Stephens, Mitchell

AHL Game Night: 12-9-17 Crunch at Senators

New Crunchning Death Star vaporizes Sens to run streak to nine.

SYR-6
BEL-0

Connor Ingram stopped all 18 shots he faced for the shutout victory, his first shutout as a pro.

First Period
9:01 SYR Volkov (5), (Lynch, Thomas)
14:37 SYR Stephens (4), (Volkov, Verhaeghe)

Second Period
7:35 SYR McBain (4), (Volkov, Peca)(PP)
15:05 SYR Stephens (5), (Masin)(SH)

Third Period
10:37 SYR Cirelli (6), (Erne, Joseph)(PP)
16:09 SYR Volkov (6), (Peca, Masin)

Alexander Volkov, Mitchell Stephens, and Ingram were the game's three stars.

Tonight you started to see the quality of the depth the Crunch have, prospect-wise, start to show. This isn't a team that has top scoring line NHL caliber skill on it, but everywhere you look there's a really high energy player who is a strong 200 foot player and plays a strong possession game. Cirelli and Joseph, in particular, had their way in the previous two games. Tonight was Volkov and Stephens' turn.

I'll also throw some love Dominik Masin's way tonight, as he had two assists and has been really good since joining the Crunch after some injuries nagged him in camp. He's formed a very solid pair with rookie Erik Cernak, and the mind wanders to thoughts of whether that may be a pair in the NHL in a couple of years time.

Syracuse is now 4 games over .500 and sits just 3 points back of Rochester for second in the North Division after the Americans dropped their game a shootout tonight.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-14-17 Comets at Crunch

Crunch drop another tightly fought battle.

UTI-3
SYR-2

Michael Leighton allowed 3 goals on 19 shots as the Comets overcame a 26-19 shot disparity to pull out the win.

First Period
7:57 UTI Goldobin (3), (Boucher, Holm)
19:14 SYR Conacher (2), (Bodie, Cirelli)

Second Period
12:41 UTI Holm (1), (Bancks, Goldobin)(PP)

Third Period
3:22 SYR Cernak (1), (Stephens, Walcott)
6:38 UTI Chaput (1), (McEneny, Holm)(PP)

Mitchell Stephens was the game's second star. He assisted on Erik Cernak's first professional goal in the defeat.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Day: 9-24-17 Panthers at Lightning

Peca makes his case.

FLA-4
TB-2

Petr Budaj allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
5:39 FLA McGinn, (McCoshen, Bjugstad)

Second Period
14:30 TB Volkov, (Peca, Killorn)
15:02 FLA Dadonov, (Huburdeau, Barkov)

Third Period
4:34 FLA Vrbata, (Hawrlyuk, Malgin)(PP)
12:44 TB Volkov. (Killorn, Peca)
18:55 FLA Huburdeau, (Petrovic)(EN)

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Tonight's lineup looked to be a little closer to Tampa Bay's first choice defense playing with a more Syracuse-flavored forward corps.

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 penalty minutes in 17:05.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 blocked shots in 17:14.

Brett Howden was 56% on 9 draws in 15:52.

Ben Thomas was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 17:44.

Matthew Peca had 2 helpers and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot and he was 30% on 10 draws. Peca's had a solid camp and preseason with his play in all three zones and seems to be making a serious challenge to make the big league squad.

Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot in 11:30.

Anthony Cirelli was -3 and 54% on 13 draws in 16:03.

Adam Erne was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 16:37.

Alexander Volkov had a pair of goals and 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:25. He's played well throughout camp and the preseason. His first goal was a wraparound which might've been a bit of a soft goal gift that Florida's netminder should've gotten to. His second goal was pretty much a tap in driving to the net on a nice backhand feed by Killorn. He'll be an interesting player to watch in Syracuse this season.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 23:46. The ice time doesn't lie. The Lightning have big league plans for young Sergachev.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-20-17 Lightning at Hurricanes

Junior Lightning strike back in Carolina.

TB-4
CAR-3

Petr Budaj allowed 2 goals on 20 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Michael Leighton who allowed 1 goal on 12 shots the rest of the way for the back door win.

