ECHL Today – March 13

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*The Idaho Steelheads clinched a berth in the 2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs last night with a win over Victoria.

Preview of ECHL Games for Saturday, March 13, 2010

Florida Everblades (32-21-9) at South Carolina Stingrays (37-16-11) 5 p.m. ET
Ross Carlson leads Florida against the Stingrays with six assists and 10 points.
Todd Ford leads South Carolina against the Everblades with a 3-0-0 record, 1.67 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage.
• Florida is second in the ECHL on the penalty kill with 84.3 percent (290-for-344).
• The Stingrays are 24-3-4 when scoring first.

Gwinnett Gladiators (28-26-7) at Charlotte Checkers (33-20-7) 7 p.m. ET
• All-Star defenseman Sam Roberts leads Gwinnett against the Checkers with 11 assists and 13 points.
Tyler Doig leads Charlotte against the Gladiators with 14 assists and 20 points.
Adam Berti leads Gwinnett with 37 assists and 51 points.
• The Checkers are unbeaten in their last four games (3-0-1).

Kalamazoo Wings (35-17-8) at Trenton Devils (27-26-9) 7 p.m. ET
Ryan Nie shutout the Devils on Nov. 20, 2009 in his only appearance against them this year stopping all 36 shots faced.
• Trenton is 20-2-2 when leading after two periods.
• The K-Wings are 3-1-0 against Trenton this season.
• The Devils are 20-2-2 when leading after the second period.

Wheeling Nailers (28-28-6) at Johnstown Chiefs (16-35-11) 7:05 p.m. ET
Jordan Fox leads Wheeling against the Chiefs with nine assists and 12 points.
• All-Star rookie Connor Shields leads Johnstown against the Nailers with 10 points (4g-6a).
• Wheeling is 5-1-3 against the Chiefs.
• Johnstown is 6-0-2 at home when leading after two periods.

Toledo Walleye (31-26-5) at Reading Royals (30-26-4) 7:05 p.m. ET
• Toledo’s J.C. Sawyer leads all defensemen with 21 goals and 54 points.
Stefano Giliati leads Reading against the Walleye with five assists and seven points.
• Toledo is 10-4 in games that go past regulation.
• Royals’ Andrew Sarauer has a four-game goal streak (5) at home since Feb. 28.

Cincinnati Cyclones (38-21-3) at Elmira Jackals (33-21-5) 7:35 p.m. ET
Barret Ehgoetz leads Cincinnati with 35 assists and 57 points and is second with 22 goals.
• Elmira defenseman Brennan Turner leads the ECHL with a plus-minus rating of +36.
• Cyclones’ Scott Reynolds leads the league with seven shorthand points.
• The Jackals lead the ECHL with an average 4.00 goals per game.

Stockton Thunder (27-24-8) at Utah Grizzlies (27-25-7) 7:05 p.m. MT
James Bates leads Stockton against the Grizzlies with five goals, four assists and nine points.
Lance Galbraith leads Utah against the Thunder with six goals and 11 assists.
• Stockton’s Chris D’Alvise is tied for second among rookies with six game-winning goals.
• Grizzlies’ Ryan Kinasewich leads the league with 34 power-play points.

Bakersfield Condors (32-23-5) at Las Vegas Wranglers (28-26-7) 7:05 p.m. PT
Andrew Ianiero leads Bakersfield against the Wranglers with seven assists and 11 points.
Jimmy Spratt leads Las Vegas against the Condors with a 3-0-0 record, a goals-against average of 2.00 and a .943 save percentage.
• Bakersfield has a .500 win percentage in shootouts (10-for-20).
• Wranglers’ Ned Lukacevic has a seven-game assist streak (8) since Feb. 26.

Idaho Steelheads (41-13-5) at Victoria Salmon Kings (31-25-6) 7:05 p.m. PT
Mark Derlago leads Idaho against the Salmon Kings with six goals, seven assists and 13 points.
Wes Goldie leads Victoria against the Steelheads with six goals and eight points.
• Idaho goaltender Rejean Beauchemin is tied for the ECHL league with 22 wins.
• Salmon Kings’ Jimmy Sharrow leads league defensemen with eight power-play goals and 24 power-play points.

