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Crunch players, North Division come up short in All-Star Challenge


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With a chance to advance to the championship game, the North Division All-Stars came up just short.

The Atlantic topped the North in the final game of the round robin portion, but ultimately lost to the Central, 4-0, in the championship game of the AHL All-Star Challenge at the Onondaga County War Memorial Monday.

In the half 4-on-4 and half 3-on-3 format nine-minute format, the North — which features three Syracuse Crunch players — beat the Pacific 1-0 in the first game, lost to the Central in the second game 4-2, and finished with a 4-1 loss to the Atlantic.

Crunch defenseman Matt Taormina also participated in last year’s all-star game, but enjoyed the new format.

“It was a bunch of fun,” Taormina said. “The skills competition was the same as last year, which was great. It was good to see some of the different guys out there. This time it was definitely a different game.”

KHL Game Day: 2-1-16

Omsk 4 vs. Novgorod 1
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 45 GP, 13-10-23, +3, 61 PIM

Carter Ashton had a power play assist on ex-NHLer Nikolai Zherdev's lone goal for Novgorod in their 4-1 loss to Omsk. Ashton played 16:59 in the match. Ex-NHLer Martin Erat had a pair of helpers for Omsk in the win.

St. Petersburg 2 vs. Jokerit 1
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season totals (St. Petersburg): 30 GP, 13-20-33, +8, 10 PIM
Season totals (Khanty-Mansiysk): 23 GP, 7-7-14, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals: 53 GP, 20-27-47, +14, 14 PIM

Nikita Gusev was scoreless in 14:31 of ice time in SKA's 2-1 win over Jokerit. He did have a team high 5 SOG's for St. Petersburg in the win. SKA's Third Period GWG was assisted on by ex-NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 52

This week's “Radek Smolenak Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Power Play, Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

NOTE: This was recorded before the Drouin suspension. A special edition of the podcast will be posted Thursday morning.

· The No. 52
· Sitting on the corner of Drouinsanity and Stammergeddon
· #BPMailbag (Vasy being shopped? ... DeAngelo timeline ... Drouin trade ideas)

Juniors Game Night: 1-31-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Drummondville Voltigeurs 4 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 5 (OT)

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 0 Hits
Season totals: 42 GP, 28-29-57, +5, 54 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM

Yan has only 13 points in his last 17 games (6 in his last 9) after having 44 in his first 25 this season.

Ontario Hockey League

Ottawa 67’s 5 @ Oshawa Generals 4 (SO)

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-3-3, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 11/23 FO, *First Star*
Season totals: 44 GP, 13-28-41, -10 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Cirelli was first star for three assists in regulation, plus a shootout goal. Not a bad week for the new Gens captain. His three points were a season high for a game and matched his career high, set twice last season.

Sarnia Sting 5 @ Windsor Spitfires 0

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-0-0, -1, 4 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 44 GP, 15-22-37, +21, 61 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM

DiGiacinto has gone ice cold on the scoresheet with just two points in his last 10 games. He was a point-per-gamer for most of the season.

Kingston Frontenacs 2 @ Peterborough Petes 3 (SO)

D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 38 GP, 5-15-20, +27, 34 PIM
2014-15 totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: Did not play (injured)
Season totals: 40 GP, 3-16-19, E, 31 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM

The shootout went nine rounds, but Peterborough prevailed, 3-2 (3-2).

Guelph Storm 4 @ Saginaw Spirit 2

W Mitchell Stephens, SAG: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 11/21 FO
Season totals: 20 GP, 9-8-17, +1, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 62 GP, 22-26-48, -17, 44 PIM

After starting strong in his return from the World Junior Championships, Stephens is now in an offensive slump with just one point in his last seven games.

Western Hockey League

Medicine Hat Tigers 3 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 9

C Brayden Point, MJ: 3-0-3, +4, 0 PIM, *First Star*
Season totals: 29 GP, 23-32-55, +14, 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 38-49-87, +6, 46 PIM

Moose Jaw snapped out of their recent funk with a crushing win over Medicine Hat. Brayden Point was first star, completing his hat trick early in the third period. The Tigers held a 2-1 lead in the second period before the floodgates opened.

United States Hockey League

Waterloo Black Hawks 5 @ Sioux City Musketeers 2

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, SC: Did not play
Season totals: 27 GP, 0-22-22, -5, 30 PIM
2014-15 totals: 56 GP, 3-19-22, +25, 58 PIM
(University of Minnesota signee)

Zuhlsdorf remains out of the Sioux City lineup with a concussion sustained January 8.

Crunch Trio Soaks in Experience at Skills Competition


By Jeremy Houghtaling

As he rounded the final turn of the fastest skater competition, Matt Taormina’s grin nearly went ear-to-ear.

For Taormina and Syracuse Crunch teammates Kristers Gudlevskis and Mike Angelidis, the AHL All-Star Skills Competition was all about having a good time with the best players in the league. The Western Conference used the final breakaway relay to pull out a 19-14 win over the East at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday, but the score didn’t matter after the final horn.

“Overall, it was nice to see some of the guys outside of a competition and being upset with each other and battling back and forth,” Taormina said. “It was good to see everybody laugh and have a good time with a smile on their face.”

