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2002-03 NEWS and NOTES

2003 Edition

2002 Edition



Goaltender of the Year
Alfie Michaud

Michaud was 20-4-4 with one shutout and led the ECHL with a 2.10 goals against average in 30 games. He ranked second in the ECHL with a .927 save percentage, stopping 747 of the 806 shots faced. The 26-year-old Michaud began his professional career in 1999-2000, a season that saw him play two games in the National Hockey League with the Vancouver Canucks. He was named ECHL Goalie of the Week on February 3 and was named as the Sun National Bank East Coast Hockey League Saver of the Month for January.

All-ECHL First Team
G – Alfie Michaud, Peoria
D – Jim Baxter, Mississippi
D – Ryan Gaucher, Cincinnati
LW – Jason Jaffray, Roanoke *
C – Buddy Smith, Arkansas
RW – Steffon Walby, Mississippi

All-ECHL Second Team
G – Patrick Couture, Columbia
D – Jonathan Zion, Richmond *
D – Matt Pagnutti, Arkansas
LW – Shawn McNeil, Louisiana
C – Rejean Stringer, Columbia
RW – Rick Kowalsky, Roanoke

* - Rookie

The All-ECHL First Team and Second Team were determined in a vote of ECHL coaches.

Peoria’s Alfie Michaud leads the ECHL with a 2.12 goals against average and ranks second with a .928 save percentage while going 19-4-3 in 28 games. The 26-year-old Michaud began his professional career in 1999-2000, a season that saw him play two games in the National Hockey League with the Vancouver Canucks. He was named ECHL Goalie of the Week on February 3 and was named as the Sun National Bank East Coast Hockey League Saver of the Month for January.

Columbia’s Patrick Couture ranks second in the ECHL with a 2.40 goals against average and is tied for third with four shutouts. He ranks fourth in save percentage with .918 and ranks fifth in wins with 27. He has tied Martin Villeneuve’s team record of four shutouts and is two wins shy of Villeneuve’s team record of 29 wins despite playing in 16 games fewer than Villeneuve, who also holds the team records for goals against average (2.50) and save percentage (.915). He and Rejean Stringer are the first two players in Columbia history to earn All-ECHL honors.


2002-03 ECHL All-Rookie Team
G – Adam Hauser, Jackson
D – Jonathan Zion, Richmond
D – Grady Moore, Toledo
F – Jason Jaffray, Roanoke
F – Mike Glumac, Pee Dee
F – Zenon Konopka, Wheeling

The All-Rookie Team was determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, who were each asked to select a goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards.

Jackson’s Adam Hauser is tied for the ECHL lead with five shutouts and ranks third with a 2.46 goals against average. Selected in the third round (81st overall) by Edmonton in the 1999 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the 22-year-old Hauser is 20-9-4 with a .916 save percentage in 34 games with Jackson. In his first professional season after four years at the University of Minnesota, the 6-2 and 194-pound Hauser has twice been named ECHL Goalie of the Week. Currently with Binghamton of the American Hockey League, he was also named to the Southern Conference roster for the 2003 Compuware/ECHL All-Star Game.


Most Valuable Player
Buddy Smith, Arkansas Riverblades

ECHL Sportsmanship Award Winner
Rejean Stringer, Columbia Inferno

Rookie of the Year
Jason Jaffray, Roanoke Express

Defenseman of the Year
Jim Baxter, Mississippi Sea Wolves

Plus Performer of the Year
Dennis Vial, Columbia Inferno (+37)
Mike Glumac, Pee Dee (+37)

ECHL Scoring Title
Buddy Smith, Arkansas Riverblades (30 goals, 74 assists, 104 points)

Coach of the Year
Claude Noel, Toledo Storm


Goalie Rotations
The East Coast Hockey League’s 2002 Kelly Cup Champion Greenville Grrrowl on Friday announced they have completed a requested trade by sending goaltender Jayme Platt to the Dayton Bombers (ECHL) for future considerations. The Redmond, Washington native set a franchise record with 30 wins during the 2001-02 season, on the way to the Kelly Cup Championship with a 4-game sweep of Dayton. During the 2002-03 season, Platt had a record of 9-12-3 with 3 shutouts. Platt had requested a trade to a northern team in the ECHL
Greenville Grrrowl Press Release - 1/31/03

The Bombers have made several lineup changes. Goalie Andrew Allen asked for his release from both the Bombers (5-9-3, 3.48 goals-against average) and Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to become a free agent. Tyler Mittlestead of the Wright State club team acted as the Bombers' emergency backup while the team awaited the arrival of Jayme Platt from Greenville, obtained in a trade for future considerations.

The Greenville Grrrowl of the East Coast Hockey League on Thursday signed goaltender DAN McINTYRE to an ECHL contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The 24-year old London, Ontario native is the leading goaltender in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League with a record of 13-9-3 in 22 appearances and a goals against average of 2.03 for the Winston-Salem Parrots. This is McIntyre’s 5th year pro, and will be his first assignment in the East Coast Hockey League. He will wear jersey number 39, and will be available this weekend as Greenville’s 4-game road trip continues in Columbia, SC tomorrow (Friday) night at 7:05 PM (NewsRadio 1330 & 950, WORD).
Greenville Grrrowl Press Release - 1/30/03

Dave Marlin and Brandon Snee will be the Titans goalies for their trip to Peoria and Dayton Saturday and Sunday. Snee started the season with the Muskegon Fury in the United Hockey League, where he went 4-6 with a 4.53 goals-against. Snee was one of the top goalies in the Eastern College Athletic Conference while playing with Union. The 22-year-old is a fifth-round pick of the Rangers and a Philadelphia native Cody Rudkowsky was called up to Worcester yesterday morning due to an injury to Curtis Sanford. The Titans signed Terry Craven as an emergency backup goalie, but Craven didn't show up until the start of the second period

