QMJHL FIRST ROUND -- EASTERN DIVISION
(5) Lewiston MAINEiacs 3 @ (4) Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 8
Cape Breton leads Best of 7 series 1-0
D Michael Ward, LEW:
Game: Did not play (suspension)
King's pick Jonathan Bernier was lit up and pulled for Lewiston.
WHL FIRST ROUND -- EASTERN CONFERENCE
(6) Brandon Wheat Kings 1 @ (3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 2
Lethbridge leads Best of 7 series 1-0
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, *Second Star*
After trailing 1-0 mid-way through the third period, Dwight King and Zach Boychuk scored on back-to-back power plays within a minute of each other to give Lethbridge the win.
WHL FIRST ROUND -- WESTERN CONFERENCE
(6) Everett Silvertips 2 @ (3) Spokane Chiefs 5
Spokane leads Best of 7 series 1-0
D Dane Crowley, EVT:
Game: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (unsportsmanlike conduct)
Spokane got out to an early 3-0 lead and never looked back. Kyle Beach returned to the Everett lineup and was scoreless with 2 PIM.
(5) Kelowna Rockets 3 @ (4) Seattle Thunderbirds 2
Kelowna leads Best of 7 series 1-0
G Torrie Jung, KEL:
Game: Did not play.
G Riku Helenius, SEA:
Game: Loss, 23 saves on 26 shots
One of the two Lightning property goaltenders in this series got the start for their respective teams, but Helenius and Seattle couldnâ€™t hold a 2-1 lead and dropped Game 1. Brady Leavold (undrafted) scored the GTG and GWG for Kelowna. His GTG came with 14 seconds left in the second period.
Waterloo Black Hawks 3 @ Chicago Steel 4
W/C Luca Cunti, CHI: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 2 shots on goal
After going scoreless on Wednesday, Cunti responded with two assists vs. Waterloo, including one on the power play.
On any given night, this depleted Admirals team can still jump up and get you.
Marc Denis stopped 34 of 35 shots for the win including a stellar 19 save first period to help hold the Admirals in the game until they settled in during the second period. With a .934 save percentage in March, the veteran goaltender has raised his AHL save percentage to .905 on the season.
NOR Smolenak, (12) (Jones, Kvapil), 18:11 (PP)
LOW Bergfors, (10) (Murphy, Ruggeri), 9:27 (PP)
NOR Keller, (13) (Hurley, Lawrence), 12:09
NOR Smolenak, (13) (Kvapil, Kearns), 17:00
NOR Segal, (8) (Kearns, Egener), 19:29
NOR Jones, (14) (Segal, Tyrell), 3:05
NOR Klinkhammer, (11) (Keller), 19:24
Congratulations to Dana Tyrell on his first pro point. The speedy forward also had 1 shot on goal in the game.
They haven't been as consistent night to night as one might like, but these young Admirals forwards are quietly putting up some numbers and building up some momentum heading into camp next season.
Smolenak, who played himself out of Norfolk at the start of the season, has now caught Justin Keller in goals and sits just one back of Blair Jones, bolstering his bona fides as the organization's purest sniper prospect currently under contract. Since January 18, Smolenak has 13 goals and 22 points in 29 games. If he were play a full 80 game AHL season at that pace, he would score about 36 goals in a season.
Jones, who rode a 13 game pointless streak into February 8th, has 7 goals and 17 points in his last 21 games. That translates to 65 points over the course of a full season.
Justin Keller, who has been fairly consistent offensively since a slow first month of the season, has 4 goals and 13 points in his last 17 games. That pro-rates to 61 points.
Even Rob Klinkhammer is getting in the act, with 3 goals and 4 points in his last 5 games and Chris Lawrence now has 3 assists in the last 4 games.
So, despite losing Paul Szczechura, Norm Milley, Andy Rogers, and Mario Scalzo to injury AND losing Junior Lessard, Alexandre Picard, Karl Stewart, and Matt Smaby to recall, AND losing Jay Leach to a trade, AND seeing Kyle Wanvig put up an anemic 1 goal and 3 points in the last 12 games, these young forwards are doing some business offensively.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
It'll all be worth it when Steve Stamkos is a Bolt.
Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 23 shots for the loss.
Matt Smaby was even in 9:13 with 2 hits and 3 blocked shots. Again, I thought he had a good first period in which he made a made a really nice block on a point shot and a really strong hit along the boards. In the second period his group got hemmed in a lot and although he wasn't terrible there were times he was floating a bit down low defensively. At one point, his pairing partner Mike Lundin had to bail him out. The general reviews were fair. The speed at the NHL level doesn't seem to be scaring him as much this go round, and he seems to be moving the puck crisply and efficiently. And, yes, he's still occassionally laying the wood to people which is the special characteristic that really stands him out from the crowd, in my opinion. This is a big audition for Smaby right now. With Alex Picard playing so well, it could make someone like Brad Lukowich or even Filip Kuba expendable if Smaby can step up and show he's ready to be the #7 defenseman in Tampa next year. Those millions could potentially be better spent on some second line scoring help. The key is going to be if Smaby improves in the coming games and if he can get his ice time to increase. The opportunity is there with Paul Ranger banged up. He needs to step up and close the sale.
A monumental come from behind victory in the Steve Stamkos sweepstakes.
Karri Ramo allowed 6 goals on 31 shots for the loss. When you're staked a three goal lead coming into the third period, you have to get the W. I don't care how bad the team plays in front of you. Ramo had to make it stand up, and he failed miserably. That's probably only the fourth bad start he's had this year.
Matt Smaby was -1 in 12:11 with 4 hits, including one particularly vicious hit standing up and dropping Patrick Kaleta on the rush. Like the rest of the team, I thought he played a pretty good first 40 minutes. But he didn't see much ice in the third. He did tie Vincent Lecavalier for the team high in hits with 4 though in his limited ice time, so there's something to build on.