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Condors Enjoy A Good Morning, Thump Las Vegas, 5-1

LAS VEGAS, Nevada. - Josh Liebenow had a goal and two assists, and Jamie Hodson stopped 26 shots, as the Bakersfield Condors trounced the Las Vegas Wranglers 5-1, in front of 5,011 at the Orleans Arena.

Despite the game starting at midnight, the Condors (15-7-2) were wide awake, and scored three times in the first period to take a big lead. Rane Carnegie started the barrage, controlling the puck in the left faceoff circle and snapping it past Kevin Nastiuk for a 1-0 lead just 5:32 into the contest.

Bakersfield continued to press the play, and was rewarded at 13:11 when Alex Rogosheske and Liebenow set up Reagan Leslie, and his slapper beat Nastiuk for a 2-0 lead.

Just 65 seconds later, Todd Griffith continued his hot streak, scoring on a rebound after shots by Brett Lutes and Steve Rodberg were stopped, making it 3-0. It was his 12th of the season, second best among rookies in the ECHL.

The Wranglers (14-4-7) closed the gap to 3-1 early in the second period. On a four-on-two break, Shawn Limpright dropped a pass for Mike McBain, who blasted one past Hodson at the 4:05 mark to cut the Condors lead to two goals.

But the Condors sealed it in the third as they dominated the final stanza. At 7:16, Kevin Truelson's shot from the right point was deflected home by Joel Irving, and Bakersfield had a power-play goal for the 13th consecutive game, and a 4-1 lead.

Then at 12:32, Liebenow stole the puck inside the Las Vegas zone and put a perfect shot up over Nastiuk's glove to make it 5-1.

Notes: The Condors have won a season- high four straight games. Hodson has won six straight games and is 8-0-1 in his last nine. He was the winning goaltender when Fresno beat Las Vegas in a shootout in the special midnight game during the 2004-05 season. Truelson is tied for 2nd in assists among defensemen with 20, and 4th in points with 22.

The Condors return to The Nest this weekend for a pair of games against the Utah Grizzlies. Friday, Dec. 22nd, it's Plasma TV Giveaway, presented by 106.1 KRAB Radio and Rent n Roll. Two lucky fans will win new plasma TVs valued at over $3,000 each. Then Saturday, Dec. 23rd, Bright House Networks, 101.5 KGFM and Instant Storage present Dora the Explorer. She'll be at The Nest for pictures so bring your friends and family for a fiesta in Condorstown.

You can catch all Condors games live on KGEO Hot Talk AM1230 with Jake Stevens calling all the action. Saturday's game against Long Beach can also be seen live on Bright House Networks (cable channel 21). Most games this season will again be available to view courtesy of B2 Networks. Just click the "Watch the Game Live" link on the Condors home page. Live streaming for all Condors games is also available via their web site, Official Website of the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL. For more information or to reserve ticket packages, contact the Condors office at 324-PUCK (7825).
 

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Patzold Recalled by San Jose

Fresno, Calif. - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Dimitri Patzold from the Worcester Sharks of the AHL.

Patzold appeared in four games with the Falcons, posting a 2-2-0 record, a 2.01 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. He was reassigned by San Jose to its AHL affiliate in Worcester, Mass. on Monday, but before boarding a plane for Worcester, he was summoned to San Jose.

The 23-year-old has spent the majority of his career in the American Hockey League after being selected by San Jose in the fourth round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Patzold has posted a 4-2-3 record in 10 games with Worcester this season with a 3.85 goals-against average and a .872 save percentage.

The Falcons are back in action on Friday, as they host the Stockton Thunder for the first time this season at 7:30 p.m. 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. All Falcons games can be heard on 1550 Sporting News Radio and on-line at fresnofalcons.com: Home starting with the Port of Subs Pre-Game Show 15 minutes prior to game time.
 

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Student versus Teachers ice hockey and food bank collections

Victoria, BC - Although the team is on a grueling 15-day road trip heading into the holidays, Marty the Marmot is still supporting local hockey and community initiatives back at home. The Salmon Kings are looking forward to ringing in 2007 by inviting Victoria to enjoy a holiday skate at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Annual Students vs Teachers Ice Hockey Challenge - Dec 20

Rockheights Middle School is holding their annual "Students vs Teachers" ice hockey game tomorrow at the Archie Browning Centre in Esquimalt, and Marty the Marmot will be acting as a guest coach and presenting prizes.

