Monday, October 22, 2007

IHL NOTEBOOK - Michigan teams

The International Hockey League kicked off the 2007-08 campaign on Friday when the Port Huron Icehawks flew into Flint for the first game of the season against the Generals. The crowd of 2,551 was booming throughout the entire game as the Generals defeated the Icehawks, 4-1.

All six member clubs hit the ice on Saturday, when the remaining four teams began their journey. Kalamazoo traveled to Muskegon to renew the rivalry between the Fury and the K-Wings. During the heated contest, the K-Wings cooled off the Fury with a 3-1 victory. Fort Wayne hosted the Icehawks Saturday as the Komets celebrated the return of the IHL in front of a sellout crowd of 10,153. Fort Wayne goaltender Kevin Reiter shut down the Icehawks offense, turning away all 30 shots he faced to earn the IHL’s first shutout of the season. Flint ’s second home game of the weekend was Saturday when the Bloomington PrairieThunder visited the Generals. Flint scored the lone goal in the opening period, but the second and third was all Bloomington as the PrairieThunder edged off the Generals for the 5-1 victory.

Flint Generals - (1-1-0-0) – Opening night was a huge success for the Flint Generals as more than 2,500 fans cheered loudly for the team all night long. Four different goal scorers paced the Generals past the Port Huron Ice Hawks 4-1 as the 2007-2008 IHL season officially got underway. Greg Bullock, Mike Alexiou and goaltender Chad Alban all had great games on Friday for the Generals. Bullock had a goal and two assists, while Alexiou scored his first professional goal. Alban turned aside 33 shots in the win over Port Huron. The Generals tallied first goals in both games over the weekend but ended up going 1-1 when doing so. Flint was 8-for-9 penalty killing over the weekend with a lone goal surrendered on Saturday night.

Kalamazoo Wings - (1-0-0-0) – As a franchise, the K-Wings have won its last five opening night games. K-Wings "Cash Money" line (Mike Manley, Lucas Drake, Justin Cross) cashed in for two of the K-Wings three goals on Saturday. Each member of the line had two points. Jeremy Symington had 26 saves in the victory, losing the shutout with just 24 seconds left in the game. Symington is tied for second in the IHL with a 1.00 GAA. Rookie Mike Bickley scored on his lone shot on Saturday, which proved to be the game-winning goal. Bickley led the K-Wings in preseason scoring with seven points. Kalamazoo opens up its home schedule on Orange Ice this Saturday. With its win over Muskegon last Saturday, the K-Wings are 102-106-71 versus IHL teams from Muskegon (101-106-71 versus the Mohawks/Lumberjacks, 1-0-0-1 versus the Fury). K-Wings lead the league in major penalties with five.

Muskegon Fury - (0-1-0-0) – On Saturday night, the Fury launched the 48th consecutive season of pro hockey in Muskegon, ranking the city fourth all-time for consecutive years of minor pro hockey longevity. It is the 16th consecutive year of Muskegon hockey under the Fury banner. Rookie Adam Segerie averted the Fury being shutout on opening night when he notched a power-play goal with only 24 seconds remaining in the third period. After being the lone undefeated team in the IHL pre-season at 2 (2-0-0-0), the Fury sustained their initial setback of the season on opening night against Kalamazoo at their home of Walker Arena. Previously, Muskegon operated IHL teams under the monikers of the Zephyrs (1960-65), the Mohawks (1965-1984), the Lumberjacks (1984-1992) and now the present-day Fury.

Port Huron Icehawks - (0-2-0-0) – The Icehawks kicked off their inaugural season with two road games; Friday, October 19 at Flint and Saturday, October 20 at Fort Wayne. They face another road contest this Friday at Muskegon before returning home for back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday with Flint and Bloomington. Chris Bogas will face several of his former teammates on the ice Sunday, when the Icehawks take on Bloomington at home. Four members of the Icehawks roster were not active last weekend for the first two games of the season. All four are expected to return this weekend. Rookie goalie Marty Magers made his first start in goal for Port Huron Saturday at Fort Wayne, tallying 40 saves, with a save percentage of .909.


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