AHL Game Night: 4-13-19 Americans at Crunch

Kings of the North.

ROC-3
SYR-4

Eddie Pasquale allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the victory.

First Period
9:39 ROC Olofsson (29), (O'Regan)(PP)
10:26 SYR Raddysh (18), (Stephens, Masin)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
2:30 SYR Stephens (11), (Raddysh, Labrie)
2:47 ROC Olofsson (30), (Asplund, Gosselin)
16:39 SYR Verhaeghe (34), (Barre-Boulet)
18:06 SYR Dumont (15), (Gaunce)(EN)
19:43 ROC Smith (2), (Veilleux, Cornel)

Carter Verhaeghe and Pasquale were the game's first and second stars.

How wonderful was it for the Crunch to get a total team win to kick down the door to the division title and seize crown? The kids, Taylor Raddysh and Mitchell Stephens, got Syracuse into the winning time, and the veterans like Verhaeghe and Gabriel Dumont took the team over the finish line.

Now with 101 points going into their final regular season tilt tomorrow, Syracuse will finish with the second best regular season record in the entire league. The Crunch will wait to see who their first round playoff opponent will be: either the Belleville Senators or the Cleveland Monsters. Both clubs are tied at 82 points with the Sens holding a decisive ROW advantage as the tiebreaker. However, both teams have tough finales tomorrow against Rochester and Toronto, respectively.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

ECHL Playoffs Game Night 4-12-19: Stingrays @ Solar Bears

South Division Semi-Finals
South Carolina Stingrays 2 @ Orlando Solar Bears 3
Best-of-7 series tied, 1-1

W/C Troy Bourke, ORL: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
(AHL contract)
Playoff Totals (ORL): 2 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals (ORL): 30 GP, 11-33-44, +11, 18 PIM
Season Totals (SYR): 25 GP, 1-5-6, -3, 6 PIM
17-18 Totals (ADK): 22 GP, 10-22-32, +11, 18 PIM
17-18 Totals (SYR): 6 GP, 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM

C Mitch Hults, ORL: 2-0-2, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, *First Star*
Playoff Totals (ORL): 2 GP, 2-0-2, E, 2 PIM
Season Totals (ORL): 39 GP, 6-19-25, -4, 30 PIM
Season Totals (SYR): 9 GP, 1-3-4, -2, 4 PIM
Season Totals (SD): 2 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
17-18 Totals (Utah): 5 GP, 2-5-7, -2, 10 PIM
17-18 Totals (SD): 53 GP, 10-14-24, -10, 8 PIM

G Connor Ingram, ORL: Win, 25 saves on 27 shots, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals (ORL): 2 GP, 1-1-0, 1.51 GAA, .944 sv%, 0 SO
Season Totals (ORL): 13 GP, 8-2-0, 2.41 GAA, .914 sv%, 1 SO
Season Totals (SYR): 22 GP, 14-7-0, 2.26 GAA, .922 sv%, 6 SO
17-18 Totals (SYR): 35 GP, 20-11-0, 2.33 GAA, .914 sv%, 4 SO

C/W Alexey Lipanov, ORL: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals (ORL): 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals (ORL): 3 GP 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals (KIT, OHL): 4 GP, 0-1-1, -3, 0 PIM
Season Totals (KIT, OHL): 62 GP, 12-18-30, -36, 16 PIM
17-18 Totals (BAR, SBY): 55 GP, 14-25-39, -14, 10 PIM

D Matthew Spencer, ORL: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals (ORL): 1 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals (ORL): 35 GP, 2-13-15, +15, 34 PIM
Season Totals (SYR): 9 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
17-18 Totals (ECHL): 14 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 13 PIM
17-18 Totals (AHL): 39 GP, 1-4-5, +2, 13 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, ORL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals (ORL): 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals (ORL): 23 GP, 13-13-26, +8, 18 PIM
Season Totals (SYR): 8 GP, 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM
17-18 Totals (SYR): 23 GP, 3-3-6, +5, 16 PIM

Lightning prospect Mitch Hults scored two of Orlando’s three second period goals as the Solar Bears built a 3-0 lead entering the third period. They’d watch that lead be cut to 3-2, but South Carolina couldn’t find the game-tying goal.