Wanting to add stability and a proven goalie to the lineup, Stingrays coach Jason Fitzsimmons has acquired veteran goaltender David Brumby from Augusta for an undisclosed amount of cash, the team announced Monday. "Dave Brumby has a fountain of experience and I think he brings a solid one-two combination in net for us with him and Kirk (Daubenspeck). We needed to pick up a goaltender with a proven track record to help us down the stretch. David has shown that he can win in this league and will challenge Kirk for playing time."
In order to make room for Brumby on the Stingrays' roster, Fitzsimmons released rookie goalie Dean Weasler. Weasler was 1-4 in seven games with a 4.00 goals against average and an .882 save percentage. "Dean needs to get himself into a situation where he can play regularly and get some quality experience," Fitzsimmons said. "I have no doubt that Dean will be a goalie in this league before his career is done. No one works harder on his game than Dean, but he needed to get some game experience, and with the standings so tight right now, it wasn't something we could give him."
Charleston Post and Courier - 1/28/03

The Greensboro Generals of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) has announced goaltender Sebastien Centomo (sen-TOE-moe) has been reassigned to the club by their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate St. John’s Maple Leafs. Centomo will suit up for the Generals tomorrow night at 7:00 when they host the South Carolina Stingrays. The game can be heard on WPET AM950 and www.greensborogenerals.com. Centomo, 22, has spent this entire season in St. John’s, posting a 7-10-1 record with a 3.90 goals against average and an .878 save percentage. The 6’1”, 195-pound netminder made a name for himself last season as a rookie. He started the season in the Central Hockey League with the Memphis River Kings, where he posted a spectacular 16-1-0 record with a 2.09 goals against average and .934 save percentage. From there, the Laval, Quebec native earned a call up to St. John’s, where he garnered a 12-7-4 mark with a 2.52 goals against average and .926 save percentage. Centomo even played in one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season (no decision) before leading the “Baby” Leafs to the Calder Cup quarterfinals, picking up a 4-6 record, a 2.52 goals against average and two shutouts, while playing in all eleven of their playoff games. “We won’t lose a step having Sebastien between the pipes” says Generals head coach Rick Adduono (ah-DOO-no). “He’s already proven he belongs in the American Hockey League, and he’ll keep proving that with every game he plays for the Generals.”
Greensboro Generals Press Release - 1/28/03

On Tuesday morning Peoria Rivermen President John Butler announced that goaltender Mathieu Chouinard has been recalled by the NHL's Ottawa Senators. He will report to Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Binghamton, New York, and is expected to remain there for the rest of the season. "This is what we are here for, to develop players," commented Rivermen Head Coach Jason Christie. "Chouinard came in here and did what he had to do to get to the next level. He had a great attitude and will now take his eight-game personal win streak to the AHL." Chouinard was 12-2 while in Peoria, posting three shutouts. He had a goals against average of 2.12 and a .924 save percentage. In his place, Binghamton sent goaltender Simon Lajeunesse to Peoria. Lajeunesse was 5-3-1 with a 2.68 goals against average in nine games with Binghamton this season.
Peoria Rivermen Press Release - 1/28/03

The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the East Coast Hockey League loaned goaltender Scott Stirling to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American Hockey League, it was announced today by Bullies Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Michael Haviland. So far this season, Stirling has a 2.84 goals against average, a .908 save percentage, and a 15-3-4 record, including two shutouts. The call-up marks the fifth for the 25-year old netminder this season. Tuesday Stirling earned the Most Valuable Player award in the 2003 Compuware/ECHL All-Star Game in Estero, Fla. The Hull, Mass., native started in goal for the Northern Conference squad and stopped all 11 shots he faced. Stirling was a Northern Conference All-Star in 2000-01, his rookie season. Stirling played 42 games with the Bullies last season, earning a 24-12-3 record, a 2.74 goals against average and a 0.918 save percentage. In eight playoff games, he earned six wins, including a three-game sweep of the Trenton Titans in the Northeast Division Finals, and posted a 0.944 save percentage and a 1.84 goals against average. In 2000-01, the 6-2, 205-pound netminder earned ECHL Goaltender and Rookie of the Year honors as a member of the Trenton Titans. That season Stirling posted a 32-10-3 record, a 0.922 save percentage, and a 2.14 goals against average.
Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies - 1/24/03

16 January
The Lexington Men O' War wanted to throw their weight around, but it was the Peoria Rivermen who answered the bell Sunday in the latest round between two ECHL Northwest Division teams with a growing dislike for each other. The clubs combined for 47 punches before either side attempted the game's first shot, and the Rivermen went on to a 4-1 decision in front of 4,198 at Carver Arena. It was Peoria's ninth victory in the last 11 outings and sixth in a row at home. Veteran goaltender-assistant coach Duane Derksen stepped in for the first time in 16 days and took a shutout into the third period, "I guess I was well-rested," Derksen said jokingly. "I was nervous, actually. I'd been taking all the assistant-coaching cracks from the guys the last couple weeks, and I wanted to win, felt I owed this one to the team. I didn't care if it was 8-7, I just wanted us to win."

The Express sent goalie Daniel Berthiaume on his way after six-plus seasons in Roanoke. So, imagine how he felt after stopping 35 of 36 shots to beat his old team for the first time in three tries. He wouldn't take the bait. "This whole thing happened for a reason, and I'm so happy here," Berthiaume said. "I take it as another game."

Daniel Berthiaume knows the Roanoke Express too well. The Express could get one past its former goaltender, but no more as the Greensboro Generals claimed a 3-1 win Wednesday. Berthiaume stopped 36 of 37 shots, allowing only Duncan Dalmao's power-play goal that tied the score at 1 for Roanoke (23-16-2) at the 18:47 mark of the first period.

