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Cotton Kings Game Night Preview vs. Amarillo

February 26, 2006 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Lubbock Cotton Kings News Release

2/26/06 - AMARILLO GORILLAS (24-22-3) @ LUBBOCK COTTON KINGS (21-25-3) - 5:05 LUBBOCK MUNICIPAL COLISEUM

STILL A HILL TO CLIMB

The Interstate Batteries I-27 Series continues tonight at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum with the second game of a two-game home series for the Kings and Gorillas. Lubbock ended a five-game home winless streak with a 2-1 win Sunday night and tonight they seek consecutive wins for the first time since early December. Amarillo is looking to get on the winning side to shake off a three-game winless streak (two consecutive one-goal road losses). This is an important series for the Kings, who enter tonight's game 8 standing points behind Rio Grande Valley for the final playoff spot in the Southern Conference. The win last night placed the Kings within 6 standing points of Amarillo in the division standings. Amarillo was surpassed by Rio Grande Valley last night due to their loss combined by Rio's win over Memphis. There is an important slate of games elsewhere tonight, as division leaders Odessa and Laredo battle on the border, Tulsa and Wichita fight for the final playoff spot in the North and Rio Grande Valley attempts to preserve their playoff spot with a road tilt in Corpus Christi.

THE SERIES

Lubbock leads the series with a 5-2-2 record and is 3-0-1 against Amarillo at home this season. Derek Hahn has 6 goals and 3 assists for 9 points to lead Amarillo and the series in scoring this season, while the Kings are led by Mike Brolsma's 7 points (3g,4a). As for the all-time series, it will be the 70th all-time meeting between the two clubs, with Lubbock bringing in a 40-19-10 all-time series record and Amarillo bringing a 29-35-5 all-time series mark. Jan Melichercik (8g,32a) has 40 points against Amarillo in his career to stand as the all-time leader in scoring against Amarillo for the Kings. Amarillo's all-time leader in scoring against Lubbock is Hahn, who all-time has 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points.

THE LAST TIME

2/25/06 - The Lubbock Cotton Kings ended a five-game home winless streak with a big 2-1 victory over the Amarillo Gorillas in an I-27 Series battle presented by Interstate Batteries Saturday night at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.

The opening period was very fast paced and full of special teams play. Each team had four power play opportunities in the period, but neither team getting on the scoreboard. Lubbock out-shot the Gorillas 12-4 in the period.

Ryan Moren put a shot on goal driving in from the point and the rebound ended up under the skate of Jon Foster, who grabbed the rebound and stuffed it past goaltender Shawn Degagne to give Lubbock a 1-0 lead 3:05 into the second period. Amarillo was held without a shot on goal until 7:04 remained in the period and then the shots came in a flurry, as they were able to garner 7 shots on goal for the period's remainder.

The third period was very similar to the second. Amarillo had a dry spell to start the period and did not get a shot on goal until eight-minutes into the period. In that time, the Kings extended their lead with a goal by Bobby Brown 4:40 into the period. Like the second period, once the Gorillas were able to get their first shot on net, they began creating a lot of scoring chances. Dave Rattray cut the Kings lead to 2-1 with three minutes remaining, ending Lance Leslie's shutout bid and getting the Gorillas momentum. The Gorillas pulled Degagne with 59-seconds remaining for an extra attacker and controlled the puck in the offensive zone for the game's remainder, but they could not get the equalizer past Leslie.

Leslie stopped 21 of 22 shots in the victory and grabbed his 16th all-time series win against Amarillo. Degagne stopped 27 of the Kings 29 shots in the loss, which is his fourth consecutive regulation loss against the Kings. Each team was 0 for 6 on the power play and it ended a streak of nine consecutive games in which a Kings opponent had garnered a power play tally.

ROSTER CHANGES

Lubbock is without goaltender Brett Koscielny, who remains on the injured reserve list. Amarillo's Bryan Lachapelle will not be with the Gorillas, as he continues on the 45-Day IR.

STANDINGS

Kings - 45 points, 3rd place, 20 points back, Southwest Division. Gorillas - 51 points, 2nd place, 14 points back, Southwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS

Kings - Nolan Graham 41 points; Emery Olauson / Nolan Graham 23 goals; Jan Melichercik / Bobby Brown 27 assists; Paul Fioroni 118 penalty minutes. Gorillas - Derek Hahn 89 points; Derek Hahn 30 goals; Derek Hahn 59 assists; Dave Rattray 151 penalty minutes.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kings - Power play: 14.5% 13th, Penalty killing: 82.5% 13th. Gorillas - Power play: 16.4% 9th , Penalty killing: 84.1% 7th.

GOALTENDERS

Kings - Lance Leslie (12-12-3, 1 SO, 3.18), Brad Buss (2-4-0, 0 SO, 4.07). Gorillas - Jaime Vandespyker (9-9-1, 0 SO, 3.00), Shawn Degagne (15-13-2, 1 SO, 3.33)

WHAT'S NEXT

Lubbock - Tuesday, February 28th 7:30 PM @ Fort Worth Brahmas Will Rogers Coliseum

Amarillo - Friday, March 3rd 7:00 PM vs. Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs Cal Farley Coliseum

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