WHL FIRST ROUND -- WESTERN CONFERENCE
Game 5: (5) Kelowna Rockets 2 @ (4) Seattle Thunderbirds 6
Seattle leads Best of 7 series 3-2
G Torrie Jung, KEL:
Game: No decision, 17 saves on 20 shots in relief
Series: 1 GP, 0-0, 3.82 GAA, .850 sv%
G Riku Helenius, SEA:
Game: Win, 25 saves on 27 shots
Series: 4 GP, 2-2, 3.01 GAA, .900 sv%
Helenius reclaimed the No.1 spot for Seattle and though he gave up a goal 22 seconds into the game on the Rockets' first shot, he shut down Kelowna the rest of the way to give the T-Birds a 3-2 lead in the series. As for Jung, he came into the game mid-way through the first period after Kristofer Westblom, who had a shaky Game 4, gave up 3 goals on 8 shots. Jung may be the favorite to start Game 6 for the Rockets Saturday night in Kelowna. Seattle has won 3 in a row in the series.
The game ended on an ugly note when Kelownaâ€™s James McEwan, a former T-Bird, blatantly tackled Helenius after the final horn resulting in both teams getting involved in a shoving match.
According to the Seattle Times, Helenius, who was uninjured, tried to laugh it off.
"Their guys were chirping at me all series," Helenius told the newspaper. "So it was a little surprising, but I don't care that much."
Kelownaâ€™s coach, Ryan Huska, responded to he incident by praising McEwanâ€™s fiery nature: â€œThatâ€™s why heâ€™s our leader.â€
Ah, the WHL.
Just in case the McEwan tackle wasnâ€™t dirty enough, Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier reports seeing this sign in the stands in Seattle regarding one of Kelownaâ€™s defensemen:
Colin Joe illegally downloads.
Now that's just cold.
Oh brother! What a way to give up that second point.
Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the overtime loss. Key play of the game: Dan Boyle gets clipped in the face (UPDATE: Erik Erlendsson blogs Boyle took a skate in the lower throat that left a flesh wound on the play) and stops playing with the play behind his net. While Boyle is not paying attention a centering feed squirts off his skate to Ramo's left. Ramo aggresively dives out to try and cover the puck (probably shouldn't have), misses, and while down and out the Caps score the winner.
You know, the fact these two young netminders are athletic and can handle the puck is a good thing, but they don't necessarily have the maturity in their decision making yet. I am all for investing in a post and a chain to keep Ramo and Smith tethered to their cage until they develop that maturity, because it seems like these two must've given up a half dozen bad goals between them straying from their cages. Mind you, I thought Ramo played well again with the exception of that play, so it's not an indictment of Karri's overall play. But jeez. These kind of goals take years off a coach's life.
Matt Smaby was even in 12:48 with 2 blocked shots. He would've been +1, but was on the ice for the Semin goal which was a clean faceoff win by Fedorov and a bang-bang shot. I like the minutes. I think Matt needs to get the coaches comfortable enough to be up around 14-15 minutes by the end of the season to have a realistic shot of making the team next season. Earning that trust is the biggest hurdle.
Results from Lewiston, Everett, Lethbridge and a quick look around the CHL, including a Stamkos update.
Admirals had no answers in the third period.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the loss.
HER Wilson, (24) (Gordon, Bourque), 4:53 (PP)
NOR Smolenak, (14) (Kearns), 16:30
HER Joudrey, (10) (Pinizzotto, Robitaille), 17:09
HER Wilson, (25) (Lepisto, Gordon), 8:17 (PP)
HER Paiement, (4) , 9:57 (PP)
Radek Smolenak keeps chugging away.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Results posted for Lewiston, Lethbridge (another star for Fadden), and Kelowna/Seattle (Helenius back in net).
No real surprise here. With Jonathan Boutin on emergency recall to Tampa and Marc Denis on re-entry waivers following the knee injury to Mike Smith, Our Sports Central is reporting that Admirals General Manager Claude Loiselle has announced that goaltender Ryan Munce has been reassigned to the Admirals from the ECHL's Mississippi Sea Wolves.
Frolunda scored three third period goals in a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Farjestads in Game Six of their opening round playoff series. Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless in the match.
Holmqvist was scoreless in Frolunda's 3-1 Game Seven loss to Farjestads. Frolunda is eliminated from the playoffs.
Due to a knee injury to Mike Smith, you might've noticed Jonathan Boutin was an emergency callup for tonight's game against the Panthers. According to Erik Erlendsson's blog, Boutin will be sent back to Norfolk after the game once Marc Denis clears re-entry waivers and Denis will be back with the club. Don't spend that game check all in one place, Jonathan.
Erlendsson also quotes John Tortorella from the morning press conference claiming both Karri Ramo and Mike Lundin should start next season in the minor leagues; Ramo to get more starts and Lundin to gain more strength. He also, apparently, demanded more physical play from Matt Smaby.
Regarding Ramo: Coach is wrong. Period. This organization blew making the correct hockey decision at the start of this season not keeping Karri in Tampa even though it was obvious in camp he was already Holmqvist and Denis' equal. Compounding it by starting Ramo in Norfolk next season would be an equally foolish mistake. Mike Smith has proven nothing as a starter in the NHL. Heck, he was still considered a prospect by this website's criteria just a few weeks ago. Better to have a young lion like Ramo nipping at his heels keeping him honest than to have some old nag like Denis giving Smith no reason to look over his shoulder and push himself. Not only should Ramo not be in Norfolk to start next season, he should be getting 40% of the starts in Tampa and by season's end I wouldn't be surprised at all if he has Smith's #1 job.
The kid is teflon.
Karri Ramo rebounded from that disasterous third period against Buffalo to stop 34 of 35 shots for the win tonight. That's why this young man is special. Most netminders his age would've had their psyche destroyed in that Buffalo game. Not Ramo. He's fearless, and he's got the shortest memory of any 21 year old netminder this organization has ever seen.
Matt Smaby had 8:48 of ice time tonight with 1 shot and a team high 5 hits. He kept his shifts nice and short tonight, especially in the third when it was a one goal game. It's a little thing, but the coaches will appreciate it.
If the Lightning can get Stamkos to anchor a new scoring line and keep this Ouellet/Halpern duo together as a third scoring line, watch out.
WHL First Round -- WESTERN CONFERENCE
Game 3: (4) Seattle Thunderbirds 3 @ (5) Kelowna Rockets 2 (OT)
Kelowna leads Best of 7 series 2-1
G Torrie Jung, KEL:
Game: Did not play
Series: 0 GP
G Riku Helenius, SEA:
Game: Did not play
Series: 2 GP, 0-2, 3.09 GAA, .885 sv%
Seattle got back into the series when David Richard scored on the T-Birdsâ€™ 14th shot of overtime to narrow Kelownaâ€™s series lead to 2 games to 1. Seattle made a change in net that could be permanent as Jacob DeSerres stopped 30 shots for the win. Kristofer Westblom stopped 37 for Kelowna while both Lightning drafted goaltenders watched from the bench.