There's something to like about the Richmond Renegades again. They're playing with confidence, poise and purpose - as a team. Last night's 5-1 victory over the Wheeling Nailers was a workman-like performance by a unit that less than a week ago was in a free-fall down the Northeast Division standings. If there was a downside, it was that goaltender Marc Magliarditi was unable to fashion consecutive shutouts. Not that Magliarditi, the team's workhorse between the pipes, was complaining about giving up one goal in two games. Last night he turned aside 23 of 24 shots. Wheeling (16-24-3) had some good chances, but Magliarditi's glove was quick - as usual. He made his best move perhaps early in the final period. Skating short-handed, the Nailers had a two-on-none breakaway. The 6-0 180-pounder broke it up by knocking the puck off leading Wheeling scorer Zenon Konopka's stick.

15 January
The Wheeling Nailers announce today that goaltender David Chant has been reassigned to the Nailers by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. Chant began the season with the Nailers and was assigned to the Adirondak IceHawks of the United Hockey League when the Nailers acquired Tyler MacKay. Chant was reassigned to Wheeling to fill the void created by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins recalling goalie Mike Valley. Chant appeared in nine games with the Nailers in the first half of the season. While with the IceHawks he appeared in two games. Chant will not be in uniform for the next several games as he was slightly injured during a practice upon his return to the Nailers. To take the place of Chant on the Nailers roster will be Matt Huemrich. Huemrich played two seasons of collegiate hockey at Ohio State University during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.
Wheeling Nailers Press Release

Jeff Sanger was one of 15 minor league pros recognized by SportsTicker for his play last week. Sanger, one of the hottest goalies in the East Coast Hockey League, earned two wins against Greenville last weekend, stopping 33 shots in a 7-2 win Friday and 24 in a 4-3 win Saturday. Sanger is 9-1-0 with a shutout, a 2.61 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in his last 11 appearances.

14 January
The Peoria Rivermen already had two great goaltenders. On Monday, they got a third one. Mathieu Chouinard, the ECHL December Goaltender of the Month who was on call the last 10 days to AHL Binghamton, was sent back to the Rivermen late Monday and will be available when the team resumes action this weekend. He'll likely team with goaltender Alfie Michaud. Veteran Duane Derksen probably is headed to injured reserve. Chouinard, a former No. 1 draft pick by Ottawa and once the Senators' top goaltending prospect, faced 23 shots and on Sunday won his first AHL game since Feb. 9, 2002.

THEY'RE SO VERY different. Patrick Couture is a French-Canadian from Quebec City. The typical goalie. More quiet. Keeps to himself. Josh Blackburn is from Choctaw, Okla., and more open and out-going with his teammates. But together they're giving the Columbia Inferno their best goaltending of the season. "It's a good situation for both of us," Blackburn said. "Before he played all the games. Then (when Couture was hurt) I did. It's nice that we both get in there and get to play now. It's good to have two goalies push each other. It helps us focus." Couture appeared in the team's first 15 games before suffering a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for 11 games. After Kevin Swanson was recalled to Manitoba, Blackburn was signed and started 10 straight. He wore down, losing his last five, but since Couture returned on Dec. 26, the duo has combined for a .916 save percentage and a 7-2 record. Coach Scott White said Couture (14-6, 2.74 goals against average) is likely to get more starts, but with a schedule that includes three more stretches of playing four games in five nights, Blackburn (7-8-1, 3.37) will see plenty of action. "We need two guys going because of our schedule," said White, who played Martin Villeneuve a league-high 54 games in net last season. "If one guy's off or having a bad night, it's easy to throw the other guy in. I know they both can play. It's a good problem to have."

David St. Germain was called up to Bridgeport yesterday. The Titans will sign Dave Marlin to back up Rudkowsky as long as Germain remains in the American Hockey League.

Goaltender Kyle Kettles (7-2-4) as posted back-to-back shutouts and is unbeaten in 10 straight games (6-0-4). His play has helped ease the loss of Frederic Cloutier (16-6-4) to Houston. Cloutier was reassigned to Houston by NHL affiliate Minnesota last week. "I think you can just tell by the way he carries himself he's up for the challenge," Farrish said of Kettles. "You can tell just by watching him in practice he's a very motivated to be successful." Kettles shutout streak is at 153:07, less than a period shy of Cloutier's club record (167:08). Kettles stopped 31 shots in a 5-0 victory over Baton Rouge Jan. 4 and then 30 in a 7-0 rout of Columbus on Jan. 9.

Weekend Edition (1/11-13/03)
A Coliseum crowd of 2,549 saw (Marc) Magliarditi excel over the final 20 minutes, in particular. He made a number of difficult saves in a period that saw the Grrrowl (16-21-3) play five on three for more than two minutes. The 6-0 180-pounder also demonstrated some feistiness by drawing a slashing penalty. "Obviously, it's been a struggle," Magliarditi said. "Hopefully, we'll keep it going."

Peoria got a shutout from goaltender Alfie Michaud, went toe to toe in six fights and cruised to its season-high sixth straight victory, 2-0, against the Nailers. "We got some rest, wherever we were yesterday (Greensboro) and maybe it helped our guys get prepared for this one," said Michaud, whose first shutout of the season was Peoria's fifth as a team. "My thought process was to be really ready, try to give my team a chance to win in a situation where we should have been tired and they (Wheeling) would be ready to jump on us. But our guys came out and really played, really took it to them instead. These are huge games, a sign of a good team is when it digs deep to win in a situation like this."

Matthew Yeats was hot, and the Renegades are not. As a result, the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies skated off with a 4-0 victory last night before a crowd of 3,569 that derived its only pleasure from a couple of fights as the game wound to a close. Maintaining their slim hold on first place in the Northeast Division, the Bullies (23-8-9) got a couple of goals 2:11 apart midway of the first period. Yeatts took it from there. The 6-0, 180-pound rookie, who is Atlantic City property but has spent time with AHL Philadelphia, turned aside 35 shots. Yeat's toughest save, perhaps, was on a short-handed breakaway by Lars Pettersen some seven minutes into the second period. It was the first 'W' on Richmond Coliseum ice for the two-year-old Bullies' franchise (1-4-2). They dropped a couple of games that were tied after regulation earlier this season here. Yeats was on the short end of both of them. The Innisfail, Alberta, native, couldn't fail this time. He already had one shutout this week, blanking Wheeling. Yeats, though, was the first star. A two-year starter at perennial NCAA power Maine, he "got off to a rough start" last year and was No. 2 for most of the season. In the tournament, however, it was Yeats who got the call in the national- championship game against the University of Minnesota, losing 4-3 while short-handed in overtime. "We've been playing well," Yeats said.

