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Gourde Makes Most of Opportunity After ’Road Less Traveled’ 

By Steven DiOssi

For some young prospects like Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, or Brayden Point, their road to the NHL is a fast one. But for others, playing at the game’s highest level doesn’t come as quickly. It’s a matter of putting in hard work, developing their game, and pushing hard for that next opportunity. 

Yanni Gourde knows all about waiting for an opportunity. And since being recalled by the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Syracuse Crunch on March 6, he’s been making the most of his. Especially lately. 

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-31-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 6 @ Halifax Mooseheads 5 (3OT)
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Rouyn-Noranda leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 25/37 FO
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The Huskies erased a 5-3 Halifax lead with just over two minutes to go, including the game-tying goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation. They got the game winner 26 seconds into the third overtime. Nico Hischier (2017) and Somppi combined to take 80 faceoffs. Somppi was on the ice for the last three Huskie goals, including the overtime winner. Game 6 is Monday.

Val-d’Or Foreurs 3 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 1
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Val-d’Or leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 1 Hit
Playoff Totals: 5 GP: 3-2-5, -1, 6 PIM
Season Totals: 64 GP, 46-29-75, +23, 52 PIM

Third-seeded Shawinigan lost a pivotal Game 5 at home and now the 14th seed can clinch the series at home Sunday. The Cataractes outshot the Foreurs, 35-22, but could only beat overage goaltender Etienne Montpetit once. In the other net, Val-d’Or scored on three of their first six shots.

Ontario Hockey League

Flint Firebirds 1 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 6
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Sault Ste. Marie wins best-of-7 series, 4-1

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 5-3-8, +4, 2 PIM
Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

Katchouk scored for the fifth time in five games as the Soo put away the Firebirds in five games.

Windsor Spitfires 1 @ London Knights
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Windsor leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 3-0-3, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

London survived to play another day, winning Game 5 at home, 2-1. Stephens scored the game-winner in the second period. Game 6 is Sunday.

Western Hockey League

@ Swift Current Broncos 2 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 1
Eastern Conference First Round
Swift Current leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

C Brett Howden, MJ: 1-0-1, -2, 4 PIM, *Second Star*
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 2-0-2, -4, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

The Broncos got a big road win in Moose Jaw, scoring the game’s first two goals then holding on. Howden got the goal for the Warriors – his second is as many games. Swift Current can close out the series Saturday.

Kamloops Blazers 4 @ Kelowna Rockets 1
Western Conference First Round
Kelowna leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Win, 32 saves on 33 shots, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 2-3-0-0, 2.01 GAA, .951 sv %, 0 SO
Season Totals: 45 GP, 26-14-2-2, 2.44 GAA, .927 sv%, 5 SO

The Blazers scored four unanswered goals after falling behind 1-0 early, including two goals in the third period to break the game open. Ingram was first star with a 32-save effort. Game 6 is Sunday back in Kamloops.

Crunch Rally, but Bested By Marlies in Shootout

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch rallied in the second period, but their shootout struggles continued in a battle of the top teams in the North Division.

The Crunch got a pair of goals from unlikely sources to tie the score in the middle frame but couldn’t find the game-winner in the third period, overtime or shootout, as Syracuse fell to Toronto, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday. The Crunch have 80 points, one point behind the Marlies.

“I think they came out strong again,” Crunch captain Erik Condra said. “We pushed back and came back on a pretty good team and got a point out of it.”

AHL Game Night: 3-31-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch lose a key divisional point in the Shootout.

SYR-2 (SO)

Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 33 shots before conceding to 1 of 2 in the penalty shot session for the loss in the Shootout. McKenna is finally settling into Syracuse nicely, as he's now starting to regularly put in quality starts.

First Period
7:41 TOR Griffith (9), (O'Reilly, Rychel)(PP)
16:21 TOR Leipsic (14), (Moore)

Second Period
12:16 SYR Thomas (3), (Condra, Masin)
15:20 SYR Racine (1), (unassisted)

Third Period


TOR- Griffith

Mike McKenna and Ben Thomas were the game's first and second stars. Thomas continues a very respectable rookie season where he's compiled 19 points in 64 games. It's not a staggering stat line, but for a guy who came into the club with some middling numbers (and that's being kind) out of junior, he's really set himself nicely as one to watch the next couple of seasons.

Toronto pulls 1 point ahead of Syracuse in the North Division by virtue of the extra point in the penalty shot session.

