The ECHL Report

By Ron Valerino


PLAYER OF THE WEEK : New Orleans left wing J.F. Houle
The 5-9 and 205-pound Houle set team records with five assists and seven points in the Brass’ 8-0 win over Pensacola on Thursday. The seven points are a season high for the ECHL while the five assists tied the ECHL season high. Houle added a goal and an assist in New Orleans’ 3-2 win at Jackson on Saturday. The Brass are 5-1-0 with Houle in the lineup. Houle leads New Orleans with nine assists and is second on the team with 13 points and four goals in six games. On behalf of J.F. Houle, a case of pucks will be donated to the New Orleans area youth hockey organization by InGlasco, the official puck supplier of the ECHL.

GOALIE OF THE WEEK : South Carolina’s Jody Lehman
Lehman was 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals against average and a .980 save percentage in two games last week. He opened the week with 20 saves in a 2-0 win against Pee Dee and then made 29 saves in a 4-1 win over Augusta on Saturday, helping the Stingrays win their season-best fourth game in a row. Lehman is 3-0-1 with a 1.22 goals against average and a .958 save percentage in his last five games, and 5-2-2 with a 2.04 goals against average and a .930 save percentage in nine games.


WHEELING : On Wednesday the Nailers traveled to Johnstown for their second road game of the season after opening the season in Atlantic City on October 12. Having lost in Atlantic City, the Nailers entered this game in search of their first road win of the season. Johnstown opened the scoring at 11:08 of the first period on a Dan Carlson goal. The Nailers tied the score 1-1 on a Dylan Gyori short-handed goal assisted by Mike Hurley and Dan Kopec. The game remained 1-1 through the second period. Late in the third period the Chiefs broke the tie on a Jim Leger goal at 14:18. Tyler MacKay, in his first professional start, made 20 saves on 22 shots in the loss.

On Friday the Nailers squared off against the Toledo Storm. Mark Major scored his first goal of the season for the Nailers in the first period to give Wheeling a 1-0 lead through one period of play. The Nailers increased their lead to 2-0 on Derek Ernest’s first goal of the season with Mark Moore and Ken Tasker assisting. In the third period, Toledo cut the Nailers lead back to one with a power play goal. Major scored his second goal of the game less than a minute later to give the Nailers the two goal advantage again. With less than five minutes remaining the Storm again closed to within one goal at 3-2. Major completed his first hat trick of the season, and the teams second, with an empty net goal in the final minute of play. Joel Laing made 47 saves on 49 shots for the Nailers first road win of the season.

Saturday the Reading Royals came to Wheeling for the first game between the expansion team and the Nailers. The two teams played a scoreless and penalty free first period. In the second period the Nailers took a 1-0 lead on a Mike Hurley goal from Dylan Gyori and Doug Schmidt. The Royals tied the score 1-1 just 1:53 later on a Brad Rooney goal. The Nailers retook the lead at 2-1 just :44 into the third period with a goal by Brendan Walsh from Mark Major and Bogdan Rudenko. At 2:20 of the third period Mark Moore extended the Nailers lead to 3-1 with his first goal of the season. Neither team scored again and Joel Laing made 38 saves on 39 shots for hid fifth win of the season.

The Nailers finished up a hectic week taking on the Storm in Wheeling. In the first two meetings the Nailers won both by a combined score of 7-2. Toledo took a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 2:10 of the first period. The Nailers tied the score with a shorthanded goal by Mike Hurley from Dylan Gyori and Kurt Drummond. Before the first period ended the Storm regained their one goal advantage with a shorthanded goal of their own. In the second period Toledo scored three times to open a four goal advantage at 5-1 with two power play goals and an even strength goal. In the third period the Storm increased their lead to 6-1. Wheeling scored two late goals from Ken Tasker and Doug Schmidt to close the deficit to 6-3 but Toledo scored once more with 1:07 remaining to close out the scoring and hand the Nailers a 7-3 loss. Joel Laing took the loss and made 19 saves on 23 shots in 33 minutes and Tyler MacKay made 13 saves on 16 shots in 27 minutes in goal.

