After a disasterous start to his North American junior career, Lightning prospect Marek Bartanus looks to have turned the corner. Tonight the young winger had a goal and two assists as Owen Sound beat Sault Ste. Marie 6-3. Bartanus had a paltry 4 points in his 31 games prior to playing for Slovakia for the U20 World Junior Championships. Since returning to Owen Sound, Bartanus now has 8 points in 11 games finally showing glimpses of the potential that made him a 4th round pick.
Also, in Brandon, center Blair Jones had a hat trick tonight and two helpers as Moose Jaw beat the Wheat Kings 6-3. Jones now moves into a tie with Kootenay's Ryan Russell for 8th in the WHL in points with 63 in 55 games. With the three goals, Jones now has potted 28 this season. In his previous three seasons of junior he had just 26 goals in total.
The points left on the table against Dayton will inevitably come back to hurt the Chiefs.
Mike Betz made his debut for the Chiefs and stopped 43 of 47 shots faced. Adam Henrich scored 2 goals including a talley with 8 seconds left in regulation to get the Chiefs a point. Doug Andress had 3 assists.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
First one to six wins...
John Grahame stopped 21 out of 26 in his last start before joining Team USA at the Olympics. The Lightning have now cut Carolina's division lead to 12 points with the Hurricanes playing one more game tomorrow before the Olympic break. Vaclav Prospal had 2 goals including the game winner while Dimitry Afanasenkov had a flashback to his days in the QMJHL and had a pair of markers of his own. Among Lightning rookies, Ryan Craig had a goal and an assist while Paul Ranger chipped in a helper of his own.
Craig played 19:47 and was +2 with 4 shots on goal. Paul Ranger was +3 in 13:35 with 1 shot on goal. Evgeny Artyukhin played 12:03 with 3 shots on goal.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
In the rubber match of young Finns today it was Tuukka Rask who bested Karri Ramo in the shootout as Ilves defeated HPK 2-1. Ramo stopped 25 of 26 shots faced before falling in penalty shots. He was named third star of the game by the media and was again voted best player in the match in fan voting. Ramo's record is now 8-7-4 this season.
Big big win as the Chiefs strive to climb the ladder in the division.
Morgan Cey stopped 33 of 36 shots faced for the win. 1G 1A nights for Dimitri Tarabrin, Steve Cygan, Justin Kelly and Adam Henrich. 2A nights for Brad Thompson and Joe Tallari. Brandon Elliot also scored a goal for the Chiefs.
With the victory the Chiefs are now 20-17-10 and have lept over Toledo into 3rd place by one point. That's the good news. The bad news is that Toledo has 7 games in hand, so the Chiefs will have to remain red hot and do a considerable amount of scoreboard watching if they're to maintain their newfound position.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
You've got to give Boutin more support than that.
Jonathan Boutin played better than the final score indicated stopping 37 of 41 shots faced before Norfolk added an empty net tally. Among the four goals Boutin allowed was a penalty shot goal by Quintin Laing who was obstructed by Gerard Dicaire on a shorthanded breakaway.
The frightening thing is that the Falcons only two goals came from newcomer Zdenek Blatny. The Falcons' big guns, Jason Jaspers and Ryan Vesce, were limited to just one shot on goal between them. Chris Dingman, Gerard Dicaire and Doug O'Brien had helpers in the contest.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Tonight, we're still the class of the Southeast Division.
John Grahame stopped 28 of 28 faced in relief for the win. Fredrik Modin led the Lightning attack with 2 goals. Rookie Evgeny Artyukhin opened the scoring for the Lightning on a long slapshot on the rush that found Martin Gerber's five hole. Paul Ranger had 2 assists. The Lightning pull to within 14 points of the Hurricanes in the division.
Ryan Craig played 16:55 and was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits. Ranger was +3 in 14:33 with no shots. Artyukhin was +1 in 13:09 with 2 shots on goal and 3 hits. Norm Milley forms the rear with 2 minutes even and no shots.
Game sheet at NHL.com.
I finally was told who the top-10 Lightning prospects were in The Hockey News' Future Watch issue. As I explained in my previous entry, whoever made the list several top prospects didn't. And, as a consequence, those players were not even considered by THN's mysterious panel which saw it fit to (erroneously) name the Lightning the worst prospect system in the league. Again, to reiterate, THN's evaluators only look at the top ten prospects in an organization thereby ignoring whatever depth an organization might have from being considered in the final grade. And that faulty methodology is one reason I take so much issue with the decision to give the organization a D+.