Goaltender Andrew Raycroft was recalled by the Boston Bruins on Monday, replacing former P-Bruin John Grahame, who was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The P-Bruins have recalled Matt Underhill from the Pee Dee Pride (ECHL) to take Raycroft’s spot on the roster. Underhill, a 23-year-old rookie out of Cornell University, has an 11-7-2 record and ranks fourth in the ECHL with a 2.48 GAA. He was recently selected to play in the 2003 ECHL All-Star Game on January 21
Providence Bruins Press Release - 1/13/03

Today, Johnstown goalie Peter Aubry will have to ice down his body. In goal for the Chiefs on Sunday night, Aubry faced 60 shots from the Dayton Bombers, including a fusillade of 26 shots in the third period. Aubry stopped 56 of them for a very fine save percentage of better than 93 percent. The four he missed, including the last one by Jason Crain in overtime, cost him the East Coast Hockey League game as Crain, a defenseman from Ohio State, threaded the space between Aubry's left shoulder and the goal post at 2:11 in overtime as the Bombers beat the Chiefs, 4-3, in front of 2,494 at the Nutter Center.

The Storm defeated the Pensacola Ice Pilots 2-1 in an East Coast Hockey League game at the Pensacola Civic Center. The Storm held on behind the goaltending of Doug Teskey, who stopped 44 of 45 shots in the victory, sealing the Storm’s third win in four games against Southern Conference opponents.
Toledo Blade - 1/13/03

Cam McCormick refused to use the fact that he'd played just twice in three weeks as an excuse. The Florida Everblades rookie goaltender said there was no excuse for allowing his team to fall to the lowly Augusta Lynx, 5-1, Saturday night at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. "I'm sorry to the guys for the way I played tonight and for letting them down," said McCormick, who recorded 22 saves in a losing effort as the Blades dropped their second game in a row on the road. "I just didn't feel sharp, McCormick said. "And it had nothing to do with the time off. I just didn't do my job tonight."
"It wasn't Cam's fault," said Florida coach Gerry Fleming, whose team had won nine of their past 11 games before falling the past two nights and being outscored 12-4. "He wasn't getting much help from the guys in front of him tonight. We didn't play very good defensively."
McCormick faced only seven shots (in the first period), while the Everblades peppered Lynx goalie David Brumby with 15 shots in the opening 20 minutes. Brumby, though, was brilliant early on to keep the Lynx in the game.

Captain Brad Ralph turned in his finest effort as a Lynx with a pair of goals, and goalie David Brumby was steady and sometimes stellar, making 36 saves to help the last-place Lynx (12-23-2) snap a four-game winless skid.
Augusta Chronicle - 1/12/03

Scott Meyer, Charlotte's top goaltender, strained his groin making as save in Tuesday's 8-1 win at Greensboro. He should return next weekend, coach Don MacAdam said.

Mike Smith and Marc-Andre Thinel shared most valuable player honors for the Lexington Men O' War in a 5-4 shootout victory over the host Johnstown Chiefs last night. Smith stopped 22 shots, including four in the shootout, and Thinel scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals as the Men O' War snapped a two-game losing streak. After a scoreless overtime, the teams went to a shootout, where Smith took over. The rookie goalie stopped all four shooters he faced.

Pilots forward Chris Minard could get the opportunity to play against his older brother, goaltender Mike Minard, who was assigned to the team (Toledo) by the Reading (Pa.) Royals.

Josh Blackburn stopped 37 shots to lead the Columbia Inferno to a 6-3 East Coast Hockey League victory over the Roanoke Express on Friday. Evan Lindsay stopped 19 of 25 shots for the Express. Lindsay left the game briefly in the first period when he had something in his eye, but returned after 1:30. Sebastien LaPlante did not face a shot in that time

It was just like old times in the Lions' Den. The Pee Dee Pride, who until recently undoubtedly had the Florida Everblades' number, dominated their division rival in a 7-3 rout on Friday at the Florence Civic Center. With the outcome, Pee Dee overtook Florida for first place in the East Coast Hockey League's Southeast Division and closed out the regular-season series against the Everblades in a blaze of glory. Both teams finished with 4-3-1 records against each other. "I think the work ethic (was the difference)," said Everblades goalie Rob Zepp, who had blanked Pee Dee last time out but suffered the defeat Friday. "I think they played to win tonight and they played for first place. I don't think our effort was there. They definitely outworked us and, when it comes down to it, that's how you win hockey games. And they did that better than us tonight."

Lynx trainer Brian Patafie dressed as the emergency backup in Tuesday's loss at Pee Dee and received a 10-minute misconduct penalty at the end of the game. It was a favor from referee Jim Combs, who gave Patafie the penalty so he would appear on the team's official stats.
Augusta Chronicle - 1/11/03

Call it the hockey version of turning lemons into lemonade: When you get bad bounces, bounce back. Despite giving up the most bizarre of goals against the East Coast Hockey League's top team, the Baton Rouge Kingfish fought back to claim a 4-3 shootout victory over Toledo Friday night in the Centroplex. Tying the score three times in regulation, the Kingfish finally prevailed with Bryan Richardson's fourth-round goal in the shootout. Goalie Niklas Sundberg (3-0-1 with BR) stopped 43 shots in the game and four of five in the shootout.
Baton Rouge Advocate - 1/11/03

In October, Trenton goalie Cody Rudkowsky won a game in the National Hockey League. South Carolina coach Jason Fitzsimmons wishes Rudkowsky had stayed in the NHL. Rudkowsky stopped 30 shots and BJ Kilbourne had two goals and an assist to lead Trenton past South Carolina, 3-1, Friday night before a crowd of 6,526 at the North Charleston Coliseum. Rudkowsky, who has played at three different levels this season, the East Coast, American, and National hockey leagues, in the last three months, won his first NHL decision on Oct. 24 when St. Louis beat Edmonton, 2-1. Since then, Rudkowsky has split his time between Trenton and Worchester, of the American Hockey League. He was the difference in the victory for the Titans. "I hope Cody Rudkowsky has a good agent because he has no business being in this league," Fitzsimmons said. "He was phenomenal tonight. We had every opportunity to score and win the game tonight. He was the difference in the game. When they needed a big save, he made it."