First Period
6:33 TB Erne, (Brown, Dumont)
12:37 CAR Wallmark, (Lindholm, Necas)(PP)

Second Period
2:29 TB McGinn, (Stephens)
4:28 TB Sergachev, (Point, Conacher)
9:25 CAR Ryan, (Miller, Hanifin)

Third Period
12:02 TB Katchouk, (Cirelli, Howden)
18:24 CAR Aho, (Skinner, Linholm)(PP)

Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli were the game's first and second stars. Nice to see a younger Lightning lineup pull out a game on the road against a Carolina lineup that included more of their first choice players in front of their home crowd. These back-to-back games, if anything, have helped confirm the quality of the Lightning's prospects as many of these players move into their seasons in the junior and minor league ranks.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 4 blocked shots in 19:01.

Boris Katchouk had the GWG and was +1 with 1 shot in 12:52.

Libor Hajek had 1 shot in 17:47.

Brett Howden had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 12:19. He was also 38% on 8 draws.

Cal Foote was -1 with 1 shot and 5 blocked shots in 18:36.

Matthew Peca had 2 shots and 1 hit in 17:28. He was also 43% on 7 draws.

Mitchell Stephens had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 11:10.

Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 9 penalty minutes, 4 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:01. He was also 17% on 6 draws. His penalty minutes game for a brawl started after boarding a Hurricanes opponent.

Adam Erne notched his second of the preseason and was +1 with 3 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:54. It will be tough, waiver eligibility being a concern, for Erne to make the Lightning out of camp. That said, I feel he gives the team a dimension it lacks as a creative power forward and from a pure hockey standpoint, he'd be on my first choice 23-man roster.

Erik Cernak was +3 with 2 shots, 7 hits, and 4 blocked shots in 20:27. The stay-at-homer's dream box score.

Sergachev had a goal and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 22:16. I'm not shocked. He's the real thing. I don't believe a 30+ point season is a reasonable expectation for Sergachev as a rookie, if he makes the squad, but I do believe he can be a solid minutes eater in his premiere campaign if the team keeps him in Tampa Bay.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

2016 U20 WJC Update: 1-5-17

Gold Medal Match
USA 5 vs. Canada 4 (SO)
Connor Ingram, Canada, DNP
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 2-1-0, 1 SO, 2.57 GAA, .833 sv%

Mathieu Joseph, Canada, 1-1-2, +1, E, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 7 GP, 1-4-5, +4, 0 PIM

Taylor Raddysh, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 7 GP, 5-1-6, +3, 4 PIM

Anthony Cirelli, Canada, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 7 GP, 3-4-7, +8, 2 PIM

Mitchell Stephens, Canada, 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 2-3-5, +4, 0 PIM

Team USA's Troy Terry had the only marker of the five round Shootout to lift his team to a 5-4 Gold Medal Match victory over rival Canada. Kieffer Bellows, son of ex-Lightning forward Brian Bellows and a New York Islanders first rounder, had a pair of goals for the Americans in their win. Lightning prospect Mathieu Joseph scored a would-be insurance marker 4:05 into the Third Period to give the Canadians a 4-2 lead, but the US scored a pair of goals within 3:02 of Joseph's marker to eventually take the game beyond regulation. Joseph also had an even strength helper on Canada's first goal. Mitchell Stephens chipped in a helper on the Canadians' second goal. Joseph played 17:52 in the match, Taylor Raddysh 13:41, Anthony Cirelli 16:55, and Stephens 18:51.

The tournament was a disappointment for netminder Connor Ingram, who struggled in 3 of his 4 starts and ultimately lost the starting job for the Canadians to Carter Hart. Forward Taylor Raddysh, one of the top scorers in the Canadian junior ranks, put on a show dominating the scoresheet against an inferior Latvian side, but struggled to make a dent against the tournament's heavies. Results were ultimately far more positive for the high energy, high character trio of Joseph, Cirelli, and Stephens. All three had a fantastic tournament from start to finish, with the exception of a couple of games missed by Stephens due to injury, proving their worth as potential NHL'ers who could find themselves up with the Lightning within the next few seasons.

