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Five-goal rally boosts Thunder into top perch in National Conference

LONG BEACH, Calif. * Rookie Tyler Spurgeon's game-winning goal highlighted a three-goal third period rally as the Stockton Thunder (15-2-5, 35 points) took over first place in the ECHL's National Conference and Pacific Division in a 5-2 victory over the Long Beach Ice Dogs, in front of 1,972 at Long Beach Arena on Saturday night.

Stockton, edging Las Vegas by a win in the standings, is now unbeaten in 13 of its last 14 games with a 9-1-4 run since November 12. The Thunder has beaten Long Beach in all five meetings this season and is 6-0-4 all-time against the Ice Dogs.

Both teams skated to a scoreless first period draw as Thunder goaltender Cam Ellsworth's seven saves was matched by counterpart Mike Brown's 10 stops, including a point-blank stop on defenseman Beau Geisler's bid from the left circle that Brown kicked aside with his right pad.

Red-hot Brad Bonello's fifth goal of the year helped Long Beach break through with the game's first goal at the second period's 4:13 mark, followed by rookie Donald Johnson's first pro goal only 43 seconds later, roofing a backhander from the slot for a 2-0 Long Beach advantage.

The Thunder began its five-goal unanswered rally when left wing Tim Sestito scored his second goal in as many games and sixth on the year to snap Brown's shutout only 42 seconds later, burying a rebound from in tight after Brown fumbled with Adam Huxley's bid on the doorstep. Rookie defenseman Mark Adamek knotted the game at 2-2 at the 10:39 mark after taking a feed by Huxley and netting a 50-foot blast from the right point that deflected off traffic in front of the net.

Spurgeon scored the eventual game-winner with 15:40 remaining in the third with the Thunder building offensive momentum up-ice on a delayed penalty against Long Beach and Ellsworth pulled for an extra attacker. Spurgeon stickhandled past the Long Beach defense and wired a shot from the left wing over Brown's glove for a 3-2 Thunder advantage.

Stockton's Mike Lalonde increased the Thunder lead to 4-2 on a 5-on-3 goal at the 10:32 mark after deflecting a one-timer by Geisler past Brown while planted in front of the net. With both teams skating 4-on-4 a few minutes later, Stephen Slonina netted his seventh goal of the year to hike the Stockton lead to 5-2 with six minutes to go, taking Jeff Lang's shot from the left point and banking in the rebound off Brown's right pad while behind the net.

The Thunder kept a defensive clamp on Long Beach with a 33-19 shots-on-goal advantage and Ellsworth's 17 saves. Huxley (two assists), Lalonde (1g-1a) and Lang (two assists) led the Thunder in scoring with two points each.

The four-game road trip continues for the Thunder on Friday, December 22 with a 7:35 p.m. game against the geographic rival Fresno Falcons at Save Mart Center, the first of eight meetings between both teams this season. The game can be heard live on the internet (free-of-charge) and is viewable for a $6 "pay-per-view" charge at stocktonthunder.com: Home (courtesy of B2 Networks).

Thunder season tickets, mini-plans and individual tickets for the 2006-07 season are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit stocktonthunder.com: Home.
 

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Royals Snap Win Drought In Toledo, 3-1

Wheeling, WV - The Reading Royals (12 - 10 - 4 = 28; 1st North Division) ended a nine game winless streak at the Toledo Sports Arena that stretched over two seasons dating back to April 19, 2005 by defeating the Storm in Toledo, 3-1. The Royals got a goal early in the first from Arpad Mihaly and another mid-way into the third by John Snowden (and an empty netter with 1:21 remaining from Greg Hogeboom), as well as solid goaltending from Jeff Pietrasiak (5 - 3 - 0; 30/31), to extend the team's road win streak to a season high three games.

