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In Case You Were Wondering

For those pundits in hockey land who were suggesting that perhaps the Lightning should trade their number one pick to pursue a defenseman, or a goaltender, or some other patently stupid idea that would neglect the giant, gaping hole the team has at the second line center position, the Lightning have launched as part of an overall marketing campaign heading into next season.

Hmmmm, I wonder what Tampa Bay is going to do on draft day?

It's the most suspenseful #1 pick in a major sport since Jake Long.

Fadden, Lethbridge to Face Spokane for Championship

After disposing of the Calgary Hitmen rather easily in the minimum of four games, the wait is over for Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden and the Lethbridge Hurricanes for their next opponent.

The Western Conference's No.3 seeded Spokane Chiefs won Game 7 in Tri-City Tuesday night 4-1 to close out one of the closest series ever played. Five of the 7 games went to overtime, with 3 going to 2 overtimes. In Game 7, Dustin Tokarski (2008 eligible) stopped 31 shots and the Chiefs scored 3 times in the third period (one empty netter) for the win. Former Traverse City Lightning Colton Yellow Horn had the Americans' goal, and the WHL MVP candidate finished the playoffs with 10 goals and 21 points in 16 games.

On their way to the Western Conference championship, Spokane defeated Dane Crowley and No.6 Everett 4-0, No.2 Vancouver 4-2, and No.1 Tri-City 4-3.

Lethbridge topped No.6 Brandon 4-2, No.5 Kootenay 4-1, and No.1 Calgary 4-0.

The WHL championship series between the two No.3 seeds will begin Friday, May 2 in Spokane, with Games 3-5 played in Lethbridge before returning to Spokane for 6 and 7 if necessary.

The clubs played just once during the regular season, with the Hurricanes winning 2-1 in Lethbridge. Fadden was scoreless in the game.

Fadden is the only Lightning prospect left playing this season.

USHL Playoffs Game Night 4/27: Waterloo Moves On


Game 3: (2) Waterloo Black Hawks 3 @ (4) Chicago Steel 2 (OT)
Waterloo wins Best of 5 series 3-0

W/C Luca Cunti, CHI:
Game: Did not play
Series: 2 GP, 0-1-1, E, 1 shot on goal
Playoffs: 6 GP, 2-3-5, +1, 2 PIM, 11 shots on goal
Season: 34 GP, 11-21-32, +16, 37 PIM, 79 shots on goal

The Black Hawks completed a sweep of Chicago on the Steel’s home ice when Keegan Meuer, who had just 2 goals in the regular season for Waterloo, scored at 5:26 of overtime. The win sends Waterloo to the Clark Cup championship against either Omaha or Lincoln. This is the second consecutive trip to the finals for Waterloo, and third in the past five years. Cunti did not play for Chicago in Game 3. No reason has been reported so far for his absence.

What’s Next for Cunti: The one-time St. Cloud State University commit cannot (re-)begin his collegiate career, despite the fact Cunti has continued to take online classes since leaving the program, because the NCAA Clearinghouse has ruled him ineligible for amateur status.

USHL Playoffs Game Night 4/25: Waterloo Crushes Chicago


Game 2: (4) Chicago Steel 1 @ (2) Waterloo Black Hawks 5
Waterloo leads Best of 5 series 2-0

W/C Luca Cunti, CHI:
Game: 0-1-1, E, 1 shot on goal
Series: 2 GP, 0-1-1, E, 1 shot on goal
Playoffs: 6 GP, 2-2-4, +1, 2 PIM, 9 shots on goal

Waterloo has outscored Chicago 9-2 on their way to a commanding 2-0 series lead. Somewhat ironically, the Black Hawks can close out the series in Chicago on Sunday.

Admirals Head Coach Reassigned by Lightning to Scouting Dept

The Tampa Bay Lightning are reporting that the organization has reassigned Norfolk Admirals head coach Steve Stirling to be the Lightning's new full time NCAA scout. Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster also confirmed that that the organization has decided not to exercise its option on Admirals assistant coach Darren Rumble. A search for a new Norfolk head coach will commence upon completion of the sale of the Lightning franchise to OK Hockey headed by Oren Koules.

Stamkos Still No.1 with CSS

According to, the Sarnia Sting's Steven Stamkos finished the year at the top of Central Scouting's final prospect rankings for North American skaters. Stamkos was also tops in the service's midseason rankings and their preliminary rankings for the Ontario Hockey League.

Stamkos, a six-foot, 176-pound center from Toronto, had 58 goals in 61 games to finish second in Ontario Hockey League. He also helped Canada win gold at the world junior hockey championship at age 17.

The Lightning have the No. 1 pick in the draft June 20-21 in Ottawa after winning the lottery held earlier this month.

Lightning Sign Szczechura

The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have announced the signing of forward Paul Szczechura (pronounced sha-HER-a) to a two-year contract, Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster announced today.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound native of Belleville, Ontario scored 14 goals in 24 games with the Admirals last season after netting two in 29 games with the Iowa Stars to start the season. He was acquired from Iowa on January 15 in exchange for future considerations and netted points in his first ten games as an Admiral. He was tied for third on the Admirals in goals with 16 and was seventh in points with 31. He led all Norfolk rookies in scoring and was tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals.

CHL Playoffs Game Night 4/23: On to the Finals


Game 4: (1) Calgary Hitmen 2 @ (3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 4
Lethbridge wins Best of 7 series 4-0

C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (roughing)
Series: 4 GP, 1-6-7, +4, 2 PIM
Playoffs: 15 GP, 5-15-20, +3, 15 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)

Lethbridge completed the sweep of Calgary, closing out the series in front of their home fans with a 4-2 win. This was the first time all season that top-seeded Calgary lost 4 in a row. The Hurricanes advance to their first WHL Finals since 1996, when they won the league championship over Seattle. They will await the winner of Tri-City and Spokane, which is tied 2-2. Both teams split 1-0 double-OT wins to start the series and Tri-City won Game 4 in overtime. Fadden is currently second in playoff scoring, three points behind T.J. Galiardi of Calgary, who is now finished.

USHL Playoffs Game Night 4/23: Waterloo Takes Game 1

Game 1: (4) Chicago Steel 1 @ (2) Waterloo Black Hawks 4
Waterloo leads Best of 5 series 1-0

W/C Luca Cunti, CHI:
Game: 0-0-0, E, 0 shots on goal
Playoffs: 5 GP, 2-1-3, +1, 2 PIM, 8 shots on goal

Waterloo struck first against Chicago in their East Division Finals series, winning 4-1 and taking a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is Friday at Waterloo.

CHL Playoffs Game Night 4/22: Lethbridge One Win Away


Game 3: (1) Calgary Hitmen 0 @ (3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 6
Lethbridge leads Best of 7 series 3-0

C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM
Series: 3 GP, 1-6-7, +4, 0 PIM
Playoffs: 14 GP, 5-15-20, +3, 13 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)

While Calgary’s NHL club was in the process of being knocked out of the playoffs last night, its WHL team was being pushed the brink elimination. Lethbridge broke open a scoreless game with 3 second period goals and followed that up with 3 more in the third in front of their home crowd to take a 3-0 lead in the Best of 7 Eastern Conference Finals series. Fadden scored the game’s 4th goal early in the third period and assisted on the ‘Cane’s 6th goal, a power play marker. Lethbridge can close out the series tonight (Wednesday) at home.

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