The Springfield Falcons have returned center Justin Kelly to Johnstown of the ECHL. He had zero points in five games with the Falcons. Kelly still leads Johnstown in scoring with 28 points in 21 games despite his time up in Springfield.
I believe that's 12 straight games now where the Falcons have allowed 4 or more goals. And the winless streak continues.
Gerald Coleman made 20 saves on 24 shots faced in the loss. Through two periods he had allowed 3 goals on just 8 shots putting the Falcons in a situation where their 29-8 shot superiority was all for naught fighting a 3-2 deficit. At this pont Dirk Graham seems to have zero faith in Brian Eklund while Coleman, a rookie who was never a full time starter in junior, is watching his season start to circle the drain. As it stands right now his save percentage is a terrible .889. How long are the Lightning/Falcons going to continue to run this young man through the meat grinder before they make a move? It's been clear for at least a half a month now what the organization needs to do: either acquire a veteran goaltender or give your ECHL All-Star Jonathan Boutin or your Spengler Cup team member Morgan Cey the opportunity to do what neither of these goaltenders seem capable of doing right now: stop 90% of the pucks they see.
Marek Kvapil led the way offensively with 1G 1A while Nick Tarnasky had a tally of his own and Lightning prospect Dennis Packard had an assist and Lightning exhile Chris Dingman had a helper of his own. None of that amounts to a hill of beans however if this team's goaltenders continue to allow 4 or 5 goals every night out. The Falcons cannot win consistently with that kind of performance between the pipes. Period.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Remarkably, Mark Tobin survived today's QMJHL trade deadline which passed at noon. The left winger scored his 18th goal of the season today for Rimouski in a 6-2 defeat to St. John's. Rimouski is currently dead last in the 18 team QMJHL and has won just 8 games all season, making their decision to hold onto the veteran Tobin surprising to say the least.
The implosion of youthful Lada Togliatti appears to be on in full force. Lada fell 4-1 today to Spartak Moscow as Vasily Koshechkin allowed 3 goals before Spartak added an empty net goal in the third. Koshechkin's record slides to 14-9-3 on the year.
It's been a tough transition to North American hockey for Marek Bartanus. Prior to his trip to the World Junior Championships he had a, frankly, miserable 4 points in 31 games for Owen Sound. We were afraid that perhaps Bartanus was going to shatter Aaron Lobb's record for being the worst 4th round Lightning draft pick in recent memory. He wasn't even originally on the final Slovakian team roster and, at first, was passed over for the team by a couple of guys in the NAHL.
However, there's a hint of Bartanumentum in the air. Bartanus did manage to score a goal in Slovakia's final game at the WJC's, a 3-3 tie with Switzerland. Thursday, in his first game back with Owen Sound, he assisted on a Scott Tregunna goal in a 5-3 loss to Windsor. Tonight, he assisted on Matthew Kang's game winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Saginaw. Rare have been the times this season when Bolt Prospects has been able to heap accolades on Marek, so from now until Wednesday when Owen Sound plays Guelph, we're declaring Bartanupalooza on the site, a hopefully not fleeting celebration of Bartanus' in progress scoring streak. Here's to you and the second half of this OHL season, Marek Bartanus.
Superleague club Dynamo trounced Czech Extraliga club Parbudice 5-1 today to advance to the final match of the 2006 European Champions Cup. Lightning prospect Albert Vishnyakov scored his second goal of the tournament in the game. Dynamo will play SM-liiga club Karpat tomorrow in the final. The 2006 European Champion's Cup included Dynamo, Parbudice, Karpat, Davos (Swiss NLA), Slovan (Slovakian Extraliga) and Frolunda (Swedish Elitserien). Shane Willis, who plays for Davos, was scoreless in the tournament as his club went 1-1 in their two games.
To complete the trifecta of Lightning organization teams giving away leads today...
This was the first of a key set of 4 straight game against Dayton for the Chiefs. Johnstown is hovering just below .500 in a pack with about 5 or 6 other teams vying for the bottom tier of playoff spots in the conference. Dayton is dead last in the division trailing the pack, so this is potentially a good springboard in the standings for the Chiefs. That's why tonight's result is so disappointing.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
The Falcons dug deep and made sure they'd match the Lightning by wasting a 2 goal lead of their own.
At least they got the point. Still, the goaltending in Springfield continues to allow 4 goals or more a game. Tonight, Coleman allowed 4 on 33 shots faced before the shootout loss. On the positive side, the Falcons' offense is showing significant signs of life. Jim Campbell returned to town with 1G and 2A while Lightning exhile Chris Dingman chipped in a pair of goals. Doug O'Brien had 2 assists and Jay Rosehill got his first AHL point with a helper.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.