2016 U20 WJC Update: 1-4-17

Semifinals
Sweden 2 vs. Canada 5
Connor Ingram, Canada, No Decision, 1/3, 14.85 GAA, .333 sv%
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 2-1-0, 1 SO, 2.57 GAA, .833 sv%

Mathieu Joseph, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 0-3-3, +3, 0 PIM

Taylor Raddysh, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 5-1-6, +3, 4 PIM

Anthony Cirelli, Canada 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 3-4-7, +7, 2 PIM

Mitchell Stephens, Canada, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 2-2-4, +2, 0 PIM

Connor Ingram was lifted 8:05 into the First Period after Canada fell behind 2-1, but they responded with 4 unanswered goals to defeat Sweden 5-2. Canada advances to the Gold Medal match against USA. Centerman Anthony Cirelli helped key the comeback victory with 1 goal, 1 assist, and a handful of other scoring chances for the Canadians. Mathieu Jospeh played 13:48 in the win, Taylor Raddysh 16:32, Cirelli 15:08, and Mitchell Stephens played 14:03.

2016 U20 WJC Update: 1-2-17

Please follow Bolt Prospects on Twitter for full coverage of the Lightning prospects at the 2016 U20 WJC's. Here are the game updates for the round robin preliminary round games and today's Quarterfinal match...

NHL Preseason Game Night: 10-1-16 Lightning at Predators

Fourth game in five nights for the barnstorming Lightning.

TB-3
NSH-4

Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss.

First Period
5:54 TB Nesterov (1), (Filppula, Drouin)
19:25 NSH Fisher (1), (Neal, Subban)

Second Period
5:56 NSH Subban (1), (Ribeiro)(PP)
12:37 NSH Ribeiro (1), (Forsberg)(PP)
15:18 TB Filppula (1), (Bishop, Wisniewski)

Third Period
3:07 TB Conacher (1), (unassisted)
15:37 NSH Bass (1), (Neal)

I'm having flashbacks of when Koules and Barrie owned the team and they signed up for a zillion preseason games every year to try to make a little extra scratch because they were so strapped. That's not the case with Vinik, but this is just a lot of games and a lot of travel in the span of less than a week.

Centers
Matthew Peca had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots in 14:20. He was also 46% on 13 draws.

Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:07. He was also 38% on 8 draws. Kind of interesting to see him play center rather than wing, which may be the better fit for him as a pro.

Wingers
Yanni Gourde had 1 hit in 12:16.

Jeremy Morin had 1 shot in 9:10.

Defensement
Slater Koekkoek had 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 20:13. I need to go back and add up all his ice time this week, but suffice it to say he might deserve some sort of iron man trophy. Tonight the Lightning decided to give him a full load after easing him in with the mid teens of minutes earlier in the week. 3 games in 5 nights is still a lot of work.

Luke Witkowski was +1 with 11 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 14:12. Witkowski also deserves an iron man trophy of his own.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-9-16 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch score bittersweet victory against one of the league's top teams.

TOR-2
SYR-3 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 34 shots and stopped all 5 shooters he faced in the penalty shot session for the victory.

First Period
TOR Conacher, (2) (C. Smith, Valiev), 0:33
SYR Tambellini, (27) , 6:33
SYR Stephens, (1) (Broll), 11:53

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
TOR Arcobello, (25) (Corrin, Leivo), 4:45

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- None
SYR- Vermin

Joel Vermin and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars. Recent ATO signee Mitchell Stephens scored his first pro goal in the win, as well, and led all Crunch skaters with 5 shots on goal.

It was a big win against a very talented Toronto team that by far and away has had the best regular season in the AHL. Unfortunately, the Crunch didn't get any help in the other games around the league and were eliminated from making the postseason. It's a shame for a Syracuse team that's really seemed to find itself in the last quarter of the regular season and had a nice stretch run. As it is, they should finish well over .500 for the campaign with some momentum going into the offseason and some nice new blood coming onto the roster.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Stephens, Cirelli Get First Taste of Pro Hockey with Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

There were two new faces on the ice for Syracuse Crunch practice Tuesday.

Mitchell Stephens and Anthony Cirelli, two Tampa Bay Lightning picks from the 2015 draft, took the ice for the first time in Syracuse after signing amateur tryouts with the Crunch this week. The split practice involved lots of shooting and possession drills for the two centers, who stuck together throughout most of the workouts.

Although Stephens and Cirelli will likely return to their respective junior teams next season, the Lightning organization wanted both players to get a sample of the game at the pro level.

“They’re two smart hockey players,” Crunch head coach Rob Zettler said. “They both have another year of junior left, but we wanted to get them in here and give them a taste of pro hockey. We’ll see -- I’m not sure -- whether they’ll play or not. We’ll see what happens over the course of the next five games.”

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