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Tokarski Stops 60 in 4OT Win; Barberio's Season Ends

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/10

Witkowski and Fargo strike first ... Cunti and L'Oceanic moving on to face Volts ... Tokarski comes out a winner in second longest WHL game ever ... Barberio going home ... Fadden watches as Ams fall at home.

Lightning Target Gilroy Wins Hobey Baker

Damian Crisdotero of the St. Pete Times is reporting on his blog that Boston University defenseman Matt Gilroy has been named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award, given to the NCAA's best player. Gilroy, who turns 25 this July, is a 6'2" 202 lbs. senior defenseman who will become an unrestricted free agent after BU's title game matchup with Miami of Ohio tomorrow. Gilroy has been courted by several teams, including the Lightning who have been heavily interested in Gilroy since last season. The team had Gilroy in Tampa last summer, and they have sent assistant coach and BU alumni Mike Sullivan to Boston to recruit Gilroy earlier this year.

Gilroy had 8 goals and 36 points in 44 games this season and has been lauded for his skating and passing ability. Of added interest to the team's pursuing Gilroy is that he is also the semi-rare and coveted right-handed shot. Because of his age, there is no limit to what Gilroy could earn as a free agent, and he is considered to be NHL ready right out of school. The question is: will Gilroy turn down bigger money from larger northern markets in order to have the opportunity to play in the NHL sooner with the Lightning?

AHL Game Night 4/10: Admirals at Senators

Unbelievably awesome.

NOR-6
BNG-1

Craig Kowalski allowed 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory.

First Period
NOR Keller, (17) , 5:51
NOR Segal, (24) (Jones), 7:47 (PP)
NOR Segal, (25) , 12:25

Second Period
NOR Segal, (26) , 3:22 (SH)
NOR Graddock, (1) (Zingoni), 5:23
NOR Keller, (18) (Lundin), 9:50
BNG Smith, (7) (Hennessy, Bois), 11:07 (SH)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Brandon Segal, Justin Keller, and Kowalski were named the game's three stars.

On paper, the Admirals had no business even being competitive in this game. Norfolk had nothing to play for other than pride and the possibility to climb out of the division basement. At the other end of the rink, Binghamton came into this game tied with Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the division and desperate for points. Norfolk's bottom lines and bottom pairings were riddled with ATO's due to call-ups and injuries. This should have been a cake walk for Binghamton, but just like their last game out against the Penguins, the core of this Admirals team absolutely refuses to lay down.

In my mind, over the past two years Darren Rumble has developed into a hell of a coach. He got several of these young players like Radek Smolenak to start believing in themselves down the stretch of last season, and this season he's instilled a sense of pride in a minor league system that hasn't had any since they were the Atlanta Knights of the IHL.

I think the team tonight also took the guess work out of who you keep and who you let go. All of the top-six forwards and top-four d-men from this game need to be retained, which means Geoff Kinrade needs a contract. With the further development of this clubs young players and the introduction of some new talent like Dana Tyrell, next season is one where the Admirals should legitimately be a playoff team.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NCAA Game Night: 4/9

2009 Frozen Four - Semifinal
Vermont Catamounts 4 vs Boston University Terriers 5
F Matt Marshall Ver: Did not play

Word of the night...talented

NHL Game Night 4/9: Capitals at Lightning

Game outing by the young defense.

WSH-4
TB-2

Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss in his final start of the season.

First Period
00:36 TB Stamkos (22), (Konopka, St. Louis)
09:19 WSH Laich (21), (Backstrom, Green)(PP)

Second Period
05:37 WSH Laich (22), (Green, Nylander)
06:08 WSH Steckel (8), (Bradley, Aucoin)

Third Period
12:53 TB Pettinger (7), (Szczechura, Mihalik)
19:55 WSH Green (31), (unassisted)(EN)

Noah Welch had 3 hits and 3 blocked shots in 21:52. He's improved lately. I can't deny it.

Zenon Konopka had an assist and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 12:54. He was also 100% on draws. He had a strong first period, but got shuffled down to the lower lines later in the game.

