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Cotton Kings Game Night Preview vs. Colorado

March 3, 2006 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Lubbock Cotton Kings News Release

3/3/06 - COLORADO EAGLES (37-11-5) @ LUBBOCK COTTON KINGS (22-26-3) - 7:05 LUBBOCK MUNICIPAL COLISEUM

LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS

The Lubbock Cotton Kings are in the same position they have been in two of the last three weeks. The Kings are returning home after a Tuesday night road win. Tonight, they host the defending CHL Champion Colorado Eagles and seek a different result from the previous two circumstances. Lubbock comes into tonight eight standing-points out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. The Kings are trying to catch Rio Grande Valley, who is in Odessa tonight. Colorado has a magic number of "two" to qualify for the postseason. They can clinch a playoff spot with either a win or a loss by Tulsa, who hosts Oklahoma City.

THE SERIES

The Cotton Kings and Eagles meet for the 14th time all-time and the final scheduled meetings this season. Colorado has a 3-1-0 series advantage this season and leads the all-time series with an 9-2-2 record, while Lubbock is 4-9-0 in the all-time series. Colorado's Ryan Tobler is the all-time series leader offensively with 4 goals and 11 assists for 15 points. Lubbock's all-time leader against Colorado is Jan Melichercik (2g,6a), who has 8 points. This season, Kyle Nosan (2g,4a) has 6 points against the Eagles to lead the Kings in the season series.

THE LAST TIME

2/18/06 - Colorado Eagles goaltender Jeff Blair made 54 saves and Riley Nelson contributed four points with a goal and three assists to lead the defending CHL Champion Eagles past the Lubbock Cotton Kings 4-2 at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.

Lubbock came out flying in the opening period, grabbing 12 of the first 13 shots fired in the game and the hard work paid off. Josh Anderson converted a power play opportunity with a shot from the right circle that beat goaltender Jeff Blair with 7:03 remaining in the period for a 1-0 lead. The power play goal was Lubbock's first of the season tallied against the Eagles in 22 opportunities.

It was the Eagles coming out strong in the second period and their hard work in the period's opening led to a pair of goals. Jason Lundmark redirected a Garrett Larson pass through the legs of Kings goaltender Brad Buss 1:52 into the period to tie the game 1-1. Riley Nelson gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead without even knowing he scored a goal. 2:37 after Lundmark's goal, Greg Pankewicz fired a pass into the left slot from the left corner and the puck deflected off Nelson's skate and snuck past Buss for a power play tally. Lubbock tied the contest at 2-2 with their second power play goal of the game, as Stacey Bauman flung a shot from the left-point that found the net with 3:26 remaining in the frame. The game would not remain tied for long, as Eagles forward Nick Parillo redirected a shot from the point by Lundmark past Buss 1:51 later. Teams combined for 38 shots in the second period, with Lubbock out-shooting the Eagles 21-17 in the period.

Lubbock gave the Eagles their first regulation loss when leading after two periods of play in their previous meeting, but Blair made sure there would be no comeback tonight. The Kings out-shot the Eagles 17-4 in the final period, but Blair was there to make every stop. Larson gave the Eagles an insurance goal with 6:55 remaining with a power play tally for a 4-2 lead.

Blair's 54-save performance was the best single-game performance by a Kings opposing goaltender this season. Lubbock tied a season high with 56 shots, out-shooting the Eagles output of 31. Buss suffered the loss in net with 27 saves. Each team contributed a pair of power play goals, as Lubbock was 2 for 6 and the Eagles were 2 for 5.

ROSTER CHANGES

Lubbock is without Lance Leslie tonight, as the veteran goaltender is on the injured reserve list. Colorado will be without the services of Chris Hartsburg and Ed McGrane, who are each on the injured reserve list.

STANDINGS

Kings - 47 points, 3rd place, 19 points back, Southwest Division. Colorado - 79 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS

Kings - Bobby Brown/Nolan Graham 43 points; Nolan Graham 25 goals; Bobby Brown 28 assists; Paul Fioroni 120 penalty minutes. Colorado - Greg Pankewicz 72 points; Greg Pankewicz 35 goals; Brad Williamson 42 assists; Les Borsheim 287 penalty minutes.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kings - Power play: 14.0% 13th, Penalty killing: 82.4% 13th. Colorado - Power play: 19.7% 1st , Penalty killing: 86.6% 2nd.

GOALTENDERS

Kings - Brett Koscielny (7-10-0, 1 SO, 2.60), Brad Buss (2-4-0, 0 SO, 4.07). Colorado - Paulo Colaiacovo (23-8-2, 1 SO, 2.75), Jeff Blair (14-3-3, 1 SO, 2.57)

WHAT'S NEXT

Lubbock - Saturday, March 4th 7:05 PM vs. Amarillo Gorillas Lubbock Municipal Coliseum

Colorado - Saturday, March 4th 7:00 PM @ Odessa Jackalopes Ector County Coliseum

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