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Bears and Admirals split weekend series

by Corine Gatti
on

Old memories were brought to the surface over last weekends split series between the Hershey Bears and the Norfolk Admirals.

Especially, for the Admirals fan, whose team was eliminated last season in the quarterfinals against Hershey. And those memories haunt the hearts of many fans in the present. Even though Norfolk played the first game focused and with fierce fore-checking. By the time the second game started, the combination of losing focus and officiating left a 3-2 loss that evened the series at one apiece. With Hershey leaving with home ice advantage

Hershey Bears 1 Norfolk Admirals 4

The first period both teams played competitively, and Hershey lost its flavor by the time the second period started. “ They came out tough in the first period and they just slowed down,” says Valeri Zelepukin who had a helper with Mike Peluso in the third. Norfolk has a 6-2-1-1 record against the Bears in during the regular season.

After consecutive shots off of Phil Sauve glove, Jean-Yves Leroux earned his first goal of the playoffs on a rebound that caromed off of Steve McCarthy stick two minutes in the second period. Both teams’ who struggled in power plays in the regular season, both failed to score on a combined seven power plays.

The rest was all Norfolk. Vern Fiddler faked out Bears’ defenseman by circling back towards the blue line slap shot for the second goal of the game. Jim Campbell added back-to-back goals in the third a slap shot and sending the rubber to the top corner. Mike Peluso added a goal one-minute Read more »

London Knights Playoff Ride Comes to an End

by Jason Ahrens
on

The Erie Otters knocked Cinderella out on Sunday, but not before 5000 plus fans had their fill of an exciting playoff game and run. A month ago it seemed that London might not even qualify for the playoffs, and for them to get to the second round seemed impossible. But they did just that, through blood and guts and some great performances from key players, sending the top ranked Plymouth Whalers home and giving Erie everything they could handle with the exception of game 5, an Erie walk in the park.

How did the Knights do it? Lets start with Rick Nash. Where he goes in the draft might get decided today, as some teams might be leaning towards defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, others might want this skilled winger. He will go no lower than second, and his strong playoffs, coupled with the fact that the laid back Bouwmeester has yet to taste playoff action should help in the intangibles section. Nash led London in scoring in the playoffs and was a force with the puck. He was doing a bit too much diving, but he did draw several penalties and he does receive numerous hooks on every shift. He was hitting, scoring, and playing well in most aspects of the game. He needs to learn to shift gears sometimes and let the defence back up and use them as a screen. He also has a habit of getting in too deep, he likes to stay behind the net, even when he has two linemates in the corner fighting for the puck, this can create odd man rushes for the opposition, as well if London gets the puck he is not in a scoring position.

One other knock is his power play positioning. Read more »

Sabres Report: The Tee Times

by Ken McKenna
on

Inside of many hockey players is a frustrated golfer. Or you would think that based on the number of players who hit the links in their spare time.

In their first 25 years of existence, the Buffalo Sabres did their part to bolster the hockey-golf connection, with the team regularly scheduling tee times in mid-to-late April as a result of early elimination from the playoffs, or, less regularly, due simply to a failure to make the post-season party.

The Sabres of recent vintage have had a little less time to enjoy the great outdoors, given their extended playoff runs in 4 of the past 5 post-seasons. That run of good fortune will come to an end this year, however, as the club will find itself in the uncustomary position of missing the playoffs altogether. A late-season surge by the Sabres was simply not enough to overcome a season of mediocre (or worse) performances, with the team officially being eliminated in the final week of the 01-02 season.

Perhaps as a show of solidarity, the majority of Buffalo’s North American prospects have hung up their skates for the summer, as well. The golf courses of North America will seemingly be littered with hockey players and coaches who list the Sabres as their employer or affiliate.

For starters, the Sabres’ minor league club, the Rochester Americans, barely got their undergarments wet, as they q Read more »

Pre-draft profile – Tomas Fleischmann

by Ivana Paulova
on

You have probably never heard this name before but this is no reason to be alarmed. It is simply because this young Czech prospect has been shaded by all these excellent 84 born players. But this does not mean he is any lesser player than they are moreover bear in mind that Tomas is worth your attention not only for his on ice but also for his off ice qualities. Currently he is a member of the Czech team on the U-18 Championship.

Tomas comes from a hockey family so there was never any doubt what sport would Tomas choose. His dad and even his granddad were hockey players and devoted their lives to this beloved game. Tomas’ mother was actually the one who took Tomas to the public skating rink and at the age of 5 he made his first hockey steps there. At the age of 6 he started to play hockey for his hometown team in Koprivnice. Playing for 2 categories at the same time helped Tomas a lot. But in the 7th grade Koprivnice dropped from the Extraleague to the second highest league. So that he could play with the top players he needed to change teams. He was given offers from Zlin and Vitkovice. He decided to go to Vitkovice because they could offer him better conditions and also Vitkovice are closer to Koprivnice then Zlin is. This season was Tomas’ 5th one in the jersey of HC Vitkovice and he is glad that he chose to go there. In the near future he does not plan any changes.

