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Idaho Leads Alaska, Utah In West

November 21, 2005 - ECHL (ECHL) News Release

Taking five of a possible six points at Victoria over the weekend, Idaho improved to 10-3-1 and has a one-point lead in the West Division over Utah (10-3-0) and Alaska (9-3-2). The Steelheads and Grizzlies meet for the first time on Friday and Saturday in Boise while Alaska is idle until hosting Utah on November 29 and 30.

Idaho has the top two scorers in the ECHL with Garett Bembridge (9g-12a) and D'Arcy McConvey (7g-13a) while Marty Flichel ranks seventh (6g-12a) and Mike Stutzel (7g-8a) and Jonathan Zion (4g-11a) are tied for 12th. Bembridge, who has 10 points (5g-5a) in his last five games, is tied for second in goals and tied for third in assists while McConvey is tied for the lead in assists. Flichel leads the league with 12 power-play points and is tied for the league lead with nine power-play assists while Zion is tied for the ECHL lead among defensemen in points and assists.

The Grizzlies posted back-to-back home wins over Phoenix to extend their home winning streak to five games and their overall streak to eight games, the longest streak in the league this season. The five straight wins ties Utah for the second-longest home winning streak in the league while its three consecutive road wins ties the league season high. The Grizzlies have the top power-play unit in the league at 28.8 percent (13-for-73) while Idaho ranks second at 28 percent (14-for-82).

Seeing his first game action since October 28, Utah's Justin Eddy was 2-0-0 and allowed only three goals against Phoenix to improve to 3-1-0 and lower his goals-against average to 2.18 while raising his save percentage to .926. Defenseman James Laux has a five-game scoring streak (3g-4a) and leads the Grizzlies in the last 10 games with 14 points (5g-9a). He leads league defensemen with 11 power-play points (5ppg-6ppa) and is tied for the league lead among defenseman with 15 points (5g-10a) and two game-winning goals. Matt Craig has eight points (5g-3a) in the last eight games and he leads Utah and league rookies with 10 goals, 15 points and three game-winning goals which ties him for the overall league lead.

The Aces swept a three-game series with visiting Las Vegas to improve to 5-1-1 in its last seven games.

Alaska's Chris Minard scored two goals in each of his last two games, increasing his goal-scoring streak to four games (6g), and his scoring streak to six games (7g-2a). Minard led the ECHL in 2004-05 with 49 goals in 69 games and was named First Team All-ECHL while finishing second in voting for the Most Valuable Player award to teammate Scott Gomez. Cam Keith has an eight-game scoring streak (4g-5a) while Barrett Heisten has two game-winning goals and 11 points (3g-8a) in the last seven games and Mike Scott has 10 points (3g-7a) in the last six games. Heisten leads the league in plus-minus rating with +11 followed by teammate Peter Metcalf (+10) and Minard (+9).

Chris Beckford-Tseu picked up two wins against the Wranglers to improve to 5-0-1 and lowered his goals-against average to a league-leading 1.49 and raising his save percentage to .945, second in the league.

Reading Moves Closer To Division Leader Wheeling

Posting wins over Dayton and South Carolina, Reading extended its winning streak to a season-high four games while improving to 5-0-0 at home and 8-2-1 overall, one point behind North Division leader Wheeling, which won its only game of the week 2-1 in a shootout at Trenton. Toledo is 7-3-2 and one point behind Reading while defending Kelly Cup Champion Trenton is two points behind Toledo at 6-3-2.

The Royals conclude their six-game home stand with Games against Trenton on Tuesday and Toledo on Friday before traveling to Trenton on Saturday. The Royals are 1-1-0 against Trenton, winning 2-1 in overtime at home on October 29 and losing 3-0 on the road on November 9. Reading has 24 goals in its last four games and ranks fourth in the league in scoring with 3.9 goals-per game while its defense ranks fifth in goals-allowed per game with 2.64.

Rookie Shay Stephenson tied the league season-high with a Royals team record four goals on Saturday while defenseman T.J. Kemp tied the league season-high with five assists on November 11. Rich Peverley leads Reading with 11 assists and 15 points while Mike Pandolfo has a team-leading seven goals and two game-winning goals. Cody Rudkowsky has won his last three starts to improve to 6-1-0 and he is tied for second in the league in wins while ranking fourth in goals-against average at 1.99.

Wheeling hosts Dayton on Wednesday and plays at Dayton on Friday before hosting Johnstown on Saturday and Trenton on Sunday. The Nailers have won their last three games and five consecutive home games, tying them for the second-longest home winning streak of the season. Wheeling is 1-0-0 at home and 2-0-0 overall against Dayton and 1-0-0 at home and 3-0-0 overall against Johnstown. The Nailers lost 5-3 at Trenton on October 22 and won 2-1 in a shootout on Friday to improve to 1-1-0 against the Titans.