Reading struck 1:24 into the game when a Dany Roussin pass sprang Mihaly into the offensive zone on the right wing side. Using the Toledo defender as a screen, Mihaly uncorked a bullet that beat Toledo's goaltender, Dominic Vicari (2 - 4 - 0; 37/39, 1 eng) high to the glove side for his sixteenth goal of the season. The Storm responded shortly thereafter with a short-handed goal. With the Royals on the power play, Toledo's Chris Blight carried into the offensive zone and was able to drop a pass to the high slot where defenseman Tim Songin had joined the attack. Songin ripped a high slap shot that Pietrasiak knocked down with his glove hand. However, the rebound landed on the stick of the Storm's Nick Parillo who slid it through Pietrasiak's legs for his fourth of the season 4:58 into the period.

Despite extended stretches of up-and-down, back-and-forth action through the remainder of the first, all of the second, and a good portion of the third, neither team could score until the 9:41 of the third when the Royals' forecheck kept a loose puck alive in the offensive zone. Defenseman Shawn Germain ended up with the puck in the high slot and slid a pass to James Hiebert who was able to control it low in the left circle out of his skates. Hiebert pressed towards the Toledo goal and as he was forced below the goal line dropped a brilliant pass to the interior portion of the left circle, where John Snowden waited with time, space and opportunity. Snowden drilled a laser high to the stick side of Vicari for his sixth of the season-and what proved to be the game winner. Toledo pressed down the stretch and pulled their goaltender when they were awarded an offensive zone faceoff with 1:29 remaining. Reading gained control of the puck, however, and defenseman Jason Becker cleared the zone with a bank shot off the left wing boards down into the Toledo zone. A race for the puck ensued, and it was won by a diving Greg Hogeboom who got enough of the puck to push it into the empty net to ice the victory for Reading with 1:21 remaining.

The Royals continue their five game road trip against the Charlotte Checkers at Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday, December 21 (7:00 pm). Royals' game night broadcasts can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1240 am (and on the internet through the Royals' website, www.royalshockey.com), beginning thirty minutes before the opening face-off. Streaming video is also available for $6.00 per game through the B2 Networks, which can be accessed through the Royals' website.
 

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ECHL Today

Charlotte Checkers (15-9-1) at Gwinnett Gladiators (14-7-4) 4:05 p.m. ET
* Gladiators won last meeting 8-3 on Nov. 23 at Gwinnett, tying season series at two games each.
* Checkers have won season-high four consecutive games, including three road wins.
* Brad Schell and Jon Awe lead Gwinnett against the Checkers with four assists and five points.
* Mark Lee leads Charlotte against the Gladiators with four assists and six points in four games.

Florida Everblades (17-7-0) at Columbia Inferno (7-13-4) 5:05 p.m. ET
* Columbia's Luke Fulghum has a game-winning goal and team-leading six points (3g-3a) against Florida.
* Florida's Craig Kowalski is 2-1-0 with goals-against average of 1.33 in three starts against Columbia.
* Columbia defenseman Tyson Marsh has assist in two games since being assigned by Toronto on Friday.
* John Lehun (3g-3a), Dustin Johner (3g-3a) and Derek Damon (2g-4a) lead Florida against Columbia.

Victoria Salmon Kings (9-14-1) at Fresno Falcons (13-9-1) 5:00 p.m. PT
* Salmon Kings won 4-3 at Victoria on Nov. 12 and lead the season series 2-1-0.
* Luke Curtin had three assists Saturday and leads Fresno with 20 assists and is tied for lead with 24 points.
* Victoria rookie Julien Ellis is 2-0-0 with a save percentage of .934 in two starts against Fresno.
* Fresno defenseman Cory Murphy leads the team at home with 11 assists and is second with 12 points.

Premier 'AA' Hockey League Fast Facts
* Affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League marking 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
* 310 former ECHL players have played in NHL.
* 164 have made NHL debut in the last five seasons, including goaltenders Barry Brust, Martin Houle, Joey MacDonald, Mike Smith and Mike Wall, center Drew Larman and right wing Jesse Schultz this season, and a record 47 in 2005-06.
* ECHL has been represented on last six Stanley Cup champions.
* Two NHL head coaches (Peter Laviolette & Jim Playfair) and 9 assistant coaches have ECHL experience.
* Affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League.
* ECHL has been represented on last 17 Calder Cup champions.
* For each of the past four seasons, ECHL has had more players called up to AHL than all other professional leagues combined. From 2002-06 the ECHL had 1,646 call ups, involving almost 1,000 players, including 416 call ups involving 263 players last season.
* Idaho Steelheads and City of Boise will host the 15th Annual ECHL All-Star Game presented by Rbk Hockey on Jan. 17 and the 10th Annual ECHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by Rbk Hockey on Jan. 16 at Qwest Arena.
* ECHL and its member teams contributed more than $2.3 million for charity and relief funds in 2005-06.
 

