The Western Hockey League released their first and second team conference all-stars yesterday and two Lightning forwards received honors. In the Western Conference, Kelowna LW Justin Keller was named a First Team All Star after leading the league in goals. In the East, center Blair Jones was selected as a Second Team All Star after finishing in the top 10 in the WHL in scoring. Keller and Jones aren't the only Lightning players who will be holding hardware at the end of the day, as it is expected Stanislav Lascek will also be receiving honors in the QMJHL.
Linkopings defeated Lulea handily today 7-2 to win their opening round playoff series 4-2. Fredrik Norrena and Shane Willis returned to the lineup today as all three Lightning properties figured into the win. Norrena stopped 18 of 20 shots faced in the game to secure his third victory of the postseason. Willis, meanwhile, may have had his best game in a Linkopings jersey to date scoring a goal and adding a shorthanded assist. Also, defenseman Andreas Holmqvist scored his first career Elitserien playoff goal on the power play. Third seeded Linkopings must now face second seeded Vastra Frolunda in the Swedish league's semifinal round.
Ethan Blough of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that the club has signed a third goaltender to help shore up their situation between the pipes. With Morgan Cey recalled to Springfield and Mike Betz injured last weekend the club was forced to sign rookie Gabe Winer of UMASS and play him three straight nights. To solve the problem, the team signed goaltender Josh Disher from the Erie Otters of the OHL. Disher, a 2004 6th round pick of the Devils whose rights are still held by New Jersey, was elligible for signing because his club failed to make the OHL postseason. He was 21-25-3-3 this year for the Otters with a 3.75 GAA and a .891 save percentage. Standing at 6'1" 177 lbs, the backstop compiled a 72-65-11-3 record with 8 shutouts in three seasons with Erie. His career best season came in 2004-2005 when he had a 25-18-6 record with a 2.73 GAA and .913 save percentage. Disher will be available for recall to Albany or New Jersey at the Devils' discretion.
Bolt Prospects' Chad Schnarr has learned that left wing Mark Tobin, whose season with the Rimouski Oceanic just ended, will not be signed early by the Lightning. In addition, there is considerable doubt as to whether or not Tobin will be signed at all this summer. If he is not, the Newfoundland native will re-enter the draft in June.
I don't know if I should be outraged or jubilant.
The Lightning scored 4 unanswered goals in the 3rd period just to get a point in the standings, and every point is precious right now. Gerald Coleman, unfortunately, took his first NHL loss in relief as Olli Jokinen beat him on a breakaway in overtime. In Coleman's two appearances this season he's been beaten by Marian Hossa and now Jokinen on clean breakaways. He stopped 12 of 13 shots faced after entering the game to start the third period after John Grahame was chased for allowing 5 goals on 25 shots.
Martin St. Louis keyed the comeback with two goals and Ryan Craig continued to shine with a goal and an assist. Paul Ranger played 20:18 and was -2 including the miscue at the blueline that led to Jokinen's winner. That's about three straight minus games for the usually flawless rookie. Craig played 16:53 and was +2 with 1 shot on goal which he made the most of. Evgeny Artyukhin played 10:14 and was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
The Falcons and Lightning have agreed to a two year extention to their existing affiliation agreement which has one year remaining to go. The agreement establishes an out clause which requires the Lightning to have another full affiliation AND Springfield to have another NHL full affiliation before the agreement can be dissolved.
Khimik survived the first round of the Superleague playoffs by winning the deciding game five today against Nizhnekamsk 2-1. Alexei Glukhov had 2 penalty minutes in the game.
With Khimik's victory the elite eight quarterfinal round is set. Nikita Alexeev's Avangard Omsk will face CSKA. Vasily Koshechkin and Lada Togliatti will face the colossal challenge of Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Finally, Anton But and the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv will throw down with Khimik MO and Alexei Glukhov.
Today was the final day of the QMJHL regular season.
Quebec issued one of the most unholy beat downs in the history of junior hockey upon Rimouski to end a terrible season for the Oceanic. Predators prospect Alexander Radulov went clinically insane with 7 goals and 11 points in the game. Lightning prospect Mark Tobin was scoreless and -4 in the contest.
Chicoutimi unleashed a similarly nasty beating upon Shawinigan capping their season with a 9-3 triumph. Stanislav Lascek could only manage 2 goals (his 46th and 47th) and 7 points in the game. Lascek was named the game's third star.