Leading up to the event, the grade six to eight students have been collecting non-perishable food items to donate to the local food bank, and with each donation receive a ballot to enter a draw for Salmon Kings tickets and merchandise. Marty has done some collecting of his own and will bring donations from the Save-On-Foods Westside Village location to add to the stash.

Opening ceremonies begin at 11:00 a.m., with the drop of the puck following shortly after.

Skate with the Salmon Kings - Jan 1st

The Victoria Salmon Kings will kick off the New Year with an afternoon match up against the Alaska Aces, followed by a second "Skate with the Salmon Kings" session.

For a donation to the Booster Club, join your favourite players on the ice for fun and autographs. The game begins at 1:05 p.m., and the community event will commence 10 minutes from the end of the game. Skate rentals will be available from the City of Victoria skate shop.

Victoria General Hospital Visit

The Victoria Salmon Kings plan to follow up with another visit to the Victoria General Hospital in January.

The tour in early December was inspiring for both the players and the children of the pediatric ward, as they shared games, photos, and autographs.

Pediatric services at Victoria General Hospital are provided for children and youth from birth up to the age of seventeen. A wide range of programs and services are provided, including but not limited to medical, surgical, oncology as well as pediatric day surgery, outpatient clinics, and pediatric and neonatal intensive care.

For Salmon Kings single game tickets or other package deals, call (250) 220-7777. We're ready for hockey. How about you?
 

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Swampee Hunkers Down to Assist Kid's With Cancer

Estero, FL - The Florida Everblades announced this morning that the heart and soul of the team embarked from the arena last night in an effort to raise money for children stricken with cancer. Swampee, the team's mascot, plans to sell tickets to Friday night's game at the Coastland Center Mall in Naples on US-41 until he meets his goal.

Swampee has many heroes in the pediatric cancer wing of the Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, and plans to bring as many smiles as possible to all of them this Christmas season. All the money he raises will assist Barbara's Friends, which is a cancer fund that helps bring lifesaving care and equipment to Southwest Florida. Now in its tenth year, Barbara's Friends has helped save the lives of numerous oncology and hematology patients. Forty percent of the patients benefiting from Barbara's Friends call Collier County their home.

Swampee's "Heroes" need you!!!

Swampee plans to sell the tickets he took from the Germain Arena Box Office for Friday night's game, and donate $2 from each one to Barbara's Friends Cancer Fund. He will be taking up residence at the Coastland Center Mall in Naples on Wednesday starting at 9 AM until he has reached his goal, and will not be leaving until that happens, even if he is late to the game Friday Night!

Swampee has been an icon of love and happiness to the Southwest Florida region since his birth over eight years ago, and is always looking for ways to positively affect as many people and organizations as possible. "Although he has a mind of his own, his benevolence is never in short supply. We are proud of his commitment, and look forward to seeing his success on this endeavor," said Craig Brush, President and General Manager of the Everblades.

Please help Swampee reach his goal, and make it in time for the start of the Everblades game as they take on the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday night at 7:30 PM.
 

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Maxime Boisclair recalled to Springfield

Johnstown, PA (December 19, 2006) - The Johnstown Chiefs announced on Tuesday that forward Maxime Boisclair has been recalled to the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.

Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Boisclair currently leads the Chiefs in scoring with 30 points (11g, 19a). The 6-0, 196-pound Boisclair has played in all 25 games for the Chiefs this season, recording at least one point in 19 games, including a 13-game point-scoring streak from November 12 through December 15, during which he scored 20 points (7g, 13a), including a five-point (3g, 2a) performance at Reading on November 24.

Prior to turning professional, Boisclair recorded consecutive 100-point seasons with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scoring 108 points (51g, 57a) in 2004-05 and ranking second on the team with 130 points (70g, 60a) in 2005-06.