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Victoria Salmon Kings game notes

Sunday, December 17, 2006 -- 5:00 p.m. (PT)

@ Fresno Falcons

LAST GAME : Steve Lingren fired a shot from the point for a powerplay goal following a Bakersfield shorthanded tally in the first period. Bakersfield took a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission, and continued in the middle frame with another four straight markers.

Julie Ellis got the start but was replaced by Bryan Bridges in the second. Bridges made 13 saves and helped revive Victoria for a three unanswered goal streak. Wes Goldie and Mike Stutzel scored and Lingren earned his second goal of the game, and in a span of under three minutes, the Salmon Kings were back within two goals.

Despite Victoria outshooting the home team Condors 14-3 in the third period, Bakersfield latched on for the win. Condors Forward Todd Griffith earned a hat-trick.

6-4 Condors

KAPITALIZING ON THE KREST : The Krestanovich brothers have combined for six points (1g, 5a) in the current road trip....this will be their first meeting versus Fresno this season...have combined for 14 points (5g, 9a) and a +11 rating in last six games...both assisted on Victoria's second and fourth goals of yesterday's game versus Bakersfield.

TAKING ADVANTAGE : In the last game between Victoria and Fresno (Nov 12), both teams combined for five goals on special teams in 17 powerplay advantages....Kiel McLeod earned a powerplay goal and Wes Goldie snuck in a shorthanded goal....Fresno had one powerplay and two shorthanded goals of their own...The November 11th matchup made a mark in the Salmon Kings club record book this season, witnessing 128 combined penalty minutes between both teams and Victoria collecting 17 powerplay advantages alone.

Last series versus Fresno PLAYERS TO WATCH

Record: 2-1-0

Goals for: 12

Goals against: 11

Key game 4-3 victory on Nov 12, 2006 gave the Salmon Kings the series win. Julien Ellis made 41 saves and earned his third straight win. Victoria penalty kill was 9-for-10 (90%). #16 Wes Goldie (F)

- tallied four points (2g, 2a) in last series versus Fresno.

- Leads Salmon Kings in goals (14) and tied with F.P. Guenette in total points (25)

#8 Seamus Young (D)

- Notched two points and was +3 in last series versus Fresno.

- Scored the game-winner versus Falcons on Nov 9.

#18 Mike Stutzel (F)

- on a three-game point streak, having earned one goal and two assists during current road trip.

IR LIST CONTRACTED PLAYERS TRANSACTIONS

3-day

Kiel McLeod (F) 7-day

Phil Cole (D) 30-day

Brad Cook (D) NHL (Vancouver) Guenette, Ellis

AHL (Manitoba) Kelly none

NEXT GAME: @ Phoenix Roadrunners, Thursday December 21, 7:11 p.m. (PT), US Airways Centre
 

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ECHL Transactions

Following are the ECHL transactions for Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006:

Augusta:
Delete Myles Zimmer, F recalled to Portland (AHL), 12/16
Delete Garrett Bembridge, F recalled to Portland (AHL), 12/16

Charlotte:
Delete Lee Falardeau, F placed on the 3-day IR

Columbia:
Add Mark Cairns, G emergency backup goaltender
Delete Ted Monnich, G emergency backup goaltender

Johnstown:
Add Ian MacLean, D activated off IR, 12/16
Delete Zbynek Hrdel, F placed on the 7-day IR, 12/16

Long Beach:
Add Yutaka Fukufuji, G assigned by Los Angeles (NHL)
Delete Tyler Hanchuck, D placed on the 3-day IR

