DENVER - The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that goalie Vitaly Kolesnik has been sent back to Lowell of the American Hockey League.
"We have some very good assets in goal throughout our organization, and we wanted to see how Vitaly would perform at the NHL level," said Avalanche Head Coach Joel Quenneville. "Overall, he has shown great upside and we were impressed with both his performance and his progress. We had a very special stretch of games in December and we believed it was the right time to give Vitaly a chance with our team."
Kolesnik, 26, started seven games for the Avalanche, posting a 3-3-0 record with a 3.29 goals-against average and a .887 save percentage. He earned a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in his NHL debut on Dec. 7 and then notched the Avalanche's first-ever shootout victory in a 4-3 win at New Jersey on Dec. 9.
"I am convinced that this was a very positive learning experience for him and he definitely has a bright future ahead if he keeps progressing this way," added Quenneville. "Having two goaltenders here should provide a more stable situation at that position for us as we continue with our season."
Kolesnik was named to the Kazakhstan Olympic Team on Dec. 21 and will represent his country at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.