The ECHL Report

By Ron Valerino

Reading center Brendan Brooks is the InGlasCo Player of the Week.
The 23-year-old Brooks scored four goals and seven points while helping the Royals go 4-0-0 and extend their team-record winning streak to six games. Assigned by Manchester of the American Hockey League on Monday, Brooks scored two goals in Reading’s 3-2 overtime win against Peoria on Tuesday and had an assist in the Royals’ 3-2 win at Wheeling on Friday. He had a goal and two assists in Reading’s 4-1 win at Cincinnati on Saturday, and closed out the week with a goal as the Royals beat Peoria 5-2 on Sunday. On behalf of Brendan Brooks, a case of pucks will be donated to a Reading area youth hockey organization by InGlasco, the official puck supplier of the ECHL.

Greensboro’s Frederic Henry is the East Coast Hockey League Goalie of the Week.
Henry was 4-0-0 with a 1.21 goals against average and a .954 save percentage as the Generals won four games in a row for the first time in the team’s three-year history. Drafted in the eighth round (200th player overall) by the New Jersey Devils in 1995, Henry made 29 saves in Greensboro’s 4-2 win against Columbia on Wednesday. In Friday’s 2-1 shootout win at Trenton, the 24-year-old Henry made 23 saves in regulation and four in overtime before stopping four of five shooters in the shootout. He made 20 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against Pee Dee the following night, and closed out the week making 27 saves in a 6-1 win against Augusta. Assigned by Albany of the American Hockey League on November 29, Henry is 5-0-0 with a 1.56 goals against average and a .941 save percentage in five starts for the Generals.

Wheeling, Johnstown, Louisiana, Florida, Pee Dee, Mississppi,Greensboro, Peoria and Dayton TEAM NOTES :

December 3-December 9

Friday, December 7
Reading 3 @ Wheeling 2
Wheeling entered this game having lost two straight to the Royals, both games in Reading and both by one goal. The only Nailers win over the Royals came in the first meeting of the season in Wheeling. Mike Hurley gave the Nailers a 1-0 lead in the contest with a goal at 8:48 of the first period. Kurt Drummond and Doug Schmidt assisted on the goal. Before the period ended the Royals tied the score on a shorthanded goal at 11:21 of the opening period. The Nailers took their second lead of the night at 2-1 in the second period with a shorthanded goal of their own. Mark Major scored the goal at 13:51 with Jeremy Brown and J.P. Soucy assisting. The Nailers held the one goal advantage until the 12:29 mark of the third period when Reading scored a power play goal to tie the game. The goal came while the Royals had a two man advantage on the ice. Reading took their first lead of the night at, 3-2, 15:18 of the third period. The lead held up as the Nailers dropped their second straight game, both to the Royals. Joel Laing made 33 saves on 36 shots in the loss.

Saturday, December 8 Wheeling 2 @ Charlotte 3

This game was the first and only meeting of the season between these two teams. Wheeling, attempting to avoid a season long losing streak of three games fell behind the Checkers 1-0 at 16:31 of the first period. The goal was a power play goal and was the only score of the opening period. The Nailers trailed despite out shooting the Checkers 13-7 for the period. In the second period the Checkers extended their lead to 2-0 at 8:52 on their second power play goal of the game. Before the period ended the Checkers went up 3-0 on an even strength goal at 17:23. In the second period the Nailers were out shot 18-9. Early in the third period the Nailers got on the scoreboard on a Mike Hurley goal from Chris Wells and Dylan Gyori at 2:37. Jeremy Brown cut the Nailers deficit to one goal at 3-2 with an even strength score at 18:07. The Nailers were unable to tie the score and dropped their third straight game, all by one goal. Joel Laing made 34 saves on 37 shots in the loss.

