Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This date in Indianapolis hockey history: April 23

In today's look back at history, Brett Bennett leads the Ice to a key Game 1 win over Green Bay in 2009, John Kemp caps an Ice sweep over the Gamblers with two third-period goals in 2007, Nathan Perrott scores an OT goal to keep the Ice season alive in 1999, the Checkers play the final CHL game at the Coliseum, and the Racers suffer two playoff defeats.  Also, birthday celebrations for former Indianapolis Ice coach Ken McRae, and four players who saw a handful of games in Indy -- Dale Smedsmo, Patrick Poulin, Greg Smyth and Jim Stewart.

April 23 in Indianapolis hockey history
2011: The Ice are swept in their division semifinal series by Green Bay, falling 2-1 in overtime. Austin Czarnik scores at 10:16 of OT for the Gamblers. David Johnstone's goal at :36 of the second gives the Ice a lead, but Green Bay answers midway through the period to tie the game.
2009: The Ice open their Eastern Conference Final series against Green Bay with an emphatic 5-1 win in the Resch Center. Mike Cichy and Brandon Richardson tally a goal and an assist each and Brett Bennett makes 23 saves.
2007: John Kemp scores two third-period goals -- including the game-winner -- leading the Ice to a come-from-behind 5-3 win over Green Bay and a four-game sweep of their opening-round playoff series. Gregory Squires, Jake Skjodt and Mike Embach also score for the Ice. Garrett Roe posts two assists. It's the Ice's first playoff series win as a member of the USHL.  
1999: Nathan Perrott scores 2:41 into overtime to give the Ice a 4-3 victory, evening the best-of-3 first-round series with Cincinnati at a game apiece. Dave Hymovitz, Perrott and Cail MacLean score first-period goals to give the Ice a 3-0 lead, but Cincinnati scores three goals in less than four minutes in the second to tie the game, chasing starter Geoff Sarjeant. Marc Lamothe stops 18 shots in perfect relief. 
1984: A 6-3 loss to the barnstorming Oilers puts the Checkers in a 3-0 hole in the Adams Cup Final. Red Laurence, Dave Simpson and Neal Coulter score for the Checkers, but Robbie Ftorek scores twice and Bob Scurfield nets a hat trick for the Oilers. It's the final CHL game to be played at the Coliseum. 
1980: The Checkers' first season ends with a 3-1 loss to the Fort Worth Wings in both the game and the best-of-5 CHL semifinal series. Kelly Davis' first-period goal gives the Checkers a lead, but Fort Worth scores the game-winner with 1:59 left against Richard Brodeur. 
1977: The Racers' second-round playoff series begins in Quebec, but they fall 3-1 to the Nordiques in Game 1. Michel Parizeau scores a second-period goal for the Racers, and Paul Hoganson makes 34 saves. 
1976: The Racers fall behind 3-1 in their playoff series, dropping a 2-1 decision to the New England Whalers when Mike Rogers beats Michel Dion with 58 seconds left. Hugh Harris scores a third-period goal for the Racers and Dion stops 37 shots.

Happy birthday to ... 
Dale Smedsmo: Left wing who played six games for the Racers in 1977-78, tallying three assists. He played 114 NHL/WHA games between 1972-78 for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Cincinnati Stingers, New England Whalers and the Racers, tallying 10 goals and 32 points. Smedsmo is the stepfather of NHL player Dustin Byfuglien. A native of Bemidji, Minn., he is 63.
Jim Stewart: Goalie who played three games for the Checkers in 1980-81. He was 1-1-0 with a 4.71 GAA with the Checkers. He played professionally for four seasons, for 12 teams. His longest stint was with the EHL's Utica Mohawks in 1979-80, where he played 30 games. He did play one period for the Boston Bruins in 1979-80, allowing five goals. Stewart went on to coach in college, where he developed NHL goaltenders Daren Puppa and Jonathan Quick at RPI, Holy Cross and UMass, winning a national title with RPI in 1985. A native of Hudson, Mass., he is 57.
Greg Smyth: Defenseman who played two games with the Ice in 1994-95. Smyth was drafted in the second round by the Flyers in 1984, and played 13 pro seasons -- mostly split between the NHL and AHL/IHL levels. He had 20 points and 783 PIMs in 228 NHL games with Philadelphia, Quebec, Calgary, Florida, Toronto and Chicago. A native of Oakville, Ont., he is 48. 
Patrick Poulin: Left wing who played one game for the Ice in 1995-96. He was the ninth overall pick (Hartford) in the 1991 NHL Draft, and was a 20-goal scorer for the Whalers as a rookie in 1992-93. He played 634 NHL games, with 101 goals, 134 assists and 299 PIMs. His one game with the Ice was his lone minor pro game until a 31-game stint with AHL Quebec in 2001-02, his final pro season. A native of Vanier, Quebec, he is 41.
Ken McRae: Indianapolis Ice coach from 2002-04, their final two CHL seasons. The Ice were 76-39-13 under his tutelage. He was the CHL's Coach of the Year in 2003. He went on to coach several seasons in Corpus Christi in the CHL, and then Peterborough in the OHL. McRae was a veteran of 137 NHL games before coaching, all with the Nordiques and Maple Leafs. He was drafted 18th overall by Quebec in 1986. A native of Winchester, Ont., he is 46.

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