Today was the final round of the Elitserien regular season:
Johan Harju was scoreless in Lulea's 4-2 win over Timra.
Andreas Holmqvist had an assist in Frolunda's 3-1 win over Sodertalje.
Frolunda finishes the season 6th on the Elitserien table. Lulea finishes 10th, clipping Mora via a tiebreaker on the final day.
Final 2007-2008 Eliserien Statistics
Johan Harju, Lulea (SWE), 51 GP, 20-8-28, 55 PIM, -1
Andreas Holmqvist, Frolunda (SWE), 49 GP, 3-23-26, 40 PIM, +2
Harju finshes the season tied for 10th in the league in goals. Holmqvist finishes the regular season tied for 5th among all Elitserien defensemen in scoring.
BCHL Coastal Conference Semifinals
Game 1: No.5 Victoria Grizzlies 3 @ No.2 Langley Chiefs 2
Victoria leads Best of 7 Series 1-0
W Justin Courtnall, VIC:
Game: 0-0-0, 4 PIM (roughing, roughing after whistle)
Series: 1 GP, 0-0-0, 4 PIM
Playoffs: 6 GP, 2-0-2, 8 PIM
Victoria wins Game 1 on the road, stealing home ice advantage from Langley.
Chicago Steel 2 @ Lincoln Stars 5
W/C Luca Cunti, CHI: 0-0-0, -3, 6 PIM (interference, delay of game, roughing), 3 shots on goal
St. Johnâ€™s Fog Devils 2 @ Lewiston MAINEiacs 1
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 shots on goal
Prince George Cougars 6 @ Kamloops Blazers 3
C/W Dana Tyrell, PG: 1-3-4, +2, 0 PIM, *First Star*
Swift Current Broncos 5 @ Lethbridge Hurricanes 3
C Mitch Fadden, LET: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM (roughing)
Everett Silvertips 2 @ Portland Winter Hawks 1
D Dane Crowley, EVT: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, *Third Star*
Seattle Thunderbirds 5 @ Vancouver Giants 2
G Riku Helenius, SEA: Win, stopped 28 of 30 shots
Another quality start by the kid wasted.
Karri Ramo stopped 31 of 33 shots in the overtime loss.
New Jersey 12:16, Zach Parise 28 (Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta)
New Jersey 4:02, Patrik Elias 18 (Sheldon Brookbank)
That's three straight quality starts by Ramo, even despite the fact he's had some long layoffs between starts. Ramo now has 15 decisions on the season, and looking through his starts this year there were only about three games where he didn't play well enough to give the Lightning a chance to win games. Ramo is part of the reason I'm optimistic about next season if the Lightning can get Steve Stamkos in the draft or another quality second line center. At just 21 years old Ramo is showing he can consistently give this team quality starts. Mike Smith, at 25 years old, also shows he can give this team quality starts. I feel like this tandem gives the Lightning the most stability they have had, by far, between the pipes since 2003-2004. I also still believe Ramo needs to get more starts. I have a pretty good idea what Mike Smith is and what he's going to do for this organization, but Ramo is just a pup and every start you get him now gives him more experience toward reaching his monster potential.
Alexandre Picard continues to get big minutes in his extended debut for the organization: 28:59 tonight.
Home sweet home.
Marc Denis stopped 42 of 44 shots faced for the win, and is playing really well of late.
NOR Segal, (6) (Kearns, Smolenak), 6:17
NOR Henrich, (11) (Wanvig, Keller), 13:11 (PP)
NOR Jones, (13) , 4:37
PHI Matsumoto, (17) (Laliberte, Gauthier), 8:23 (PP)
NOR Smolenak, (10) (Jones, Scalzo), 3:18 (PP)
PHI Laliberte, (3) (Matsumoto, Powe), 14:34
Tonight was the Ads' first game back at The Scope after the annual marathon known as the circus road trip. The road trip was modestly successful, considering the team lost 2/3 of its top line to a call up and an injury. Still, there's no doubt that the Admirals are a much better team at home and the team put a really good first period together tonight to jump out to a 2-0 lead and Denis helped make it stick. Denis pulled his save percentage for the AHL season up above .900 tonight, which is a welcome sign.
A night like tonight also gives you a lot of hope that the youngsters on this team are starting to get it. Jones and Smolenak each chipped in 1 goal and 1 assist, Adam Henrich potted a goal, and Justin Keller added a helper. With Junior Lessard in Tampa and Paul Szczechura on the shelf injured it would be easy for the Ads to pack it in right now. But, the kids are stepping up a little here and taking more reponsibility on their shoulders. Good.
Don't look now, but Vladimir Mihalik is sitting on a +7 rating, which is somewhat phenomenal for a guy who plays 20 minutes a night on a team that's 11 games under .500 and has been outscored by 38 goals this season. This young man is going to be a beast in two or three years.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Another tough late loss.
Philadelphia 18:06, Jeff Carter 25 (Sami Kapanen, Kimmo Timonen)
Jussi Jokinen had 1 goal and 1 assist in the game and Michel Ouellet continued his streak of good production of late with a goal. That's the good news. If the Lightning can get that one more bluechip offensive player (Stamkos please), these complimentary pieces are looking like they might be ready to step up and chip in offensively.
BCHL Coastal Conference, First Round
Game 5: No.5 Victoria Grizzlies 3 @ No.4 Burnaby Express 2 (OT)
Victoria wins Best of 5 Series 3-2
W Justin Courtnall, VIC:
Game: 0-0-0, 0 PIM
Series: 5 GP, 2-0-2, 4 PIM
Victoria's Jonathan Millhouse scored on a wrist shot at 2:44 of overtime to give the Grizzlies a first round series win over the higher seeded Burnaby Express. Victoria will open their conference semi-final matchup against the second-seeded Langley Chiefs on Friday. In the other Coastal Conference first round matchup, sixth ranked Powell River, fresh off a first round upset of Surrey, will play top seeded Nanaimo.
After battling a knee sprain and a tandem goaltender on a hot streak, Helenius made his first start since February 20 and earned a win for Seattle. Seattle sits in fourth in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Everett and five ahead of Kelowna. Tyrell and PG have long been out of the running for a playoff spot. Tyrell has just two assists in his last five games.
Vancouver Giants 4 @ Kelowna Rockets 1
G Torrie Jung, KEL: Did not play
Vancouver outshot Kelowna 35-17 in the game. Jung has not started a game since February 23 and has not won a start since January 30. Kelowna is currently in sixth in the Western Conference with a secured playoff spot. They could move up as high as fourth with a strong finish, but will more likely be the fifth or sixth seed.
The WHL regular season ends March 16.