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Killer Bees Game Night Preview (vs. Austin)

March 11, 2005 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees News Release

RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

GAME NIGHT PREVIEW

Austin Ice Bats (28-22-5) @ Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (16-36-3)

DATE: 3/11/05 TIME: 7:30 pm LOCATION: Dodge Arena (Hidalgo, Tx)

BEES LOOK TO BAT AROUND AUSTIN FOR HOME WIN

The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees open up this weekend’s action tonight hosting the Austin Ice Bats, who are trying to stay in the playoff hunt. The Bats find themselves two standing-points behind both Lubbock and Laredo, who are currently holding playoff spots, but really need three points to get into a playoff spots due to tie-breakers (Lubbock and Laredo have more wins). Laredo is in Corpus Christi tonight, while Lubbock is on the road in San Angelo. The Bees meanwhile are seeking to snap a franchise high five-game home winless streak.

THE SERIES

Rio Grande Valley hosts the Austin Ice Bats for the fourth of five eventual visits this season (Bees are 2-1-0 this season against Austin at the Dodge Arena). The contest will be the 21st meeting all-time between the two teams and the ninth this season (of ten). Austin holds a 10-9-1 all-time advantage in the series and had won five straight this season until the Bees notched a franchise high 7 goals in a 7-2 win on February 25th. The Bees are led by Bill Newson in the all-time series with 19 points (7g,12a), while Jason Tessier leads the season series for the Bees with 8 points (1g,7a). Austin’s all-time leaders against the Bees is John McNabb (7g,6a,13pts), who also leads the season series with those same numbers.

THE LAST MEETING

2/25/05 - Matic Kralj's first professional hat trick, Joe Guenther's two goals and Jeff Levy's 34 saves off 36 shots helped march the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees past the Austin Ice Bats 7-2 at the Travis County Expo Center. The seven goals is a franchise.

The Bees came out in full force and out-shot the Bats 18-7 in the opening period and scored a trio of goals to run Austin goaltender Peter Brady, who entered the series with a 3-0-0 record and a 1.67 GAA, out of the game. Troy Linna opened it up for the Bees with a goal 49-seconds into the contest by sending a backhand shot from the left circle that bounced over the right leg pad of Brady. Matic Kralj also capitalized on a backhand shot, as he picked up his first goal of February and his 12th of the year by slipping a tricky backhand shot from the left circle after positioning in front from behind the net. Joe Guenther, who tallied a pair of goals Wednesday in Odessa, ended Brady's night by converting on a one-timer from a feed by Blaz Emersic to his left with 4:31 remaining. Austin replaced Brady with Matt Barnes and then picked up a late spark and cut into the Bees 3-0 lead with a goal by Kelly Smart with 1:30 remaining in the period.

Rio Grande Valley regained their three goal advantage 6:47 into the second period with Guenther tallying his second goal of the game on a 5-on-3 power play advantage by tipping a Derek Holland slap shot past Barnes. Daymen Bencharski registered his 11th goal of the season and his ninth on the road with 6:29 remaining in the period to extend the Bees lead to 5-1 with a redirection off a Darcy Smith slap shot.

Matic Kralj stole the spotlight in the third period away from Guenther with a pair of goals. Kralj's first was setup by a Bill Newson forced turnover. Newson stole the puck in the offensive zone in the right circle and dropped a pass back to Matick Kralj, who popped it into the back of the net 1:08 into the period to extend the Bees lead to 6-1. The second goal by Kralj went as unassisted and he converted the hattrick by stealing the puck away from the Bats defense and sending it past Barnes right in front of the net with 7:36 to go. Jeff Levy shined in the third period, recording a franchise third period best 18 saves off 19 shots. The one goal Austin tallied was tipped in by Mike Mohr with 1:27 remaining off a shot from the point.

ROSTER CHANGES

Rio Grande Valley continues without the services of Darren Partch (Team Suspension), while Austin is without defenseman Ryan Leasa (45-Day IR).

STANDINGS

Bees - 35 points, 4th place, 28 points back, Southeast Division.

Bats – 61 points, 2nd place, 2 points back, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS

Bees – Bill Newson 48 points; Joe Guenther 20 goals; Bill Newson 30 assists; Ryan Shmyr 248 penalty minutes.

Bats – John McNabb 70 points; John McNabb 35 goals; Chris Richards 50 assists; Dallas Anderson 337 penalty minutes.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Bees – Power play: 16.1% 9th, Penalty killing: 77.8% 17th.

Bats – 12.9% 17th, Penalty killing: 83.1% 11th.

GOALTENDERS

Bees – Jeff Levy (15-24-1, 1 SO, 3.13), Jacque Vezina (1-12-2, 0 SO, 4.34).

Bats – Matt Barnes (22-13-3, 4 SO, 3.07), Peter Brady (6-9-2, 1 SO, 3.57)

WHAT’S NEXT

Rio Grande Valley – Saturday, March 12th 7:30 PM vs. Corpus Christi Rayz Dodge Arena

Austin – Saturday, March 12th 7:30 PM @ Laredo Bucks Laredo Entertainment Center

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