Ads Release Hurley from ATO

The Norfolk Admirals have announced they have released defenseman Sean Hurley from his ATO contract. Hurley may have become expendable when the team signed Lightning prospect Dane Crowley to an ATO earlier this week.

NHL Game Night 4/5: Lightning at Thrashers

The Lightning pull out a dramatic victory in the Steve Stamkos sweeps in the final game of the year.

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Mike Smith stopped 20 of 23 shots for the loss.

Matt Smaby was -1 in 17:27 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot.

The big payoff? The Lightning now have a 48.2% chance of getting the #1 pick in the draft this summer and super prospect center Steve Stamkos of Sarnia.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night 4/5: River Rats at Admirals

Paul Szczechura brings the house down in the home finale.

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Marc Denis stopped 27 of 29 shots for the win.

First Period
NOR Segal, (11) (Rosehill), 13:35
NOR Kearns, (9) (Wanvig, Keller), 17:09

Second Period
ALB Mormina, (4) (McLeod, Blanchard), 0:11
ALB Blanchard, (9) (Ward, Murray), 8:12

Third Period
NOR Keller, (14) (Szczechura, Segal), 2:38
NOR Szczechura, (14) (Quick, Jones), 4:29 (PP)
NOR Szczechura, (15) (Wanvig, Schneider), 19:07 (EN)

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

The Admirals finish the season 18-19-3 at home.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4/4

WHL EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS

Game 1: (5) Kootenay Ice 3 @ (3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 2
Kootenay leads Best of 7 series 1-0

C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoffs: 7 GP, 2-6-8, -3, 4 PIM (plus a 10 min misconduct)

After winning 5 of 6 regular season games from Lethbridge, Kootenay took Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semi-finals series by turning a 2-0 third period deficit into a 3-2 win. Ben Maxwell (undrafted) scored his fifth of the playoffs to win the game for the Ice at the 13 minute mark of the third period. Game 2 is Saturday night in Lethbridge.

WHL WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS

Game 1: (4) Seattle Thunderbirds 7 @ (1) Tri-City Americans 1
Seattle leads Best of 7 series 1-0

G Riku Helenius, SEA:
Game: Win, 29 saves on 30 shots
Playoffs: 7 GP, 4-2-1, 2.41 GAA, .913 sv%

The T-Birds chased All-WHL goalie Chet Pickard when they jumped out to a 6-1 lead less than 3 minutes into the third period then added one more for good measure on their way to a 7-1 win. Pickard led the WHL with a 46-12-2-2 record this year and is expected to be one of the first goalies taken at this summer’s draft. Colton Yellow Horn and Jason Reese had a short-handed breakaway for Tri-City with 30 seconds left in the first, but couldn't get the puck past Helenius. A goal there would have cut Seattle's lead to 2-1. Seattle got a hat trick from Ian MacKenzie (undrafted) to help them steal home-ice advantage from the Americans, who hadn’t played in 9 days after sweeping Kamloops. No.1 Tri-City was 5-4 against Seattle this year with both teams earning an overtime win. Game 2 is Saturday night in Kennewick, Washington.

USHL Game Night: 4/4

Ohio Junior Blue Jackets 4 @ Chicago Steel 2
W/C Luca Cunti, CHI: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 shots on goal

Finally, after playing them in 5 of their last 8 games, Chicago is done with Ohio. Incidentally, Ohio won the mini-series 3-2. Chicago finishes up their regular season Saturday vs. Green Bay.

AHL Game Night 4/4: River Rats at Admirals

Tough night for the Lightning's newest prospects in Norfolk.

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Jonathan Boutin allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss.

First Period
NOR Segal, (10) (Jones, Smolenak), 7:24 (PP)
ALB Blanchard, (8) (McLeod, Angelidis), 15:22

Second Period
ALB Cottreau, (3) (Petruzalek, Johnson), 5:05
ALB Sutter, (1) (Johnson, Samson), 7:12 (PP)
ALB Jensen, (10) (Engel, Ward), 16:26

Third Period
ALB Samson, (21) , 3:19
NOR Kearns, (8) (Koci, Lawrence), 4:17

Dane Crowley was -2 in his pro debut with 2 shots and 6 penalty minutes. Dana Tyrell took a team low -3 rating with 2 shots on goal. Oof.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Admirals Sign Crowley to ATO

Despite indications earlier in the week that the two sides were far apart on an agreement, the Norfolk Admirals announced today they have signed defenseman Dane Crowley to an ATO contract. Crowley was selected by the Lightning in the 6th round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and recently completed his final season of junior hockey with Everett of the WHL. Crowley had 10 goals and 29 points to go with 131 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Silvertips this season.

NHL Game Night 4/3: Lightning at Capitals

The kid deserved better tonight.

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Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 39 shots in the loss. Ramo held the game at 1-1 despite a 2 to 1 shot disparity in favor of the Capitals until a third period power play allowed the Caps to break the deadlock for good. With just a little more goal support, Ramo might've had a signature win to close out his season.

Matt Smaby was -1 in 16:20 tonight with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot. He also took a pair of minors: one for tripping and one for holding.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Milley, Lascek Headed to Europe

Eurohockey.net is reporting that veteran AHLer and Lightning farm hand Norm Milley has agreed to play for Wolfsburg in the German DEL league next season.

The website is also reporting that Lightning prospect Stanislav Lascek, who has spent much of this season with Mississippi of the ECHL, has agreed to play next season for Zvolen in Slovakia. Lascek, who was drafted as an overage player in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, finished second in the QMJHL in scoring in his final year of junior hockey but has been underwhelming in two seasons of professional hockey that have been spent largely in the ECHL.

Milley's departure leaves an opening for a veteran forward to be retained or signed for Norfolk of the AHL next season. Milley leaves the Lightning organization after three seasons which have included 182 games split between Springfield and Norfolk of the AHL and 14 games of NHL service with Tampa Bay during the 2005-2006 season. Milley has scored 63 goals and 154 points in his 182 games of AHL service with the franchise. He will be missed.

It is not completely clear what Lascek's status will be given that he still has a year left on his NHL Entry Level deal. Whether or not the Lightning retain Lascek's rights, it does appear his departure may give the Lightning some relief on the 50-man roster front where potentially difficult signing decisions need to be made for currently contracted prospects Mike Egener and Marek Kvapil and minor league contracted players Adam Henrich and Rob Klinkhammer.

NHL Game Night 4/2: Lightning at Hurricanes

Congratulations to Jeff Halpern on hitting 20 goals. That's the silver lining in tonight's mess.

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Mike Smith allowed 6 goals on 32 shots in the loss.

Matt Smaby was -1 in 22:09 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots. That's the first time in his NHL career he's broken the tape on 20 minutes of ice time, so it's a small milestone.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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