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Juniors Game Night: 3-22-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Playoff match-ups:

QMJHL-4 Quebec (Adam Erne) vs QMJHL-13 Cape Breton
QMJHL-8 Sherbrooke (Cameron Darcy) vs QMJHL-9 Charlottetown

Ontario Hockey League

Kitchener Rangers 0 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM
With SSM: 26 GP, 15-36-51, +33, 51 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 25-64-89, +34, 115 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

Anthony DeAngelo had the primary assist on the Soo’s first goal to extend his point streak to 25 games. He finishes the season with 89 points, and the Greyhounds finish the season with the league’s top overall seed. DeAngelo won the OHL and CHL scoring title for defensemen by 18 points. He was 25 points better the third place finishers, which included the WHL and QMJHL leading defensive scorers.

Playoff match-ups:

West-1 Sault Ste. Marie (DeAngelo) vs West-8 Saginaw
East-1 Oshawa vs East-8 Peterborough (Masin, who is out for the season)
Windsor (Cristiano DiGiacinto) did not make the playoffs

Western Hockey League

Kootenay Ice 2 @ Calgary Hitmen 3

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

Calgary won the Central Division title by one point over Medicine Hat, thanks to a win over Kootenay on Sunday. Thomas finishes the year with the same point total as last year, but achieved in 12 fewer games. Calgary swept its weekend series with the Ice, and now gets them again in the first round of the playoffs.

Playoff match-ups:

East-3 Calgary (Thomas) vs East-6 Kootenay
Moose Jaw (Brayden Point) did not make the playoffs

NHL Game Night: 3-22-15 Bruins at Lightning

Stick that in your pipe, Jack Edwards.

BOS-3
TB-5

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory. Sad lack of net front coverage late in the Third by the Lightning allowed the garbage time goal that wrecked a solid stat line for Ben. Maybe the only blemish on the game.

First Period
0:33 BOS Bergeron (21), (Marchand, McQuaid)
5:49 TB Namestnikov (6), (Morrow, Brown)
10:47 TB Brown (3), (Palat, Carle)
11:02 TB Stralman (8), (Filppula, Namestnikov)

Second Period
7:54 TB Garrison (4), (Johnson, Carle)

Third Period
10:22 BOS Chara (8), (Smith, Pastrnak)(PP)
13:50 TB Palat (16), (Callahan, Kucherov)(PP)
19:12 BOS Paille (6), (Talbot, Campbell)

J.T. Brown, Steven Stamkos, and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's three stars. Funny how the Bruins got distinctly less big and bad when Stamkos jumped on Marchand after his low-bridge hit on Filppula. What they say is true: the best way to handle a bully is to bloody their nose a bit. Between that and the early 4th line contributions, you knew this was going to be the Lightning's game. It'll be interesting to see how Cedric Paquette draws back into the lineup now, because all 4 lines are clicking reasonably well at the moment.

The victory puts the Lightning at 97 points for the season, meaning they've passed the 96 point mark we peg as the minimum threshold to comfortably make the playoffs. They're also still lurking just 2 points shy of Montreal for the division lead, and we can now officially make banner chasing the mission of the rest of the regular season.

Namestnikov had 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 14:42 of ice time. He might've run out of a little steam in the final 40 minutes of hockey and had at least one pretty awful turnover, which happened in the Second Period, but he's played very well overall. Well enough that I wouldn't be shocked if Namestnikov stays with the Lightning even after Paquette returns from injury. He's now 7 games shy of graduation from prospect status on the website with 9 games left on the schedule.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-22-15 Crunch at Falcons

Blujuspalooza continues.

SYR-4
SPR-1

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 14 shots for the victory. Not a typo. Light work for the Yak today.

First Period
SYR Courtnall, (6) (Blujus, Vermin), 10:25
SPR Adam, (14) (Chaput, Hoeffel), 16:52

Second Period
SYR Marchessault, (19) (Blujus, Richard), 3:04 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (26) (Ashton, Koekkoek), 19:40 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Angelidis, (18) (Mormina), 14:03

Jonathan Marchessault and Dylan Blujus were the game's first and second stars. Blujus with back-to-back multi-point games for the first time in his pro career.

