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KHL Game Day: 3-23-17

KHL Western Conference Finals
(2)St. Petersburg 5 vs. (4)Yaroslavl 4 (OT)
St. Petersburg Leads the Series 1-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 4-6-10, +2, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM

SKA overcame a 2 goal Third Period deficit with a comeback that included a tying goal with 10 seconds left in regulation to post a 5-4 Game One OT triumph over Yaroslavl in the KHL Western Conference Finals. Nikita Gusev scored the first goal of the comeback of the power play and then setup the game winner in Overtime. He played 18:51 in the match. Linemate Vadim Shipachyov had assists in triplicate for SKA in the win.

ECHL Game Night: 3-22-17

Florida Everblades 2 at Kalamazoo Wings 3

F Brian Hart, KAL, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIMS, 1 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 26 GP, 3-4-7, -2, 4 PIMs, 46 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIMS, 4 SOG, *Third Star*
Season Totals (ECHL): 13 GP, 4-13-17, +10, 6 PIMs, 37 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, did not play
Season Totals: 28 GP, 16-10-0-1, 2.88 GAA, 0.903 SV%, 1 SO

F Brendan O'Donnell, FLA, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIMS, 2 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 52 GP, 36-30-66, +27, 35 PIMs, 207 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 6 GP, 0-0-0, -6, 0 PIMs

The K-Wings scored two first period goals Wednesday night against the perennial ECHL powerhouse Florida Everblades, and then added a third period insurance marker to seal the eventual 3-2 victory. It was an important home win for Kalamazoo after last weekend's disappointing split against the Indy Fuel. Joel Martin stopped 30 shots in his 2nd consecutive start after the Fuel roughed up Nic Riopel last Friday night, and both Bolt prospect forwards Cam Darcy and Brian Hart got helpers on that important third period goal with a tic-tac-toe play to set up Peter Schneider's 2nd goal of the night. The K-Wings also held former Bolt prospect Brendan O'Donnell scoreless in the contest, which is usually a tall order given that O'Donnell leads the ECHL with 36 goals in 52 games. Kalamazoo now turns its attention to a back-to-back home stand Friday and Saturday night against the Norfolk Admirals, needing just 1 point to clinch a Kelly Cup Playoff berth.

NHL Game Night: 3-22-17 Coyotes at Lightning

The lights (probably) go out on the Lightning's season.

ARI-5
TB-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
4:56 ARI Fischer (3), (Crouse, Jooris)
9:45 TB Hedman (15), (Kucherov)

Second Period
10:06 ARI Dvorak (12), (Domi, Murphy)
11:50 TB Kucherov (34), (Palat)
18:08 TB Namestnikov (10), (Drouin)

Third Period
4:45 ARI Ekman-Larsson (12), (Domi, Duclair)
6:39 ARI Vrbata (18), (Goligoski, Ekman-Larsson)
18:24 ARI Murphy (2), (unassisted)(SH)(EN)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's third star.

Full disclosure: the power went off at my house about 15 minutes through the Second Period and didn't come back until late last night. So, the lights went out at my house shortly before they probably went out on the Lightning. Maybe I should be thankful I didn't have to witness that Third Period slide into the abyss. In a way, it's fitting. I declared the Lightning season more or less dead when the team got blown out in Arizona with one of the more feckless efforts of the season. At that point, the math simply didn't work out for a happy ending for the Lightning, and while they did an amazing job to play themselves back into the conversation for a playoff spot the fact is there's been far too many nights like this one where the team didn't mind its details against opponents of all stripes and got lit up on the scoreboard. And, it's because of that the team is (probably) heading for early tee times this offseason and a lot of reflection on what might have been.

Luke Witkowski had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 8:53.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 4 penalty minutes, 4 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 20:17.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:32. He was also 80% on 10 draws.

Yanni Gourde had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:12. He too was 80% on 10 draws.

Adam Erne had 1 shot and 3 hits in 13:50.

Joel Vermin had 2 shots in 11:57.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Bolts Ink Hajek to Entry Level Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Libor Hajek (LEE-bohr, HIGH-ak) to a three-year, two-way entry level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Hajek, 19, skated in 65 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League this season, recording four goals and 26 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound defenseman ranked second on the Blades for penalty minutes. Hajek also ranked second among all Saskatoon defensemen for assists (22) and points.

