Omaha, NE – The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights put together a three-game winning streak to inch closer to the top of the West Division standings. The Knights earned wins against Toronto, Grand Rapids and Houston and are now within four points of first place in the West Division. They return to action on Tuesday when they host Hamilton. Their eight-game home stand continues with Iowa and Rochester on Friday and Saturday.
Omaha begins the week in second place in the West Division with a record of 24-13-3-0, good for 51 points. That puts the Knights four points behind Chicago with two games in hand. They also have a four point lead over Peoria and Milwaukee who are tied for third.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:
Wednesday, January 10: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 5, Toronto Marlies 2
The Marlies struck first with a powerplay goal from Chris Harrington just 5:49 into the game. The Knights answered with a late goal from David Van der Gulik to make it 1-1 after one. Jay Harrison scored another powerplay goal for Toronto just 62 seconds into the second period, but the Knights would do all the scoring from there. Andrei Taratukhin tied the game again with a wrap-around shot at 5:34. Warren Peters then gave the Knights the lead with his sixth goal of the season at 14:47. The Knights held the 3-2 lead into the third period until Ryan Donally and Van der Gulik again, on a powerplay, scored to make it 5-2. Curtis McElhinney stopped 21 shots to earn the win.
Friday, January 12: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 4, Grand Rapids 0
Following a scoreless first period, the Knights quickly jumped out in front to start the second. Brandon Prust and Warren Peters scored 22 seconds apart to put the Knights out in front. Andrei Taratukhin added a powerplay goal to give the Knights a 3-0 edge after two. Prust scored again into an empty net in the third period for the final tally. Curtis McElhinney stopped 39 shots to earn his fourth shutout of the season.
Saturday, January 13: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 5, Houston Aeros 4 SO
The Knights built a 1-0 lead after one on a goal by Carsen Germyn. Justin Taylor made it 2-0 just 5:30 into the second period with his fifth goal of the season. Houston responded with a shorthanded tally from Danny Irmen and an even-strength goal from Jason Morgan to tie the game. The Knights retook the lead late in the period when Germyn wired another shot past goalie Josh Harding. They then stretched their lead to 4-2 early in the third period when Kris Chucko scored at 4:19. Again, the Aeros battled back, getting goals from Mattias Weinhandl and Morgan again to tie the game at four. After a scoreless overtime, Germyn scored in the first round of the shootout before Weinhandl replied in the second round. After two scoreless rounds, Tim Ramholt scored to put the Knights up 2-1. Curtis McElhinney then stopped Benoit Pouliot on Houston’s final attempt to preserve the win. McElhinney finished the game with 21 saves.
AK-SAR-BEN KNIGHTS BASICS
POWERPLAY: 34/228, 14.9%
VS. DIV.: 18-11-3-0
PENALTY KILL: 206/241, 85.5%
LAST TEN: 6-3-1-0
CCM VECTOR/AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE:
The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights nominated goaltender Curtis McElhinney as the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the week ending January 14, 2006. In three games last week, he went 3-0-0 with a 1.55 goals-against average, a .931 save percentage and a shutout. On Wednesday, McElhinney stopped 21 of 23 shots to help the Knights snap a three-game home losing streak with a 5-2 win over Toronto. On Friday, McElhinney turned aside 39 shots to earn his career best fourth shutout of the year, a 4-0 blanking of Grand Rapids. On Saturday, the native of London, Ontario made 21 saves and stopped four of five in the shootout to earn a 5-4 win over Houston. McElhinney begins the week ranked second in GAA (2.27) in the AHL and tied for second in shutouts (4).
OPPONENTS THIS WEEK:
Tuesday, January 16 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens/Edmonton Oilers)
Third of four meetings; first of two meetings in Omaha
The Knights return to action against the North Division to open the week when they play the third of four games against the Bulldogs. Hamilton beat the Knights convincingly in the first two meetings, winning 6-1 and 5-0 in Hamilton back in November. The all time series is deadlocked at three wins a piece. The Bulldogs start the week in third place in the North Division with a record of 23-17-1-1, good for 48 points. They are just 3-7-0-0 in their last ten games. Duncan Milroy leads the team in scoring with 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points. The goal total is also a team best. He is tied for the team lead in assists with Mikhail Grabovski who has 32 points total. That puts him in a tie with Andrei Kostitsin for second in team scoring. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak leads the AHL with a 1.87 goals-against average. He’s posted a record of 12-9-0 with a league-leading five shutouts in 22 games. Hamilton will finish a four-game road trip with their game in Omaha.
Friday, January 19 vs. Iowa Stars (Dallas Stars/Edmonton Oilers)
Eighth of twelve meetings; fifth of six meetings in Omaha
The Knights and the Stars battle for the first time since New Year’s Eve when the Knights won 5-1 in Des Moines. Omaha owns a slight 4-3-0-0 advantage in the season series and is 9-6-1-1 all time against the Stars. The Stars are in fifth place in the West Division with a record of 21-17-2-0, good for 44 points. They are 6-2-2-0 in their last ten games. Joel Lundqvist paces all Stars’ players with 15 goals and 21 assists for 36 points. His goal and assist totals also lead the team. Former UNO Maverick goaltender Dan Ellis has played in a team-leading 23 games, posting a record of 11-10-0 with a 3.43 goals-against average. The Stars host Rochester on Tuesday before coming to Omaha.
Saturday, January 20 vs. Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres/Florida Panthers)
First of two meetings; only meeting in Omaha
The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights renew acquaintances with the AHL’s second oldest franchise on Saturday. The Americans lead the North Division with a record of 26-11-1-0, good for 53 points. The Amerks have won three straight. Last season, the Knights and Amerks split a pair of games. The Knights won 3-2 in Rochester, NY while the Americans won 4-3 in a shootout in Omaha. Clarke MacArthur leads Rochester in scoring with 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points. That places him in a tie for 12th overall in the AHL. Goaltender Craig Anderson is 13-7-0 in 20 games. He has a 2.73 goals-against average. The Amerks visit Iowa on Tuesday, Peoria on Wednesday and Milwaukee on Friday before coming to Omaha.
Center Andrei Taratukhin has tied a team high this season by scoring in five consecutive games. He has two goals and four assists in that time.
The 39 saves made by Curtis McElhinney in Friday’s 4-0 shutout of Grand Rapids were the most made by any Ak-Sar-Ben Knights’ goalie to earn a shutout in the team’s brief history.
The Knights are a season-high eleven games above .500 at the half-way mark of the season (24-13-3-0). Last year, they were 16-16-1-7 after 40 games.
Defenceman Steve Marr earned his first AHL point with an assist in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Toronto. It came in his 50th AHL game. Two nights later, he had earned his second assist in the 5-4 shootout win over Houston.
1/8/07 DELETE Jason Jozsa (D), released from PTO
1/8/07 DELETE Eric Godard (LW), recalled from loan by Calgary (NHL)
1/9/07 ADD Mike McKenna (G), signed to PTO
1/10/06 ADD Aki Seitsonen (C), recalled from loan to Las Vegas (ECHL)
1/10/06 ADD Ryan Donally (LW), recalled from loan to Las Vegas (ECHL)
1/14/07 ADD Eric Godard (LW), re-assigned on loan from Calgary (NHL)
For player stats during the 2005-06 season, please visit the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knight's roster page by clicking here.