Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

The Flint Generals have continued their recent winning ways by gaining three more wins in United Hockey League action to extend their streak to six straight wins.

The Generals are averaging five goals per game during their six-game run. Defensively, they have allowed just 14 goals over the same span for an average of 2.33 per game. Flint has won their last four games on home ice, but will now hit the road for their next five contests.

HATS OFFKalamazoo Wings rookie Mark Versteeg-Lytwyn scored three goals in the third period of Friday’s 9-3 victory to register the first hat trick of his professional career. Prior to the game, he had scored just four goals this season. His night was not complete as he accomplished the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” by recording a goal, an assist, and a fighting major all in one contest.

Muskegon Fury left wing Mike Watt also recorded a hat trick in the third period of Sunday’s 6-4 win vs. Elmira. He scored his goals three different ways as his first goal was unassisted followed by a power play goal 45 seconds later and a shorthanded goal just over seven minutes after that.

Flint Generals - (2-0-0) – Wingers Jeff Zehr and Bobby Reynolds are both riding seven-game point streaks. Reynolds has multiple points in five of the seven games…Goaltenders Bryan Worosz and Jason Muzzatti have each won their last three starts…Center Shawn Snider has a point in 10 of 12 games played for the Generals this season…Flint ranks second in the UHL with a 19.8% power play conversion rate…The Generals are 9-2-1 in the month of January...Winger Jason Selleke has an even or better plus/minus rating in nine straight games.

Kalamazoo Wings - (1-1-0) – Center Kory Karlander had his league season high 11-game goal streak snapped in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Elmira...The loss also snapped a four-game home winning streak for Kalamazoo and an eight-game unbeaten streak in regulation on home ice (6-0-2)…Left wing Nick Bootland scored the game-winning goal in Friday’s 9-3 win vs. Elmira. It was his sixth game-winner of the season tying a team record. He ranks second in the UHL in that category…Defenseman Jeff Brown has multi-point games in three of his last four contests.

Muskegon Fury - (2-1-0) – Sunday’s 6-4 win vs. Elmira was the tenth straight win by Muskegon on home ice vs. the Jackals...Muskegon scored five unanswered goals in the third period on Sunday to erase a 4-1 deficit. Three of the goals were scored in a span of 57 seconds…A second period power play goal by Adam Smyth ended a 0-for-25 power play drought by the Fury…The next game for defenseman Philippe Plante will be the 500th of his pro career…Goaltender Clayton Pool moved his road record to 17-1-0 this season in Friday’s 5-1 win at Bloomington.

Port Huron Flags - (0-2-0) – The Flags have lost seven straight games. Prior to the stretch, Port Huron was 9-2-4 over the previous 15 contests...Five of their next six contests are on the road. The club is 0-5-1 in their last six road games…Despite two losses over the weekend, goaltender Brad Smith had a solid 2.03 GAA and a .937 GAA in his first two starts with the Flags…Port Huron has allowed the first goal of the game in six of the last seven games… Center Greg Bullock had his four-game point streak snapped in Friday’s 4-2 loss to Flint.

Taken from the official UHL website

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Port Huron shuffles roster, adds Vernarsky

Just past the midway point of the season, and on a five-game losing streak, the Port Huron Flags made several roster changes in an effort to get the momentum back on track.

Center Kris Vernarsky (pictured from his OHL days with the Plymouth Whalers) was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Hounds. Defenseman Josh Elzinga, a native of Illinois, was sent to the Hounds for Vernarsky, who was a second-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2000. In 2002, he was traded to the Boston Bruins and made his NHL debut in 2003, scoring his first NHL goal within a month. Originally from Warren, Vernarsky is 6-feet-3, 210 pounds of offensive skill that will be highly valuable to the Flags forward line.

Additionally, goaltender Brad Smith was signed by the Flags, to spread out the puck-stopping responsibilities for the team. Another Detroit native, Smith started the season in the Central Hockey League, with the New Mexico Scorpions, where he made 256 saves in ten games.

“We’re bringing in Brad as a third goalie until everyone is healthy,” said head coach Stan Drulia. “We’ve heard good things about him and we’re going to see how he plays right away.”

Smith gets his first start in tomorrow’s road contest against the Flint Generals. Vernarsky is also expected to play this weekend.

Left wing T.J. Sakaluk was also waived this week.

