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Brian Compton | NHL.com correspondent
Jan 12, 2007, 10:00 AM EST


A lot of things are about to change in Luke Curtin’s life.

He’s building his own home.

He’s getting married this summer.

He’s turning 30 in September.

But one constant remains. Curtin is still one of the best players in the ECHL.

The Fresno Falcons’ forward may have only six goals in 26 games this season, but his unselfish play has him as the team’s leading scorer. The Falcons also happen to be the hottest team in the ECHL, boasting a 9-0-2 record in their last 11 games, which included four-consecutive victories over the Stockton Thunder at the end of December.

“We looked at the schedule and said that if we didn’t get on a roll, the gap may have been too much,” Fresno head coach Matt Thomas said. “We needed as many points as possible. That four-game sweep of Stockton was huge. We put a lot of emphasis on that series. We just turned the switch on and we believe now that we can win every night. We haven’t really swayed from that.”

Curtin, who has 167 career goals at the ECHL level, hasn’t swayed from his unselfish style of play. He currently ranks third in the league with 31 assists – a statistic that is just fine with him, just as long as the Falcons continue to reel off victories.

“It’s always about what you can to help your team win hockey games,” said Curtin, who sells real estate by day and terrorizes opponents when the sun goes down. “If I finish with six goals and 92 assists, that would be great. I would have no problem with that.”

Neither would Thomas, who brought Curtin to the West Coast after the two were together with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies. Thomas knows he is fortunate to have such a talent on his roster, as Curtin’s play has helped the Falcons pull even with the Las Vegas Wranglers in the Pacific Division.

“Sometimes you just don’t understand the importance of an individual player,” Thomas said. “He’s been a huge asset. He’s a premier player in this league. He shouldn’t be at this level. We’re lucky to have him. He can change the outcome of a game.”

More importantly, Curtin is making other players better. After all, his 31 assists haven’t come by accident.

“He always just puts the puck in the right areas,” Thomas said. “He can make the spectacular play, but he’s constantly just doing the little things that make everyone around him better.”

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