Rookie goaltender Andy Franck has won his last three starts to improve to 4-1-0 and he ranks third in the league in goals-against average at 1.78. He is tied for the lead in shootout percentage after stopping all five Trenton shooters he faced on Friday. Kurtis McLean leads the Nailers with seven goals and his 14 points tie him for the team scoring lead with Sean Collins, who has a team-high nine assists.

Five Points Separate Five Teams In South

Beating Charlotte 5-2 on Friday and 4-3 on Saturday, Florida extended its home winning streak to six games, the longest streak in the league this season, and improved its record to 6-3-0. The Everblades are tied for third place in the South Division with Greenville at 6-4-0 and Augusta at 5-4-2.

Florida begins a six-game road trip on Tuesday at Greenville and the Everblades will play at Columbia on Wednesday, at Charlotte on Friday, at Greenville on Saturday and at South Carolina on Saturday. The Everblades beat South Carolina 5-4 at home in overtime on November 8.

Ernie Hartlieb had the game-winning goal in both games against Charlotte and is tied for the team lead with five goals while ranking second in scoring with eight points. Steve Saviano leads the Everblades with nine assists and 14 points and is tied with Hartlieb for the goal-scoring lead.

After winning back-to-back games for the first time, Greenville hosts Florida on Tuesday and Saturday and Pensacola on Sunday while traveling to Pensacola on Wednesday and to Augusta on Friday. The Grrrowl won 6-2 at Pensacola on October 21 and beat the Ice Pilots 3-2 in a shootout at home on October 28.

John Snowden has two game-winning goals and four points (3g-1a)in his last four games while Colin Pepperall leads the team with nine assists and 11 points and Brock Radunske has a team-leading eight goals and ranks second in scoring with 10 points.

Columbia will continue its six-game home stand when it hosts Florida on Wednesday, Pensacola on Friday and South Carolina on Saturday. The Inferno is 2-1-0 against Pensacola, including a 4-2 win at home on November 13, and 1-1-0 against South Carolina, winning 5-4 in a shootout at South Carolina on October 22 and losing 4-2 at home on October 30.

Gwinnett will play four games in five days visiting Charlotte on Tuesday and South Carolina on Friday while hosting Augusta on Thursday and Pensacola on Saturday. The Gladiators lost 1-0 in a shootout to Charlotte on October 21 while winning 6-0 at Pensacola on October 22 and 7-4 against the Ice Pilots on November 15 and winning 5-4 at South Carolina on November 4.

Chris Durno extended his scoring streak to eight games (8g-6a) and he leads the Gladiators with eight goals, two game-winning goals and 14 points in nine games while Jeff Campbell leads the team with nine assists and ranks second in scoring with 11 points.

Falcons Extend Lead In Pacific

Fresno won its only game of the week to improve to 8-3-1 and holds a five-point lead in the Pacific Division over San Diego and Long Beach, who are tied for second at 5-6-2. Bakersfield is fourth at 4-5-3, one point ahead of Stockton which is 4-4-2 despite playing its first 10 games on the road.

Fresno, which is 7-0-0 against the Pacific Division, will host Las Vegas on Tuesday before traveling to Bakersfield on Saturday and San Diego on Sunday. The Falcons are 2-0-0 against San Diego, beating the Gulls 4-3 in a shootout on November 12 and 3-1 on Saturday. Fresno beat Bakersfield 6-2 on November 6 while losing 5-2 at Las Vegas on November 8.

Brett Jaeger has won his last two starts to improve to 6-2-1 and he is tied for second in the league in wins while ranking fourth in minutes with 558 and 20th in goals-against average at 2.79.

Luke Curtin has a seven-game scoring streak (3g-6a) and leads the Falcons in goals (8), assists (11), points (19), power-play assists (7) and power-play points (10). He is tied for third in the league in scoring and ranks fourth in power-play points.

San Diego, which has won its last two home games to improve to 2-0-1, opens a seven-game home stand when it hosts Victoria on Wednesday, Long Beach on Friday, Stockton on Saturday and Fresno on Sunday. The Gulls lost 5-0 at Long Beach on November 2 and 4-3 in overtime to Stockton on November 5.

