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NCAA Game Night: 1-2-15

RPI Engineers 2 @ No. 4 Harvard Crimson 6 (Tuesday)

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 13 GP, 5-4-9, +2, 2 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 30 GP, 7-8-15, -8, 20 PIM

Harvard won again, though Hart had an empty line on the stat sheet.

No. 14 Quinnipiac Bobcats 2 @ St. Cloud State Huskies 3

F Matthew Peca, QU: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 19 GP, 3-12-15, -5, 19 PIM
2014-2015 totals: 40 GP, 12-26-38, +4, 16 PIM

Quinnipiac held a 2-0 lead in this game before squandering the lead in the second and third periods.

No. 18 Merrimack Warriors 3 @ No. 8 Minnesota Golden Gophers 2 (Mariucci Classic)

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Loss, 14 saves on 17 shots
Season totals: 15 GP, 9-5-1, 2.19 GAA, .921 sv%, 3 SO
2013-2014 totals: 38 GP, 26-6-6, 1.97 GAA, .932 sv%, 4 SO

After the long Christmas break, Minnesota put up 42 shots on Merrimack goaltender Rasmus Tirronen (undrafted), but could only beat him twice. Tirronen, 24, was 7-2-1 coming into the game with a 1.73 GAA and .929 save percentage. The ex-Topeka Roadrunner is 6’3” 200 and could see an NHL free agent contract in his future.

*USCHO poll used

Juniors Game Night: 1-2-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Victoriaville Tigres 2 @ Quebec Remparts 6

W Adam Erne, QUE: 1-2-3, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 8/16 FO, 1 Hit, *First Star*
Season totals: 33 GP, 23-27-50, +20, 40 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Quebec won its fifth straight game, beating the Tigres in Quebec City. Erne scored his 100th career goal in the game and added two assists.

AHL Game Night: 1-2-15 Crunch at Devils

Vasiy en fuego.

SYR-2
ALB-1 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 36 shots before stopping 10 of 10 shooters in the penalty shot session for the SO victory. His save percentage rises to .923 and I don't know how he wasn't named all three of the game's stars after helping his team to overcome a 36-26 shot deficit.

First Period
SYR Namestnikov, (7) (Marchessault, Mormina), 8:09
ALB Thomson, (4) (Burlon, Thompson), 10:40

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NO SCORING[/b]

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- Lynch
ALB- NONE

Vasilevskiy and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's first and second stars.

Such a sloppy effort by the Crunch tonight, but Vasilevskiy was the ultimate eraser for the odd man rushes the team surrendered, helping them to snap a 3 game losing streak in the process.

The Crunch scrambled back into a tie with Springfield atop the division at 46 points heading into tomorrow's matchup with Bingo.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-2-15 Lightning at Penguins

Disengage safety. Point at foot. Pull trigger. Repeat.

TB-3
PIT-6

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 10 shots before being pulled for Evgeny Nabokov who allowed 2 on 18 shots the rest of the way for the dreaded back door loss. If there was a silver lining out of this game, it might have been that Nabby looked like an NHL goaltender in relief tonight.

First Period
1:56 PIT Kunitz (12), (Letang, Crosby)(PP)
6:50 PIT Ebbett (1), (Malkin, Despres)
13:39 PIT Malkin (17), (Ebbett, Rust)
15:11 TB Boyle (7), (Palat, Carle)

Second Period
12:48 TB Hedman (4), (Johnson, Palat)
17:07 PIT Ehrhoff (3), (Bennett, Crosby)

Third Period
11:18 TB Killorn (9), (Stralman, Hedman)
11:52 PIT Downie (6), (Crosby, Spaling)
19:55 PIT Downie (7), (Letang, Crosby)(EN)

I have some complaints with some shady things that happened in this game, but ultimately the Lightning shot themselves in the foot in this game. Stralman allowed his pocket to be picked on the very first shift of the game that led to a minor penalty and a power play goal, and the team instantly fell behind the eight ball. Stamkos made a turnover at the Lightning blueline on the third goal to put the team down 3-0 in the First Period, which is a crusher you try to avoid, and then two Lightning defenders get beat behind the net on a 50/50 puck by Crosby leading to Downie's insurance goal less than a minute after Killorn drew it to 4-3.

Now, the shady stuff still needs to be mentioned. On the second Penguins goal, Malkin hits the post and the Pittsburgh arena folks decide to blow the goal horn and fire up a strobe light on Bishop's crease as Ebbett comes in to score on the ensuing chance. Later, on the Ehrhoff goal to help Pittsburgh re-establish a 2 goal lead after Hedman pulled it to 3-2, you had a situation where a Pens stick was actually stuck in Stralman's visor before the rush that led to the goal and the ref actually came over to help Stralman and didn't make a call. Lunacy. Both of those plays were minor league/bush league quality stuff, and then we later got to witness Crosby rear naked choke out Connolly on a goal mouth scrum and get away with nothing called, just to add insult to injury. None of the above incidents are why the Lightning lost, but they're troubling examples of why you feel like the Lightning have to be THAT MUCH BETTER against a league darling like the Pens to realistically have a chance to win. It's shameful, really.

The same things keep happening night after night that end up being the difference between winning and losing and I don't see them improving consistently. The brain fart turnovers by veteran players just can't continue to happen. Details matter against quality teams like Pittsburgh. The power play (0-for-3 tonight) continues to come up dry at key points of the game and the guys who are supposed to be the team's best skaters (Stamkos and Callahan) continue to struggle to find the scoresheet consistently. When you sprinkle in that the team still is trying to figure out how Drouin fits into the puzzle, it's a maddening mystery soup right now. If these things start to get corrected, it's easy to see this team becoming a juggernaut. If they don't, it's just as easy to see how this thing could start to go pear-shaped.

With the loss, the Lightning finish the 4th 10-game segment of the season with 11 points, 1 point shy of the 12 point minimum target. They entered with 5 insurance points, fortunately, so they still have 4 insurance points heading into segment 5. The team's at a bit of a crossroads right now, though, and this is why Jon Cooper gets paid the big bucks.

Cedric Paquette was -2 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:39. He was on the ice for the Stamkos turnover goal and that abomination Ehrhoff goal, so I can't be too mad. Still, I keep wondering if and when a shakeup gets made if Paquette may end up having to go down to make way for Namestnikov.

Jonathan Drouin was -1 with 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:54. He, also, was on the ice for the Stamkos turnover goal. I really wish the coaching staff would figure out a role for Drouin and a set of linemates and stick with it. The kid's skill level is off the charts. He makes stick handling moves with the pace and violence of a boxer's punches, and his playmaking abilities are very evident. There's just no continuity with how he's being used, though, and he's the kind of player where I think linemates need to get used to him because of what a high-level setup guy he is.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Liiga Game Day: 1-2-15

HPK 2 vs. Pelicans 5
Saku Salminen, HPK, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 20 GP, 2-3-5, +1, 2 PIM

Ex-Coyotes pick Tyler Redenbach had 1 goal and 3 points to lead Pelicans to a 5-2 victory over HPK. Saku Salminen played 13:34 in defeat for HPK.

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