AHL Game Night 2/6: Sound Tigers at Admirals

Wow. Atta boy, Riku!

BRI-0
NOR-3

Riku Helenius pitches a 41 save shutout in his first career AHL start. A star is born?

First Period
NOR Bochenski, (17) (Konopka, Keller), 11:31

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NOR Bochenski, (18) (Smolenak, Lundin), 4:43
NOR Segal, (13) (Smolenak, Gratton), 15:38

Wow. This is where Karri Ramo needs to start feeling the heat coming up his back. Everyone's known for the past 2-1/2 years that Helenius is athletically capable, and the bizarre reshuffling and suspension situation has given Helenius an opportunity to finally get in between the pipes. And, damn-it-all if he hasn't seized the opportunity by the throat in his first start. Wow.

Wow!

Don't look now, but Vladimir Mihalik just got back to even for the season with a +3 night tonight. His play has picked up since the embarassment of the San Jose Sharks game.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Tokarski Goes 0-3

Tokarski was robbed like USA's Colin Wilson against ... well ... Tokarski.

The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Raffaele D’Orso of the Val d’Or Foreurs is the ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending February 1. D’Orso won three games for the Foreurs including one shutout victory stopping a total of 133 shots with a goals-against-average of 1.33 and a save percentage of .971.

D’Orso began his week Tuesday night when the Foreurs hosted the Montreal Juniors. He stopped all 48 shots including 17 in the third period for the 3-0 shutout win, his first of the season, with first star of the game honours. On Friday D’Orso was again solid between the pipes making 33 saves helping the Foreurs defeat the Halifax Mooseheads 6-2. His week would end on Saturday with an outstanding performance against a strong Moncton Wildcats team. D’Orso made 22 third period saves for a game-total of 52 as first star of the game leading the Foreurs to a 4-2 win.

The OHL nominee for the award this week is Scott Stajcer of the Owen Sound Attack who won all three of his starts and posted a goals-against-average of 2.00 with an OHL best save percentage of .956. Stajcer is eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and competed at the 2009 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

Lightning prospect Dustin Tokarski of the Spokane Chiefs was the best goaltender in the WHL for the third week in a row with three victories including two shutouts allowing just one goal on 88 shots. Tokarski has now won 11 straight games for the Chiefs.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 2/4

All-Star results from the USHL and OHL ... Michael Ward continues break-out year ... Torrie Jung, who was just featured in the Edmonton papers (link included), would like to start the week over.

NHL Game Night 2/4: Lightning at Penguins

Amazing. Truly a game that Pittsburgh had no business winning.

TB-3
PIT-4 (OT)

Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the overtime loss in his first NHL start. He can thank a lazy referee for one of those goals.

First Period
15:25 TB Malone (16), (Recchi, Ranger)

Second Period
05:00 TB St. Louis (19), (Lecavalier, Eminger)
16:52 TB Lecavalier (24), (Prospal, St. Louis)

Third Period
02:25 PIT Malkin (23), (Dupuis)
14:06 PIT Eaton (2), (Sykora)
16:31 PIT Sykora (20), (Malkin, Crosby)(PP)

Overtime
04:44 PIT Malkin (24), (Staal, Orpik)

It's the kind of stuff that makes you want to vomit. The Lightning completely controlled this game, and the drip, drip, drip. Paul Ranger with a turnover led to Pittsburgh's first goal. Then Gord Dwyer refuses to try to move on a harmless play around the boards that ends up eventually in the back of the net on a shot by Mark Eaton that bounces off Eminger's shin pad and in. Then Gary Roberts takes an absolutely idiotic penalty flexing his pimp hand on Matt Cooke. Tying goal goes in. Pittsburgh wins it late on a goalmouth scramble. Vomit. So much good effort in this game wasted by bad luck and stupidity by veteran players. Seriously, Gary Roberts got played by Cooke like a violin. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Steve Downie was -1 in 9:15 with 1 shot and 4 hits.

Matt Smaby was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 2/3: Lightning at Islanders

Done.

TB-1
NYI-3

Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 16 shots for the loss before being pulled for Mike McKenna, who made his NHL debut and stopped all 11 shots he faced the rest of the way.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
06:27 NYI Hunter (13), (Nielsen, Okposo)(PP)
08:29 NYI Streit (9), (Weight, Comrie)
09:52 NYI Martinek (1), (Park, Witt)

Third Period
03:05 TB Lecavalier (23), (Recchi, Murphy)(PP)

I think you now readjust your goals for the season to trying to finish with a winning record, but playoffs is likely out of the question. There will be a lot of folks trying to lay tonight's loss at the feet of Karri Ramo, and he did allow two soft goals, but the Lightning only scored 1 goal on an AHL caliber club with Yann Danis in net. That's absolutely unacceptable.