Phoenix:
Add Chris Ferraro, F signed contract
Delete Justin Aikins, F placed on the 3-day IR

Reading:
Add Pat Noecker, G emergency backup goaltender, 12/16
Delete Ryan Munce, G recalled to Manchester (AHL), 12/16

South Carolina:
Delete Mike Mannson, G emergency backup goaltender, 12/16

Texas:
Delete Luis Tremblay, D placed on the 3-day IR

Trenton:
Delete Joel Martin, G loaned to Lowell (AHL), 12/16

Wheeling:
Add Richard Colwill, F traded from Toledo, 12/16
 

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'Blades make changes to injury list

ESTERO, FL - Florida Everblades President and General Manager Craig Brush along with Head Coach Gerry Fleming announced today that forward Ernie Hartlieb has been activated off the 3-day injured reserve list and that defenseman Ryan Brindley has been placed on the 3-day IR. As per team policy the injury was not disclosed.

Hartlieb returns to the lineup for the first time since December 2. The 27-year-old has six points (0g, 6a) in 18 games this season with the Everblades, and had strung together a three-game point scoring streak from November 24-28 prior to being placed on the IR. The Warren, Michigan native is currently in his third season with the Everblades having totaled 72 points (21g, 51a) in 88 games in Southwest Florida. Overall in his seventh season professionally, Hartlieb has earned 222 points (73g, 149a) in 344 career games with Florida, Dayton and Arkansas of the ECHL and Worcester, Lowell and Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.

Brindley makes his third trip to the IR this season after suffering an injury in Florida's 3-1 win over South Carolina on December 16. The 30-year-old veteran has one goal and one assist in seven games this season. Brindley is in his fourth season with the Everblades and his ninth professional season overall. As an Everblade Brindley has tallied 64 points (16g, 48a) in 118 games, and as a pro, the former Miami (OH) University alum has notched 284 points (86g, 199a) in 462 games.

The Florida Everblades, proud affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers, return to action tonight when they take on the Columbia Inferno from the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia, SC at 5:00 p.m. The Everblades' next home game is Friday, December 22 vs. the South Carolina Stingrays.

Florida Everblades group tickets and individual game tickets are now available! Reserve your seat for all the exciting action today by calling (239) 948-7825. Visit Florida Everblades - ECHL and Germain Arena for more information on group ticket packages, pricing and upcoming Germain Arena events.
 

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Gladiators Clip Checkers, 2-1

The Gwinnett Gladiators used a pair of power play goals by Jon Awe to knock off the Charlotte Checkers 2-1 on Sunday afternoon on the Your Best Rate Financial Home Ice at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. With the win, Gwinnett improves to 15-7-4 on the season.

Charlotte jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal just 41 seconds into the first period. Nathan Gillies took a pass in the slot and ripped a slap shot over the right shoulder of Gladiators netminder Dan Turple for the goal. Zdenek Bahensky and Mike Ouellette posted the assists on the goal setting up Gillies.

Gwinnett answered on the power play as Jon Awe posted his 10th goal of the season at the 10:26 mark of the first period. A falling Brad Schell flipped the puck to Awe at the point, where the Gladiators defenseman ripped a one-timer past Charlotte netminder Chris Holt for the goal. Scott Mifsud also posted an assist on the power play marker.

Gwinnett took a 2-1 lead just 54 seconds into the second period on Awe's second goal of the game. Schell fed Awe at the point to set up the goal as Awe ripped another one-timer past Holt for the power play goal.

The Gladiators clamped down defensively in the third period to preserve the 2-1 win. After allowing the Checkers a goal on the first shot of the game, Turple finished with 22 saves for the Gladiators in the win. Gwinnett posted both goals in the win on the power play as Gwinnett went 2-for-9 on the power play. Charlotte was held scoreless on eight extra man opportunities.

The American Conference Champion Gwinnett Gladiators continue their fourth season on December 22nd as they travel the James Brown Arena on Friday night for a 7:35 p.m. tilt as they battle the Augusta Lynx. The Gladiators offer several ticket packages for different needs as well as group outings, suites and birthday parties. For more information call 770-497-5100 or log on to Gwinnett Gladiators.

