Saturday, April 23, 2011

Today in history: April 23

A couple of great postseason comebacks -- one completed, one thwarted -- on this date
1999: After surrendering a 3-0 lead in a 3:47 span of the second  period, Nathon Perrott scores 2:41 into overtime to give the Ice a 4-3 victory and knot their best-of-3 series with Cincinnati at 1-1. The Ice would clinch it the next night. 
2007: The Ice finish off a sweep of Green Bay by rallying in the third period. Mike Embach and John Kemp score 2:01 apart in the third period to give the Ice a 4-3 lead. Kemp adds an empty-netter to finish off the 5-3 victory and the 4-0 series win. 

Happy birthday
Dale Smedsmo: Winger who played seven games with the Racers in 1977-78, tallying three assists. He would have a handful of stints in the NHL/WHA with the Maple Leafs, Cincinnati Stingers, Racers and New England Whalers during his career. A native of Bemidji, Minnesota, he is 60. 
Jim Stewart: Goaltender -- briefly -- for the Indianapolis Checkers in 1980-81, appearing in three games. He actually split that season between four teams. He was 1-1 and posted a shutout in those three games in Indianapolis. Stewart appeared in one NHL game with the Boston Bruins the previous season and allowed five goals. They would be his only NHL action. A native of Hudson, Mass., he is 54. 
Greg Smyth: Well-traveled defenseman who made a two-game appearance with the Ice in the 1994-95 season. He also played 22 games with the Blackhawks that year. Smyth played for 13 different teams in a pro career that lasted from 1985-1999, and never had a season where he played for just one team. He is a veteran of 228 NHL games, with the Flyers, Nordiques, Flames, Panthers, Blackhawks and two stints with the Maple Leafs. A native of Oakville, Ontario, he is 45.
Patrick Poulin: Ninth overall pick in the 1991 NHL draft (by the Whalers), Poulin played one game for the Ice in 1995-96, registering an assist. He went back up to Chicago shortly thereafter, and had a long NHL career. It would actually be the only minor-league regular-season game Poulin would play until a stint with the Quebec Citadelles in his final pro season of 2001-02. Poulin played 634 NHL games, scoring 101 goals, with the Whalers, Blackhawks, Lightning and Canadiens, over 10 seasons. His best season came in 1994-95, when he totaled 15 goals and 15 assists in Chicago, and also had four postseason goals as the Hawks advanced to the Western Conference Finals. A native of Vanier, Quebec, he is 38.
Ken McRae: Ice coach from 2002-04, their final two seasons in the Central Hockey League. McRae's teams were known for a tight-checking style that made him the CHL's coach of the year in 2002-03. The Ice won the CHL's Northeast Division title that season with a 39-16-9 record, although they fell to eventual champion Memphis in the second round of the playoffs. His teams posted a 76-39-13 record during his tenure in Indianapolis. After the Ice franchise left the CHL in 2004, McRae coached four seasons in Corpus Christi, and spent the 2008-10 seasons with Peterborough of the OHL. McRae is a veteran of 137 NHL games from 1989-94 with the Nordiques and Maple leafs. A native of Winchester, Ontario, he is 43 today.

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