The Chiefs return home to face the Toledo Storm on December 31 at 6:00 P.M. Good seats are still available at the War Memorial Box Office or by calling (814) 536-5156 or 1 (800) CHF-TIXX.
 

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Gladiators Giving Away Free Rent or Mortgage Payment

The Gwinnett Gladiators announced today that fans can still enter to win a chance to have their rent or mortgage paid for one month by Your Best Rate Financial during the "Live Free for a Month" contest.

Running throughout the 2006-07 season, the "Live Free for a Month" Contest presented by Your Best Rate Financial will be giving away a free months rent or mortgage payment each month for the remaining five months during the duration of the Gladiators season.

To be eligible to win, fans can simply register at the Your Best Rate Financial booth during any remaining Gwinnett Gladiators home game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Your Best Rate Financial has already paid for the rent or mortgage of two fans, the winners from October and November, this season. Another winner will be determined at the Gladiators December 27th game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center against the Pensacola Ice Pilots.

"We could not be happier to be involved in this program," said Jeff Cutler, President of Your Best Rate Financial. "We are a family owned, family run organization that feels very passionately about giving back to the community. I would encourage all Gladiators fans to register at the games so maybe we can pay their mortgage next month."

Based in Atlanta, Your Best Rate Financial is a direct mortgage lender and offers home loan mortgage financing in 23 states. Your Best Rate Financial has been ranked #1 with the most competitive mortgage rate in the country a record 100 times by the Wall Street Journal.

"On behalf of the entire organization, we are thrilled that Your Best Rate Financial has made such a commitment to Gladiators' fans" said Gladiators President Steve Chapman. "I can't believe there would be anyone out there who would not register for this, my only question is whether I am eligible or not."

Your Best Rate Financial acquired the naming rights to the Gladiators Home Ice at the Arena at Gwinnett Center through the 2008-2009 season in August of 2006.

The Gwinnett Gladiators continue their fourth season as a proud member of the ECHL on Friday, December 22nd as they travel to Augusta to take on the Lynx at 7:35 p.m. Season tickets are on sale now. In addition, the Gladiators offer several unique multi-game ticket packages as well as discounted group rates, suite rentals, and birthday parties. For more information call 770-497-5100 or log on to gwinnettgladiators.com.

The Gladiators are the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers and play all home games on the Your Best Rate Financial Home Ice at the spectacular 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, where parking is always free.
 

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ECHL Names Murray Assistant Director Of Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. - The ECHL announced that it has hired Kelly Murray as Assistant Director of Communications.

Murray will be assisting in the creation and distribution of press releases, ECHL This Week and ECHL Today as well as in the updating of content and the creation of graphic elements on the official league web site, ECHL - Premier 'AA' Hockey League. She will also be responsible for the layout and design of the ECHL Official Guide and Record Book and the ECHL Schedule Book.

The Houston native has spent the past year on the sports staff at The Houston Chronicle working with the agate department and participating in planning meetings while also assisting with game-day coverage of the Houston Astros, the Houston Texans and the Houston Rockets. She worked one season as an intern for the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League assisting in the production of the media guide as well as press releases, feature stories and weekly updates and assisting the media on game day.

Murray worked as a student assistant in the University of Houston Sports Information Department, serving as a media liaison for coaches and players while also producing team media guides and press releases. She was awarded her bachelor's degree in public relations with a minor in political science from the University of Houston.

ECHL
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The Premier 'AA' Hockey League, the ECHL has 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.

There have been 310 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06. There have been 165 players who have played in the NHL after the ECHL in the past five seasons.

The ECHL was represented for the sixth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team, including Carolina Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette, who is the first ECHL coach to win the Stanley Cup.

The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2006-07 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion. The ECHL has had more players called up to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined each of the past four seasons with 1,646 call ups involving almost 1,000 players.

The ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent from 2004-05 and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. Six teams surpassed 200,000 and nine teams averaged 5,000 per game for the first time since 1999-2000 as the league welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance from a year ago.

The Idaho Steelheads and the 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.

In 2005-06 the ECHL and its member teams contributed more than $2.3 million for charity and relief funds, including those benefiting victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while also making thousands of appearances by players, coaches, team personnel and mascots at schools, hospitals, libraries and charity functions.

Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL - Premier 'AA' Hockey League.
 

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Plasma TV Giveaway Friday

Bakersfield, Calif - The Bakersfield Condors return to the Nest this weekend for a pair of great games, a huge giveaway and a visit from a friend. Friday is the Plasma TV Giveaway and Saturday the Condors receive a visit from huge Condors fan Dora The Explorer!

Friday, December 22nd, 106.1 KRAB Radio and Rent n Roll present the Plasma TV Giveaway. Two lucky fans in attendance Friday will win a 42-inch LG Plasma TV, worth more than $3000!

Saturday, December 23rd, Bright House Networks, 101.5 KGFM and Instant Storage present Dora The Explorer! A big Condors fan, Dora will be on hand to meet fans and for photo opportunities. Vamos with your friends and family to the Condors game for a fiesta with Dora! Saturday is also another Bright House Networks Family Day, where subscribers can receive $5 admission per person by presenting the coupon available in their cable bill.

After Friday's game, stop by the Holiday Inn Select Autograph Booth located on the concourse behind section 108 and get your Nightly Notes signed by Brett Lutes and Alex Rogosheske. After Saturday's game stop by the booth to get your souvenir program signed by Andrew Oke and Steve Rodberg.

This Thursday join Voice of the Condors Jake Stevens and Head Coach Marty Raymond live at the Condors Coach's Show at the Q Street Lounge inside the Holiday Inn Select. Special guests include players Sean Venedam and Tyler Scott. The Coach's Show can also be heard live on KGEO Hot Talk AM 1230. The Holiday Inn Select is located at 801 Truxtun Ave.

Most games, home and away, can be seen online through B2 Networks, accessible via Official Website of the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL, and can be heard live on KGEO Hot Talk AM 1230 with "Condors Countdown" starting 15 minutes prior to face off. Saturday's game will be televised live on Bright House Ch. 21 and re-aired Sunday at 7:00pm. All games can also be heard online at Official Website of the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL.

Individual game tickets are on sale and may be purchased through the Rabobank Arena Box Office, which is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday with extended hours on game days. Tickets may also be purchased by phone through at 322-2525, online at Official Website of the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL, or at any Ticketmaster location.

Season tickets, mini-plans and group outings are available at the Condors office located at 1001 Truxtun Avenue or by calling at 324-PUCK (7825).
 

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Rivalry Renewed This Friday at Fresno

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: (all times PT)

at FRESNO FALCONS (Friday, 12/22 * 7:30 p.m.)

A spirited rivalry from last season is renewed with the first of eight meetings this season between the Thunder and geographic rival Fresno Falcons (ECHL San Jose Sharks affiliate) on Friday at Save Mart Center. Stockton and Fresno will meet four times in the ensuing eight days. Seven of 10 games last season between both teams were decided by one goal, with the Thunder taking the last meeting of the year in a 2-1 overtime win on April 2. Stockton is unbeaten in 13 of the last 14 games, while nine players return from last year's Falcons squad that came within one win of advancing to the Kelly Cup Finals.

at LONG BEACH ICE DOGS (Saturday, 12/23 * 7:00 p.m.)

The pre-holiday four-game road trip concludes with a Saturday night tilt against the Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL Boston Bruins affiliate), the sixth of eight meetings this season between both teams. The Thunder has never lost in regulation to Long Beach, carrying a 6-0-4 all-time record and 5-0-0 record this season against the Ice Dogs. Forwards Mike Lalonde (3g-4a) and Nathan Martz (3g-4a) have scored seven points in the series, leading the Thunder in scoring against Long Beach this season. Long Beach added goaltending depth in the recent weeks, acquiring former all-star Brett Jaeger from Augusta and receiving Yutaka Fukufuji of Japan on assignment from the Los Angeles Kings (NHL).

Thunder games can be heard live on the Internet (free-of-charge) and are available for viewing at a $6 "pay-per-view" charge at stocktonthunder.com: Home, courtesy of B2 Networks. Thunder broadcaster Mike Benton will provide play-by-play commentary, with the pre-game show beginning 7:15 on Friday and 6:45 on Saturday (audio only).

