Ashton, Carter

AHL Game Night: 2-21-15 Senators at Crunch

Floodgates open.

BNG-3
SYR-5

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the victory, as he bathed in sweet goal support.

First Period
BNG Camper, (9) (Prince, Schneider), 3:46
SYR Dotchin, (4) (Angelidis, Ikonen), 6:59
SYR Ashton, (5) (Gourde, Koekkoek), 19:45

Second Period
SYR Vermin, (9) (Namestnikov, Marchessault), 1:32
BNG Thompson, (6) (McCormick, Kramer), 8:24

Third Period
SYR Angelidis, (16) (Ashton, Gourde), 7:53 (PP)
BNG Greening, (5) (Mullen), 14:48 (SH)
SYR Gourde, (18) (Angelidis, Richard), 19:37 (EN)

Mike Angelidis, Carter Ashton, and Joel Vermin were the game's three stars.

You get a power play goal and it turns out to be the game winner. Funny how that works. Syracuse remains in second in the Eastern Conference, just 1 point shy of Manchester.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-6-15 Sound Tigers at Crunch

Syracuse backs into the AHL's top spot.

BRI-2
SYR-1 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the OT loss. Quality start for the Yak.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
BRI Graham, (3) (Conacher, Mouillierat), 7:41
SYR Namestnikov, (9) (Gourde, Smith), 8:37

Overtime
BRI Mouillierat, (16) (Graham), 3:36

Gudlevskis was the game's second star.

The point from the OTL moves Syracuse into a tie with Oklahoma City for the top spot in the AHL and moves their edge in the Eastern Conference to 2 points over Manchester.

The big news of the day, however, was the Lightning's acquisition of Carter Ashton and David Broll in exchange for a conditional 7th round pick in 2016. Ashton, of course, is a former Lightning first round pick who was shipped out of the organization in exchange for Keith Aulie (a deal we can now safely say neither team won). He's an accomplished power forward at the AHL level who should fill nicely for the injured Mike Blunden. Broll, a former 6th rounder in 2011, brings muscle, albeit not much else. He was playing for the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL prior to today's transaction.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Tampa Acquires Keith Aulie from Leafs

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Keith Aulie from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Carter Ashton, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Aulie, 6-foot-6, 217 pounds, has played in 17 games with the Maple Leafs this season, collecting two assists and 16 penalty minutes. He’s also skated in 23 games with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, recording one assist and 30 penalty minutes.

The Regina, Saskatchewan native has played in 57 career NHL games, recording two goals and four points to go along with 48 penalty minutes. Aulie scored his first career NHL goal last season on March 8 against the NY Islanders.

The 22 year-old has skated in 107 career AHL games with the Marlies and Abbotsford Heat, posting five goals and 16 points. He represented the Marlies at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey, PA last season.

He was originally selected by the Calgary Flames at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in the fourth round, 116th overall.

AHL Game Day: 2-26-12 Admirals at Penguins

Coach Cooper sets the Admirals record with the team's 9th straight win.

NOR-3
WBS-2

Dustin Tokarski stopped 28 of 30 for his 25th win of the season. He moves one ahead of Ben Bishop, who was traded to the Senators organization today, into the top spot in the AHL in wins, and he has to be the odds on favorite to lead the AHL at season's end after the trade. Even if the Sens leave Bishop in Bingo, Binghamton is dead last in the East Division, so he won't have a very good team in front of him. Tokarski has a 4 win advantage on the next closest goaltenders beyond Bishop. So, it's really his to lose. He's now 7-1-0 in February with 2 shutouts, a 2.00 GAA, and a .926 save percentage, so he certainly should be in line for some award consideration come March 1st, too.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
WBS Street, (18) (Grant, Mormina), 12:27 (PP)
NOR Barberio, (9) (Johnson, Segal), 17:02 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Cote, (1) (Johnson), 4:44
WBS Picard, (4) (Craig, Gibbons), 9:50
NOR Ashton, (19) (Dimmen, Conacher), 17:56 (PP)

Carter Ashton and Jean-Philippe Cote were the game's first and third stars. Alexandre Picard was the game's second star, but it was their Alexandre Picard, the former Lightning defenseman, and not the current Lightning farmhand. Ashton snapped a 9-game goalless streak with the tally, and he's now 1 shy of the 20-goal plateau in his rookie campaign.

With 2 assists today, Tyler Johnson continued his hot February. He's got 3 goals and 11 points in his last 8 games, and he's actually 3 points ahead of Ashton for second among Norfolk rookies behind the uncatchable Cory Conacher.

Glad to see Richard Panik not miss any time after the dirtiness in Hershey yesterday. As I said, that will get cleaned up on Wednesday, I'm sure.

