Keller, Justin

ECHL Game Night 10/26: Lynx at Royals

Augusta came back from an early 1-0 deficit, scoring three straight goals and Riku Helenius stopped 29 of 31 shots to seal the victory 3-2 over the Reading Royals. The Lynx improved to a record of 3-2-1 atop the American South Division. Kevin Quick was pointless, and finished -1 with 3 shots. Justin Keller, who scored 3 goals in his first two games with Augusta, was not in the lineup against the Royals, raising suspicions that he might have already been recalled back to Norfolk.

Augusta 3 @ Reading 2
G Riku Helenius: 2 GA; 60 MIN; 31 SH; 29 SV
D Kevin Quick: 0-0-0; -1; 0 PIM; 3 SOG
W Justin Keller: 1-0-1; did not play

Augusta next plays on Oct 31 in Charlotte, NC against the Checkers.

ECHL Game Night 10/25: Lynx at Jackals

Kevin Quick scored his first professional goal and Justin Keller added two markers of his own including a short-handed tally to lead an impressive Augusta comeback to defeat Elmira 5-3. Quick added a power-play assist and was +4 on the night. Keller's two goal effort earned him FIRST STAR honors behind a game-high 7 shots. The first half of the game was all Elmira as the Jackals went up 3-0 on the Lynx. Augusta would battle back in the second half of the game with 5 unanswered goals, kick-started by Patrick Bordaleau's power play goal assisted by Quick. Keller followed with his two goals to even the score, before Quick's game-winner gave the Lynx their first lead of the night. Riku Helenius yielded the pipes tonight to Joel Martin, but is expected to return to action Sunday afternoon against the Reading Royals.

Augusta 5 @ Elmira 3
G Riku Helenius: did not play
D Kevin Quick: 1-1-2; 1 PPA; +4; 0 PIM; 4 SOG
W Justin Keller: 2-0-2; 1 SHG; Even; 0 PIM; 7 SOG; *FIRST STAR*

ECHL Game Night 10/24: Lynx at Jackals

Justin Keller wasted no time in his bid for a recall to Norfolk by scoring Augusta's first goal of the night, just 9 minutes into the first period. The Lynx fell short of victory in their first ever game against the Jackals, losing to Elmira in an OT heartbreaker. Riku Helenius stopped 24 of 28 shots. Kevin Quick was pointless, and finished -1 with 2 shots and 4 PIMs.

Augusta 3 @ Elmira 4 OT
G Riku Helenius: 4 GA; 65 MIN; 28 SH; 24 SV
D Kevin Quick: 0-0-0; -1; 4 PIM; 2 SOG
W Justin Keller: 1-0-1; -2; 0 PIM; 4 SOG

Augusta tangles with Elmira again on Saturday night.

Keller Reassigned to Augusta

The Norfolk Admirals have reassigned Lightning prospect forward Justin Keller to the Augusta Lynx of ECHL. Keller, on the third year of his entry level contract, has registered 1 assist in 3 games for the Admirals this season. Keller was Norfolk's representative at last season's AHL All-Star game, finishing the season third on the team in goals and fourth in points.

The 6’0”, 181-pound forward from Nelson, British Columbia was an 8th round draft pick of the Lightning in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, making his pro debut in 2006-07 with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons. His 13 goals, 4 power play goals and 24 points led all Springfield rookies. In 132 career American Hockey League games, Keller has scored 28 goals and added 34 assists for 62 points with 71 penalty minutes.

Prior to turning pro, Keller played three seasons with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. In 216 games with Kelowna, Keller scored 107 goals and 80 assists. He led the WHL with 51 goals in 2005-06 and scored the Memorial Cup winning goal with the Rockets in 2004.

Keller's addition to the Lynx should result in an immediate impact on Augusta's offense, as Keller has a sniper's touch and a willingness to play in the high traffic areas.

AHL Game Night 4/11: Admirals at Senators

A big win for a young team.

