Alternate Captain Justin Keller and Team WHL made Team Russia's trip through Canada even more unpleasant Wednesday night, crushing the Russian select squad 9-2. Russia is now 0-5 in the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge and must face the powerful WHL squad again tonight in Regina, Saskatchewan. Despite piling up 9 goals against the Russians, including 8 in the first two periods, the WHL received no scoring from Keller. Keller started the game on a line with Dustin Boyd and fellow Kelowna Rocket Blake Comeau. The line combined for no points and all three had even ratings. The WHL outshot the Russians 41-19 for the game.
Like pulling teeth...
John Grahame stopped 20 of 21 for the victory in a night checking game that often resembled a rugby scrum.
Paul Ranger notched an assist on a good crisp breakout pass that Vincent Lecavalier quickly moved up to Marin St. Louis who broke in for a goal on Ed Belfour. Ranger played 16:43 tonight and was +1 although he did take two minor penalties. It seems to me he's struggled a bit in his own zone in the past week or so as forwards physically challenge him along the wall. Plays where he was effectively slipping checks last month he's getting caught by forecheckers now and they're testing him.
Evgeny Artyukhin with a physical 7:34 of ice time in which he registered 3 hits.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
In a match-up of two Lightning prospects seemingly headed in opposite directions, Stan Lascek and the powerful Chicoutimi Sagueneens beat the lowly Rimouski Oceanic and Mark Tobin 7-5 Tuesday night. Both prospects had two points on the night - Lascek with two assists, and Tobin with a goal and a helper.
Lascek, a fifth round pick in last year's draft, is leading the QMJHL in scoring and has already surprassed his goal total from all of last season. He's an early MVP candidate and is nearly a lock for a professional contract. Tobin, on the other hand, was a late second rounder in 2004 and was thought to have more scoring touch than he initially showed in his draft year (22-16-38 in 69 games). Last season, playing on one of the best teams to ever win the QMJHL title, Tobin was unable to raise his goal total, matching the 22 he scored the year before. However, he did add 12 more assists to finish 22-28-50 in 68 games - thanks to some power play time with Sidney Crosby and Dany Roussin and the like. If there was a positive to not being able to play on a regular line with a super-prospect like Crosby last year, it was that Tobin never saw the opposition's best checking line.
Morgan Cey deserved better from the team in front of him.
Morgan Cey made a mind boggling 54 saves in this contest before falling in the shootout. Listening to the streaming broadcast, it was very interesting to me how the young Lightning prospects other than Cey and Toffey really struggled to make an impact in this game. Perhaps the travel or, worse, the place they traveled to (Sin City) factored into their performance.
Toffey had a goal and an assist. Veteran Randy Rowe had 2 goals including the tying goal with just seconds left in regulation.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Goaltender Fredrik Norrena continued his strong season today defeating Frolunda 4-1 in a rematch of two of the most dominant franchises in the Elitserien. Norrena stopped 20 of 21 for the win. Linkopings now sits third on the Elitserien table 4 points behind Frolunda and 10 points behind HV-71. Norrena's record now stands at 13-4-2.
Karri Ramo's near two month reign as the statistical leader for goaltenders in the SM-liiga came to an abrupt end today as Lukko defeated HPK 6-3. Ramo allowed 5 goals on 28 shots before Lukko added an empty net marker in the late stages of the game. The 19 year old goaltender's record falls to 3-2-3 on the season. He now sits in 4th in the league with a .941 save percentage and second in GAA at 1.72.
The Springfield Falcons have signed forward Dave Spina to a full AHL contract. The former Boston College product was originally signed to a professional tryout contract out of the ECHL, and has performed superbly notching 5 points in 7 games including 4 goals earning a full ride.
Vasily Koshechkin's winning ways continue unabated. Koshechkin stretched his record on the season to 11-3-1 today defeating Molot Perm 3-2. Koshechkin is a sterling 3-1 since the Karjala break even though Lada Togliatti dumped 3/4 of their payroll during the Euro Tour break.
Dimitry Kazionov had his first goal as a member of the Dynamo today, a game winner, in a 2-1 victory over Nizhnekamsk. Kazionov now has 1 goal and 4 points in 17 games this season.
Anton But had 2 assists and Yaroslavl knocked off Novokuznetsk 4-2.
If Sunday's performance was any indication of how well Radek Smolenak plays against teams from Ottawa, the Lightning should sign him in time for their next match-up with the powerful Senators. Smolenak scored three times, including the overtime winner, and added a powerplay assist as Kingston topped Ottawa 5-4. Naturally, he was named first start of the game. Smolenak now has 15 goals and 15 assists in 24 games for the Frontenacs. He is on pace to easily break his career high of 32 goals and 60 points set last year.