Orlando welcomed back Jonne Tammela and Matt Spencer from AHL Syracuse. The Crunch added ECHL Atlanta defenseman Jack Stander and forward Nick Bligh to their roster for the playoffs.

Game 3 is Wednesday in South Carolina.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-12-19

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Second Round/Quarterfinals

No. 5 Rimouski Oceanic 5 @ No. 7 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3
Rimouski wins best-of-7 series, 4-1

C Jimmy Huntington, RIM: 1-1-2, +3, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, 1 Hit, 15/27 FO
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 6-7-13, +13, 6 PIM
Season Totals: 66 GP, 40-52-92 +41, 52 PIM
17-18 Totals (Vic): 68 GP, 18-40-58, +5, 42 PIM

D Radim Salda, RIM: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 1 Hit
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 1-1-2, +2, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 48 GP, 10-20-30, +17, 36 PIM
17-18 Totals (SJ): 62 GP, 10-31-41, -37, 78 PIM

Rimouski advanced to the third round with a 5-3 road win in Sydney, beating the Screaming Eagles in Game 4. The Oceanic will face top-seeded Rouyn-Noranda in the semi-finals. Halifax plays Drummondville in the other series.

Lightning prospect Jimmy Huntington opened the scoring in Game 4 less than two minutes in. He added an assist on Rimouski’s second goal, which tied the game at two. Radim Salda (pictured) scored his first of the playoffs early in the third period to break a 3-3 tie and send Rimouski on to the semi-finals.

NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-12-19 Blue Jackets at Lightning

It's time to tell some hard truths.

CBJ-5
TB-1

Columbus Leads the Series 2-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 27 shots for the loss. He set the Lightning on the road to ruin tonight with a leaky semi-soft goal in the First Period that set the tone of doubt and loss of composure for the entire team. He, like all his teammates, has a lot to answer for at this hour.

First Period
5:15 CBJ Atkinson (1), (Duchene)
11:44 CBJ Werenski (1), (Duchene)(PP)

Second Period
1:28 CBJ Duchene (1), (Panarin, Werenski)(PP)

Third Period
5:00 TB Sergachev (1), (Miller, Cernak)
9:06 CBJ Nash (1), (Jenner)
12:15 CBJ Panarin (1), (Duchene, Bjorkstrand)

But wait, there's more! Because Nikita Kucherov decided to get himself kicked out of the game late in the Third Period boarding a Blue Jackets player on his knees along the wall, he may be facing a suspension from the league office.

When you tie a league record for number of wins and you clinch the best record almost two months before the finish line and your first round playoff opponent is a team you nuked by some pretty big scores en route to sweeping the regular season series you come into a playoff scenario with some arrogance. No one wants to admit it. Everyone pays lip service about respecting the opponent and respecting that the intensity level rises in the playoffs, etc. etc. They give the requisite talking points about John Tortorella being a good coach and always having his players ready to play hard. But, in truth, there's arrogance. You think talent alone is going to blow the adversary off the rink and, when adversity does hit, it's no matter. One of these other very talented teammates will just step up and do something and the team will win the game, anyway. Happened all regular season, right?

From the Second Period of Game One on, the Lightning have cheated the game, cheated the fans, and cheated themselves. They have oscillated between not putting the requisite level of intensity and effort that's needed at this time of year to not having the requisite level of attention to detail and focus. And when those things have snowballed into a rising calamity, rather than recommitting to playing the game the right way this Lightning team has shrunk from the moment. They've caved under pressure. They've reacted like a mentally soft team that has tasted playoff disappointment before and is simultaneously scared of failure but at the same time not scared enough to put aside their arrogance and start making the sacrifices necessary in order to steer clear of another disappointment.