In addition, Valley Brew Family Restaurant continues its first season as official host of the Thunder Watch Party (via B2 Networks' "Bar and Pub Network") for all road games, with prizes, broadcast-interactive contests, player appearances and more scheduled for all road games this week. Valley Brew will host a viewing party on Friday, December 22nd for the Fresno game. The Saturday game against Long Beach will not have an accompanying video broadcast.

Located at 157 W. Adams Street in Stockton, Valley Brew Family Restaurant is placed in the heart of Stockton's "Miracle Mile" district and features an array of acclaimed burgers, beverages, appetizers, specialties and more, offering customers free wi-fi internet access inside the restaurant.

UPCOMING MILESTONES:

o Tim O'Connell is 9 points shy of 200 in his professional career

o Tim Verbeek is 1 assist shy of 100 in his professional career

o Mike Lalonde is 5 games shy of 100 in his professional career

o Nathan Martz is 8 assists shy of 100 in his professional career

TEAM NOTES:

o ATTENDANCE UPDATE: The Thunder leads the ECHL in attendance with 6,462 fans per

game (77,548 total) and drew 8,149 in a win against Las Vegas on December 9.

o Stockton leads the ECHL with a .795 winning percentage

o The Thunder is unbeaten in the last 13 of its last 14 games (9-1-4 since November 12)

o Goaltender Devan Dubnyk ranks eighth in the ECHL with a 2.71 goals-against-average

o The Thunder has scored a power play goal in 11 of the last 12 games

o Right wing Troy Bodie leads Stockton and is tied for third among ECHL rookies with 11 goals

o Goaltender Cam Ellsworth leads the ECHL with a 1.88 goals-against-average

LAST WEEK IN REVIEW

Friday, December 15

LAS VEGAS 3 - Stockton 2 (SO)

The Thunder pushed its unbeaten streak to 12 in the last 13 games in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Las Vegas Wranglers before 5,324 at Orleans Arena. Tyler Mosienko notched the shootout winner for the Wranglers in the fourth round, while Troy Bodie paced the Thunder offense with a goal and assist. Stockton goaltender Devan Dubnyk kept Las Vegas at-bay for a majority of the night, turning away a flurry of high-percentage scoring chances in a 22-save effort. Counterpart Kevin Nastiuk made 28 saves for Las Vegas.

Saturday, December 16

STOCKTON 5 - Long Beach 2

A five-goal rally catapulted the Thunder into first place in the Pacific Division and National Conference with a 5-2 victory over the Long Beach Ice Dogs at Long Beach Arena on Saturday. Tyler Spurgeon scored the game-winner with 15:40 remaining in the third period, followed by insurance goals from Mike Lalonde and Stephen Slonina. Goaltender Cam Ellsworth made 17 saves to improve his record to 7-0-1, while rookie defenseman Mark Adamek and left wing Tim Sestito chipped in with additional goals for Stockton.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

(courtesy of The Record)

"I always look at it as a battle of wills. It's as much a mental situation as it is physical, maybe more so."

- Thunder goaltender Cam Ellsworth, in Sunday's feature story titled "Science of the Shootout"

"I love shootouts, and I understand why fans love them. I love watching them myself. It's just so intense."

- Thunder goaltender Devan Dubnyk, in Sunday's feature story titled "Science of the Shootout"

"I try to get the goalie to commit, and then I make my move. It's great to work against our goalies, Devan and Cam, because they are so good and help you get better."

- Thunder center Brendon Hodge, in Sunday's feature story titled "Science of the Shootout"

"We got a long way to go, but I'm proud of what we've accomplished so far. We've got a tough schedule, and it's a tough division that we're in. We don't want to get too excited. We just want to maintain our work ethic."

- Thunder head coach Chris Cichocki after Saturday's 5-2 win at Long Beach to improve Stockton's record to 9-1-4 since November 12
 

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Ice Pilots Weekly

PENSACOLA, FL -- The Pensacola Ice Pilots snapped a four-game losing streak with a huge 3-2 win over the Columbia Inferno on Saturday night at Carolina Coliseum. It concluded a .500 week that saw the Ice Pilots fall to the Gwinnett Gladiators 5-3.

