Tight Battle in ECHL North Continues
Tight Battle in ECHL North Continues
Monday, Mar. 16th, 2009
Heading into the last three weeks with 33 games remaining, the top five teams in the North Division are separated by two points.
Defending Kelly Cup champion Cincinnati (34-23-5) and Wheeling (33-23-7) are tied for first with 73 points while Johnstown (34-25-4) and Trenton (33-23-6) are tied for third with 72 points and Elmira (33-24-5) is fifth with 71 points.
The top four finishers in the division will advance to the Kelly Cup Playoffs where they will be seeded based on regular season point totals. The Division Semifinals will be played Apr. 9-22 with the first seed meeting the fourth seed and the second seed meeting the third seed in a best-of-seven series. The series format is 2-3-2 with game dates determined by the participants based upon arena availability. Teams in close proximity may agree to deviate from the standard series format subject to league guidelines.
Cincinnati will host Gwinnett on Wednesday and Thursday before visiting Trenton on Saturday and Sunday. The Cyclones have won the last two meetings with the Devils and they are 3-0-0 on the road and 4-1-0 overall in the season series.
Wheeling, which has won its last five home games to improve to 18-9-4 at WesBanco Arena, hosts Dayton on Friday and Reading on Saturday and Sunday. The Bombers have won the last three meetings to improve to 3-2-0 at Wheeling and 7-3-2 overall in the season series. The Nailers are 3-0-0 at home against Reading although the Royals have won the last three meetings to even the series at 4-4-0.
Trenton, which has won 20 home games for the first time since 2005-06, plays at Elmira on Tuesday and at Reading on Friday before hosting Cincinnati on Saturday and Sunday. The Devils are 3-3-1 at Elmira and 6-5-1 overall this season against the Jackals, and are 5-1-1 at home and 9-2-1 overall after winning their last four games against the Royals.
Johnstown plays at Elmira on Friday and Saturday and hosts the Jackals on Sunday. The Chiefs have won the last two meetings to improve to 5-1-1 at home and 6-4-1 overall in the season series with Elmira. The Jackals have won the last two meetings at Elmira and are 3-1-0 at home and 5-5-1 overall against Johnstown.
Red-Hot Aces Qualify For Kelly Cup Playoffs
Alaska became the first team in the National Conference to clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Friday. The Aces, who won the Kelly Cup in 2006 and reached the conference finals in 2005 and 2007, are 40-21-3 and lead the conference and the West Division with a winning percentage of .648 and 83 points. Alaska went 17-2-0 in its last 19 home games to finish with a league-leading 28-7-1 record at Sullivan Arena. The Aces, who have won a season-high six games in a row to improve to 10-1-0 in their last 11 games, play at Phoenix on Thursday and Friday and at Las Vegas on Saturday.
The top four finishers in the West Division will advance to the Kelly Cup Playoffs where they will be seeded based on regular season winning percentage. In the Pacific Division there will be four postseason qualifiers based on winning percentage, including the fifth-place finisher from the West Division if it has a better winning percentage than the fourth-place team in the Pacific. The seeding is being done by winning percentage rather than points because Las Vegas and Ontario are each playing one more game than the other seven teams following Fresno ceasing operations. The Division Semifinals will be played Apr. 9-22 with the first seed meeting the fourth seed and the second seed meeting the third seed in a best-of-seven series. The series format is 2-3-2 with game dates determined by the participants based upon arena availability. Teams in close proximity may agree to deviate from the standard series format subject to league guidelines.
Idaho is 36-21-4 and in second place in the West Division and the conference with a winning percentage of .623 and 76 points. The Steelheads need two points to qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the sixth time in six seasons. Idaho became only the second expansion team in league history to capture the Kelly Cup championship in 2003-04 and became the second two-time Kelly Cup winner in 2007. The Steelheads play at Victoria on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Steelheads have won the first three meetings this season to improve to 23-9-4 all-time against the Salmon Kings.