Box score from

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-30-17

Ontario Hockey League

Peterborough Petes 6 @ Niagara IceDogs 2
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Peterborough wins best-of-7 series, 4-0

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG, 9/18 FO
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 0-2-2, +3, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-2-2, +4, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 1-3-4, +10, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 7-22-29, +9, 58 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

The Petes completed their 4-game sweep of the IceDogs with a 6-2 win Thursday. Matt Spencer had two assists to finish the series with four points and an outstanding plus-10 rating, which leads the league in the playoffs. Paquette had two assists in the series while playing his normal 2-way game. It looks as though he was playing in the No. 2 center role. Peterborough will now wait for the lowest ranked team to survive the OHL Eastern Conference’s first round. Niagara showed good effort on the game stars, awarding all three to IceDog players, perhaps as a good-bye gift.

London Knights 2 @ Windsor Spitfires 3 (OT)
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Windsor leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 2-0-2, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

Windsor put the defending champs on the brink of elimination with a 3-2 overtime win at home in Game 4. Graham Knott scored at 5:58 of overtime. London had a 2-1 lead halfway through the game. The Knights will try to extend the series Saturday at home. Should that not happen, Stephens may be on the next plane to Syracuse.

NHL Game Night: 3-30-17 Red Wings at Lightning

Even with Kucherov out ill, the Lightning keep their playoff hopes healthy.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the victory.

First Period
4:22 DET Nielsen (15), (Helm)
18:58 TB Brown (3), (Dumont)

Second Period
2:22 TB Sustr (3), (Palat)
12:46 DET DeKeyser (4) (Tatar, Zetterberg)
16:13 TB Killorn (18), (unassisted)(PP)
18:04 TB Drouin (21), (Hedman, Point)(PP)

Third Period
6:03 TB Gourde (3), (Palat, Sustr)
8:18 DET Green (13), (Nielsen, Larkin)(PP)

Andrej Sustr, Alex Killorn, and J.T. Brown were the game's three stars. If you picked those three as the opening three goal scorers tonight, I salute you on hitting the million to one trifecta.

With Nikita Kucherov out of the lineup sick, the Lightning cobbled an important victory out of duct tape, bailing wire, spit, and guile.

Luke Witkowski was +1 with 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:28.

Gregg McKegg was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit. He was also 57% on 7 draws.

Jake Dotchin was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 17:22.

Gabriel Dumont had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He was also 73% on 11 draws.

Yanni Gourde had a goal and was -1 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 22:44. He was also 25% on 8 draws. Yanni Gourde with 22:44 of ice time in a must-win game down the stretch of the regular season. We live in interesting times.

Adam Erne was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 10:12.

Joel Vermin had 1 shot in 9:16.

Box score and extended statistics from

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-29-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 4 @ Rimouski Oceanic 3
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Saint John wins best-of-7 series, 4-0

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, +1, 5 PIM, 1 SOG, 2 Hits
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 3-2-5, +6, 12 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 0 Hits
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 3-5-8, +6, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 36-44-80, +37, 57 PIM

The top-seeded Sea Dogs swept their first round series with Rimouski by beating the Oceanic 4-3 Wednesday. Mathieu Joseph added two more assists to his playoff totals. Boko fought Samuel Laberge (undrafted) at the end of the second period.

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 1 @ Halifax Mooseheads 3
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, 7/17 FO
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Halifax knotted up their series with the Huskies with a 3-1 win Wednesday. Somppi, who came back from a shoulder injury to play in Game 3, played his normal defensive role. He was on the ice for the final whistle protecting the lead and took the most faceoffs of any Moosehead.

Shawinigan Cataractes 2 @ Val-d’Or Foreurs 3
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 6 SOG, 2 Hits
Playoff Totals: 4 GP: 3-2-5, -1, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 64 GP, 46-29-75, +23, 52 PIM

Coming off a hat trick in Game 3, Yan managed an assist in Shawinigan’s loss to the Foreurs in Game 4. The series is all tied up headed back to Shawinigan. Etienne Montpetit (undrafted) made 41 saves for Val-d’Or.

Ontario Hockey League

Sarnia Sting 3 @ Erie Otters 9
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Erie wins best-of-7 series, 4-0

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 1-3-4, +8, 0 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 11/19 FO
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 4-2-6, +4, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 1-4-5, +2, 2 PIM, 6 SOG, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 3-8-11, +9, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

The line of Alex DeBrincat, Dylane Strome, and Taylor Raddysh combined for 12 points and the Otters swatted the Sting out of the playoffs with a 9-3 win Wednesday in Game 4. Sarnia got down 5-0 early, but gave it a go, pulling back within two goals early in the third before Erie slammed the door. With authority. Raddysh finished the series with 11 points in four games. Erie now waits for the lowest seed to advance to the second round.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 @ Flint Firebirds 2
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Sault Ste. Marie leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 4-2-6, +3, 2 PIM
Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

The Soo pushed the Firebirds to the brink of elimination with a 5-2 Game 4 win Wednesday. Katchouk has scored in all four games. Game 5 is back in Sault Ste. Marie Friday.

