THE BRIDGEPORT REPORT
Missouri Mavericks (ECHL)
Record: 52-15-3-2 (109 pts)
Rank: 1st in Central Division, 1st in Western Conference
Playoffs: Lost 4-2 to the Allen Americans (second round)
Last Week in Review:
Despite their record breaking season with only 15 regular season losses, the Missouri Mavericks finally found their match with the Allen Americans and ended their season when the Americans won Game 6 on Tuesday. Many positives have come out of this season including the emergence of superstar Josh Robinson, multiple players having career years and having the first Mav to play in the NHL in the same season, Ross Johnston. Missouri has also taken home multiple team and individual awards including Executive of the Year, the Brabham Cup and Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Year.
Missouri began the week with a 4-1 loss to Allen on Wednesday. The Mavericks quickly found themselves down 2-0 after he first period but tried to bounce back in the second. Josh Holmstrom netted the only Mav goal, a short-handed one with help from Rocco Carzo at 7:36 of the second frame but the rest of the game belonged to the reigning Kelly Cup Champions and they fell 5 to 1. Parker Milner made 31 stops in net.
The Mavericks continued with a 4-2 defeat on Friday. Again, the Mavs found themselves in a 2-0 hole and Missouri attempted a comeback. They were able to tie it up with a Tyler Barnes goal just 11 seconds into the final frame and Johnston lit the lap three minutes later for a score of 2-2. The Mavericks could not hold the Americans off and they scored two more goals in the second half of the third period for the win. Robinson made 24 saves in the loss.
The Mavs bounced back on Saturday with a 3-1 win over the Americans. Allen struck first at 4:33 of the opening period, but the Mavericks quickly took over their momentum and controlled the rest of the game. Carter Verhaeghe sent a blast from the point for the tying goal at 5:30 of the second period and Carzo tied it up short-handed on a breakaway at 18:28. Johnston then furthered the lead when he stuffed the puck in the crease at 9:50 of the final frame for the win.
Missouri ended their season in Game 6 on Tuesday with a score of 5 to 1. The Americans lit the lamp first on the man advantage at 9:03 of the first period. Ross Johnston scored the lone Maverick goal when he netted a loose puck in front of American goaltender Riley Gill for the 1-1 tie with help from Verhaeghe and Barnes but the Mavericks couldn't capitalize again and fell 5-1. Robinson made 25 saves in net.
5/4 – MO (1) @ ALN (5)
MO Goal: Josh Holmstrom
5/6 – MO (2) @ ALN (4)
MO Goals: Tyler Barnes, Ross Johnston
5/8 – MO (3) @ ALN (1)
MO Goals: Carter Verhaeghe, Rocco Carzo, Ross Johnston
5/10 – MO (1) vs. ALN (5)
MO Goal: Ross Johnston
Player to Watch:
Josh Robinson is a major part in why the Mavericks were so successful in the regular season. He has a total of four playoff wins with a .926 save percentage and also contributed with an assist. In the regular season he has had his best season to date with 28 wins and a 1.88 goals against average. His strong play earned him a PTO where he played three games in the AHL. His .931 save percentage in the regular season is a career high as well as games played (32), games won and GAA.
NHL/AHL Contracted Players:
Ross Johnston showed why he was the first Maverick to make an NHL team with three goals in four games this week. In the regular season Johnston had 11 points in 13 games. Last season in 44 games with the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL he had 18 goals and 14 helpers.
Carter Verhaeghe notched a goal this week bringing him up to 11 points in 10 playoff games. In 20 games with the Mavericks, he had eight goals and 17 assists. Last season, Verhaeghe had 33 goals and 49 helpers in 68 games with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL.
Josh Holmstrom netted a tally this week for a total of seven playoff points. In 61 games this season, Holmstrom has 30 points. Last season with the Tolledo Walleye, he had 13 goals and 14 assists.
New York Islanders (NHL)
Record: 45-27-10 (100 pts)
Rank: 4th in Metropolitan Division, 5th in Eastern Conference
Playoffs: Lost 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning (second round)
Last Week in Review:
The Islanders were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last week. They could not carry off the momentum of Game 1 and lost four games in a row. Despite the tough week, the Isles have come further than they have in 23 years.
The Islanders started the week off with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. In this back-and-forth game, Tampa Bay had an answer for each Islander goal. Josh Bailey, in his first game back from a minor injury, led the way for the home team with a pair of goals: a wrister blocker side at 7:55 of the first and a power play tally at 2:27 of the second period for his first goal(s) in 22 games. Cal Clutterbuck was the next Islander to score and took the lead with 11:23 remaining in the final frame. Clutterbuck netted a top-shelf tally right in front of the net in a true fourth line effort. Taking the lead right into the final seconds of play, the Lightning proved they would not go down easy and Nikita Kucherov sent the game to overtime with 39 seconds remaining. Former Manchester Monarch Brian Boyle sealed the win for the Bolts in OT.
New York continued on Friday with another overtime heartbreaker, this time by a score of 2-1. Tampa Bay’s Mike Blunden found a spot for himself in the penalty box for roughing at 2:44 of the first period and Kyle Okposo took advantage with a top-shelf tic tac toe goal at 4:20 to give the Islanders the lead throughout the majority of the game. Again, it was Kucherov who scored in the final frame to tie the game up and then Jason Garrison sealed it in OT. Thomas Greiss made 22 saves in the loss.
The Isles ended their season with a 4-0 shutout to the Lightning on Sunday. The Islanders went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill while Nick Leddy lead for time on ice with 24:17. Johnny Boychuk led the team in shots with five and Thomas Greiss made 21 saves.
5/3– NYI (4) vs. TBL (5) OT
NYI Goals: Josh Bailey (2), Nick Leddy, Cal Clutterbuck
5/6– NYI (1) vs. TBL (2) OT
NYI Goal: Kyle Okposo
5/8– NYI (0) @ TBL (4)
Player to Watch:
Thomas Griess has been the biggest surprise of the season coming from Pittsburgh Penguins backup goaltender with just nine wins and one career playoff game to becoming a bonafide starter in the absence of Jaroslav Halak with 23 wins and a .925 save percentage in the regular season, which puts him at third in the league. During the playoffs Greiss started and played every game and had a .923 save percentage.
Sound Tigers on Long Island:
Josh Bailey netted two playoff goals this week for a combined three points in nine games. During the regular season, he had 12 goals and 20 helpers. In 11 games with the Sound Tigers, Bailey had six goals and 11 assists.
Frans Nielsen had six playoff points this season. In the regular season, he had 20 goals and 32 assists. Nielsen played 102 games with the Sound Tigers scoring 30 goals and picking up 52 assists.
Casey Cizikas had three playoff points in 11 games this season. During the regular season, Cizikas had 29 points. In 73 games with the Sound Tigers he had 25 goals and 41 assists.