One Lightning prospect sees his season end while another moves on.
Sudbury 6 @ Mississauga 3
Sudbury wins best-of-7 series 4-1
The OHL Eastern Conference's No.3 seed Mississauga IceDogs - the team with the second most points in the conference - is going home after 5 games. The Sudbury Wolves came out flying in Game 5, outshooting the IceDogs 16-4 in the first period and taking a 3-0 lead. Mississauga responded, outshooting the Wolves 21-5 in the second and 16-8 in the third, but the team could not get an equalizer. The IceDogs scored in the first 6 minutes of the third period to cut Sudbury's lead to 4-3, but the Wolves scored within 10 seconds of that goal and added an empty netter for the final score. Lightning center/winger Chris Lawrence had an assist and 6 PIM in the loss and now will wait for a contract offer from Tampa Bay. Lightning prospect camp invitee Travis Fuller (47 points in 43 games) could attract some interest from one of Tampa's affiliates for a tryout contract.
Lawrence finished the series with three goals and an assist in the five games. He was also minus-6 and had 14 PIM.
Everett 4 @ Spokane 1
Everett wins best-of-7 series 4-2
Top-seeded Everett got a go-ahead power play goal with 4 seconds left in the first period and held on until adding a couple of empty-netters to defeat Spokane 4-1 and win the opening round series 4-2. Lightning prospect and defenseman Dane Crowley was scoreless and even for the Silvertips. He finished the series with two assists in the six games and a plus-2 rating.
Johnstown gains two more points on Reading and Wheeling. Playoffs look within their reach.
Ryan Munce stopped 23 of 24 shots faced for the win. Zbynek Hrdel and Gus Katsuras each had 1 goal and 1 assist with Katsuras potting the overtime game winner. Ian MacLean and Bryan Nathe added assists. Rookie star Maxime Boisclair was kicked out of the game midway through the first period with a slashing major. Katsuras, Munce and Hrdel were the game's three stars. Munce is 4-1-0 in his last 5 starts.
JHN Hrdel, (12) (MacLean, Katsuras), 8:33
CIN Daoust, (31) (Rawlyk, Stewart), 7:22
JHN Katsuras, (10) (Nathe, Hrdel), 0:06 (PP)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Kevin Beech allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss in his first AHL start. Beech surrendered Portland's winning goal with just 43 seconds left in regulation. Kyle Wanvig and David Spina had the Falcons goals. Eric Healey, Nick Kuiper and Adam Henrich added assists.
POR Ryan, (1) (Salcido, Weinrich), 4:28 (PP)
POR Miller, (14) (Blanchard, Carter), 10:57 (PP)
SPR Wanvig, (19) (Healey, Kuiper), 18:00 (PP)
SPR Spina, (13) (Henrich), 16:11
POR Wilson, (7) (Motzko, Carter), 19:17
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
If Vincent Lecavalier played in a bigger market, there'd be no doubt who the MVP would be this season.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 of 25 shots faced for the win. Vincent Lecavalier had 1 goal and 2 assists to boost his season point total to 106. If you had a fever that high, you'd be dead. Dan Boyle had 1 goal and 1 assist and is now just one goal shy of the difficult to reach 20 goal mark for a defenseman. Also with 1 goal (shorthanded) and 1 assist Martin St. Louis goes into triple digits with a sick but still non-lethal 101. And, Cory Sarich had a multi-point night with 2 assists?!?!? Stock up on canned goods, people. Ryan Craig and Jason Ward had the other Lightning goals with individual helpers going to Paul Ranger, Andreas Karlsson, Filip Kuba and Vaclav Prospal.
With the win the Lightning keep pace with Atlanta three points back in the division with their head-to-head match up still on tap in the season finale. They gain two points on the Islanders, who lost tonight, and maintain their gap on victorious Toronto, Montreal and the Rangers.
Some numbers to consider as we enter the waning games of the season:
-As mentioned, with one more goal Dan Boyle will reach 20 goals for a defenseman.
-With 4 more points, Filip Kuba would reach the 40 point plateau. Difficult, but not impossible.
-Despite missing almost 10 games with a knee injury, Paul Ranger is 3 points shy of the 30 point plateau. Also difficult, but not impossible.
-Netminder Johan Holmqvist recorded his 26th win of the season last night. Even if the Lightning run the table, he cannot reach 30 wins. Darn the flu.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
If the playoffs started tonight, Johnstown would be in.
Morgan Cey stopped 35 of 35 shots faced for the shutout. ATO Rob Lehtinen led the way with 1 goal and 1 assist while red hot Radek Smolenak had a pair of assists. John Adams had the other Chiefs goal and Marek Kvapil also stayed hot with an assist. Cey, Lehtinen and Adams were the game's three stars.
The win moves Johnstown back to .500 for the season at 31-31-6 and moves one point ahead of Reading into the final playoff spot in the ECHL North Division while still holding a game in hand. With Wheeling losing tonight to Cincinnati, Johnstown should have a 2 point lead on the Nailers as well at night's end. Johnstown controls their destiny and is now riding a three game winning streak in which they have beaten Cincinatti (#2 in the North Division), Toledo (#3 in the North Division) and Dayton (#1 in the North Division). Kvapil= season changer.
JHN Adams, (4) (Lehtinen, Smolenak), 4:14 (PP)
JHN Lehtinen, (2) (Kvapil, Smolenak), 8:34
Game sheet from ECHL.com.