Sunday, December 9 Cincinnati 0 @ Wheeling 6
Wheeling lost the first meeting of the season with Cincinnati at home on November 24 3-2 in a shootout. The Nailers entered this game on a season high three game losing streak and still searching for their first December win. Dylan Gyori gave the Nailers a 1-0 lead at 2:25 of the opening period with Mike Hurley and J.P. Soucy assisting. It would turn out to be the only goal Joel Laing needed for his ninth win of the season. At 8:53 of the first period Bogdan Rudenko extended the Nailers lead to 2-0 with a power play goal from Gyori and Doug Schmidt. The Nailers scored two more times in the second period to take a 4-0 lead. The goals were at 9:56 by Chris Wells from Brendan Walsh and Jeremy Brown and short handed at 14:53 with Brown scoring from Walsh. In the third period the Nailers kept the offensive pressure on the Cyclones by scoring two more times. Gyori scored his second goal of the night at :54 of the final period. It was a two man advantage goal for the Nailers with Hurley and Kurt Drummond assisting. The final goal came from Wlash, an unassisted goal at 1:28 to give the Nailers a 6-0 lead. Laing made 36 saves to record his second shutout of the season and end the Nailers losing streak.

The Johnstown Chiefs (12-11-1; 25 PTS NW Div.) dropped to third place in the Northwest division after going 1-2-0 last week. The Chiefs trail second place Peoria by three points and first place Dayton by nine points. The Chiefs will play their next four games on the road beginning tomorrow night in Trenton, before heading to Wheeling on Friday, Dayton on Saturday night and finishing the week Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati.

GAME #22 TOLEDO 5- Johnstown 3
Deschenes 39 saves. Despite a strong game by goaltender Frederic Deschenes (39 saves,) the Chiefs dropped their second game in a row on the road 5-3, Friday night in Toledo. Johnstown got goals from J.F. Boutin, Jim Shepherd and David Gove. Kevin Kerr, Richard Keyes, and Magnus Nilsson each had a goal and an assist for the Storm.

GAME #23 Dayton 6- JOHNSTOWN 5
Carlson Goal, Assist
Former Chief Mike Vellinga scored with 10:05 left in the third period to give the visiting Dayton Bombers a 6-5 victory, Saturday night at the War Memorial. The Chiefs lead 4-3 going into the third period but could not hold on as Dayton added three goals in the fianl frame. Johnstown got goals from J.F. Boutin, Jim Shepherd, Eric Schneider, Lukas Smital and Dan Carlson. Frederic Deschenes made 16 saves for the loss. The Chiefs were 4 for 12 on the power play in the contest.

GAME #24 JOHNSTOWN 4- Trenton 2 Clark Two goals
Andrew Clark had two goals, Eric Schneider added a power play goal and Lukas Smital scored a shorthanded goal, as the Chiefs defeated the visiting Trenton Titans 4-2, Sunday afternoon at the War Memorial. The Titans rallied with two third period goals (Scott Bertoli and Ben Stafford) but that would not be enough. This was the Chiefs first regular season win against the Titans since 12/30/00 ( 5 games) when they had a 3-2 shootout win in Trenton.

Chiefs Notes:
The Chiefs are 5-5-0 in their last ten games.
The Chiefs are tied with Jackson, Toledo and Trenton with most SHG Allowed (6).
The Chiefs were 8 for 25 (32%) on the power play in three games last week.
5 of Jim Shepherd’s 7 goals have come on the power play

Goals- Eric Schneider (14) +/- – Mike Rodrigues, Shmyr, Ryan Townsend(+2)

WINS-Frederic Deschenes (6)
Assists- David Gove , Dan Carlson(12) PIM- Ryan Shmyr (122)
GAA- Deschenes (3.11)
Points- Schneider (22) PPG- Schneider (6) Save %- Deschenes (0.903)

‘Gators near franchise-record winning streak
The IceGators won three straight home games last week, running their winning streak to nine games – one short of the franchise record. Louisiana now stands at 21-1-2, the best record in North American professional hockey. Goaltenders Frederic Cloutier and Marc Magliarditi combined to yield just three goals in the three games. Louisiana and Cloutier began things with a 5-0 rout of Mississippi Friday night. The netminder was magnificent again, stopping 40 shots for his franchise-record fifth shutout of the season and second straight at the Cajundome. Steve Aronson had his first two goals in an IceGator uniform, while Chris Valicevic and Shawn McNeil each had a three-point game with a goal and two assists.

