NEXT HOME GAMES: WED. MAR. 21 VS. MISSOURI; FRI. MAR. 23RD VS. QUAD CITY
THE ICEMEN MAJESTICS: The Evansville IceMen of the Central Hockey League have soared back into the Turner Conference first place leadership on the impetus of two spellbinding, electrifying victories the past weekend at Fort Wayne. Billed as “The Showdown” with first place the grand prize, the two acerbic, acrimonious archrivals locked antlers, appropriately enough, to the tune of a pair of contests that needed extra time to ultimately determine the respective outcomes. In the end, the IceMen mastery in the OTSO prevailed on each night. With those two triumphs, the IceMen have catapulted back into first place with a stellar record of 60(38-18-4) 80-points and a 2-points margin over the Komets 60(36-18-6) 78-points. Both teams have two weeks and six games remaining on their slates with the Fort Wayners seemingly hav-ing the advantage as they play 5 of their last 6-games at home while the IceMen continue their extended foreign ice mission with 4 of their last 6 being away. Concerning the other in-conference clubs, battling for either a playoff berth or playoff positioning, Missouri 59(33-20-6) 72 occupies third place with 1-game in hand on the IceMen and Fort Wayne; Quad City 60(34-24-2) 70 and Rapid City 58(32-20-6) 70 are tied for the fourth and final playoff berth with the Rush holding 2-games in hand on the Mallards. In this second to last week of the regular season, the IceMen will conclude their 5-game road excursion when they travel to Rapid City for a pair of crucial encounters against the Rush on both Friday and Saturday nights.
BACK HOME NEXT WEEK: Following an extended 17-day absence from their home of the Ford Center, the IceMen will finally return home the final week of the CHL regular season for a pair of appearances. Wednesday night, March 21st, Evansville will guest the Missouri Mavericks; Friday night, March 23rd will be the IceMen regular season home finale as they clash with playoff-aspiring Quad City. It has been designated “Fan Appreciation Night.” On this special night, the IceMen will present their Second Annual Player Awards Night; it will also be IceMen Team Photo Night. The world famous Zooperstars will make another return to the Ford Center to entertain.
“ICEMEN LIVE PRESENTED BY COORS LIGHT”: It’s another fun-filled, entertaining night of the IceMen growingly-popular Monday night radio show, “IceMen Live Presented by Coors Light” this Monday night, March 12th, live from Show-Me’s East. This week, the “Voice of the IceMen,” Terry Ficorelli will welcome special IceMen player guests Matt Pierce and newcomer Luke Stauffacher. The IceMen radio show is live from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm on their flagship home of WEOA-AM 1400 and 1400amweoa.com.
RAISE THE RECORD: The past week, facing three consecutive foreign ice affairs, the IceMen responded with a 3(2-1-0) mark, climaxed by an exciting sweep of a critical and pivotal 2-game series at archenemy Fort Wayne. In the process, GM/Coach Rich Kromm’s kinetic contingent elevated its record to a superb 60(38-18-4) totaling 80-points and a win percentage of a league second-best .667. The 2-game sweep halted Evansville’s longest losing streak of the season at 5-in a row, which followed on the heels of theirs and the CHL’s longest win streak of the year at 10-in a row. Thus far this season, the IceMen have also compiled the league’s longest undefeated streak at 12(10-0-2). The IceMen second half record stands at 27(17-9-1) 35-points; the first half record: 33(21-9-3) 45-points. The IceMen have also attained a 6-game win streak and 5-game win streak along with a 7-game unbeaten skein; 7(6-0-1). The monthly records: October 2(1-0-1); November 11(8-3-0); December 13(6-6-1); January 13(10-1-2); February 15(11-4-0); March 6(2-4-0).
TWO MORE AT HOME: After their weekend journey to Rapid City this upcoming weekend, the IceMen, following a 17-day hiatus, will at long last, return home to the Ford Center for their final two regular season appearances. Wednesday, March 21, they will host Missouri; Friday, March 23rd, Quad City arrives on the Evansville downtown scene. Presently, the IceMen are experiencing the travail of a 3-game losing spell at the Ford with their last victory coming back on February 25th when they throttled Fort Wayne, 3-0. For the season, their home mark stands at 31(20-10-1) with their longest home win streaks being 7-consecutively and 5-in succession.