It's time for this team to tell the damned truth. Not to me. Not to the fans. Not even to the coaches. It's time for the guys in that room to shut off the music, bar the doors to the inner sanctum of the locker room, pick up their heads and look each other dead in the eyes and be honest. Be honest about what's happened not just in the first two games of this series but over the past half decade as this team has annually fallen short of its promise. Be honest about what needs to happen in order to fix what's broken. And then commit to each other that what's happened is never going to happen again.

It won't start with empty conceits about, "Well, Washington was on the ropes last year to Columbus and they won four straight against the Blue Jackets and went on to win the Cup." This is no longer about winning a Stanley Cup at this moment, or winning a series, or even winning Game Three. Before any of those other things happen, there needs to be an understanding from this Lightning team that they have to do something they haven't done in the last 100 minutes of hockey: win a period. Win. A. Period. And that means pouring into a handful of shifts over the course of 20 minutes the needed levels of intensity, focus, attention to detail, grit, heart, and passion. And if you can win one stinking period, well hell, maybe you have a blueprint to win at all of those other milestones, too.

People think the way you climb a mountain is by getting to the summit. In truth, you climb a mountain one step at a time. And if it's a mountain like Mount Everest that comes fraught with danger and peril, each step has to have the same DNA to avoid tragedy. Each step needs to be approached with the same intensity, focus, attention to detail, grit, heart and passion because if you're arrogant and you cheat the process and try to skip steps you might just die. The Lightning are at the base of their own Everest. Now it's time to put aside everything else, including stopping worrying about the summit, and focus on the next step. And then the one after that. And then the one after that. Be humble about the graveness and the awesomeness of the task at hand but strong enough to know you can do it if you take it one step at a time. Because if they don't, then most assuredly their season will die.

Thus ends tonight's philosophy seminar.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-12-19 Rocket at Crunch

Crunch take care of business to set up important final two games of regular season.

LAV-1
SYR-5

Eddie Pasquale allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory.

First Period
1:34 SYR Volkov (22), (Barre-Boulet, Verhaeghe)
2:39 SYR Andreoff (26), (Raddysh, Gaunce)
12:58 LAV Struthers (1), (Alain, Fleury)(PP)

Second Period
1:21 SYR Verhaeghe (32), (Gaunce, Conacher)(PP)
10:27 SYR Verhaeghe (33), (Dumont, Barre-Boulet)

Third Period
16:23 SYR Barre-Boulet (34), (Conacher)(PP)

Carter Verhaeghe, Alex Barre-Boulet, and Cameron Gaunce were the game's three stars.

This could've been a trap game where the team might've looked ahead at a big game against Rochester coming up, so it's reassuring to see the Crunch's big guns rise to the occasion to put away Laval efficiently in this one.

Rochester lost to Bingo in OT tonight, so the Crunch hold a 2 point lead in the North Division with each team having two games left to play. Tomorrow night, 7 pm, the Americans come to town. If Syracuse wins, they hang another division banner. If not, their ROW advantage is now such that they could still win the division with a win against Utica on Sunday in the regular season finale. But, I'm going to posit a guess that nobody's going to be satisfied with backing into a division championship. So, tomorrow's game takes on incredible importance.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-9-19

Second Round

No. 5 Rimouski Oceanic 5 @ No. 7 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 2
Rimouski leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

C Jimmy Huntington, RIM: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 2 Hits, 8/17 FO
Playoff Totals: 8 GP, 5-6-11, +10, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 66 GP, 40-52-92 +41, 52 PIM
17-18 Totals (Vic): 68 GP, 18-40-58, +5, 42 PIM

D Radim Salda, RIM: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG, 1 Hit
Playoff Totals: 8 GP, 0-1-1, +2, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 48 GP, 10-20-30, +17, 36 PIM
17-18 Totals (SJ): 62 GP, 10-31-41, -37, 78 PIM

The Oceanic moved within one win of advancing to the third round of the QMJHL playoffs with another road win, this time 5-2 over Cape Breton. Rimouski improved to 4-0 on the road in the playoffs. Lightning prospect Jimmy Huntington had an assist in Game 4 to give him 11 points in eight games. The helper came on an empty-net goal, though he had a shot go through the goalie earlier in the game that was swept off the goalline. Radim Salda was scoreless and is sitting on one assist through eight games after putting up 30 points in 48 regular season games. Rimouski can close out the series Friday in Sydney.

