Benson, Wellar may suit up for Peoria Thursday
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Winger Hans Benson has been signed to a 25-game pro try-out by Alaska's AHL affiliate in Peoria, and the Rivermen also have been reassigned defenseman Patrick Wellar by the NHL's St. Louis Blues.
Benson could make his American Hockey League debut when Peoria visits the Iowa Satrs Thursday. The 23-year-old native of Menlo Park, California, impressed scouts last Friday with a goal and an assist in Alaska's 3-2 win at Long Beach. He has five points (2g-3a) this year in 33 games for the Aces and ranks third in the ECHL with 233 PIM, matching his career-high, set last season when he helped lead the Laredo Bucks to the Central Hockey League championship.
Wellar, originally a third-round choice of Washington in the 2002 NHL Draft but now under contract to St. Louis, played in two games for the Rivermen in late October after suiting up in seven AHL games over his first two seasons. The 23-year-old Wellar has scored seven goals and assisted on seven others in 53 games with Alaska this season while compiling a +17 rating and racking up a career-high 101 PIM. He also scored twice and had a couple of assists while playing all 22 games for the Aces in their run to the 2006 Kelly Cup.
Alaska practices tomorrow and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at Ben Boeke Arena prior to its series opener against Bakersfield (31-13-8) Friday at 7:15 p.m. The final two regular season meetings between the two clubs will be held Saturday at 7:15 p.m. and Sunday at 5:05 p.m. Live coverage of all three contests begins 15 minutes prior to the opening face-off on the flagship home of Alaska pro hockey, KFQD 750 AM.
The Aces (39-13-3) became the first ECHL team to clinch a spot in the 2007 Kelly Cup playoffs last weekend and lead the National Conference by eight points over Las Vegas, with the Condors three points further behind. Alaska and Bakersfield have split six games this season, two in Anchorage and four in California. Tickets for this weekend's games are now available at participating Fred Meyer locations, by calling 258-ACES, or logging onto www.alaskaaces.com.
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