Saturday, April 30, 2011

USHL Conference Finals: Game 1

Green Bay and Dubuque won the opening games of their conference final series.

Green Bay -- the team that eliminated the Ice last week -- posted a 3-2 victory over Cedar Rapids behind Nolan LaPorte's two first-period goals. Dubuque beat Sioux Falls 5-2 in the Western Division final game, with Vinny Saponari scoring twice, including the game-winner in the second period.

Game 2 in each series is tonight in Cedar Rapids and Sioux Falls before shifting to the lower-seeded venue for Games 3 and 4 next weekend.

Young Indy teams show their mettle

The Indianapolis Racers won the USA Hockey U12 and U14 Tier II national titles earlier this month -- teams made up of the top players from Indianapolis. They're part of the Indiana Ice's effort to build hockey up from the grass roots, which owner Paul Skjodt has mentioned as a priority since starting the team in 2004.

The Indianapolis Star had a nice story on the Racers U12 and U14 titles earlier this week.

Today in history: April 30

1977: Paul Hoganson shuts out the Quebec Nordiques in Game 4 of the WHA Eastern Division final series, and the Racers win 2-0. Trailing 3-1 in the series, they would be eliminated in an 8-3 loss two nights later. 

Charles Constantin: Left wing who played six games for the Racers in 1977-78, scoring two goals and an assist. They would be his final pro games after 186 games with the Quebec Nordiques over four seasons. A native of Montreal, he is 57.
Dave Parro: Goaltender who finished his career with 12 games in a Checkers uniform in their final 1986-87 season. He also played 77 games for the Washington Capitals from 1980-84. He played in Rochester and Hershey of the AHL, and also had short stints with Fort Wayne and Salt Lake of the IHL. A native of Saskatoon, he is 54.
Geoff Peters: Center and former Blackhawks second-round pick who played his first two professional games for the Ice in 1997-98, totaling 10 PIMs. He'd play a long career in the AHL, IHL, ECHL and in Europe, retiring in 2009. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, he is 33.

Today in history: April 29

Some OT heroics on April 29 in Indianapolis hockey history
1983: In danger of going down 3-1 in the Adams Cup Finals, the Checkers beat Birmingham 5-4 on the road to knot the championship series at 2-2 in OT. They wouldn’t lose a game the rest of the way. Red Laurence takes a draw from Garth MacGuigan and rifles the puck past Owen Lessard with 1 second left in overtime to win it. Scott Howson, Dave Simpson, Kevin Devine and Gord Dineen score third-period goals to rally the Checkers back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1.
1999: Marc Lamothe continues an amazing streak of goaltending. He extends his shutout streak to 179:11 in a 1-0 double-overtime victory over the Detroit Vipers in Game 1 of their semifinal series. He turns away 45 shots over 83:57 before Craig Mills finally breaks the tie with a double-OT goal. Dave Hymovitz and Bob Lachance assist. The shutout streak would extend to 194:09 before it would be broken late in the first period of Game 2. This game would also be the IHL Ice’s final victory. 

Dean Magee: Played eight games with the Racers in their final aborted 1978 season. The center had one assist in a red, white and blue uniform. A native of Banff, Alberta, he is 56 today. 
George Servinis: Winger who scored 41 goals and added 54 assists for the Checkers' final entry in the IHL in 1986-87. They wouldn't lead the team, because that was the year of Ron Handy's incredible 135-point season. He'd follow that up with a 34-goal season in Kalamazoo the next year, which earned him a brief NHL callup to Minnesota. A native of Toronto, he is 49.
Marc D'Amour: A mainstay in the old CHL and IHL as an adversary of the Checkers with Colorado and Salt Lake, he became one of the "good guys" in the Ice's inaugural 1988-89 season, playing six games in an Ice uniform and posting a 3.70 GAA. The goaltender also enjoyed brief cups of coffee with the Calgary Flames (12 games) in 1985-86, and the Philadelphia Flyers in the same season he suited up for the Ice. A native of Sudbury, Ontario, he is 50.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Hall of Honor person to be named Monday

Keep an eye on this space next Monday, when our monthly inductee into the Hall of Honor is revealed.

That monthly feature will be a part of our blog each month. The April inductee was Arthur Wirtz, who engineered the building of the Fairgrounds Coliseum and the procurement of the Capitals franchise, which brought hockey to the city.

Today in history: April 28

Today, we have a happy memory of the Ice playing Green Bay in the postseason, and a slew of birthday greetings. 
2009: Thanks to four second-period goals, the Ice beat Green Bay 5-3 to clinch a spot in the Clark Cup Finals. Max Cook, Ben Albertson, Zach Golombiewski and Grant Blakey score to give the Ice a 4-2 lead. The Ice defense makes it stand up, allowing the Gamblers only four shots in the third period. 

