In today's edition, we have the Racers' first playoff win, several Checkers entries, and visits by the Indianapolis and Indiana Ice, as well as birthdays for Marty Wilford, Jimmy Mann, Bill Dowd and the late Herb Lewis.
April 17 in Indianapolis hockey history
2009: Trailing 2-1 in their opening-round playoff series, the Ice stay alive by thumping Cedar Rapids 5-1 at the Coliseum. Mike Cichy, Ben Albertson and Zach Golombiewski each tally a goal and an assist. Shane Berschbach and Stanislav Galiev also score, while Brett Bennett stops 34 shots in the Ice net.
1993: After missing the postseason the previous year, the Ice return to the IHL playoffs in 1993. Brad Lauer scores a power play goal, but it's not enough to prevent a 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Knights at The Omni.
1987: The Checkers beat Fort Wayne 7-5 in a wild Game 2 at Market Square Arena. Ron Handy (twice), Todd Bjorkstrand (twice) and Brian McKee all scored in the first period to give the Checkers a 5-2 lead, but the Komets came roaring back to tie the game in the second. Bob Lakso and Joe West broke the tie with third-period goals. Byron Lomow had four assists in the game. Lakso had a goal and two assists. Handy also had an assist.
1985: The Checkers play their first postseason game as a member of the IHL, but are shut out by Peoria and Rick Heinz 4-0. Rob Holland stops 25 shots in the Checker net. General manager Fred Creighton fires coach Moe Bartoli after the game and takes the reins himself.
1984: The Checkers pull off a monumental upset of heavily-favored Colorado in their CHL semifinal series, winning their fourth straight game against the Flames by a 3-2 score to win the series in six games. Rob Holland stops 40 shots in the Checker goal -- including 20 of the 21 he faced in the second period, while Red Laurence solves Mike Vernon twice. The second goal, at 16:49 of the second, gave the Checkers a 3-1 edge. Ken Leiter added a goal and an assist for the Checkers.
1982: The Checkers and Wichita Wind open their semifinal series in an unusual location -- Edmonton, home of the Wind's parent club, the Edmonton Oilers. A crowd of 14,467 looks on as Kelly Hrudey and Andy Moog face off in goal. Mike Hordy and Red Laurence score second-period power play goals 49 seconds apart to give the Checkers a 2-1 lead. After Wichita ties it, Kevin Devine beats Moog for the game-winner with 1:25 left. Neil Hawryliw assists on two goals, as does Garth MacGuigan.
1976: The Racers earn their first-ever playoff win -- and shutout -- as Jim Park stops 29 shots to stuff the New England Whalers 4-0 and knot their WHA playoff series up at 1-1. Kerry Bond scores an unassisted goal at 4:04 of the first period, and Michel Parizeau, Hugh Harris and Rene LeClerc each tally a goal and an assist.
Happy birthday to ...
Marty Wilford: Defenseman who played 106 games for the Ice in their final two IHL seasons from 1997-99. Chicago's sixth-round pick in 1995, Wilford had three goals, 17 assists and 132 PIMs. Wilford played 10 seasons in the IHL and AHL before moving to Europe for four seasons in 2007. He began coaching after retirement and is currently an assistant with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.
Jimmy Mann: Right wing who finished his career playing 38 games for the Ice in their inaugural 1988-89 season. He had 15 points and 275 PIMs. A rugged winger, he played 293 NHL games in a career that began in 1979, primarily in Winnipeg and Quebec, but also including a stop in Pittsburgh. He led the NHL with 287 PIMs as a rookie in 1979-80 with the Jets, a year after they picked him 19th overall in the NHL Entry Draft. A native of Montreal, he is 55. Today, Mann organizes the Oldtimers Hockey Challenge for charity.
Bill Dowd: The Islanders' eighth-round pick in 1981, Dowd joined the Checkers as a rookie in 1983-84 and had 10 points in 14 games -- as well as one assist in seven playoff games. He had nine points and 68 PIMs in 62 games with the Checkers the following year. He played for three teams in each of his two pro seasons. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, he is 51. He currently runs a business in Toronto.
Herb Lewis: The first coach of the Indianapolis Capitals, Herbie led the Caps to the 1942 Calder Cup championship. Known as one of the fastest skaters in hockey, the "Duke of Duluth" won two Stanley Cups as captain of the Red Wings in 1936 and 1937. He tallied 148 goals in 483 NHL games between 1928-1939, all in Detroit. He also played 28 games for the Caps as a player-coach. The Caps went 106-86-32 in his four seasons as coach. After retiring, he remained in Indianapolis. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. He was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1906. He passed away in 1991.