ROANOKE : Mike Omicioli scored in overtime as the visiting Roanoke Express pulled out a 3-2 victory over the Altantic City Boardwalk Bullies. Omicioli put a Mike Peron feed past goaltender Shawn Degagne with 29 seconds remaining in the extra period to give Roanoke a season-opening 7-1-1 record. Vern Fiddler and Marty Hughes also scored for the Express. Daniel Berthiaume made 29 saves to remain unbeaten at 6-0-1.

RICHMOND: The Cincinnati Cylcones dropped the Renegades 2-1 on Saturday night. Lars Pettersen accounted for Richmond’s offense with his third goal of the season 7:01 into the third period. Curtis Cruickshank made 32 saves but fell to 2-2-1 for the Renegades, who saw their winless streak extended to four games (0-3-1).

ATLANTIC CITY : The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies dropped a 3-2 OT game against Roanoke. Kirk Furey and John Campbell notched goals for Altantic City. The Bullies have now scored two goals or less in each of their three losses. Shawn Degagne had his three-game unbeaten streak snapped, collecting 27 saves in the loss.

READING : The Reading Royals lost a 3-1 decision at Wheeling Saturday night. Brad Rooney collected his fourth goal midway through the second period to knot the score at 1-1 for Reading, now winless in its last four outings (0-3-1). Loser Sean Gauthier allowed three goals on 28 shots for the Royals.

CHARLOTTE : Andrew Taylor scored twice to lead the visiting Charlotte Checkers past the Greensboro Generals, 4-1. Taylor opened the scoring with 6:20 left in the first period and gave Charlotte a 3-1 lead midway through the middle stanza. Justin Harney and Konrad McKay each contributed a goal and Benoit Dusablon chipped in a pair of assists as the Checkers won for the second time in seven games. Scott Meyer, who gave up 10 goals in his previous three starts, stopped 29 of 30 shots for the win.

PEORIA : Although the Rivermen outshot Johnstown 47-27 they dropped the game 2-1. Tyler Rennette notched his third tally of the season for Peoria, which fell to 1-3-2 at home thus far. Curtis Sanford allowed two goals on 27 shots for the Rivermen in a losing effort.

TOLEDO : Last weekend the Storm lost at Cincinnati 6-3. Rob Thorpe, Magnus Nilsson and James Patterson all scored for the Storm, who fell to 1-3-1 on the road. Joey McDonald stopped 31 shots in a losing effort. The next night Jason Norrie and Rob Thorpe both scored a pair of goals and had an assist as the Toledo Storm defeated the Wheeling Nailers, 7-3. Norrie netted the first of his two power-play goals 6:31 into the second period, assisted on Thorpe’s second score late in the same stanza and collected his other tally with 8:43 remaining in the third. Thorpe scored back-to-back goals within 5:52 span late in the second to give Toledo a 5-1 lead. Ryan Hoople stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced for the win, improving to 3-3-1. James Patterson finished with a goal and two assists for the Storm, who snapped a seven-game winless streak (0-6-1).

DAYTON : Jeff Boulanger had a goal and two assists and Ryan Vince scored twice to lead the host Dayton Bombers past the Richmond Renegades, 5-2. Boulanger assisted on Mike Vellinga’s first-period marker and figured in both of Dayton’s third-period scores for a 5-1 lead. Vince tallied the Bombers’ second goal of the first and capped the scoring with 4:50 gone in the final stanza as Dayton won its third straight. Karl Goehring, making his sixth start in seven games, collected 23 saves over the final two periods and 28 overall for the win.

