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NA Juniors Game Night: 10-4-13

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 3 @ Sherbrooke Phoenix 2 (SO)

W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 1-1-2, E, 6 SOG, 0 PIM, 2 Hits, *First Star*
Season totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, E, 4 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Drouin scored his first goal of the year in his second game and also added an assist. He later scored the game-winning goal in the shootout. He was named First Star for his performance.

Ontario Hockey League

Barrie Colts 2 @ Mississauga Steelheads 3 (SO)

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM
Season totals: 5 GP, 1-2-3, +3, 12 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM

Dotchin and the Colts fell in Mississauga, 3-2 in a shootout. The Steelheads scored on three of their four shootout chances to claim the win. Dotchin took slashing and interference penalties.

Ottawa 67’s 4 @ Kingston Frontenacs 7

D Henri Ikonen, KGN: 0-4-4, +3, 2 PIM, *First Star*
Season totals: 4 GP, 1-6-7, +6, 4 PIM
2012-13 totals: 61 GP, 22-29-51, +2, 30 PIM

Henri Ikonen matched his career high with four assists in a game on Friday night as the Fronts beat up on the visiting 67’s, 7-4. Ikonen has had at least four points in a game twice in his career, the most recent being a four-assist game in February last year against Mississauga. His first assist tonight came when he set up linemate Sam Bennett for a goal 10 seconds into the game.

Windsor Spitfires 4 @ London Knights 5

D Slater Koekkoek, WSR: 0-2-2, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 4 GP, 1-4-5, +7, 0 PIM
2012-13 totals: 40 GP, 6-23-29, -24, 28 PIM

London outshot Windsor 18-5 in the third period, scoring three times to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 win. Slater Koekkoek had two assists for the second straight night. All four were primary assists. Lightning camper Brett Welychka had an assist for London.

Zettler in No Rush to Name No. 1

By Jeremy Houghtaling

A little more than 24 hours before the puck drops on a new season, Syracuse Crunch Head Coach Rob Zettler still didn't know who was going to start between the pipes.

With no clear-cut No. 1 starter heading into Saturday's contest at Binghamton, Zettler is going to start the season by platooning netminders Cedrick Desjardins and Riku Helenius.

"They'll likely get equal time early on, and then we'll see where it goes," Zettler said.

The two candidates have more than 280 games and a dozen professional seasons between them, so Zettler has time to let it pan out.

NA Juniors Game Night: 10-3-13

Ontario Hockey League

Plymouth Whalers 1 @ Windsor Spitfires 5

D Slater Koekkoek, WSR: 0-2-2, +3, 0 PIM, *Second Star*
Season totals: 3 GP, 1-2-3, +8, 0 PIM
2012-13 totals: 40 GP, 6-23-29, -24, 28 PIM

Koekkoek had two primary assists in the second period when his point shots were tipped into the Whalers’ net. The Spits went up 2-1 the goals created by those shots and went on to beat their rivals, 5-1. Koekkoek was named the game’s second star. He did not register any penalty minutes, but took down Blackhawks’ first rounder Ryan Hartman from behind while on the power play early in the game. Hartman scored on the ensuing penalty shot. Ben Johnson (Devils) had a hat trick for Windsor.

NHL Game Night: 10-3-13 Lightning at Bruins

Mixed bag in the opener.

TB-1
BOS-3

Anders Lindback allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the loss after earning the surprise start from Jon Cooper. Um, yeah, about that... when coach gives you a surprise nod, reward him. It's not that Lindback was overtly terrible and certainly you can't get too upset when the team in front of you gives up penalty shots. But, Lindback didn't step up and make the key saves you need in a tough game on the road, and his rebound control wasn't there tonight. In retrospect, you kind of wish Bishop was in there.