Saturday, the IceGators used a two-goal third period to rally past the New Orleans Brass, 3-2. Kevin Mitchell’s second goal of the season was the game-winner with 4:47 remaining, after Corey Neilson knotted the score with his 50th professional score early in the final stanza. Magliarditi stopped 28 shots to keep the IceGators in the game until their offense regrouped. Sunday, Shawn McNeil scored 1:15 into overtime and Cloutier turned aside 20 shots against Jackson, as the IceGators beat the Bandits 2-1. Dominic Forget’s second-period goal had put Louisiana ahead, before Randy Copley knotted the score with 7:19 remaining in regulation.

IceGator Notes:
IceGators last ones standing at home – The IceGators ran their home unbeaten streak to 13 games (11-0-2) over the weekend, the third longest home streak in franchise history. The IceGators, who are the ECHL’s only remaining unbeaten at home team, are two games shy of their longest home unbeaten streak of 15 games (15-0-0, 2/4-3/25, 2000). With its next win or regulation tie at home, Louisiana will tie its record for second longest home win streak, a 14-0-0 stretch from 10/25-12/19, 1998.

Cloutier equals Schoen’s mark – Frederic Cloutier is unbeaten in 13 games (11-0-2) to start the season, tying Bryan Schoen for the longest unbeaten streak to begin a season for a Louisiana netminder. Schoen started the 1995-96 season with a 12-0-1 record. Cloutier also recently had his third shutout streak of 100 or more minutes this season. The 20-year-old rookie had a streak of 157 minutes, 38 seconds snapped in third period Sunday against Jackson. Cloutier already holds the franchise record with a shutout streak of 163 minutes, eight seconds. Of the 13 games that the netminder has started this season, eight have been decided by one goal.

Shanahan lights lamp again – Ryan Shanahan’s goal Saturday night not only kicked off the second annual Toys for Tots Teddy Bear Toss, it was also his first goal since Opening Night, October 12 at New Orleans. The winger, though, has been one of Louisiana’s most consistent players, and his 16 assists lead the team. Shanahan is nearly halfway to his career-best of 33 assists, set in the 1999-2000 campaign.

Friday, December 7 @ Augusta
Augusta Civic Center
7-3 Win
GAME NOTES: The Florida Everblades started their four game road trip with a decisive 7-3 victory over the Augusta Lynx. Don Smith scored two goals. Augusta jumped out to a 2-0 lead scoring twice in the first 4:25 of the hockey game. Wes Mason scored on a wrap-around goal beating Rob Zepp. Guy Larose and Martin Lapointe assisted on the goal. Wes Swinson scored on a slapshot 51 seconds later to give the Lynx a 2-0 lead. Andrew Long scored on the power play to cut the Lynx in half. Duane Harmer tied the game at 2-2 breaking in from the right point and firing a wrist shot along the ice that beat Lynx netminder Gregg Naumenko five hole for his first tally of the season.

The Everblades fell behind 3-2 just 1:35 into the second period as Tyler Willis scored on a slapshot from just inside the blueline. Reggie Berg tied the game with Tom Buckley assisting on the goal. Berg fired a wrist shot that beat Naumenko high on the glove side. Don Smith put the Everblades in front 4-3 scoring on a great pass from Ed Hill. Smith scored 31 seconds later to give the Everblades a two-goal lead. Smith batted in a rebound of his own shot with Keith Anderson and Brent McDonald assisting. Tom Buckley scored his league leading 16th goal of the season early in the third period to give the Everblades a 6-3 lead.

Saturday, December 8 @ South Carolina
North Charleston Coliseum
5-0 Win

GAME NOTES:Randy Petruk picked up his second consecutive shutout as the Florida Everblades won their third straight game and second consecutive on the road as they blanked the South Carolina Stingrays 5-0 in front 5,431 at the North Charleston Collisum. Shaun Fisher scored just over five minutes into the game to give the Everblades a 1-0 lead. Paul Spadafora won the faceoff back to Fisher who fired a slapshot that beat Jody Lehman on the stick side. Reggie Berg increased the Everblades lead scoring a short-handed goal at the 13:25 mark.

