CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-21-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#9 Charlottetown Islanders 0 @ #1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 1 (Game 2)
Semifinals
Armada leads series 2-0

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 2/4 FO
Playoff Totals: 8 GP, 8-6-14, +12, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Barre-Boulet set up Alexandre Alain (undrafted) for a power play goal 5:02 in the 2nd period, and it stood as the game-winner behind a 28-shot shutout by Emile Samson (2018 draft eligible). The Armada win both home games to start this series, which has the storyline of a being a goaltender’s duel this far. Islanders netminder Matthew Welsh (2018 draft eligible) has stopped 49 of 53 Armada shots. The series shifts to PEI for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Ontario Hockey League

#2 Kitchener Rangers 2 @ #1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 (Game 2)
Western Conference Finals
Soo lead series 2-0

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 2-1-3, +3, 0 PIM, 8 SOG, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 13 GP, 13-10-23, +14, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 2/5 FO, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 13 GP, 9-12-21, +6, 10 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

Katchouk (pictured) and Raddysh both notched three-point games to lead the Soo to a Game 2 win over the Rangers. Katchouk earned First Star honors for a pair of goals and an assist, while Raddysh earned the Third Star for a goal and two assists. After Adam Mascherin (FLA, 2016 2nd round pick) opened the scoring for Kitchener just 1:44 in the game, the Greyhounds reeled off three straight to put the game away. Katchouk and Raddysh combined to set up linemate Morgan Frost (PHI, 2017 1st round pick) for the equalizer just past the midpoint of the game. With the score knotted 1-1 in the 3rd period, Raddysh set up Katchouk for the first of this two goals to give the Soo its first lead. Katchouk scored his second goal with the Rangers goalie pulled and Kitchener on the power play with just 72 seconds remaining – a short-handed marker that would eventually be the game-winner. Logan Stanley (WPG, 2016 1st round pick) would raise the tension in Essar Centre when he scored for the Rangers with 27 seconds remaining to draw Kitchener to within one at 3-2, but Raddysh would seal the game with an empty netter with 8 seconds left. The series travels to Kitchener for Game 3 Monday night.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-21-18 Americans at Crunch

Volkov and Crunch outlast Rochester in Game Two to hold serve at home.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

RCH-5
SYR-6

Syracuse Leads the Series 2-0

Eddie Pasquale allowed 5 goals on 25 shots for the victory. Bathe in sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
3:48 SYR Peca (1), (Bodie, Condra)(PP)
15:43 RCH Blackwell (1), (Percy, Griffith)(PP)
18:31 SYR Joseph (1), (Peca, Masin)

Second Period
1:29 SYR Archambault (1), (Stephens, Peca)
2:15 SYR McNeill (1), (Condra, Lynch)
5:10 RCH Bailey (1), (Porter)(SH)
6:02 RCH Percy (1), (Malone, Blackwell)

Third Period
4:52 SYR Volkov (1), (McBain, Peca)
5:22 RCH Porter (1), (O'Regan)
5:59 SYR Volkov (2), (Bodie, Foote)
6:58 RCH Baptiste (1), (MacWilliam, Smith)

Matthew Peca, Alexander Volkov, and Erik Condra were the game's three stars.

The Crunch probably made this one a lot more exciting than it needed to be after staking themselves to a 4-1 lead early in the Second Period and surrendering a shorty to allow the Americans off the canvas. With that said, I'd have to think it's a pretty good endorsement of this past June's draft that Volkov and Cal Foote both figured in the eventual game winner.

Syracuse did what they needed to do by holding serve at home. But, just like with the big club, I have to caution that it's not a series until someone wins a road game. The Crunch can't get too high right now and need to play a solid road style to try to shorten this series and move along quickly. Nothing fancy. Just survive and advance as quickly as possible in this opening round best-of-five encounter.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Win Wild Game 2, Push Americans to Brink


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It was a wild 60 minutes, but the Syracuse pushed Rochester to the brink.

The Crunch had three multiple-goal leads trimmed to just one but managed to pull out a 6-5 victory over the Americans in Game 2 of the North Division Semifinals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday. Syracuse holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, which shifts to Rochester for Game 3 Wednesday.

For Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, the game was a good test and showed his team reacted the right way to the momentum swings.

“I think it’s a great win. The more you go into the playoffs, the more intense games become,” Groulx said. “Today, a lot of momentum swings on both sides … but I thought we held our composure. I’m very happy for our team. We battled hard and it’s a good win.”

NHL Playoff Game Day: 4-21-18 Devils at Lightning

Workmanlike Lightning dominate their way to the second round.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

NJ-1
TB-3

Tampa Bay Wins the Series 4-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory. He could've been out there in a lawn chair for half of this game, but remained razor sharp when the time came to dial up a situational save. He looks ready for the heavy lifting to come.