Justin Courtnall continues to look like another Julien BriseBois trash to treasure conversion.

Things get interesting in the next couple of weeks for Syracuse as the amateur ranks yield some ATO opportunities for the Lightning organization. Specifically, Brayden Point could be a prime addition on an ATO for the Crunch, and an early exit from the NCAA tournament could put Matthew Peca in a Crunch jersey very soon, too. Both would be nice additions to a Crunch team in need of more speed and skill, especially up the middle.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 3-21-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Sherbrooke Phoenix 3 @ Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 7

C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 0 Hits
With Sherbrooke: 37 GP, 20-25-45, -7, 34 PIM
With Cape Breton: 19 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 56 GP, 21-38-59, -12, 50 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM

In a possible playoff preview, the Huskies crushed the Phoenix, 7-3. If the two should meet in the first round, Sherbrooke gets the home ice advantage.

Quebec Remparts 4 @ Rimouski Oceanic 5

W Adam Erne, QUE: 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 13/30 FO, 0 Hits
Season totals: 60 GP, 41-45-86, +21, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Adam Erne and Quebec finished their regular season with back-to-back losses to the Oceanic. The good news is they won’t have to face Rimouski in the playoffs for a while as the Oceanic is the 1-seed and Quebec the 4 (of 16).

Ontario Hockey League

Windsor Spitfires 1 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 12

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -15, 100 PIM
2013-14 totals: 50 GP, 17-11-28, +8, 101 PIM

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 2-0-2, +6, 0 PIM
With SSM: 25 GP, 15-35-50, +32, 47 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 54 GP, 25-63-88, +33, 111 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

Anthony DeAngelo was back in the Soo’s lineup after resting two games, and scored two of the Greyhounds’ 12 goals to extend his point streak to 24 games. The Soo plays Kitchener on Sunday, two points up on Oshawa for the best record in the OHL. DiGiacinto had an assist for Windsor Saturday and finishes the season with 45 points. He somehow escaped Saturday with only a minus-1 rating. His teammate Trevor Murphy was minus-10. DiGiacinto could sign with AHL Syracuse if the Crunch want some extra forward depth.

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Brandon Wheat Kings 9

C Brayden Point, MJ: 1-0-1, -2, 0 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 38-49-87, +6, 46 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 36-55-91, -27, 53 PIM

Needing a win to stay alive in the playoffs (plus needing some help), Moose Jaw was unable to stay with the conference-leading Wheat Kings and fell hard, 9-2. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway as Swift Current won again and clinched the final playoff spot in the division. Point scored a goal for the ninth-straight game. He could take that streak to AHL Syracuse if the Crunch want to add skill to their lineup. Point will return to Moose Jaw next year due to AHL age restrictions, but can join the AHL now because his junior team’s season is over.

NCAA Game Night: 3-21-15

No. 18 Harvard Crimson 4 vs No. 15 Colgate Raiders 2
ECAC Finals

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 35 GP, 7-9-16, +4, 19 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 30 GP, 7-8-15, -8, 20 PIM

Harvard claimed the 2015 ECAC tournament championship with a 4-2 win over Colgate. The Crimson will now play in the national tournament as part of the field of 16. Harvard’s win likely ensures Matt Peca and Quinnipiac will receive an at-large big into the field of 16.

No. 12 UMass-Lowell Riverhawks 3 vs No. 3 Boston University Terriers 5
Hockey East Finals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 31 GP, 2-7-9, +16, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

Boston University won the Hockey East tournament championship on the back of Jack Eichel’s two goals and assist Saturday. Eichel was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. MacLeod and BU will likely get a 1-seed in the national tournament.

No. 5 Denver Pioneers 5 vs No. 1 North Dakota 1
NCHC Third Place Game

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 37 GP, 13-7-20, +11, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

UND lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, falling in the third place game Saturday against Denver. UND is still a lock for the national tournament.