Steve Hildenbrand has a three-game scoring streak (3g-3a), including the game-winning goal in each of the last two Gulls victories, and leads the team with six goals while ranking second in scoring with 11 points. Guillaume Fournier has a seven-game scoring streak (4g-6a) and leads the team with eight assists and 13 points while Tom Lawson is 4-1-1 and ranks eighth in the league in goals-against average at 2.25.

Long Beach will have a chance to avenge its 2-1 shootout loss at Bakersfield on Saturday when it visits the Condors on Tuesday in a 10:30 a.m. game. The Ice Dogs continue their four-game road swing at San Diego on Friday and at Phoenix on Saturday before hosting Victoria on Sunday. Long Beach won 5-0 against San Diego on November 2 and won back-to-back shootouts at Phoenix, 5-4 on November 9 and 3-2 on November 11.

Christian Larrivee leads the Ice Dogs with eight assists and 13 points and his five goals tie him for the team lead with Ash Goldie, who is tied for second in scoring with Chris Kenady (2g-6a).

Bakersfield, which ended an 0-3-2 streak with its shootout win against Long Beach, continues its four-game home stand hosting Long Beach on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and Fresno on Saturday. The Condors, who are 3-0-2 at home, lost 6-2 at Fresno on November 6.

Kevin St. Jacques has seven points (3g-4a) in the last seven games to move into second on the team with five goals and third in scoring with nine points. Scott Basiuk leads the Condors and is tied for third among league defensemen with 10 assists while also leading the team in scoring with 11 points, tied for sixth among ECHL defensemen.

After going 2-1-0 on its visit to Ohio, posting a 4-3 shootout win at Toledo on Friday and a 4-2 win at Dayton on Sunday, Stockton continues its season-opening 15-game road trip when it visits Utah on Thursday, Las Vegas on Friday and San Diego on Saturday. The Thunder's first win of the season was 4-3 in overtime at San Diego on November 5.

Joel Irwin leads the team with 11 points and is tied for the team lead with seven assists while Mike Lalonde leads the Thunder with seven goals and ranks second in scoring with 10 points. Jeff Weber picked up the win on Sunday at Dayton to improve to 2-1-2 and he ranks third in the league in save percentage at .939 and is ninth in goals-against average at 2.26.

Stanley Cup Tour Continues

The Stanley Cup Tour of the ECHL continues this week with visits to Utah on Thursday, Las Vegas on Friday, Phoenix on Saturday and Long Beach on Sunday.

For more information on the Stanley Cup Tour of the ECHL visit

The National Hockey League and the Hockey Hall of Fame are touring the Stanley Cup to 20 teams in the ECHL between October 26 and December 17 to help raise awareness and money for hurricane relief efforts. The Stanley Cup has already visited Dayton, Johnstown, Pensacola Reading, Toledo, Trenton and Wheeling.

Proceeds benefit charities assisting in hurricane relief efforts including, but not limited to, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and the United Way. The Tour is another addition to the National Hockey League's charitable efforts which have included a joint donation with the NHL Players' Association of $1 million to the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief.

League Attendance Still Up

Florida had 6,180 on Friday and 6,868 on Saturday to raise its average attendance from 5,869 to 6,056 and move into fourth place in the league which has seen an increase of just over 1.5 percent from last season to 4,253 per game.

The Everblades, who have led the league in attendance each of the past six seasons, are continuing to overcome the effects of Hurricane Wilma which forced the postponement of the season-opening series with Las Vegas after causing damage throughout the area.

Bakersfield had 6,289 on Saturday and is in fifth place at 6,040 while Gwinnett ranks third at 6,286 and San Diego is second at 7,080 for three home games. Charlotte, which leads the league with 8,317 per game, plays the second game at the new Bobcats Arena on Tuesday when it hosts Gwinnett and will play its game on a Friday when its hosts Florida.

Did You Know... The ECHL's Top Four power-play teams are in the National Conference while

the Top Four penalty-killing teams are in the American Conference.

Feature Games Of The Week

North Division
Trenton at Reading - Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET
* Trenton won the last meeting 3-0 on November 9.
* Royals are 5-0-0 at home, including 2-1 overtime win against Trenton.

South Division
Florida at Greenville - Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET
* Both are on two-game winning streak and tied for third in division.
* Will be 50th meeting all-time between Florida (29-15-4) and Greenville (19-22-7).

West Division
Utah at Idaho - Friday at 7:10 p.m. MT
* Only two teams in ECHL with 10 wins.
* First of eight games scheduled between division leaders.

Pacific Division
Stockton at San Diego - Saturday at 7:05 p.m. PT
* Only two points separate second-place Gulls from fifth-place Thunder.
* Stockton picked up first win of season, 4-3 in OT in Gulls home opener on Nov. 5.

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