North American Juniors

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-18-10

OHL

Sudbury Wolves 4 @ Barrie Colts 11
OHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1. Barrie leads Best of 7 Series 1-0
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 1-2-3, +4, 0 PIM, *Second Star*
Season Totals: 68 GP, 47-34-81, +44, 58 PIM
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 0-3-3, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals (OTT, SBY): 51 GP, 8-21-29, -3, 24 PIM

Sudbury scored first in the game when Sointu set up John McFarland on the power play at 1:13. From there, it was all Barrie as the Colts scored the game’s next eight goals. They had a snowman on the scoreboard at the 11-minute mark of the second period. Sudbury clawed back to 8-4 early in the third before Barrie scored three more times. Alex Burmistrov, who is expected to go in the top-10 in this summer’s draft, was First Star for Barrie with two goals and two assists. Hutchings and Barrie were knocked out of the first round last year, with Hutchings registering seven points (three goals) in five games. This was Sointu’s OHL playoff debut – and a good one statistically, especially considering he was even despite 11 goals against. Sointu now has 12 points in his last eight games.

Barberio a Finalist for Top Defenseman Award

Lightning prospect Mark Barberio, a 2008 sixth round pick of the Bolts, has been named by the QMJHL as a finalist for the Emile "Butch" Bouchard Trophy, awarded to the league's top defenseman.

Joining Barberio as finalists are his Moncton teammate David Savard, a 2009 fourth round pick of the Blue Jackets, and Joël Chouinard of Drummondville, a sixth round pick of Colorado in 2008.

Barberio set career highs in goals, assists, points, and plus/minus this season, finishing with 17 goals, 43 assists, 60 points, and a plus-39 rating. He finished fifth in the league in points among defensemen, sixth in goals, fifth in assists, and seventh in plus/minus.

CHL Game Night: 3-14-10

[b][i]QMJHL[/b][/i] [b] St. John Sea Dogs 2 @ Moncton Wildcats 5[/b] [i]D [b][url=/mark-barberio]Mark Barberio[/url][/b], MCT: 2-0-2, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG[/i] Season Totals: 65 GP, 17-43-60, +39, 72 PIM In a game broadcast on NHL Network, Barberio and Moncton defeated top-seeded St. John to end the regular season on a winning note. Barberio scored twice, the first on the power play when he pinched in from the point and buried a cross-crease pass. The second came while shorthanded into an empty net. Moncton finishes with the league’s third-best point total at 102, two points behind Drummondville and seven behind St. John. They’ll play Cape Breton in the first round. After a slow start to the season in the goal department, Barberio finished with a bang, scoring 14 times after Christmas. Barberio set career highs in goals (+1), assists (+12), points (+14), and plus/minus (+31). He finished fifth in the Q in points among defensemen, sixth in goals, fifth in assists, and seventh in plus/minus. Barberio and Moncton should have a long playoff season ahead, at least until the conference finals, which should be vs. the same Sea Dogs they defeated Sunday night. [b][i]OHL [/b][/i] [b] Sudbury Wolves 2 @ Ottawa 67’s 3 (OT)[/b] [i]W [b]Matias Sointu[/b], SBY: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM [/i] Season Totals: 51 GP, 8-21-29, -3, 24 PIM [i]With Sudbury: 29 GP, 5-14-19, -8, 18 PIM With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM[/i] With Niagara’s loss, Sudbury was a second point away from avoiding Barrie in the East’s first round, but it was not to be as Sointu’s former team scored in overtime. The Wolves, who had 59 points on the year, will indeed play Alex Hutchings and Barrie, who finished the year 57 points better than Sudbury. Sointu finished the regular season very strong, scoring nine points in his last seven games. [b]OHL Scoring Race[/b] Speaking of Hutchings, he finished the year fourth in the OHL in goals (tie - 47), 14th in points (81), first in shorthanded goals (11; 7 more than anyone else), first in game winning goals (tie – 11), second in insurance goals (tie – 7), and fifth in plus/minus (+44). Overall, Plymouth’s Tyler Seguin (48-58-106) and Windsor’s Taylor Hall (40-66-106), who will battle for the No.1 draft spot this summer, finished tied for the league lead in points. [i][b]WHL[/b][/i] [b] Vancouver Giants 3 @ Seattle Thunderbirds 4 (OT)[/b] [i]C/W/D [b][url=/james-wright]James Wright[/url][/b], VAN: 0-0-0, -2, 4 PIM (boarding, roughing)[/i] Season Totals: 21 GP, 6-13-19, -3, 17 PIM [i]With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM [/i] The Giants, who have struggled the last two weeks, played ninth place Seattle for a chance to enter the playoffs on a win streak, but were foiled by T-Birds goalie Calvin Pickard (2010 eligible), who stopped 51 shots in a First Star performance. Wright, a noted two-way player who skated for Tampa Bay of the NHL for most of the season because of his two-way abilities, finished his regular season with Vancouver with a surprising minus-3 rating. Wright and Vancouver will have to regroup as they enter the playoffs against seventh-seeded Kamloops. In other WHL news, Calgary’s Brandon Kozon (Kings 6/09) won the league scoring title by one point over Regina’s Jordan Eberle (Oilers 1/08), 107-106.