NOR-3
BNG-2

Jonathan Boutin stopped 30 of 32 shots for the win to break a personal seven game losing streak. The win also helped Boutin raise his save percentage back to .900 for the season. It's been a roller coaster ride all year for Boutin as he seems to win and lose games in month long streaks. At one point a little over a month ago he seemed to be coming into his own showing a winning record and a save percentage above .910. Unfortunately he hasn't shown the ability to step up and win games on his own in the last month, which is the next big hurdle he has to get over in his professional development. The legitimate starters don't post 7 game losing streaks. They find a way to pull out wins even when the team in front of them struggles. Boutin isn't quite to that point yet.

First Period
NOR Wanvig, (21) (Tyrell, Crowley), 1:38
BNG Dimitrakos, (20) (Kinch, Smith), 17:48

Second Period
NOR Keller, (15) (Schneider, Segal), 7:46
BNG Hennessy, (22) (Carkner, Zubov), 10:10

Third Period
NOR Wanvig, (22) (Tyrell, Jones), 1:38

Kyle Wanvig and Justin Keller were named the game's first and second stars.

Congratulations to Dane Crowley on his first professional point and congratulations to Dana Tyrell on his first professional multi-point game.

With the win, Norfolk matches the win total set a year ago by the Lightning farmhands in Springfield of 28. They've also accumulated 4 more points than the Falcons did last season. The importance of hitting this milestone cannot be underestimated, in my opinion. It would have been a terrible blow to the organization if the move to Norfolk and the time spent developing their prospects hadn't shown any measure of improvement on the ice. Modest as it may be, these Admirals have gotten better compared to last year's Falcons, and they'll have one more swing at besting last year's win total tomorrow night against the Pens. It'll be a tough nut to crack against the division leaders, but it would be a heck of a way to end the season if the Ads could pull off one more big upset to head into the offseason on a high note.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 4/5: River Rats at Admirals

Paul Szczechura brings the house down in the home finale.

ALB-2
NOR-5

Marc Denis stopped 27 of 29 shots for the win.

First Period
NOR Segal, (11) (Rosehill), 13:35
NOR Kearns, (9) (Wanvig, Keller), 17:09

Second Period
ALB Mormina, (4) (McLeod, Blanchard), 0:11
ALB Blanchard, (9) (Ward, Murray), 8:12

Third Period
NOR Keller, (14) (Szczechura, Segal), 2:38
NOR Szczechura, (14) (Quick, Jones), 4:29 (PP)
NOR Szczechura, (15) (Wanvig, Schneider), 19:07 (EN)

Justin Keller, Szczechura, and Brandon Segal were the game's three stars.

The Admirals finish the season 18-19-3 at home.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 3/15: Pirates at Admirals

Unfortunately, injuries on the backline may finally be catching up to Norfolk.

POR-5
NOR-3

Marc Denis allowed 5 goals on 23 shots for the loss before being pulled for Jonathan Boutin who stopped all 4 shots he faced.

First Period
POR Bouck, (7) (St. Jacques, Ebbett), 5:35 (PP)
NOR Henrich, (14) (Keller, Wanvig), 17:11

Second Period
POR King, (26) (Bouck, Festerling), 12:58
POR Birner, (7) (Ferguson), 13:38
NOR Wanvig, (20) (Henrich, Mihalik), 14:44

Third Period
POR St. Jacques, (7) (Miller, Bootland), 1:14
POR Bouck, (8) (Ebbett, Ferguson), 7:05
NOR Keller, (12) (Jones, Lawrence), 17:45

Justin Keller and Adam Henrich each checked in with 1 goal and 1 assist in the game. Kyle Wanvig and Henrich were named the game's second and third stars.

Keller now has 12 goals and 33 points in 60 games with a +5 rating. A season ago in Springfield, Keller played exactly 60 games but only managed 24 points and had a -11 rating. The improvement is obvious.

Prior to this season Henrich had just 13 goals and 38 points in his entire AHL career of three seasons and 102 games. This season Henrich already has 14 goals and 31 points in 40 games, and there is still a chance he will double his career statistical output by the end of the year. Again, the improvement is obvious.

A year ago, as a rookie, Blair Jones had 5 goals and 21 points in 45 games (.467 PPG). This season, Blair Jones has 13 goals and 35 points in 63 games (.556 PPG). Again, the improvement is obvious.