Berg picked up the puck at the Stingray blue line and slid a backhand past Lehman for the Everblades first short-handed goal of the season. Fisher scored his second of the night 1:30 into the second period on a pinpoint pass from Ryan Murphy. Berg scored on the power play midway through the second period to give the Everblades a 4-0 lead. Matt Demarski closed out the scoring with a power play goal in the third period. Briane Thompson and Spadafora assisted. The Everblades outshot the Stingrays 12-4 in the third period and 39-29 for the game.

Sunday, December 9 @ Pee Dee
Florence Civic Center
0-3 Loss
GAME NOTES: Sandy Allan turned away 31 shots as the Pee Dee Pride shutout the Florida Everblades 3-0 at the Florence Civic Center. The Pride improved to 18-5-3 while the Everblades fell to 14-6-2 for the season. The Everblades finish their four game road trip on Tuesday against the South Carolina Stingrays. After a scoreless first period, the Pee Dee Pride erupted for three late second period goals to blow the game open. Eric Naud, Gregor Krajnc and Allan Sirois scored in a span of 4:52 for Pee Dee. Naud deflected a wrist shot from Jeff Burgoyne to give the Pride a 1-0 lead. Dany Bousquet also assisted on the power play goal. Gregor Krajnc scored just after an Everblades power play ended. Krajnc jumped out of the penalty box and broke in alone on Rob Zepp, after his initial shot hit the post Curtis Valentine fired the rebound toward the goal and Krajnc scored on the third effort. Sirois would score the Pride’s second power play goal with a blistering slapshot that found its way through Zepp with 52 seconds remaining in the period.

ECHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINATION: The Everblades ECHL player of the week nomination is forward Reggie Berg The Anoka, MN native had six points this past week including two two goal games. He was +2 for the week and was named the second star in the Everblades 5-0 win on Saturday in South Carolina.

BOMBERS GRAB SIX MORE POINTS IN THREE-GAME SWEEP OF WEEK’S TILTS: The Dayton Bombers went 3-0 this past week and now have a season-best six point lead atop the Northwest Division of the East Coast Hockey League. The Bombers have won four in a row overall, are 7-0-1 in their last eight, and have a chance Friday to set a brand new franchise mark for consecutive home wins. The Bombers enter the week with a .739 winning percentage, best in the Northern Conference and third in the ECHL behind the Louisiana IceGators (.917) and the Pee Dee Pride (.750) of the Southern Conference. The Bombers are just two points (16-5-2, 34 PTS) back of the Northeast-Division leading Trenton Titans (with four games in hand) for the most overall points (16-7-4, 36 PTS) in the Northern Conference. Below is a recap of last week’s games:

12/04/01- Toledo 2 @ Dayton 5- The Bombers received goals from five different players to extend their home winning streak to nine and beat the only team to have defeated the Bombers at the Nutter Center this season, the Toledo Storm. Cory Morgan (PP), Bill McCauley, Jonathan Gauthier, Jamie Ling, and Ben Keup each tallied for Dayton. Goalie Greg Gardner stopped 27 of 29 shots to help Dayton win its second straight game overall.

12/07/01- Cincinnati 2 @ Dayton 5- Cory Morgan, Blaine McCauley, and Preston Mizzi (team-leading 11th goal) helped the Bombers to a 3-0 lead by the time 6:03 had elapsed in the second period. Cincinnati rallied with a late second period and early third period score, but Jamie Ling adeptly set up Ben Keup for a back-breaking shorthanded goal to give Dayton a 4-2 lead 8:54 into the third period. Ling put the Cyclones away with a goal 3:06 left in regulation. With the win, the Bombers matched their 1992-93 brethren, who won ten straight home games from November 13-December 20.

12/08/01- Dayton 6 @ Johnstown 5- In a seesaw affair at Cambria County War Memorial Arena, the Bombers surrendered a 3-0 lead, but wound up winning 6-5 on ex-Chief Mike Vellinga’s goal with 10:05 to play. Cory Morgan scored two more goals for Dayton while newcomer James Desmarais picked up his first points as a Bomber with a power play goal and an assist. Doug Nolan also tallied for the Bombers as did Jamie Ling. Ling’s third period short-handed goal was his 104th, tying the franchise record for career goals originally set by Steve Roberts (1995-1998). The Bombers used the third period to redeem themselves and, in the process, avoided a repeat performance of a November 10 game at Johnstown which saw the Chiefs rally from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in a shootout. Greg Gardner won his sixth straight start for the Bombers.

