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Belfast Giants Selects Prepare for B's

by Taylor Walker / Boston Bruins
BostonBruins.com -- The best of the United Kingdom's professional ice hockey Elite League, under the name of the Belfast Giants Selects, is finally assembled after a collaborative effort from coaches Paul Thompson, Gerad Adams, and Doug Christiansen from Coventry Blaze and GB National Team, Cardiff Devils, and Belfast Giants, respectively.


Todd Kelman, GM of the Belfast Giants, joined Cam Neely this past summer. (Photo: Brian Babineau)
The Belfast Giants released their final lineup for the Elite League All-Stars today, according to BelfastGiants.com. The All-Stars will take on the Boston Bruins on October 2 in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland.

“I always had the plan to bring together the coaches from the top teams in the Elite League last season to assemble the best team possible to take on the Bruins, said Belfast Giants GM Todd Kelman.  “Paul Thompson has proven to be the most successful coach since the Elite League began, our own Doug Christiansen was nominated for Coach of the Year last season and Gerad Adams has consistently been able to find ways to win in big games over the years.”

“We are taking this game extremely serious and the players selected will understand that we are facing one of the best teams in the world,” he continued. “We want to put on a great show for the Elite League fans and hopefully, this is the first step to building a lasting relationship with the NHL,” said Giants Head Coach Doug Christiansen of the upcoming match-up.

The All-Star team runs three deep for potential starting goaltenders.

Nottingham Panthers’ goaltender Craig Kowalski is in the running with a .920 save percentate. He's won five of his first seven starts with the Panthers this season.

Sheffield Steelers starting netminder, Ervins Mustukovs, who's earned four shutouts in his first seven games this season is also a possible starter. He has spent most of his career playing in Latvia, but had a brief stint with the East Coast Hockey League three seasons ago. He leads the Elie League with the lowest goals against average of 1.88 goals per game and a .937 sv%.

The starting goaltender will be announced Saturday prior to the game.

Belfast Giants’ defenseman Tim Cook, nominated for top defenseman in the Elite League last year, will take the ice this coming Saturday, as well. So far, Cook has scored four goals and earned two assists for a total of six points this season.

Cathedral Quarter in Belfast (photo courtesy GoToBelfast.com).
Panthers player/coach Corey Neilson will also suit up against the Bruins. Last season, he finished with 65 points in 67 games, including 15 goals. He brought the Panthers to the Challenge Cup Championship and a playoff semi-final appearance.

Also making an appearance is Richard Seeley, Giant’s defenseman and co-Captain, who has worn a "C" for three different American Hockely League teams.

Giant’s forward Brandon Benedict, expected to play against the B’s on Saturday, sustained an injury last week that will keep him out for at least six weeks.  Filling in for him is Giant’s forward Mike Hoffman, who leads the Giants in scoring with six goals and nine points in eight games.

Also on the roster is player/coach Ben Simon of the Sheffield Steelers. Simon played 81 games for the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers and Columbus Bluejackets and spent most of last season in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies.

Scott Matzka of the Cardiff Devils joins the forwards for the Elite League. He played last season in the Swedish Division One for Orebro HK and has been a top scorer in Germany and Denmark for the last several years.

The final All-Star roster is comprised of three goaltenders, seven defensemen, and thirteen forwards from all over the Elite League to take on the Boston Bruins, one of the NHL’s "Original Six" teams.

“We want every team’s fans to come together for an event to celebrate the sport we all love," said Christiansen to BelfastGiants.com. "This is a once in a lifetime event and the entire league is looking forward to seeing the Bruins hit the ice."
 

Here’s a complete roster for the Elite League’s All Stars from Belfast Giants.com...

Goaltenders
Stephen Murphy, Belfast Giants
Craig Kowalski, Nothingham Panters
Ervins Mustukovs, Sheffield Steelers

Defence
Corey Neilson, Nottingham Panthers
Jonathan Gleed, Belfast Giants
Tim Cook, Belfast Giants
Jonathan Weaver, Coventry Blaze
Rich Seeley, Belfast Giants
Jonathan Zion, Nottingham Panthers
Jeramie Domish, Sheffield Steelers

Forward
Brandon Benedict, Belfast Giants
Colin Shields, Belfast Giants
Ben Simon, Sheffield Steelers
Scott Matzka, Cardiff Devils
Luke Fulghum, Coventry Blaze
Dan Carlson, Coventry Blaze
Jade Galbraith, Nottingham Panthers
Ashley Tait, Sheffield Steelers
Colin Hemingway, Belfast Giants
Owen Fussey, Coventry Blaze
Rob Globke, Sheffield Steelers
David Beauregard, Nottingham Panthers
Josh Prudden, Belfast Giants
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