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No Surprises: Trio of Lightning Prospects Make Team Slovakia for U-20 World Junior Championships

The Tampa Bay Lightning will boast at least five prospects at this year's U-20 World Junior Championships as [url=http://www.iihf.com/Hydra/Tournaments_06/output/w20/hydra.iihf.com/data/iihf/output/xml/55/IHM0550SVK_33_1_0.html]Slovakia has announced the inclusion of three Lightning prospects on their tournament roster: Stanislav Lascek, Marek Bartanus and Vladamir Mihalik.[/url] Lascek is a returning member of the Slovakian U-20 team after posting 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points and a +1 rating for Slovakia in last year's tournament. A member of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL, Lascek currently leads that league in scoring with 22 goals and 73 points in 34 games this season. The left winger barely makes the age cut off for the tournament as he will turn 20 early next month. Making his first appearance at the U-20 tournament will be right wing Marek Bartanus. The 2005 4th round pick has struggled offensively this season with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL posting a meager 1 goal and 4 points in 28 games with an attrotious -16 rating for the season. Last year with Slovakia's U-18 team Bartanus had 1 goal, 2 points and a -2 rating in 6 games. Also making his first U-20 appearance is mammoth defenseman Vladamir Mihalik. A member of the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, Mihalik has 2 goals and 8 points with a -9 rating in 32 games this season. Last year for Slovakia at the U-18 tournament, the 2005 1st round pick was scoreless with a +2 rating in 6 games. Slovakia's first game is scheduled for December 27th against Latvia in Kelowna.

It's Official: Smolenak A Member of Team Czech Republic

It's anticlimactic perhaps, but [url=http://www.iihf.com/Hydra/Tournaments_06/output/w20/hydra.iihf.com/data/iihf/output/xml/55/IHM0550CZE_33_1_0.html]it is now official that left wing Radek Smolenak has made the Czech Republic's team for the U-20 World Junior Championships[/url] to be held in Western Canada after Christmas. Smolenak, who plays for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, is currently tied for 19th in that league in scoring with 19 goals and 43 points in 30 games this season. Smolenak played for the Czech Republic in last year's U-18 tournament posting 1 assist in 5 games and a +2 rating. This will be Smolenak's first U-20 tournament. The Czech Republic will open their tournament on December 26th against Latvia in Kamloops.

Lightning CHL Stats (12/12)

The following are the official statistics for Lightning prospects playing within the Canadian Hockey League as of December 12, 2005. Leading the way are Stan Lascek, who’s first in the QMJHL in scoring, Radek Smolenak, who's in the OHL's top-20, and Justin Keller and Blair Jones, both of whom are among WHL scoring leaders. Stanislav Lascek, RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL): 34GP, 22-51-73, 54PIM (+24) Radek Smolenak, LW, Kingston (OHL): 30GP, 19-24-43, 52PIM (Even) Justin Keller, RW, Kelowna (WHL): 30GP, 21-17-38, 24PIM (+7) Blair Jones, C, Moose Jaw (WHL): 33GP, 16-19-27, 35PIM (Even) Mark Tobin, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL): 32GP, 12-11-23, 55PIM (-33)

Game Day 12/11: Falcons at Bruins

Someone needs to throw Brian Eklund a lifeline. SPR-2 PRO-6 Brian Eklund continues to struggle allowing 5 goals on 32 shots faced. The Falcons launched a futile comeback bid with Darren Reid and Norm Milley getting shorthanded talley's in the third period, the latter's coming on a penalty shot. Post mortem from [url=http://ahl.leaguestat.com/stats/statdisplay.php?type=standings&subType=1&season_id=1&&leagueId=4&lastActive=&singleSeason=]TheAHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 12/10: Predators at Lightning

Clean sweep 3-0 for the organization tonight top to bottom. It's a beautiful thing. NSH-3 TB-4 John Grahame stopped 13 of 16 for the win. The shot totals the Lightning have been giving up this season are insanely low, to the point it's contributing to Grahame's poor save percentage. I doubt he's complaining though. Old warhorse Dave Andreychuk had a goal and an assist as did Martin St. Louis. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020433.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 12/10: Bombers at Chiefs