REVELING ROAD WARRIORS: The IceMen have evolved into the consummate road warriors this season. In fact, their record of 29(18-8-3) is the best in their conference and second best in the entire CHL. With their 2-games’ weekend sweep at Fort Wayne, the IceMen halted a 2-game losing spell abroad. The IceMen have yet to sustain 3-straight setbacks away from home bay; truly a remarkable achievement. Presently, the IceMen are 10(8-2-0) in their last 10-starts away and 16(11-3-2) in their last 16-decisions on the other CHL venues. Longest road win streaks have been 6-in a row and 4-consecutively; longest unsullied skein in foreign ice warfare has been 6(5-0-1).
ONE YEAR AGO AT 60: The IceMen have attained the lofty status and distinction of being the most vastly improved team in the league in 2011-12. One year ago, after 60-games, the IceMen record was 60(18-31-11) 47-points. Today at 60-games, it is 60(38-18-4) 80-points. The IceMen have collected 20-more wins, more than doubling last year, 33-more points and 13-fewer defeats.
EXTRA TIME THEATER: The IceMen have gained and attained notoriety through their extra time suspense, drama and thrilling theater. In spiriting away two OTSO triumphs in Fort Wayne on consecutive nights the past weekend, they ran their win streak in such affairs to 4-in a row after starting the season with 3-consecutive non-wins in same said department. The IceMen record in the OTSO is 7(4-3) with all 7 occurring on the road. In overtime, the IceMen have also flourished this season with a supreme mark of 7(6-1); home: 5(4-1); road: 2(2-0).
SUMMIT STARDOM: All-Star center Todd Robinson continues to lead the CHL in scoring with 60(22-66-88); Brian Bicek is 11th; 58(33-27-60); Nicklas Lindberg is 17th; 59(15-39-54). Bicek’s 33-snipes tie for second-most; his 4-SHG continue to pace the loop. Robinson’s 66-assists are 17-more than the rest of the league; his 29-PPA are 7 more than the rest. Bicek’s stellar +24 rating ranks 4th in the CHL; his 36-minor penalties are 5th most. Mario Boilard’s 170-PIM rank in a 3-way tie for CHL third most. For the defense, Matt Gens is #1 with 60 (12-32-44); Steve Makway is #2 58(4-37-41); Philippe Plante is 9th; 59(11-24-35). Makway’s 37-assists top all CHL defense; Gens is second with 32-helpers. Gens and Plante both have 3-GWG for circuit second; Gens and Plante’s 6-PPG are fourth among the CHL blue line brigade. Gens 16-PPA also tie him for the CHL leadership among the defense. In CHL rookie scoring, Malcolm Gwilliam has climbed to 9th with 60(19-18-37); his 19-goals are rookie-ranked fifth. In the goaltending department, Bryan Gillis ranks fifth with a GAA of 2.46 and SPCT of .922. His 25-wins tie for third most while his overall record of 32(25-6-1), .797 win percentage is the best in the CHL. Gillis also owns the league’s best road record at 13(12-1-0).
TODD TONIC: Veteran center Todd Robinson is closing in on his fifth minor pro hockey individual scoring crown with two weeks and six games to go in the regular season. The playmaker extraordinaire was never better than the past weekend in spearheading his team’s gigantic sweep of the two-game showdown series for first place at Fort Wayne. In those two games, he was the architect of 5-assists; 2(0-5-5) including 3-assists and 1-OTSO goal in the Friday night 5-4 OTSO triumph. “T. Rob” followed those numbers up with 2-more assists on the IceMen late, dramatic 2-goals in 2:56, beginning with only 3:17 remaining in the third period and regulation time Saturday night as the IceMen, in brilliant come back fashion, erased a 3-1 deficit to force extra time in ultimately gaining the hard-earned victory. Robinson has now engineered 22-multiple point games this season.