TRENTON : Pat Leahy scored twice and Marco Charpentier potted the game-winner midway through the final period as the host Trenton Titans doubled up the Reading Royals, 4-2. Leahy netted an unassisted short-handed marker 8:09 into the first and gave Trenton a 2-1 lead with 8:10 to go in the second. Charpentier broke a 2-2 tie at the 8:52 mark of the third for his second game-winning goal as the Titans halted a two-game losing streak. Dan Murphy collected 26 saves for a 6-2-0 record.

CINCINNATI : After four weeks, the Northwest Division has the tightest race with only five points separating first-place Cincinnati and sixth-place Toledo. In the Northeast Division, 12 points separate first-place Trenton and seventh-place Greensboro while 11 points separate the first place and last place teams in both the Southeast and Southwest Divisions. Cincinnati sits atop the Northwest Division with its 6-2-0 record, winner of its last two games and six of its last seven, including a 4-0-0 record at Firstar Center. Goaltender Steve Briere has been impressive with a 5-0-0 record, a .940 save percentage, and a 1.80 goals against average, ranking him third in the ECHL. Evgeny Pavlov leads Cincinnati with five goals while his seven points tie him for the team scoring lead with Nick Bootland and Kiley Hill, who leads the team with six assists. Martin Bartek was assigned by Milwaukee of the American Hockey League and scored two goals and three points in his first game, a 6-3 win over Toledo on Saturday, and added an assist in Cincinnati’s 2-1 win over Richmond on Sunday. The Cyclones lead the ECHL with four short-handed goals while ranking second in goals scored with 3.75 per game and tied for fifth in goals allowed with 2.50 per game.

JOHNSTOWN : The Johnstown Chiefs (5-6-0; 10 PTS NW Div.) had a very successful week with three wins. The Chiefs beat Wheeling in a “nail” biter last Wednesday night 2-1, and traveled to Peoria over the weekend and captured four points from their divisional rival with a 4-3 shootout win on Friday and a 2-1 win on Saturday night. The Chiefs are currently in a tie for 2nd place with Wheeling, trailing 1st place Cincinnati by two points.

GAME #9 JOHNSTOWN 2 – Wheeling 1
Deschenes 17 Saves
Chiefs F Jim Leger scored with 5:42 left in the game to break a 1-1 tie and give the Chiefs a 2-1 win and snap their three game losing streak. Dan Carlson scored the other Chiefs goal while Frederic Deschenes made 17 saves for his second win of the season.

GAME #10 Johnstown 4 – PEORIA 3 (SO) Onufrechuk Goal, Assist
Up 3-1 the Chiefs gave up two third period goal to the Peoria Rivermen. The two teams would battle through overtime and into a shootout before Chad Onufrechuk got the game winner in the first round of the shootout. Jim Leger, Eric Schneider, and David Gove scored the other Johnstown goals. Dany Sabourin made 47 saves to preserve the win for the Chiefs. Sabourin stopped all three shooters he faced in the shootout.

GAME #11 Johnstown 2 – PEORIA 1
Schneider Two Goals
Down 1-0 going into the third period the Chiefs got two third period goals from Eric Schneider to lift them to a 2-1 win Saturday night. The Chiefs were outshot 27-5 in the first period. Chiefs Goaltender Frederic Deschenes made 47 saves in the game.


Tuesday, October 30 @ South Carolina Stingrays 2 PRIDE 0

The Pride’s three-game winning streak comes to an end at the hands of the defending Kelly Cup champions. Pee Dee manages just three shots on goal in both the first and third periods. Sandy Allan helps to keep the game close as he made 35 saves, including 19 in the first period.

Friday, November 2 v. Augusta PRIDE 4 Lynx 1
Peter Geronazzo got the Pride rolling with a goal just 22 seconds into the first period for his first goal of the season. Jeff Burgoyne and Allan Sirois scored 19 seconds apart early in the second period, and Kevin Haupt set the final early in the third frame. J. R. Prestifilippo made 19 saves to improve to 4-1-0 on the season. It was the first Pride game this season decided by more than two goals.