Victoria is 34-24-6 and in third place in the West Division with a winning percentage of .578 and 74 points. The Salmon Kings, who need four points to reach the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the third season in a row, host Idaho on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Ontario is 35-24-5 and leads the Pacific Division with a winning percentage of .586 and 75 points while Las Vegas is 29-26-8 and in second place in the division with a winning percentage of .524 and 66 points. Ontario, which needs four points to clinch a postseason berth, hosts Stockton on Wednesday, Phoenix on Saturday and Las Vegas on Sunday while playing at Las Vegas on Friday.
Bakersfield is 27-30-7 and presently holds the last spot in the National Conference with a winning percentage of .477. The Condors, who are a league-leading 13-4-1 in their last 18 games, host Utah on Wednesday and Friday and play at Stockton on Saturday. Bakersfield is 2-1-0 at home and 5-2-0 overall this season against the Grizzlies. The Condors have won their last four games against Stockton to improve to 3-0-0 on the road and 5-1-0 overall in the season series with the Thunder.
Utah is 25-23-16 and in fourth place in the West with a winning percentage of .516 and 66 points. The Grizzlies, who advanced to the conference finals a year ago, play at Bakersfield on Wednesday and Friday and at Stockton on Thursday.
Stockton is 29-29-5 and in third place in the Pacific with a winning percentage of .500 and 63 points. The Thunder, who have reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs each of the last two years, play at Ontario on Wednesday and host Utah on Thursday and Bakersfield on Saturday.
Stingrays Close To Record 15th Kelly Cup Playoff Appearance
Charlotte, Gwinnett, Mississippi and South Carolina are all in the hunt for the remaining three Kelly Cup Playoff berths in the South Division led by the Stingrays, who need one win to qualify for the postseason a league record 15th time.
The top four finishers in the division will advance to the Kelly Cup Playoffs where they will be seeded based on regular season winning percentage. The seeding is being done by winning percentage rather than points because Gwinnett is playing one more game than the other four teams following Augusta ceasing operations. The Division Semifinals will be played Apr. 9-22 with the first seed meeting the fourth seed and the second seed meeting the third seed in a best-of-seven series. The series format is 2-3-2 with game dates determined by the participants based upon arena availability. Teams in close proximity may agree to deviate from the standard series format subject to league guidelines.
The Stingrays are 35-22-6 and in second place with a winning percentage of .603 and 76 points followed by Charlotte at 31-24-6 with a winning percentage of .557 and 68 points. Gwinnett is 27-28-6 and currently holds the fourth postseason berth with a winning percentage of .492 and 60 points. Mississippi is 27-29-7 and in fifth place with a winning percentage of .484 and 61 points.
South Carolina, which has missed the postseason only once in 16 seasons, holds the league marks for most playoff games with 116 and most playoff wins with 61. South Carolina won the first Kelly Cup in 1997 and became the first two-time winner in 2001.
The Stingrays, who are 4-0-1 in their last five games and 7-1-2 in the last 10 games, host Mississippi on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. South Carolina is 6-2-1 at home and 8-4-3 overall in the season series against the Sea Wolves.
Charlotte plays at Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday and hosts the Everblades on Friday and Sunday. The Checkers have won the last four meetings to improve to 5-2-0 at home and 7-5-0 overall in the season series with the Everblades.
Gwinnett plays at Cincinnati on Wednesday and Thursday and at Dayton on Saturday and Sunday.
Florida was the first team to qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Mar. 7. The Everblades have advanced to the postseason in every one of its 11 seasons and advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2004 and 2005 and to the conference finals in 2007.
Florida is 41-17-4 and leads the ECHL with 86 points, 41 wins and 22 home wins. The Everblades won the Brabham Cup, which is the trophy presented to the regular season champion, in 1999-2000 and set ECHL records with 53 wins and 108 points. The 53 wins are now tied for the third most in league history while the 108 points are tied for sixth.
