Today In The ECHL – March 9

Augusta Lynx (24-27-7) at South Carolina Stingrays (34-21-3) 7:05 ET

* Augusta is 2-0-2 against South Carolina in 2003-04 after a 5-4 overtime loss on February 12.
* South Carolina’s Kirk Daubenspeck is 4-0-0 with a 1.96 goals against average in his last four games.
* Lynx’ Louis Goulet has two power-play goals and 10 points (4g-6a) in four games against the Stingrays.
* Stingrays’ Chris Allen has two game-winning goals and six points (3g-3a) in three games in March.

Louisiana IceGators (41-16-2) at Gwinnett Gladiators (33-19-5) 7:05 ET

* First-ever meeting between Louisiana and Gwinnett.
* Louisiana ranks second in the ECHL in goals allowed with 2.34 goals per game.
* Gladiators’ Trevor Prior is 6-2-1 with a 2.84 goals against average in his last nine games.
* IceGators’ Frederic Cloutier is 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals against average in his last four games.

Wheeling Nailers (45-13-2) at Reading Royals (31-19-9) 7:05 ET

* Wheeling is 6-0-0 against Reading in 2003-04 and 10-8-1 all-time in the regular season.
* Reading is 21-3-4 at home outscoring its opponent 97-47 in 28 games.
* Nailers rank second in the ECHL in scoring with 3.73 goals per game.
* Royals rank fourth in the ECHL in goals allowed with 2.53 goals per game.

Florence Pride (24-29-7) at Greenville Grrrowl (10-44-5) 7:05 ET

* Florence is 4-0-0 against Greenville in 2003-04 and 26-14-4 all-time in the regular season.
* Greenville is 7-7-0 when leading after the first period and 3-11-5 in one-goal games.
* Pride is 16-for-17 (94.1 percent) on the penalty kill in the last four games.
* Grrrowl is 1-9-0 and has been outscored 36-17 in their last 10 games.

Mississippi Sea Wolves (35-19-6) at Pensacola Ice Pilots (32-19-7) 7:05 CT

* Mississippi is 7-4-1 against Pensacola in 2003-04 and 45-19-4 all-time in the regular season.
* Pensacola’s Corey Neilson is tied for third in the ECHL with 48 assists and leads league defensemen with 64 points.
* Sea Wolves’ Louis Dumont (30g-43a) and Steffon Walby (26g-47a) are tied for fourth in the ECHL with 73 points.
* Ice Pilots’ Brian Eklund leads the ECHL with 30 wins, 1,814 saves and 3,055 minutes.

Trenton Titans (29-22-7) at Peoria Rivermen (36-16-8) 7:05 CT

* Peoria is 1-0-0 against Trenton in 2003-04 and 7-3-1 all-time in the regular season.
* Titans’ Chris Houle is 2-1-1 in his last four games and ranks fourth in the ECHL with a .929 save pct.
* Rivermen’s Adam Edinger has a seven-game point streak (5g-7a) and is +8 since February 24.
* Trenton’s Matt Zultek ranks second in the ECHL with 15 power-play goals.

Wheeling can clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Tuesday if:

Wheeling wins

OR

Wheeling loses in overtime/shootout

OR

Trenton loses

Pensacola’s Eklund Needs 17 Saves To Tie ECHL Record

With 35 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to San Diego on March 5, Pensacola’s Brian Eklund moved into second place on the ECHL list for most saves by a goaltender in a season. Under contract to Tampa Bay of the National Hockey League, Eklund had nine saves in the first period to move up to fourth place with 1,788 saves. He had 15 saves in the second period to move past Kirk Daubenspeck of South Carolina (1,802 in 2002-03) into third place with 1,803 saves. He made nine saves in the third period for 1,812 to move over Ray LeBlanc of the Jacksonville Lizard Kings (1,808 in 1999-2000) and had two saves in overtime. The ECHL record for saves in a season is 1,831 by Mark Michaud of Hampton Roads in 1993-94.

Leading the ECHL averaging 35.6 saves per game, the 6-5 and 210-pound Eklund is 30-15-6 with a 3.06 goals against average and a .921 save percentage appearing in 51 of Pensacola’s 58 games. He leads the ECHL with 30 wins and 3,055 minutes and is tied for the league lead with five shootout wins while ranking second in overtime wins with three.

Selected in the seventh round (226th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Eklund has broken the team record for most saves of 1,783 by Sean Gauthier in 1997-98, and he begins the week needing seven shots to tie the team record of 1,977 also by Gauthier in 1997-98. The 30 wins is the most in Ice Pilots team history and two shy of the all-time team record of 32 wins set by Craig Brown of the Nashville Knights in 1995-96. Maxime Gingras set the Pensacola team records for appearances (57) and minutes (3,381) in 2002-03. Eklund, who was named ITECH HOCKEY ECHL Saver of the Week for November 24-30, became the seventh goaltender in league history score a goal on December 5 at Mississippi.

In his first professional season in 2002-03, Eklund was 10-6-0 with a 3.66 goals against average and a .896 save percentage in 19 games for Pensacola and was 1-0-0 with a 1.00 goals against average and a .974 save percentage in one game with Springfield of the American Hockey League.