A Dog Fight For First
BULLIES REWIND: The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies claimed five of six points during their best week in nearly two months to pull into a three-way tie for third place in the North Division standings. Easily the most competitive division by far in the ECHL, five teams in the North (Wheeling, Toledo, Atlantic City, Reading, and Trenton) are separated by a mere one point. The top four teams will make the Kelly Cup Playoffs with each of the five clubs have anywhere from 17 to 21 games remaining in the regular season. With 53 games under their belt, the Bullies have 19 games left on their schedule.
Friday, Mathieu Brunelle scored the decisive goal in the third round of the shootout to lead the Dayton Bombers to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies before 1792 at Historic Boardwalk Hall. Dayton (17-30-4) opened the scoring at 3:49 of the first period. Justin Kinnunen off a turnover broke into the zone on a two-on-one, faked a shot on Bullies goaltender Trevor Koenig, and with Koenig down on the ice lifted the puck into the top left corner to give the Bombers a 1-0 lead. Atlantic City (27-27-7) would counter less than four minutes later. Paul Caponigri kicked the puck in the slot to Jason Notermann at the top of the crease and Notermann slid the puck around Dayton goalie Michael Ayers at 7:01 to tie the game at 1-1. Jeff Szwez reclaimed the lead for Dayton at 14:33 of the second period. Szwez caught the Bullies off on a line change in the offensive zone and received the lead pass from Brett Nowak alone in front of Koenig, and beat Koenig along the ice with a backhand shot to give the Bombers a 2-1 advantage. The Bullies took their first lead of the night by striking for a pair of goals 1:28 seconds apart in the third period. Brett Peterson's netted the equalizer at 10:54, sending a low wrist shot that deflected off the near post and into the net behind Ayers to tie the game at 2-2. Derek Edwardson gave the Bullies the 3-2 lead when he banged home Notermann's rebound in the slot at 12:22 on the power play. However, Dayton would force overtime when Brett Nowak beat an outstretched Koenig from just inside the left-wing circle at 14:26 to tie the game at 3-3. Atlantic City out-shot Dayton 38-37. Koenig stopped 34 shots as he fell to 15-9-3 on the season. The Bullies went 1-2 on the power play.
Saturday, Dave Reid beat Joe Exter with a shot over the left shoulder at 2:04 of the overtime to lead the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies to a 3-2 overtime win over the Wheeling Nailers before 5596 at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling (31-17-4) opened the scoring at 6:28 of the first period. With a delayed penalty against Atlantic City in effect, Alex Rouleau beat Bullies goaltender Trevor Koenig with a wrist shot from the left-wing circle to give the Nailers a 1-0 lead. The Bullies (28-17-7) would counter at the end of the period. Derek Edwardson picked off Wheeling goaltender Joe Exter's clearing attempt, and then slid the puck across the crease to an open Paul Caponigri who banged the puck home on the weak side at 19:48 to tie the game at 1-1. The Bullies took their first lead of the game at 3:37 of the second period. Jason Notermann fed a streaking Ian Walterson in the slot, and Walterson ripped a low wrist shot past the right pad of Exter to give the Bullies a 2-1 advantage. Wheeling would strike back this time with the equalizer at 14:43. Kenny Corupe tipped the loose puck sitting at the top of the crease past Koenig as the net was coming off its pegs to tie the game at 2-2. Wheeling out-shot Atlantic City 25-17. Koenig stopped 23 shots to improve to 16-9-3 on the season. The Bullies went 0-2 on the power play.
Sunday, Derek Edwardson led four Bullies who had multiple point efforts with a goal and an assist to propel Atlantic City to a 4-2 victory over the Dayton Bombers before 4542 at Historic Boardwalk Hall. Atlantic City (29-17-4) struck first with a two-man advantage power play goal at 11:17 of the first period. Paul Caponigri slid Brian Fahey's rebound to Jason Notermann at the top of the crease and Notermann tucked the puck behind Dayton goaltender Michael Ayers to give the Bullies a 1-0 lead. The Bullies exploded for three goals in the second frame. Tom Reimann got it started with a power play goal at 5:13 of the period, beating Ayers with a slap shot from the right-wing circle to make it 2-0. Derek Edwardson gave the Bullies a 3-0 advantage, taking a feed in the slot from Caponigri and firing a low wrist shot past Ayers at 11:06. Fahey would finish the scoring for Atlantic City at 16:27 when beat Ayers from just inside the right-wing circle to give the Bullies a 4-0 cushion heading into the second intermission. Dayton (17-32-4) would tally a pair of goals 2:29 apart in the third period to cut the deficit in half. Jeff Szwez slapped the puck through Bullies goaltender Trevor Koenig's pads just to the left of the crease at 11:10 to get the Bombers on the scoreboard and make it a 4-1 game. Aaron Foster got Dayton back to within two when he re-directed Tyler Sloan's point shot past Koenig at 13:29 on the power play to cut the deficit to 4-2, however the Bombers would get no closer. Atlantic City out-shot Dayton 29-26. Koenig stopped 24 shots to improve to 17-9-3 on the season. The Bullies went 2-7 on the power play.
