Bolt Prospect of the Week: April 9, 2014

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for April 9, 2014 is … Jonathan Marchessault, W, Syracuse Crunch (AHL - USA).

Jonathan Marchessault just experienced a year’s worth of miracles in the span of two days.

First, the scoring winger acquired from the Columbus organization in March scored twice – shorthanded – in a ridiculously improbable come-from-behind Crunch win over Utica on Saturday. Syracuse was down by three goals with less than 90 seconds on the clock when Vladdy Namestnikov scored to make the game somewhat interesting. Namestnikov’s goal was scored with Syracuse goalie Kristers Gudlevskis pulled for an extra attacker during four-on-four play.

NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-8-14

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 2 @ Gatineau Olympiques 5
Mooseheads lead best-of-7 second round series, 2-1

C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 2-0-2, -1, 2 PIM, 1 Hit, 6 SOG, 8/22 FO, *Third Star*
Playoff totals: 7 GP, 8-13-21, +6, 6 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 29-70-108, +49, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Halifax suffered their first defeat of the 2014 playoffs, losing 5-2 in Gatineau. Jonathan Drouin continued his multi-point game streak, which rose to nine, and he still has been a game star in every playoff game so far. Game 4 is Thursday.

Ontario Hockey League

North Bay Battalion 1 @ Barrie Colts 2
Battalion lead best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinals, 2-1

D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 3-0-3, E, 10 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 4-26-30, +12, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, *Third Star*
Playoff totals: 8 GP: 3-2-5, +3, 6 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 11-25-36, +22, 121 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM

Barrie got back in the series with a 2-1 home win on Tuesday night. Jake Dotchin scored the game’s first goal. Barrie would add another then hold on for the win. Game 4 is Thursday.

NHL Game Night: 4-8-14 Maple Leafs at Lightning

A solid, satisfying win... but at what price?

TOR-0
TB-3

Ben Bishop made 3 saves on 3 shots before leaving the game 5:43 into the First Period in serious discomfort after falling to the ice while catching a puck with his glove hand. Wrist, elbow, shoulder? Whatever it was, Bishop was writhing in pain enough to leave doubt whether he'll be available anytime soon. Anders Lindback entered the game and stopped all 25 shots he faced the rest of the way for the combined shutout and the win. Putting aside any critique of Bishop's workload, I feel like Lindback's play in his last start merited more starting time than Cooper has given him. He looked good again tonight, including a sparkling glove save toward the end of the Second Period. What I like about Lindback is the team in front of him seems to simplify its game and pay closer attention to detail rather than simply relying on Ben Bishop to be the eraser for their mistakes. It certainly appeared that way tonight.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
9:19 TB Palat (21), (Hedman, Gudas)
15:45 TB Palat (22), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)

Third Period
19:47 TB Hedman (13), (unassisted)(EN)

Lindback, Ondrej Palat, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

That was a fantastically well played hockey game by the Tampa Bay Lightning after the debacles against Calgary and Dallas. Ordinarily I'd be really excited about the way they played tonight, because it represents a total reversal of the issues that had plaqued the club earlier this season when it simply couldn't get power play production, couldn't kill penalties with any reliability, and struggled mightily to protect Third Period leads. They were ruthlessly efficient in all three aspects, which bodes well, but...

Between Bishop leaving the game and Sami Salo also leaving early in the Second Period, you wonder if they won the battle and ended up losing the war. It's never a good thing when an injury looks so significant that people start asking you how quickly your KHL-based prospect goaltender-of-the-future might be available to be signed and, gulp, appear for your team in the playoffs. That's the scary predicament of the night, though, pending word on what ails Bishop.

The Lightning's victory tonight puts them at 95 points for the season, 1 shy of our 80-game goal of 96 points and 2 points shy of the 10-game segment goal of 12 points earned. It's remarkable how efficient they've been about staying on schedule all season long.

Andrej Sustr had 2 penalty minutes and 1 blocked shot in 18:10. He, again, had to play bigger minutes with one of his defensive corps-mates out of the game (in this case Salo). He made several key plays in the Second Period including breaking up a 3-on-1 by Toronto's top line. Tonight was his 40th game of the season, meaning he is now just 1 game away from graduation on the site. He'll likely be the capstone to an unprecedented Bolt Prospects Alumni class the likes of which we may never see again.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Ikonen Gets Head Start with Syracuse


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After his first practice with the Syracuse Crunch Tuesday, Henri Ikonen spent some extra time on the ice working with fellow rookies.

Ikonen, who signed an entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday and will finish the season on an amateur tryout with Syracuse, liked the brisk, energetic pace at practice. The 2013 sixth-round draft pick admits he may not be the most skilled player, but prides himself on the effort he puts in.

“I’m a good skater, so I bring some speed,” the 5-11, 184-pound winger said. “I can battle in the corners, win battles and take the puck to the net, and hopefully score some goals from there.”

