Jake Dotchin perched himself near the top of the circle, anticipated the pass from his defensive partner, and leaned into a booming one-timer.
The Crunch defenseman’s shot went through a crowd and into the back of the net to cut the Americans’ lead to one late in the third period, but Syracuse couldn’t complete the comeback against Rochester Saturday.
Although his primary role isn’t putting up points, Dotchin felt relieved to finally get his first goal of the season.
“It felt really good,” Dotchin said. “It was a long time coming -- at least it felt that way for me -- and it was nice to get it off my shoulders. It would have been nicer in a win, but it’s nice to feel that goal celebration again and be in the same spot where I’m used to scoring from and show my shot off.”
Emery opens the door in the Third Period. Will Gudlevskis step through it.
Ray Emery allowed 6 goals on 26 shots for the loss in his first full game of action in the preseason. The stat line is ugly, especially in the Third Period where he allowed 3 goals on 9 shots. My theory remains the same: I think the Lightning would be thrilled for Kristers Gudlevskis to take the backup job in October and November until Vasilevskiy returns, but they're not going to hand it to him. He has to win it from Emery and right now Emery opened the door to Kristers.
0:42 TB Namestnikov (1), (Nesterov, Drouin)(PP)
4:17 DAL Lindell (1), (Honka, Shore)(PP)
11:09 DAL Seguin (1), (Klingberg, Sharp)
13:24 TB Drouin (1), (Blujus, Marchessault)(PP)
18:21 DAL Sharp (1), (Seguin, Smith)
2:01 TB Koekkoek (1), (Gourde, McGinn)
4:59 DAL Ully (1), (Smith, Goligoski)
6:47 DAL Seguin (2), (Ranford, Johns)
7:18 DAL Ranford (1), (Shore, Lindell)
The result tonight wasn't terribly surprising. This was another case of Dallas playing most of their NHLers against a depleted Lightning lineup that was sitting out its top two lines and best defensemen. Still, it's disappointing to have a game tied 3-3 early in the Third Period and then surrender 3 goals in less that 2 and a half minutes to spoil it. You'll no doubt see cuts en masse now as Syracuse Crunch camp is about to start overseas.
Matt Taormina was -1 with 2 blocked shots in 21:34. He'll likely be packing for Crunch camp now. I don't anticipate a lot of danger that he'll be plucked off waivers.
Slater Koekkoek had a goal and was -1 with 2 shots in 18:37. He's played well. I wouldn't be shocked to see him get an extended look, but I'd guess the nature of Syracuse's overseas camp probably makes it harder to keep him with Tampa Bay.
Brayden Point was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:19. He was also 23% on 13 draws. He's just a puppy, age-wise, and I'd expect the Lightning to pull the trigger here soon to send him back for his final season of junior hockey.
Tanner Richard was -1 with 2 shots and 3 hits in 13:55. He was also 36% on 11 draws. Suspect he'll have some family and friends make the trip over from Switzerland to watch him during Crunch camp.
Jonathan Marchessault had a helper and was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 15:30. Maybe a slight chance he'll get plucked off of waivers if the Lightning do indeed choose to make the move right now.
Philippe Paradis was -1 with 5 hits in 11:41. Crunch camp, no doubt.
Luke Witkowski was -1 with 3 blocked shots in 17:16. I believe he's waiver eligible, too, but suspect he'll make it through.
Henri Ikonen was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 4 blocked shots in 13:54. Another likely Crunch camper.
Yanni Gourde had a helper and was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 16:09. Another likely Crunch camper.
Dylan Blujus had a helper and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 20:21. Third on the team in ice time tonight. I've been pretty pleased how he and Dotchin have played along side the more obvious suspects like Koekkoek and DeAngelo. He's another likely Crunch camper, but the Lightning should feel a lot better about their future at that position than they did at this time even a year ago.
Nikita Nesterov had a helper and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 21:19. Just 1 shot on goal? Does Nikki have a cold?
All is right with the world...
Ben Bishop stopped all 18 shots he faced for the win before giving way to Kristers Gudlevskis, who allowed 1 goal on 18 shots the rest of the way. My going theory on the backup job the first two months of the regular season is this: the Lightning would be perfectly comfortable signing Ray Emery, but they'd really prefer to give Gudlevskis the gig. A solid performance like that is very helpful to Gudlevskis' cause.