SCHEDULE CHANGES: The Pensacola Ice Pilots announced that their Tuesday, Jan. 9 game in Charleston, South Carolina against the Stingrays has been changed to Thursday, Jan. 4. The game will be played at 7:05 pm eastern, 6:05 pm central time.

In another related change, the Ice Pilots announced that the Saturday, Feb. 24 game versus the Columbia Inferno at The Hangar has been changed to Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7:05 pm. All tickets printed for the Saturday, Feb. 24 date will be honored on Feb. 22.

ROSTER MOVES: The Ice Pilots signed goaltender Ben Gray and defensemen Jesse Baraniuk and Derrick Byfuglien. Defenseman Brent Henley was waived.

DODGE/ICE PILOTS PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK: This week's Dodge/Ice Pilots Player-of-the-Week is forward Dan Sullivan who notched two goals and nearly had a hat trick in Friday's 5-3 loss to the Gwinnett Gladiators. His first goal opened the scoring in the first period and his second goal tied the game at 3-3 in the third period.

NEWS AND NOTES: Forward Mike Wirll has scored the Ice Pilots last two game-winning goals and both have come in the final 90 seconds of regulation. The first lifted the Ice Pilots past Charlotte 4-2 and the second was this past Saturday in a 3-2 win over the Inferno.

Goaltender Ben Gray got his first professional win in his second game with the Pensacola Ice Pilots. Gray was 1-1 over the weekend facing over 80 shots in two games.

Forward Greg Watson was a runner-up for Dodge/Ice Pilots Player-of-The Week for his three assist performance on Friday night versus the Columbia Inferno. Since returning to the line-up, Watson has one goal and six assists for seven points in 13 games.

FRIDAY, DEC. 22 AND SATURDAY, DEC. 23 - VS. TEXAS WILDCATTERS - 7:05 PM - THE HANGAR - It will be the third and fourth meetings of the season between the Ice Pilots and the Texas Wildcatters. The two teams have not faced each other since opening weekend back in late October that Texas won 4-1 and 6-4. The Wildcatters are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games.

BROADCAST INFO: Fans can tune into all of the action on both nights on Classic Country AM1620 beginning with Ice Pilots Countdown to Face-off at 6;45 pm. The play by play follows at 7 pm with the voice of the Ice Pilots Denis J. Puska bringing you all of the action. The game is also available on the world wide web at Pensacola Ice Pilots :: Home of your Pensacola Ice Pilots by clicking on the sportsjuice logo.

GWINNETT GLADIATORS 5 - PENSACOLA ICE PILOTS 3 - The Pensacola Ice Pilots surrendered four special teams goals including a shorthanded marker that snapped a 3-3 tie and fell 5-3 to the Gwinnett Gladiators on Friday night.

The loss spoiled the debut of rookie goaltender Ben Gray who faced 51 shots and played well especially in the third period. The Ice Pilots had an outstanding first period and jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Dan Sullivan and Rob Rankin. Greg Watson set up two goals while Adam Taylor had the other helper.

In the second period, Gwinnett fired three consecutive power play goals in the first 4:44 of the frame to take a 3-2 lead. In the final period, the Ice Pilots worked hard and were rewarded for their efforts when Dan Sullivan completed another great passing play from Greg Watson to tie the game 3-3. However,with the Ice Pilots were on the power play and gave up the puck at the blue line resulting in a Gladiators breakaway. Brad Schell converted that play to make it 4-3. The Gladiators added one more near the end of the game. Ice Pilots captain Dwayne Hay and team president Greg Schuh served as coaches for the game, while Joe Clark attended a family matter back in Augusta, Maine. The Ice Pilots were 0 for 3 on the power play while Gwinnett was 3 for 10. Dallas Steward had four shots on goal.

PENSACOLA ICE PILOTS 3 - COLUMBIA INFERNO 2 -- Mike Wirll fired the game winning goal with 1:11 remaining in regulation to lift the Pensacola Ice Pilots to a 3-2 win over the Columbia Inferno on Saturday night in Columbia, South Carolina.