The Gladiators play all 36 home games on the Your Best Rate Financial Home Ice at the Arena at Gwinnett Center located on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth and are the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers.
 

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'Blades run winning streak to six with 5-2 win over Columbia

COLUMBIA, SC - The Florida Everblades (18-7-0) extended their season-high winning streak to six games thanks to the two-goal performances of Vince Bellissimo and Mike Angelidis and the 23 saves by goaltender Craig Kowalski as the Everblades upended the Columbia Inferno (7-14-4) by a final score of 5-2 on Sunday night at the Carolina Coliseum in front of a crowd of 2,746.

For the second straight night, the Everblades tallied the lone first period goal to grab the early lead after the first 20 minutes. Angelidis notched his second goal in as many nights by collecting a rebound on the doorstep and slipping it past Inferno net-minder Robert Gherson at 5:15 of the frame. Brent McDonald and Frank MacDonald picked up the assists on Angelidis' ninth goal of the season.

The Everblades began the second period with power play time and took advantage 15 seconds into the frame when Bellissimo extended his point scoring streak to five games with his ninth goal of the season by lifting the puck from the right post under the cross bar to give open a 2-0 lead. Reggie Berg extended his point scoring streak to six games with one assist and Chris Dyment collected the second assist.

The Inferno however responded with a power play goal at 3:34 on Jeff Miles' ninth goal of the year to trim the lead to 2-1. The game changed however late in the second period when Justin Sawyer of Columbia was given six total penalty minutes, four for high sticking and two for unsportsmanlike conduct. During the ensuing power play another penalty was whistled against the Inferno giving the Everblades a 5-on-3 power play that they would cash in on. Angelidis tallied his second goal of the night with 1:12 remaining in the second period to open a 3-1 Everblades lead on assists by Berg and Ryan Van Buskirk.

As the third period commenced the Everblades still held 2:38 of power play time, but could not convert, however at 11:55 with a delayed penaly coming against Columbia, Frank MacDonald blasted a shot from the top of the left circle past Gherson for the three goal lead. Brad Zancanro and Brent McDonald collected the assists on MacDonald's third goal of the season. The Inferno responded quickly though, scoring just 23 seconds later when Brad Ralph snuck a shot between the pads of Kowalski from the bottom of the right circle for his eighth goal of the year.

The Everblades withstood the pressure of the Inferno over the final minutes and then salted the game away when Bellissimo tucked the puck into the empty Columbia net with eighth seconds remaining in the game. Berg and Dyment each assisted on Bellissimo's second goal of the night.

Kowalski earned his the win in net for the Everblades by stopping 23 Columbia shots to raise his record to 9-5-0, and Gherson saw his record fall to 1-9-1 after allowing four goals on 40 shots.

On the power play, the Everblades closed out night 2-for-10, while the Inferno finished the night 1-for-3.

The Florida Everblades, proud affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers, return to action on Friday, December 22 when they host the South Carolina Stingrays at 7:30 p.m. at Germain Arena. Florida Everblades group and individual game tickets & mini-plans are now available! Reserve your seat for all the exciting action today by calling (239) 948-7825. Visit Florida Everblades - ECHL and Germain Arena for more information on group ticket packages, pricing and upcoming Germain Arena events.

Three Stars:

1) Mike Angelidis - FLA

2) Vince Bellissimo - FLA

3) Reggie Berg - FLA
 

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RoadRunners Sign Former NHL Center Chris Ferraro

PHOENIX, Ariz. - The Phoenix RoadRunners of the ECHL, a proud affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes and the San Antonio Rampage, have announced the signing of center Chris Ferraro to a standard player's contract.

Ferraro, 33, began the year with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League and appeared in one game after signing a professional try-out agreement on Nov. 17. The Port Jefferson, N.Y. native and 12-year veteran tallied six goals and 28 points along with 134 penalty minutes in 42 games last season with the DEG Metro Stars of the Deutsche Eishockey League in Germany. This will be Ferraro's first stint in the ECHL.