Congratulations to Jonathan Boutin on the first professional shutout of his career. DAY-0 JHN-4 What an excellent job of bouncing back from that 7 goals against performance on the west coast trip. Boutin stopped 32 of 32 tonight to secure the shutout. Well done. Justin Kelly again led the way with a goal and an assist. Adam Henrich and Brandon Elliot both chipped in goals for the Chiefs. Game sheet from [url=http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/ppublic.cgi?action=box&id=2509]ECHL.com.[/url]

Another Tie for Linkopings

Fredrik Norrena's record ran to 14-5-4 today as he and Linkopings played another 2-2 sister kisser against Mora today in Elitserien action. This time is was Mora scoring the dramatic goal late in the third to tie the game on a Mikael Simons power play marker with just 3:32 left in regulation to knot the score. Norrena made 12 saves on a token 14 shots in the contest while Linkopings outshot Mora a stunning 45-14 and still couldn't get the win against Mora goaltender Petri Vehanen. The Elitserien now goes on hiatus until December 27th for the Rosno Cup. Fredrik Norrena will appear in that tournament for Team Finland while his teammate Andreas Holmqvist as well as Djurgardens forward Jimmie Olvestad will appear for Team Sweden joining Anton But for Team Russia in the Rosno Cup festivities. The tournament will begin December 15th as the Czech Republic will square off with Finland and Russia will play before their home crowd against Sweden.

Game Night 12/9: Royals at Chiefs

Oof. RDG-7 JHN-2 Morgan Cey was rocked allowing 6 goals on 25 shots faced. Justin Kelly had two assists for the Chiefs while Brady Greco added a helper of his own. Mike Egener [url=http://www.tribune-democrat.com/cnhi/tribunedemocrat/prosports/local_story_342234627.html]remained out of the lineup for Johnstown with an injury.[/url] Post mortem at [url=http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/ppublic.cgi?action=box&id=2503]ECHL.com.[/url]

Lawrence Scores in First Game as an Ice Dog

Lightning 3rd rounder Chris Lawrence had a goal and an assist in his first game as a Mississauge Ice Dog Thursday night, helping the Ice Dogs to a dramatic 5-4 overtime win over Toronto. Lawrence was traded from Sault Ste. Marie on Monday after failing to live up to heavy expectations placed on him since he was the sixth overall pick in the 2003 OHL Priority Draft. He had just three goals in 29 games for the Soo so far this year. The 6-4 winger started the game on the top line with Jordan Owens and Cody Bass. With Mississauga down 4-0 to start the third, it was Lawrence's power play goal just over three minutes into the period that started a ferocious comeback. The Ice Dogs scored four third period goals, the last coming shorthanded with 25 seconds left in the game. Lawrence had the primary assist on the tying goal, scored by defenseman David Pszenyczny. It was the undrafted Pszenyczny that scored the winner - also shorthanded - 55 seconds into overtime.

Togliatti Defeats Nizhnekamsk in Overtime

Goaltender Vasily Koshechkin improved his record to 13-4-2 for the season today by defeating Nizhnekamsk 3-2 in overtime. Lada's improbable success since the Karjala break salary dump of 3/4 of their payroll has been largely thanks to the Lightning draft pick's goaltending heroics and he has now guided his club into 5th on the Superleague table. Lada's youth hasn't come completely free of cost for Koshechkin though, as he has slipped into a tie with Travis Scott for the league lead in shutouts and his once commanding leads in GAA and save percentage have slowly slipped away. For Koshechkin though, who explicitly chose to stay in Togliatti out of loyalty to the organization, I doubt the loss of any potential personal award will mean much compared to the success of the franchise he elected to stick with despite potential hardships. The Russian Superleague will now go on hiatus until December 21st for the Rosno Cup.
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