The Smrcek, Czech Republic native has appeared in 134 career WHL games, all with Saskatoon over the past two seasons, posting seven goals and 52 points to go along with 157 penalty minutes. He led all Saskatoon rookies for points and assists with 23 during the 2015-16 season. Hajek was selected second overall at the 2015 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Hajek was originally drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 37th overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft.

Hajek Signs With Lightning, Will Join Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Libor Hajek signed a three-year entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday.

The defenseman, who was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Lightning after they dealt Anthony DeAngelo to the Arizona Coyotes for the pick, wrapped up his second season with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League last weekend.

Hajek also signed an amateur tryout with Syracuse, and Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said he is expected to practice with Syracuse Wednesday.

“I saw Libor in camp in September. He's a good, young defenseman who skates well,” Groulx said of the 6-2, 202-pounder. “We’ll see how it plays out with him. We’ve got to see him in practice first, and obviously it’s a huge adjustment playing against junior and against men.”

CHL Game Night: 3-19-17

Ontario Hockey League

Peterborough Petes 2 @ Oshawa Generals 4

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 5/13 FO
Season Totals: 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM
With Petes: 27 GP, 7-12-19, +9, 14 PIM
With Niagara: 37 GP, 12-17-29, -7, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 57 GP, 5-11-16, -6, 18 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals: 60 GP, 7-22-29, +9, 58 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 60 GP, 5-19-24, -4, 46 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

Riley Stillman, son of Lightning Stanley Cup winner Cory Stillman, had a hat trick for Oshawa in their regular season-closing win over the Petes. Stillman, a Panthers prospect who wears his dad’s No. 61 reversed (16), is a lefty defenseman. He finished the year with 11 goals and 33 points in 62 games. Lightning prospect defenseman Matt Spencer finished the year with a career-high 29 points. Paquette and the Petes will play Paquette's former team, Niagara, in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as the 1-8 matchup.

London Knights 4 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 6

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: Did not play
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM
With London: 29 GP, 11-14-25, +6, 12 PIM
With Saginaw: 22 GP, 11-17-28, +13, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 39 GP, 20-18-38, -3, 14 PIM

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 2-1-3, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 63 GP, 24-27-51, +7, 61 PIM

London had leads of 1-0 and 4-2, but the Soo came storming back to take the win, 6-4. Katchouk was named first star for his two-goal, three-point performance. He finishes the year with a career-best 35 goals, 29 assists, and 64 points. For all the good that Lightning 2016 second rounder Taylor Raddysh has done, it’s easy to forget that Katchouk was chosen ahead of him. London will face Memorial Cup host Windsor in the first round in the 4-5 matchup. The second-seeded Hounds get Flint, and Raddysh, Cirelli, and Cernak’s Otters will play eighth-seeded Sarnia.

CHL Game Night: 3-18-17

Ontario Hockey League

Guelph Storm 2 @ Erie Otters 5

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 50 GP, 3-18-21, +31, 53 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 1-2-3, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 2/6 FO, *Second Star*
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM
With Erie: 25 GP, 12-18-30, +18, 4 PIM
With Oshawa: 26 GP, 13-21-34, +18, 8 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 21-38-59, -15 27 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 1-1-2, +1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 67 GP, 24-49-73, +19, 18 PIM

Anthony Cirelli was second star as Erie wrapped up the top seed for the OHL playoffs, winning the Hamilton Spectator Trophy for most points in the regular season. They set a CHL record with their fourth straight 50-win season. All three Lightning prospects on Erie set career highs for points in a season.

London Knights 3 @ Flint Firebirds 2

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM
With London: 29 GP, 11-14-25, +6, 12 PIM
With Saginaw: 22 GP, 11-17-28, +13, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 39 GP, 20-18-38, -3, 14 PIM

Stephens was undergoing evaluation Sunday for an upper-body injury sustained after taking a blind-side hit.