Photo by Matt Mackinder

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

The Flint Generals entered the All-Star break with a 3-1-1 record in their previous five games. Since the break, they have won three straight and have outscored their foes 16-7. The Generals have a 7-2-1 record over their last ten games. Prior to their surge, Flint had lost seven of eight contests.

Center Terry Marchant has found his scoring touch and now leads the squad in scoring. He is riding a five-game scoring streak and has multi-point games in six of his last eight contests. Right wing Mike Kinnie and veteran winger Bobby Reynolds are both in the midst of five-game point streaks. Reynolds has five goals over his past five games. After sitting out nearly seven weeks with an injury, winger Jan Jas returned to register points in seven straight contests. He has recorded a point in 15 of the 20 games he has played with the Generals this season.

The tandem of Jason Muzzatti and Bryan Worosz has split time in net for Flint during the recent team success. Muzzatti has posted a 4-0-1 record over his last five appearances while Worosz has won three of his last four starts posting a .936 SPCT during that span.

ALL-STAR RECAP – UHL All-Stars hit the ice for the midseason classic in Fort Wayne on Wednesday night. The Eastern Conference scored six unanswered goals in the second period to pull away and eventually win the game vs. the Western Conference by the score of 11-6. Elmira Jackals winger Brent Cullaton captured Most Valuable Player honors as he registered four points (2g, 2a) and a plus-5 rating. Nine different players for the Eastern squad scored goals in the game. Quad City winger Chad Woollard scored five points (2g, 3a) to pace the Western roster. Muskegon goaltender Clayton Pool, who leads the league with 27 wins this season, earned the victory in the offensive showcase.

DISPLAY OF SKILL – UHL All-Stars competed in a Skills Competition prior to the game on Wednesday evening. Elmira’s Brent Cullaton won the “Fastest Skater” event defeating Quad City’s Justin Chwedoruk in the finals. Cullaton had previously won the event twice in the Central Hockey League.

Muskegon left wing Mike Watt won the “Hardest Shot” competition by blasting a 99 mph shot in the finals. He edged Rockford defenseman Nathan Lutz who hit 98 mph on the radar.

In the “Breakaway Relay Challenge," the Western Conference shooters scored seven goals in ten attempts vs. the Eastern Conference goaltenders. West goaltenders allowed just three goals, including Rockford’s Frederic Cloutier who stopped all five East shooters he faced.

NEW FOUND OFFENSE – Muskegon defenseman Dave Van Drunen found himself in an unfamiliar position during the 2007 All-Star Classic. He took a regular shift as a forward during the game. The move paid off for the Eastern Conference as Van Drunen scored two goals, including the game-winner, in the 11-6 win. He has yet to score a goal in regular season action this year. Ironically, the current league leader in plus/minus (plus-44) registered a minus-1 rating in the game.

Flint Generals - (3-0-0) – Defenseman Jeff Cameron recorded a hat trick in Friday’s 7-4 win vs. Port Huron. It was his first game with the Generals since being acquired in a trade. It was the first hat trick of his pro career…Flint is on a season high four-game winning streak…The Generals are just one of two UHL teams to earn a victory in Muskegon this season…Defenseman Gerard Miller has points in 14 of his last 18 games…Center Shawn Snider has points in eight of the ten games he has played with the club this season.

Kalamazoo Wings - (1-2-0) – Center Kory Karlander is riding a league season high ten-game goal scoring streak. He has scored the first goal of the game ten times this season which leads the UHL…Winger Tyler Willis has seven points in his last two games vs. Port Huron…Kalamazoo was held to just two shots in the first period vs. Flint on Sunday. The K-Wings have been held under 30 shots eight times this season with four of those coming vs. Flint… The team is 17-0-0 when leading after two periods…Kalamazoo has a league high 61 goals in the third period.

Muskegon Fury - (1-1-0) – In the second period this season, the Fury have outscored their opponents 69-28, including 32-10 on home ice...Defenseman Tom Galvin has registered a plus-10 rating over his first ten games with the team this season…Muskegon’s six-game home win streak was snapped on Saturday in the 4-1 loss to Flint…In the last three shootouts for the club, goaltender Clayton Pool has stopped all 15 shooters he has faced…The Fury are 5-1 in their six shootouts this season…Eight Fury players have ten or more goals this season.