George Hayes: Center who scored 17 goals and added 27 assists for the Chiefs' first playoff qualifier in 1956-57. He helped center the team's second line, and helped lead the team to a spot in the Turner Cup Finals. George played 12 years professionally, primarily in the IHL, eventually retiring in 1959. A native of Toronto, he was born in 1926.  
Joe Connors: Center who played briefly with the Chiefs in 1960-61. He would come to Indianapolis from Omaha at about the same time popular Chief (and the team's highest scorer) Pierre Brillant was traded to the Knights. A native of Reserve Mines, Nova Scotia, he was born in 1933.
Howie Menard: Member of the short-lived Capitols team in 1963, which was forced to move after the Coliseum explosion. The team continued on to Cincinnati that year, and he ended up being its leading scorer with 25 goals and 37 assists. His game-tying goal to secure a 2-2 decision against St. Louis on Oct. 26, 1963 would be the last goal scored in the Coliseum in a regular season pro hockey game for nearly 18 years -- and secure the team its only non-forfeit point in its short Indianapolis tenure. Menard would go on to a strong pro career, playing 151 games for the Red Wings, Kings, Blackhawks and Oakland Seals from 1962-70, and he'd continue to play in the minors until 1976. Menard is known for holding the AHL record for points in a playoff game with seven. A native of Timmins, Ontario, he is 69 today.
Frank Beaton: "Seldom" Beaton was a popular winger for the Checkers, tallying 13 goals, 28 assists and 270 penalty minutes in the Adams Cup championship year of 1981-82. He also totaled three goals and six assists in the playoffs that year. He was a veteran player for that squad, as that marked his ninth professional season. He had been a veteran of 178 NHL/WHA games with Cincinnati, Birmingham, Edmonton and the New York Rangers. After helping the Chex win a title in 1982, he would be on the losing side in the 1983 Adams Cup Finals, playing for the Birmingham South Stars when they were defeated by the Checkers. A native of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, he is 58 today.
Garnet McKechney: Winger who played three games for the IHL Checkers in 1985-86, tallying one assist. He had been a second-round pick of the Islanders in 1983, but played just one full pro season for the IHL's Peoria Rivermen in 1986-87. A native of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, he is 46 today. 
Colin Pepperall: Fifth-round pick of the Rangers in 1996 who played nine games and tallied two goals and two assists for the Ice's final IHL outfit in 1998-99. That would be his first full pro season, which was split between Indy, AHL Portland and ECHL Greenville, where he played the majority of the year. He would play nine more years, primarily in the ECHL, tallying 20+ goals three times. A native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, he is 33 today.

Today in history: April 27

Today in History is a bit late due to a long day at the day job + a few Game 7s to watch tonight (one of which yours truly was more than slightly mildly interested in). So, a double-dose tonight.
On April 27:
1984: The final night in the Central Hockey League history, and it ends on the humble ice of the Carmel Ice Skadium. Because of the lack of ice at the Coliseum, the Checkers and CHL Oilers move the fourth game of their series to Carmel. Rob Holland returned to the nets for the Checkers, but it was too little, too late. In front of a jammed house of 1,000 fans, Grant Ledyard scores an unassisted goal 6:09 into the third to give the Oilers a 3-1 lead. Despite Red Laurence’s goal with 15 seconds left – hooking up with Checkers mainstay Garth MacGuigan for the tally – the Oil would clicnch a 3-2 victory and skate with the Adams Cup after a 4-game sweep. Laurence, the Checkers' leading scorer their final three years of existence and a perennial CHL star, tallied the final goal in old CHL history.  
2000: The Ice get off to a lead in the Miron Cup Finals against the Columbus Cottonmouths. Jamie Morris rips off his fifth straight strong start, and fifth straight victory in net. He allowed five goals total in that five-game streak. Ken Boone scores the game-winner in a 2-1 road victory. The Ice would go on to win the title in their first season in the "new" CHL in seven games.
2009: After a tremendous forechecking job forced a turnover, Max Cook scores with 4:08 remaining to give the Ice a lead they’d never relinquish in a 4-2 victory over Green Bay. It puts the Ice on the cusp of the Clark Cup Finals, as they lead the best-of-5 semifinal 2-1. Zach Golombiewski also scores twice for the Ice in the victory. 

George Harrison: No, not the Beatle. The center was an EHL/IHL mainstay in the 1950s who played 24 games and scored five goals for the Chiefs in their inaugural season, one in which they struggled mightily on the ice. At age 32 at the time, he was at the end of his career, and would play one more partial season for the EHL's Johnstown Jets before hanging up his skates. A native of Winnipeg, he was born in 1923.  
John Blessman: It seems every day we have an "original" Ice player, and Blessman is yet another player who skated for that inaugural and -- in a dubious way, legendary -- 1988-89 team. A defenseman, he played 31 games, scored two goals and tallied five assists for that squad. He split the season between Indy and the AHL's Utica Devils. He'd play professionally -- mostly in the ECHL -- for 10 more years after leaving Indy. A native of Agincourt, Ontario, he is 44 today.   
Yves Heroux: Totaled 28 goals and 30 assists for the Ice in 1993-94. He was the team's leading goal-scorer that year. He had just come off a run of four straight pro seasons of at least 30 goals -- all at the AHL/IHL level. A second-round pick of the Nordiques in 1983, he would play one game in the NHL with Quebec in 1986-87. His best season came when he tallied 43 goals for Flint in 1988-89. A native of Terrebonne, Quebec, he is 46 today.  
Kent Paynter: A defenseman who played 37 games for the Ice in 1997-98 -- the final year of a 13-year pro career that also included 37 NHL games with the Blackhawks, Capitals, Jets and Senators in several short stints between 1987-94. Paynter scored three goals, added seven assists and also had an assist in five playoff starts for the Ice that season. A native of Summerside, PEI, he is also 46 today. 
Jamie Carroll: Defenseman who played two games with the CHL Ice in 2002-03 out of UMass-Dartmouth. He played a total of 12 pro games with the Ice and teams in the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast Hockey Leagues. A native of Bridgewater, Mass., he is 32.