NCAA Game Night: 1-31-16

No. 19 Minnesota State Mavericks 2 vs No. 20 Minnesota Golden Gophers 1

W Jimmy Mullin, MSU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 18 GP, 1-3-4, -4, 4 PIM
2013-2014 totals (Miami): 19 GP, 1-6-7, 23 PIM

The Mavs won third place at the North Star College Cup, held in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a 2-1 win Sunday. The Gophers got 21 saves on 23 shots from Eric Schierhorn, who fell to 13-12-0 on the season as Adam Wilcox’s replacement.

*USCHO poll used

KHL Game Day: 1-31-16

Kazan 0 vs. Magnitogorsk 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, SO, 31/31, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 49 GP, 22-14-9, 4 SO, 2.12 GAA, .925 sv%

Ex-NHLer Wojtek Wolski scored the only goal in Magnitka's 1-0 win over Kazan.

NCAA Game Night: 1-30-16

No. 19 Minnesota State Mavericks 4 vs No. 3 St. Cloud State Huskies 5

W Jimmy Mullin, MSU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Season totals: 17 GP, 1-3-4, -4, 4 PIM
2013-2014 totals (Miami): 19 GP, 1-6-7, 23 PIM

Jimmy Mullin was back in the lineup after being scratched last game and tied for the team lead in shots with six. He had his modest 2-game point streak snapped. Saturday’s game was part of the North Star College Cup, held in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Mavs will play Minnesota in the third place game Sunday.

*USCHO poll used

Juniors Game Night: 1-30-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 5 @ Acadie-Bathurst Titan 3

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 1 Hit
Season totals: 29 GP, 4-9-13, -2, 50 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 13-15-28, +2, 137 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 1-0-1, E, 4 PIM, 3 SOG, 1 Hit
Season totals: 44 GP, 25-27-52, +27, 49 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 21-21-42, +18, 46 PIM

Boko Imama made his return from a 15-game suspension and Mathieu Joseph had the game-winning goal as Saint John beat the Titan Saturday, 5-3. Joseph extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.

Ontario Hockey League

Oshawa Generals 2 @ Hamilton Bulldogs 1

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 13/19 FO
Season totals: 43 GP, 13-25-38, -10 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Cirelli had an assist on Oshawa’s eventual game-winner, scored in the first minute of the second period.

London Knights 3 @ Windsor Spitfires 8

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 43 GP, 15-22-37, +22, 57 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM

Windsor played one of its best games of the season, destroying the high-powered Knights, 8-3. DiGiacinto’s assist came when he won a board battle and kept possession, eventually cutting to the center of the ice and dropping the puck for Hayden McCool, who scored.

Kitchener Rangers 2 @ Saginaw Spirit 1

W Mitchell Stephens, SAG: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 15/27 FO
Season totals: 19 GP, 9-8-17, +2, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 62 GP, 22-26-48, -17, 44 PIM

Stephens received significant ice time in a close game, but Kitchener scored the game-winner in the final minutes of the third period to beat the Spirit, 2-1. Stephens was not on the ice for either Rangers goal. He took 27 faceoffs for the Spirit; the next highest by a teammate was eight.

Western Hockey League

Prince George Cougars 6 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 2

C Brayden Point, MJ: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 28 GP, 20-32-52, +10, 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 38-49-87, +6, 46 PIM

Eric Brewer’s Prince George Cougars drove into Moose Jaw and came away with a convincing 6-2 win. Brewer is one of the team owners.

Lethbridge Hurricanes 2 @ Vancouver Giants 4

D Ben Thomas, VAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 54 GP, 6-17-23, -18, 28 PIM
With Vancouver: 39 GP, 6-14-20, -7, 18 PIM
With Calgary: 14 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM

The Giants scored four unanswered goals after the Hurricanes held an early 2-0 lead.

United States Hockey League

Bloomington Thunder 6 @ Omaha Lancers 3

G Kris Oldham, OMA: Loss, 9 saves on 11 shots
Season totals: 20 GP, 11-7-2, 2.49 GAA, .919 sv%, 1 SO
2014-15 totals: 33 GP, 21-6-4, 2.49 GAA, .908 sv%, 1 SO
(University of Nebraska-Omaha signee)

Oldham didn’t start the game, but came in for the third period with the score 3-3. Boomington scored twice on him to give him the loss. They added an empty-netter late. Zackarias Skog stopped 13 of 16 before giving way to Oldham.

Sioux City Musketeers 1 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 2

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, SC: Did not play
Season totals: 27 GP, 0-22-22, -5, 30 PIM
2014-15 totals: 56 GP, 3-19-22, +25, 58 PIM
(University of Minnesota signee)

Zuhlsdorf remains out of the Sioux City lineup with a concussion sustained January 8.

AHL Game Night: 1-30-16 Crunch at Bears

Oof.

SYR-1
HER-5

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals in 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
SYR Yogan, (2) (Ikonen), 15:57
HER Walker, (9) (Barber, Ness), 18:09

Second Period
HER Camper, (6) (Gazley, Carey), 14:58
HER Barber, (9) (Gomez, Bowey), 18:39

Third Period
HER Barber, (10) (Boyd, Gomez), 1:01 (PP)
HER Barber, (11) (Carrick, Bourque), 19:35 (EN)

PTO signee Andrew Yogan tallied a goal in his first game with the Crunch. It was pretty much all downhill from there.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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