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Crunch Beat Devils, Extend Win Streak to Six Games


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch were opportunistic early.

The Crunch netted three goals in the first period and cruised to a 5-1 win over the Binghamton Devils at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday. Syracuse has won six straight and has points in 15 of the last 16 games.

“We had a very slow start in the first period, but we were very opportunistic,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “(Goalie) Connor Ingram was obviously very ready to play. He had to make some stops early in the game. … We did some good things, but I don’t think we were consistent enough.”

NHL Game Night: 3-26-18 Coyotes at Lightning

Upstart Coyotes humiliate Lightning.

AZ-4
TB-1

Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
10:45 AZ Murphy (1), (Martinook, Cousins)
17:22 AZ Chychrun (3), (Panik, Keller)(PP)

Third Period
10:28 AZ Perlini (17), (Strome, Connauton)
14:37 TB Kucherov (38), (Miller, Hedman)(PP)
19:52 AZ Keller (23), (Goligoski)(EN)

The Lightning got outshot 35-20 in their own barn by a young team that had nothing to play for but pride. 35-20? Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Yeah, I guess Stamkos out day-to-day hurts the continuity, but c'mon. 35-20?

Now the scene turns to a high-stakes battle for control of the division against Boston on Thursday with the Lightning looking extremely mortal over the past couple of weeks. Put up or shut up time is fast approaching.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 shots and 2 hits in 7:37.

Anthony Cirelli was 47% on 17 draws in 17:53.

Adam Erne had 1 shot in 3:52.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Stephens, Ingram Lift Crunch Over Comets


By Jeremy Houghtaling

For the Crunch and Comets, it felt like the playoffs came early.

The two teams battled for 50 scoreless minutes before Mitchell Stephens crashed the net to put Syracuse on the board, as the Crunch topped the Utica Comets, 2-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Syracuse has won five straight games, and has points in 13 of its last 14 contests.

“The way that this series has been against Utica throughout the year, it’s becoming more and more like playoff hockey. Tonight was a classic example of playoff hockey,” Stephens said. “It was 0-0 going into the third. For us to bear down and come away with that win. … It goes to show we’re working for 60 minutes.”

NHL Game Night: 3-24-18 Lightning at Devils

Gritty Devils outlast Lightning.

TB-1
NJ-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the loss. I thought he dropped a pretty bad rebound in his crease on the first goal allowed and that ultimately was the margin in this one.

First Period
17:51 NJ Hischier (18), (Butcher, Mueller)

Second Period
10:59 NJ Palmieri (21), (Zacha, Hall)

Third Period
4:22 TB Palat (9), (Sergachev, Point)(PP)

New Jersey played last night so this game, on paper, should've been a schedule loss on paper for them. But they're trying to hang onto playoff position and they played a really high intensity, gritty game that the Lightning didn't match up to for 40 minutes. Between that and the fact Kincaid outplayed Vasilevskiy, the Lightning ended up on the wrong side of this one despite outshooting, outchancing, and outpossessing New Jersey for several stretches, especially in the Third Period.

Anthony Cirelli had 2 shots and 1 hit and was 54% on 13 draws in 14:04.

Adam Erne had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 9:43.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-24-18 Comets at Crunch

Ingram blanks Comets in goaltending duel.

UTI-0
SYR-2

Connor Ingram stopped all 23 shots he faced for the SO victory. The performance raised his save percentage up for the season to the .910 plateau.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
12:21 SYR Stephens (19), (Dumont, Masin)
19:57 SYR Cernak (5), (Peca, Condra)(EN)

Ingram and Mitchell Stephens were the game's first and second stars. Stephens with the gritty GWG to break a 12 game goalless drought and put him just one shy of the 20 goal mark for this rookie campaign.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-23-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#16 Val-d’Or Foreurs 1 @ #1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 5
Round of 16
Armada leads series 2-0

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 1-1-2, +3, 2 PIM, 11 SOG, 7/14 FO
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 2-2-4, +6, 4 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Barre-Boulet assisted on linemate Alexandre Alain’s (undrafted) goal just 10 seconds into Game #2 and Alain would score again on the power just 74 seconds before the end of the 1st as the Armada jumped to an early 2-0 lead. Alain earned First Star honors for the second straight game and already has 4 goals in the playoffs. Barre-Boulet would later score a goal of his own in the 2nd and Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick) would notch a goal and two assists as the Armada dug a two-loss series hole for the Foreurs. The series shifts to the Centre Air Creebec in Val-d’Or for Game #3 on Tuesday night.