First Period
8:07 TB Sergachev (1), (Cirelli)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
12:27 TB Kucherov (5), (Stralman, Stamkos)
17:00 NJ Maroon (1), (Palmieri, Butcher)
19:58 TB Callahan (1), (McDonagh)(EN)

Vasilevskiy and Nikita Kucherov were the game's first and third stars. Cory Schneider got the second star in defeat for standing on his head just to give the Devils a chance. There was an appreciable difference in quality once the Devils made the switch from Kinkaid in this series. Tampa Bay probably scores five or six goals in this game if not for Schneider's heroics.

That's how you eliminate a team. The Lightning put the hammer down and dominated about 50 of 60 minutes in this game to build a 38-27 shot advantage and eventually the 3-1 victory. They left no doubt who the better team was or who wanted it more. The Lightning just kept grinding on the Devils in waves. Good habits all over the rink. Good habits all over this series. The challenges are going to get a lot bigger in subsequent rounds, but this series against the Devils was a good way to get ready for those challenges.

Someone tell NBCSN that Taylor Hall isn't Jesus and that maybe they might want to spend a second or two talking about dude who had 2 points a game in the series (Kucherov).

Contrary to Brian Boyle's admonitions, not only is Mikhail Sergachev still alive at the end of this series, but he obviously had a key goal in the clincher. Devils fans should feel stupid for trying to portray Boyle as Hannibal Lecter in skates. Honest player. Not a killer. And, Sergachev's no punk.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 4 hits. He was also 60% on 10 draws and the coaching staff threw him out with about a minute to go protecting a one goal lead in a series clincher. Respect.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-20-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#9 Charlottetown Islanders 1 @ #1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 3 (Game 1)
Semifinals
Armada leads series 1-0

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, 3/10 FO
Playoff Totals: 7 GP, 8-5-13, +12, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Emile Samson (2018 draft eligible) stopped 19 of 20 Islanders shots to lead the Armada to a Game 1 victory in the QMJHL semifinals. Bolt prospect Alex Barré-Boulet returned to the Armada lineup after sitting out Game 5 of the quarterfinal series against Moncton after suffering an injury in Game 4. The Armada got goals from three skaters, the first of which a Joel Teasdale (2018 draft eligible) marker just 1:35 into the game. After a late 2nd period equalizer by Charlottetown’s Derek Gentile (2018 draft eligible), the Armada got goals from Alexander Katerinakis (2018 draft eligible) and Alexandre Alain (undrafted) in the 3rd period to pull away. The teams are right back at it Saturday for Game 2 in Boisbriand.

Ontario Hockey League

#2 Kitchener Rangers 2 @ #1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3 (Game 1)
Western Conference Finals
Soo lead series 1-0

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 12 GP, 11-9-20, +11, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 3/3 FO
Playoff Totals: 12 GP, 8-10-18, +5, 10 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

The Soo rallied from a 2-1 deficit behind a pair of goals from Conor Timmins (COL, 2017 2nd round pick), including a dramatic game-winning shortie with 1 second left in regulation. It was a heartbreaking loss for Kitchener as the Greyhounds snatched a victory in Game 1 of the OHL Western Conference finals. Bolt prospect Taylor Raddysh (pictured) earned the primary assist on the heroic Timmins short-handed game-winner, and fellow Bolt prospect Boris Katchouk earned an assist on Timmins’ equalizer earlier in the 3rd period. The Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead midway through the 1st period with Blue Jacket prospect Kole Sherwood and Adam Mascherin (FLA, 2016 2nd round pick) set up a Connor Bunnamen (PHI, 2016 4th round pick) power play goal. After Jack Kopacka (ANA, 2016 4th round pick) knotted the score at 1-1 with a power play goal of his own for the Soo, Sherwood and Mascherin would once again set up a Kitchener power play marker, this time from the stick of Givani Smith (DET, 2016 2nd round pick) to give the Rangers the 2-1 lead. The Soo and Rangers square off for Game 2 Saturday in Sault Ste. Marie.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-20-18 Americans at Crunch

Dumont's hat trick paces Crunch to huge Game One win.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

RCH-2
SYR-6

Syracuse Leads the Series 1-0

Eddie Pasquale allowed 2 goals on 30 shots for the victory.

First Period
3:22 SYR Dumont (1), (Verhaeghe, McBain)
4:12 RCH Redmond (1), (Griffith, Porter)(PP)
11:15 SYR McBain (1), (Dumont, Volkov)
19:08 RCH Criscuolo (1), (Smith, Griffith)

Second Period
1:44 SYR Masin (1), (Stephens, Peca)

Third Period
8:27 SYR Bradley (1), (Walcott, McBain)
14:46 SYR Dumont (2), (Cernak, Joseph)(PP)
19:08 SYR Dumont (3), (Condra)(EN)

Gabriel Dumont, Pasquale, and Jamie McBain were the game's three stars.

This was an intriguing result given the fact that Rochester came in this series with a lot of confidence and even some bravado (bulletin board material) about how they felt Syracuse was a good first round matchup for them given their possession advantage in some late regular season games. Well, I believe it was Mike Tyson who said something along the lines of, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." The Crunch punched Rochester in the mouth tonight.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Score Four Unanswered Goals to Top Amerks in Game 1


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After allowing a pair of one-goal leads slip away, the Syracuse Crunch were able to pull away.

