RUNDOWN/LOWDOWN: Having concluded their December 4-games’ road schedule, and for that matter, their foreign ice warfare slate of dates for the current calendar year of 2012, the Evansville IceMen will be coming home for the holidays at the Ford Center. Under the astute auspices of third-year General Manager/ Head Coach Rich Kromm, the men of the igloo will commence their longest home stand of the season consisting of 6-consecutive games at the amiable climes and environs of the fabulous Ford Center downtown Evansville with a pair of holiday show performances this weekend on the bright lights of the marquee. This Friday night, December 21st the Eastern Conference/Atlantic Division combatants from Trenton touch down downtown in our town for its second and final appearance for this season. Then on Saturday night, the IceMen Icers conclude their pre-Christmas schedule by hosting division foe Kalamazoo. The IceMen open the new week residing in fifth place in the Eastern Conference/North Division with a record of 29(10-16-3) totaling 23-points. They will launch this final week before Christmas having crept to within striking distance of fourth place Kalamazoo 26(11-12-3)25, trailing the Wings by a scant 2-points. Meanwhile, the Evansville men of pro hockey renown have climbed to within 5-points of third place archenemy Fort Wayne 25(13-10-2) 28-points.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The IceMen will be spending the holiday season here at home as their next 6-games will be on tap for the Ford Center. When the IceMen play host to both Trenton on Friday night and Kalamazoo on Saturday night, the IceMen will be celebrating the spirit of the holiday season. Santa Claus will be attendance at both games and the “old Jolly One” will have some special giveaway prizes on both of those nights including “Santa Hats” and Christmas ornaments.
The IceMen have concluded their December road schedule for 2012.
“ICEMEN LIVE PRESENTED BY COORS LIGHT”: The IceMen ever-popular weekly Monday night radio show is on the air everywhere for a third consecutive year right in your listening ear. This week, show host, Terry Ficorelli’s special guests will be two of the newer faces in the Evansville lineup; right wing Kevin Baker and goaltender Paul Dainton. It’s “IceMen Live Presented by Coors Light,” Monday nights from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm live from Show-Me’s East and on flagship radio home of the new “Magic 98.5 FM and 1400 AM WEOA as well as world-wide on magic985fm.com and 1400amweoa.com.
WRAP THE RECAP: In a strenuous stretch of 3-games in 3-days with some rather inordinate travel, the IceMen did earn one more treasured point in the North Division standings by virtue of a weekly mark of 3(0-2-1). Broaching the sojourn Friday night in Kalamazoo, the IceMen failed to secure 1-0 and 2-1 advantages before completing the contest in a 3-2 OTSO affair. In his IceMen debut, high-scoring right wing Kevin Baker accounted for both of his team’s goals with his second thrust struck on the power play. On Saturday night in Toledo, the IceMen were blanked for the third time this season and the second time abroad perishing to the Walleye. Then in a Sunday matinee feature presentation at Wheeling, the IceMen succumbed to the upstart Nailers, 7-5. The IceMen did connect in flurries in defeat, sniping 2-goals 1:52 apart in the middle stanza before fueling a 3-goal blitz in the fateful final frame in 7:25 with the first pair delivered in a rapid-fire fashion 1:20 apart. Dylan Clarke (1-3-4); Trent Vogelhuber (1-1-2); Brett Ponich, Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Baker also struck in the IceMen comeback bid. Josh Beaulieu was the play maker extraordinaire, collecting 4-assists.
THE RECORD REVIEW: Posting a mark of 3(0-2-1) for the past weekend of 3-games on the road in as many days, the IceMen begin the week before Christmas schedule occupying fifth place in the Eastern Conference/North Division alliance with an overall record of 29(10-16-3) totaling 23-points. Following a season-best 6-game undefeated streak; 6(4-0-2), reflecting their initial half-dozen games of their December docket, the IceMen suddenly find themselves winless in their last trio of starts; last 3(0-2-1). Evansville’s longest win streak of the season has been 3-in a row. Their longest losing streak has 4-straight. After inaugurating their maiden voyage ECHL campaign with that downtrodden 7-game winless spell; 7(0-6-1), the IceMen are right on the .500 barrier in their ensuing 22-decisions at 22(10-10-2). They are 17(8-7-2) over the past 17-exercises.
HOME STOCK STELLAR: The IceMen are set to commence a 6-game homestand, their longest of the season on this week before Christmas. The IceMen will be home throughout the holiday season. They are presently riding the rising rapids of a season’s best 4-game win streak at the Ford Center, outscoring the visiting teams in that span, 18-10. Their last taste of the bitter brine of defeat was gulped down back on November 18th when Reading roasted the home town heroes, 7-2. For the season, Evansville’s home record stands at 14(6-8-0) and 9(6-3-0) after opening the current campaign with that impoverished 5-game losing streak.
BUS BREAKAWAY: The past weekend, the IceMen concluded their 4-game December road schedule winless at 4(0-2-2), netting two total points. In the process, their road record for the season declined to 15(4-8-3) with their last victory in enemy territory coming back on November 24th at Reading where they stunned the Royals, 4-2. Evansville’s overall 6-game winless skein abroad represents their longest of the season; last 6(0-4-2).
DIVISION DICHOTOMY: The breakdown of the IceMen division marks appear accordingly; North Division; 17(7-7-3); Atlantic Division: 7(2-5-0); South Division 5(1-4-0).