Western Hockey League

Saskatoon Blades 1 @ Prince Albert Raiders 5

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 0-0-0, -2, 12 PIM
Season Totals: 61 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 86 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 69 GP, 3-23-26, -19, 76 PIM

Hajek finished his season with 12 penalty minutes in the game, getting a 10-minute misconduct after taking a roughing penalty in the third period. Both teams had just had a melee a few minutes before that so the refs were trying to get control. Hajek is now eligible to join AHL Syracuse and the tryout contract watch is on.

Swift Current Broncos 5 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 10

C Brett Howden, MJ: 3-2-5, +3, 9 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Howden had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick and then some with a “normal” hat trick and two assists to go with his fight and two minor penalties. That line is a WHL fantasy player’s dream, if there is such a thing. Undersized (5’8”) center Jayden Halbgewachs (undrafted) had four goals to give him 50 on the season. He added three assists to give him seven points in the game and 101 on the year. Swift Current and Moose Jaw will face each other in the first round of the playoffs anyway, so they played this game without goalies (not really). Howden finished third on Moose Jaw in scoring this season.

Kamloops Blazers 2 @ Prince George Cougars 1

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Did not play
Season Totals: 45 GP, 26-14-2-2, 2.44 GAA, .927 sv%, 5 SO
2015-2016 Season: 61 GP, 34-15-5-4, 2.61 GAA, .922 sv%, 4 SO

Ingram didn’t play, though he did set the season record for save percentage in a season, beating his own mark. The .927 save percentage tied for first in the league. He was second in shutouts and GAA.

NCAA Game Night: 3-18-17

No. 14 Boston College Eagles 3 vs No. 4 UMass-Lowell River Hawks 4

C Ryan Lohin, UML: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 39 GP, 10-16-26, +9, 14 PIM

UML won the Hockey East tournament with a 4-3 win over Boston College. The River Hawks broke a 2-2 second period tie with two goals, then held on late after an extra-attacker goal by the Eagles. UML is the No. 2 seed in the Northeast Region. They play Cornell next weekend in their first game.

Tournament field:

Minnesota (Ryan Zuhlsdorf) is the top seed in the Northeast Region. They open against Notre Dame.

Boston University (Johnathan MacLeod) is the second seed in the West Region. They open against defending champ North Dakota. Minnesota-Duluth is the top seed in the West (Alex Iafallo is on our free agent watch list having camped with the Lightning. He’s UMD’s leading scorer at 18-27-45 in 38 GP).

ECHL Game Night: 3-18-17

Kalamazoo Wings 5 at Indy Fuel 1

F Brian Hart, KAL, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 25 GP, 3-3-6, -3, 4 PIMs, 45 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 12 GP, 4-11-15, +9, 6 PIMs, 33 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, did not play
Season Totals: 28 GP, 16-10-0-1, 2.88 GAA, 0.903 SV%, 1 SO

The K-Wings lit up the Fuel with 45 shots and 5 goals Saturday night, and Joel Martin allowed just one goal to split the weekend home-and-home series with Indy. Both Bolt prospects forwards Cam Darcy and Brian Hart notched goals, with Darcy banging home a Lane Scheidl rebound for the K-Wings 2nd goal. Hart beat out an icing call to track down the puck and deposited it in the empty net for an insurance marker late in the 3rd. Kalamazoo has three-game homestand up next week, starting with the high-powered Florida Everblades on Wednesday night, followed by a back-to-back Friday and Saturday night against the Norfolk Admirals.

AHL Game Night: 3-18-17 Devils at Crunch

Peca delivers critical divisional victory for Syracuse.

ALB-1
SYR-2 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed just 1 goal on 42 shots for the victory, helping the Crunch overcome a 42-28 shot disparity. Since the trade deadline, Gudlevskis has suddenly been locked in while veteran Mike McKenna has struggled, begging the question of who will really be the team's number one goaltender heading into the playoffs.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
2:10 SYR Peca (9), (Bournival, Condra)
17:09 ALB Gibbons (13), (Stollery, Helgeson)

Overtime
1:13 SYR Peca (10), (Taormina, McGinn)(PP)

Gudlevskis, Matthew Peca, and Slater Koekkoek were the game's three stars.

With the victory, the Crunch move out to a 3 point lead in the North Division over Albany with the Devils now holding a game in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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