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Red Hot Icehawks Look To Keep Streak Alive

December 14, 2009 - International Hockey League 2 (IHL 2) - Port Huron Icehawks News Release

PORT HURON, MI - The Port Huron Icehawks are enjoying a hot streak. Despite a tough schedule and playing without three of their top players, the Icehawks persevered to win five games in seven days and take over a share of first place in the standings. The big week also included a milestone. The third-year team recorded their 100th win as a franchise on Saturday.

After wrapping up last week with a win in Dayton on Sunday, Port Huron began Week Nine in International Hockey League action in a tie with Fort Wayne for second place. With a home-and-home series against both Fort Wayne and first place Muskegon ahead of them, the Icehawks capitalized on a great opportunity to move up in the standings.

The Icehawks opened the week with a 4-2 win in Fort Wayne on Wednesday. On Friday, Nick Lindberg and Brandon Naurato scored in a shootout to give the Icehawks their first win against the Lumberjacks this season. The big week continued with back-to-back shutouts. Larry Sterling made 23 saves on Friday to lead the Icehawks to a 2-0 win against Fort Wayne on Saturday. Adam Russo responded with a 1-0 shutout the following night in Muskegon.

The Icehawks are riding a five game winning streak overall and a five game winning streak on home ice. They are currently 16-6-0-1 with 33 points and are tied with the Lumberjacks for first place. Both teams have played 23 games and have identical winning percentages (.717).

The Icehawks will look to keep the streak alive this week. They will play a home-and-home series with the Flint Generals starting Tuesday in Port Huron, and close out the week when the Dayton Gems come to McMorran Arena Sunday. The Icehawks are currently undefeated against both the Generals and the Gems this season, with a 4-0-0-0 record in each season series.

The Real Advantage: The Icehawks dominance on the penalty kill reached new heights last week when their penalty-killing unit outscored opposing power play units 1-0. The team had 22 penalty kill opportunities in four games and did not allow a single power play goal. Port Huron's Nick Lindberg had a shorthanded goal in Saturday's game against Fort Wayne to add to the team's great penalty killing performance. The Icehawks have allowed just one power play goal in six December games and have held opposing teams scoreless in 91.1% of power play chances, by far the best mark in the league.

Rookie Contributions: Many rookie skaters have had an instant impact on the Icehawks this year as they continue to succeed through an injury-plagued season. Brandon Naurato has had a hot start with four goals and five assists in his first eight games with the Icehawks. Mickael Bedard leads all IHL rookies with 18 points on seven goals and eleven assists. Overall, Port Huron's five rookies have combined for 38 points on 13 goals and 25 assists, and a +5 total rating.

Overcoming Injury: The Icehawks winning streak has come without three of their top players. Right wing Mike Kinnie, who continues to lead the team in goals, has missed the last seven games with a concussion, while center Kris Vernarksy (30-Day, 11/29/09) and defenseman Ian Turner (30-Day, 12/07/09) remain on IR.

The Icehawks did see two players, forward Jason Kostadine and defenseman Rob Cowan, return to the ice last week after injuries. Cowan, who had not played since October 25, made his presence felt and on Friday recorded the first multi-point game of his career, with a goal and an assist.

The Defense Never Rests: Port Huron's goaltending and defense has been top notch all season, and they have the stats to prove it. The Icehawks have allowed fewer goals per game than any other team in the league, allowing just 2.48 goals per game. Both Port Huron goalies are in the top five in wins, goals against average and save percentage. Last weekend was no exception. Port Huron has not allowed a goal since early in the second period of last Friday's game, a scoreless streak that is over 154 minutes and counting.

Ticket Packages: The Icehawks are offering two great discount packages for home games during the 2009-10 season. Family Four Packs are available now for all home games, while Deuces Wild Packages are on sale for all weekday games.

Family Four Packs include four tickets, four hot dogs, and four small fountain drinks for just $44. For just $22, the Deuces Wild Package includes two tickets in the Attack Zone and two beers or soft drinks. The Deuces Wild Package must be purchased at the Icehawks office during normal business hours, while the Family Four Pack is available in advance or at the gate.

Single Game Tickets: Single game tickets for all Icehawks home games are on sale now at the McMorran Arena Box Office, any Ticket Master location or by phone. For more information, visit www.porthuronicehawks.com or call 810-966-3800.

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