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The Random 17

According to a non-scientific Google search, 17 is the most random number. It’s also my old hockey number so I’m going to title this weekly blog entry “The Random 17.” There’s also a nickname for 17 in British bingo, but that’s Dancing Queen. Never been much of an Abba fan, so forget that.

I’ve always been a big fan of Elliot Friedman’s “30 Things,” and imitation is the highest form of flattery, so here we go – 17 random thoughts on the Lightning and sports in general.

1. Big ups to Jon Cooper and the Lightning for their 3-1 start, especially the consistent effort and speed shown against big boys Washington and Pittsburgh. With their wins over those two clubs this week, Tampa Bay announced their presence as a legitimate Cup contender. But not so fast… the key now will be for the Lightning to play with the same intensity against the Calgarys and Floridas of the world when Hockey Earth isn’t watching. The contrast between the Lightning in front of the Zimmerman seats in Sunrise and the Lightning vs Ovechrosby is like night and day. Or Hedman vs. Sustr. Huge difference in effectiveness.

Juniors Game Night: 10-12-17

Ontario Hockey League

Kingston Frontenacs 1 @ Peterborough Petes 2

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals: 3 GP, 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

Paquette returned for his first game since September 28. He had been out with an apparent head injury.

Erie Otters 5 @ Barrie Colts 7

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-2-2, -1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals: 8 GP, 1-9-10, +2, 10 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

W Alexey Lipanov, BAR: 1-2-3, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 6/12 FO
Season Totals: 9 GP, 3-10-13, +7, 0 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals (VHL-Russia): 21 GP, 3-5-8, +5, 8 PIM

The two No. 17’s – both Lightning prospects – combined for a goal and four assists as Lipanov’s Colts beat Raddysh’s Otters, 7-5, in Barrie. Raddysh’s goalless streak hit seven games. Lipanov managed to get to .500 in the faceoff circle, which is major progress for the first-time North American player.

Western Hockey League

Edmonton Oil Kings 2 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 3

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 12/22 FO
Season Totals: 5 GP, 2-3-5, -1, 6 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 1-0-1, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 7 GP, 4-0-4, +8, 21 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

Sosunov! The combined DNA result of Bobby Orr and Zdeno Chara scored his fourth goal of the season as Moose Jaw defeated visiting Edmonton, 3-2. Brett Howden was scoreless in the game for the Warriors. (Discover Moose Jaw photo)

NHL Game Night: 10-12-17 Penguins at Lightning

Bow down to your new blueline overlord.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 40 shots for the victory. It's been like watching a new age Grant Fuhr early in this season. The stats don't part your hair when you read them, but he makes the big saves to help the team get W's.

First Period
6:07 TB Koekkoek (1), (Kunitz, Stralman)
13:46 PIT Guentzel (2), (Letang, Rust)
19:59 TB Hedman (1), (Killorn, Kucherov)(PP)

Second Period
3:59 TB Stamkos (1), (Namestnikov, Killorn)(PP)
8:58 PUT Sheary (3), (Ruhwedel, Niemi)
9:49 TB Kucherov (4), (Coburn, Killorn)
14:24 PIT Rust (1), (Guentzel, Maatta)(PP)
17:55 TB Koekkoek (2), (Killorn, Johnson)

Third Period
10:01 PIT Hunwick (1), (McKegg, Kessel)

Slater Koekkoek, Alex Killorn, and Kikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

It wasn't the same tour de force performance that the Lightning put together against Washington, but the Lightning looked the better team 5 v 5 all night long against Pittsburgh and deserved the result tonight. Had they stayed out of the box consistently, they surely would've made this a lot easier on themselves, and even with some lapses of discipline there were several moments in the game it looked like it was teetering on the edge of the Lightning getting a 3 goal lead and making it a laugher. Against that team, that's impressive. Back-to-back wins against Washington and Pittsburgh are absolutely impressive, and leave little doubt the Lightning are legit early in this campaign.

4 games into the season, the Lightning have 6 points. 6 more points to collect in the next 6 games to make this a successful segment of the season.

Koekkoek had his first 2 NHL goals and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 9:44. The first goal, which was deflected by the Pens and a bit of puck luck, looked like it took a 200 pound gorilla off of Slater's back. The second goal looked like sheer exuberance as Koekkoek emerged from the box to patiently deposit a 3-on-1 chance on his backhand. Might be time to give him a game or two with a little more IT to see how he handles it.

Yanni Gourde had 3 shots and was 50% on 4 draws in 15:45. I liked that he was shooting the puck more. That will pay dividends in the long run.

Gabriel Dumont was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 8:59. He was also 33% on 9 draws. Skating's an issue. It just needs to be said.