Saturday, November 3 v. Columbia PRIDE 6 Inferno 1

Pee Dee’s special teams awoke after a few lackluster games as the power play went 5-for-8, and the penalty-killing unit was a perfect 5-for-5, and even threw in the team’s first shorthanded goal of the season. Allan Sirois had a goal and an assist, while newcomer B. J. Adams contributed three assists. Sandy Allan had his second great game of the week as he made 32 saves.

PRIDE NOTES: Peter Geronazzo entered the weekend without a goal, but he changed that early on Friday night, as he tallied just 22 seconds into the Pride’s 4-1 win over Augusta. He added a pair of goals in Saturday’s 6-1 win against Columbia to give him three on the season. After going 0-for-11 in the first two games of the week, the Pride power play awoke Saturday night, going 5-for-8 on the man advantage, and moving back to first place in the league with a 27.6% success rate, more than five points better than second-best Columbia. The penalty kill had a pair of good games this weekend, killing off 10 of opposition chances, and also adding the team’s first shorthanded tally of the season on Saturday night.

Louisiana 1, New Orleans 0 – The IceGators got yet another strong goaltending performance, this one a shutout by Frederic Cloutier, and Andrew Bogle scored the game’s only goal, as red hot Louisiana cooled off New Orleans, 1-0, Friday night. Cloutier stopped 29 shots against the ECHL’s best offensive team to improve to 3-0-1 on the season and recorded his second shutout in four professional games. Cloutier, who has yet to allow an even strength goal this season, has a shutout streak of 98 minutes, 49 seconds. Bogle, a rookie out of Michigan State, scored a goal in his second straight game. Louisiana snapped the Brass’ five-game winning streak. The IceGators are the only team to beat New Orleans this season.

Louisiana 3, Arkansas 2 – Jay Murphy scored a pair of goals in the first 13:18 minutes of the third period, helping the IceGators rally from a two-goal deficit for a 3-2 win at ALLTEL Arena. Konstantin Kalmikov also scored a goal for Louisiana, while Marc Magliarditi stopped 22 shots to improve to 5-0-0. Murphy’s first goal came just 24 seconds into the final period and got Louisiana on the board. Kalmikov tied the contest at the 10:14 mark, and Murphy, Louisiana’s top scorer (6g, 4a), put the IceGators on top with 6:42 remaining. The tally was Murphy’s third game-winner of the season, all coming on the road.

MISSISSIPPI : The Sea Wolves started the weekend with a 4-2 victory in Pensacola on Friday but lost 2-1 to Baton Rouge on Saturday. For the second week in a row forward Brent Gauvreau receives the honor of Sea Wolves Player of the week. The second year pro scored a hat-trick and added an assist on Friday in the Sea Wolves 4-2 win at Pensacola. Gauvreau’s four-point night was the highest by a Mississippi player this season. The 6-3, 205-pound native of Sudbury, Ontario was selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 6th round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

SOUTH CAROLINA : Trevor Johnson scored the game-winning goal late in the third period as the visiting South Carolina Stingrays ousted the slumping Charlotte Checkers, 3-2. Johnson put a Marty Clapton feed past rookie goaltender Scott Meyer with 2:49 remaining to give South Carolina its third straight win and a 4-0-2 record over its last six. Joel Irving and Dave Seitz both collected a goal. Backup Jamie Hodson stopped 16 of 17 second-period shots and finished with 38 saves for a 2-0-0 record.

GREENVILLE : Scott Fankhouser collected a career-high 52 saves as the visiting Greenville Grrowl edged the Columbia Inferno, 2-1. Fankhouser stopped all 35 shots he faced through two periods, including 21 in the second, for the win in his first start for Greenville, which has won three of its last four. Craig Minard staked the Grrowl to a 1-0 lead with 1:08 left in the first and Martin Masa potted the eventual game-winner while short-handed with 7:25 remaining in the middle stanza.