The Sangueneens and Lascek will play Baie-Comeau in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs beginning on Friday. Rimouski did not qualify for the postseason.
Stan Lascek finished 2nd in the QMJHL in scoring, tied for 10th in goals, 2nd in assists, tied for 9th in +/-, tied for 17th in power play goals and tied for 4th in game winning goals. Tobin finished tied with Lascek for 17th in power play goals and was 2nd in the league in hits.
Stanislav Lascek, 63 GP, 45-83-128, 96 PIM, (+40), 19 PPG, 3 SHG, 9 GWG, 42 Hits
Mark Tobin, 66 GP, 26-25-51, 107 PIM, (-47), 19 PPG, 0 SHG, 1GWG, 251 Hits
Because Rimouski is eliminated from post season Mark Tobin is now elligible to be signed by the Lightning and placed inside the organization with Springfield or Johnstown. Stay tuned to see if the Lightning give him an early taste of the pros.
Today was the final day of the OHL regular season.
Kevin Beech and Sudbury defeated Ottawa 5-4 in a shootout. Beech stopped 39 of 43 shots faced and was a perfect 3 for 3 in the penalty shot session.
Despite Chris Lawrence's 23rd goal of the year and an assist Mississauga fell to Peterborough 5-4.
Radek Smolenak was scoreless in Kingston's 3-2 shootout loss to Oshawa. The big power forward was also successful on his penalty shot attempt.
Smolenak and Kingston will face Beech and Sudbury in the opening round of the playoffs beginning Friday and Marek Bartanus and Owen Sound will square off with Kitchener starting Friday as well. Chris Lawrence's Mississauga Ice Dogs failed to qualify for postseason.
Radek Smolenak finished tied for 15th in the OHL in scoring, tied for 11th in goals and tied for 14th in game winning goals. Kevin Beech was 9th in the league in GAA and 4th in wins.
Radek Smolenak, 65 GP, 42-42-84, 109 PIM, (+19), 12 PPG, 2 SHG
Chris Lawrence, 67 GP, 23-30-53, 91 PIM, (-20), 11 PPG, 0 SHG
Marek Bartanus, 49 GP, 7-12-19, 47 PIM, (-14), 2 PPG, 0 SHG
Kevin Beech, 33-25-1-4, 2.94 GAA, 0 SO, .906 sv%
Today was also the final day of the WHL regular season.
Vladimir Mihalik had 4 penalty minutes in Red Deer's 4-3 win over Lethbridge.
In the first round of the WHL playoffs, Blair Jones' Moose Jaw Warriors will square off with Brandon starting Friday. Although he is unlikely to play due to his ankle injury, Andy Rogers' Prince George Cougars will play Vancouver also beginning Friday. Justin Keller and Kelowna will draw Kootenay in an excellent first round matchup that also begins Friday. Vladimir Mihalik's Red Deer Rebels did not qualify for postseason.
Justin Keller finished 5th in the WHL in scoring, 1st in goals, 1st in power play goals, tied for 20th in shorthanded goals, 1st in game winning goals, tied for 7th in first goals and tied for 9th in insurance goals. Blair Jones finished just behind Keller in 6th in the league in scoring. Jones was tied for 12th in goals, tied for 5th in assists, tied for 6th in power play goals, tied for 20th in game winning goals and tied for 9th in the league in +/-.
Justin Keller, 72 GP, 51-37-88, 82 PIM, (+12), 21 PPG, 3 SHG
Blair Jones, 72 GP, 35-50-85, 85 PIM, (+26), 14 PPG, 2 SHG
Vladimir Mihalik, 62 GP, 3-9-12, 86 PIM, (-12), 1 PPG, 0 SHG
Andy Rogers, 21 GP, 0-3-3, 51 PIM, (-4), 0 PPG, 0 SHG
Congratulations to all Lightning prospects on their junior seasons and good luck in the playoffs.
Winermania is sweeping Pennsylvania.
Gabe Winer stopped 28 of 30 shots faced for the win. Andre Deveaux led the way with a goal and two assists for the Chiefs. Adam Henrich scored his 16th ECHL goal of the season and had an assist. Brandon Elliot broke into double digits with his 10th goal of the campaign and Dennis Packard chipped in a helper. The Chiefs are now seven games over .500 for the year. Kudos to Coach Anzalone.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.