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Knights face three tough foes this week

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

Omaha, NE – With a five-game home stand now complete, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights make a brief one-game road trip before returning to the Civic Auditorium for two more home games. The Knights will find themselves up against their nearest neighbors in the West Division standings when they visit Milwaukee on Wednesday before hosting Chicago on Friday and Peoria on Saturday.

The Knights lost two of three games last week but maintained their spot in the second place in the division. They are now 38-21-3-1, good for 80 points. That puts them three points behind Chicago with three games in hand. The Knights also are six points ahead of third place Milwaukee with one game in hand. Peoria is eleven points behind the Knights with two games in hand.

LAST WEEK''S RESULTS:

Wednesday, March 7: Iowa Stars 3, Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 0

Following a scoreless first period, Iowa’s Francis Wathier scored at 5:44 of the second period to make it 1-0. Junior Lessard added a five-on-three powerplay goal and a shorthanded empty net goal in the third for the final margin. Brent Krahn made 25 saves in the loss.

Friday, March 9: Grand Rapids Griffins 1, Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 0

For the first time in their history, the Knights were shutout in back-to-back games. The two teams played scoreless hockey for 57:59 until Jamie Tardif converted a pass from Jeff Campbell to put the Griffins on the board. Grand Rapids then held on during the final two minutes for the victory. Curtis McElhinney made 18 saves in the loss.

Saturday, March 10: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 6, Grand Rapids Griffins 2

In the rematch, the Knights snapped their scoreless string with a goal from Brandon Prust just 3:53 into the game. The Griffins would tie it with a shorthanded goal from Ben Simon early in the second period, but the Knights responded swiftly and convincingly. Prust scored his second of the night just 48 seconds after Simon’s goal. Carsen Germyn and Andrei Taratukhin then scored 32 seconds apart to boost the Knights’ lead to 4-1. Dustin Boyd scored off a breakaway late in the second period to make it 5-1 after two. Jamie Tardif scored on a powerplay late in the third, but Germyn answered less than two minutes later with his second of the night to restore the four-goal advantage. Curtis McElhinney earned the win with 18 saves.

AK-SAR-BEN KNIGHTS BASICS

RECORD: 38-21-3-1
POWERPLAY: 52/361, 14.4%
VS. DIV.: 28-15-3-1
HOME: 18-13-0-0
PENALTY KILL: 320/370, 86.5%
ROAD: 20-8-3-1
LAST TEN: 7-3-0-0
STREAK: 1-0-0-0

OPPONENTS THIS WEEK:

Wednesday, March 14 @ Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators/Edmonton Oilers)
Ninth of ten meetings; fifth of five meetings in Milwaukee, WI


The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights make their final visit to Milwaukee during the regular season in the first game of the week. The Knights are 7-1-0-0 against the Admirals this season including a 4-0-0-0 mark at the Bradley Center. The Knights lead the all time series, 10-5-0-3. The two teams last met on February 23rd when the Knights earned a 1-0 win in Milwaukee. The Admirals start the week in third place in the West Division with a record of 32-22-4-6, good for 74 points. That puts them six behind the Knights. The Admirals are 15-12-3-1 at home this season. Rich Peverley leads Milwaukee in scoring with 64 points, but he is currently on recall to Nashville. Cal O’Reilly is second in scoring with 12 goals and 35 assists for 47 points. Goalie Pekka Rinne has played 17 games since returning from an off-season injury. He’s 9-5-2 with a team-leading 2.60 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. The Admirals do not play before hosting the Knights.

Friday, March 16 vs. Chicago Wolves (Atlanta Thrashers)
Ninth of ten meetings; fifth of five meetings in Omaha


The Wolves make their final appearance in Omaha on Friday. After losing five straight to the West Division leaders, the Knights swept a pair of games in Chicago to burnish their record against the Wolves to 3-5-0-0 this season. They are 0-4-0-0 against them at the Civic and 8-10-0-0 against them all time. The Wolves lead the Knights by three points in the standings with a record of 38-21-2-5. They are an AHL-best 24-7-1-2 on the road this year. Darren Haydar leads the Wolves and the entire AHL in scoring with 32 goals and 64 assists for 96 points in 59 games. The assist total is also a league best. Rookie teammate Brett Sterling is second in team scoring and third in league scoring. He’s got an AHL-high 46 goals and 79 points. Fred Brathwaite and Michael Garnett share time in the Wolves’ goal. Brathwaite has 19 wins while Garnett has 18. Brathwaite leads the team with a 2.72 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. The Wolves host Peoria before coming to Omaha.

Saturday, March 17 vs. Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues)
Eighth of ten meetings; fourth of five meetings in Omaha


The Knights finish the week against Peoria. The Knights snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Rivermen in the last meeting, winning 4-3 in a shootout on February 21st. The Knights are 1-4-2-0 against Peoria this year and 3-10-3-1 against them all time. They have never beaten Peoria at home (0-6-1-1). The Rivermen begin the week in fourth place in the West with a record of 31-23-2-5, good for 69 points. Trent Whitfield leads Peoria in scoring with 26 goals and 36 assists for 62 points. The assist total also paces the team. Charles Linglet leads the team with 28 goals. Marek Schwarz and Chris Beckford-Tseu split time in the Peoria net. Schwarz has a team-high 16 wins while Beckford-Tseu has a team-leading 2.40 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. The Rivermen visit Chicago on Wednesday and Milwaukee on Friday before coming to Omaha.

KNIGHTS NOTES:

Goaltender Curtis McElhinney set a new team record for wins by a goalie in a season when he earned his 27th win of the year against Grand Rapids on March 10.

The six goals scored by the Knights on Saturday were a season high for goals at home. That matched a franchise record for home goals in a game decided before a shootout.

The Knights played to their largest crowd of the season when 6,658 saw them beat Grand Rapids on Saturday night.

The Knights equaled a season high with 41 shots on goal in the win over Grand Rapids on Saturday.

Head coach Ryan McGill earned his 200th AHL win in Saturday’s 6-2 win over Grand Rapids.

TRANSACTIONS:

3/9/07 ADD Chris Neiszner (C), recalled from loan to Las Vegas (ECHL)

For player stats during the 2005-06 season, please visit the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knight's roster page by clicking here.

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