Steve Downie had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 7:44. He doesn't play enough, in my opinion.

Matt Smaby had 4 shots and 2 blocked shots in 10:38. He, also, probably doesn't play enough minutes. He absolutely destroyed Blake Comeau and drew a penalty in the process behind the net in the first period tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NCAA Game Night: 2/2

Beanpot
Harvard Crimson 3 vs. #1 Boston University Terriers 4
F Alex Killorn Har: 1-0-1, 6 SOG, E
Season totals: 21GP, 4-7-11, 38PIM

In the 57th Annual Beanpot in Boston, Mass. last night, Harvard (5-12-4) gave the No. 1 team in the country all they could handle coming just seconds away from forcing overtime. Freshman Killorn (pictured right) put the Crimson up by two early in the second period with his forth goal of the season and fed a late pass to junior Alex Biega whose one-timer beat BU goalie Kieran Millan only just after the buzzer sounded.

The Crimson take on #11 Boston College in the consolation game next Monday. BC lost 6-1 to #3 Northeastern.

Third Time's a Charm?

For the third week in a row, the WHL has nominated Lightning prospect Dustin Tokarski of Spokane for the ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week Award. Tokarski, who posted a 3-0-0-0 record with two shutouts, a GAA of 0.33 and a save percentage of .988, came up short the previous two weeks to OHL goaltenders.

Tokarski leads the WHL in GAA (1.75), save percentage (.944), and shutouts (6). His Chiefs teammate, Drayson Bowman, was named WHL Player of the Week for scoring five goals and five assists in Spokane's three victories this week.

Goalie-Go-Round

As the Super Bowl party leaves Tampa Bay on Monday, the goaltending situation for the Bolts is almost as suspenseful as last night's 4th quarter. Both the Tampa Tribune and St. Pete Times are reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have (unofficially) signed Norfolk Admirals netminder Mike McKenna to an NHL contract in the aftermath of successful biceps tendon surgery to Olaf Kolzig on Saturday. Kolzig is expected to miss the remainder of the season rehabbing his repaired left arm. During the intermission of Friday night's game against Philadelphia, Lightning GM Brian Lawton hinted that McKenna was one of the alternatives being considered for the backup role to Mike Smith for the balance of the season. McKenna practiced with the team Monday morning ahead of flying out with the team to Long Island for Tuesday night's tilt against the struggling Islanders.

McKenna's signing triggered the reassignment of prospect goaltender Riku Helenius to Norfolk, presumably to start the remaining four games of fellow prospect goalie Karri Ramo's suspension. Ramo is currently serving a six game AHL suspension for leaving the bench during a late game on-ice altercation last week. In the interim, Admirals signed goaltender Tyler Sims to a PTO late last week to serve as the team's backup goaltender while Ramo serves out his suspension.

However, in surprising turn of events, both Tampa papers broke the news today that Mike Smith would not make the trip to New York with the team, citing an upper body injury to the Lightning's No.1 goalie, along with news that Ramo was being recalled from Norfolk on an emergency basis. It is unlikely that the recall will delay the completion of Ramo's suspension as the Admirals do not play again until Friday, and there's been no definitive word on whether McKenna or Ramo will start against the Islanders. Lawton, in a quote from the St. Pete Times, indicated that Smith's injury is fairly minor and he may join the team Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 2/1

OHL
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3 @ Windsor Spitfires 5
W Kyle DeCoste, SSM: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM (hooking)
Season totals: 45 GP, 10-9-19, -21, 59 PIM
With SSM: 9 GP, 2-3-5, -8, 8 PIM

The Greyhounds cut a 3-0 deficit to 3-2 and a 4-2 deficit to 4-3 but gave up a late empty net goal in their game at first place Windsor. The Spitfires lead the OHL with 89 points, 13 more than John Tavares’ London Knights. Windsor has already clinched a playoff spot. The loss was the Soo’s eighth in a row.

NCAA Game Night: 2/1

Massachusetts Minutemen 1 @ Maine Black Bears 2
D John Wessbecker UMASS: 0-0-0, E
Season totals: 24GP, 0-4-4, 26PIM

UMASS (11-12-3) drops conference game. Take on #11 Boston College this coming Friday

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