With all due respect once again to Ryan Munce, who single handedly willed Johnstown into the playoffs this week with a 49 save performance in the season finale at Reading...
The Lightning organization's quietest success story of the season scores his third Bolt Prospects award of the season.
Johnstown got a little help from up Massachusetts way today for their first round playoff matchup against Trenton. According to ECHL.com the Chiefs were assigned D Nick Kuiper and LW Adam Henrich from Springfield of the AHL. The Chiefs also placed forwards Brandon Elliot and Eric Przepiorka on the 7 and 3 day injured reserves, respectively.
Kazan squared their Superleague final series at 1-1 defeating Magnitogorsk 5-1. Dimitri Kazionov scored Ak Bars' final goal in the match to cap off the victory. Game Three is scheduled for Tuesday.
Linkopings seized a critical Game Three victory today knocking off MODO 2-1 to take a 2-1 Elitserien final series lead. Lightning prospect defenseman Andreas Holmqvist had a power play assist in the victory. The 2001 2nd round pick has 1 goal and 3 points in 3 final series games thus far.
There will be little time for the Johnstown Chiefs to celebrate as the ECHL has announced their first round playoff schedule. The Chiefs travel to Trenton to take on the Titans in Game One of their abbreviated playoff series at 7 pm. The match will be the first of three games in four nights as Tuesday night the Chiefs will face Trenton at home at 7 pm before going back on the road to Trenton for a potential deciding Game Three matchup, if needed, Thursday night at 7 pm.
Hard to say for sure, but I would guess Coach Frank Anzalone will rotate the goaltenders: Ryan Munce in Game One, Morgan Cey in Game Two and then perhaps back to Munce for Game Three. All subject to change, of course.
Prince George 2 @ Everett 3 (Overtime)
Everett leads best-of-7 series 2-0
Everett had a late third period goal to tie, then scored at 2:28 of overtime to take a commanding 2-0 lead over Prince George in their Western Conference Semifinals series. Prince George's Vladimir Mihalik was scoreless and minus-1, being on the ice for Everett's tying goal. Everett broadcasters indicated Mihalik had a strong game and made several strong defensive plays with his "big stick." Dane Crowley of Everett was also scoreless, but had an even rating with 2 PIM. Crowley received significant ice time in the third period as Everett was attempting to tie the game. He set up several scoring chances by jumping into the play and getting shots on net. He also had a big pokecheck of Devin Setoguchi in the mid-third when Prince George was pressing.
Game 3 is Tuesday in Prince George.
Lightning limp into the playoffs after missing out on a chance to move into the 6 seed in the shootout.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 41 shots before allowing an uncustomary 3 shootout goals for his first career shootout loss. Vaclav Prospal and Filip Kuba had the Lightning goals. Kuba's 15 goals at season's end top Prospal's 14. Didn't see that one coming. Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Tim Taylor added individual assists.
The shootout loss slots the Lightning in as the #7 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will face #2 seeded New Jersey in the first round. Considering the Lightning were 3-1-0 in the regular season against the Devils and have one of the best records against the Devils over the past three seasons of any Eastern Conference team, this is definitely a series that the Lightning can win. The question is: are they right mentally after collapsing against Florida and evaporating in the third period and overtime against Atlanta in the regular season's final two games with so much on the line? Time will tell.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Ryan Munce and Marek Kvapil save Johnstown's season by the barest of margins.
Ryan Munce made a remarkable 49 saves on 52 shots in hostile territory on the road in an elimination game on the last day of the season. Have mercy. He took some guff from some of the BP users after being traded from the Kings organization, but you can't do anything but applaud what he's done in the last couple of weeks. Jean Desrochers potted a critical hat trick to lead the way offensively for the Chiefs. Gus Katsuras and Zbynek Hrdel added 1 goal and 1 assist while the other J-town goal came from Andrew Martens. Marek Kvapil, Johnstown's other savior, had 2 assists and Radek Smolenak and Ben Wallace had individual assists.
Wow. Johnstown was outshot 52-30 in the game but it didn't matter. Johnstown at 72 points finishes the season at .500 at 33-33-7 just 1 point ahead of Reading for the final North Division playoff spot. Johnstown now will face 4th place Trenton in an abbreviated first round series. Desrochers and Munce were named 1st and 2nd stars of the game.
REA Roussin, (8) (LaLonde), 1:31
JHN Desrochers, (15) (Wallace, Kvapil), 7:47
JHN Martens, (6) (Katsuras), 9:07
JHN Desrochers, (16) (Smolenak, Kvapil), 12:07 (PP)
JHN Katsuras, (12) (Hrdel), 13:28
REA Zappala, (22) (Hogeboom, Werner), 4:02 (PP)
REA Zappala, (23) (Smith), 9:49
JHN Desrochers, (17) , 18:30 (EN)
JHN Hrdel, (13) , 18:46
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
ATO's shine in Hartford.
Jonathan Boutin stops 46 of 49 in regulation and OT before stopping 3 of 6 in the shootout for the win. ATO signee Justin Fletcher led the way offensively with a pair of power play goals while fellow ATO signee Jacob Micflikier scored a power play goal of his own and also scored in the shootout. Sylvain Dufresne, Joe Rullier, Kyle Wanvig, Daniel Corso, David Spina and Eric Healey added assists. Spina, Micflikier, Stephen Baby, and Wanvig scored for the Falcons in the shootout. Fletcher and Boutin were named second and third stars of the game respectively.
Boutin sets a new personal best for his young career with his 9th win of the season and, for the moment, gets his save percentage back up to .900. Falcons now riding a rare two game winning streak during this horrendous second half collapse.
HFD Dubinsky, (20) (Byers, Degon), 2:11
HFD Immonen, (17) (Dawes, Korpikoski), 6:08
SPR Fletcher, (2) (Healey, Corso), 14:41 (PP)
SPR Fletcher, (3) (Wanvig, Spina), 19:53 (PP)
SPR Micflikier, (3) (Rullier, Dufresne), 6:58 (PP)
HFD Dubinsky, (21) (Byers, Reese), 12:51
SPR- Spina, Micflikier, Baby, Wanvig
HFD- Dubinsky, Jessiman, Bourret
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
In Game One of the Russian Superleague finals, Magnitogorsk moved out to a quick 1-0 series lead defeating Kazan 5-2. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless for Ak Bars in the game. Through 9 playoff games the 2002 4th round pick has 1 goal and 3 points with 4 penalty minutes and a +1 rating. Game Two is set for Sunday.