"We're excited about the prospects of adding a proven professional such as Chris Ferraro to our line-up," said RoadRunners General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Ray Delia. "The Ferraro name is synonymous with determination, dedication, leadership, and performance. Obviously we look forward to Chris joining us on the ice, but equally his presence in our dressing room will no doubt enhance the development of our young players by providing an excellent example of how to prepare, perform, and produce as a professional."

Selected by the New York Rangers in the fourth round at the 1992 NHL Entry Draft along with his identical twin brother Peter, Ferraro has appeared in 74 NHL games over the course of his career with the Rangers, Pittsburgh, Edmonton, New York Islanders and Washington tallying seven goals, nine assists, and 57 penalty minutes. Ferraro enjoyed his best professional season in 1995-96 with the Binghamton Rangers of the AHL finishing fourth overall in the league in scoring with 32 goals and 99 points in 77 games.

"With Scott May gone to Iowa (AHL) for an undetermined amount of time, we wanted to bring in some experience up the middle," said RoadRunners Head Coach Ron Filion. "We're extremely fortunate to land a player of Chris' caliber and look forward to getting him into our line-up."

Ferraro has recorded 210 goals, 330 assists, 540 points, and 1,248 penalty minutes in 682 career games.

Phoenix returns to US Airways Center at 7:11 p.m. Thursday, December 21 as they welcome back the Victoria Salmon Kings. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Individual game tickets for the 2006-07 regular season start as low $7 in the lower section and can be purchased at the US Airways Center Box Office and at all Ticketmaster outlets including Ticketmaster.com. Information on season tickets, half-season packages, and flex plans are available by calling (602) 462-GOAL.
 

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Checkers drop finale of four-game week, 2-1 at Gwinnett

(Duluth, Georgia - Sunday, December 17) The Charlotte Checkers saw their four-game winning streak come to a close in a 2-1 defeat Sunday afternoon to the Gwinnett Gladiators in Duluth, Georgia. Gwinnett defenseman John Awe scored both Gladiators' goals, with the tallies coming on the power play. Charlotte got its' lone goal of the game from Nathan Gillies, while Chris Holt suffered the loss in goal with 30 saves. Gladiators' goalie Dan Turple earned the win making 21 saves. Gwinnett outshot the Checkers 33-22. Despite the loss, Charlotte did win three of four games during the week.

Referee Jason Rollins had to leave the game after the first period due to a personal emergency. Linesman Jameel Chaudry took over as referee for the final two periods. Between Rollins and Chaudry, 19 minor penalties were called with Gwinnett getting nine power-play attempts while Charlotte received eight.

"I really like this group and was real happy with how hard they played the entire game despite today being our third game in as many days," remarked Charlotte Coach Derek Wilkinson. "It's tough when you play as well as we did against an excellent Gwinnett team and not come away with at least a point, but we still had a good week winning three of four games."

The Checkers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the contest as Mike Ouellette passed the puck to Gillies on a two-on-one break. Gillies beat Turple with a one-timer for an early Charlotte advantage.

The Gladiators tied the game at 1-1 at 10 minutes, 26 seconds of the first period as Awe's shot from the center point eluded Holt. Early in the second period Gwinnett scored to take a 2-1 lead, and advantage they would not relinquish. Awe tallied his second goal of the game on a near identical shot from the center point as his first goal.

For the rest of the game the Checkers produced several quality scoring opportunities, but they just narrowly missed the net or were frustrated by a good save by Turple.

In the final minute of the third period Wilkinson, pulled Holt for an extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game. The Checkers were able to muster two good chances with the sixth attacker, but were kept off the scoreboard and the Gladiators held on for the 2-1 triumph.

The loss dropped Charlotte's record to 15-10-1 for 31 points. The victory raised Gwinnett's record to 15-7-4 for 34 points.

The Checkers next home game is Thursday, December 21 at Charlotte Bobcats Arena against the Reading Royals. The game was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, December 23, but was moved to December 21 in November.

CHECKERS SUNDAY AFTERNOON SCRATCHES: Dusty Jamieson and Lee Falardeau.