No. 15 Minnesota Golden Gophers 4 vs Michigan Wolverines 2
Big 10 Finals

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 22 saves on 24 shots, *Third Star*
Season totals: 37 GP, 22-11-3, 2.39 GAA, .913 sv%, 5 SO
2013-2014 totals: 38 GP, 26-6-6, 1.97 GAA, .932 sv%, 4 SO

Wilcox was named the Big 10 tournament Most Outstanding Player after making 22 saves in the finals against Michigan. Minnesota held a 1-0 lead in the second period before Michigan scored two power play goals. The first on a deke from in close that snuck under Wilcox’s arm, and the second on a back-door finish he had no chance of stopping. Minutes after Minnesota went up 3-2 in the third period Wilcox made a series of big saves on the Wolverines to maintain the lead. He was solid the rest of the way as the Gophers iced the game with an empty net goal. Minnesota and Wilcox had a lot of expectations on them coming into the year and have ridden a roller coaster of inconsistency for the majority of the season, but they’ve found their groove lately and their tournament performance was indicative of their potential. Watch out for the Gophers in the national tournament as they try to make their way back to the championship game. They lost to Union in the finals last year.

*USCHO poll used

AHL Game Night: 3-21-15 Comets at Crunch

Comets streak past Crunch in the Third.

UTI-4
SYR-2

Allen York allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Richard, (12) (Dotchin, Blujus), 5:41 (PP)
UTI Baertschi, (11) (Blain, Friesen), 6:54

Third Period
UTI Conacher, (6) (Andersson, Friesen), 2:00
UTI Shinkaruk, (9) (O'Reilly, Corrado), 4:01
SYR Marchessault, (18) (Richard, Blujus), 15:27 (PP)
UTI Baertschi, (12) (Friesen, Grenier), 19:15 (EN)

Tanner Richard was the game's third star. Dylan Blujus had his 3rd multi-point game of the season, ushering in a brief period of #Blujuspalooza.

Syracuse may have lost the war tonight, but at least the AHL's abbreviation for them isn't an acronym for Urinary Tract Infections. Escalate the rivalry with Grade A scalding rhetoric. It's always good for the soul.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Falter in Third, Fall to Comets


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Trailing by one late in the third period, the Syracuse Crunch threw everything it could on net.

The shots either hit a body in front, Utica goalie Joe Cannata deflected the puck wide, or the shots just missed the mark, as the Crunch couldn't find the equalizer in a 4-2 loss to the Comets at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"I was shocked it didn't go in," said Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler. "(Mike Angelidis) had a chance to bury one, (Ryan) Martindale had it all alone in front. I haven't seen the replay, so I don't know if he just missed the net or it was blocked. I thought for sure we were going to tie it there and make something out of nothing, but we weren't able to."

Juniors Game Night: 3-20-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Sherbrooke Phoenix 6 @ Val-d’Or Foreurs 3

C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 0 Hits
With Sherbrooke: 36 GP, 20-25-45, -7, 34 PIM
With Cape Breton: 19 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 21-38-59, -12, 50 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM

Sherbrooke got two goals from Habs prospect Daniel Audette en route to a 6-3 road win Friday. Sherbrooke is sixth of 18 on the league table. The top 16 make the playoffs.

Rimouski Oceanic 4 @ Quebec Remparts 3

W Adam Erne, QUE: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 7/16 FO, 2 Hits
Season totals: 59 GP, 40-44-84, +22, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Erne was held off the scoresheet as Rimouski won in Quebec City.

Ontario Hockey League

Windsor Spitfires 2 @ Sarnia Sting 7

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season totals: 62 GP, 21-23-44, -15, 100 PIM
2013-14 totals: 50 GP, 17-11-28, +8, 101 PIM

DiGiacinto and Windsor have one game left this season after losing 7-2 in Sarnia Friday. The Spitfires are out of the playoff race. They play at Sault Ste. Marie Saturday.

