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HPK/HIFK Game Five

Miika Wiikman intensified his stranglehold on HPK's starting job today throwing a materful 30 save shutout to usher HPK into the championship game with a 1-0 win over HIFK. Wiikman was named the game's first star. HPK will advance to play Pori Assat, who upset #1 seed and defending champion Karpat, in the championship round. Assat was the #5 seed entering the playoffs while HPK was the #3. That means [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] could add an SM-liiga championship to his resume within the next couple of weeks.

Lightning Sign Smaby

The University of North Dakota (UND) Athletics web site is reporting Matt Smaby has been signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Smaby told UND that he will forgo his senior year at the university to join the Lightning this summer. He plans to finish the spring semester at UND, thus ending speculation that he would join Johnstown for the ECHL playoffs. Smaby, a second round pick in 2003, played in 129 games over three seasons for UND, scoring six goals and recording 23 assists for 29 points. The defenseman had a career-best 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) this past season. The UND captain is the first prospect signed by the Lightning during the spring signing period.

Grand Forks Herald: Smaby Close to Signing

The Grand Forks Herald [url=http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/sports/14330235.htm]is reporting that Matt Smaby is close to signing a deal with the Lightning.[/url] This comes on the heels of earlier rumors that 1440 The Fan in Grand Forks, ND was also reporting Smaby's signing as imminent.

NHL Draft Combine/Draft Date and Time Set

The NHL today [url=http://www.nhl.com/news/2006/04/268346.html]released its list of 115 invitees to the NHL Combine which will be held May 30th to June 6th in New York.[/url] The Lightning will be picking roughly around the 15th spot in this year's draft. Some players who might be of interest to the Lightning who were invited include C Derick Brassard of Drummondville (QMJHL), C Bryan Little of Barrie (OHL) and RW Chris Stewart of Kingston (OHL). The 2006 NHL Entry Draft will take place at 6 pm Eastern on OLN on June 24th.

CHL Playoffs Tonight: 9/12

[b]QMJHL[/b] Michael Stinziani scored an overtime winning goal 10:51 into overtime as Gatineau defeated Chicoutimi 1-0. [url=stanislav-lascek]Stanislav Lascek[/url] was held without a shot in the game. The Sangueneens are on the brink of elimination now down 3-1 in the series. [b]OHL[/b] Owen Sound appears to have awakened the sleeping giant as London smacked the Attack 5-1 tonight to even their series at 2-2. Marek Bartanus was scoreless and even in the game. [b]WHL[/b] Calgary defeated Moose Jaw 2-0. The series is now tied 2-2. [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url] was scoreless and even in the game. Everett defeated Kelowna 3-2. [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] had a secondary assist and was +1 in the game. Kelowna now trails in the series 3-1.
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