Mike Betz wins his first game as a Chief in the shootout.
Betz made 27 saves on 31 shots faced before winning in the penalty shots. Brett Peterson and Jean Desrochers each had a goal and an assist in the game. Betz defeated goaltender David Currie who, you'll remember, started the season in Johnstown before being dealt to the Victoria Salmon Kings after Morgan Cey returned from his early season groin injury.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
While Russia prepared to battle the Czech Republic at the Olympics today for the bronze medal, in the Superleague it was back to business for two teams. Khimik MO defeated Lada Togliatti 2-0 today. Goaltender Vasily Koshechkin's record drops to 16-12-6 with the loss.
LW Mark Tobin scored his 24th goal of the season, a power play marker, as Rimouski was defeated 4-1 by Val-d'Or.
G Kevin Beech stopped 20 of 21 shots faced as Sudbury beat Oshawa 3-1.
C/W Chris Lawrence scored Missisauga's lone goal, a power play goal which was his 17th of the season, as the Ice Dogs were crushed 8-1 by Brampton. Lawrence has 14 goals and 27 points in 28 games with Missisauga since being traded from Sault Ste Marie earlier this season.
LW Radek Smolenak had 1 assist as Kingston shut out Peterborough 4-0.
C Blair Jones was held scoreless as Moose Jaw defeated Saskatoon 5-1.
LW Justin Keller had 2 goals as Kelowna defeated Kootenay 5-3.
D Vladimir Mihalik was held scoreless as Red Deer beat Swift Current 3-2 in a shootout.
Poor Gerald Coleman was in a shooting gallery tonight as the Falcons' comeback bid fell short.
Gerald Coleman broke the Springfield Falcons record set earlier this year by Jonathan Boutin by making 54 saves on 58 shots faced in the loss. Zbynek Blatny and Jason Jaspers each had 1 goal and 1 assist each and Marek Kvapil had 2 assists as that line remained hot. Nick Tarnasky had an unassisted goal to start the unsuccessful third period rally.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Overshadowed somewhat by the play of Justin Keller, who is now tied for 5th in the WHL in scoring, has been the play of center Blair Jones. Jones, a 4th round pick in last year's draft, has already put up career best numbers of 14 goals and 50 points for the Moose Jaw Warriors this season. Tonight he scored a goal in Moose Jaw's 4-1 win over Prince Albert. This puts Jones at the significant 30 goal plateau and it also puts him at an even 70 points in 61 games this season, good enough for 7th in the WHL just 1 point back of the older Keller. Jones was a positive surprise in this year's Traverse City prospect tournament with 2 goals and 4 points in 4 games. He was rated the third best WHL prospect in the CSS's preliminary rankings last season but a fallout with Brent Sutter in Red Deer and his subsequent trade dropped his stock by draft day. Now, with the Warriors, he appears to be living up to his potential.
You know, I find it pretty funny "mainstream" media outlets like Hockey's Future and THN can find it fit to ridicule the Tampa Bay Lightning's prospect base, put us dead last in their organizational ranking and keep our players out of their top-50 prospects without even so much as an honorable mention and yet when the puck is dropped and the real games are played the Lightning have three of the better rookies in the league this season. TSN released their top-40 rankings for rookie forwards today and Ryan Craig (#23) and Evgeny Artyukhin (#25) both made the grade. Here's a fun exercise: count the number of well hyped 1st round draft picks lunch pail 8th rounder Ryan Craig has outplayed so far this year. I count nine between the rest of the top-40 and the honorable mentions TSN lists, and I'm sure a certain very biased online editor at Hockey's Future must be thoroughly embarassed by the immortal Jim Slater being bested by two prospects from the Lightning's allegedly bare cupboard. Earlier TSN had released their list of the top-20 rookie defensemen prospects and 6th round pick Paul Ranger checked in at #15. What!? No Braydon Coburn!?!?!
To the critics of this organization:
Would you prefer yours grilled or baked?