The Toledo Storm, led by coach Stan Drulia, have swept the Johnstown Chiefs 3-0. Season over for Johnstown.
It was just a bad goaltending effort by the Chiefs tonight. I watched the game on B2 Networks, and I'll give my take on the flip.
Game sheet from [url=http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/ppublic.cgi?action=summary&id=3218]ECHL.com.[/url]
Johnstown came out storming in the first period trying to stave off elimination and really had their forecheck working well early creating a huge shot advantage and huge penalty disparity as well. Unfortunately, the Chiefs' power play tonight was pretty much a hot mess.
It was not, however, as bad as the Chiefs' goaltending. On a shorthanded, seemingly innocuous 1-on-1 play where a Toledo player got off a long shot from the left wing, starter [url=morgan-cey]Morgan Cey[/url] allowed the puck to squirt through him where it landed in the crease for an easy tap in for Toledo's first goal. Shortly thereafter he was beaten cleanly from the right wing circles on a shot he barely reacted to and was sent to the showers after allowing 2 goals on 4 shots faced.
[/url] fared little better. Unfortunately, these playoffs hung a big question mark at the end of Boutin's season which saw a pair of strong starts in Springfield prior to his demotion. He wasn't challenged much in the first period but in the second he allowed Toledo's critical third goal off a long unscreened shot from the right wing. It was soft, clearly. He'd later be beaten from the left wing circle twice in the third period. It's really a shame the way the season ended for Cey, Boutin and Coleman. All three showed flashes this season but in the end failed to put it all together.
The most visible Lightning prospect forward in the game was [url=adam-henrich]Adam Henrich
[/url], by far. He had a goal in the game off a 2-on-1 feed from Justin Kelly in the third period and was stopped on two breakaways in the first and third periods respectively. Still, there were signs for concern in this game. One thing that has struck me this season about Henrich's game is how much he looks like Dave Andreychuk, and I don't mean that in a good way. A 22 year old should not move his feet as slowly and reluctantly as a 40 year old, nor should he enter traffic areas with any sort of fragile timidity. He also has a tendency to try and rely on his reach alone (and his reach is really quite Andreychuk-esque) rather than staying active and getting better position on opposing puck carriers. It took Henrich until the second period to finally land any kind of substantial hit on anyone even though he was clearly the biggest player on the ice. And in the finesse game he failed to finish on many many chances during the course of the game. Henrich still has a lot of cleaning up to do on his game.
Brandon Elliot was a non-factor.
So was [url=dennis-packard]Dennis Packard
[/url], with the exception of a stand up play where he jumped one of Toledo's forwards for boarding Ben Wallace. If I'm not mistaken, Packard's contract is up this summer and as much as it pains me to say this, if the Lightning are really up against the 50-man roster limit they should consider letting Packard go.
I was disappointed in how little Coach Anzalone played [url=andre-deveaux]Andre Deveaux[/url]. Deveaux rang a crossbar in the game and nearly stirred up a fight with Adam Keefe in what limited ice time he did get.
looked somewhat ground down by his rookie season of professional hockey. Earlier in the year he was finishing body checks and playing with physical tenacity. Tonight he was playing much more passive hockey and just trying not to make mistakes.
Among the non-Lightning players on the Chiefs, I was highly impressed with how much Ian Manzano has progressed over the course of the season. And, of course, Justin Kelly is a beast at the ECHL level.
Bolt Prospects will do a complete write up on the Chiefs season at a later date. As of now, [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones
[/url] and [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo
[/url] are the last two active prospects playing in their respective leagues, barring the use of one of Tampa's taxi squad players in the NHL playoffs.