RUNDOWN/LOWDOWN: Having completed another extraordinary week’s work in the ECHL by earning 5 of a possible 6-points through an unsullied skein of 3-consecutive games for the week, at 3(2-0-1), the Evansville IceMen are finding their New Year’s resolution of more wins and less losses remaining on the beam. Under the doctrine according to third-year General Manager/Head Coach Rich Kromm, the IceMen have advanced and otherwise enhanced their overall season record at the 40-game mark to 40(15-21-4) totaling 34-points as they continue their concerted surge to climb back into ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs relevance with still 32-games remaining on their 72-games’ schedule. Presently, the IceMen and the Kalamazoo Wings are battling it out for fourth place position in the Eastern Conference North Division standings. This week, the IceMen confront their most critical and pivotal week of the campaign as they host three divisional opponents in 4-nights at their home of the Ford Center. For a second consecutive Wednesday night, their principal archrivals, the Fort Wayne Komets will be in town before Kalamazoo arrives on Friday night and the Toledo Walleye spend Saturday night in Evansville.
TRIFECTA FROM FORD CENTER: The resurgent IceMen confront their most momentous week of the current campaign, hosting three crucial home encounters in four nights at their home of the Ford Center. All three games will match Evansville with fellow fractious foes from their own North Division. The three games’ showdown starts Wednesday night when the Fort Wayne Komets arrive on the scene on “Military Night.” Then on Friday night, the IceMen salute NASCAR on “NASCAR Night” for the clash between the “Icers” and the K-Wings. They will wrap-up the week’s work on Saturday night when Toledo comes to town. Immediately following this game, there will be a post- game skate with the IceMen players.
“ICEMEN LIVE PRESENTED BY COORS LIGHT”: It’s yet another fun-filled, entertaining two hours’ edition of the IceMen ever-popular Monday night radio show this week. It’s “IceMen Live Presented by Coors Light!” Show host, Terry Ficorelli’s special guests will be center 14-ANTHONY NIGRO and left wing 46-MATT SCHEPKE. It’s “IceMen Live Presented by Coors Light,” Monday night from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm live from Show-Me’s East and on IceMen radio flagship home, “Magic 98.5 FM” and 1400 AM WEOA as well as world-wide on the internet at magic985fm.com and 1400amweoa.com.
WRAP THE RECAP: The IceMen concluded another successful week of undefeated hockey in the new calendar year of 2013, accruing 5 of a possible 6-points through a record of 3(2-0-1). Opening the past week on home ice on Wednesday night against Fort Wayne, the IceMen dispatched the Komets, 4-1. A three-goal third period salvo cemented matters for the victors. Daniel Tetrault (1-1-2)FG, Dylan Clarke (1-1-2) and Nathan Moon (1-1-2)IG connected for Evansville while Kevin Baker unleashed the GWG; Todd Robinson crafted a pair of assists. Paul Dainton gained the win in goal with 29-saves. Friday and Saturday nights, the IceMen found themselves in Elmira, NY where they enjoyed an outstanding weekend, spiriting away 3 of a possible 4-points. Friday night, the IceMen extracted one precious point in a 3-2 OT outcome. Anthony Nigro (1-1-2)FG and Jake Obermeyer fired strikes while Paul Karpowich rebuffed 37 of 40-SOG. The IceMen could not hold a 2-0 lead in this contest. Saturday night, there was a reversal of forms as the IceMen captured the OT encore, 4-3. The Coach Kromm crew rallied with a pair of unanswered goals to eradicate a 3-2 third period shortfall. Josh Beaulieu (1-1-2) emerged as the scoring hero, firing the GWG/OT at the 0:38 mark. Todd Robinson (1-1-2) GTG, A. Gens (1-2-3) GTG and Sebastian Wannstrom (PPG) also accounted for firepower.
FIRST MONTH MAGIC: The IceMen have launched the New Year by accumulating 9 of a possible 12-points through their initial half-dozen dates with a supreme summit standing of 6(4-1-1), having outgoaled the adversaries. 22-16. In the process, Evansville’s finest on ice has swelled its latest unsullied streak to 4(3-0-1) which represents its second longest of this season with the longest being 6(4-0-2). Thus far, since the inception of the second half of the season, the IceMen have posted that undefeated record of 4(3-0-1) landing 7 of a possible 8-points in the standings. Longest win streak of the season has been 3-in a row; longest losing spell has been 4- consecutively; longest winless span has been 7(0-6-1), paralleling the first 7-games of the year. First half record: 36(12-21-3)29; second half record; 4(3-0-1)7. The monthly reports: October 7(0-6-1); November 14(6-8-0); December 13(5-6-2); January 6(4-1-1).