NCAA Frozen Four Semifinals - April 11, 2019

NCAA Frozen Four Semifinals – Buffalo, NY

Massachusetts Minutemen 4 vs Denver Pioneers 3 (OT)

F Cole Guttman, DEN: 2-1-3, +2, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 9/17 FO
Season Totals: 41 GP, 14-12-26, +16, 18 PIM

Bolt prospect Cole Guttman scored two goals in the 3rd period to erase a 3-1 Denver deficit and force overtime against the Minutemen. In the opening period, Guttman helped setup a Colin Staub (undrafted) power play marker that gave the Pioneers an early 1-0, but David Carle led Denver squad got into penalty trouble and gave up three 1st period power play goals to UMass and trailed 3-1 at the end of the 1st. Marc Del Gaizo (undrafted) scored the OT game-winner for the Minutemen at 15:18 in the extra session. Denver finishes the season with a record of 24-12-5, and Guttman’s 14 goals are good for T-4 among Division I freshman in the nation.

Providence Friars 1 vs Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 3

F Cole Koepke, UMD: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 41 GP, 7-12-19, +13, 14 PIM

Justin Richards (undrafted), son of Lightning assistant coach Todd Richards, scored twice for the Bulldogs and Hunter Shepard (undrafted) made 28 saves as the defending national champions and pre-season top-ranked UMD squad punched their ticket back to Saturday nights NCAA Championship Game against Massachusetts. After a scoreless 1st period, Richards opened the scoring in the 2nd to give the Bulldogs their first lead. But it was short lived, as the Friars bounced back, knotting the score at 1-1 from a power-play marker from Josh Wilkins (undrafted). Billy Exell (undrafted) scored the eventual game-winner at the midpoint of the 3rd to re-establish the UMD lead at 2-1, and then the Bulldogs would seal the victory with a pair of empty netters in the last 33 seconds of the game as Providence pressed for the equalizer. Koepke finished scoreless, though he did have a goal called back due to his goaltender interference at the top of the crease.

ECHL Playoffs Game Night 4-10-19

South Division Semi-Finals
South Carolina Stingrays 2 @ Orlando Solar Bears 0
South Carolina leads best-of-7 series, 1-0

W/C Troy Bourke, ORL: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
(AHL contract)
Season Totals (ORL): 30 GP, 11-33-44, +11, 18 PIM
Season Totals (SYR): 25 GP, 1-5-6, -3, 6 PIM
17-18 Totals (ADK): 22 GP, 10-22-32, +11, 18 PIM
17-18 Totals (SYR): 6 GP, 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM

C Mitch Hults, ORL: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals (ORL): 39 GP, 6-19-25, -4, 30 PIM
Season Totals (SYR): 9 GP, 1-3-4, -2, 4 PIM
Season Totals (SD): 2 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
17-18 Totals (Utah): 5 GP, 2-5-7, -2, 10 PIM
17-18 Totals (SD): 53 GP, 10-14-24, -10, 8 PIM

G Connor Ingram, ORL: Loss, 26 saves on 27 shots, *Second Star*
Season Totals (ORL): 13 GP, 8-2-0, 2.41 GAA, .914 sv%, 1 SO
Season Totals (SYR): 22 GP, 14-7-0, 2.26 GAA, .922 sv%, 6 SO
17-18 Totals (SYR): 35 GP, 20-11-0, 2.33 GAA, .914 sv%, 4 SO

C/W Alexey Lipanov, ORL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals (ORL): 3 GP 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals (KIT): 4 GP, 0-1-1, -3, 0 PIM
Season Totals (KIT): 62 GP, 12-18-30, -36, 16 PIM
17-18 Totals (BAR, SBY): 55 GP, 14-25-39, -14, 10 PIM

South Carolina’s Parker Milner stopped all 26 shots he faced to lift the Stingrays to a 2-0 road win in Game 1 of their South Division Semi-Final series against Orlando. For the Solar Bears, Connor Ingram stopped all but one shot he saw to finish as second star, but he took the loss. South Carolina’s second goal was scored into an empty net.