12:29 TB Kucherov (1), (Peca, Namestnikov)
1:45 TB Condra (1), (Boyle, Erne)
10:59 TB Peca (1), (Callahan, Namestnikov)
12:26 TB Kucherov (2), (Drouin, Stamkos)
9:05 FLA Trocheck (1), (Pirri, Jokinen)(PP)
The Lightning may only be 1-1-1 through 3 games of the preseason, but I think the organization has to be pretty elated with everything so far, on balance. Emery and Gudlevskis have both played pretty well in their half game auditions and Wilcox showed potential. The younger guys you would hope will step up in Tampa Bay this coming season (Drouin, Namestnikov, Brown, etc.) have all played pretty well. Condra's seemingly fitting in seamlessly in that lower line equation. Key performers who will be counted on to step up for Syracuse this year like Peca are playing well and the wave of young defensemen who will probably start making their way to Tampa the second half of the year like Koekkoek, DeAngelo, Blujus, and Dotchin have all been pretty solid. Other than Sustr's performance in the second preseason game, I'd say the Lightning have checked off a lot on their to-do list thus far.
Mike Angelidis had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot and was 40% on 10 draws in 11:46.
Anthony DeAngelo had 2 penalty minutes in 18:26.
Slater Koekkoek was +3 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 18:21. He'll be in Tampa Bay by the playoff stretch of the season at the latest, in my opinion.
Joel Vermin had 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 13:48.
Jake Dotchin was +3 with 2 shots in 18:46.
Peca had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +2 in 14:09. He also had 3 shots and was perfect on the 2 draws he took. It's an interesting question we've had among the Bolt Prospects staff when it comes to Peca: just how good will he be? I think our minimum expectation, based on his body of work at Quinnipiac, is that he'll be an AHL star (call it the Cory Conacher level), but will he go beyond it to become a smallish NHL star (the Tyler Johnson level)? Only time will tell, but he's had a strong start to this season, which is great to see.
Yanni Gourde had 1 hit in 11:43.
Adam Erne had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot in 13:25.
Nikita Nesterov was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 5 shots, and 3 hits in 19:41. Team high in shots. Wish I could inject that gene in one or two other Lightning players every season.
Overmatched Lightning B squad falls on the road.
7:47 NSH Neal (1), (Josi, Fiala)
8:40 NSH Weber (1), (Ribeiro, Wilson)(PP)
16:14 NSH Smith (1), (Josi, Bartley)
4:31 NSH Smith (2), (Wilson, Ribeiro)
6:39 TB Namestnikov (1), (Blunden, Peca)(PP)
10:14 TB Brown (1), (Tambellini)
17:47 NSH Sissons (1), (Arvidsson, Moses)(PP)
I don't want to call this a throw away game, but this was essentially sticking the Palat/Johnson/Kucherov line on a depleted Syracuse Crunch roster and putting them up against darned near all of the Nashville Predators opening night roster. The Preds had about a 4 to 1 experience advantage in the lineup tonight, and it showed in the final score. The good news is the Lightning managed to staunch the bleeding pretty well after it got to 4-0 and got some production from lower line guys like Namestnikov and Brown (good for Tampa Bay) and Blunden, Peca, and Tambellini (good for Syracuse). The only thing that gives me any real pause is Andrej Sustr getting a -3 hung on him, which continues the bleeding from his playoff run of last year.
Tanner Richard had 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 14:56. He was also 60% on draws.
Jonathan Marchessault was -1 with 3 shots and was 50% on draws in 15:07.
Philippe Paradis was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:12.
Luke Witkowski stayed clean in 19:48 of ice time.
Jake Dotchin fought a Predator and had 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 18:33.
Matthew Peca had a helper and was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 15:02. He only took 2 draws and was 0-for-2.
Dominik Masin was -2 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 17:45. I'd imagine he's ticketed for Peterborough come tomorrow, but we'll see.
Daniel Walcott had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 18:23. He's becoming a favorite on the website.
Nikita Nesterov had 2 penalty minutes and 5 shots in 21:05. You never have to ask Nesterov to put pucks on net. He starts shooting from the parking lot.
Peaking at the right time?
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 41 shots for the victory. Bridgeport made a big push in the Third Period, outshooting Syracuse 19-7 and getting a couple of goals, but Gudlevskis was ultimately able to get Syracuse over the finish line to secure the win.
SYR Angelidis, (19) (Ashton, Gourde), 2:41 (PP)
BRI Quine, (19) (Mayfield, Pelech), 15:36
SYR Martindale, (12) (Kunyk, Marchessault), 3:06
SYR Dotchin, (6) (Mormina, Marchessault), 14:31 (PP)
BRI Jeffrey, (22) (Ness), 5:21
SYR Vermin, (10) (Courtnall, Angelidis), 9:48
BRI McMillan, (3) (Sundstrom, Vaughan), 17:26
The game got a little nasty in the Second Period, with matching ejections that led to Carter Ashton's early departure from the game for being involved in a secondary altercation.