David Koci had 2 penalty minutes in 6:30.

Paul Szczechura had 1 assist, 2 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 16:31. He was also 50% on draws. He's really putting a stamp on the end of this season to make his case to be on the team next year. He's been flying the past couple of games.

Martins Karsums was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 11:30. Karsums was the antithesis of Szczechura tonight, making the case why he belongs in Norfolk next season. He didn't get back in time on Washington's winning goal.

Kevin Quick had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 11:54. My gosh can he skate and my gosh does he have no fear with the puck on offense. Offensively, Kevin Quick's balls are so big their gravity effects the tides. I still say he needs to prove he can be a dominant player at the AHL season next year before he makes the jump in 2010-2011. However, he sure does remind you of Dan Boyle.

Vladimir Mihalik had 1 assist and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 13:14. He made a couple of nice plays, including a good pass that resulted in the Stamkos goal. He was in better position tonight, so his skating looked less awful. You could still time the release of his shot with a sun dial, though.

Geoff Kinrade was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 17:32. Sullivan even used him at the end of the game when the extra attacker was out. I was fairly impressed. He skates really well. Not Kevin Quick well, but well enough that you notice it. Contract?

The Panthers missed the playoffs again. Haaaa haaaa!

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Tokarski Stops 41 in Shutout Win; Fadden Injured

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/8

Tokarski slams the door on Vancouver ... Fadden scores, but leaves hurt ... Cunti scores as Rimouski moves closer to closing out Barberio and Moncton ... Cape Breton loses again on home ice ... CHL playoff updates.

Tukonen in Tampa?

Interesting nugget buried deep in one of Erik Erlendsson's blogs:

Lightning prospect and former Kings first round pick Lauri Tukonen has been in Tampa to get an injury looked at. Tukonen missed much of the second half of the season with Lukko of the SM-liiga with an injury. Now, Erlendsson says in the blog that Tukonen isn't an impending signing, but it's something that makes you wonder.

Also, thanks to Erik for linking to the BP profiles for several players.

AHL Game Night 4/8: Admirals at Penguins

Still no quit in the Admirals.

NOR-4
WBS-3

Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 37 shots in the victory.

First Period
NOR Segal, (23) (Zingoni), 11:47
NOR Zingoni, (7) (Kinrade, Keller), 18:07 (PP)

Second Period
WBS Satan, (3) (Taffe, Goligoski), 1:18 (PP)
NOR Simek, (9) (Keller, Boyle), 9:16 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Pesonen, (30) (Johnson, Goligoski), 7:22 (PP)
WBS Taffe, (25) (Goligoski, Pesonen), 13:00 (PP)

Overtime
NOR Smolenak, (23) (Keller), 3:52

Radek Smolenak and Pete Zingoni were named the game's first and third stars.

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune speculates on his blog that scratches Ty Wishart and Kevin Quick have been called to Tampa for tomorrow night's game against the Washington Capitals. In their absence, the Admirals dressed eight tryout players for the contest and still managed to pull out their 31st win of the season to stay even with Albany at 71 points.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Harju Bolts for the KHL

According to Swedish newspaper Sportbladet, Lightning forward prospect Johan Harju has signed a one year contract with the Moscow Dynamo along with Lulea linemate and Edmonton Oiler prospect Linus Omark.

Since Lulea's exit from the SEL playoffs, rumors were rampant that the KHL were courting both Harju and Omark with promises of salaries in excess of the what the duo could get from the rookie maximum for an NHL entry level contract. The news is certainly a blow to a Lightning organization in the midst of rebuilding and a system largely devoid of elite offensive talent.

One really has to ask the question if anyone from the organization was camping in Harju's backyard since Lulea's exit from the SEL playoffs. Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

Tokarski Contributes on Offense in Spokane Win

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/7

Tokarski helps on offense, defense ... Fadden extends point streak, but in a big loss ... Cape Breton wastes a big opportunity ... Cunti and Rimouski use overtime to beat Barberio and Moncton.

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