First Period
11:39 BOS Kelly (1), (unassisted)(SH)(PS)

Second Period
10:32 TB Filppula (1), (Brewer, Killorn)
19:00 BOS Lucic (1), (Krejci)

Third Period
04:02 BOS Bergeron (1), (unassisted)(SH)

It's never fun to open up a season with a loss, and I think this was a frustrating game overall. There were good signs and there were bad signs, and I think as long as the team builds up from this they're probably going to be ok. The good news is that, up until late in the Third Period when they came a little unglued, they had way more structure and poise defensively than at just about any point over the past 2 years. That put them in a position to steal points in a really bad road draw in a place the Lightning never win despite getting ordinary goaltending, losing a top pair defenseman to injury before the game (Salo), and throwing a whole lot of young players out against a veteran Boston club. Shorthanded breakdowns should be correctable, and this would have been a 1-1 tie without them if you look at silver linings. Holding Boston to 25 shots in their barn is a huge improvement and they kept scoring chances down pretty well, too.

The bad sign was that the Lightning's first line did next to nothing tonight. Only a couple of sporadic scoring chances and nothing sustained, and the golden 2-on-1 that Stamkos and St. Louis had and flubbed in the Second Period turned out, in retrospect, to be a turning point of the game. Point blank, they've got to be better. The second line isn't going to be as good this season no matter how many zeros are on Filppula's paycheck. Stamkos and St. Louis have to create scoring chances consistently and bring the bacon home. Have to. And, in general, there were only a couple of players on the Lightning I can say honestly played up to their full potential: Sustr and Labrie. That's about it. Everyone else can play a little better than they did tonight, which is a negative but also should tell them that there's considerable room to grow and get better, too.

This opening road trip is awful for the Lightning. The schedule makers could not have drawn up a worse script for the team. So, I wasn't expecting miracles right out of the gate. The key thing is to improve game to game, steal some wins here and there to get the positive reinforcement, and hang in there until December-January when I expect everything will really start to click.

Radko Gudas was -1 with 7 penalty minutes and 5 hits in 17:27. He got himself caught in no-man's land a couple of times coverage-wise in the Third Period, but the ill-advised pinches weren't there tonight like they were last season and the physical game you love was. So, modest improvement, but needs to be better still.

Mark Barberio was +1 with 1 shot in 16:26. The young man was a skating dumpster fire in the first half of the game. Made a terrible play that led to the shorthanded penalty shot and got absolutely undressed on a play where a quick referees whistle saved a goal that probably would've counted otherwise. The second half of the game he was less noticeable, which was an improvement, but when you make me long for Keith Aulie, we have problems.

Tyler Johnson was -2 with 3 shots, 1 blocked shot, and he was 61% on draws in 15:46. His line had small spurts throughout the game, but not the sustained level of play experienced in the preseason. I think they need to simplify and play more north-south next time out. Less curly-ques, please.

Alex Killorn had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 15:10. He can play a lot better. His line needs to earn puck possession more so he can have the chance to play his north-south game. He just didn't have the puck very much.

Ondrej Palat was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 13:11. I thought he played his usual poised game until the Third Period when I saw him throw a puck away rather than calmly carry it to open ice, which is so unlike Palat it's jaw-dropping.

Andrej Sustr was -1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 20:03. I thought he played above his experience level. There were moments he was a little deer-legged skating-wise and got himself caught out of position, but he filled in well with Salo out. No way in hell do I want him playing 20 minutes a night at his age, and he's very likely to get hurt and worn out with a steady diet of that right now. But, for just tonight, fairly impressive outing.

Richard Panik was -2 with 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 15:10. Of all the kids, other than maybe Barberio, I found his night the most disappointing. He botched the play that led to the second shorthanded goal against and, in general, he just seemed a step slow to the puck, soft when he got there, and that contributed to zero shots and no real scoring chances. Brother, if you want to be in the AHL real quick, keep that up. Brett Connolly is a phone call away.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 8:36. I thought he played his role fairly well tonight. He fought when he needed to and created a couple of chances with his size around the opposing net. He still can't skate a lick, so he's a defensive liability if he gets caught out on the ice so Cooper needs to be very conscious about that. But, in general, I thought he played his role and to his potential tonight, which is more than I can say for most of the team.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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