HOMESTEAD STREAK: The IceMen remain undefeated on home ice since the nativity of the New Year with a perfect mark of 3(3-0-0), outscoring the visiting invaders, 13-3. The three consecutive home wins have occurred accordingly; Jan. 4th, 5-1 over Orlando; Jan. 6th, 4-1 over Cincinnati; Jan. 9th defeating Fort Wayne also, 4-1. Evansville has elevated its home record for the season to 22(10-12-0). Longest home win streak has been 4-in a row; longest losing streak on home ice has been 5-straight, corresponding with the initial 5-home appearances of the season.
ROAD TRIP TRUMP: The past weekend, the IceMen enjoyed an outstanding excursion to Elmira, NY where they extracted 3 of a possible 4-points through a regulation tie on Friday night, followed by a dramatic, thrilling OT triumph on Saturday night. With the latter triumph of 4-3 OT, the IceMen finally brought to a halt an 8-game winless spell in hostile territory of 8(0-5-3). It was their first foreign ice success since back on Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday, November 24th when they derailed the Atlantic Division runaway leading Reading Royals club record 11-game win streak with a 4-2 victory verdict. For the season, the road mark now stands at 18(5-9-4).
DIVISION DISSERTATION: When they vanquished Fort Wayne on home ice the past Wednesday night, the IceMen, for the first time this season, transcended the .500 barrier within their own North Division alignment at 22(10-9-3). Their Eastern Conference/Atlantic Division mark stands at 11(3-7-1); South Division at 7(2-5-0). The combined record against the Atlantic and South Divisions is at 18(5-12-1).
LEAGUE-LEADING LAUREATES: Center Todd Robinson’s 30-assists tie him for 4th most in the ECHL despite missing 8-games earlier in the campaign due to injury. His 16-PPA tie him for a lofty second place position in the league. Josh Beaulieu’s 5-GWG tie him for third most in the loop. Matt Gens 31-minor penalties list him league-wide tied for 4th. Since recalled left Wade MacLeod’s 6/21 goal-scoring shooting accuracy of 28.6% ranks tied for 3rd best league-wide.
ROBINSONIAN PUCK PLUTONIUM: The pre-eminent prince of points playmaking pivot Todd Robinson is enjoying some of his best moments thus far this IceMen ECHL season. In his last 6-games, he has crafted 9-points on 1-goal, 8-assists including the key, touch-in-the-clutch GTG in the third period Saturday night at Elmira leading to his team’s completion of 2-goal comeback counterattack that vaulted the IceMen into the victory circle, 4-3 OT. For the week, he was 3(1-3-4) with a +2 rating and 8-SOG. For the season, he is 32(2-30-32). Robinson is the IceMen nomination for ECHL Player of the Week.
“THE KARP” IS SHARP: First-year goaltender Paul Karpowich was at the top of his puck prevention practice this past weekend in Elmira. Getting the call in both away contests, the former Clarkson U., star and St. Louis draft pick prospect spurred his team to 3 of the 4-points available in Upstate NY. Repelling 68 of 72-SOG while grudgingly surrendering 6-GA, the Thunder Bay, Ontario product registered a GAA of 2.92 and SPCT of .919. He has been in goal for each of the IceMen last 2-road wins. Karpowich is the IceMen nomination for ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
“BEAU” IN OT: Team scoring kingpin, left wing Josh Beaulieu donned the hero’s robes on Saturday night to dispense with the suspense early in overtime. His club-high 15th goal of the season and 5th GWG strike at 0:38 of the 5:00/ 4-on-4 extra time frame produced Evansville’s first OT triumph of the campaign at the expense of Elmira, 4-3. The Beaulieu lightning bolt shot seemed to split the night’s air, being heard reverberating all the way back to Evansville and the Tri-State area. For the season, the 6-year pro is 40(15-21-36), climbing into the ECHL top 20 in scoring enterprise. In his last 15-games; 15(4-13-17).
BROTHER JUNIOR JUGGERNAUT: The IceMen first-year defenseman Aaron Gens has really stepped-up the pace as the ace of the place in the absence of his injured All-Star defenseman older brother Matt Gens. The younger brother achieved an extraordinary week for his reincarnated club. In Saturday night’s spellbinding, electrifying OT triumph at Elmira, A. Gens cannonaded his first-ever pro goal, the GTG in the first of two IceMen comebacks in the same contest. He later earned the lone, primary assist with an impeccable arrangement on Josh Beaulieu’s OT/GWG strike. In his last 6-games, Aaron Gens is averaging over a point a game with 6 (1-6-7).
OVERTIME TONIC: The IceMen gigantic, dynamic and dramatic come-from-behind 4-3 OT triumph at Elmira on Saturday night represented their first extra time triumph of this current campaign. Previously, the “Men of the Igloo” were 1(0-1) in OT and 3(0-3) in the OTSO for an overall mark in extra time affairs of 4(0-4).
SPECIAL EXCELLENCE ELIXIR: During their New Year’s renaissance, the IceMen special teams have been germinating and percolating a finely fermented brew. The power plant power play is presently 5 for the last 19 for a proficiency rating of an excellent 26.3%. Meanwhile the penalty-killing cast has been immaculate, immobilizing the last 15-consecutive advantages afforded the adversary for the 100% efficiency rating mark.
