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Agozzino Recalled, Varlamov to Start vs. Jets

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

News and notes from Colorado Avalanche practice.

The Avs recalled Andrew Agozzino from the San Antonio Rampage on Friday afternoon and the left wing is expected to play in Saturday's game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Andrew Agozzino during his NHL debut last year versus Carolina (photo: Michael Martin/NHLI).

Agozzino leads the Rampage with seven goals and 16 points in 13 games this year after leading Colorado's AHL affiliate in Lake Erie in scoring for the past three seasons. The skilled forward made his NHL debut on Nov. 22, 2014, with the Avs, registering his first point with an assist in his lone big-league contest versus the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Kleinburg, Ontario, native will replace right wing Dennis Everberg, who was reassigned to San Antonio.

"It was not an easy decision, but he didn't play with the same bite, didn't see as much physicality in his game," Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said of Everberg. "I wanted him to finish his checks. Defensively, he was not as good as last year. When we talked to him, [general manager Joe Sakic] and I, we mentioned that we want him to be more intense out there, compete more and [win] battles. That is the role we like to see from a fourth-line guy."

There will be no change in goal for the contest against the Jets as Roy gave his support for Semyon Varlamov despite a tough outing on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators. Varlamov made 12 saves on 15 shots before being replaced in the second period.

"He's our No. 1 goalie, and I'm behind him," Roy said. "I remember '93, it was a tough year (for me), and it would have been easy for coach [Jacques] Demers to put the other guy in. He stood by my side, and in the end made a big impact. I said the same thing this morning with Varly, 'I'm with you for the good and the bad, and we'll find a way to get your game going.'"

Roy said there was no thought about going with Reto Berra for the game against Winnipeg.

"It was clear in my mind that we're playing him," he said of Varlamov. "He will play against the [New York] Islanders in the next game (on Monday) if he is healthy."

Colorado practiced for nearly an hour at Family Sports Center, the day after American Thanksgiving, in preparation for the Jets—a club the Avs saw just four days ago in Winnipeg.

The Avalanche used three third-period goals to comeback from an early deficit and win 4-1 on Monday at MTS Centre. It was only Colorado's third Central-Division matchup of the season, improving its record to 2-1 in those games.

"It was the first practice after Thanksgiving, working off all the turkey from yesterday, getting ready for a big divisional game tomorrow night," defenseman Erik Johnson said. "They play tonight, so we want to jump on them early and get them on the back-to-back and build on the good things that we did against Ottawa."

Despite a strong push in the third period on Wednesday night, the Avs fell 5-3 to the Senators. Colorado had a 43-29 edge in shots on goal, a 83-43 advantage in attempts and was able to get it to a one-goal contest in the third period before Ottawa scored into an empty net with seven seconds remaining.

"They got a couple lucky goals there. Still, when you have a lead 3-1, 4-1, it's easy to play," Carl Soderberg said of the Sens. "I think that was the key last game. Even if we might have been the better team, we were chasing the whole game."

Forwards John Mitchel and Alex Tanguay are both making progress from injuries and could be available for the team's road trip next week against the New York metropolitan clubs and the Minnesota Wild.

"They should play somewhere on the trip," Roy said. "That is of today, if everything continues the way it is, they should play on the trip."

Both players practiced in a red non-contact jersey and did extra work after the formal session with assistant coach Tim Army.

For Mitchell, it was his first team practice since re-aggregating an oblique injury on Nov. 14 at Montreal. Tanguay, who hurt his knee Nov. 6 versus the New York Rangers, skated for the first time with the team on Tuesday.


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