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One of the Lightning's youngest guns helps to bring Johnstown's playoff hopes back from the dead. And no, I don't mean Radek Smolenak (4GP, 1-6-7). And, of course, there was Ryan Munce and his 3-0-0 record with a 1.00 GAA, 1 shutout and a .960 save percentage. But, this week's winner set it all in motion on a Tuesday morning somewhere in Southern Ohio.
(ECHL.com release) Ryan Munce of the Johnstown Chiefs is the Rbk Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Mar. 26-Apr. 1, 2007.
The Mississauga, Ontario native was 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .960 to help the Chiefs go 4-0-0 to move into the fifth and final playoff spot in the North Division with 70 points (32-31-6).
After stopping 25 of 26 shots in a 3-1 win at Cincinnati on Mar. 27, the 21-year-old made 24 saves in a 6-1 win against Toledo on Mar. 30 and closed out the week stopping 23 shots in a 2-1 overtime win against Cincinnati on Apr. 1.
Since being assigned to Johnstown after he was traded from the Los Angeles King to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 21, the 6-foot-2 and 185-pound Munce is 5-3-1 with a 2.53 goals-against average and a save percentage of .916 in 13 games. He began the season with Reading and was 5-6-4 with a goals-against average of 3.30 and a save percentage of .884 in 17 games for the Royals.
Selected in the third round (82nd overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and under NHL contract to Tampa Bay, Munce led the ECHL as a rookie in 2005-06 with 3,234 minutes, 1,705 saves and eight shootout wins and was 30-18-5 with a goals-against average of 2.78 and a save percentage of .919 in 55 games with Bakersfield. He was 5-5-0 with a goals-against average of 3.36 and a save percentage of .889 to help Bakersfield advance to the division finals in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Prior to turning professional, Munce played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League where he was 55-56-14 with five shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.98 and a save percentage of .912 in 136 regular season games for Sarnia.
Western Hockey League -- Kal Tire Western Conference Semi-Finals
Prince George (31-30-3-5) vs. Everett (54-15-1-2)
Lightning prospects and defensemen Vladimir Mihalik (Prince George) and Dane Crowley (Everett) will meet in the Kal Tire Western Conference Semi-Finals starting this Friday. The two are the only Lightning CHL prospects remaining in the WHL or OHL playoffs (The Lightning does not have a prospect in the QMJHL).
Mihalik and Prince George swept Kamloops in the first round and haven't played since March 28. Crowley and Everett won their last two games against Spokane to take their opening round series 4-2. Prince George is the lowest seed of the remaining 4 teams in the Western Conference: Everett, Vancouver, Seattle, Prince George.
Everett won the season series against Prince George 3-2 with one win coming in overtime and another coming in a shootout. Mihalik had 2 assists, an even rating, and 14 PIM in 5 games against Everett. Crowley, with both Swift Current and Everett, had 4 assists, an even rating, and 2 PIM in 4 games vs. Prince George.
Series schedule (all times Pacific):
#1 - Prince George @ Everett; Friday, April 6 (7:35 p.m.)
#2 - Prince George @ Everett; Saturday, April 7 (7:05 p.m.)
#3 - Everett @ Prince George; Tuesday, April 10 (7:00 p.m.)
#4 - Everett @ Prince George; Wednesday, April 11 (7:00 p.m.)
#5 - Prince George @ Everett; Saturday, April 14 (7:05 p.m.) if necessary
#6 - Everett @ Prince George; Monday, April 16 (7:00 p.m.) if necessary
#7 - Prince George @ Everett; Wednesday, April 18 (7:05 p.m.) if necessary
In Game Three of their Superleague seminfinal playoff series, CSKA scored their first win of the series defeating Kazan 3-2. CSKA still trailed the series 2-1. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the match.
Kazan struck back to clinch a spot in the Superleague finals defeating CSKA 2-1 in Game Four. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the match.
Kazan advances to the Superleague finals to face Magnitogorsk which beat Omsk 3 games to 1. Game One of the Russian Superleague finals begins Saturday.
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.