STREAKY: Both Bombers forwards Cory Morgan (4 total goals) and Jamie Ling are riding three-game goal scoring streaks for the Dayton Bombers … Goalie Greg Gardner has won his last six starts … The Bombers are 7-0-1 in their last eight … Ben Keup has two goals and four assists in his last three games … Defenseman Bill McCauley has points in his last four games (2-4-6) … Center Preston Mizzi had points in six straight games before being recalled to Syracuse (AHL) December 8 … The Bombers’ ten-game home winning streak is eight shy of matching the ECHL’s all-time best of 18 set by the 1994-95 South Carolina Stingrays.

LAST WEEK: The Pride picked up five out of a possible six points, winning both games on home ice and losing in overtime on the road. Pee Dee is now 18-5-3 on the year for 39 points. They are seven points ahead of South Carolina for first place in the Southeast Division.

Friday, December 7 v. Columbia PRIDE 3 Inferno 2 (OT)
The Pride had a 2-1 lead through two periods, thanks to goals from Eric Naud and Dany Bousquet. Former Pride player Ryan Petz scored the tying goal early in the third period to send the game into overtime. In the extra session, the Pride enjoyed a two-man advantage and capitalized on a Joel Irwin goal to pick up the victory.

Saturday, December 8 @ Greensboro Generals 2 PRIDE 1 (OT)
For the third straight game, the Pride went beyond regulation. Eric Naud gave the Pride the lead with a power play goal eight minutes into the second period. Greensboro tied it with a power play tally of their own two and a half minutes later. In overtime, David Whitworth scored less than two minutes in to give the Generals their third straight win.

Sunday, December 9 v. Florida PRIDE 3 Everblades 0
Pee Dee broke open a scoreless game with three goals in the final 5:46 of the second period, and was able to hold on to get the victory. Sandy Allan made 31 saves for his third shutout of the season, while Dany Bousquet assisted on all three Pride goals.

PRIDE NOTES: Dany Bousquet posted the odd stat of the week last week. He had a hand in all seven of the Pride’s goals in their three games. Friday night he had a goal and assisted on the other two. He assisted on the Pride’s only goal on Saturday and on Sunday he picked up an assist on all three goals.

Friday, Dec. 7 – Sea Wolves 0 at Louisiana IceGators 5 –
Cajundome, Lafayette, LA

Louisiana rookie goaltender Frederic Cloutier put on a clinic in the IceGators net stopping all 40 shots to register his fifth shutout of the season. Mississippi outshot Louisiana 40-30. Steve Aronson led the Louisiana attack, scoring twice. Shawn McNeil tallied once and added two assists. Louisiana leads the 10 game season series two games to none. The next head-to-head meeting is December 21 in Lafayette.

Saturday, Dec. 8 – Sea Wolves 1 vs. Greenville Grrrowl 2 –
Mississippi Coast Coliseum

For the second straight night, the opposition’s rookie goaltender made 40 saves to victory. Grrrowl netminder Jayme Platt made 40 stops on 41 shots in the winning cause. Brad Ralph scored the lone Sea Wolves goal, but he would leave the game later with a shoulder injury and was placed on the 7-day injured reserve. Greenville won the only meeting of the regular season between the Grrrowl and Sea Wolves. Mississippi’s all-time record against Greenville drops to 5-1-1.

Sunday, Dec. 9 – Sea Wolves 5 vs. Mobile Mysticks 4 (SO) –
Mississippi Coast Coliseum

Michael Ryder capped off a four point night by scoring the only goal in the shootout giving Mississippi the win. Ryder finished with two goals and two assists. Linemate Francois Fortier counted two goals and assisted on another, while Evan Lindsay made 26 saves for the win. Mississippi’s win snapped a franchise high five-game losing streak at home. The nine-game season series is tied at two wins each.

Right winger Michael Ryder had two goals and two assists including the game-winner in Sunday’s 5-4 shootout win against Mobile. The 21-year-old native of St. John’s, Newfoundland has four goals and four assists in six games.

