Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ice fall in back end of weekend

The Indiana Ice's seven-game winning streak was thwarted Saturday by the Des Moines Buccaneers by a 5-3 score at the Pepsi Coliseum.

The five goals allowed by the Ice were almost the same total as allowed in the previous seven games, in which they outscored their foes 34-6.

Des Moines' Mitch Cain scored the game-winner with 9:34 to go, breaking a 3-all tie. He would add an empty-netter in the closing seconds to register a hat trick. Dajon Mingo -- Des Moines' leading goal scorer -- also scored twice, and bumped his season total to 22.

The Ice started off well, as Daniil Tarasov scored just 3:37 in off an assist from Brian Ferlin. It extended scoring streaks for both -- Tarasov now has a point in four straight games, Ferlin seven. Mingo tied the game four and a half minutes later, but Ryan Obuchowski gave the Ice a 2-1 edge in the closing two minutes of the first period. Obuchowski has been red-hot of late, scoring his third goal in four games. He has four goals on the season.

Cain (2:08) and Mingo (13:34) scored second-period goals to put the Bucs up 3-2. Sean Kuraly tallied his fifth of the year off a feed from David Johnstone just 59 seconds into the third to knot it, but Cain finished off the hat trick.

Both teams' PK units were sharp again, as the Ice were 0-for-3 on the PP, Des Moines 0-2.

Casey DeSmith made 40 saves in the loss for the Ice, who were outshot 44-25 by a desperate Des Moines team fighting for a playoff spot. With 56 points, the Bucs remain two points back of Sioux City for the sixth and final spot in the Western Conference. 

The Ice (35-17-4) finished their home schedule with a 19-9-2 record, including 18-8-2 at the Coliseum. They remain in third in the East, six points back of second-place Green Bay with four games to play. Should the Gamblers gain two points in any of their remaining four games -- or first-place Cedar Rapids notch one point in its remaining six -- the Ice will clinch third place and host the first-round playoff series with the sixth-place team in the East. It will likely be either Youngstown or Waterloo, both of which have 47 points.

A strong crowd of 4,365 was in attendance for the regular season home finale. Tarasov's 33rd goal puts him one back of Dubuque's Jon Gaudreau for the USHL lead. Blake Coleman will likely wrap up the USHL scoring title, as his 82 points lead the league. Tarasov, with 68 points, is second. The Ice travel to Sioux Falls and Fargo next weekend, as they wrap up with four games on the road.

Game boxscore

Indiana game story

Friday, March 25, 2011

The beat goes on

The Ice kept rolling, posting a 3-0 victory over the Des Moines Buccaneers on Friday night at the Pepsi Coliseum for their seventh straight victory.

Goaltender Jon Gillies posted his second straight shutout -- and set a club record for consecutive scoreless minutes. Gillies hasn't allowed a goal in 164:22 -- going back to the first period of a March 5 game against Green Bay. He shut out the Gamblers in the final two periods of that game, shut out Chicago 7-0 on March 11 and then made 31 saves to blank the Bucs tonight.

The Ice defense kept the lanes clear, and the Ice peppered the Buccaneer net with shots -- getting 40 on goal. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two goals 2:03 apart in the first period on goals from Daniil Tarasov -- his 32nd, second-best in the USHL -- and Peter Schneider.

Tarasov's goal came on a rush started up the left side by Brian Ferlin, who fired an initial shot that was blockered aside by Des Moines' Michael Shibrowski. Ferlin scooped up the rebound, looped behind the net and fed Tarasov with a goalmouth pass that was fired into a mostly-open net. Ferlin's assist extended his point streak to six consecutive games. It was Tarasov's third straight game with a point.

Schneider made it 2-0 at the 15:58 mark of the first with a tip of Ryan Obuchowski's shot from the point, deflecting it past Shibrowski for his 29th goal of the season.

Obuchowski added an empty-net goal with 1:11 to go in the game.

Des Moines launched several salvos at the net -- putting 16 shots on Gillies in the second period -- but couldn't get the puck past him. The Ice killed off all four Buc power plays. Des Moines' PK unit was also perfect on five man-advantage situations. 

Will Aide also won the one fight of the night -- landing several rights before taking down Des Moines' Dan DeSalvo in a long bout late in the first period.

The two teams will have a rematch at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Pepsi Coliseum. It will be the Ice's final home game of the season.

The Ice needed the win to keep pace in the East. Both teams they're chasing -- Green Bay and Cedar Rapids -- also won on Friday. The Ice are 35-16-4 with five regular-season games left. Their 74 points remain five behind Cedar Rapids and six back of Green Bay. The Ice have clinched at least third place in the East. A top-two finish would guarantee a first-round bye. A third-place finish would guarantee home-ice advantage in the best-of-3 first round, likely against either Youngstown or Waterloo, who are currently tied for 6th with 47 points each.