Port Huron Flags - (0-2-0) – Center Ryan Markham scored his fifth shorthanded goal of the season on Friday moving him into a tie for the league lead in shorthanded goals...Goaltender Paul Soli made his pro debut in a short relief appearance on Friday. The following evening he made 21 saves…The Flags have been outscored 28-13 during their recent five-game losing skid…Center Greg Bullock is riding a four-game point streak. He has points in 15 of his last 17 contests and has multiple points in seven of those games.

Taken from the official UHL website

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Motor City Mechanics coming back?

According to a story on ProHockeyNews.com, the Motor City Mechanics will be returning to the UHL this fall with new ownership and a new rink.

Reportedly, the Mechanics will play at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum, currently home to the Wayne State University Division I men's team, at 8 Mile and Woodward. Ticket prices will also be severely reduced from what they were when the Mechanics played at the Great Lakes Sports City in Fraser.

Full story HERE

Friday, January 19, 2007

Flags bulk up defense with Doherty

The Port Huron Flags have signed defenseman John Doherty to strengthen their back line, which has suffered multiple injuries during the season.

Doherty, a native of Lynnfield, Mass., started the season with Quinnipiac College where he recorded two goals, three assists and five points in 16 games. Mid-season he signed with the Columbia Inferno of the ECHL and saw ice time in six games, before coming to Port Huron.

At 6-feet-4, 235 pounds, Doherty will add a strong physical presence to the Flags defense.

“We’re shorthanded right now and John is a big body,” said head coach Stan Drulia. “We’ve heard great things about him and we’re looking forward to getting him in our lineup. He’s going to add a little more depth to our blue line.”

In 2003, the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Doherty in the second round, 57th overall. After playing in parts of two seasons at the University of New Hampshire , he finished the 2004-05 season with the United States Hockey League’s Des Moines Buccaneers, registering nine goals, seven assists and 96 penalty minutes in 39 games. He spent 2005-06 practicing at Quinnipiac, but was unable to suit up in games, due to NCAA transfer regulations.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

McGrath reassigned to Toledo

The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday reassigned forward Evan McGrath from the Grand Rapids Griffins to the Toledo Storm of the ECHL.

The 21-year-old rookie has appeared in 33 games with the Griffins this season, totaling six points (3-3—6) and 23 penalty minutes. His highlights have including netting three assists in a 6-2 win over Philadelphia in his seventh pro game on Oct. 28 and being recalled by the Red Wings on Nov. 17.

McGrath was Detroit’s second choice (128th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

During his 2005-06 campaign with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League, he finished fifth in league scoring and led his team with career highs of 37 goals, 77 assists and 114 points, earning a spot in the OHL All-Star Game.

McGrath will be available to make his Toledo debut on Friday, when the Storm host the Cincinnati Cyclones in a 7:35 p.m. start at the Toledo Sports Arena.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Flags to host "Spaghetti On Ice" Feb. 18

The Port Huron Flags of the United Hockey League are coming out once again to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

MDA is proud to announce the second Annual “Spaghetti on Ice” on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2007 at McMorran Place Arena, beginning at 4 pm. All proceeds raised will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s local families.

Admission price is $10, in the form of a commemorative hockey puck. This special dinner event features the Port Huron Flags as celebrity servers, bringing spaghetti dinners to your table at ice level … on skates. The players will wear commemorative jerseys that will be auctioned off as part of the festivities. There will be live and silent auctions, as well as raffles to benefit the MDA. This is a great family event and includes games for the kids, local characters, commemorative t-shirts and autograph sessions. The pasta dinner is provided by the local Olive Garden and the event is also sponsored by LaSalle Bank, Pepsi, and Papa John’s Pizza.

“The Flags are proud to support the MDA once again. As a community-owned team, we understand how important it is to give back to the community and this is certainly a great way to do it,” said Mark Neal, president of the Port Huron Flags. “We hope to be even more successful this year than we were in 2006.”

The Port Huron Flags and MDA are accepting prize donations to be used for the silent auctions to support additional fundraising efforts. If you wish to sponsor this event or would like more information, please contact the MDA office at (810) 866-9004. Tickets for the event are available at the Flags Office, Mainstreet Welcome Center, or at the Boosters table during any home game.

Red Wings assign MacDonald to Griffins

The Detroit Red Wings have assigned goalie Joey MacDonald to the Grand Rapids Griffins for a two-week conditioning assignment.

