Courtnall an All-Star

Today the BCHL announced its Coastal Conference all-stars and Lightning prospect Justin Courtnall made the list. Courtnall's father, Geoff, will be coaching the Coastal squad at the January 14 game vs. the Interior Conference.

Courtnall is in his third year in the BCHL, and is tied for the team lead in scoring with fellow all-star Evan Pighin. Both were participants in the Lightning's prospect camp this past summer. Pighin is a free agent.

Courtnall is averaging a career-best 1.1 points per game as he has accumulated nine goals and 25 assists for 34 points in 31 games. He is second on his club in penalty minutes with 53. Last year he was 19-32-51 in 60 games with Victoria. The year previous he split between Victoria and Burnaby, scoring five goals and 14 points in 48 games.

Szczechura, Smolenak Recalled to Tampa

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forwards Radek Smolenak and Paul Szczechura from the Norfolk Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton. It is the first NHL call-up for both players.

Smolenak, a 6-foot-3, 183-pound left wing from Prague, Czech Republic, has appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk this season, scoring eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points. He leads Norfolk and is tied for third in the American Hockey League with 93 penalty minutes. He is the only player among the top 50 of both penalty minutes and scoring in the AHL. Smolenak also has three power play and one game-winning goal to go along with a +3 rating. Smolenak was drafted in the third round (73rd overall) by the Lighnting in 2005.

Szczechura, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound center, has also appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk this season, leading the team with 11 goals, 13 assists and 24 points. Szczechura is tied for ninth in the AHL in scoring and is tied for tenth in the league in goals. His +7 rating is best among Admirals forwards and he also has one power play, one shorthanded and one game-winning goal. Szczechura signed a two-year deal with the Lightning on April 24. Prior to that, he played under an AHL contract as a rookie in 2007-08, scoring 14 goals and 12 assists with the Admirals after being acquired from the Iowa Stars on January 15. Despite appearing in only 24 games with Norfolk last season, Szczechura led the team in scoring by a rookie and tied for the overall team lead in game-winning goals with three. He netted points in his first ten games with the Admirals – the longest scoring streak ever by a Norfolk rookie and tied for the fourth longest streak overall.

N.A. Juniors Game Night 11/30: Breakout Game for Cunti

Big games from Cunti and Jung ... Tyrell and PG in trouble.

Helenius Recalled to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned goaltender Riku Helenius to the Admirals from their ECHL affiliate, the Augusta Lynx, Admirals General Manager Mike Butters announced on Sunday.

Helenius, a 6-foot-3, 202-pound goaltender from Palkane, Finland, appeared in two preseason games for the Admirals, going 1-1-0 with a 4.00 goals-against average and .840 save percentage. He did not play in a regular season game with Norfolk prior to being reassigned to Augusta on October 16.

The 20-year-old went 3-4-1 in his first eight games of North American professional hockey with the Lynx this season, posting a 4.41 goals-against average and .874 save percentage. He recorded his first pro win in his pro debut, stopping 44 of 46 shots on October 21 at Gwinnett.

Helenius was originally drafted in the first round (15th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

ECHL Game Night 11/30: Lynx at Checkers

The Lynx survived a 42 shot onslaught by the Charlotte Checkers snapping an 8 game losing streak by winning in a 2-1 shootout. Lightning goaltending prospect Riku Helenius did not dress for the Lynx after being recalled by Tampa to the Norfolk Admirals. Both Chris Lawrence and Kevin Quick failed to convert on their shootout attempts.

Checkers owner Michael Kahn has been linked as one of the possible investors to prop up the Lynx $300,000 budget shortfall.

Augusta 2 @ Charlotte 1 SO
D Kevin Quick: 0-0-0; E; 0 PIM; 1 SOG
F Chris Lawrence: 0-0-0; E; 2 PIM (boarding); 1 SOG

Augusta's record now stands at 6-10-1-2, and next play on Thursday night against the Mississippi Sea Wolves in Gulfport, MS.

ECHL Game Night 11/29: Checkers at Lynx

In a home game marred by reports of financial trouble by the 10-year old Augusta franchise, the visiting Charlotte Checkers were merciless defeating the Lynx 6-2 behind a 4 goal 2nd period. Chris Lawrence assisted on the Lynx third period goal. Riku Helenius backed up Mike Brodeur before being recalled to the Norfolk Admirals. This was 2nd straight game that the Lynx lost by a score of 6-2.

Charlotte 6 @ Augusta 2
G Riku Helenius: did not play
D Kevin Quick: 0-0-0; -1; 0 PIM; 5 SOG
F Chris Lawrence: 0-1-1; +1; 0 PIM; 0 SOG

Augusta falls to 5-10-1-1, and complete the home-and-home series with the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday.

AHL Game Day 11/30: Admirals at Bears

I would love it if someone in the organization figured out how to protect a third period lead.

NOR-2
HER-3

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the loss.

First Period
HER Osala, (16) (Bouchard, Perreault), 3:01

Second Period
NOR Potulny, (2) (Bochenski), 4:11

Third Period
NOR Curadeau, (1) (Bochenski), 0:40
HER Giroux, (17) (Aucoin, McNeill), 10:15 (PP)
HER Joudrey, (2) (Bourque, Gordon), 17:50

Brandon Bochenski was named the game's second star.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Lightning Trade Hutchinson for Tukonen

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that they have traded D Andrew Hutchinson to the Dallas Stars in exchange for prospect RW Lauri Tukonen.

Tukonen, who was selected 11th overall by Los Angeles in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, floundered for three years as a pro in the Kings organization before returning to Finland where he has played for Lukko Rauma this season, amassing 5 goals and 13 points in 22 games this year. The 22 year old winger was once touted as an up-and-coming power forward type in the Olli Jokinen mold, but his lack of intensity saw him score just 14 goals and 36 points in 62 games in his career season in the AHL, his rookie professional year in 2005-2006.

Hutchinson's departure removes a one-way contract from the Lightning's ledger. The defenseman has had respectable numbers in the minors, with 1 goal and 14 points in 20 games, but the emergence of prospect Blair Jones as the right-handed triggerman on Norfolk's power play was likely the final straw that made Hutchinson expendable.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 11/30

Game stars for Jung, Fadden, and Tyrell ... Tokarski's struggles continue.

NCAA Game Night: 11/29

Maine Black Bears 2 @ No.13 Vermont Catamounts 3 (Hockey East)
C/W Matt Marshall , UVM: Did not play.
Season totals: 10 GP, 1-1-2, +1, 4 PIM

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