Saturday, January 13, 2007

Alpena hosts Mahoning Valley for two

This weekend, the Alpena IceDiggers play host to the Mahoning Valley Phantoms in what the IceDiggers players and coaching staff are calling the biggest two-game series of the season to date.

Saturday's game starts at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the battle begins at 3 p.m.

The IceDiggers are currently seven points behind the Phantoms and are 0-5-1 in six games against the visiting club.

"We have not had the success against them like other teams in our division," Alpena head coach Kenny Miller said. "The upside to that is we still have them on the schedule 10 times. We need to play our game and play with confidence from start to finish this weekend."

The IceDiggers (24-10-2) are coming off a 6-2 drubbing of the Marquette Rangers on Wednesday night at Northern Lights Arena. The Phantoms (28-10-1) last played when they defeated Alpena on home ice last Saturday by a score of 4-2.

Both games can be heard live on the Internet here. Phantoms' broadcaster Ron Rinaldi will have all the action this weekend.


Five IceDiggers are in the top 20 in the NAHL scoring race. Todd Rudasill leads the league with 58 points, Drew Pierson has 44 points, Nolan Craner has 43 points and Erik Peterson and linemate Justin Stadler each have 35 points...The IceDiggers have the league's best power play with a percentage of 22.61% and has scored a league-high 64 goals with the man advantage. Mahoning Valley and Traverse City are tied for second with 52 power-play goals apiece...Goaltenders Shawn Hunwick and Mike Jarboe are ranked ninth and 11th, respectively, in the league in the goaltending department. Hunwick sports a 2.83 goals-against average with a .907 save percentage while Jarboe currently has a 2.97 GAA with a .909 SV %...Defenseman Carl Nielsen has arrived in Alpena from the Columbus Jr. Blue Jackets of the Central States Hockey League. "Fans will like the way this kid plays he is physical and plays with a bit of an edge," stated Miller. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right shot had 14 goals to go along with his 22 assists for 36 points in 29 games with the Jackets...Forward Paul Kashmanian (6-foot, 180)comes to the IceDiggers from the Cleveland Team Development Program of the America East Hockey League. "Paul comes highly recommended from his former coach, Ian Fredicks, and he will give us another scoring threat," said Miller. The Buffalo native spent the 2005-2006 season with the Buffalo Saints AAA program. In 34 games, Kashmanian scored 19 goals and assisted on 37 others for a total of 56 points...Nielsen and Kashmanian replace Logan Toohey and Jonathan Juliano, both of whom are no longer with the hockey club.

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