Jake Dotchin was -1 with 2 blocked shots in 16:45. Little by little, he keeps rounding into form.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 in just 5:22 of ice time. Sheary snuck behind him off the bench to steal a goal, and it seemed like Sergachev didn't see the ice much after that. With Koekkoek playing a nice little game, I wouldn't be shocked in the Lightning gave Mikhail a game off to watch and re-center before throwing him back into the fire.

Box score and extended statistics from

Juniors Game Night: 10-11-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 2 @ Moncton Wildcats 3

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: Did not play
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Somppi has not played this season. He is still recovering from a shoulder injury.

Ontario Hockey League

Saginaw Spirit 3 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 6

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 8 GP, 9-4-13, +7, 2 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

Katchouk extended his goal streak to five games with a goal Wednesday against Mitchell Stephens’ former team.

Erie Otters 2 @ Owen Sound Attack 5

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 7 GP, 1-7-8, +3, 10 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Raddysh has now gone six games without a goal. Last year his longest goalless streak was four games, in December.

Western Hockey League

Saskatoon Blades 6 @ Regina Pats 4

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 1-0-1, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 6 GP, 1-2-3, -9, 8 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 61 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 86 PIM

Last-place Saskatoon scored a huge road win against Memorial Cup host Regina Wednesday, winning, 6-4. Hajek’s first goal of the season opened the game’s scoring. It was his first goal since February 24.

Cernak's Work Ethic Impresses Crunch's Groulx

By Jeremy Houghtaling

After Erik Cernak’s first weekend with the Syracuse Crunch, head coach Benoit Groulx’s assessment was nothing but positives.

Strong skater. Big body. Good shot.

Most importantly, Groulx believes Cernak’s work ethic is what could eventually earn the 20-year-old defenseman a spot in the NHL.

“I like the package, now I think it’s about more maturity in his game,” Groulx said of the 6-3, 221-pounder. “He’s got a lot of qualities as a person and a player, and he’s probably one of the hardest working guys we have here. That’s a compliment, because we have many guys that are working hard.

“He’s played well so far in the two games. He has to bring more consistency, but I think he’s got a lot of room to develop and become a very good player.”

NCAA Game Night: 10-4-17

No. 2 Boston University Terriers 3 @ No. 17 Quinnipiac Bobcats 2 (OT)

D John MacLeod, BU: Did not play
Season Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
’17-’18 Totals Totals: 36 GP, 2-5-7, +8, 30 PIM

MacLeod, a senior, sat for the Terriers matchup in Connecticut vs Matt Peca’s alma mater. He had played in BU’s first game of the season. MacLeod has been an occasional scratch the past two seasons for one of the NCAA’s best sides.

Juniors Game Night: 10-8-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 5 @ Halifax Mooseheads 4 (OT)

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: Did not play
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Somppi has not played this season. He is still recovering from a shoulder injury.

Western Hockey League

Swift Current Broncos 4 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 3

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-0-0, -2, 4 PIM, 2 SOG, 15/24 FO
Season Totals: 4 GP, 2-3-5, E, 6 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 6 GP, 3-0-3, +6, 19 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

Swift Current kept both Howden and Sosunov off the scoresheet Sunday in a 4-3 road win. This was a battle of the top two, undefeated teams in the East Division. The Broncos moved to 6-0, Moose Jaw 5-1.

NHL Game Night: 10-9-17 Capitals at Lightning

Out of the ashes, Tampa Bay issues a statement.

TB-4 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the victory. The stat lines not pretty, but a handful of his saves had to be in order to allow the Lightning to keep contact and get the win.

First Period
16:42 WSH Backstrom (1), (Burakovsky, Oshie)
18:05 WSH Oshie (2), (Carlson, Backstrom)(PP)

Second Period
5:28 TB Killorn (1), (Point, Coburn)
7:49 WSH Oshie (3), (Backstrom, Kuznetsov)(PP)
18:09 TB Kunitz (1), (Stralman, Paquette)

Third Period
10:46 TB Kucherov (3), (Killorn, Stralman)

3:08 Point (3), (Kucherov, Stamkos)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn were the game's first and second stars.

Every man in that lineup up and down deserved a star. That was Lightning hockey, and it was Lightning hockey at a level I don't think we've seen in a regular season matchup against the Capitals in forever. Coming off an embarrassing performance in Sunrise, the Lightning outskated, outpossessed, and outplayed Washington for the bulk of 63 minutes of hockey, allowing them to overcome some negative puck luck in the First Period to get the job done. And, it wasn't just the top lines or the top pairs. Every man all the way down to the checking line got it done tonight. Cedric Paquette even played like a beast tonight. Kunitz. Callahan. You name it. This team had a different look in their eye coming out of, one would presume, some kind of team meeting this morning, and they wouldn't be denied tonight. This isn't hype, it's truth: if they play with that level of determination, attention to detail, and hustle every night, they're going to leave a lot of opposing teams in their wake as they plow through this season. The back checking pressure of the Lightning forwards in the neutral zone alone tonight... well, Nigel's going to need to smoke a cigarette while he puts this film together. It's that good.