GEMS FROM GENS: All-Star defenseman Matt Gens has been coming on strong in this season’s second half. The past weekend in Fort Wayne, he delivered a pair of clutch, crucial goals to send his team home in a winning mood. His first goal of the weekend Friday night reclaimed the Evansville lead in the third period at 4-3 before he fired his second in as many nights Saturday night at 16:43 of the third period to produce instant proximity and ignite the IceMen come back might. For the weekend, Gens was 2(2-1-3). In his last 15-games; 15(5-12-17).
PHILIPPE FILLS UP: Veteran defenseman Philippe Plante is enjoying one of his best seasons ever. The IceMen rock-solid blue line ace may be unsung and unheralded but continues to lead his team when it matters the most. His late goal with just :21 remaining in regulation time in Saturday’s dramatic come-from-behind 4-3 OTSO verdict over Fort Wayne tied the game at 3-3 to set the stage for more OTSO heroics and histrionics from the IceMen. In his last 9-games, Plante is 10(2-8-10).
RONAN ROLLIN’: Eight year veteran right wing John Ronan is finding the range at the most opportune time of the season. The former 30-goal cannoneer with the IHL Flint Generals connected on a pair of goals, one in each contest, as well as one OTSO strike in the Saturday night winning performance enormous at Fort Wayne. Ronan delivered 6-goals in the month of February which was fourth most on the club. He now has hiked his season output to 15-goals.
“OC” IN OT: Former Fort Wayne Komets right wing Sean O’Connor came home to roost Saturday night for the Evansville squad. A member of two consecutive Fort Wayne IHL title timber teams, “OC” uncorked the ultimate GWG on the IceMen fifth and final shot in Saturday night’s OTSO win. It was his first OTSO strike of the season as he could not have picked a better time to find the bullseye. It was O’Connor’s 13th goal for the campaign and his 4th GWG.
NEXT ONE IS 20: First year pro Malcolm Gwilliam has emerged as a bona fide goal-scoring threat for the first place IceMen this season. The former Michigan Tech captain and top scoring mogul is one goal away from an outstanding 20-goal season. Since being installed as Todd Robinson’s right wing, “Gwilly” has averaged nearly one point per game; 35(18-15-33). Until that time, in his first 25-games, he was 25(1-3-4).
BRYAN STILL DENYIN’: Rookie sensation Bryan Gillis continues to fan the flames on a remarkably debuting season in the pro ranks. The past weekend, he backstopped his club to those two dramatic OTSO successes at the expense of Fort Wayne. In upgrading his overall season record to a league best 32(25-6-1), “The Great Gilly in Goal” brushed aside 7 of 9 Komets’ OTSO attempts to spark the sweep. Gillis has now accounted for 9 of the IceMen total of 10-extra time triumphs this season. He has been in goal for all 6-OT triumphs and 3 of the club’s 4-OTSO wins. His overall extra time record is a bedazzling 10(9-1-0). For the season, Gillis has repelled 11 of 13 OTSO shots for a SPCT of an excellent .846.
SPECIAL TEAMS TUNE-UP: The IceMen special teams have been paramount to their overall total success this season. Case in point, the IceMen power play, though somewhat somnolent recently, is still ranked a lofty #3 in the loop. It is operating at 20.3% proficiency; 50-246 with those 50-PPG being third most in the CHL. The power play is 1 for the last 20; 5%; 3 for the last 25; 12% rating. The penalty-killing unit has been exceptional all season long. Still ranked #1 in the CHL, it is operating at 86% efficiency with the opposition being 40-284. The opponents are 5 for the last 22; 77.3%; 7 for the last 58; 88% rating.
THE MILESTONES MINT: Brian Bicek’s injury during an IceMen practice the past week has ended his consecutive games played streak at exactly 200-games, spanning nearly 3-full seasons. Matt Gens (198) is 2-points away from pro career 200. Nicklas Lindberg (294) is 6-assists away from 300. Steve Makway (193) is 7-assists away from pro career 200. Sean O’Connor (93) is 7-assists away from 100. Todd Robinson (889) is 11-assists away from 900. John Ronan (287) is 13-points shy of 300. Ronan recently passed the 400-games mark in his pro career. Luke Stauffacher (292) is 8-games shy of 300.