On Saturday Craig Minard had a goal and an assist and Colin Pepperall had three assists as the visiting Greenville Grrrowl defeated the Columbus Cottonmouths, 3-1. Minard broke a scoreless tie 4:16 into the first period and assisted on Sean Venedam’s power-play tally 6:11 into the second. Pepperall completed his three-point night with an assist on Steve Rymsha’s team-leading seventh goal for a 3-0 Greenville lead after two periods. Tyrone Garner picked up his fourth win in his last six starts after making 35 saves, 17 of which came in the final stanza.

COLUMBIA : The Inferno’s dropped a 2-1 decision to Greenville. Denis Marynyuk scored at the 9:24 mark of the third as Columbia dropped to 1-2-0 against Greenville this season. Martin Villeneuve made 25 saves to suffer his third loss in his last four starts. Columbia then dropped one to Pee Dee 6-1. Joel Trottier scored for Columbia, which has lost three straight. Martin Villeneuve stopped 26 shots in defeat, falling to 4-4-0.

FLORIDA : The Florida Everblades earned one point in the standings but were defeated 2-1 in overtime on Friday night at TECO Arena. On Saturday night in front of 6,595 at TECO Arena, Tom Buckley’s goal with :30 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Everblades a 6-5 win. Forward Ryan Murphy recorded the first hat trick of the season for the Everblades on Saturday night after the Everblades first goal was changed. Florida continues to lead the ECHL in attendance with an average of 6,386 per night. The Florida Everblades President/GM Craig Brush announced today that forward Reggie Berg has been placed on the 7-day IR. Berg has registered 3 goals in 8 games this season.

COLUMBUS : The Cottonmouths lost to Greenville 3-1. Barry Dreger collected the only goal as Columbus fell to 0-6-0 when trailing after one period. David Brumby made 22 saves for a career-worst 0-6-0 start to open a season.

JACKSON : Ryan Mougenel had two goals and one assist, Richard Pitirri collected a goal and an assist, and Ken Carroll made 36 saves to lead the Jackson Bandits past the visiting Mobile Mysticks, 4-1. Pitirri gave Jackson a 2-0 lead with 5:10 left in the second period before assisting on one of Mougenel’s two third-stanza markers. Carroll, who made 28 saves in a 4-1 victory over Baton Rouge on Thursday, turned aside all 14 shots he faced in the first period and 13 of 14 shots in the final frame, improving to 2-1-0.

The Bandits lost to New Orleans 3-2. Syl Apps and Quintin Laing scored for the Bandits, who have won only once in six home contests (1-4-1). Ken Carroll allowed three goals on 32 shots to suffer the loss.

MACON : Rick Emmett scored late into overtime and Chris Madden made 33 saves as the Macon Whoopee upended the host Florida Everblades, 2-1. Emmett, a defenseman who last season tallied 37 points in 53 games between Quad City and Muskegon of the United Hockey League, netted his second goal of the year with 1:46 left in the extra session to give Macon its sixth win in nine games (6-2-1). Madden surrendered only a second-period goal to Florida’s Briane Thompson with 3:21 to play before sealing the victory, improving to 5-2-0. Luke Markovskyy opened the scoring with a goal in the second period

PENSACOLA : The IcePilots lost to Mississippi 4-2. Gaetan Royer and Dean Tiltgen collected third-period goals for the Ice Pilots, who fell to 5-5-0. Gaetan Royer and Dean Tiltgen scored for the Ice Pilots and Greg Pankewicz collected his league-leading 15th assist of the season. Evgeny Konstantinov allowed four goals on 31 shots to suffer the loss. On Saturday Dean Tiltgen scored in overtime and added a pair of assists and Luis Dumont recorded a hat trick as the Pensacola Ice Pilots rallied to defeat the Mobile Mysticks, 7-6. Tiltgen scored an even-strength tally off a pass from Remi Royer just 25 seconds into the overtime session for his second game winner of the year. Dumont tied the score at 6-6 with 2:44 remaining in the contest after netting a power-play goal at 7:37 second. Earlier in the game, he gave Pensacola a 2-1 lead with 6:55 left in the first. John McNabb produced a short-handed goal midway through the first and Paul Strand also scored for Pensacola, which has won three of its last five games. Evgeny Konstantinov, turned aside 25 shots over the last two periods and allowed only two even-strength markers for the win, improving to 3-4-0 after he stopped a season-high 34 shots.