7 games left in segment 1 of the campaign: 8 points left to go.

Slater Koekkoek played 3:09 as the 7th d-man. If you blinked, you missed him.

Yanni Gourde had 2 penalty minutes in 14:44. I need some more SOG's, Yanni.

Jake Dotchin had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 4 blocked shots in 12:01. He's slowly rounding into form.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 shots and 1 hit in 12:40. Mixed bag. Egregious turnovers in the First Period. Darned near potted a regulation winner in the Third Period.

Box score and extended statistics from

NCAA Game Night: 10-7-17

Colorado College Tigers 0 @ Vermont Catamounts 3 (Friday)

C Ross Colton, UVM: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, *Second Star*

Colorado College Tigers 4 @ Vermont Catamounts 3 (Saturday)

C Ross Colton, UVM: 3-0-3, E, 0 PIM, 13 SOG, *First Star*
Season Totals: 2 GP, 4-0-4, E, 0 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 33 GP, 12-15-27, E, 22 PIM

Colton, a sophomore coming off a fine freshman season, scored Friday night and had a hat trick Saturday night as the Catamounts split their weekend series with Colorado College.

New Hampshire Wildcats 4 vs UMass-Lowell River Hawks 3 (Friday)

C Ryan Lohin, UML: 0-2-2, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, *Second Star*

No. 5 UMass-Lowell River Hawks 1 @ New Hampshire Wildcats 3 (Saturday)

C Ryan Lohin, UML: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 2 GP, 0-3-3, -1, 2 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 41 GP, 12-17-29, +10, 14 PIM

UNH earned a 2-game sweep over UML this weekend, capping it with a 3-1 home win Saturday. Lightning prospect Ryan Lohin, a sophomore, had three assists in the home-and-home series. The River Hawks will be dropping from their No. 5 ranking in the next USCHO poll.

No. 3 Minnesota Golden Gophers 3 vs. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 4 (OT) (Friday)
Icebreaker Tournament

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, UMN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG

Minnesota Golden Gophers 2 vs. Union Dutchmen 0 (Saturday)
Icebreaker Tournament

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, UMN: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG

Season Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 37 GP, 2-3-5, +11, 35 PIM

The Gophers won the consolation game of the season-opening Icebreaker tournament in Duluth (won by Michigan Tech). Sabres’ 8th overall pick in 2017 Casey Mittelstadt had a goal for the Gophers.

*USCHO poll used for rankings

Juniors Game Night: 10-7-17

Ontario Hockey League

Barrie Colts 6 @ Saginaw Spirit 2

W Alexey Lipanov, BAR: 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 6/21 FO, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 8 GP, 2-8-10, +5, 0 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals (VHL-Russia): 21 GP, 3-5-8, +5, 8 PIM

Lipanov was third star as Barrie beat Saginaw in Michigan, 6-2. Andrei Svechnikov (2018) had two goals for the Colts.

London Knights 2 @ Erie Otters 5

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-1-1, +3, 4 PIM, 8 SOG
Season Totals: 6 GP, 1-6-7, +3, 10 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Erie got back on the winning side after defeating another traditional powerhouse, London, 5-2. Both teams are a shadow of their former selves this year so far.

Western Hockey League

Kelowna Rockets 4 @ Prince George Cougars 3 (OT)

D Cal Foote, KEL: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 6 GP, 2-6-8, +3, 4 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Kelowna completed a 2-game sweep in Prince George, winning both games in overtime. Dillon Dube (Flames) had a goal and three assists for the Rockets.

Saskatoon Blades 3 @ Regina Pats 7

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 5 GP, 0-2-2, -8, 6 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 61 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 86 PIM

Zeros across the board for Hajek Saturday. The Blades fell to 1-4 on the season.

United States Hockey League

Dubuque Fighting Saints 1 @ Green Bay Gamblers 2 (OT)

C Cole Guttman, DBQ: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 53 GP, 27-27-54, +21, 18 PIM

Jon Cooper’s former club got an overtime winner from defenseman Carver Watson (undrafted, Michigan Tech commit) to top the Saints, 2-1.

USHL Note: Sam Walker, a Minnesota commit, is playing high school hockey this season. He’s expected to jump back into the USHL at some point.

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