BULLIES "TOP DAWG" AWARD: Each Monday from now until the end of the season, Public Relations and Broadcasting Manager Dan Weiss will select the Bullies "Top Dawg" for the week. This week's winner is rookie forward Paul Caponigri who tallied a goal and five points and scored in all three games to lead the Bullies for the weekend. Honorable mention goes out to Derek Edwardson who also scored in all three games, finishing with two goals and three assists.
TAKING TWO: With yesterday's 4-2 win over the Dayton Bombers, the Bullies posted back-to-back wins for the first time since January 4, which ironically was also after a 4-2 win over Dayton at the EJ Nutter Center. Since February 4 and until yesterday, Atlantic City had played 11 consecutive games where they followed up a win with either a loss or overtime/shootout loss.
LUCKY SEVEN'S: With the primary assist on Jason Notermann's opening power play goal on Sunday, Paul Caponigri extened his scoring streak to a team-high and career-best seven games. Caponigri, who tallied just three assists in 16 games between January 5 and February 11, now has two goals and 10 points since the streak began back on February 12. The Oak Park, IL native ranks tied for 15th in the ECHL rookie scoring race with 13 goals and 37 points, just 12 points behind co-leaders Joe Tenute of South Carolina and Jeff Campbell of Gwinnett.
POWERFUL POWER PLAY: With two power play goals yesterday, the Bullies matched their single game season-high total for the ninth time this year, but just the first time since scoring two on January 29 at Trenton. Atlantic City is now 37-241 on the power play, a 15.4% efficiency rate, and 21st overall in the ECHL in that category.
UNDEFEATED AT FOUR: The Bullies are 15-0-2 this season when scoring four goals or more in a game.
CHECK IT OUT! SECOND READING PROGRAM GAME A SUCCESS: The Bullies held their second reward game in conjunction with the "Check It Out Reading Program" sponsored by Ocean City Home Bank and Atlantic Medical Imaging on Sunday. Students from Ventnor Educational Community Complex, Swift Elementary in Egg Harbor Township, Cologne Elementary in Galloway Township, Tuckerton Elementary, and Chelsea Heights Elementary and Richmond Avenue Elementary in Atlantic City earned a total of 2,500 tickets by reading as many as 12 books since November. Coupled with last Sunday's reward game, the Bullies distributed nearly 5,000 tickets to area students. Congratulations to those who participated in the program! For more information on the "Check It Out Reading Program", contact Dan Weiss at (609) 348-7809.
POSTPONED JANUARY 7 GAME RESCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY: The Bullies would like to remind media and fans that the January 7 game at Wheeling that was postponed due to severe flooding in the area, has been rescheduled for this Wednesday, March 2 at 7PM. Catch the game live on ESPN Radio 1450AM and the SurferNetwork beginning with "Bullies Countdown" at 6:40PM.
WATCH THE BULLIES LIVE IN '04-05: The Bullies have teamed up with B2 Networks to bring you live action of Boardwalk Bullies hockey in 2004-05. Bullies fans will be able to click the Watch the Game Live icon at the Bullies website to view and listen to the game. These broadcasts are available to fans for a charge of $6 per game. All 36 Bullies home broadcasts will be available in addition to over 20 road games in Trenton, Reading, Johnstown, and Wheeling. A cable or DSL Internet connection and Windows Media Player 9 are required to view the games.
UP NEXT: The Bullies continue on their march to the playoffs with three games this upcoming week. Atlantic City travels to Wheeling at 7PM Wednesday to battle the first place Nailers. The Bullies return to Historic Boardwalk Hall for a pair of weekend games beginning at 7:05PM on Friday as they host the East Division Leading Charlotte Checkers. The first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive the fifth set of Bullies Collectible Trading Cards presented by Copiers Plus. Saturday, Atlantic City hosts the Johnstown Chiefs at 2:05PM in a special "Hockey Afternoon In Atlantic City" matinee affair. All Saturday home games are "Family Nights". Purchase four tickets, four hot dogs, and four sodas for just $44! Catch Wednesday's game live on ESPN Radio 1450AM and all three games live on the SurferNetwork at www.boardwalkbullies.com beginning with "Bullies Countdown" 20 minutes prior to face-off. For more information or to order tickets, call (609) 348-7825.
BULLIES SCHEDULE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 28
Monday, February 28: Off Day
Tuesday, March 1: Practice 10:30AM-12PM; Depart for Wheeling, WV @ 12PM
Wednesday, March 2: Morning Skate 11:15AM; Bullies @ Wheeling 7PM; Depart for Atlantic City
Thursday, March 3: Off Day
Friday, March 4: Morning Skate 10AM; Bullies vs. Charlotte 7:05PM
Saturday, March 5: Bullies vs. Johnstown 2:05PM
Sunday, February 27: Off Day
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