Tomas was lucky enough to have a great deal of support from his family. He was a forward right from the start of his career as he says: “My dad and granddad were forwards so I did not want t Read more »

HF Interviews Norfolk’s Enforcer Shawn Thornton

by Corine Gatti
on

A banner posted at the Norfolk Scope is stained with acrylics that read the words: Shawn Thornton Enforcing 55. There is no doubt that sweater number 55 has become one of the Norfolk Admirals primary enforcer with his 281 penalty minutes since his trade from the St. John Maple Leafs in September. However, the road traveled has not been easy for the 25 year-old.

And this past regular season remained inchoate for Thornton, who remains a favorite among fans and local radio stations in Norfolk. But comparisons were immediately made due to the same playing style and an uncanny physique between him and former Admiral Aaron Downey. The buzz around the arena welcomed him instead of the banner that is now a backdrop to his performances on home ice. Thornton, who is also nicknamed, Sugar Shawn from his Junior League days, is tired of the comparisons of the former captain and verbally stresses that he is his own man.

We spent time with Ontario native after the teams practice before the best of five series against the Hershey Bears Friday night. The winger bruiser still damped-faced, came to the interview with a tan baseball cap, answering questions faster than he gets thrown in to the penalty box.

HF: Take us to the most significant date of career.

ST: It was when I was on the golf course with my friends and I got a call from my agent that Toronto drafted me in the seventh round. [Grinning] I didn’t believe him at first.

HF: Was hockey always your dream as kid?

ST: It is every kids dream in Canada to play professional hockey. It is a lifestyl Read more »

Interview with Arthur Femenella

by Megan Sexton
on

A big thanks to Arthur Femenella for taking the time to chat with Tampa Bay Lightning Editor, Megan Sexton.
Congratulations to Arthur and the Sioux City Musketeers, who shut out Sioux Falls in the first round of the USHL playoffs,
3-0 and Good Luck to the Muskies in Round 2!



MS – The Musketeers have had a strong season this year. What role did you play in their success?

AF – I played the role of the physical defense. I am always paired against #1 line on the other team. It’s usually my job to
shut down goal scorers. I think I did that pretty well.



MS – Your penalty minutes dropped significantly since last season, are you doing anything different?

AF – I think I am concentrating on being more physical between the whistles.



MS – Has that allowed you to focus more on your offense?

AF – I am spending a lot less time in the box, which opens up more opportunities on ice



MS – Last year you led the league in major’s, yet this year you’re not even in the top 5. Have you found guys less
willing to go, now that they know you’re the real deal?

AF – I think that’s a good way of putting it, there are only so many times that a guy is going to stand up to you.



MS – How important is your reputation as a tough guy?< Read more »

Sound Tigers Shutout Moose

by Bill Drake
on

Three quick penalties put the Moose in the driver’s seat for the first 8 minutes of the game. Rick DiPietro was tested early but controlled the rebounds stopping the 12 shots thrown at him in the first period.

“We came out a little edgy,” said Jason Krog.

“We weathered the storm,” said coach Steve Stirling of the early penalty kills. “Ricky really made three or four very good saves in traffic.”

On the penalty kill, DiPietro showed a quick glove hand and the ability to move and see through screens.

“Its always tough to take penalties off the bat” said DiPietro, “I think were real fortunate to kill off the power plays and go from there.”

And the Sound Tigers did go. The line of Raffi Torres, Justin Mapletoft and Dave Roche came out at even strength with energy and hard checks.

“I think that line was a huge lift,” said Stirling, “between energy and strength down low, they got things going and set the pace five-on-five.”

That line brought the energy while the Krog-Juraj Kolnik- Trent Hunter line brought the goals, combining for four of Bridgeport’s five goals.

Kolnik started the scoring sneaking behind the Manitoba defense and knocking in a Krog centering feed at 17:11.

Hunter shot the puck off Alfie Michaud’s shoulder two minutes later to put the Sound Tigers up by two goals after the first period.

“I would’ve been happy nothing-nothing,” said Stirling, “but getting one then two puts you over the top.”

Bridgeport built on the lead in the second period when at 5:10 Justin Mapletoft scored the f Read more »

Canuck Stats Update

by Kirk Pedersen
on

1. Allen, Bryan (D). Drafted: ’98 (1/4)

Vancouver (NHL) 11 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 6 PIM.
Manitoba (AHL) 68 GP, 7 G, 18 A, 25 P, 125 PIM.
Manitoba (AHL)(Play-offs) 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 6 PIM.