Rudkowsky is 7-0-5 since losing to Peroria on Dec. 17

10 January
Louisiana's Kyle Kettles inherited the No. 1 goaltending job earlier this week when Frederic Cloutier was reassigned to Houston. If the rookie netminder keeps this up, coach Dave Farrish will have two No. 1's when Cloutier returns from Houston. Kettles turned aside 30 shots Thursday as Louisiana blanked Columbus 7-0 in front of 4,074 fans at the Cajundome. Kettles and the 'Gators also shutout Baton Rouge 5-0 Jan. 4 in Baton Rouge. Cloutier and Kettles (7-2-4) are the only goaltenders in club history to post back-to-back shutouts. Kettles' shutout streak is at 153:08. "It feels good, but we're not really looking for shutouts, we're looking for wins," Kettles said. "We have a pretty good defensive team and we know we can score some goals. If I can keep the goals against down, we'll get some wins."

When Kyle Kettles glanced at the Louisiana IceGators' defensemen in front of him Thursday night, tying a team shutout record was perhaps not that surprising. Kettles stopped all 30 Columbus Cottonmouths' shots as he recorded a second straight shutout in Louisiana's 7-0 victory at the Cajundome. Only Kettles and teammate Frederic Cloutier, who on Monday was assigned to the AHL Houston Aeros, have consecutive shutouts in Louisiana's eight-year history. Kettles, 21, signed out of junior hockey by the NHL Minnesota Wild this year, said he wasn't focusing on blanking Columbus. "I know that I have some good defensive players and they were able to keep the number of shots down," Kettles said. Kettles, 6-0-4 in his last 10 starts, said it helped that the IceGators (23-8-8) also got off to a 4-0 first period start against Columbus (15-18-5). His performance against Columbus moved him up to second among East Coast Hockey League goalies with 2.29 goals per-game allowed. "I was kind of nervous before the game tonight, but I'm always that way," Kettles said. "When you get help from your offense, it really helps take some pressure off. With (Cloutier) gone, I see my position now as more of an opportunity."

“It was a real team effort tonight,” exclaimed Checkers Head Coach Don MacAdam. “It was one of those nights where all the breaks went our way and we capitalized. Jeff Salajko also played great when he came into the game, making a couple of terrific saves when the Generals were on the power play and we were only ahead 3-1. If he doesn’t make those saves our lead is one.” Salajko replaced starting goalie Scott Meyer who left with 4:29 left in the second period due to an injury.

(Rob) Zepp, much like last year’s starting goalie Randy Petruk, has been the team’s first-half MVP. The 21-year-old saw action in only 13 games before a groin injury ended his season, but has bounced back to post a 15-4-5 record, 2.07 goals against average and .932 save percentage. Those numbers led to him being named the ECHL Southern Conference All-Star Game starting goaltender. “I knew what I was capable of,” Zepp said. “I’m happy with the way things have gone, but I’m not happy enough. I feel I could play better, and there’s always room for improvement.”

Ironically, (Peter) Aubry has been involved in two 0-0 games in his rookie season. On Oct. 26 at Peoria (Ill.), the Chiefs and Rivermen were scoreless through 65 minutes, and Aubry was the winner in a 1-0 shootout. “It’s something that doesn’t generally happen all the time,” Aubry said. “For it to happen twice in one year is a little bizarre.”

Goaltender Niklas Sundberg is 2-0-1 since being reassigned from Charlotte, which had three goalies. He came within a minute of shutting out the Louisiana IceGators in his first Kingfish game.

09 January
Tyler MacKay (1-1) earned his first win of the season in goal for the Nailers, stopping 32 Cyclone shots. MacKay got the start in the game after Mike Valley was recalled by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. Valley replaced Sebastien Caron, who was called up to the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night after Johan Hedberg fractured his clavicle.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies loaned goaltender Scott Stirling to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. Stirling had three previous AHL call-ups this season, making one appearance for Worcester. He is 13-3-4 for the Bullies with a 2.85 goals-against average, and was named the Northern Conference starter in the Jan. 21 East Coast Hockey League All-Star Game in Estero, Fla.

Less than half a year into his first East Coast Hockey League season, Louisiana IceGators goalie Kyle Kettles is suddenly shouldering a significant load for a division leader. Kettles will be Louisiana's top goalie for at least the next several weeks after teammate Frederic Cloutier was called up this week by the American Hockey League's Houston Aeros. Cloutier's stay in Houston will apparently depend upon the rehabilitation time for Manny Fernandez, Minnesota's top goalie, who has a knee ligament sprain. Houston sent backup goaltender Dieter Kochan to Minnesota as the No. 2 for Dwayne Roloson, who is now the Wild's starter in Fernandez's absence. Cloutier is backing up Houston goalie Derek Gustafson, who is the starter at the position.