Ben Gray notched his first professional win in the process and was solid in goal. The Ice Pilots picked up their fourth win on the road this season and sixth overall. The Columbia Inferno raced out to a quick 1-0 lead 65 seconds into the first period, but the Ice Pilots persevered and tied the game when Colin Hemingway tallied on the power play on a deflection from Derrick Byfuglien and Mike Wirll. In the second period, the Columbia Inferno netted the lone goal on a turnover inside Ice Pilots territory and it was 2-1. In the third period the Ice Pilots tied the game up when Nate Metcalf was left alone in front and tapped the puck across the goal line to make it 2-2. Then with just over a minute remaining, Mike Wirll grabbed the puck off a strange bounce off the glass and backhanded it past the Columbia goaltender for the win.

2006-2007 Ice Pilots Regular Season Numbers:

Overall Record: 6-16-1-1 14 pts

Home Record: 2-8-1-1 6 pts

Road Record: 4-8-0-0 8 pts

Overtime Record: 0-1

Shootout Record: 0-1

Power Play: 28-197 - 14.2 % -- 20TH overall

Penalty Killing: 46-252 - 81.7% -- 22nd overall
 

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RoadRunners Rudkowsky Named ECHL Rbk Hockey Goalie Of The Week

PRINCETON, N.J. - Cody Rudkowsky of the Phoenix RoadRunners is the Rbk Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Dec. 11-17.

Rudkowsky was 2-0-1 with a goals-against average of 1.94 and a save percentage of .945 as the RoadRunners went 2-1-1 with a win against Victoria and taking three points on the road from South Division leader Texas.

After stopping 23 shots in a 4-2 win against Victoria on Dec. 12, Rudkowsky made a season-high 51 saves and recorded his 16th career shutout and 12th in the ECHL, with a 2-0 win at Texas on Dec. 15. Making his second start in two days on Dec. 16, he stopped 31 shots in regulation and two shots in overtime of a 4-3 loss to the Wildcatters.

Rudkowsky is 2-2-1 with a goals-against average of 2.61 and a save percentage of .923 in December and is 4-3-1 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 2.64 and a save percentage of .920 in eight games for Phoenix.

In 2005-06, the 28-year-old was 24-11-3 with two shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.51 and a save percentage of .916 in 38 games for the Reading Royals, earning ECHL Saver of the Month for November, and 5-2-1 with a goals-against average of 2.07 and a save percentage of .938 in nine games with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.

He helped Peoria capture the Kelly Cup in 2000 and has played seven seasons in the ECHL with Peoria, Phoenix, Reading and Trenton while also playing in the AHL for Bridgeport, Providence and Worcester and one game in the NHL for St. Louis.

Runners Up: Cedrick Desjardins, Cincinnati (3-0-0, 1.30 GAA, .947 save pct.) and Dmitri Patzold, Fresno (2-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .941 save pct.).

Also Nominated: Derek Gustafson (Alaska), Jamie Hodson (Bakersfield), David Shantz (Florida), Dan Turple (Gwinnett), Ben Gray (Pensacola), Jeff Pietrasiak (Reading), Daren Machesney (South Carolina), Matt Yeats (Texas), Dominic Vicari (Toledo), Joel Martin (Trenton) and Rob McVicar (Utah).
 

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Collins Returns After Hectic Weekend

Wheeling, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, the 'AA' affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, announce today that Sean Collins will return to the team after spending this past weekend with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL.

Collins played three games with the Phantoms and recorded two assists. He assisted on the Phantoms' lone goal in their 7-1 loss against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Saturday and got his second against Toronto on Sunday.

Collins did not expect to play on Friday after his plane arrived late, but found himself on the Phantoms bench in the middle of the first period.

His entire trip was chronicled by David Unkle for Slam! Sports and was posted on ECHL.com. Click the link to read the story.

ECHL - Premier 'AA' Hockey League

The Nailers travel to Cincinnati on Saturday to take on the Cyclones before welcoming the Cyclones at home on Wednesday, December 27.

Tickets are available by calling 304-234-GOAL, visiting the Nailers team store located at 1315 Main St. in downtown Wheeling or online at Wheeling Nailers Hockey.
 
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