Western Hockey League

Brandon Wheat Kings 6 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 7 (SO)

C Brayden Point, MJ: 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 59 GP, 37-47-84, +9, 46 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 36-55-91, -27, 53 PIM

What a gutsy performance by Moose Jaw. Needing a win to stay alive in the playoff race, the Warriors scratched and clawed their way to a 7-6 shootout win over the conference’s top team. Point was the first shooter for Moose Jaw in the shootout, but had his attempt saved. Moose Jaw needs Swift Current, who is two points ahead of the Warriors, to lose its final game while the Warriors win theirs against the Wheat Kings.

Calgary Hitmen 2 @ Kootenay Ice 1

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 59 GP, 7-24-31, +15, 26 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

Calgary is one point ahead of Medicine Hat for the division title with both teams having one game remaining.

Note: Dominik Masin (OHL Peterborough) is out for the season after undergoing surgery for facial fractures.

NCAA Game Night: 3-20-15

New Hampshire Wildcats 1 vs No. 3 Boston University Terriers 4
Hockey East Semifinals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-1-1, +4, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 30 GP, 2-7-9, +17, 46 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

MacLeod returned to the BU lineup after a 3-game absence and notched an assist in the Terriers’ semifinal win over UNH. BU will play No. 12 UMass-Lowell for the conference championship.

No. 18 St. Cloud State Huskies 3 vs No. 1 North Dakota 1
NCHC Semifinals

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 36 GP, 13-6-19, +12, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

SCSU scored twice in the final minute of the first period and held on for the upset win over No. 1 North Dakota. UND will play Denver in the third place game on Saturday. Miami plays the Huskies for the championship. UND will get an at-large bid to the national tournament.

No. 17 Harvard Crimson 5 vs No. 7 Quinnipiac Bobcats 2
ECAC Semifinals

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 34 GP, 7-9-16, +4, 19 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 30 GP, 7-8-15, -8, 20 PIM

F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 37 GP, 7-28-35, +1, 25 PIM
2014-2015 totals: 40 GP, 12-26-38, +4, 16 PIM

Hart and Harvard scored an upset win over top-seeded Quinnipiac in the ECAC semifinals, moving the Crimson on to the finals against Colgate. As for Peca and Quinnipiac, they will wait to see if they receive an at-large bid to the national tournament. They need some help in the form of Harvard winning the ECAC and the higher seeds taking their conference tournaments. There’s a good possibility Peca played his last collegiate game. If he chooses to sign with Tampa Bay, he could join AHL Syracuse as soon as his collegiate career is officially over.

No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers 3 vs Ohio State Buckeyes 0
Big 10 Semifinals

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 39 saves on 39 shots, shutout, *First Star*
Season totals: 36 GP, 21-11-3, 2.39 GAA, .913 sv%, 5 SO
2013-2014 totals: 38 GP, 26-6-6, 1.97 GAA, .932 sv%, 4 SO

Wilcox recorded his sixth shutout of the season with a herculean performance in the Big 10 semifinals. The shutout was the 13th of his career, tying the school record. The junior goaltender, who was named a Big 10 Second Team All-Star earlier this week, stopped all 22 shots he faced in the third period with the Gophers nursing a 1-0 lead until halfway through the final stanza. Minnesota advanced to play Michigan for the championship game. A win propels them to the national tournament.

*USCHO poll used

Koekkoek Nets Game-Winner, Crunch Top Penguins in OT


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With time winding down in overtime, Slater Koekkoek made a bold prediction.

The Syracuse Crunch defenseman was next to hit the ice during the three-on-three portion of the extra session, but took a moment to tell fellow rookie Dylan Blujus that he would end the game.

Koekkoek's words proved to be prophetic, as his game-winner 4:52 into overtime lifted the Crunch to a 2-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday. Syracuse has won four straight.

"Blujus and I were sitting on the bench, and (assistant coach Trent) Cull had just said I was the next D out," Koekkoek said. "I looked over at Blue and I said 'Don't worry Blue, I got this one.'"

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