Pee Dee Pride Senior Vice President Jack Capuano today announced that former Pride goaltender Sandy Allan will return to Florence this Friday for the Pride’s game against the Florida Everblades. Prior to the game, Capuano and Allan will hold a pre-game forum for fans to ask questions about the goaltender’s recovery. A member of the Pride for each of their first five years of existence, Allan was injured in a fall from a hotel balcony in Fort Myers, Florida last February. This will be Allan’s first visit to the Lion’s Den since February 17, 2002, when he stopped in Florence on his way home to Toronto to begin his rehabilitation. In addition to speaking to fans before the game on Friday, Allan will also drop the ceremonial first puck, and give a brief speech prior to the start of the game. “Sandy has received countless cards and e-mails from Pride fans over the last year, checking in on him and seeing how he is doing,” Capuano said. “This will be a great opportunity for Pride fans to see Sandy up close, ask him questions about how he is doing and see what a great recovery he has made in a relatively short amount of time.”
Pee Dee Pride Press Release

Veteran sharpshooter Dave Seitz, the only 200-goal scorer in franchise history, broke in alone from the blue line, tried to go to his backhand and (Marc) Magliarditi reached out with his stick to pokecheck the puck from harm's way. Seitz had beaten Magliarditi with a similar move twice in the past two games. It was time to try something different. "I figured my chances were better to cut him off before he made a move," Magliarditi said. "I guess it was a little bit of a gamble, but for some reason, I had confidence I could do it."

07 January
Here is a look at a few highlights of the first half of the season for the Titans.
MVP: Cody Rudkowsky. Rudkowsky is 9-2-5 so far this season with a solid 2.69 goals-against average and has kept his team in several games. In both of Rudkowsky's losses he allowed only two goals.

Thirty-five games into his debut season, South Carolina coach Jason Fitzsimmons is pleased with the Stingrays' progress, but by no means satisfied.
Kirk Daubenspeck is leading the ECHL in wins with 19. His numbers are a little down from normal, but Daubenspeck is a gamer. Fitzsimmons would like to see Dean Weasler develop a little more, but he signed Daubenspeck to play a lot of games this season. Daubenspeck is 19-8-3 with a goals against average of 3.08 and save percentage of .912. "Kirk has given us a chance to win almost every time he's been in goal," Fitzsimmons said. "Besides a couple of games, he's been there and that's all you can ask of any goalie. Dean has continued to improve and work hard in practice. He'll get his chance."
Grade: B+/A-

05 January
The Toledo Storm of the East Coast Hockey League today announced that goaltender, Mike Minard, has been re-assigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League to the Storm. Minard (6’3/205) (26), is a seventh year pro who went 14-11-7 (3.10 gaa) (.909 save %) with the St. John’s Maple Leafs of the American Hockey League last season. Minard was a fourth round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers (#83 overall) in 1995 and played (and won) one game for the Oilers in the 1999-00 season. This year, Minard played two games with the Reading Royals of the ECHL prior to being re-assigned to Toledo. It is expected that Minard will join the Storm for the five-game/nine-day road trip, which kicks off in Little Rock, Arkansas, against the Arkansas Riverblades this Tuesday. In order to make room for Minard, the Storm released goaltender, Tom Draper, who went 3-1-0 (1.72 gaa) (.938 save %) in four games with Toledo.
Toledo Storm Press Release
Late last night, Toledo waived goalie Tom Draper, who was 3-1 with a 1.72 goals against average to make room for Toronto Maple Leaf pro Mike Minard. Draper is looking to go back to Europe.
Toledo Blade

Facing one of the ECHL's most porous defenses Saturday night, the Jackson Bandits took a period to size up visiting Columbus, then lit up the Cottonmouths for a 5-0 victory before 2,176 at Mississippi Coliseum. Brian Forslund scored two goals, one during a decisive second-period blitz, and goalie Adam Hauser recorded his third shutout to spark the Bandits in a game marred by 21 penalties and some uneven officiating. Hauser, the rookie from the University of Minnesota, is now 11-7-1. His shutout was preserved with 14.5 seconds left when an apparent goal was disallowed because the Cottonmouths had too many men on the ice. "Adam didn't get a whole lot of work," Clancey said, "but he made some saves early to keep us in it before we got it going."

The Louisiana IceGators don't have to prove themselves very often, but Saturday was one of those nights. Louisiana (22-8-8) handed Baton Rouge its worst lost of the season, 5-0 before 2,428 fans at the Riverside Centroplex. Netminder Kyle Kettles did the rest. The rookie stopped all 31 shots and recorded his first professional shutout. "Actually, I really didn't feel that good coming in," Kettles said. "But those are the kind of games you've got to battle through it. Most of the time, surprisingly those are the ones you play the best."

Rookie Matt Yeats made 22 saves and Kevin Colley had a goal and an assist to lead the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies to a 4-0 triumph over the Wheeling Nailers. Yeats stopped 16 shots over the first two frames and helped shut down five power plays for his first career shutout.

04 January
Goaltender Brian Finley began the season with the Toledo (Ohio) Storm, going 4-2-0 with a 2.33 GAA. On Wednesday he became the 204th former ECHL player to advance to the NHL. Finley, 21, debuted with the Nashville Predators, stopping 10 of 13 shots in relief during a 7-3 Predators loss to Colorado. Nashville selected Finley in the first round, sixth overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry draft.

Augusta Lynx goalie David Brumby had average numbers entering Friday night's game, but he looked like an all-star in shutting out the Greenville Grrrowl, 2-0, at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. Brumby, a recent pickup by the Lynx, had an 0-2 record and 4.72 goals-against average entering the game, but he was up to every challenge by Greenville (15-17-3), making 26 saves.

The Augusta Lynx signed David Brumby based on his reputation as one of the East Coast Hockey League's steadiest goaltenders for the past seven seasons. He didn't immediately live up to his billing, but Brumby finally paid dividends Friday night in 2-0 shutout victory over the Greenville Grrrowl before 3,412 fan at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. The 27-year-old was steady, and spectacular at times, as he recorded his first win as a Lynx and posted the team's second shutout this season. Brumby finished with 27 saves, including several tough stops during a third period when the Lynx scrambled to hold a one-goal lead against the charging Grrrowl.