Florida’s Baker One Away From 50 Goals
Kevin Baker of the Florida Everblades needs one goal to become the first ECHL player since 2000-01 to score 50 goals in a season. Baker leads the league with a career-high and team record 49 goals in 61 games.
Wes Goldie of Victoria is second with 45 goals in 64 games while Wheeling rookie Bryan Ewing is third with 40 goals in 58 games. Goldie led the league in 2007-08 with 42 goals after finishing second with 41 goals in 2006-07 and is 13th in league history with 242 career goals. He and his brother, Ash Goldie, made history in 2007-08 when they became the first set of teammates and the first set of brothers to lead the league in goal scoring after finishing with 42 goals and 40 goals, respectively.
Andrew Williamson of Toledo led the league in 2000-01 with 52 goals in 66 games and in 1999-2000 with 63 goals in 63 games. The last time there were two 50-goal scorers in the ECHL was 1999-2000 when Williamson had 63 goals and Jay Murphy of Louisiana had 55 goals in 69 games. The 50-goal plateau has been reached 41 times in ECHL history.
The ECHL record for goals is 85 goals by Trevor Jobe of Nashville in 1992-93 while the league record for goals by a rookie is 80 goals by Bill McDougall of Erie in 1989-90.
The most goals scored in the last seven seasons is 49 by Alaska’s Chris Minard in 2004-05 while the second most is 47 goals by Mike Wirll with Cincinnati, Pensacola and Utah in 2006-07.
Baker also leads the league with a career-high and team record 89 points. He is also first in the ECHL with a team record 22 power-play goals, 42 power-play points and 10 game-winning goals.
Season-High Crowds In Reading, Mississippi Help Raise Attendance Again
The two largest crowds of the year in Mississippi and the biggest crowd of the season in Reading helped the ECHL raise its average attendance for the eighth week in a row to 4,153 per game.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League has drawn 2,832,686 fans for 682 games and is on pace to surpass 3 million fans for the 16th season in a row.
Mississippi had 7,162 on Friday and 7,417 on Saturday to increase its attendance to 3,156 per game while Reading had 6,844 on Saturday and over 11,000 for two games to increase its attendance to 4972 per game.
Bakersfield and Las Vegas each drew more than 12,000 for two games and raised their average attendance to 5,542 and 4,547 per game, respectively. Alaska had over 19,000 for its final four regular season home games to raise its attendance to 4,682 per game and Charlotte had almost 16,000 for three games to raise its attendance to 5,187 per game. Victoria increased its attendance to 4,831 per game after drawing nearly 21,000 for four games while Dayton and Trenton both had their average grow to 3,573 per game and 2,614 per game, respectively.
Stockton and Florida remain first and second with 6,221 per game and 5,617 per game, respectively, while expansion Ontario is third with 5,558 per game. The Thunder are trying to become the first team to lead the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons since the Everblades led the league for a record five straight years from 2000-05.
Top Eight Scorers Includes Quartet Of Condors
Four players from Bakersfield are ranked among the top eight scorers in the ECHL with Dave Bonk, Mark Derlago, Chad Painchaud and Matt Pope. The Condors rank fifth in the league with 211 goals and 3.30 goals per game.
Bonk is fourth in the league with 70 points (25g-45a) in 52 games while Derlago is sixth with 65 points (27g-38a) in 41 games. Derlago has also played in the American Hockey League where he has nine point (4g-5a) in 21 games with Manitoba.
Bonk and Derlago have combined to score 74 points on 24 goals and 50 assists in 20 games since Feb. 1. Derlago leads the league since Feb. 1 with 15 goals and 38 points and is third with 23 assists while Bonk is first with 27 assists and second with 36 points. The third member of their line has been Mike Wirll, who has 12 goals and 25 points in 19 games since Feb. 1.
Painchaud, who was recalled to the American Hockey League by Iowa on Feb. 26, is seventh with 64 points and fifth with 44 assists in 57 games. Pope, who was loaned to Binghamton of the AHL on Mar. 9, is tied for eighth with 63 points in 54 games. He is fourth among league rookies with 30 goals and tied for fourth in points while his 33 assists are sixth.