MOBILE : Friday the Jackson Bandits defeated the visiting Mobile Mysticks, 4-1. John Sadowski scored with 4:58 left in the contest for Mobile, which went 0-for-6 on the power play after entering the game with a league-worst power-play percentage of 7.4%. Greg Hewitt surrendered three goals on 30 shots to suffer the loss. On Saturday the Mysticks lost a thrilling 7-6 overtime game against Pensacola. Jason Elders and Ryan Knox both scored a pair of goals for Mobile, which has lost three straight. Simon Lajeunesse took the loss despite stopping 38 shots, including 14 in both the first and third periods.

BATON ROUGE : The Kingfish dropped an overtime game to Arkansas 2-1. Blue Bennefield scored late in the second period to tie the game at 1-1 for Baton Rouge, which fell to 3-7-1. Brian Leitza allowed two goals on 35 shots in a losing effort. On Saturday Paxton Schafer stopped 36 shots and Tyler Deis scored the eventual game-winning goal and added an assist as the Baton Rouge Kingfish held on the defeat the Mississippi SeaWolves, 2-1. Schafer, who turned aside 38 shots on November 1st, stopped 18 third-period shots and 12 on five power-play chances for the win, improving to 4-2-0. It was his fifth 30-plus save performance in six starts this season. Deis scored 2:41 into the second period giving Baton Rouge a 2-0 lead after assisting on Chris LiPuma’s goal with one second remaining in the first.

ARKANSAS : On Friday Jeff Scharf scored three minutes into overtime as the host Arkansas RiverBlades outlasted the Baton Rouge Kingfish, 2-1. Scharf scored his second goal of the season 2:57 into the extra session to give Arkansas its third win in four games (3-1-0). Trevor Waslyuk netted his second of the year with 4:28 left in the first period for a 1-0 Arkansas lead. The RiverBlades have managed only 14 goals in their first seven contests. Trevor Prior stopped 37 shots, including all 14 he faced in the third period and overtime, and has now won both of his starts in goal for Arkansas. On Saturday the RiverBlades lost to Louisiana 3-2. Scharf and Dumas netting goals.

NEW ORLEANS : On Friday the Brass was shutout by Louisiana 1-0. Saturday the Brass bounced back. Adam Edinger had a goal and an assist and Ron Vogel made 29 saves as the visiting New Orleans Brass edged the Jackson Bandits, 3-2. Edinger, who collected 76 points in 58 games with New Orleans last season, scored a power-play goal in the second period for a 2-0 lead, then assisted on Lorne Toews’ goal in the third period. Vogel allowed a pair of even-strength goals by Jackson while improving to 4-1-0. J.F. Houle added a power-play goal and an assist for New Orleans, which is now 3-1-0 on the road and 6-3-0 overall. Patrick Rochon chipped in a pair of assists.

AUGUSTA : Friday the Lynx lost 4-1 to Pee Dee. Former NHL first-round pick David Wilkie, who entered tonight’s game as Augusta’s top scorer, recorded the lone goal 3:32 into the first for the Lynx, who have lost two of their last three. Chris Classen turned away 25 shots in defeat, falling to 2-1-0. On Saturday the Lynx lost another 4-1 game to South Carolina. Martin Lapointe tied the game at 1-1 2:21 into the second, but the Lynx lost for the third time in four games. Cris Classen, who replaced starter Judd Lambert 2:53 into the middle frame, surrendered three goals on 18 shots to suffer the loss. Lambert left the game with an injury.