MacDonald appeared in four games for the Wings. He had a 0-2-1 record and 3.67 goals-against average, but had not played since Dec. 2.

He will be available tonight when Grand Rapids hosts Omaha.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Eastern All-Stars starters all Kalamazoo Wings

The United Hockey League announced Wednesday the starting lineups for the 2007 UHL All-Star Classic as selected by the fans. Nearly 15,000 votes were submitted by fans during the online voting at the official website of the UHL.

Both starting lineups are very familiar with each other as the entire Eastern Conference starting lineup is comprised of players from the Kalamazoo Wings while the Western Conference starters all hail from the Fort Wayne Komets.

: Jeff Brown ( Kalamazoo ), Adam Elzinga ( Kalamazoo )
FORWARDS: Nick Bootland ( Kalamazoo ), Justin Cross ( Kalamazoo ), Kory Karlander ( Kalamazoo ),
GOALTENDERS: Tom Askey ( Kalamazoo )

DEFENSEMEN: Guy Dupuis ( Fort Wayne ), Mario Larocque ( Fort Wayne )
FORWARDS: Martin Gascon ( Fort Wayne ), Jonathan Goodwin ( Fort Wayne ), J.C. Ruid ( Fort Wayne )
GOALTENDERS: Kevin St. Pierre ( Fort Wayne )

The UHL also announced the captains and alternate captains for both squads. Guy Dupuis of the Fort Wayne Komets was named the captain for the Western Conference and will wear the “C” on his All-Star uniform. Don Parsons of the Quad City Mallards and Nathan Lutz of the Rockford IceHogs were designated as alternate captains.

Todd Robinson of the Muskegon Fury was named captain of the Eastern Conference team. Nick Bootland of the Kalamazoo Wings and Philippe Plante of the Muskegon Fury will wear the “A” on their jerseys as alternate captains.

The 2007 UHL All-Star Classic is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne , Indiana . UHL All-Stars will compete in a Skills Competition beginning at 7:00 PM and the game is set for a 7:40 PM puck drop.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

Flint Generals - (2-1-0) – Right wing Jan Jas returned to the lineup from injury and registered six points (2g, 4a) in his first three games back…Defenseman Gerard Miller dished out four assists in Friday’s 8-1 victory vs. Elmira. He ranks fourth among UHL defensemen in scoring with 28 points (9g, 19a)… Right wing Mike Kinnie recorded a hat trick on Friday and added two assists for a five-point night…Rookie forward Jordan Fox netted two third period goals, including the game-winner, in Sunday’s 6-5 win vs. Fort Wayne.

Kalamazoo Wings - (2-0-0) – Kalamazoo is on a team season high five-game winning streak. They have also won four straight on the road and are unbeaten in regulation over their last five home games (3-0-2)…Both of Nick Bootland’s goals this week were scored shorthanded. His shorthanded goal on Saturday proved to be the game-winner in the 6-1 win vs. Rockford…Left wing Lucas Drake had his ten-game point streak snapped in Saturday’s victory…Kalamazoo leads the UHL with a 91.3% penalty killing rate.

Muskegon Fury - (3-0-1) – Muskegon completed their recent six-game road stretch with a 4-1-1 record...The Fury have yet to lose on a Friday this season (13-0-0)…After scoring just two goals in his first 27 games of the season, center Billy Collins has four goals over his last six games…UHL scoring leader Todd Robinson has 23 multi-point games this season…Muskegon has outscored the opposition 58-28 in the second period this season…The Fury scored four goals in the first 4:38 of Friday’s 5-4 win vs. Chicago.

Port Huron Flags - (1-1-1) – The Flags earned their first victory of the season vs. Muskegon in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win. It was the first shootout loss of the season for the Fury…The Flags participated in back-to-back shootouts during the week. Five of their last nine contests have gone to the extra session and they lead the league with nine shootouts this season…Rookie goaltender Noah Ruden had his seven-game unbeaten streak in regulation snapped in Sunday’s loss to Chicago.

Taken from the official UHL website

Friday, January 05, 2007

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

ROAD WARRIORS – The Muskegon Fury had their road winning streak halted at 11 games when they were defeated by the Quad City Mallards 4-2 on New Year’s Eve. The 11-game road win streak was one game shy of tying the league record of 12 set by the Kalamazoo Wings during the 2004-05 season.

