Friday, October 27, 2006

IceDiggers host Phantoms this weekend

For the first time this season, the Alpena IceDiggers (10-3-0) will play host to the Mahoning Valley Phantoms (6-7-1) at Northern Lights Arena. The two teams will tangle on Friday and Saturday with both games set for 7:00 p.m.

The IceDiggers and Phantoms play a total of 16 times during the 2006-07 season.

With these two games, the Phantoms are finishing up a road trip that has consisted of 16 straight games away from the Ice Zone in Boardman Ohio. The IceDiggers are playing their fifth and sixth home games of the year and are currently 4-0 inside the NLA.

With the Phantoms coming to town, Alpena head coach Kenny Miller and his team know they will have to be on their game in order to come away with two victories.

"We are going to have to be at our best in order to win," Miller said. "They have a veteran team and their record is not an indication of what type of team they are. As for our team I feel this group is as good as any we have ever had since joining the league in 2003."

Mahoning Valley, led by head coach Bob Mainhardt, currently sits in fifth place in the North Division seven points behind the first-place IceDiggers.

Alpena is coming off a two-game road sweep of cross-state rival Traverse City (7-7-1) .

The IceDiggers currently have the best power play in the NAHL with a 21.37 % efficiency rate. Alpena has scored 28 goals on the man advantage. Mahoning Valley ranks sixth in the league with a 15.25 % rating in scoring 18 power-play goals. On the penalty kill, the IceDiggers rank eighth among the 17 teams with a 86.36 clip and Mahoning Valley currently has the worst penalty kill percentage in the NAHL with a 78.99 rating.


Courtesy of the Mahoning Valley Phantoms and play-by-play announcer Ron Rinaldi, fans can log onto and listen to both games this weekend. The broadcast will begin at 6:45PM each night.

Alpena IceDiggers forwards Nolan Craner and Todd Rudasill are currently one and two in NAHL scoring. Craner leads the NAHL with 10 goals (six on the power play) and 17 assists for 27 points. Rudasill is second among skaters with 10 goals (five on the power play with three game-winners) and 15 assists for 25 points. Linemate Drew Pierson leads the NAHL in power-play goals with seven and also has 17 points on the season.

Shawn Hunwick has won seven games for Alpena in nine starts, Hunwick has a 2.67 goals-against average with a .907 save percentage. Last week's North Division player of the week Mike Jarboe has won all three games he has started and currently has a 3-0 record with a 2.33 goals-against average with a .918 save percentage.

Alpena forward Erik Peterson broke out of his scoring slump last weekend scoring a goal and adding three assists in the two-game sweep over Traverse City. Newcomer Mike DeGrazia added two points in the two wins last weekend by assisting on Peterson's goal Friday and scoring his first goal in an IceDiggers uniform Saturday. Austin Seiple recorded his first Junior A goal on Friday night.

Rookie forward Ryan King has decided to leave the team. The IceDiggers' roster is now at 24 players.

Veteran defenseman Korey O'Brien was injured in Saturday's 4-3 win in Traverse City and will be sidelined up to three weeks.

Mahoning Valley is led offensively by Matt Quigley and Chris Fairbanks who both have 15 points in 14 games. Mike Fillinger is third on the team with 11 points in the 14 games the Phantoms have played. The Phantoms are led in goal by Ryan Zapolski and Bryce Merriam. Zapolski has a 5-5-1 record with a 4.17 GAA, while Meriam has played in four games and has a 1-2-0 record with a 3.82 GAA. Both goalies have identical save percentages at .868.

No comments: