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.