TOP PERCH PUCKSTERS: Center Todd Robinson 21(1-18-19) ranks 4th in the ECHL in PPA with 12. Josh Beaulieu’s 3-GWG rank 5th in the league. Trent Vogelhuber tops all league rookies with 2-SHG. Matt Gens 29(3-12-15) ranks 19th in ECHL defense scoring. Matt Gens 25-minor penalties rank as second most in the league. Cody Beach ranks 5th in the ECHL rookie department in PIM with 56.
THE JOSH JUGGERNAUT: Left Wing Josh Beaulieu continues to take a strong leadership role on this IceMen club. The 6-year pro assembled yet another exemplary week of consistency, efficiency and proficiency. For the 3-game road junket, “Bo” crafted 5-crisp assists including 4-arrangements in Sunday’s IceMen setback at Wheeling. In his last 4-games, he has registered 9-points; last 4(1-8-9). For the season, he tops the IceMen in many major key offensive categories; goals (11); points (27); PPG (5) and multiple goal games with two and GWG (3). Beaulieu is the IceMen nomination for ECHL Player of the Week.
PAUL WITH POLISH: Third-year goaltender Paul Dainton has asserted himself almost immediately at his new address in Evansville. Assigned the past week by parent club Columbus through its AHL Springfield connection, Dainton, in his first 2-starts this past weekend away from home bay was flamboyantly electrifying with his goaltending exploits. Though he was winless, the former collegiate star at UMass-Amherst posted a 2.50 GAA with a brilliant .937 SPCT. Dainton is the IceMen nomination for ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
KEVIN CONNECTS: Veteran high-scoring right wing Kevin Baker attained a most favorable IceMen premiere party the past week. Obtained in a major three player deal with Orlando, the Kingston, Ontario product made his impact indelible and indescribable. In his first period for the IceMen, he delivered the game’s FG Friday night at Kalamazoo before connecting on the TBG/PPG in the middle frame. Baker capped his first week under the IceMen employ with his third goal of the weekend in Sunday’s setback at Wheeling. For his first week with the IceMen, it was an auspicious debut with 3-goals in 3-games; 3(3-0-3).
THE “MARK OF CLARKE”: Dylan Clarke continues to be a brilliant find and discovery for the IceMen. Last week’s ECHL Player of the Week has been a prolific point-making machine since his arrival to the Tri-State. On Sunday, Clarke authored his second four-point game under the IceMen shield with 1-goal, 3-assists in the 7-5 setback inflicted by the Nailers. Since his arrival to Evansville, the Plattsburgh State All-American has amassed 15-points in only 9-games on 4-goals; 11-assists with a healthy +8 rating.
“PONY” POWER: Second-year defenseman Brett Ponich has really stabilized and solidified the IceMen back line since his arrival here from the St. Louis Blues organization through AHL Peoria. The 6-7, 225lb mountain of a man stoked his first strike with might Sunday at Wheeling. In his first 6-IceMen games, the Blues second round draft pick has fashioned 3-points on 1-goal, 2-assists with a masterful +4 rating.
THE SPECIAL TEAMS TALES: The IceMen penalty killing ensemble cast has been kinetic and magnetic. In recent action, it is 15-16; 93.8% efficiency; 29 for the last 31; 93.6% and 44 for the last 49; 89.9%. Moreover, in its last 121-advantages, the opposition has been limited to just 14-PPG for an IceMen PK efficiency mark of a sparkling 88.5%. In the meantime, the IceMen power play needs some bionic tonic and more notion and devotion to its motion. The power play is 2 for the last 14; 14.3% and 4 for the last 32-attempts; 12.5%.
THE MILESTONES ZONE: Newly-acquired Kevin Baker (486) is 14-games away from pro career 500. Center Jason Dale (191) is 9-games away from 200. Todd Robinson (1,246) is 4-assists shy of 1,250 for his illustrious pro career. Brett Ponich second period goal Sunday at Wheeling was his first-ever pro career goal.
FEW FUN FAST FACTS FROM “FIC”: The IceMen completed 9-consecutive games against their own North Division foes with a record of 9(4-3-2). Evansville’s 6-game win streak on Saturday night was halted where it started back on November 3rd in Toledo when the Walleye blanked the IceMen, 4-0. That was the IceMen first loss in 4-games against Toledo this season. They had been a perfect 3(3-0-0). The IceMen are 12(9-1-2) entering the third period with the lead. The IceMen have played their last 10-OTSO games on the road dating back to last season. They have yet to have an OTSO game at their home off the Ford Center. The IceMen have outshot their opponents in only 7 of their first 29-games this season. When the IceMen score 4 or more, their record is 8(7-1-0); when they yield 2-GA or less, they are 7(7-0-0).
THE ICEMEN GAME CALENDAR FOR THIS WEEK
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21 TRENTON AT THE ICEMEN 7:15 PM
For these two Eastern Conference interdivisional rivals, it will be the third session staged and the second to be hosted by Evansville. The Titans top the series, 2(2-0-0). Trenton captured a 4-3 verdict in Evansville way back on October 19th in the IceMen second game of the season. In the last clash, back on November 23rd in New Jersey, the Titans prevailed for a second time in a row by the final of 3-2.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22ND KALAMAZOO AT THE ICEMEN 7:15 PM
In their final act prior to the Christmas recess, the IceMen will lock horns with the Wings for the fifth time this season and for the third time in Evansville. The IceMen are 4(1-2-1) against their divisional counterparts with the lone triumph gained in Kalamazoo’s last appearance here back on December 1st, 3-2. The IceMen are 2(1-1-0) in those two home starts against the Wings.
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 WEOA-AM 1r400. They can also be found 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 all 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.
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 4:20 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; WKBR-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.