Let me be the first to pronounce Bolt Prospects as the official campaign headquarters for Jon Cooper's (pictured with the Godfather of Lightning hockey) bid for AHL Coach of the Year. 9 straight wins snaps the previous franchise record for the Admirals, and when you consider there's 4 Admirals regulars with Tampa Bay right now due to injuries and trades, you realize how amazing a coaching job he's been doing. The other thing you really have to commend is how he's blended so many rookies into the winning formula. Jeff Dimmen, Ondrej Palat, Panik, Ashton, Johnson, and Conacher: that's 6 rookies he's coached up and worked into the rotation of a team that now is tied for tops in the entire AHL in points. And they're not the only rookies who have contributed. Philip-Michael Devos has also been a regular in this lineup, as well. It's been a remarkable job so far, and Julien BriseBois and Steve Yzerman have every right to break their arms slapping each other on the back for that hire. He's been damned good.

Norfolk now holds a 4 point lead on the Penguins for 1st place in the East Division and an 8 point lead on 3rd place Hershey, with the Bears holding a game in hand. They've also moved into 1st in the Eastern Conference by 2 points over St. John's, although the Ice Caps have a formidable 4 games in hand. For the moment, though, the Admirals are tied for tops in the AHL in points, and are tops in wins, goals, and goal differential (+47!).

Wednesday, they'll have the opportunity to put Hershey firmly behind the 8-ball with a 4-point game at Scope that could allow the Admirals to bury their arch-rivals in a 10-point hole that will be very difficult for Hershey to climb out of. The rest of the week holds a 2-game set on Friday and Saturday against a very mediocre Springfield Falcons team. So, Norfolk's got a big-time opportunity to keep the momentum rolling and really extend their lead in the East Division and start to set their sites higher on being the best team in the Eastern Conference and even the entire AHL. It's really, really exciting times.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-17-12 Crunch at Admirals

And, Nacho kicks the extra point!

SYR-4
NOR-7

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 22 shots for the victory. Much like Dwayne Roloson against the Sharks last night, here's a young man who loves his goal support. Despite his ugly save percentage on the night, by collecting his 23rd win of the year, Tic moved back into a tie with Peoria's Ben Bishop for the league lead in wins.

First Period
NOR Kostka, (8) (Johnson, Smith), 2:43 (SH)

Second Period
SYR Holzapfel, (9) (Jacques, Caputi), 5:07 (PP)
SYR McMillan, (8) (Sexton, Carle), 9:37
NOR Johnson, (18) (Conacher, Fornataro), 16:11 (PP)
NOR Picard, (3) (Smith, Palat), 19:16 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Conacher, (29) (Oberg, Barberio), 5:45
SYR Holzapfel, (10) (Gordon), 5:58
NOR Angelidis, (12) (Kostka), 9:57 (SH)
NOR Smith, (21) (Kostka, Oberg), 12:00 (PP)
NOR Labrie, (12) (Dimmen, Conacher), 13:00
SYR Schofield, (7) (Palmieri), 14:40

Mike Kostka and Trevor Smith were the game's first and second stars. Kostka, for the moment, sits in a tie for 5th amongst all defensemen at 31 points in 48 games. Mark Barberio still paces the field at 43 points in 51 games, and he's opened up a 4 point gap on second place.

Lost in the sizable shadow of Kostka and Barberio, though, has been the play of suitcase virtuoso Evan Oberg (pictured). He now has 16 points in 33 games this season, but the bulk of those points have come recently. He has 10 points in his last 10 contests, which is impressive while pulling dual duty in between his role as the Mayor of Concourse B at Norfolk International Airport.

Ondrej Palat has 5 points in his last 4 games. Impressive, but Tyler Johnson raised Palat with 7 points over the same span. It took nearly 5 months, but Johnson has run down fellow rookie Carter Ashton in both points and goals. The two are now knotted up at 18 goals a piece and TJ's now moved 1 point ahead of Ashton at 35 for the season.

Lapping the entire field of rookies, league-wide, is phenom Cory Conacher. His 29 goals and 60 points are 4th amongst all scorers, and his tally tonight moved him out of a 3-way tie for the top spot in goals. Consider the possibilities, Lightning fans. The organization could have the goal scoring champions at both the NHL and AHL levels in the same season. That's quite the feather in the Lightning's cap.

Norfolk's victory allows them to keep pace with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the top spot in the East Division, and by virtue of Hershey losing a 6-0 decision to Providence, they've opened up a 3 point lead on the third place Bears. Winning the East Division looks like it may be CRITICAL to the Admirals' chances come the playoffs. They want to avoid a possible 4/5 matchup against the Bears or Penguins in the first round and get a less experienced club from the Atlantic or Northeast in the first round, instead.

The Admirals rematch Syracuse tomorrow. As always, we stress how difficult it is to beat the same team on back-to-back nights, especially when you thump them the first night. Let's see if Norfolk has learned that lesson yet.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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