2. Umberger, R.J. (C). Drafted: ’01 (1/16)

Ohio State (CCHA) 37 GP, 18 G, 21 A, 39 P

3. Smith, Nathan (C). Drafted: ’00 (1/23)

Swift Current (WHL) 47 GP, 22 G, 38 A, 60 P, 52 PIM.
Swift Current (WHL) (Play-offs) 12 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 P, 19 PIM.

4. Vydareny, Rene (D). Drafted: ’99 (3/69)

Manitoba (AHL) 61 GP, 3 G, 11 A, 14 P, 15 PIM.
Manitoba (AHL) (Play-offs) 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 0 PIM.
Columbia (ECHL) 10 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, 9 PIM.

5. Auld, Alex (G). Acquired through trade with Florida (2001)

Manitoba (AHL) 21 GP, 11 W, 9 L, 0 T, 3.53 GAA, .881 SV%
Manitoba (AHL)(Play-offs) DNP
Columbia (ECHL) 6 GP, 3 W, 1 L, 2 T, 1.92 GAA, .927 SV%

6. Reid, Brandon (C). Drafted: ’00 (7/208)

Manitoba (AHL) 60 GP, 18 G, 19 A, 37 P, 6 PIM.
Manitoba (AHL) (Play-offs) 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 0 PIM.

7. Gladsikh, Evgeny (LW). Drafted: ’01 (4/114)

Mettalurg (RUS) 32 GP, 5 G, 6 A, 11 P, 6 PIM.
Mettalurg (RUS)(Play-offs) 4 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 4 PIM.

8. Barrett, Nathan (C). Drafted: ’00 (8/241)

Lethbridge (WHL) 72 GP, 45 G, 62 A, 107 P, 100 PIM. Read more »

Crunch Overcome Bad Bounces, Hang On to Down Phantoms

by Jeff Parzych
on

Why should the playoffs be any different? All season long the prevailing characteristic of the 2001-02 Syracuse Crunch has been their ability to overcome adversity. They have been faced with a myriad of obstacles and time after time they have triumphed over every impediment.

Saturday night’s contest at the War Memorial between the Crunch and the Philadelphia Phantoms would prove to be no exception. This time Syracuse would be faced with trying to regroup after seeing their two-goal lead evaporate in a span of eleven seconds thanks to a couple of ill-fated bounces of the famed War Memorial end boards.

Drawing from their past experiences, the Crunch never panicked. They would circle the wagons during the second intermission; score early in the third to regain the lead and hang on to down the Phantoms 5-3.

The Crunch, right from the drop of the first puck, were playing like a team on a mission. It was a perfect example of the term “playoff style hockey.” They started with Jeremy Reich’s hit along the boards against Mark Freer less than ten seconds in and continued with their tenacious play throughout the game’s opening minutes.

“Our game plan was to come out in the first five minutes and really try to bring it to them. We wanted to get the puck deep and finish our checks.” stated Crunch center Blake Bellefeuille. “We did that in the first period and that really picked up our team momentum.”

Bellefeuille’s play in the opening period would do more than pick up momentum; it would give the Crunch their first lead. On a well executed bre Read more »

Flyers recall Brendl for regular season finale

by Al Alven
on

The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Saturday night that they have recalled right wing Pavel Brendl from the American Hockey League’s Philadelphia Phantoms. The move was made immediately following the Phantoms’ 5-3 loss at Syracuse in Game 1 of the Calder Cup quarterfinals.

Through three AHL playoff games, Brendl leads the Phantoms (and the league) with four goals and one assist for five points. He will likely play today in the Flyers’ regular season finale at Long Island, then be returned to the Phantoms for Game 2 at Syracuse on Wednesday.

Brendl’s three-game playoff outburst has been a pleasant surprise for the Flyers organization. After a lackluster regular season, the pressure was on the 21-year-old prospect to perform in the playoffs. To this point, he has been the Phantoms’ best player in the postseason.

Most did not expect to see Brendl back in the NHL this season. The wildcard in last summer’s Eric Lindros trade with the New York Rangers, Brendl surprised the Flyers with a terrific training camp. He made Philadelphia’s opening night roster after leading the team in scoring during the exhibition season (nine points in six games), but was ineffective in seven games. His only point came in the form of a fluke goal at Washington (Oct. 20), when Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig misplayed a dump-in from center ice.

After his demotion to the Phantoms in November, Brendl was largely inconsistent. Though he showed flashes of potential, his numbers were rather disappointing. The Olomovac, Czech Republic native tallied only 37 points (15 goals, 22 as Read more »

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