Game boxscore

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weekend game previews: Ice vs. Des Moines

Des Moines Buccaneers (24-21-6, t6th USHL West)
Indiana Ice (34-16-4, 3rd USHL East)
7:05 p.m. Friday, March 25 / Pepsi Coliseum 
7:05 p.m. Saturday, March 26 / Pepsi Coliseum 

Head to head (Ice 1, Buccaneers 1).
Jan. 29: Bucs 4, Ice 1 (at Des Moines). Justin Selman (DM) 2G, Dan DeSalvo 2A, Tyler Bruggeman 32 saves. Cody Bradley (Ice) goal.
Feb. 19: Ice 7, Bucs 3 (at Des Moines).Peter Schneider & Blake Coleman 2G each, David Johnstone G,A, Alex Wideman, Nick Mattson, Brandon Russo 2A each. Ice 3 straight goals in last 4:33 to break game open. Jon Gillies (Ice) 29 saves. DaJon Mingo 2G for Des Moines.

Tale of the Tape
GF: 147 (10th) / GA: 156 (10th) 
PP: 18.3% (5th) / PK: 77.8% (15th) / PIM: 1119 (13th) 
Road record: 11-12-2 
Last 5: 2-1-2 Last 10: 3-4-3 
Leading scorers: Dan DiSalvo (11-24-35), Austin Coldwell (7-25-32), Dajon Mingo (20-9-29), Doug Clifford (15-13-28), Mitch Cain (15-7-22)
Leading goaltender: Michael Shibrowski (19-12-5, 2.70), Tyler Bruggeman (5-9-1, 3.32)
Leading +/-: Connor Kucera (+13)
Leading PIM: Micki Mihalovich (236)

GF: 210 (1st) / GA: 143 (6th) 
PP: 21.8% (2nd) / PK: 85.6% (7th) / PIM: 826 (4th) 
Home record: 18-8-2 
Last 5: 6-0-0 Last 10: 7-3-0
Leading scorers: Blake Coleman (30-52-83), Daniil Tarasov (31-35-66), Brian Ferlin (24-38-62) 
Leading goaltender: Casey DeSmith (21-10-2, 2.45), Jon Gillies (13-6-2, 2.71) 
Leading +/-: Blake Coleman (+47) 
Leading PIM: Will Aide (126)

The Ice have kept rolling, and this is a game where special teams will be important, as the Ice have the league's second-best power play and Des Moines has the league's second-worst PK. The Ice's offense has been hitting on all cylinders lately, scoring nearly four goals per game, but lately, they've tallied 5.3 goals per game in their six-game winning streak. They exploded for five -- including three in the third period -- in Wednesday's win over Muskegon. The Ice have clinched third in the East and are five points back of second-place Cedar Rapids and six back of first-place Green Bay. Both the Ice and GB have six games left, CR has eight. Des Moines is fighting for its postseason life, as the Bucs are tied with Sioux Falls for the final playoff spot in the West. The Ice have four 20-goal scorers and a fifth that's close, with the line of Coleman-Tarasov-Ferlin the league's most productive. Des Moines has one 20-goal scorer -- Dajon Mingo -- and two more who have tallied 15 goals.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ice win 6th straight

Powered by three third-period goals, the Indiana Ice won their sixth straight game Wednesday, beating the Muskegon Lumberjacks 5-1 at the Pepsi Coliseum.

With the victory, the Ice clinch no worse than third place in the USHL's East Division. Should the Ice finish third, they will have home ice in the best-of-three first-round series. Should they climb into one of the top two spots, they'll receive a first-round bye in the USHL Playoffs. 

Five different players scored for the Ice, who jumped on the Lumberjacks early -- netting the game's first eight shots -- and kept coming at the visitors. David Johnstone gave the Ice a 1-0 lead just 4:19 in, whistling a shot from the point past Muskegon's Paul Berrafoto -- who made several dandy saves on the evening to keep the game close for much of the night. A tip-in by Brian Ferlin finished off a strong rush started by defenseman Alexander Kuqali to make it a 2-0 game just 101 seconds into the second period.

Muskegon added a PPG on a laser from Isaac Kohls from the point, but the Ice scored thrice in the third, with Cody Bradley netting a key insurance goal just 23 seconds in on the initial rush of the period. Nick Mattson finished off a 4-on-2 rush with a goal from the high slot and Will Aide added a clincher a couple of minutes later to give the Ice a three-goal period and the 5-1 victory.

The Ice spread the scoring out, as only one player -- Daniil Tarasov -- netted two points on the evening, as he assisted on Ferlin and Mattson's tallies. Alex Barron was a plus-3.

Johnstone's goal was his 18th of the year. Two more would give the Ice five 20-goal scorers. Ferlin added his 24th. Bradley hit double-digits with 10, while Mattson & Aide both scored #6 on the year.

Casey DeSmith had 21 saves for his 21st victory in goal. 