With the 3-2 win in Rockford on Saturday, the Fury have now won a game in every UHL arena this season. Goaltender Clayton Pool continues his road dominance as he has yet to lose away from home (13-0-0). He has earned a 1.80 goals against average in 13 road games.

LAMP LIGHTERPort Huron Flags winger Bobby Kukulka had his seven-game goal scoring streak snapped in Friday’s 3-2 shootout loss vs. Elmira. He dished out an assist to maintain an eight-game point streak. The goal streak is the longest by any UHL player this season. Kukulka has scored 18 points (9g, 9a) in just 13 games with the club this season.

WELCOME BACK OLD FRIENDKalamazoo Wings forwards Glenn Detulleo and Jesse Rycroft will be in familiar surroundings when their team visits the Quad City Mallards on Friday. Each spent the entire 2005-06 season with the Mallards. Both players began the season in a Mallards uniform and it will mark the first trip back to Quad City for both since being acquired in trades to Kalamazoo. It will also be the 100th professional game played for Rycroft.

TRADE - The Flint Generals obtained center Shawn Snider and a player to be named Tuesday from Bloomington for right wing Mike Zbriger and defenseman Dion Hyman.

Flint Generals - (1-4-0) – The Generals have played more games (36) than any other UHL team at this point of the season...Flint leads the league with 50 power play goals scored but also lead the league with 45 power play goals allowed…The team ranks second in the UHL with 30.11 shots per game…The Generals play their next two games at home before hitting the road for five games. The have lost their last two home games and their last two road games. They have been outscored 17-8 in their last four contests.

Kalamazoo Wings - (4-1-0) – Kalamazoo has won three straight...They are unbeaten in regulation over their last five home games (3-0-2)…Left wing Lucas Drake is riding a nine-game point streak…Center Kory Karlander has a point in four straight games…Right wing Justin Cross leads all UHL rookies with 17 goals…Kalamazoo has played four of their last five games on the road and will play their next three on the road. They have an 11-5-0 record away from home this season...Forward Scott Dobben has a point in nine of his last 11 games.

Muskegon Fury - (3-1-0) – Sunday’s loss to Quad City was the first defeat of the Fury by a Western Conference opponent this season. Muskegon had been unbeaten in regulation vs. Quad City in their last 13 meetings (12-0-1)… Muskegon leads the UHL in total goals for (145) and goals per game (4.26). They lead the league in goals allowed per game (2.35) and rank tied for first in total goals allowed (80)…Left wing Mike Watt (15g, 17a) has averaged two points per game over his last 16 contests.

Port Huron Flags - (2-1-1) – Left wing Colt King scored a hat trick in Saturday’s 6-4 win vs. Elmira. He scored the game-winning goal and dished out an assist. He has the game-winning goal in each of the last two victories for the Flags…Center Greg Bullock is riding a ten-game point streak. He has 18 points (5g, 13a) over that span…Center Steve Hildenbrand has multi-assist games in five of his last seven contests and has an even or better plus/minus rating in each of his last nine games. His plus-9 rating currently leads the team.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Michigan teams rep well at UHL All-Star Game

The United Hockey League announced Wednesday the official rosters for the 2007 UHL All-Star Classic. The annual event is being hosted by the Fort Wayne Komets and will be played on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The official rosters for each conference are comprised of 20 players (18 skaters and two goaltenders) with each UHL team represented by a minimum of two players. Just the Eastern Conference roster is listed as this is the conference with the four Michigan clubs.


GOALTENDERS: Tom Askey (Kalamazoo), Clayton Pool (Muskegon).

DEFENSEMEN: Jeff Brown (Kalamazoo), Adam Elzinga (Kalamazoo), Dale Lupul (Elmira), Gerard Miller (Flint), Philippe Plante (Muskegon), Pat Sutton (Port Huron), Dave Van Drunen (Muskegon).

FORWARDS: Nick Bootland (Kalamazoo), Justin Cross (Kalamazoo), Brent Cullaton (Elmira), Rustyn Dolyny (Muskegon), Elias Godoy (Muskegon), Kory Karlander (Kalamazoo), Colt King (Port Huron), Todd Robinson (Muskegon), Mike Watt (Muskegon), Scott Wray (Elmira), Jeff Zehr (Flint).

HEAD COACH: Bruce Ramsay (Muskegon).