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Swift Current Broncos 5
Eastern Conference First Round
Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2

C Brett Howden, MJ: 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 1-0-1, -2, 6 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

The good news is Howden was able to finally get one past Swift Current goalie Jordan Papirny, but the bad news is his Warriors lost, 5-2, and the series is even again at two games apiece. Game 5 is back in Moose Jaw Friday.

Kelowna Rockets 1 @ Kamloops Blazers 0
Western Conference First Round
Kelowna leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Loss, 48 saves on 49 shots, *Second Star*
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 1-3-0-0, 2.27 GAA, .948 sv %, 0 SO
Season Totals: 45 GP, 26-14-2-2, 2.44 GAA, .927 sv%, 5 SO

Michael Herringer (undrafted) stopped 24 shots and the Rockets got a goal by Dillon Dube (Flames) in the second period that was enough for Kelowna to beat Kamloops and take a commanding 3-1 lead in their opening round series. Ingram was second star, stopping 48 shots. Game 5 is Friday in Kelowna. Hopefully it’s not Ingram’s final junior game. The Lightning third rounder is second in the WHL in playoff save percentage at .948. Ty Edmonds (undrafted) of Prince George is at .957.

AHL Game Night: 3-29-17 Crunch at Senators

Roller coaster goes back up.


Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the win, making that 2 quality starts in his last 3 outings, by my count. Getting better.

First Period
7:06 BNG Akeson (19), (White, Nehring)(PP)

Second Period
1:02 SYR Peca (11), (Taormina, Thomas)
2:22 SYR Kurtz (4), (Taormina)
15:31 SYR Bournival (7), (unassisted)

Third Period
0:31 SYR Condra (13), (Brodeur, Koekkoek)
10:07 SYR Lynch (4), (Brodeur, Koekkoek)
19:17 SYR Hajek (1), (Richard)

Matt Taormina, Slater Koekkoek, and Mathieu Broduer were the game's three stars, as the Crunch D showed out tonight. That included Libor Hajek notching his first pro goal, as well.

Syracuse moves back into a tie with the Toronto Marlies at 79 points atop the North Division, with Toronto holding a 4 game lead in ROW for the tiebreaker.

Box score from

ECHL Game Night: 3-29-17

Kalamazoo Wings 2 at Florida Everblades 6

F Brian Hart, KAL, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIMS, 2 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 29 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 4 PIMs, 53 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIMS, 2 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 16 GP, 5-14-19, +10, 8 PIMs, 44 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, did not play
Season Totals: 29 GP, 17-10-0-1, 2.89 GAA, 0.904 SV%, 1 SO

F Brendan O'Donnell, FLA, 1-2-3, +2, 0 PIMS, 2 SOG, *2nd Star*
Season Totals (ECHL): 56 GP, 37-34-71, +26, 35 PIMs, 221 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 6 GP, 0-0-0, -6, 0 PIMs, 0 SOG

F Dalton Smith, FLA, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIMS, 1 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 56 GP, 10-10-20, -4, 126 PIMs, 89 SOG

The K-Wings rolled into Estero Wednesday night for the first of three games against the former Lightning affiliate Florida Everblades, but quickly discovered there was no welcome mat out at the Germain Center for the visiting team. The Everblades peppered Joel Martin with 37 shots and 6 goals, en route to clinching the South Division title, guaranteeing home ice for Florida through the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup playoffs. Former Bolt prospect Brendan O'Donnell, the ECHL's current goal scoring leader, scored the game's opening marker less than 2 minutes into the contest, and then added a couple more assists as he earned 2nd star honors on the night. For Cam Darcy, it was just his 2nd game in 16 for the K-Wings in which he did not register a point. Kalamazoo now sits 6 points back of Quad Cities for 3rd in the Central Division, with this road series against the Everblades continuing Friday and Saturday nights.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-29-17

KHL Western Conference Final
(4)Yaroslavl 1 vs. (2)St. Petersburg 2
St. Petersburg Wins the Series 4-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff totals: 13 GP, 6-8-14, +2, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM

Ex-NHL'er Evgeny Dadonov had a pair of helpers to lead SKA to a 2-1 Game Four win over Yaroslavl to sweep the KHL Western Conference Final. Forward Nikita Gusev was scoreless in 13:48 in the match. They look likely to face the East's top seed Magnitogorsk, which currently holds a 3-0 series lead over Ak Bars Kazan.

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