#13 Baie-Comeau Drakkar 2 @ #4 Halifax Mooseheads 5
Round of 16
Mooseheads lead series 1-0

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIMs, 0 SOG, 2/5 FO
Season Totals: 59 GP, 28-55-83, +39, 28 PIM
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The kickoff of the 2018 QMJHL playoffs continued Friday with Game #1 of the series between #13 seed Baie-Comeau Drakkar against #4 seed Halifax Mooseheads. Halifax finished second in the Maritimes Division, just a scant three points back from division winner Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

Bolt prospect Otto Somppi left the game in the 2nd period with an apparent upper body injury after a taking a Drakkar hit and will be evaluated on Saturday. Blue Jackets free agent signee and Moosehead captain Maxime Fortier led Halifax with two goals and Alexis Gravel, one of the top 2018 draft eligible goalies, made 36 saves as the Mooseheads gutted out a win in a penalty-filled affair. Game #2 is Saturday night right back at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
.

Ontario Hockey League

#8 Saginaw Spirit 2 @ #1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Greyhounds lead series 1-0

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-2-2, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-2-2, +2, 0 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 2-0-2, +2, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 5/9 FO, *First Star*
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 2-0-2, +2, 0 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

The kickoff of the 2018 OHL playoffs continued Friday with Game #1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals series between #8 seed Saginaw Spirit against #1 seed and winner of the OHL best regular season record of 55-7-3-3 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Bolt prospect Taylor Raddysh broke open a 1-1 game in the 2nd period with a pair of back-to-back late in the period to give the Soo a 3-1 lead heading to 2nd intermission. Fellow Bolt prospect Boris Katchouk assisted on both of Raddysh’s goals, with Raddysh earning First Star honors and Katchouk named as the Third Star. Right-hand blueliner Mac Hollowell (2018 draft eligible) scored once for the Soo and contributed a pair of assists. Game #2 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon back at the Essar Centre.

Western Hockey League

#8 Prince Albert Raiders 5 @ #1 Moose Jaw Warriors 3
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Raiders lead series 1-0

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 71 GP, 7-19-26, +35, 62 PIM
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

The kickoff of the 2018 WHL playoffs continued Friday with Game #1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series between #8 seed Prince Albert Raiders against #1 seed and Eastern Conference-best with a 52-15-2-3 record Moose Jaw Warriors.

Much like Thursday night when the upstart Tri-City Americans rolled into Kelowna and served up some notice, likewise, the Raiders pulled into Mosaic Place serving up the same to the Warriors in the form of a 5-3 win. Jordy Stallard (WPG, 2016 5th round pick) scored twice for Prince Albert in the 1st and Cole Fonstad (2018 draft eligible) scored twice in the 2nd to put the game out of reach for Moose Jaw. These two teams square off for Game #2 Saturday night back at Mosaic Place.

Juniors Game Night: 3-23-18

United States Hockey League

** Note: Cole Guttman (Dubuque) was placed on injured reserved on December 22nd following the completion of the World Junior A Challenge tournament.

Omaha Lancers 2 @ Fargo Force 8

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, E, 16 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 48 GP, 4-19-23, +9, 32 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

What’s worse than losing 7-1 in Fargo? How about losing 8-2 the very next night. Things turned ugly after the Lancers lost back-to-back games by a combined score of 15-3, as the two teams racked up a combined 182 minutes of penalties in this second match. Eight of the game’s ten goals were scored on the power play, including both of Omaha’s and six of Fargo’s eight. Bolt prospect Nick Perbix doubled his season penalty minutes totals with three minors and a game misconduct. Burn the tape of this trip to Fargo.

