I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Cam Neely? Andre Roy? They're the same guy.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 27 of 27 shots faced to post the first shutout by any Lightning goaltender this season. He was excellent, and seems to be settling nicely into the Lightning's new tandem arrangement, alternating starts with Karri Ramo.
For anyone thinking that the Lightning had given up, were tuning out their coach, were already making tee times etc etc after the Colorado game, tonight was an object lesson in the heart and pride that still exists in that Lightning locker room. This season may very well be a wash, but the Lightning cannot allow bad habits to sink in and they must continue to compete night in and night out, regardless of what the standings say.
On the other side of the rink, can you imagine a worse scenario for Pittsburgh? Not only do you get shutout by Johan Holmqvist and drop your 7th straight game on home ice to the Lightning, but you lose your superstar to a high ankle sprain in the process? Ouch. They have to be wishing they had never taken the ice tonight.
Mathieu Darche was even in 8:25 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots. Tonight was his 40th game of the season, meaning he will graduate to NHLer by this site's criteria if he plays against Ottawa. Congratulations will definitely be in order.
Another late comeback bid falls short.
Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 30 shots in the loss.
WBS McLean, (12) (Engelland, Brent), 2:44
WBS Brent, (7) (McLean, Minard), 12:33
NOR Smolenak, (1) (Szczechura, Scalzo), 16:16
WBS McLean, (13) , 18:32 (PP)
Radek Smolenak was named third star of the game after scoring his 1st AHL goal. It will be a huge boon to this organization if, after a year and a half of wasted potential, Smolenak really used this second half as a springboard into a critical third professional season.
Paul Szczechura now has 1 goal and 2 points in his first two games in Norfolk.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Cedar Rapids Roughriders 2 @ Chicago Steel 4
W/C Luca Cunti, CHI: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 shots on goal
Seattle Thunderbirds 2 @ Chilliwack Bruins 5
G Riku Helenius, SEA: Loss, Stopped 24 of 28 shots
Everett Silvertips 2 @ Spokane Chiefs 1
D Dane Crowley, EVT: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Portland Winter Hawks 3 @ Prince George Cougars 2 (SO)
C/W Dana Tyrell, PG: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Tyrell was the Cougarsâ€™ fifth and final shooter, but failed to convert his attempt.
Johan Harju had 2 goals and was ejected for a fight with Johan Erkgards late in Lulea's 7-2 trouncing of Frarjestads. The goals were Harju's 14th and 15th of the season in 33 games played and moved him back into the top 10 in the Elitserien in goals.
Ads blow a two goal lead.
Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 23 shots in the loss in a game where the Admirals outshot Bridgeport 35-23.
NOR Klinkhammer, (6) (Kvapil, Kearns), 4:48
NOR Szczechura, (3) (Rogers, Milley), 6:24
BRI Tambellini, (23) (Okposo), 14:10
BRI Walter, (12) (Tambellini, Nielsen), 19:59 (PP)
BRI Tambellini, (24) (Okposo, Nielsen), 3:31
Good to see Marek Kvapil get back on the scoresheet after returning from Mississippi.
Newcomer Paul Szczechura had a goal and was named second star of the game while Junior Lessard finished -1 with 4 shots on goal, which was tied for the team high.
Recently the Ads have been outshooting their opposition and losing 1 goal heartbreakers. You get the feeling if they find a way to pull one or two of these out the floodgates might open and they'll get on a run, at least at home where they have the travel advantage.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Denis Kazionov was scoreless in Omsk's 2-1 win over Khabarovsk.
Alexei Glukhov was scoreless in Cherepovets' 2-1 loss to Khimik.
Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in Kazan's 2-1 shootout win over Nizhnekamsk.
Evgeny Artyukhin was scoreless in CSKA's 4-1 loss to Togliatti.
Albert Vishnyakov was scoreless in Novokuznetsk's 4-3 loss to Ufa.
Anton But had an assist in St. Petersburg's 4-3 win over Novgorod.
After yielding the nets to Morgan Cey for a game, Ryan Munce was back between the pipes Tuesday night and backstopped the Sea Wolves to a 34 save 2-1 victory against the best team in the ECHL. For his stellar play in net against the Wildcatters, Munce earned First Star honors.
Munce is now 10-2 with a 1.97 GAA and 0.948 SV% on the season, leading the entire ECHL in both GAA and SV%. So far in the month of January 2008, Munce is an extraterrestrial 6-0 with a 1.31 GAA and 0.962 SV%. Hard to believe Munce not getting selected to the ECHL All-star game with these kind of numbers.
Mike Egener made his season debut tonight for the Wolves, but was held off the scoresheet.
N.A. Juniors Game Night: 1/15
Portland Winter Hawks 2 @ Prince George Cougars 5
C/W Dana Tyrell, PG: 0-4-4, +3, 0 PIM, *First Star*
Dana Tyrell's career-high four assists helped Prince George break a brutal six game losing streak and defeat last-place Portland 5-2. Tyrell was part of a feature by the Prince George Citizen earlier this week focusing on the future leadership of the club: An opportunity for leaders to emerge
Also on Tuesday night...
Kelowna Rockets 3 @ Kamloops Blazers 5
G Torrie Jung, KEL: Did not play
Time to take the cap off the pen and start writing down some preliminary plans for next season.
Karri Ramo stopped 22 of 24 shots faced in the loss as the Lightning wasted another quality start by the kid giving him no goal support.
What's worse than getting shutout by a has been like Jose Theodore? I can't think of many things. The Lightning did well to put 22 shots on Theodore in a futile third period comeback bid, but they did so after sleepwalking through the first two periods in which the Avs outshot the Lightning 21-10.
The math simply does not favor a Lightning playoff berth at this point, and by the time Dan Boyle returns in another two weeks there likely won't be anything to play for but jobs next season.
Mathieu Darche was even in 10:03 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots.