Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ice vs. Green Bay preview

USHL East Division Semifinal
(3E) Indiana Ice (37-19-4, 3rd USHL East)
(2E) Green Bay Gamblers (41-15-4, 2nd USHL East)

Series schedule (best-of-5)
Wednesday, April 20: at Green Bay, 8:05 p.m.
Friday, April 22: at Green Bay, 8:05 p.m.
Saturday, April 23: at Pepsi Coliseum, 7:05 p.m.
Monday, April 25: at Pepsi Coliseum, 7:05 p.m.*
Wednesday, April 27: at Green Bay, 8:05 p.m.*

Playoff history
2010: Green Bay 3, Ice 1, division final (Green Bay went on to win Clark Cup)
2009: Ice 3, Green Bay 1, division final (Indiana went on to win Clark Cup)
2007: Ice 4, Green Bay 0, 1st round (Indiana went on to USHL final four, lost to Sioux Falls).

Head to head (Gamblers 3, Ice 1). 
Oct. 15: Green Bay 4, Ice 2 (at Pepsi Coliseum). GB: Four different goal scorers, William Kessel 2A, Ryan McKay 38sv. Ice: Christian Hilbrich, Daniil Tarasov goals, Casey DeSmith 35 saves.
Dec. 8: Ice 2, Green Bay 1 (at Pepsi Coliseum). Ice: Alex Wideman, Brian Ferlin goals. Casey DeSmith 33 saves. GB: Adam Wilcox 38 saves.
Feb. 24: Green Bay 5, Ice 1 (at Resch Center). GB: Robert Francis, Ludwig Karlsson G/A each. 5 different goal scorers. Ryan McKay 29 saves. Ice: Cody Bradley goal, Casey DeSmith 26 saves.
March 5: Green Bay 3, Ice 1 (at Resch Center). GB: David Goodwin, Andrew Welinski, William Kessel goals. Ryan McKay 21 saves. Ice: Dan Cesarz goal, Jon Gillies 28 saves.

Goals: Ice 2-4-0 -- 6; GB 3-3-6 -- 12
Shots: Ice 38-51-43 -- 132 (avg. 33); GB 36-46-53 -- 135 (avg. 33.75)
Power Play: Ice 1-13 (7.6%), GB 2-15 (13.3%)
Top scorers H2H
Ice:  Daniil Tarasov G, A; Sean Kuraly 2A. Alex Wideman, Christian Hilbrich, Dan Cesarz, Brian Ferlin, Cody Bradley goals.
Green Bay: William Kessel 2G/3A, +4, Austin Czarnik G, 3A, +3, Andrew Welinski 3G (scored 6 in regular season), Robert Francis G/2A, Jean-Paul LaFontaine 3A, Ludwig Karlsson 2G. Aaron Harstad, David Goodwin, Nolan LaPorte goals.

Goaltenders H2H
Ice:  Casey DeSmith 1-2-0, 3.01, 91.2sv%; Jon Gillies 0-1-0, 3.00, 90.3sv%
Green Bay: Ryan McKay 3-0-0, 1.33, 95.7sv%; Adam Wilcox 0-1-0, 2.00, 95.0sv%
Tale of the Tape
GF: 237 (1st) / GA: 166 (6th) 
PP: 21.7% (1st) / PK: 85.8% (7th) / PIM: 897 (4th) 
Home record: 19-9-2 /Road: 18-10-2
Last 5: 2-3-0 Last 10: 7-3-0 (regular season)
Leading scorers: Blake Coleman (34-58*-92*), Daniil Tarasov (37*-38-75), Brian Ferlin (25-48-73) 
Leading goaltender: Casey DeSmith (22-13-2, 2.54), Jon Gillies (15-6-2, 2.82) 
Leading +/-: Blake Coleman (+52)*
Leading PIM: Will Aide (142)

GF: 189 (6th) / GA: 131 (1st) 
PP: 17.1% (8th) / PK: 92.6% (1st) / PIM: 790 (2nd) 
Home record: 24-4-2/Road: 17-11-2
Last 5: 3-2-0 Last 10: 4-5-1
Leading scorers: William Kessel (21-36-57), Jean-Paul LaFontaine (15-33-48), Robert Francis (14-31-45), William Lynch (20-24-44), Austin Czarnik (20-14-34).
Leading goaltender:  Ryan McKay (25-9-3, 2.00*), Adam Wilcox (16-6-1, 2.20)
Leading +/-: Aaron Harstad (+17)
Leading PIM: Matt Stewart (84). 

It's the last two Clark Cup champions meeting each other in the postseason for the third straight year. The Ice, Green Bay and Cedar Rapids have been the top three teams in the USHL East for the third straight year. By finishing second in the division, Green Bay received a bye, so the Gamblers haven't played in a week and a half. Game 1 might be telling, as the Ice are coming in having played on Thursday and Friday last week, beating Waterloo in two games by a combined score of 10-3. The Daniil Tarasov (1-4-5)-Blake Coleman (2-2-4)-Brian Ferlin (2-1-3) line combined for 5 goals and 12 total points. The trio comprised the USHL's top three scorers during the regular season. Dan Cesarz and David Johnstone scored two goals each for the Ice during the series, too. During the regular season, the Ice had three 30-goal scorers (Tarasov, Coleman, Alex Wideman) and two more 20-goal scorers (Ferlin, Johnstone). Casey DeSmith posted a 1.50 GAA in net, posting a shutout in Game 1.

This series matches the USHL's top offensive team -- an Ice squad that totaled 3.95 goals per game -- against the league's stingiest defensive team. Green Bay allowed just a shade over 2 goals per game. While the Ice have the league's top three scorers, Green Bay's Ryan McKay was the league's top goaltender in terms of GAA. Backup Adam Wilcox was third in GAA. Green Bay won three of the four regular season games, and defensively, the Gamblers held the Ice's top scorers. Coleman managed 0-1-1, Ferlin 1-0-1 and Tarasov 1-1-2 in the four regular-season games. Wideman had a goal. Johnstone didn't register a point in those four games. This matchup also features the league's strongest power play against a Green Bay team that has put up an amazing penalty kill percentage. If the Ice can solve McKay and put some goals on the board, they'll win, but it's instructive that the one win they had in the regular season was a 2-1 victory. Expect this to be a tight-checking, low-scoring series. The winner will face either Muskegon or Cedar Rapids in the Eastern Conference finals. Cedar Rapids, the Anderson Cup champion as the regular season champ, is the prohibitive favorite in that series.

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