Colin Zulianello got the phone call every hockey player dreams about. The Augusta Lynx goalie was called up by the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes late Friday night to serve as the backup tonight on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is the first player in Lynx franchise history to go from the East Coast Hockey League straight to the NHL. Zulianello, 24, received the good news from Lynx general manager Jim Burton about an hour after Augusta's 2-0 win over the Greenville Grrrowl on Friday. The Thunder Bay, Ontario, native was out with Lynx defenseman Jay Leach when Burton called on Leach's cell phone. "It was the best phone call I ever got in my life," said Zulianello by phone early this morning. After Phoenix goalie Sean Burke reinjured his ankle, the team initially planned to recall former Lynx goalie Zac Bierk from Springfield of the American Hockey League. Bierk could not get a flight out of Newfoundland, where Springfield was in town to play the St. John's Maple Leafs tonight. Next on the depth chart was Zulianello, who is 3-7-0 with a .896 save percentage in 11 games for Augusta. Burton said he had a blast calling Zulianello with the news. "I called to let him know he was called up and was supposed to fly out (of Augusta this morning) and would be arriving in Columbus (Ohio)," Burton said. "He thought he was going to (AHL Springfield), and he said to me the team is in Columbus?' And I said, yeah, they're (Phoenix) playing the Blue Jackets tomorrow night. He couldn't believe it. It was great."

Goaltender Curtis Cruickshank is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday. He is on the 7-day injured reserve and is expected to miss another week.

Cody Rudkowsky did everything in his power to help the Titans come away with two points, but the Blues’ prospect faced a whopping 52 shots, as Roanoke had constant pressure in the offensive zone with all the man advantages. The Express outshot the Titans 17-3 in the final 20 minutes of regulation. "We gave the ref opportunities to give us penalties," said Rudkowsky, who was about the only Titan who didn’t receive some kind of infraction last night. "We blew this game. We could have tied Roanoke in the standings with a win. It looked halfway through the game that that was what was going to happen."

"We blew a lead," said Rudkowsky. "We gave the referee the opportunity to give us penalties. We've got a job to do. It does get frustrating, but we just have to ignore it bear down and do what we have to do to get the win. That is something we didn't do tonight. We beat ourselves."

With just 13 skaters, the Kingfish put together another solid effort, downing the Pensacola Ice Pilots 4-3 in East Coast Hockey League action Friday night in the Centroplex. Goalie Niklas Sundberg improved to 9-6-1 overall and 1-0-1 in his second consecutive start since being reassigned by the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack from the Charlotte Checkers. "The guys cleared out a lot of rebounds in front of me," Sundberg said. "I think I saw the puck fairly well. Unfortunately, they got two late goals. We should have won the game 3-1."

Peoria All-Star center Tyler Rennette scored twice and goaltender Alfie Michaud won a duel against 36-year-old ex-Rivermen goaltender Tom Draper to give the hosts their eighth win in 10 outings.

Rivermen goaltender Mathieu Chouinard, called up to AHL Binghamton before the game, has been named ECHL Goaltender of the Month for December.

03 January
The East Coast Hockey League announced on Friday that it has suspended Columbus goaltender Matus Kostur for three games as a result of his actions in ECHL Game # 414 at Augusta on December 27. Kostur was assessed a game misconduct under Rule 76(a), Category III – Physical Abuse of Officials. Kostur will miss Columbus’ games at Mississippi (Jan. 3), at Jackson (Jan. 4) and at Jackson (Jan. 5).
ECHL Press Release

Hodson, Team Canada take Spengler Cup Gold

CALGARY, AB - Canada's National Men's Team capped off a perfect 2002 Spengler Cup with a 3-2 win over the host team, HC Davos in the tournament final on Tuesday morning. The game was played in front of a sold out Davos Arena (7,680), which was sold out for all eleven Spengler Cup games. Canada went undefeated in the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record.
Granby, Quebec native Jan Alston, who plays for the Zurich Lions in the Swiss Elite League, netted two goals including the winner for Team Canada with six minutes to play. Also scoring for Canada was Toronto, Ontario's Luke Sellars, who plays with the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves (Minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers).
Veteran netminder Corey Hirsch, recorded the win between the pipes for Canada, his third victory of the tournament. Hirsch was a perfect 3-0 with a goals against average of 3.00. "What a great win. I am really happy for all our players, especially the ones who play here in Europe who can now be proud of this accomplishment," said Mike Pelino, Head Coach of Canada's 2002 Spengler Cup team. "The whole team, including our support staff really came together over a short period of time, which ultimately lead us to our number one goal."
The win marks the ninth time in tournament history that Canada has been crowned champions and the first since 1998. HC Davos scored narrow victories over Canada in both the 2001 and 2000 Spengler Cup finals. Tournament awards were handed after the final game with Canada's Jamie Heward (Defence) and Paul DiPietro (Forward) being named to the tournament All-Star Team. Also named to the All-Star Team was Winnipeg, MB native Lonny Bohonos, who plays for HC Davos. Bohonos was also named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. During the 2002-03 season, General Manager Steve Tambellini and Pelino have compiled a perfect 10-0 record including a Deutschland Cup title in November and now a Spengler Cup title.

Canada's National Men's Team concluded round-robin play at the 2002 Spengler Cup with a 3-2 win over HC Davos (SUI) on Monday morning. The game, which was played in front of a jam packed Davos arena had no importance in the standings as both teams had already qualified for Tuesday's final after Davos' 5-2 win over Cologne on Sunday night.
Davos opened the scoring in the first period as Kevin Miller took a Derek Plante pass and beat Canadian goaltender Jamie Hodson (St. John's - AHL - Toronto Maple Leafs) at the 16:34 mark. Just over two minutes later, Bobby Andrews (Hartford - AHL - New York Rangers) converted a Chris Lindberg pass to even things up at one heading into the second period.
With no scoring in the second period, the stage was set for the final 20 minutes. Canada jumped into the lead early in the third and never looked back as newly added Brian Casey put Canada up 2-1 and then Mike Craig gave Canada the eventual game winner on the power play at 13:59. Davos would score a late goal to make things interesting but it was not enough as Canada held on for the 3-2 win and first place in the round-robin with a perfect 4-0 record.
Hodson recorded his second win of the tournament between the pipes for Canada and improved his goals against average to 1.50.

