Fresno extended its winning streak to three games with back-to-back home wins against Phoenix and Long Beach. The Falcons are in first place in the Pacific Division and tied for second in the league with 12 points and a 6-1-0 record. Stockton (5-0-0) and Las Vegas (3-0-4) are tied for second with 10 points, one point ahead of Bakersfield (4-3-1).
Fresno travels to Victoria (2-4-1) for games on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Stockton will play its next six games on the road beginning Tuesday at Phoenix (3-5-0) followed by games at league leader Idaho (7-1-0) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Las Vegas hosts Victoria on Tuesday and Phoenix on Friday before traveling to Bakersfield on Saturday and Long Beach (0-7-1) on Sunday. Bakersfield will host Long Beach on Friday and Las Vegas on Saturday.
Sitting atop the Pacific is a familiar position for the Falcons, who led the division wire-to-wire a year ago when they finished 43-15-14. Fresno reached 100 points for the first time ever and became the first ECHL team ever to not lose in regulation to a division opponent. The Falcons reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time last season and came within one goal of advancing to the Finals, losing in double overtime of Game 7 to eventual champion Alaska. Four-time ECHL All-Star Luke Curtin leads the Fresno offense with nine assists and 12 points and he is tied with teammate John Morlang for the league lead with two shorthand goals. Two-time ECHL Goaltender of the Year Scott Stirling is 4-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.96 and a save percentage of .929 while Ryan MacDonald is 2-1-0 with a goals-against average of 2.60 and a save percentage of .927.
In its second season, Stockton is off to its best start at 5-0-0 after 3-2 wins against Long Beach on Friday and Phoenix on Saturday. The five consecutive wins and three consecutive home wins are both bests for the Thunder, who finished 18-40-14 in their inaugural season. Rookie Devan Dubnyk is 4-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.96 and a save percentage of .948 while Cam Ellsworth is 1-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.00 and a save percentage of .957.
Las Vegas had a record-setting year in 2005-06 when it finished second in the ECHL with 112 points and a 53-13-6 record a year ago, tying the league record for second-most wins and finishing with the third-highest point total in the league’s 18-year history. Defenseman Scott Schoneck leads the Wranglers offense with six assists and seven points while Mike McKenna is 2-0-3 with a goals-against average of 2.07 and a save percentage of .921.
Bakersfield, which set 38 team records and advanced in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time ever a year ago, has five points against defending ECHL champion Alaska, including going 1-0-1 on the road against the Aces. Andrew Ianiero leads the Condors with six assists and nine points while his three goals tie him for the team lead with Sean Venedam, Brett Lutes, Kevin St. Jacques and Alexandre Bolduc, who is on call up to Manitoba of the American Hockey League.