MM MM GOOD WIN FOR QUEBEC
|QUEBEC CITY - Heading into last night's game at J.C. Tremblay Arena in downtown Quebec City, the Denver Stallions were not only the hottest team in the league after winning their last seven in a row, but they had also leapfrogged over Greensboro to take over the best record in the entire league.
But as they faced off with the Quebec Red Devils last night, they encountered a team that's pretty hot in their own right, and one that is now tied for the longest winning streak in the league.
Brian Campbell scored two late goals and Brandon Kozun notched three assists as the Red Devils won their fourth in a row - 4-2 over a Stallions team that had their seven-game win streak come to an end.
"It always feels good when you can send a message to the really good teams that you can hang with them," said Campbell. "But we think we're close to being considered as one of the top teams in the league. We're closing in on first in our division and we have played some great hockey lately, so I hope nobody is sleeping on us."
Sure enough, Quebec is just five points behind first place Ottawa in the Howe division and they have two games in hand. But there is a long season to go, and the important thing for the Red Devils is to just get back to the playoffs after missing them last season. And wins like last night will go a long way towards that.
Quebec out-shot Denver 13-9 in the first, but the Stallions were the ones to draw first blood as Danny Irmen scored his seventh of the year at 4:47 to give the Stallions a 1-0 lead that they would carry into the first intermission.
In the second, the opposite story of the first would take place as Denver out-shot Quebec 14-9, but it was the Red Devils striking for the only goal of the period. After Wayne Simmonds, fresh off a record-tying five-goal night, was called for high-sticking 57 seconds into the second, Henrik Zetterberg notched his 15th of the year on the power play at 1:11 to even the score at 1.
The game would remain tied into the third, but the offense would open up in the final period as the two teams combined for 37 shots on goal. Quebec took the lead following a Chuck Kobasew tripping call at 7:13 as Alexander Semin, the overtime hero of Quebec's last game, scored his 13th of the year on the power play at 9:06 to make it 2-1 Red Devils.
But the Stallions were not quite finished yet. Jonathan Toews put home his eighth of the season at 12:43 to tie the game at 2. For most of the period, that score would stay the same, and it appeared that overtime was possible. But late in the third, things would completely fall apart for Denver.
First, Ryan O'Byrne was called for holding with 1:15 left in regulation to give Quebec a power play that would last for the rest of regulation. But it would not end up lasting that long as Quebec grabbed the lead with 1:06 remaining thanks to a power play goal from Campbell - his tenth of the year - as the Red Devils took a late 3-2 lead.
And then to rub some salt in the wounds of the Stallions, after they were unable to pull goalie Jonathan Quick, the Red Devils stormed back up ice and cashed in again as Campbell notched his second of the game and 11th of the year with just 55 seconds left to provide some insurance while giving Quebec a 4-2 lead.
That would do it for the Stallions on this night and for their seven-game win streak as the Red Devils set their sights on both first place in the division as well as a longer win streak of their own.
ALL SET - Devin Setoguchi and Jamie McBain each had a goal and an assist for the Greensboro Swordsmen, who got back on the winning track at home following their first defeat of the year at Sears Center, as they defeated the San Francisco Seals 5-2.
GIROUX DONE IT - Claude Giroux scored a goal and an assist for the New England Whalers as they edged the New York Empire 3-2 at home.
JVR YOU SERIOUS?! - James van Riemsdyk recorded a hat trick for the Chicago Blackhawks as they dispatched the Fire 5-2 in Toronto.
KING LOUI - Loui Eriksson scored the game-winner in the shootout for the New Orleans Rebels as they won a wild 5-4 decision at home over the Anaheim Ducks.
TOMORROW: There are seven games on the schedule, highlighted by Hockey Night in Canada as the Montreal Moose visit the Minnesota North Stars, while the Calgary Inferno battle the Rough Riders in Ottawa in the early window. Then for the nightcap, Las Vegas will travel to Edmonton to take on the Oilers. The Calgary/Ottawa and Las Vegas/Edmonton games will also be seen on XHL Network in the United States.
2016 XHL SEASON - All times Eastern
Day 71 - Saturday, April 30 - Games simmed at approx. 11:52 PM
Las Vegas (black) at Edmonton (orange) - 10 PM - CBC, KLAS (Las Vegas), XHL Network
Detroit (alternate) at San Diego (brown) - 4 PM - FS Detroit, FS San Diego
Philadelphia (white) at Dallas (blue) - 4 PM - WPSG (Philadelphia), KTXA (Dallas), XHL Network
Montreal (red) at Minnesota (white) - 7 PM - City TV, TVA, FS North
Brooklyn (white) at Denver (burgundy) - 9 PM - YES, Altitude
Los Angeles (purple) at Anaheim (orange) - 10 PM - FS Prime Ticket, KCOP (Anaheim)
Calgary (red) at Ottawa (alternate) - 7 PM - CBC, XHL Network