Derlago led the ECHL in February with 26 points (10g-16a) in 14 games while Bonk was second with 25 points and first with 19 assists in 14 games.
There have never been four players from one team ranked in the top eight scorers at the end of the season. There have been six teams that have had three players finish in the top eight in points including Winston-Salem which had the top three scorers in 1989-90. Johnstown had three players in the top eight in 1988-89 while Knoxville accomplished the feat in 1990-91. Greensboro had three among the top five scorers in 1993-94 and South Carolina had three in the top seven in 1996-97. The last team to have three in the top eight was Louisiana in 1998-99 while Pensacola had three finish among the top nine in 2001-02.
American Conference - North Division
* Cyclones are 19-12-1 on the road and tied with Florida for most road wins.
* Cincinnati is 63-27-7 (.677) since the 2008 All-Star Game.
* Cyclones host Gwinnett on Wednesday and Thursday and play at Trenton on Saturday and Sunday.
* Dayton has won its last three games with Wheeling and is 4-1-2 at home and 7-3-2 overall in season series against the Nailers.
* Joe Van Culin (0g-3a) and Les Reaney (2g-1a) have three points in their last three games.
* Dayton plays at Wheeling on Friday and hosts Gwinnett at Hobart Arena on Saturday and Sunday.
* Rookie Colton Yellow Horn leads the Jackals in the last six games with five assists and eight points.
* Michael Teslak has won his last two starts and is 5-2-0 with a goals-against average of 2.74 in his last seven games.
* Jackals host Trenton on Tuesday and Johnstown on Friday and Saturday before visiting Johnstown on Sunday.
* Johnstown has not lost back-to-back home games since Jan. 2 and 3.
* Overtime loss at Wheeling on Sunday was the first time since Feb. 8 that Chiefs registered a point in a road game.
* Johnstown plays at Elmira on Friday and Saturday and hosts Elmira on Sunday.
* Royals are 16-2-0 when holding their opponent to two goals or less.
* Chris Stevens and Kirk MacDonald are tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals.
* Royals host Trenton on Friday and play at Wheeling on Saturday and Sunday.
* Ryan Gunderson needs two assists to tie the team record of 48 assists by Scott Bertoli in 2006-07.
* Eric Castonguay has 19 points (7g, 12a) in his last 12 games.
* Trenton plays at Elmira on Tuesday and at Reading on Friday before hosting Cincinnati on Saturday and Sunday
. Wheeling Nailers
* Nailers have won their last five home games to improve to 18-9-4 at WesBanco Arena.
* Billy Ryan has a six-game point streak (4g-8a) including career-high five points (2g-3a) on Saturday at Johnstown.
* Nailers host Dayton on Friday and Reading on Saturday and Sunday.
American Conference - South Division
* Charlotte is third in the ECHL on the penalty kill with 86.4 percent (292-for-338).
* Mike Bayrack has three assists and five points in his last four games.
* Charlotte plays at Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday and hosts Florida on Friday and Sunday.
* Everblades are second in the league on the penalty kill with 87.1 percent (357-for-410).
* Kevin Baker has set team records for goals (49), points (89), power-play goals (22) and shots (293).
* Everblades host Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday and play at Charlotte on Friday and Sunday.
* Gwinnett leads the ECHL with 16 shorthand goals.
* Matt Siddall scored his first hat trick and the first three-goal game of the season for the Gladiators in a 6-3 win against Florida on Sunday.
* Gwinnett plays at Cincinnati on Wednesday and Thursday and at Dayton on Saturday and Sunday.
Mississippi Sea Wolves
* Sea Wolves are 6-1 in shootouts and 3-6 in overtime and 14-9-7 in one-goal games.
* Ryan Cruthers is fifth among league rookies with 34 assists and 62 points and tied for fifth with 28 goals.