CHL Game Night: 3-13-10

QMJHL

Just a reminder: Mark Barberio and Moncton will play St. John Sunday night at 7:00 PM Eastern time on NHL Network.

OHL

Belleville Bulls 1 @ Niagara IceDogs 8
C Richard Panik, BEL: 1-0-1, -1, 4 PIM (hooking, tripping)
Season Totals: 60 GP, 21-20-41, +3, 55 PIM
With Bulls: 27 GP, 12-11-23, -12, 36 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM

RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: Did not play.
Season Totals: 57 GP, 19-14-33, -19, 51 PIM
With Bulls: 44 GP, 17-13-30, -17, 31 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM

Panik’s junior career likely came to an end Saturday night when the Bulls were destroyed in their 2009-10 finale. Panik, who impressed the Lightning during last fall’s NHL training camp, is a candidate to join AHL Norfolk and finish the year with the Admirals on a tryout agreement. Panik started his first season in North America slowly, but had a good World Junior Championships for Slovakia, performed moderately well after being traded from Windsor, and finished with a bang, scoring five goals and nine points in his last six games. The 2009 second round pick ended the year with a three-game point streak in which he scored six points. As for DeCoste, his season was ended two weeks ago when he suffered a concussion against Barrie. DeCoste’s game blossomed after a trade to Belleville, but the 2008 fifth rounder was inconsistent despite setting moderate career highs for goals, assists, and points. Speculation is DeCoste has an outside shot of being signed for depth at forward in the system, but is more likely to return to the OHL next year as a free agent overager. The Lightning chose not to fill their 50-man organization roster by a handful of spots this year, so if the new ownership decides to use all 50 spots next year and utilize an ECHL affiliate, DeCoste may have a better chance of earning a professional contract from the club.

Kingston Frontenacs 2 @ Barrie Colts 4
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM (tripping)
Season Totals: 68 GP, 47-34-81, +44, 58 PIM

Hutchings’ regular season came to an end Saturday, but he and the Colts should have a long future ahead of them in the playoffs. As the top seed, they will play either Niagara or Sudbury in the first round depending on Sunday’s results. Hutchings tied career highs for games played and assists, and smashed previous highs for goals (+13), points (+13), and plus/minus (+17). He finishes his OHL regular season career (we’re projecting him to be signed this offseason) with 111 goals, 97 assists, 209 points, and a plus-79 rating in 229 games. The 2009 fourth rounder also had 190 PIM for his career.

Oshawa Generals 3 @ Peterborough Petes 10
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 12 saves on 18 shots
Season Totals: 49 GP, 14-28-2-1, 4.15 GAA, .884 sv%, 2 SO

The Gens’ horrific year was finally put out of its misery Saturday night, and almost fittingly, it came with another defensive meltdown. Oshawa gave up 299 goals this season, four more than last-place Sarnia. The only difference is Oshawa had 14 more points in the standings than Steven Stamkos’ alma mater. With any kind of defense and/or goaltending, the Gens would be comfortably in the playoffs. Zador had his ups and downs this season, including win streaks of five- and four-games, but also had losing streaks of six, six, eight, and five. He ended the year on a five-game losing streak. Both Zador and and his goaltending partner Kevin Bailie were high OHL picks and both can return to the Gens next year, but does Oshawa want both or either back? Zador doesn’t have to be signed by the Lightning, and has very good size and raw skills. In the right situation with the right mind-set, he could thrive. He'll play in the OHL again next season ... somewhere.