Three stars:
1: Cody Bradley (Ice). Key goal to break game open early in third, +1.
2: Daniil Tarasov (Ice). 2 assists, 5 shots, +2
3. Alex Barron (Ice). 1 assist, +3

The Ice are now 34-16-4, and remain in third place. They're six points behind division leader Green Bay with six games left for both teams. Cedar Rapids is five points ahead of the Ice, but has two games in hand. The Ice have outscored teams 32-6 in this current six-game win streak. The Ice lead the season series against Muskegon 5-1 (both teams have one OTL) with one game remaining in the L.C. Walker Arena in Michigan. Back-to-back home games against the Des Moines Buccaneers Friday & Saturday will close out the home portion of the season. Both games face off at 7:05 p.m. at the Pepsi Coliseum. Des Moines (24-21-6) is currently tied with Sioux City for the last playoff spot in the West with 54 points. The Ice then close out the year with four road games over the last two weekends.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wednesday game preview: Ice vs. Muskegon

Muskegon Lumberjacks (22-23-8, 5th USHL East)
Indiana Ice (33-16-4, 3rd USHL East)
7:05 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 / Pepsi Coliseum 

Head to head (Ice 4, Lumberjacks 1 -- each team 1 OTL).
Oct. 2: Ice 4, Lumberjacks 1 (at Muskegon). Blake Coleman 2G, Casey DeSmith 28 saves
Oct. 23: Lumberjacks 5, Ice 4, SO (at Muskegon). Nick Mattson 2A for Ice, Taft G, A for Muskegon
Jan. 7: Ice 7, Lumberjacks 1 (at Indiana). Peter Schneider 2G, Coleman/Ferlin/Tarasov G, A.  DeSmith 27sv.

Jan. 25: Ice 5, Lumberjacks 4, OT (at Indiana). Nick Mattson GWG, Coleman 3A. Ice 54 shots.
March 13: Ice 7, Lumberjacks 0 (at Indiana). Schneider 2G, A. DeSmith 28sv, SHO.
Remaining games
April 9: at Muskegon

Tale of the Tape
GF: 173 (4th) / GA: 209 (16th)
PP: 12.89% (13th) / PK: 82.45% (11th) / PIM: 1431 (16th)
Road record: 11-11-5
Last 5: 0-5-0 Last 10: 3-7-0

Leading scorers: Ryan Misiak (15-41-56), Matt Berry (23-25-48), Isaac Kohls (16-20-36)
Leading goaltender: Joel Vienneau (13-15-4, 3.83), Paul Berrafato (9-8-4, 3.44)
Leading +/-: Carter Foguth (+12)
Leading PIM: Micki Mihalovich (236)

GF: 205 (1st)
GA: 142 (6th)

PP: 22.3% (1st) / PK: 85.71% (6th) / PIM: 818 (4th)
Home record: 17-8-2
Last 5: 5-0-0 Last 10: 6-4-0
Leading scorers: Blake Coleman (30-51-81), Daniil Tarasov (31-33-64), Brian Ferlin (23-38-61)
Leading goaltender: Casey DeSmith (20-10-2, 2.50), Jon Gillies (13-6-2, 2.71)
Leading +/-: Blake Coleman (+45)
Leading PIM: Will Aide (126)

On paper, this looks like a good matchup for the Ice. The USHL's highest-scoring team against the league's most porous defense, and the league's hottest team against a team that's lost five straight. And, of course, the Ice had a convincing 7-0 win last Sunday. Muskegon's last game was an 8-4 defeat. However, the teams have played two OT games against each other. This is an important game for both teams -- the Ice trying to climb into second place and get a first-round bye in the USHL Playoffs, while the Lumberjacks are trying to clinch a playoff spot. Currently, Muskegon is seven points clear of seventh-place Waterloo, with the Black Hawks having eight games remaining and the Lumberjacks seven. Muskegon is a first-year USHL team, although the city is very familiar to Ice fans, as the International Hockey League version of the Lumberjacks competed against the Indianapolis Checkers and Indianapolis Ice from 1984 through 1995.

Roe makes his mark

Great story on Garrett Roe, a fan favorite for the Ice from 2005-07 and a Los Angeles Kings draft pick.

Fairfax Times

Ice sweep weekend

The Ice kept climbing, and moved to within five points of second-place Cedar Rapids with a 5-3 victory over Youngstown in front of 5,116 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

A quick first-period barrage gave the Ice a three-goal lead, as David Johnstone, Daniil Tarasov and Will Aide scored in a four-and-a-half minute span. Blake Coleman added a power-play goal at 10:04 of the second period to make it a 4-0 cushion, and would add an assist on Tarasov's third-period power-play goal -- the Moscow native's 31st of the year -- three behind the league leader John Gaudreau of Dubuque.

Coleman's goal was his 30th of the year, and his two-point night gave him a league-best 81 points on the season. Coleman is in the midst of a five-game scoring streak.

It was a penalty-filled game, the Ice took advantage of nine power plays, scoring on two. Youngstown was 0-for-5 with the man advantage, but did score a shorthanded goal.

Casey DeSmith made 37 saves for the Ice.

The Ice are now 33-16-4. They play three games this week, starting with a Wednesday home tilt against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The Ice will host Des Moines in back-to-back games at the Pepsi Coliseum on Friday and Saturday. All games will see a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.

Three stars:
1. Daniil Tarasov, Ice (2 goals, 7 shots)
2. Blake Coleman, Ice (goal, assist, 4 shots)
3. Ryan Obuchowski, Ice

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