued to quarterback the Greyhounds’ power play, but was unable to shoot with any force due to the injury. The Otters tried to shut off passing lanes as DeAngelo became predictable before managing to get at least one wrist shot on net. The game was tied 4-4 late before Erie exploded for two goals. SSM got it back within one before an empty net goal. DeAngelo took a late penalty with the frustrated Greyhounds down 6-4 and Connor McDavid on a breakaway looking to put the game away. McDavid was stopped, but at the other end DeAngelo got into a shoving match with an Erie defenseman. The ref watched closely as DeAngelo gave the defenseman a closed-hand glove to the jaw and called the penalty. DeAngelo was back on the ice with the goalie pulled down one, but the Nicholas Baptiste (Sabres) scored his fourth goal of the game. McDavid (future Oiler) had four assists. Game 5 is back in the Soo on Thursday.

Western Hockey League
Eastern Conference Finals

East-1 Brandon Wheat Kings 1 @ East-2 Calgary Hitmen 2 (OT)
Brandon leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 0-4-4, -2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

Calgary scored on their second shot of overtime to beat the visiting Wheat Kings and get back in the series. Ben Thomas was on the ice for the OT winner. Game 4 is Wednesday in Calgary.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-27-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Semifinals

QMJHL-2 Moncton Wildcats 1 @ QMJHL-4 Quebec Remparts 5
Quebec leads best-of-7 series, 3-0

W Adam Erne, QUE: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 4 Hits, *Third Star*
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 13-3-16, +6, 6 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 41-45-86, +21, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Quebec returned home but kept the momentum in the series, winning 5-1 and taking a commanding 3-0 series lead. Adam Erne scored for the second straight game. The Remparts can break out the brooms on Friday.

NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-27-15 Lightning at Red Wings

You gotta believe, daddy!

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game Six

TB-5
DET-2

Series Tied 3-3

Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the victory. Would he get style points for how he played tonight? Likely not. He looks nicked up and he was fighting the puck a bit all night long. Buy he battled like a maniac to get the job done.

First Period
3:47 TB Johnson (5), (Kucherov, Hedman)
11:10 TB Garrison (1), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Second Period
9:09 TB Johnson (6), (Palat, Kucherov)
12:26 DET Tatar (2), (Kronwall)(PP)

Third Period
1:39 DET Tatar (3), (Datsyuk)
14:51 TB Killorn (2), (unassisted)
19:03 TB Paquette (1), (unassisted)(SH)(EN)

Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov were the game's first two stars.

It's hard not to be proud of the way the Lightning played tonight. It was gritty and gutty. They were being physically assaulted by Detroit throughout the game as uncalled interference escalated to uncalled head shots like Kronwall's obvious elbow to the chin of Kucherov. They battled on. In fact, the refs took it a step further and decided they were going to punish Jon Cooper for openly questioning the lack of interference calls in this series by awarding Detroit a 7-2 power play advantage and allowing Detroit to get away with anything short of murder in this contest. True, they blew a call that led to the Lightning's third goal on an uncalled trip in the neutral zone, but fairness never entered into the equation tonight. It was 7-on-5, at best, most of the night, but unlike the Montreal series last year the Lightning battled on.

And, yes, I'm deliberately mocking Coach Babcock's mindless platitudes earlier about fighting through his team's clearly illegal strategy of throwing the kitchen sink at the faster, more skilled Lightning team to try to nullify their athletic advantage. It was a pretty overt admission his team is cheating their rear ends off, couched in some hot garbage about having the heart of a champion. Whatever. He and his gaggle of clutch and grab cheap shot artists can battle their rear ends onto a charter flight to Tampa for Game Seven on Wednesday.

The Lightning made a conscious decision tonight to stay true to themselves. It's not easy when things are stacked up against you to stay in character and not deviate from your structure. In fact, when guys start trying to execute flying elbows on your star players, it's a whole lot easier to let things degenerate into an Ultimate Fighting match, which appeared to be Detroit's preference at times tonight. The Lightning played their brand of hockey, got the all important first goal, and won. Note: that's the key. If you get one on Mrazek, chances are he's going to give up 2-3 more, often quickly, so the same recipe will be required for Game Seven success. It wasn't perfect. The power play was still 0-for-2 and neither Stamkos nor Kucherov managed their first goals of the postseason. But, hey, that just means they're due in the biggest game of the year on Wednesday, right?

Coach Cooper said tonight they exhibited that they learned something from the Montreal series last year. True. But, I think they learned 10x more protecting that lead in the Third Period. The plays made by young guys like Paquette, Sustr, Killorn, etc. are all invaluable experience that will help this team turn the corner from a regular season team to a team that can confidently do business in the second season. I really liked what I saw on that front.

On a side note: that steal, deke, and insurance score by Alex Killorn? That man has a way of scoring big goals, doesn't he?

Nikita Nesterov had 1 hit in 5:16. The Lightning coaches weren't going to let Detroit matchup against him at even strength and with the Lightning only getting 2 power plays out of the zebras, Nesterov didn't see the ice very much. Understandable.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-26-15

Ontario Hockey League
Western Conference Finals

West-1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 2 @ West-2 Erie Otters 4
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: Did not play
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 0-14-14, +14, 10 PIM
With SSM: 26 GP, 15-36-51, +33, 51 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 25-64-89, +34, 115 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

Anthony DeAngelo was out of the lineup Sunday as the Soo fell on the road to Erie, 4-2, despite outshooting the Otters, 35-22. DeAngelo is reportedly injured and considered day-to-day and “close.” Connor McDavid had two more goals for Erie to give him 18 in 12 playoff games. Game 4 is Tuesday in Erie.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-25-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Semifinals

QMJHL-4 Quebec Remparts 4 @ QMJHL-2 Moncton Wildcats 3
Quebec leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

W Adam Erne, QUE: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 3 Hits
Playoff totals: 13 GP, 12-3-15, +5, 6 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 41-45-86, +21, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

The Remparts upset the Wildcats yet again, defeating Moncton 4-3 Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Adam Erne scored his 12th goal of the playoffs in 13 games. Quebec has now won seven straight games, dating back to Game 7 vs Cape Breton in the first round. They’ll try to make it eight straight on Monday back in Quebec City.

Western Hockey League
Eastern Conference Finals

East-2 Calgary Hitmen 2 @ East-1 Brandon Wheat Kings 3 (OT)
Brandon leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 13 GP, 0-4-4, -3, 2 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

Brandon scored on their second shot of overtime to put away the Hitmen, 3-2, in Game 2. The Wheat Kings will travel to Calgary with a 2-0 series lead. Ben Thomas’ club did better than the 9-4 drubbing in Game 1, but will have a lot of work to do to get back in the series.

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