North American Juniors

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-31-18

Western Hockey League

#8 Prince Albert Raiders 5 @ #1 Moose Jaw Warriors 1 (Game 5)
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Warriors lead series 3-2

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 71 GP, 7-19-26, +35, 62 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

Back at the Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw for Game 5, and the Warriors poised to clinch on home ice. But the Raiders didn’t get the memo, as Prince Albert jumped out to a 3-0 lead and didn’t look back. Sean Montgomery (undrafted) scored twice to pace the Raiders. There is a quick turnaround for Game 6 back in Prince Albert on Easter Sunday evening.

Juniors Game Night: 3-29-18

United States Hockey League

** Note: Cole Guttman (Dubuque) was placed on injured reserved on December 22nd following the completion of the World Junior A Challenge tournament.

Omaha Lancers 4 @ Muskegon Lumberjacks 2

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 50 GP, 4-20-24, +12, 32 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

Cole Gallant (Western Michigan commit) scored twice for the Lancers, first the equalizer and then the game-winner as Omaha doubled up the Lumberjacks. Zach Driscoll (Bemidji State commit) was inserted into the crease at the 2:34 mark of the 2nd period after Muskegon scored the 2-1 go-ahead goal on 16 year-old starter Christian Sbaraglia (Penn State commit). Driscoll stopped all 24 shots and got the back-door win after Omaha’s second-half rally.

Tri-City Storm 2 @ Sioux City Musketeers 5

F Sammy Walker, SC: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals (USHL): 10 GP, 0-6-6, -4, 4 PIM
’16-’17 Totals (USHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 6 PIM
Season Totals (HS): 31 GP, 35-44-79, 16 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

The Walker-Koepke-Mills line continues to produce for the Musketeers with Walker and Dylan Mills (Niagara commit) setting up Cole Koepke (Minnesota-Duluth commit) for his first goal of the game as part of a Sioux City three-goal 1st period. Mills notched his goal in the first, as well as Finnish University of Wisconsin commit Sampo Ranta (2018 draft eligible) netting the first of his two goals. Koepke would seal the game with an empty netter shortie with 73 seconds remaining. Walker is a point-per-game player in the six games since rejoining Sioux City, but still looking for his first goal.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-30-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#4 Halifax Mooseheads 4 @ #13 Baie-Comeau Drakkar 0 (Game 5)
Round of 16
Mooseheads wins series 4-1

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: Injury Scratch
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 59 GP, 28-55-83, +39, 28 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The Mooseheads punched their ticket to the quarterfinals behind a 41-save shutout by Alexis Gravel (2018 draft eligible), the #1 ranked North American goalie prospect. Arnaud Durandeau (NYI, 2017 6th round pick) notched a pair of goals and Benoit Olivier-Groulx tallied three assists to pace Halifax. Somppi remains sidelined with that upper body injury he sustained midway through Game #1.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-29-18

Western Hockey League

#3 Kelowna Rockets 3 @ #7 Tri-City Americans 5 (Game 4)
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Americans win series 4-0

D Cal Foote, KEL: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoffs Totals: 4 GP, 1-4-5, -4, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 19-51-70, +31, 46 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Morgan Geekie (CAR, 2017 3rd round pick) notched his second hat trick of the series, leading the Americans in a shocking sweep of Kelowna and advancing to the WHL Western Conference semifinals. Dillon Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) scored twice for the Rockets, once on the power play in which Foote tallied his fourth assist of the series and his fifth point. Kelowna fought hard to keep the series alive, knotting the game three times at 1-1, 2-2, and 3-3, before Geekie scored two of this three goals in the last minute of the game to give Tri-City the dramatic series sweep in front of 3,000+ fans at the Toyota Center.

The loss all but draws a close to the junior career of the WHL Western Conference Defenseman of the Year and Bolt prospect Cal Foote. He will surely join the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse as that team finishes up their regular season and prepares for what would hope to be a deep Calder Cup playoff run. Foote brings the potential of a big minute eater for that team's Top 4 and player that can be the motor to an offense in transition. And with Foote turning 20 on December 13, 2018, he will be eligible to begin AHL play for the 2018-19 season out of camp this fall, so there is really no reason for Foote to return to juniors for an overage season after racking up 70 points and goal shy of 20.

In addition to an ATO contract with Syracuse for the remainder of this season, I’m sure a three-year entry level contract will happen rather quickly now that Foote and the Rockets have been eliminated from Memorial Cup contention. And with the organization lean on right-handed defensemen, Andrej Sustr as a pending UFA at season’s end, and Jake Dotchin perhaps hitting a ceiling in his own development, a spectacular NHL camp this fall could even see Foote make the Lightning squad, especially if Braydon Coburn is dealt at the NHL draft in June. But surely by 2019, with the contracts of Coburn, Girardi, Stralman, and McDonagh expiring, Foote’s time in Syracuse will likely be a short one.

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