No Lashoff? No Parrish? No problem.
Jaroslav Janus allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the win. He's now 5-6-1 on the season with 1 shutout, a 2.01 GAA, and a rock solid .925 sv%. He's actually got better numbers than Tokarski.
LOW Palmieri, (18) (Vasyunov, Walter), 12:48
NOR Fornataro, (7) (Craig, Fadden), 17:33
NOR Simek, (15) (Szczechura), 12:16
NOR Craig, (15) (Tyrell, Szczechura), 17:25
NOR Craig, (16) (Fadden, Wishart), 18:39 (PP)
NOR Mihalik, (1) (Tyrell, Hall), 16:01
Ryan Craig, Paul Szczechura, and Vladimir Mihalik were the game's three stars. It was another banner night for the Presov Mafia between Janus' win, and both Juraj Simek, and Mihalik's goals. Mihalik's marker was his first of the season, and with a +3 night he jumped to +1 for the season.
Lowell got former Lightning d-man Cory Murphy back for this game, so they dressed 5 natural defensemen for this game rather than the 4 from last night, but it didn't matter. Even with Matt Lashoff out for a second straight game attending to family matters and Mark Parrish held out, presumably for a recall to the Lightning, the Admirals still dominated the Devils.
Norfolk remains in 3rd place in the East Division, 4 points behind 2nd place Albany, which dismantled Binghamton 7-0 tonight. Albany holds 1 game in hand. They widened their lead on 4th place Adirondack to 6 points after the Phantoms fell to Portland 5-4. Adirondack has 3 games in hand. They are now tied at 52 points with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after the Penguins upset Hershey 5-0 tonight. So the Pens are 6 points back of Norfolk with 2 games in hand. In 6th place is Syracuse, which lost 2-0 tonight to Manchester. They're 8 points behind Norfolk with 2 games in hand. All the way in 7th place in Bighamton, which is now 11 points back of Norfolk with 5 games in hand.
Norfolk's win moves them 1 point ahead of the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division, so the Admirals are starting to take the crossover off the table. Even if they finish 3rd in the East Division, finishing ahead of the crossover 5th place Atlantic team is critical for the Admirals if they want to avoid a date with Hershey in the first round of the playoffs. 5th in the Atlantic is now a 3-way logjam with Providence, Hartford, and Bridgeport all at 57 points. Providence knocked off Springfield 3-1 tonight and Bridgeport beat Hartford 6-4 to create the three team pile-up. Both Providence and Hartford have 1 game in hand on Norfolk.
Norfolk's next game is on Monday, which will be an epic clash in Albany against the River Rats. An Admirals win could pull the team to within 2 points of 2nd place in the East Division.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
There needs to be some soul searching in the Lightning locker room regarding the team's commitment to competing in the defensive third of the rink.
Antero Niittymaki allowed 5 goals on 33 shots for the loss.
NYI 7:31, Comeau 7 (Schremp)
TB 11:14, Stamkos 34 (St. Louis, Foster)
TB 14:29, Lundin 2 (Stamkos)
NYI 4:26, Weight 1 (Okposo)
TB 12:27, Thompson 2 (Tanguay, Halpern)
NYI 16:12, Okposo 13 (Tavares, Sutton)
NYI 17:12, Park 5 (Comeau, Biron)
TB 2:57, Downie 14 (Ohlund, St. Louis)
NYI Islanders 17:38, Park 6 (Weight, Moulson)
You know, just a few days ago I was thinking the Olympic Break would be a bad thing for breaking up the momentum the Lightning had. Now I'm thinking the team could use the mini training camp to go back over some basics in their defensive third. Their play in the first against Boston was terrible, and their play in the second today against the Islanders was equally putrid. It's one of the rare times I've seen the team play that loose two games in a row this season. Usually Tocchet and the coaching staff have been good about fixing it quickly. Lets hope they pull it together by tomorrow against the Rangers, because they're shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly with regard to the standings by losing these 4-point conference games.
Moncton Wildcats 3 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 1
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 51 GP, 12-35-47, +31, 52 PIM
Barberio is now fifth in the Q among defensemen in plus/minus; sixth in points.
Belleville Bulls 4 @ Kitchener Rangers 5
C Richard Panik, BEL: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 47 GP, 14-12-26, +2, 31 PIM
With Bulls: 14 GP, 5-3-8, -13, 12 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM
RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: 1-0-1, -2, 2 PIM (interference)
Season Totals: 49 GP, 16-12-28, -15, 41 PIM
With Bulls: 36 GP, 14-11-25, -13, 23 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM
DeCoste has five points in his last three games. With his goal Friday he set a new career high for points in a season.
Barrie Colts 6 @ Ottawa 67â€™s 4
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 2-0-2, +3, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 37-23-60, +36, 47 PIM
Hutchings (pictured) has four goals in his last three games and hit 60 points for the second straight season. This was his ninth multi-goal game of the year. He scored the gameâ€™s opening two goals, the second of which was shorthanded. He leads the league in shorties with eight â€“ twice as many as anyone else in the league. He is tied for third in the league in goals with likely 2010 Top-2 pick Tyler Seguin of Plymouth.
Brampton Battalion 3 @ Sudbury Wolves 1
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 37 GP, 7-12-19, -1, 12 PIM
With Sudbury: 16 GP, 4-5-9, -6, 6 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM
Sointuâ€™s four-game point streak came to an end vs. the Battalion. Brampton recently welcomed back Cody Hodgson (Canucks 1/08) from a season-long injury.
