Ramo/Rask IV will have to wait. Miika Wiikman got the start today in HPK's opening game of the SM-liiga playoffs beating Tuukka Rask and Ilves 4-2. Rask stopped 35 of 39 shots faced in the game.
I think Wheeling might've been a little mad after losing two straight to the Chiefs.
Gabe Winer stopped 27 of 31 shots faced before being pulled for the third period for Mike Betz who stopped all 9 shots faced. The teams played a physical first period that saw fights by Adam Henrich and Andre Deveaux as well as double minor for roughing to Brandon Elliot. Elliot would later have a fight of his own in the second period where Adam Henrich collected his 8th through 21st penalty minutes of the night (slash, fighting, roughing, rough and ten minute misconduct).
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Blues snuck past JYP in overtime yesterday in the final match of the play-in round to set the field for the SM-liiga quarterfinals. Third seeded HPK will face off with sixth seeded Ilves. That means we could see Karri Ramo once again square off with countryman Tuukka Rask in a battle between the two brightest star goaltending prospects in Finland.
Omsk defeated CSKA 3-0 in the opening match of their quarterfinal series. Nikita Alexeev did not dress for Avangard.
Lada Togliatti drew first blood against Goliath Magnitogorsk behind Vasily Koshechkin's 4th win of the postseason.
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.