Ontario Reign (26-26-9) at Alaska Aces (29-26-6) 7:15 p.m. AKT
Greg Hogeboom leads Ontario against the Aces with four goals and seven points.
Judd Blackwater leads Alaska against the Reign with six assists and seven points.
• All-Star David Walker leads Ontario with 32 assists and is fourth with 38 points.
• Aces’ Scott Burt is tied for the league lead with four shorthand goals.

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Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 20 teams in 15 states and British Columbia in 2009-10.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
435 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including a record 53 in 2008-09.
• 27 ECHL players have made their NHL debut this season. The most recent are: former Idaho Steelheads left wing Richard Clune (Los Angeles on Feb. 11), former Wheeling Nailers right wing Nick Johnson (Pittsburgh on Jan. 21), former Florida and 2008 ECHL All-Star goaltender Anton Khudobin (Feb. 4 with Minnesota), former Florida Everblades and 2008 ECHL All-Star goaltender Justin Peters (Carolina on Feb. 6) and former Charlotte Checkers and Idaho Steelheads goaltender Matt Zaba (New York Rangers on Jan. 23).
• 4 players have played in the ECHL and the NHL this season: Kyle Calder with Bakersfield and Anaheim, Dan Sexton with Bakersfield and Anaheim, MacGregor Sharp with Bakersfield and Anaheim and Matt Zaba with Charlotte and the New York Rangers.
• The ECHL has had 243 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.
• 179 ECHL players have played their first game in the last five seasons for an average of more than 35 per year.
• ECHL had a record 78 players on NHL opening-day rosters, surpassing the 71 from a year ago and marking the seventh year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• Every ECHL team has an affiliation with an NHL team and the league has affiliations with 28 of the 30 NHL teams, marking the 13th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 29 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau, New York Islanders head coach Scott Gordon, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Claude Noel and St. Louis Blues interim head coach Davis Payne while former ECHL player Dan Bylsma is head coach of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. It is the fifth consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award.
• 20 former ECHL officials are working as part of the NHL officiating team in 2009-10 with referees David Banfield, Francis Charron, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Herbert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Bryan Pancich, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers.
• ECHL was represented for the ninth year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion with Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, player Ruslan Fedotenko, equipment managers Dana Heinze and Dave Zeigler, athletic trainers Chris Stewart and Scott Adams and scout Derek Clancey. There were 43 former players and 14 former coaches on 15 of the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the fourth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the sixth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• Former ECHL and current Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was the recipient of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in the NHL and was also presented the William Jennings Trophy with teammate Manny Fernandez as the goaltenders finishing the season having surrendered the fewest goals. Thomas was also named First Team All-NHL after registering a career-high 36 wins while leading the NHL with a goals-against average of 2.10 and a save percentage of .933 to help the Bruins finish with the most wins (53) and points (116) since 1971-72.
• ECHL was represented in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game by Mark Streit of the New York Islanders and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins while former ECHL players Dan Ellis, Jonathan Quick and Tomas Vokoun were all selected as recipients of the NHL’s “Three Stars” award in 2008-09.
• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Bob McElligott and John Michael of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Rob Simpson, who is a producer/host for The NHL Network.
Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville and Kelly Murray are now with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals, respectively, while former ECHL director of communications Jason Rothwell is the creative director for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 20 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
• In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,500 call-ups involving more than 1,300 players and in 2008-09 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,258 fans per game in 2008-09 and is the only minor professional hockey league to increase average attendance each of the last two seasons. It is the fifth consecutive season and the 17th time in the last 19 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans and the league drew over 3 million fans for the 16th year in a row and reached the 3 million mark in the fewest number of games since 2005-06.
• There have been more than 75 million fans who have attended over 17,000 games since the ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.