WHL

Regina Pats 1 @ Brandon Wheat Kings 3
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 64 GP, 24-27-51, -12, 102 PIM
With Regina: 36 GP, 11-14-25, -4, 50 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM

This was Ashton’s final game of the season and the young power forward and 2009 first rounder will likely join the Norfolk Admirals shortly as Dana Tyrell did in 2008. Ashton set career highs for assists (+1) and points (+1) this year, but finished with six fewer goals than the 30 he scored with Lethbridge last season. It was thought Ashton’s game would flourish next to Oilers super-prospect Jordan Eberle, and no doubt the Pats thought that when they acquired Ashton mid-season, but Eberle left for World Juniors right after the trade and the two never really clicked after that. In fact, Ashton was eventually dropped off Eberle's line and finished the year with just a goal and an assist in his last six games. There have been no reports of injuries to Ashton, so we’re hoping he can look at any potential move to Norfolk as a clean slate and provide the Ads with a power forward presence as they make their way toward the playoffs. Ashton already holds an NHL contract.

Kamloops Blazers 5 @ Vancouver Giants 6 (SO)
C/W/D James Wright, VAN: 1-2-3, +2, 0 PIM, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 20 GP, 6-13-19, -1, 13 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

The Giants have struggled the last two weeks, but play Seattle Sunday for a chance to enter the playoffs on a win-streak. Their first round opponent has yet to be determined.

CHL Game Night: 3-12-10

QMJHL

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 4 @ Moncton Wildcats 0
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 64 GP, 15-43-58, +37, 70 PIM

This was a preview of a QMJHL first round playoff series that Moncton hopes has a different result. That series begins Friday. Moncton will close out their season Sunday against the top-seeded St. John Sea Dogs on NHL Network.

OHL

Belleville Bulls 4 @ Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 2
C Richard Panik, BEL: 1-2-3, E, 2 PIM (roughing), *Second Star*
Season Totals: 59 GP, 20-20-40, +4, 51 PIM
With Bulls: 26 GP, 11-11-22, -11, 32 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM

RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: Did not play.
Season Totals: 57 GP, 19-14-33, -19, 51 PIM
With Bulls: 44 GP, 17-13-30, -17, 31 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM

Panik (pictured) may not be headed to the OHL playoffs, but he’s certainly performing at a high level to finish the year and giving Tampa Bay something to think about. He hit 20 goals and 40 points on the season thanks to a three-point game Friday. Panik now has nine points in his last six games and five in his last two. DeCoste missed his fourth game due to a concussion.

Barrie Colts 4 @ Brampton Battalion 2
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 67 GP, 46-34-80, +43, 56 PIM

Hutchings tied his previous career high for assists in a season, set last year in 63 games. Barrie has one game remaining and the league's top seed sewn up.

Sudbury Wolves 5 @ Kingston Frontenacs 3
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM (tripping)
Season Totals: 50 GP, 8-20-28, -4, 22 PIM
With Sudbury: 28 GP, 5-13-18, -9, 16 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM

Sointu’s empty net goal provided the final piece to a playoff spot clinching win for the Wolves. Sudbury is tied with Niagara for seventh in the East, but Niagara has a game in hand.

Oshawa Generals 3 @ Ottawa 67’s 4
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 42 saves on 46 shots
Season Totals: 48 GP, 14-27-2-1, 4.06 GAA, .886 sv%, 2 SO

The Gens needed a miracle to happen to get into the playoffs, starting with a win over Ottawa, but they blew a 3-1 lead entering the third period and will stay home during the playoff season. They were outshot 46-29 in the game, including 22-6 in the final period.

WHL

Brandon Wheat Kings 9 @ Regina Pats 3
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-1-1, -5, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 63 GP, 24-27-51, -11, 102 PIM
With Regina: 35 GP, 11-14-25, -3, 50 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM

This was the Pats’ final home game of the season, which meant it was the last time the Regina faithful could see Jordan Eberle up close. Eberle was awarded the game’s First Star despite the blowout loss to the Memorial Cup hosts. Eberle did have a goal in the game and remains two points up on Brandon Kozon for the league scoring title. He’s rumored to possibly be joining the Oilers before the end of the NHL season. Ashton, meanwhile, had a horrific night in the plus/minus department and will play his final junior game Saturday in Brandon. He has an NHL contract in hand and will likely join the AHL Norfolk Admirals next week.

Kelowna Rockets 4 @ Vancouver Giants 3
C/W/D James Wright, VAN: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 19 GP, 5-11-16, -3, 13 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

The Giants finally returned home after a 10-game Olympic road trip, but fell to the Rockets 4-3. They had battled back from a 3-0 first period deficit only to see the game winner scored late in the third. Wright has been playing a little defense lately at the request of his coach, Don Hay. Vancouver is locked into the West’s No.2 seed despite having the conference’s fifth best point total. Winning the B.C. Division will do that. They will play Chilliwack or Kamloops in the first round.

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