A season ago, as a rookie, Radek Smolenak had just 1 point in 20 games. This season, the big winger has 11 goals and 21 points in 45 games. Again, the improvement is obvious.

Coupled with a strong rookie campaign by Vladimir Mihalik (now a team leading +9 among defensemen), the organization is looking less and less like the disaster the local and national media was making it out to be just a month or two ago. In fact, I dare say, it's difficult to claim that there isn't progress being made in Norfolk, even with the defeat tonight.

Eventually, some of that progress will find its way onto NHL ice.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 3/7: Phantoms at Admirals

Home sweet home.

PHI-2
NOR-4

Marc Denis stopped 42 of 44 shots faced for the win, and is playing really well of late.

First Period
NOR Segal, (6) (Kearns, Smolenak), 6:17
NOR Henrich, (11) (Wanvig, Keller), 13:11 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Jones, (13) , 4:37
PHI Matsumoto, (17) (Laliberte, Gauthier), 8:23 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Smolenak, (10) (Jones, Scalzo), 3:18 (PP)
PHI Laliberte, (3) (Matsumoto, Powe), 14:34

Denis, Blair Jones, and Radek Smolenak were the game's three stars.

Tonight was the Ads' first game back at The Scope after the annual marathon known as the circus road trip. The road trip was modestly successful, considering the team lost 2/3 of its top line to a call up and an injury. Still, there's no doubt that the Admirals are a much better team at home and the team put a really good first period together tonight to jump out to a 2-0 lead and Denis helped make it stick. Denis pulled his save percentage for the AHL season up above .900 tonight, which is a welcome sign.

A night like tonight also gives you a lot of hope that the youngsters on this team are starting to get it. Jones and Smolenak each chipped in 1 goal and 1 assist, Adam Henrich potted a goal, and Justin Keller added a helper. With Junior Lessard in Tampa and Paul Szczechura on the shelf injured it would be easy for the Ads to pack it in right now. But, the kids are stepping up a little here and taking more reponsibility on their shoulders. Good.

Don't look now, but Vladimir Mihalik is sitting on a +7 rating, which is somewhat phenomenal for a guy who plays 20 minutes a night on a team that's 11 games under .500 and has been outscored by 38 goals this season. This young man is going to be a beast in two or three years.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 2/20: Admirals at Sound Tigers

Tough third period.

NOR-3
BRI-4

Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 25 shots in the loss.

First Period
NOR Keller, (10) (Scalzo, Kearns), 1:42
BRI Keith, (8) (Pitton, Colliton), 17:32

Second Period
NOR Smolenak, (5) (Szczechura, Lessard), 0:31
BRI Jackman, (7) (Keith), 1:49
NOR Kearns, (3) (Schneider, Keller), 10:57

Third Period
BRI Okposo, (7) (Fraser, Bentivoglio), 4:26 (PP)
BRI Keith, (9) (Bourne, Smith), 8:30

Justin Keller was named third star of the game with 1 goal and 1 assist.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 1/23: Admirals at Bears

Break up the Admirals.

NOR-3
HER-2 (SO)

Marc Denis allowed 2 goals on 27 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping 4 of 4 shooters in the penalty shot session for the win.

First Period
NOR Lessard, (12) (Smolenak), 1:22
NOR Szczechura, (4) (Keller, Schneider), 8:19 (PP)

Second Period
HER Boumedienne, (2) (Beagle, Lepisto), 10:50

Third Period
HER Fehr, (1) (Boumedienne, Lepisto), 9:05 (PP)

Ordinarily, a shootout win wouldn't be such a big deal, but considering Hershey has tortured Norfolk most of this season in a way reminiscent of how Providence used to torment Springfield, a win is sweet indeed.

AHL all-star Justin Keller was named first star with an assist and the sealing goal in the shootout. Marc Denis received third star of the game honors.

Don't look now, but Radek Smolenak has 1 goal and 4 points in his last 3 games.

The Admirals outshot Hershey 39-27 in the game. Now if they can just get Blair Jones back on track.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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