FOR BOXSCORE CLICK: ECHL - Premier 'AA' Hockey League

Tickets for all Checkers home games can be purchased on the official team web site at The Official Site of The Charlotte Checkers :, on the telephone by using a credit card and calling 1-800-495-2295, or by visiting the Charlotte Bobcats Arena box office.
 

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Prudden's Three Points Pace Falcons Past Salmon Kings

Fresno, Calif. - Josh Prudden tallied three points to lead the Fresno Falcons to a 3-1 win over the Victoria Salmon Kings on Sunday in front of 3,913 fans at Save Mart Center.

The Falcons scored the only goal of the opening period at 14:31. Prudden skated across the Victoria line on a 2-on-1 rush with Brady Leisenring. Prudden used Leisenring as a decoy, and snapped a shot past goaltender Bryan Bridges from the left-wing circle.

F.P. Guenette pulled Victoria even with a power-play goal 7:11 into the second period. Guenette skated into the right-wing circle, and beat Dmitri Patzold with a wrist shot high to the glove side tying the game at one.

Fresno regained the lead at 13:52 of the third period. P.O. Beaulieu pinched in from the blue line, skated along the end wall, and tucked a shot home on the far post for his second goal of the season.

John Morlang set the final, scoring an empty-net goal at 19:27.

Patzold picked up his second straight win, turning aside 24 Victoria shots.

Fresno is back in action on Friday, hosting the Stockton Thunder at 7:30 p.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action on 1550 Sporting News Radio, starting with the Port of Subs Pre-Game Show at 7:15. Tickets for all Falcons home games can be purchased at the Save Mart Center Box Office, by phone at (559) 485-8497, on-line at Official Ticketmaster site. Tickets for Concerts, Sports, Arts, Theater, Family, Events, more, or at any TicketMaster outlet.
 

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Salmon Kings faced fight or flight against the Falcons

Fresno, CA - The Victoria Salmon Kings, proud affiliate of the Manitoba Moose and the Vancouver Canucks, soared into Fresno to face the Falcons to complete their three road game in three days tour. The goaltenders remained steady as the Sunday afternoon game in front of 3,913 fans at the Save Mart Centre was not decided until the end of the final period.

It was a neutral zone battle in the first period until Fresno Centre Josh Prudden scored his sixth goal of the season for the Falcons 1-0 lead. Prudden finished a 2-on-1 press by going top shelf from the left circle on Goaltender Bryan Bridges with 4:29 remaining in the first.

Victoria countered on the powerplay in the second period and tied the game 1-1. Mike Stutzel led F.P. Guenette across the blueline, and Guenette kicked the puck from his left skate to his stick and gained team-leading scorer title with a tough angle wristshot from the right circle on the short side of Netminder Dmitri Patzold.

The shots picked up in the back half of the game, and the Falcons awakened the crowd at the 13:52 mark of the third period. Defenseman Pierre-Olivier Beaulieu gave Fresno the 2-1 advantage with a wraparound goal. John Morlang added an open net goal for Fresno with 33 seconds left in the game to secure the victory and hand Victoria its fourth straight loss.

Final Score: 3-1 Fresno

Patzold grabbed his second win of the season, and Bridges was edged for his fifth loss. Victoria scored once in three powerplay opportunities and Fresno was held scoreless on four chances with the man advantage. The Falcons outshot the Salmon Kings 30-25.

Victoria (9-15-0-1) will take a breath before a round two meeting with Phoenix (14-11-1-0) in their 15-day road trip. The Roadrunners host the Salmon Kings on Dec 21 and Dec 23 at the US Airways Centre, both games begin at 7:11 (MT).

NOTES:

- Despite the loss, Bryan Bridges earned a 0.931 save percentage, his second best of the season.

- Mike Stutzel is on a four-game point streak (1g, 3 a).

- Ryan Wade is on five-game point streak (5 assists).

Get your Salmon Kings stocking stuffers today! The gift package includes four game vouchers and two Salmon Kings hats for only $60! Call (250) 220-7777.
 
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