Sioux City Musketeers 2 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 3 (SO)

F Sammy Walker, SC: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season Totals (USHL): 7 GP, 0-3-3, -3, 4 PIM
’16-’17 Totals (USHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 6 PIM
Season Totals (HS): 31 GP, 35-44-79, 16 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

Walker setup Cole Koepke (Minnesota-Duluth commit) for a 1st period goal to knot the score at 1-1. For those of you not scoring at home, that’s three assists in Walker’s first three games back with the Musketeers. That line of Walker, Koepke and Dylan Mills (Niagara commit) have scored in each of those three games. Sioux City Head Coach Luke Strand threw the trio out as the first three shooters in the shootout, but the Musketeers fell short 3-2 in a six-frame shootout.

AHL Game Night: 3-23-18 Sound Tigers at Crunch

Verhaeghe paces Crunch past Sound Tigers.

BRI-1
SYR-4

Eddie Pasquale allowed just 1 goal on 23 shots for the victory.

First Period
5:00 SYR Verhaeghe (12), (Joseph, Bodie)(PP)

Second Period
2:00 SYR Walcott (4), (Lynch, Volkov)

Third Period
6:28 BRI Bailey (15), (Aho, St. Denis)(PP)
12:27 SYR Verhaeghe (13), (Peca, Spencer)
19:42 SYR Lynch (12), (Volkov)(EN)

Carter Verhaeghe, Daniel Walcott, and Pasquale were the game's three stars.

Syracuse hits the 40 win mark for the season with the victory.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Verhaeghe Scores Twice in Crunch's Win Over Sound Tigers


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite going up against his former team, Carter Verhaeghe tried to treat it like any other game.

The Crunch forward netted a pair of goals against Sound Tigers goalie Kristers Gudlevskis — the player he was traded for — as Syracuse beat Bridgeport, 4-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

The Crunch have won four straight games and have a point in 12 of their last 13 games.

“It’s good seeing a couple familiar faces out there — guys that I’ve played with and are still friends. But I think I just went into it trying to play a hockey game and treat it like any other,” said Verhaeghe, who played his former team on the road earlier this season. “It was a little different going back to Bridgeport, but it made it a little easier being at home here for sure.”

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-22-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#16 Val-d’Or Foreurs 2 @ #1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 3 (OT)
Round of 16
Armada leads series 1-0

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 1-1-2, +3, 2 PIM, 6 SOG, 10/13 FO, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 1-1-2, +3, 2 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

The 2018 QMJHL playoffs kicked off Thursday night with Game #1 of the series between #16 seed Val-d’Or Foreurs against #1 seed Blanville-Boisbriand Armada. The Armada set a franchise record 50-win season, going 50-11-4-3 and winning their first ever Jean-Rougeau Trophy as the QMJHL best regular season team.

Bolt prospect Alex Barre-Boulet and linemate Alexandre Alain (undrafted) shared a couple of 1st period short-handed goals, each scoring one and each getting the lone assist on the other, to give the Armada an early 2-0 lead. But the Foreurs battled back after a scoreless 2nd period, lighting the lamp twice in the 3rd to send the game to the extra session, where Alain notched the game-winner, his second of the game and the playoffs. Val-d’Or netminder Mathieu Marquis (undrafted) stopped 43 of 46 Armada shots but came up one save short. Game #2 is Friday night right back at Centre d'excellence Sports Rousseau.

Western Hockey League

#7 Tri-City Americans 5 @ #3 Kelowna Rockets 0
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Americans lead series 1-0

D Cal Foote, KEL: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 60 GP, 19-51-70, +31, 46 PIM
Playoffs Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

The 2018 WHL playoffs also kicked off Thursday with Game #1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals series between #7 seed Tri-City Americans against #3 seed and B.C. Division champs Kelowna Rockets.

Tri-City rolled into Prospera Place in Kelowna, serving notice to the Rockets with a 5-0 shutout behind 39 saves by Americans goalie Patrick Dea (undrafted), and two goals each from Morgan Geekie (CAR, 2017 3rd round pick) and 2017 #9 overall Red Wings pick Michael Rasmussen. The two teams get a night off with Game 2 on Saturday in Kelowna.

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