THE MILESTONES MINT: Center Jason Dale played pro career game #200 in Saturday night’s OT triumph at Elmira. When Josh Beaulieu takes the ice this Wednesday night for the clash/bash with Fort Wayne, it will be his 300th pro career game. Kevin Baker (497) is 3-games away from pro career 500. Head Coach Rich Kromm (387) is 13-wins away from 400-coaching victories.
FEW FUN FAST FACTS FROM “FIC”: Four of Evansville’s 5-road wins this season have come on Saturday night. The IceMen OT triumph in Elmira Saturday was the first time this season they had rallied facing a deficit entering the third period. The IceMen had been 15(0-15-0) in that department. Outshot in 19 of the first 23-games, the IceMen have now outshot their opposition in 12 of their last 17-outings. The second period at home has been the IceMen’s best, outgoaling the visitors, 26-17. When they score 4 or more, the IceMen record is 13(12-1-0); when they yield 2-GA or less, they are perfect at 10(10-0-0). Since coming over from Orlando, Kevin Baker is 13(7-3-10) with 2-GWG; 4-FG and 4-PPG. Daniel Tetrault last 6-games; 6(2-3-5) with +7 rating. Since coming to the IceMen, Dylan Clarke is 18(9-14-23).
THE ICEMEN GAME CALENDAR FOR THIS WEEK:
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16TH FORT WAYNE AT THE ICEMEN 7:15 PM
For the second successive Wednesday night, the two Indiana archenemies lock horns at the Ford Center. The IceMen defeated the Komets for a second straight time last Wednesday night, 4-1 after previously upending the K’s in Fort Wayne back on November 17th, 5-0. From the IceMen perspective, they are 5(2-2-1) overall against the Fort Wayners and 2(1-1-0) at home.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18TH KALAMAZOO AT THE ICEMEN 7:15 PM
Of the 12-sessions to be staged this season, this will be meeting #7 and the fourth in Evansville where the IceMen have prevailed in the previous pair by results of 3-2 on December 1st and 4-3 on December 22nd. The IceMen are 3(2-1-0) at home against the Wings and 3(0-2-1) in Kalamazoo where the IceMen bowed in the last actual meeting on January 5th, 7-3; the lone loss that the IceMen have incurred since the start of the new calendar year.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19TH TOLEDO AT THE ICEMEN 7:15 PM
The IceMen and the Walleye confront one another for the fifth of 10-collisions for this season. After conquering in the first three bouts, the IceMen trembled in the rematch, 4-0 in Toledo. The IceMen are 2(2-0-0) on home ice against the Walleye so far this season.
THE ICEMEN ON THE NEW “MAGIC 98.5 FM” WEOA/WEOA-AM 1400 & THE ICEMEN RADIO NETWORK:
All of the IceMen game broadcasts are on flagship stations, the all-new “Magic 98.5 FM, WEOA as well as on WEOA-AM 1400. Also, they are on the world-wide internet at 1400amweoa.com and magic985fm.com as well as the IceMen Radio Network. WLME-FM 102.7, “The Game” in Owensboro, KY; WMSK-AM 1550, Morganfield, KY and WVLN-AM 740 in Olney, IL broadcast the complete schedule of IceMen games while WITZ-AM 990 and WITZ-FM 104.7, Jasper, IN carry a select schedule of games, numbering 23-30 for the season.
THE ICEMEN DAILY UPDATES ARE EVERYWHERE ON THE AIR: The IceMen daily update reports can now be heard on 18-different radio outlets throughout the Tri-State region. Flagship WEOA-FM 98.5 and WEOA-AM 1400 program the IceMen report at 4:200 pm Monday through Friday. The Townsquare Media family of stations; WGBF-AM 1280, WGBF-FM 103.1, WKDQ-FM 99.5; WJLT-FM 105.3; WKDS-FM 106.1; WBKR-FM 92.5, Owensboro, KY and WOMI-AM 1490, Owensboro, KY present the report every afternoon in drive time between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Elsewhere, WITZ-AM 990 and WITZ-FM 104.7 in Jasper, IN; WSON-am 860 and WSON-FM 96.5 in Henderson, KY; WMSK-AM 1550, WMSK-FM 101.3 in Morganfield, KY; WRAY-AM 1250 in Princeton, IN; WLME-FM 102.7, “The Game” in Owensboro KY and WYFX-FM ESPN Radio 106.7, Mount Vernon, IN.
THE ICEMEN TICKET INFORMATION: IceMen single game tickets for all 36-home games are on sale at the Ford Center Box Office and at Ticketmaster.com or by contacting the IceMen offices for various season ticket plans and great group rates at (812) 421-GOAL (4625). Visit the IceMen website at www.evansvilleicemen.com.