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AHL Game Night: 4-20-13 Sharks at Crunch

Syracuse wins the AHL East Division title... barely.

WOR-3
SYR-4 (SO)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 22 shots before stopping all 3 shooters he faced in the penalty shot session for the SOW.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (31) (Sexton, Barberio), 11:39

Second Period
SYR Devos, (7) (Connolly, Namestnikov), 3:50
SYR Johnson, (37) (Brown, Cote), 5:40

Third Period
WOR Gogol, (4) (Comrie, Demelo), 6:37
WOR Hayes, (3) (Comrie, Tarasov), 8:20
WOR Tarasov, (14) , 12:26

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WOR- NONE
SYR- Sexton, Connolly, Wyman

Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars.

My God, they made that so much harder than it needed to be. Syracuse needed the win tonight to nail down the division title with Binghamton defeating Hershey, and they looked in good shape holding a 3-0 lead heading into the final frame against a non-playoff team. And then the bottom fell out. Thank goodness they were able to get the extra point in the skills gimmick, because if they didn't Binghamton coming to town tomorrow could've stole the division title with a regulation win.

Now tomorrow's game looks to be rather meaningless, and I wouldn't be surprised if certain key players like Mark Barberio, Connolly, and Johnson find most of their ice time given to younger players for precautionary reasons.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NA Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4-20-13

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

(8)Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 4 @ (1)Halifax Mooseheads 6
Halifax leads Best-of-7 Semifinals, 1-0

W Nikita Kucherov, R-N: 2-0-2, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 0 Hits
Playoff totals: 11 GP, 9-11-20, +11, 10 PIM
Season totals: 33 GP, 29-34-63, +17, 14 PIM
With R-N: 27 GP, 26-27-53, +18, 12 PIM
With Quebec: 6 GP, 3-7-10, -1, 2 PIM

Bolt prospect Nikita Kucherov scored twice, but it wasn’t enough for the upstart Huskies to upset heavily favored Halifax in Game 1 of their semifinal series. Nathan MacKinnon, who will go top-3 in this summer’s draft, scored three times and added an assist. His teammate, Jonathan Druin, who is also expected to go top-3, had two goals and five points. Kucherov has five goals and eight points in his last two games. Game 2 is Sunday in Nova Scotia.

Ontario Hockey League

(E2)Barrie Colts 5 @ (E1)Belleville Bulls 0
Best-of-7 Eastern Conference Finals tied, 1-1

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 19 PIM
Season totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM
With Barrie: 28 GP, 2-6-8, -1, 42 PIM
With Owen Sound: 38 GP, 2-12-14, +1, 39 PIM

Barrie got to Bulls goalie Malcolm Subban early and often beating him five times en route to a 5-0 Game 2 win. Colts goalie Mathias Niederberger (undrafted) stopped 32 shots for the shutout. Game 3 is on Monday in Barrie.

Cooper Not Surprised by Johnson’s Hatter

Lightning prospect Tyler Johnson of the Syracuse Crunch was named the AHL’s Most Valuable Player on Friday, and responded to the honor by netting a hat trick in the Crunch’s 5-1 win over Norfolk later that night.

Former Crunch coach and current Lightning coach Jon Cooper took notice, and he wasn’t surprised.

“Not in the slightest,” Cooper said after the Lightning’s practice on Saturday.

“He’s probably got a little jump in his step. Not only a jump in his step just from coming up here then going back to his team, but his game probably slowed down a little bit, but to get news like that – which was totally deserved – you don’t want to go and lay an egg and he surely didn’t.”

Johnson played 14 games for the Lightning in the last two months, scoring three goals and three assists. He was sent back down to Syracuse on April 12.

The Spokane, Washington, native has an AHL-leading 36 goals and 64 points in 61 games with the Crunch this year. He was a free agent signing by the Lightning in March of 2011.

Practice Notes: Injured goalie Anders Lindback had a strong practice on Saturday and could start as early as Sunday against Carolina. Also, while Radko Gudas filled in for Sami Salo on the power play in Montreal (and the Lightning scored, though Gudas points out he never touched the puck), don't expect Gudas to be a mainstay on the Lightning's power play anytime soon. Though Gudas was introduced to man-advantage duty in Syracuse under Cooper, the Lightning coach said Gudas is slated for PK and 5 on 5 work in Tampa and Cooper is a believer in 5 on 5 plus one special team unit for most players - especially defensemen.

Gudas Jersey Buyers: Gudas said he probably won't keep No. 75 next year. He wore No. 3 in Syracuse in honor of his father, who wore No. 3. The 3-jersey is taken in Tampa Bay by Keith Aulie, but 13 and 33 are both open.

Bishop Mask: Ben Bishop's Lightning mask was supposedly delivered from Sweden to Tampa, but he was wearing his Senators cage during practice on Saturday. He was working with Franz Jean on being positioned for one timers delivered from behind the goal-line into the slot.

NA Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4-19-13

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

(3)Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 1 @ (2)Baie-Comeau Drakkar 2
Drakkar lead best-of-7 semifinals, 1-0

C Cedric Paquette, BLB: 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM, 2 SOG, 4 Hits
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 7-5-12, +5, 17 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 27-56-83, +29, 103 PIM

The Drakkar struck first in their semifinal series with the Armada, scoring a 2-1 win. The winning goal was scored on the power play near the mid-point of the final period.

Ontario Hockey League

(E2)Barrie Colts 2 @ (E1)Belleville Bulls 3
Bulls lead best-of-7 Eastern Conference Finals, 1-0

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -1, 7 PIM
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 0-3-3, +4, 19 PIM
Season totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM
With Barrie: 28 GP, 2-6-8, -1, 42 PIM
With Owen Sound: 38 GP, 2-12-14, +1, 39 PIM

Belleville scored the game’s final two goals and Bruins first rounder Malcolm Subban stopped 26 shots to lead the Bulls to a Game 1 win over Barrie. Dotchin fought Garrett Hooey of Belleville in the second period.

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