01 January
Goalie Matus Kostur was suspended for three games for "abuse of an official" following an altercation during Columbus' road game at Augusta last Friday. Kostur is 9-5-0 with a 4.24 goals against average in 17 games.

Mathieu Chouinard plays hockey as if it were 100 percent mental. The Peoria Rivermen goaltender tossed his ECHL-best third shutout on New Year's Eve to lead his teammates in a workmanlike 2-0 victory over Dayton before 5,369 at Carver Arena. Dayton hasn't scored an official goal on Chouinard in 74 minutes, 44 seconds. He even stopped 11 of 13 penalty shots in a shootout tiebreaker Friday against the Bombers before he followed it Tuesday with a perfect end to 2002. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Chouinard, picked No. 1 by Ottawa (15th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, won his sixth consecutive start and lowered his goals-against average to an ECHL second-ranked 2.06, with a .928 saves percentage. In his last eight outings, he's at 1.84 and .938. "Obviously, I figured they'd be thinking about when they last got a goal on me," Chouinard said. "If I can get in their heads, that's perfect. That's right where I want to be." Dayton center Matt Poapst took a hit into the endboards behind the Rivermen net on the game's second shift. The guy who delivered it? Chouinard. At 4:47, the goaltender stopped a three-shot flurry at the net. Chouinard also held off six-on-four Dayton pressure in the final two minutes. "I hadn't played for a while when I first got here," Chouinard said. "Every game, at first, was a huge challenge for me. But I feel now like my old cocky self is back in that net again."

Stingrays goalie Kirk Daubenspeck was named the third star of the game after a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Pee Dee Pride in front of 5,475 fans at the North Charleston Coliseum. The 28-year-old Wisconsin native should demand a recount. After all, the Stringrays' workhorse turned away 30 of 32 shots, and didn't allow a goal in the third period, or during any of Pee Dee's five power-play opportunities en route to his ECHL-leading 19th victory in the nets. He also was credited with an assist a Curtis Huppe goal that broke the ice at 3:42 of the first period. "The assist was nice, but my job isn't to score points," said Daubenspeck, who improved to 4-0-1 against the Pride this season - all of them one-goal affairs. "Kirk's a big-time goaltender who has a blue-collar attitude," said coach Jason Fitzsimmons. "We knew that when we recruited him in the summer to come back here. He's lived up to the expectations we had for him, and he's been a real workhorse for us. He's earning his paycheck, that's for sure." Indeed, Daubenspeck doesn't get much time off. He's started nine games in a row, 14 of the past 15 and has seen action in 29 of the Stingrays' 34 outings to date. "Physically, we're young and we can take it because this is what we want to do - play as much as possible," said the softspoken Daubenspeck. "Mentally, I try to keep fresh by leaving the game here at the rink. I don't watch hockey at home, or talk hockey with my family or with the guys."

It’s that time of the year to make promises. Some New Year’s resolutions will be kept. Others will be tossed away as quickly as a Toledo hockey fan discards an empty beer cup. Here’s a random sampling of goals being set by some associated with the 23-6-2 Storm:

Goaltender Brian Finley, recalled to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League from Toledo on Dec. 5, has played very well for the Admirals. He’s 3-3 with a team-best goals-against average of 2.84 and a team-leading save percentage of .903
Toledo Blade

The Louisiana IceGators wanted to create some New Year's Eve fireworks for their fans. For 59 minutes, Niklas Sundberg made sure the home team had nothing but duds. But, as has often been the case when the Baton Rouge Kingfish have visited the Cajundome, it was not enough. With the IceGator goalie pulled for an extra attacker, defenseman Cal Benazic scored two goals in the final minute, and left wing Shawn McNeil scored the only goal of the shootout to lead the IceGators to a remarkable 3-2 comeback win over the Kingfish in East Coast Hockey League action Tuesday night. Sundberg, seeing his first action since Dec. 13 after being assigned this week to Baton Rouge by the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, stopped the first 28 shots he faced and seemed to be carrying the Kingfish to a 2-0 victory. It would have been only BR's second regulation win in the Cajundome since Dec. 26, 1997. "The guys played great," said Sundberg, who arrived in Baton Rouge at 5 a.m. Tuesday after driving in from Charlotte, N.C. "They cleared a lot of rebounds in front of me."

The Lynx continue to carry three goaltenders, although Curtis Cruickshank remains on injured reserve with a knee injury. Wilkie faces a difficult decision on whom to keep once Cruickshank is cleared to return. Coyotes prospect Colin Zulianello was reassigned from Springfield of the American Hockey League two weeks ago and likely will retain his spot in Augusta because of the team's affiliation. The Lynx signed free-agent David Brumby on Dec. 11, and Wilkie immediately handed him the No. 1 job. After sitting out for nearly eight months, Brumby is still trying to round into form. He is 0-2-0 with a 4.72 goals-against average and .855 save percentage in three games. "I don't think Brumby has played up to his potential - there's no doubt about that - but I've given him the benefit of the doubt," Wilkie said. "But what we need is somebody to step up and that the goaltending role over. It's no secret that our goaltending hasn't been consistent. All I ask of my goalies is I need somebody to play with some consistency." Wilkie was especially frustrated with goaltending in Saturday's 6-2 loss at Pee Dee. After beating Columbus on Friday, Zulianello started at Pee Dee and allowed four goals on nine shots. He was pulled in favor of Brumby, who then gave up two more goals on 11 shots. "We gave up the four quick goals on (11) shots and the game was over," Wilkie said. "We only gave up 24 (shots) the whole game, and any time you do that on the road against Pee Dee, you should win."