Note that none of the Crunch's recent ATO signees, including highly touted Brayden Point, made their debuts tonight. More additions could be on the way with goaltender Adam Wilcox and Minnesota already knocked out of the NCAA Tournament tonight and Matthew Peca's Quinnipiac Bobcats down 3-0 early in the Second Period at the time of this posting. Both highly touted prospects could possibly make an immediate contribution at the AHL level.
Syracuse leapfrogs over Hershey into the second seed with the win. They're 4 points behind Manchester for the top spot in the conference (and the league) with the Monarchs holding a game in hand. The Crunch have 10 games left in the regular season, which is a nice time to go on a tear like the current, ongoing 4 game winning streak.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Jake Dotchin picked up where he left off.
The rookie defenseman, who netted his first professional goal two periods before blocking a shot that injured his ankle on Dec. 5, needed little time to knock off any rust when he returned to the Syracuse Crunch lineup late last month.
Dotchin realizes the ups and downs come with the territory.
“I remember blocking that shot. It wasn’t a goal, but it felt like one to the guys and to me,” Dotchin said. “The guys were patting me on the back and what-not. It was unfortunate that I was out for that long, but it’s something I’d go down and do that for the team again, for sure.”
Comeback Crunch find their PP.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 17 shots for the victory. He had light work in his first game as the clear starter since Vasilevskiy's recall, as the team in front of him outshot Hartford by a staggering 45-17 margin.
HFD Haggerty, (8) (Mueller), 2:50
HFD Hrivik, (8) (Allen, Kristo), 10:49 (PP)
SYR Dotchin, (3) (Namestnikov, Gourde), 10:18 (PP)
SYR Smith, (10) (Koekkoek, Gourde), 14:39 (PP)
SYR Dodero, (1) (Namestnikov, Gourde), 15:55
Charlie Dodero, Yanni Gourde, and Jake Dotchin were the game's three stars. Syracuse overcame a 2 goal deficit in the Third Period by getting a pair of power play goals from their typically dreadful extra man units. They ended up 2-for-6 on the game.
Syracuse maintains a 1 point lead atop the Eastern Conference over the Manchester Monarchs. They also opened up a 6 point lead on Hartford in the division and hold a 7 point lead over the cratering Springfield Falcons.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Track meet in Syracuse.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the victory. He was not on top of his game and was lucky to be the recipient of a touchdown's worth of goal support.
SYR Marchessault, (11) (Namestnikov, Blunden), 1:09
RCH Varone, (10) (Catenacci, Austin), 1:45
RCH Irwin, (6) (Schaller, D'Amigo), 2:23
SYR Dotchin, (2) (Richard, Vermin), 8:21 (PP)
SYR Cote, (2) (Angelidis), 19:16
RCH Irwin, (7) (Varone, McCabe), 8:01
SYR Blujus, (2) (Vermin, Angelidis), 11:21
SYR Vermin, (8) , 16:14
RCH Rankin, (1) , 4:19
SYR Marchessault, (12) (Namestnikov), 19:18 (EN)
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Gourde and Richard Show rolls on.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 22 shots and stopped 2 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win.
ALB Timmins, (5) (Thompson), 1:06
SYR Gourde, (3) , 4:49
SYR Vermin, (4) (Dotchin, Marchessault), 2:52
ALB Sestito, (3) (Scarlett), 2:44
SYR- Gourde, Richard
Joel Vermin and Tanner Richard were the game's first and third stars. After posting just 1 point in 8 games in the month of October, Yanni Gourde had 3 goals and 6 points in 5 games in November. Richard, who faced the same futility at the scoresheet in October, has 2 goals and 5 points in 5 games this month, and obviously had the shootout winner tonight.
I also remain pleasantly surprised by the production of some of the Lightning's middle-tier rookie blueliners. Both Dylan Blujus and Jake Dotchin continue to hover around a half a point a game and are on the plus side of the ledger for the year.
With the win, Syracuse climbs into 8th place in the Eastern Conference, just 2 points back of division leaders Hartford and Bridgeport. Syracuse faces Hershey next on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Six games into his rookie season, Jake Dotchin is all about being a student.
Crunch coach Rob Zettler noticed the defenseman's focus on improvement, comparing the rookie to a sponge.
"First off, a great work ethic and a fun kid to be around," Zettler said of the 20-year-old. "He tries to absorb all of it. He's a bit of a sponge that way."
Dotchin recorded his first pro point and fight last weekend, recording an assist in Syracuse’s loss to Portland Saturday and having a short-but-spirited bout with Matheiu Gagnon in a 5-1 loss to Springfield Saturday.
"There are a lot of firsts for everybody -- the fights, the points," Zettler said. "Just feeling the speed, feeling how quick this league is and how good it is, they still have a long way to go. They have taken some strides, but they're still learning."