Ryan Munce was spectacular Sunday in a 39 save shutout of the Pensacola Ice Pilots earning *First Star* honors and securing a split for the Wolves in the two-game weekend road trip down I-10 to Pensacola. Mississippi won Sunday's match by a score of 1-0 after dropping a heartbreak OT loss to the Pilots Friday night 4-3. Mississippi's 1st goal Friday night was a tally banged home by Norfolk fav Brett Angel after a Stan Lascek wrap-around attempt.
Call up Ramo. It's time. Hell, it's past time.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 9 shots for the loss before giving way to Marc Denis who allowed 3 goals on 15 shots the rest of the way.
Look, I understand there was a business decision that had to be made at the start of this season that precluded Karri Ramo making this team over Marc Denis. However, this team is collapsing under the weight of putrid goaltending and the resulting lack in confidence and morale that comes from it. This team is playing joyless hockey. There is no swagger, and the reason is simple: this team has to work hard right now to generate scoring chances and score goals and nothing saps a team of its juice more quickly than pouring on the effort to generate 4 or 5 good scoring chances only to have the other team come down on a relatively harmless play and pop in a soft goal. That happened tonight, and it's been happening all season and now it's finally coming to a head.
12/10: Lightning-1 at Leafs-6
Holmqvist 4/22 (L)
12/13: Flames-9 at Lightning-6
Denis 4/25 (L)
12/18: Lightning-2 at Thrashers-6
Holmqvist 3/9 (L)
That isn't in the span of a season, or even in the span of a month. That's in the span of 8 days, and you can spread some blame around to the defense and to turnovers by the forwards, but ultimately common sense says you have to look at your goaltending when you allow 6 or more goals in 3 of the last 4 games. It wouldn't be so bad if teams were simply abusing Holmer high glove side like has been prone to happen over the last couple of seasons. It wouldn't be so bad if teams were simply abusing Denis and his slow feet by making plays moving the puck east to west for one time shots. Those are goals that the defense can at least do something to try to prevent. No, what you saw tonight on the Recchi and Thorburn goals where pucks going through Holmer and Denis, and those are the kind of goals that are inexcusable on this level of hockey.
Now, rather than trading anything that's not nailed down there is a simple move that ought to be made immediately to try and staunch the bleeding. You see, there are folks like me (and I suspect at least one or two people in the organization too) who honestly believe the best goaltender in the organization is playing in Norfolk. Call up Karri Ramo. Call him up because he won't allow pucks to go through him. Call him up because his unflappable swagger might just be contagious. Call him up and see what happens when the team realizes they aren't entering every game spotting the other side (at least) one goal. Call him up because at this stage of the game you just don't have a choice.
October was the time for business decisions. Fine. It's December, the team is 3 games under .500 and tied for second to last in the conference. Now is the time for a hockey decision. Business be damned.
Call. Up. Ramo.
Box score from NHL.com.
The Seattle Thunderbirds have confirmed goaltender and Lightning prospect Riku Helenius has been named to the Finnish World Junior team that will take part in the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship in Pardubice and Liberec, Czech Republic, from December 26 to January 5.
"We are very happy for Riku that he has been selected to play for Team Finland," said T-Birds General Manager Russ Farwell. "He has established himself as a top goalie in our league and we expect him to be a key member of Team Finland."
Helenius left December 10 for the Team Finland World Junior Evaluation Camp. He is now with the Finnish team as they prepare for the tournament. He has an 8-7-5-0 record with the T-Birds this season and a goals against average of 2.61, a save percentage of .911, and one shutout.
Helenius, who will be the only Lightning draftee at this year's WJCs, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, 15th overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
What gives HF? Seriously.
Look, we're long past the point of expecting anything resembling objectivity considering one of your top writers was once quoted as claiming Blair Jones was "trash" because he was a 4th round pick, but can you guys at least acknowledge that Mike Lundin (another 4th round pick, so I guess that makes him "trash" too) has made the NHL? Is that really too much to ask?
Sweden finished 0-3 in the Channel One Cup on the Euro Tour yesterday. Lightning prospect Johan Harju appeared in the tournament for the Swedes posting an assist and 6 penalty minutes largely in fourth line duty. Russia finished atop the tournament table at 3-0 led by former Lightning prospect Fedor Fedorov.
North American junior game results from Saturday and Sunday:
According to Kevin Allenspach of the St. Cloud Times, Lightning prospect Luca Cunti has informed the team he is going to leave school after waiting for clearance to play for the entire Fall semester of school. Cunti will now likely join Chicago of the USHL before weighing his other options which may include returning to SCSU next Fall, but early indications are that scenario is unlikely.
Bolt Prospects would like to thank the NCAA Clearing House for wasting half a year of one of the Lightning's prized prospects' time and for denying him the opportunity to develop in a situation that would've been ideal for his growth as a player.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss.
Washington 0:08, Dave Steckel 2 (Brian Pothier)
Tampa Bay 5:50, Vincent Lecavalier 22 (Vaclav Prospal)
Washington 5:06, Brian Pothier 3 (Matt Pettinger, Tomas Fleischmann)
Mathieu Darche was -1 in 16:28 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits.
Mike Lundin continues to get minimal ice time, playing 11:39 tonight with a -1 rating a 1 blocked shot.
Blair Jones played 1 shift. 9 seconds. Someone do the math how much money he made on a per second basis tonight. Talk about easy money.
Pretty sad when your goaltender only lets one in and you still lose.
Karri Ramo allowed just 1 goal on 27 shots but the punchless Ads were unable to give the young netminder a sliver of goal support. Ramo drops to 2-4-0 on the season.
PHI Powe, (2) , 10:08 (SH)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.