Omaha, NE – The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights begin their longest road trip of the season just after finishing their longest home stand. The Knights will play the first three of six straight road games this week when they visit the Houston Aeros for a pair of games and then face the Rochester Americans to finish the week.
Last week, the Knights finished their eight-game home stand with a split of two games with the San Antonio Rampage. The Knights begin the week in second place in the West Division with a record of 29-15-3-0, good for 61 points. They are six points behind the Chicago Wolves with four games in hand.
They also have a four point lead over the third place Milwaukee Admirals who, like the Wolves, have played four more games. The Knights won’t play their next home game until Saturday, February 17th when they host Peoria at 2:00 p.m.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:
Friday, February 2: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 5, San Antonio Rampage 2
The Knights grabbed the lead in the first period when Cam Cunning steered home a pass from Andrei Taratukhin for his sixth goal of the year. It came on one of 19 Omaha shots in the period. The Knights doubled their lead early in the second period when Dustin Boyd poked the puck in off a netmouth scramble. The Rampage answered quickly to make it 2-1, and the game stayed that way until Brandon Prust hammered home a feed from Derek Couture to put the Knights up 3-1. That lead lasted 59 seconds before Donald MacLean tallied to make it 3-2 after two. The Knights restored the two-goal lead at 10:48 of the third period when Taratukhin banged home a pass from David Van der Gulik. Van der Gulik set up Taratukhin for an empty net goal with 20 seconds remaining to complete the scoring. Curtis McElhinney made 15 saves to earn the win.
Saturday, February 3: San Antonio Rampage 2, Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 1
In the rematch, the Rampage struck first when Randall Gelech knocked in the rebound of shot by Pascal Rheaume on a first period powerplay. The Knights tied the game later in the first when Derek Couture converted the rebound of a shot by Justin Taylor. The game stayed tied at one until late in the third period when Donald MacLean found Tyler Redenbach in the slot for a shot that beat Curtis McElhinney over the shoulder. The Knights pulled McElhinney in the late going but could not get the equalizer. Goalie Josh Tordjman stopped 30 shots to preserve the win for the Rampage. McElhinney finished with 17 saves.
AK-SAR-BEN KNIGHTS BASICS
POWERPLAY: 37/263, 14.1%
VS. DIV.: 21-13-3-0
PENALTY KILL: 238/278, 85.6%
LAST TEN: 8-2-0-0
OPPONENTS THIS WEEK:
Tuesday & Thursday, February 6 & 8 @ Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild)
Sixth and seventh of ten meetings; third and fourth of five meetings in Houston, TX
The Knights make their second trip of the season to Houston for another pair of games with the Aeros. The Knights have won the first five meetings with Houston, but the last three have been as close as they come. The Knights have earned shootout victories in those games. They are 2-0-0-0 in Houston this year with both games going to the shootout. The Aeros are in sixth place in the West Division with a record of 19-22-3-5, good for 46 points. They are just three points behind the Peoria Rivermen. Houston is 10-10-1-3 at home this season but just 2-4-3-1 in its last ten games. Matt Foy leads the Aeros in scoring with 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points. His goal total also leads the team. Rookie Benoit Pouliot ranks second in scoring with 17 goals and 27 points. Defenseman Curtis Murphy is third with 26 points including a team-leading 20 assists. Josh Harding had been the workhorse in the Aeros’ goal, but he is currently on recall to Minnesota. That puts veteran Dieter Kochan and youngster Miroslav Kopriva in charge. They’ve combined to play in nine games with one win each. The Aeros do not play before hosting the Knights.
Saturday, February 10 @ Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres/Florida Panthers)
Second of two meetings; only meeting in Rochester, NY
The Knights finish their brief season series with the Americans in the final game of the week. The Knights earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Amerks in Omaha back on January 20th. The Knights lead the all-time series 2-0-0-1. They won in their only appearance in upstate New York last year, earning a 3-2 win on February 24th. The Americans are in first place in the North Division and tied with Chicago for the best record in the Western Conference with a mark of 33-13-1-0. They also have the best home record in the West at 17-4-1-0. Second year man Clarke MacArthur leads the Amerks in scoring with 18 goals and 39 assist for 57 points. The assist total is also a team best while he’s tied with Drew Stafford for the team lead in goals. Craig Anderson has seen the bulk of the work in the Rochester net this season, posting a record of 18-8-0 in 26 games this year. He has a 2.75 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. The Amerks travel to Binghamton on Wednesday and host Philadelphia on Friday before welcoming the Knights.
Forward David Van der Gulik set a team season high with three assists in the Knights’ 5-2 win on Friday.
Goaltender Curtis McElhinney earned his 20th win of the year in Friday’s win over San Antonio. In so doing, he became just the third AHL goalie to reach the 20-win plateau.
The five goals scored by the Knights in Friday’s win matched a season high for goals at home this season.
On Saturday, the Knights suffered just their second loss this season when allowing two goals or less. They are 21-2-0-0 when allowing two goals or less.
2/2/07 ADD Ryan Bonni (D), signed to a PTO
2/2/07 ADD Mike McKenna (G), signed to a PTO
For player stats during the 2005-06 season, please visit the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knight's roster page by clicking here.