* Sea Wolves play at South Carolina on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
South Carolina Stingrays
* South Carolina has seven power-play goals in its last four games and is third in the ECHL with 21.7 percent (73-for-337).
* Nikita Kashirsky scored his first professional goal in 3-2 shootout loss at Mississippi on Mar. 11.
* South Carolina hosts Mississippi on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
National Conference - West Division
* Alaska leads the league on the penalty kill with 90.5 percent (295-for-326).
* Matt Shasby has an ECHL season-high 13-game assist streak (17a) and a 13-game point streak (1g-17a).
* Alaska plays at Phoenix on Thursday and Friday and at Las Vegas on Saturday.
* Steelheads are 21-8-4 in one-goal games including 6-2 in overtime and 5-2 in shootouts.
* Matt Climie is fourth in the league with a goals-against average of 2.44 and Rejean Beauchemin is seventh with 2.69.
* Steelheads play at Victoria on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
* Daniel Sisca has scored in seven of his last nine games (5g-6a).
* Kimbi Daniels played his 900th career game on Saturday.
* Phoenix plays at Las Vegas on Tuesday and at Ontario on Sunday while hosting Alaska on Thursday and Friday.
* Robert Gherson is 2-0-0 with a shutout and a goals-against average of 1.50 in his last two starts.
* Peder Skinner has two goals in his first three games since being acquired on Thursday.
* Grizzlies play at Bakersfield on Wednesday and Friday and at Stockton on Thursday.
Victoria Salmon Kings
* Victoria has scored a power-play goal in six consecutive games going 8-for-23 (34.8 percent) during the streak.
* Matt Kelly has a six-game point streak (3g-6a).
* Victoria hosts Idaho on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
National Conference - Pacific Division
* Condors are an ECHL-best 13-4-1 in their last 18 games.
* Andrew Ianiero has a three-game goal streak (5g), including his first hat trick of the season on Friday, and a five-game point streak (6g-4a).
* Condors host Utah on Wednesday and Friday and play at Stockton on Saturday.
Las Vegas Wranglers
* Las Vegas plays seven of their last 10 games at the Orleans Arena where they are 134-54-21 (.691) all-time.
* Glenn Fisher is 2-0-0 with a shutout and a goals-against average of 0.50 in his last two starts.
* Las Vegas hosts Phoenix on Tuesday, Ontario on Friday and Alaska on Saturday before visiting Ontario on Sunday.
* Reign have won six of their last nine home games to improve to 19-12-2 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
* Tim Kraus has a four-game assist streak (6a) and a four-game point streak (0g-6a).
* Reign host Stockton on Wednesday, Phoenix on Saturday and Las Vegas on Sunday while playing at Las Vegas on Friday.
* Stockton is 20-for-22 (90.9 percent) on the penalty kill in the last four games to improve to 81.2 percent (294-for-362).
* Rookie Andrew Perugini is 14-4-0 in his last 18 games.
* Stockton plays at Ontario on Wednesday and hosts Utah on Thursday and Bakersfield on Saturday.
ECHL Record Book Look
Most Shutouts By Goaltender, Season
7 - Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, Alaska, 2008-09
- Frederic Cloutier, Louisiana, 2001-02
- David Brumby, Jackson, 1999-2000
- Maxime Gingras, Richmond, 1998-99
6 - Alfie Michaud, Peoria, 2004-05
- Matthew Yeats, Texas, 2006-07
Most Shutouts, One Season
11 - Wheeling Nailers, 2003-04
10 - Wheeling Nailers, 2004-05
- Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies, 2003-04
- Louisiana IceGators, 2001-02
9 - four times, most recent; Alaska Aces, 2008-09
Most Ties, One Season
18 - Mobile Mysticks, 2001-02
16 - Utah Grizzlies, 2008-09
Johnstown Chiefs, 2005-06
15 - South Carolina Stingrays, 2005-06
14 - seven times, most recent; Las Vegas Wranglers, 2006-07
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