With Gabriel Dumont leading the charge, the Crunch scored four unanswered goals over the final 40 minutes in a 6-2 victory over the Rochester Americans in Game 1 of the North Division Semifinals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“I don’t think we played the way we wanted in the first half of this game. We played better after that,” Dumont said. “If you’re a good team, you’re going to get chances. We were lucky enough to capitalize on our power play and there was a big goal by the fourth line too.”

Bolts Extend Depth F Michael Bournival

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Michael Bournival to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Bournival, 25, skated in five games with the Lightning during the 2017-18 regular season, recording five shots on goal. The 5-foot-11, 198-pound forward has played in 113 career NHL games over three seasons with the Lightning and Montreal Canadiens, notching 12 goals and 22 points to go along with 24 penalty minutes. Bournival set career highs during the 2013-14 season while with Montreal for games played (60), goals (seven), assists (seven) and points (14).

The Shawinigan, Quebec native has appeared in 57 games with the Crunch this season, posting 15 goals and 34 points to go along with 55 penalty minutes. Bournival ranks tied for fourth on Syracuse for goals and is eighth for points. He has played in 199 career AHL games over six seasons, collecting 40 goals and 103 points to go along with 121 penalty minutes.

Bournival was originally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the third round, 71st overall, at the 2010 NHL Draft

Lightning Inks F Otto Somppi to Entry Level Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Otto Somppi to a three-year, entry-level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Somppi, 20, skated in 59 games with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season, recording 28 goals and 83 points to go along with 28 penalty minutes. He led the Mooseheads for assists (55), points and plus/minus (plus-39). Somppi’s 55 assists ranked sixth overall in the league. The Helsinki, Finland native has also appeared in two QMJHL playoff games, posting one assist. During the 2017-18 season, he served as an assistant captain for Halifax.

The 6-foot-2, 188-pound forward has skated in 178 career QMJHL games, all with the Mooseheads over the past three seasons, collecting 58 goals and 170 points to go along with 83 penalty minutes. Somppi represented Finland at the 2017 World Jr. Championships, skating in five games and registering one goal.

Somppi was drafted by the Lightning in the seventh round, 206th overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft.

NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-18-18 Lightning at Devils

This time the Lightning finish the job.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

TB-3
NJ-1

Tampa Bay Leads the Series 3-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory, and that 1 goal was on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The sharpness is there and he made a big handful of situational saves. He's really rounded into form and feels on the verge of going on a patented Vasiy run.

First Period
8:23 NJ Palmieri (1), (Butcher, Hall)(PP)
11:30 TB Miller (1), (Kucherov, Stamkos)
15:02 TB Kucherov (3), (Coburn, Miller)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
18:52 TB Kucherov (4), (Miller)(EN)

Vasilevskiy and J.T. Miller were the game's first and third stars. The spitefulness of the New Jersey media where Kucherov is concerned on full display there.

Despite a First Period hiccup to allow a 5-on-3 power play, the Lightning more or less learned the lessons of Game Three to put together the road win they needed to give them a chance to shorten this series. Tampa Bay managed the puck reasonably well throughout the game and played a simple possession game to outshoot New Jersey 37-28 in the contest. They did have some penalty troubles overall, but both teams were in the box too much and neither really gained a whole lot of advantage from it. My biggest takeaways: the penalty kill for the Lightning has looked a lot better in the postseason as have individual defenders like Brayden Coburn and the team put New Jersey on complete lockdown in the Third Period protecting the one goal lead. It was clinical. Bottom line the win proved what we should all know by now: New Jersey isn't winning without help from the Lightning in the form of stupid turnovers or penalties. They simply can't generate enough offense on their own at 5v5 to defeat the Lightning.

Now, one of the big deflection points in this game was the monstrous hit by Nikita Kucherov in the First Period that knocked Sami Vatanen out of the game. New Jersey going down to five defensemen almost assuredly contributed to their Third Period ineffectiveness as they were chasing the game down one. There's some thought that perhaps Kucherov could see a suspension for the hit. I didn't think he hit him in the head and it'd be a miscarriage of justice. I get you want to legislate head hunting out of the game, but that's not what Kucherov did on that play. Still, I could see the NHL putting their filthy fingers on the scales knowing Vatanen is the one real top flight puck moving defenseman the Devils have and his absence crushes their effectiveness as a team at both 5v5 and on the PP.

Either way the Lightning have a pretty glorious opportunity on Saturday to conclude this series in five games and conserve energy by ending this series early. The playoffs are a marathon and you want gas in the tank at the end. This team understands that lesson well and I expect them to bear down to finish the job and get this series out of the way efficiently.

Anthony Cirelli had 2 shots and 2 blocked shots in 16:05, but he was also just 29% on 17 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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