Oshawa Generals 0 @ Mississauga St. Michaelâ€™s Majors 6
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 18 saves on 23 shots
Season Totals: 40 GP, 13-21-2-1, 3.73 GAA, .893 sv%, 2 SO
Zador has now dropped seven in a row. He started for the Gens against the conferenceâ€™s second-best team, but was pulled after allowing five goals in a little over a period.
Regina Pats 1 @ Red Deer Rebels 3
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-0-0, -2, 4 PIM (slashing, tripping)
Season Totals: 53 GP, 23-21-44, -4, 90 PIM
With Regina: 25 GP, 10-8-18, +4, 38 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM
Ashton is closing in on his career-high for PIM, which is 93, set in 70 games last year with Lethbridge.
RPI Red Hawks 5 @ Harvard Crimson 4
C/W Alexander Killorn, HAR: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals: 24 GP, 7-10-17, +1, 26 PIM
Harvardâ€™s woes continue.
Merrimack Warriors 2 @ No.17 Vermont Catamounts 2
C/W Matt Marshall , UVM: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 26 GP, 1-4-5, -4, 14 PIM
Merrimack earned its first road point of the season when they scored late against Vermont to earn a tie. With his assist, Marshall passed his freshman total of four points set in 24 games last season (1-3-4).
Western Michigan Broncos 2 @ Northern Michigan Wildcats 7
D Luke Witkowski , WMU: Did not play.
Season Totals: 26 GP, 2-4-6, -10, 59 PIM
Jaroslav Janus stopped all 24 shots he faced tonight for his first shutout as a professional. He didn't have to face a ton of quality chances, but he got himself in front of the ones Lowell did have. His athleticism is outstanding, and if his positioning ever catches up, he'll be an NHLer.
NOR Parrish, (13) (Fornataro, Fadden), 11:58
NOR Simek, (14) (Keller, Mihalik), 17:40 (PP)
NOR Tyrell, (3) (Tarkir), 17:37 (SH)
Janus, Dana Tyrell, and Mark Parrish were the game's three stars. It was a big night for the Presov Mafia all around between Janus' shutout, Juraj Simek having a power play goal, and big Vladimir Mihalik getting his 10th point of the season. All three players were born in Presov, Slovakia, and all three played well tonight.
For my money, Tyrell was the best player on the ice tonight, though. He's starting to exhibit a level of hockey sense in how to use his speed that I've never seen in his career, and it's got to have the Lightning salivating. He's so quick and his acceleration is so outstanding, defensemen are terrified of him. He's starting to use that to his advantage and curling when he gets into the zone to buy an extra 2-3 feet of ice, or slowing up a step to also buy him some space, and it gives him the chance to make the pass or shoot. It's a lot like how Martin St. Louis uses his speed, and Tyrell's shorthanded goal was a prime example of it. He barrelled into the zone on a 2-on-2, started to slow up as an Admirals trailer was jumping into the zone, and just allowed the traffic to flow by the net before blistering a top corner shot for the goal. Buy stock in Tyrell now while it's still undervalued. You'll make your money back five fold. On a related note, Mitch Fadden is an absolute magician with the puck when he has time and space. He's fun to watch when he's running the power play from the right wing half board.
Norfolk outshot Lowell 41-24 in the game, and it seemed like they played 3/4 of the night in the Devils' zone. In fairness, Lowell only dressed 4 natural defensemen tonight due to injuries and call ups. Norfolk gets Lowell again tomorrow night, and considering the way the blueliners on Lowell's tongues were wagging from fatigue, it's a prime chance for Norfolk to get back-to-back wins in two nights against the same opponent, which is difficult to do.
From a standings standpoint, it was a nearly perfect night for the Admirals. In the East Division, 2nd place Albany fell to Hershey, so the Admirals now close to within 4 points of second place with the River Rats having 1 game in hand. 3rd place Norfolk extended its lead over 4th place Adirondack, which was idle, to 4 points with the Phantoms holding 3 games in hand. They also extended their lead over 5th place Syracuse to 6 points after Syracuse was defeated by Portland. Syracuse holds 2 games in hand over Norfolk, and fell into a tie at 50 points with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which defeated Binghamton tonight in a shootout. The Pens hold two games in hand on the Admirals. The Admirals extended their lead over 7th place Binghamton to 9 points in the process, but the Sens hold 5 games in hand.
In the crossover, Providence blew out the Atlantic Division's 5th place team, Hartford, pulling the Admirals to within 1 point of the Wolf Pack with Hartford holding 1 game in hand. As readers of this blog are probably sick of hearing at this point, if the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division finishes ahead of the 4th place team in the East Division, they will still go to the playoffs, so it's important for the Admirals to not only take care of business in their division. They also need to try to make sure they outpace 5th place in the Atlantic to maximize their playoff chances. Bridgeport and Providence are tied for 6th in the Atlantic with 55 points, 1 point behind Norfolk with the Bruins having 1 game in hand on the Ads.
Norfolk has 15 home games remaining on the schedule and 11 on the road. They've pulled to 2 games under .500 at The Scope and they're 4 games over .500 away from home. Point being: if the Admirals can keep improving on their Division-worst home mark, they'll be in fantastic shape.
Jim Johnson is 9-1-1-1 in his first dozen games as Head Coach. Instant gratification.
Box score from TheAHL.com.