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-7-14

KHL Eastern Conference Finals
(4)Ufa 4 vs. (1)Magnitogorsk 0
Magnitogorsk Leads the Series 2-1
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, Win, SO, 22/22, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Regular season totals: 28 GP, 14-8-5, 3 SO, 2.21 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 16 GP, 9-7-0, 1 SO, 2.11 GAA, .929 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin, Loss, 20/22, 2.65 GAA, .909 sv%
Regular season totals: 51 GP, 30-12-8, 9 SO, 1.88 GAA, .940 sv%
Playoff totals: 12 GP, 10-2-0, 0 SO, 1.91 GAA, .935 sv%

Today might've been a game changer in the KHL Eastern Conference Finals. Not only did Lightning prospect goaltender Andrey Vasilevskiy post a 22 save shutout to hand Magnitogorsk just their second defeat of the KHL postseason, but Metallurg goaltender Vasily Koshechkin was pulled by Head Coach Mike Keenan after a Third Period soft goal that put Ufa up 2-0. What effect will the quick hook have on the veteran Koshechkin? We shall see when Game Four drops on Wednesday. Ex-Canucks draft pick Kirill Koltsov had a pair of assists in the win for Ufa.

NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-6-14

Ontario Hockey League

Barrie Colts 1 @ North Bay Battalion 4
Battalion lead best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinals, 2-0

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 7 GP: 2-2-4, +1, 6 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 11-25-36, +22, 121 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM

D Dylan Blujus, NB: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 3-0-3, E, 8 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 4-26-30, +12, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM

North Bay scored four times in the span of about four minutes in the third period to claim Game 2 and take a 2-0 series lead over Barrie. Dylan Blujus scored a power play goal, giving him three goals in nine playoff games. He had four goals in 55 regular season games. Undrafted free agent Barclay Goodrow had two goals for the Battalion. The series moves to Barrie for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Bolts Ink 2013 Pick Henri Ikonen to Entry-level Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Henri Ikonen to an entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. He will report to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League for the remainder of the season on an amateur tryout contract.

Ikonen, 19, played in 54 games with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League this season, posting 25 goals and 70 points to go along with 49 penalty minutes and a plus-17 rating. He ranked second on the Frontenacs for points and was tied for second for assists with 45. The Savolinna, Finland native scored three shorthanded goals which ranked tied for first on Kingston. Ikonen also skated in seven postseason games for the Frontenacs, recording a goal and six points.

The 5-foot-11, 182-pound forward played in seven games for Team Finland at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden, recording a goal and three points. Ikonen won the Gold Medal with Team Finland at the tournament.

He has skated in 115 career OHL games, all with Kingston, over the past two seasons, collecting 47 goals and 121 points to go along with 79 penalty minutes. Ikonen set career highs for goals, assists, points, plus/minus and penalty minutes during the 2013-14 season.

Ikonen was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round, 154th overall, at the 2013 NHL Draft.

NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-5-14

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Gatineau Olympiques 2 @ Halifax Mooseheads 6
Mooseheads lead best-of-7 second round series, 2-0

C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 0-4-4, E, 0 PIM, 1 Hit, 4 SOG, 12/24 FO, *Third Star*
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 6-13-19, +7, 4 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 29-70-108, +49, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Halifax got two goals from Nik Ehlers (2014) and four assists from Jonathan Drouin on its way to a 6-2 Game 2 win. Drouin, who has been a game star in all six playoff games, extended his multi-point game streak to nine games. Game 3 is Tuesday in Gatineau.

Crunch Come Back to Stun Comets in OT


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Down by three midway through the third period, Syracuse Crunch head coach Rob Zettler believed his team deserved better.

Syracuse was outshooting Utica and had more quality scoring opportunities, but the Comets still had the advantage on the scoreboard.

"I just thought we had control of the game, but they were winning," Zettler said.

The Crunch's fortunes turned around quickly.

Syracuse tied the score with three goals in the final 1:39 of regulation -- each time with the goalie pulled -- and Brett Connolly scored 2:36 into overtime, as the Crunch stunned the Comets, 6-5, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

AHL Game Night: 4-5-14 Comets at Crunch

Never say die.

UTI-5
SYR-6 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 5 goals on 25 shots for the OT win. The goal support came late, but whenever it comes it's always a beautiful thing.

First Period
SYR Paradis, (5) (Namestnikov, Mormina), 7:16
UTI O'Reilly, (4) , 12:26 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (5) (Korobov, DiSalvatore), 16:44 (PP)

Second Period
UTI Friesen, (5) (Lain), 11:39
UTI Friesen, (6) (Biega, Welsh), 18:27 (PP)

Third Period
UTI Kennedy, (1) (O'Reilly), 9:44
UTI Welsh, (5) (Friesen, Sauve), 10:49
SYR Namestnikov, (18) (Paradis, Paquette), 18:21
SYR Marchessault, (18) (Connolly, Gourde), 18:52 (SH)
SYR Marchessault, (19) (Paquette, Angelidis), 19:07 (SH)

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (19) (Korobov, Namestnikov), 2:36

Jonathan Marchessault, Philippe Paradis, and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's three stars.

You could watch 76 AHL games a year for the rest of your life and not see what happened tonight again. In pro hockey, having a 3 goal deficit at anytime in the Third Period should be a death sentence. Having it with less than 3 minutes left in the Third Period should absolutely be a death sentence. Having it with less than 3 minutes and having a man in the box for most of that time really, really should be a death sentence. The Syracuse Crunch scored 3 straight extra attacker goals late in the Third Period tonight to force Overtime. Two of those goals were technically shorthanded. Coach Gordon Bombay just called from Hollywood and even he thinks the plot tonight was implausible and ludicrous. That is not supposed to happen. Ever. There must not be a rock big or heavy enough for Utica to crawl under right now, because Syracuse bent the laws of time and space to find a way to win that game tonight. Wow.

With the win, Syracuse moves to 1 game under .500 with 6 left to play. After winning tonight the way they did, who in their right mind would bet against them to get on the right side of .500 before the year's complete?

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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