The Greensboro Generals enjoyed the most successful week in team history going 4-0-0, including a 2-1 shootout win at Northern Conference leader Trenton and a 2-1 overtime win against Southeast Division leader Pee Dee. It marks the first time in the Generals’ three-year history that they have won four games in a row. The Generals have won three home games in a row and are 4-1-0 in their last five home games. Greensboro was 0-6-1 in its first seven home games and did not win at home until November 30 when it beat Columbus, 5-3 at Winston-Salem, N.C. Greensboro will play three road games in a row this week, visiting Macon on Tuesday, Augusta on Friday and Charlotte on Saturday, before returning home on Sunday to host defending Kelly Cup Champion South Carolina.

Goaltender Frederic Henry, who was assigned by Albany of the American Hockey League on November 29, was 4-0-0 with a 1.21 goals against average and a .954 save percentage in four starts last week, improving to 5-0-0 with a 1.56 goals against average and a .941 save percentage. Center David Whitworth scored a goal in all four wins last week, including the game winner against Pee Dee, and finished the week with six points. Whitworth ranks second on the Generals with 12 assists while his 16 points tie him for third on the team with Sal Manganaro, Rob Sandrock and Andrei Lupandin, who has five points (4g-1a) in six games with Greensboro while scoring 11 points (3g-8a) in 18 games with Cincinnati. Vlad Serov set a team record when he scored just nine seconds into the first period of Sunday’s 6-1 win against Augusta. Serov leads Greensboro with 12 goals, two game-winning goals and 19 points in 22 games while Chris Bell leads the Generals with 13 assists and ranks second with 17 points.

On December 8th the Checkers defense hung on in the final minutes to repel a furious Nailers attack and secure a 3-2 victory over the Wheeling. The Checkers dominating play at both ends of the ice producing a 3-0 lead. The Checkers power play scored the games first two goals, the first by Kevin Hilton and the second, a long slap shot from the left slot, by Kurt Seher. Dave Duerden made the score 3-0 with a nifty backhand goal at the 17:23 mark of the second. Bryce Wandler shutout the Nailers through the first 42:37 of the game before Wheeling scored their first goal of the night.

The Peoria Rivermen are on their way home and back to the NW Division following a lackluster game on Sunday in Reading. The Royals kept the Rivermen from going .500 on their five-game tour of the NE Division with a 5-2 win over their NW Division foe. Matt Golden’s goal at 5:59 of the first period tied the game at one, but the Rivermen would get no closer than the final score. The Royals would score two more times in the first, both on the powerplay to take a 3-1 advantage into the break. Once again, two traded for players hurt Peoria as Lorne Toews and Brandon Brooks each scored for the host Royals. The teams split goals in the 2nd period with Blake Evans scoring Peoria’s 2nd goal of the game, a powerplay tally, with just three minutes left in the period. Phil Osaer had started for the Rivermen but was pulled midway through the 2nd period, with the score at 4-1. Osaer had stopped 15 of 19 shots faced. Cody Rudkowsky came in and stopped all but one of the four shots he faced.

Yes, in the game’s final 29:35 seconds, the Royals managed only four shots on net. Dan Riva scored the lone goal of the final period to give Reading a 5-2 advantage and a sweep of their two-game set against the Rivermen. Reading will be in Peoria on the final day of the regular season, March 31. Peoria fell to 2-2-1 on this road trip but stays in 2nd place in the NW Division, trailing Dayton by six points. The Bombers were idle today, however 3rd place Johnstown won at home over Trenton to pull to within three points of the Rivermen. In the only other NW Division game, Wheeling shut out Cincinnati 6-0 and pulls into a 4th place tie with the Cyclones. The Rivermen next host Cincinnati on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15.

Thanks to following their contributions:
Ned Bowdern – Wheeling Nailers
Sue Babik – Johnstown Chiefs
Joe Babik – Pee Dee Pride
Ryan Stanzel – Louisiana IceGators
Dan Guenther – Florida Everblades
Mike Kelly – Mississippi Seawolves
Matt Gorsky – Dayton Bombers
ECHL Office