Orlando was without Olivier Archambeault (AHL contract), who was called up to AHL Syracuse. Archambeault has not been a regular in the Solar Bears lineup for most of the season until the last couple weeks. He is listed on the playoff reserve list for Orlando, who was required to submit their 23-man roster to the league Tuesday. Others on the reserve list include Syracuse’s Nolan Valleau, Jonne Tammela, Matthew Spencer, Oleg Sosunov, Corbin Boes, and Otto Somppi.

Game 2 is Friday in Orlando.

NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-10-19 Blue Jackets at Lightning

Most embarrassing loss in Lightning playoff history.

CBJ-4
TB-3

Columbus Leads the Series 1-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss.

First Period
4:12 TB Killorn (1), (unassisted)(SH)
11:01 TB Cirelli (1), (Cernak, Miller)
17:50 TB Gourde (1), (Sergachev, Rutta)

Second Period
9:15 CBJ Foligno (1), (Anderson)

Third Period
7:56 CBJ Savard (1), (unassisted)
11:54 CBJ Anderson (1), (Jenner)(SH)
14:05 CBJ Jones (1), (Panarin, Werenski)(PP)

Anthony Cirelli was the game's second star.

I'm hard pressed to think of a time I've been more embarrassed by this team's effort. This first round matchup against Columbus isn't a test of talent or tactics. It's a test of heart and will. They're up against a team coached by John Tortorella and they decided to take their collective foot off the gas after twenty minutes of hockey? Really? Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and this Lightning team completely took the Second Period of this contest off and then proceeded to make brain cramp after brain cramp in the Third Period to allow Columbus to steal a win in a game where they'd have been dead and buried long prior had the Lightning maintained any semblance of consistent effort.

I have no idea why the Lightning coaching staff chose the defensive lineup they did, but in no universe should the Sergachev and Rutta pairing be playing in a playoff game. They spent the entire Second Period hemmed up and under pressure. How in the blue hell did Rutta end up with more ice time than Erik Cernak? And, why in the hell do you leave one of your most rugged and experienced customers like Braydon Coburn in the press box against THAT opponent?

And, may I suggest to a few forwards who decided to play tentative milquetoast hockey tonight like Tyler Johnson to follow Yanni Gourde's lead and treat a playoff hockey game with playoff intensity?

They had an opportunity in the Second Period of this game to completely break Columbus' confidence and run Bobrovsky out of the series. Now they're facing a do or die contest in Game Two instead. If that doesn't light a fire under them then they really are nothing but a paper tiger and all the regular season records in the world won't change it. How bad does this Lightning team really want it? Because, in all sports, greatness is only validated by winning championships. Nothing else.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Training Camp Numbers: Podcast Episode 7

The podcast resumes this week as the playoffs get underway. Listen for Lightning player and prospect talk ... as well as some more soapboxes.

For first-timers, Training Camp Numbers looks at Lightning prospects (who get and are often stuck with the obscure training camp numbers), Lightning talking points, and the NHL news of the week.

This week: PLAYOFFS??

    Draft lottery madness
    Portland writer whining about Amalie Arena
    Where is Tampa as a hockey town?
    Analytics debate on Kucherov
    Award season
    Prospect update
    Your questions
    It's A Numbers Game
    TCN Draft: TB unsung playoff heroes

Thanks to Andrew Weiss for leading and hosting the show. Enjoy the Lightning talk on iTunes, Spotify, and a bunch of other platforms.

Click here to listen.

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