FEW FUN FAST FACTS FROM “FIC”: The IceMen still have a perfect road record on Friday at 7(7-0-0). They are 18(14-4-0) overall for Fridays. The IceMen capped their 13-game season series against Fort Wayne with a 3-game win streak, going 5(4-1-0) in their last 5-tests against the K’s. Since the beginning of the new calendar year, the IceMen record stands at 34(23-9-2). Josh Beaulieu’s 24-goals are 7-more than he scored in his first 4-pro seasons combined spanning 201-games. When they score 4 or more goals, the IceMen record is 24(21-3-0). When they yield 2-GA or less; 31(30-1-0). The IceMen are 24(19-5-0) when they outshoot the opposition and 32(17-11-4) when outshot by their opponents.
THE ICEMEN GAME CALENDAR THIS WEEK:
FRIDAY, MARCH 16TH THE ICEMEN AT RAPID CITY 8:00 PM
SATURDAY, MARCH 17TH THE ICEMEN AT RAPID CITY 8:00 PM
The IceMen and the Rush have previously collided five times this season with Evansville’s record being 5(1-4-0) and 3(1-2-0) in the South Dakota hamlet. In a three game series back on Thanksgiving week, in the IceMen lone previous appearance there this year the Rush claimed games 1 and 3 while the IceMen captured game #2 with a season’s best 7-goals and 5-PPG. However, the last time these two teams saw each other, back on the weekend of February 3rd and 4th, Rapid City swept a 2-game series at the Ford Center by identical outcomes of 5-2. Evansville’s lifetime record against Rapid City stands at 9(2-7-0) with both wins coming on the road; 5(2-3-0). At home, the IceMen have yet to solve the Rush at 4(0-4-0).
THE ICEMEN ON YOUR SMART PHONES AND I-PHONES: IceMen fans who own Smart Phones and I-Phones can now take the IceMen game broadcasts and Monday night radio show wherever you go! For more information, visit the IceMen website at www.evansvilleicemen.com.
THE ICEMEN ON WEOA-AM 1400 & THE ICEMEN RADIO NETWORK: Evansville and the Tri-State, your pro hockey team plays here! All of the IceMen game broadcasts are on flagship station home WEOA-AM 1400 and the world-wide internet at 1400amweoa.com and the IceMen Radio Network. WMSK-AM 1550 in Morganfield, KY also is there on the air for every game while WITZ-AM 990 and WITZ-FM 104.7, Jasper, IN carry a select schedule of games numbering between 23 – 30 for the season.
THE ICEMEN DAILY UPDATES ARE EVERYWHERE ON THE AIR: Continuing with their expanded coverage, the IceMen daily update report can be found on 16-different radio stations throughout the Tri-State region including flagship home WEOA-AM 1400 Monday through Friday at 4:20 pm. On the Townsquare Media family of stations; WGBF-FM 103.1 at 4:40 pm; WGBF-AM 1280 at 4:50 pm; WKDQ-FM 99.5 at 4:35 pm; WJLT-FM 105.3 at 4:45 pm; WDKS-FM 106.1 at 4:35 pm; WBKR-FM 92.5 (Owensboro, KY) at 4:40 pm; WOMI-AM 1490 (Owensboro, KY) at 4:50 pm. Elsewhere, on WITZ-AM 990 and WITZ-FM 104.7 at 8:20 am, 12:20 pm and 4:20 pm. WSON-am 860 and WSON-FM 96.5 in Henderson, KY at 4:30 pm as well as WMSK-AM 1550 at 7:30 am and 4:30 pm and WMSK-FM 101.3, Morganfield, KY at 4:25 pm. The latest addition is WYFX-FM ESPN Radio 106.7 in Mount Vernon.
THE ICEMEN TICKET INFORMATION: IceMen single game tickets for all home games are on sale at the Ford Center Ticket Office and at Ticketmaster.com or by contacting the IceMen offices for various ticket plans and great group rates at (812) 421-GOAL (4625) or visit our website at www.evansvilleicemen.com