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Cotton Kings Remove Gorilla Off Their Back with 3-2 Win over Amarillo

February 25, 2007 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Lubbock Cotton Kings News Release

Amarillo, TX - The Lubbock Cotton Kings literally and figuratively removed a gorilla off their back Sunday evening at the Cal Farley Coliseum. The Lubbock Cotton Kings held off a comeback attempt by the Amarillo Gorillas to garner a 3-2 win, marking their first streak of two consecutive wins since November 16th. The win also helps the Kings keep their playoff hopes alive, as they move six standing points behind Rio Grande Valley for the final playoff spot in the Central Hockey League's Southern Conference. Lubbock also has two games-in-hand over Rio Grande Valley.

The Cotton Kings did not get their first shot on goal until 5:02 into the game, but once they did, the scoring rhythm began in the opening period. Patrick Levesque cut in front of the net and had trouble stuffing the puck past Gorillas goaltender Shawn Conschafter, but the puck came free from Conschafter and a scrum developed in the crease battling for the puck. The puck would end up squirting across the goal line, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead 8:14 into the contest. The goal was credited to Levesque. Marc Bianchi's hard work led to the Kings building a 2-0 lead with 2:08 left in the period. Bianchi blocked a Gorillas shot high in the zone and the puck carried into the neutral zone to Jimmy Callahan, who fed a lead pass to Corey Rutt streaking up ice. Rutt hammered the puck past Conschafter for his sixth goal of the season (Rutt has goals in three of the last four games).

Teams traded goals in the second period. A pass from high in the zone deflected off Rich Hansen and past J.F. Perras with 4:16 left in the frame to cut the Kings lead in half 2-1. The goal ended Perras shutout sequence at 105:56. The Kings regained their two-goal lead 1:57 later with a goal by Anders Strome for his 99th of his pro career.

After the Gorillas went unsuccessful during a five-on-three power play session in the third period, it had appeared that the Gorillas had lost the wind out of their sails, until Austin Sutter scored a goal during a scrum in front of Perras with 2:04 remaining. The Gorillas trailed 3-2 and pulled Conschafter with just over a minute remaining, but they were unable to gain the equalizer due to strong defensive play by the Kings.

Amarillo out-shot the Kings 22-9 in the third period and 46-26 in the contest. Perras stopped 44 of the 46 shots for the win, while Conschafter allowed three goals on 26 shots. Each team was unsuccessful on the power play, as Lubbock was 0 for 2 and the Gorillas were 0 for 6.

The Kings continue their four-game road trip and their span of eight games in ten days Tuesday in Broomfield, Colorado, as the square off with the Rocky Mountain Rage.

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