Omaha, NE – The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights enter new territory this week as they embark on their first Calder Cup Playoff campaign. The Knights will play the Iowa Stars in the West Division Quarterfinal Series beginning Friday, April 20th in Omaha.
The Knights finished the 2006-07 season with the John D. Chick Trophy as the West Division Regular Season Champions and the Norman R. “Bud” Poile Trophy as the Western Conference Regular Season Champions following three wins in four games during the final week of the regular season. The Knights secured both pieces of hardware with a win at Chicago in the final game of the regular season.
Prior to that, the Knights beat San Antonio and split a pair of games with Peoria. The Knights finished the regular season with a record of 49-25-5-1, good for 104 points. The win and point totals are franchise records.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:
Tuesday, April 10: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 3, San Antonio Rampage 1
In the final meeting of the regular season, the Knights fell behind 1-0 on a powerplay goal by Donald MacLean at 2:06. The game stayed that way until Dustin Boyd knocked the puck past goalie David LeNeveu at 7:11 of the third to tie it at one. Justin Taylor scored from a sharp angle seven minutes later, and Cam Cunning added an empty net goal as the Knights won their first game at home when trailing after two periods. Curtis McElhinney made 14 saves.
Friday, April 13: Peoria Rivermen 4, Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 0
In the Knights’ final home game of the season, the Rivermen continued their fine play at the Civic Auditorium. David Backes and DJ King scored first period goals to put Peoria up 2-0. Yan Stastny scored early in the third period, and King got his second into an empty net to finish the scoring. Brent Krahn took the loss with 18 saves.
Saturday, April 14: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 3, Peoria Rivermen 2 SO
The Knights have won all of their games against the Rivermen at Carver Arena, and that trend continued in the regular season finale. After a scoreless first period, Peter Ferraro gave the hosts the lead when he deflected a shot by Gavin Morgan past Curtis McElhinney. The Knights tied the game when Adam Pardy converted a sharp pass from Tomi Maki for a powerplay goal. The Rivermen retook the lead just over two minutes later when Yan Stastny scored from the slot to make it 2-1 after two. The Knights tied the game late in the third when Cam Cunning fired home the rebound of a shot by Tim Ramholt. In the shootout, each team scored once in the first five rounds, forcing sudden death. In round seven, McElhinney turned aside David Backes for the second time, and Andrei Taratukhin converted on his second try at the other end to give the Knights their eighth shootout win. McElhinney finished with 23 saves.
Sunday, April 15: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 4, Chicago Wolves 2
In a one game showdown for the top spot in the Western Conference, the Knights raced out to a 2-0 lead on powerplay goals by Chris Lee and Warren Peters. Corey Larose got the Wolves back to within one when he scored at 18:20. Larose would find the net again late in the second period to tie the game at two, but the tie would last just 63 seconds. Brandon Prust knocked in a pass from Adam Pardy to make it 3-2 after two. Peters scored an empty-net, shorthanded goal off a face-off in the final minute of the third to ice the game. Curtis McElhinney made 24 saves to earn the win.
AK-SAR-BEN KNIGHTS BASICS
POWERPLAY: 67/446, 15.0%
VS. DIV.: 38-18-5-1
PENALTY KILL: 380/437, 87.0%
LAST TEN: 7-2-1-0
2007 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
West Division Semifinal—Series “G”, W1 Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights vs. W4 Iowa Stars
Game 1 – Fri., April 20 – Iowa at Omaha, 7:00 p.m.
Game 2 – Sat., April 21 – Iowa at Omaha, 7:00 p.m.
Game 3 – Mon., April 23 – Omaha at Iowa, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4 – Wed., April 25 – Omaha at Iowa, 7:05 p.m.
*Game 5 – Fri., April 27 – Iowa at Omaha, 7:00 p.m.
*Game 6 – Sat., April 28 – Omaha at Iowa, 7:05 p.m.
*Game 7 – Tue., May 1 – Iowa at Omaha, 7:00 p.m.
Season Series vs. Iowa: 8-4-0-0 Home: 3-3-0-0 Road: 5-1-0-0
The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights will make their first foray into the Calder Cup Playoffs against their nearest rivals, the Iowa Stars, in a best-of-seven series starting Friday, April 20th in Omaha. The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights played the Stars 12 times during the 2006-07 season, the most they faced any opponent. Including the pre-season, the two teams have squared off 14 times this year. The Knights were 8-4-0-0 against the Stars this season. Five of the eight wins came at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA. All time, the Knights are 13-7-1-1 against the Stars including a record of 9-2-0-0 on the road. Carsen Germyn led the Knights in scoring against the Stars this season with five goals and five assists for ten points in twelve games. Both Knights’ goalies earned four wins against the Stars this season. Curtis McElhinney was 4-1-0 in five appearances with a 1.20 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage in head-to-head play. Brent Krahn was 4-3-0 in seven appearances with a 2.28 goals-against and a .917 save percentage. Krahn is 7-1-0-0 lifetime at Wells Fargo Arena. He has posted a 1.27 goals-against average, a .954 save percentage and two shutouts.
The Stars finished in fourth place in the West Division with a record of 42-34-3-1, good for 88 points. The Stars posted a record of 16-21-2-1 at home and a mark of 26-13-1-0 on the road. Theirs was the third highest road win total in the league behind the Knights and Chicago who finished with 27. Junior Lessard led the Stars in scoring this season with 27 goals and 25 assists for 52 points. His goal total also paced the team. Vojtech Polak ranked second with 17 goals and 28 assists for 45 points. Defenseman Mark Ardelan led the team with 30 assists. He finished fourth overall in scoring with 38 points. Dan Ellis led the Stars’ goaltending corps with a record of 30-21-1, a 2.78 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage in 55 appearances. Lessard was the Stars’ leading scorer against the Knights this season. He had four goals and three assists for seven points in eight games. Ellis appeared in eight games against the Knights, posting a record of 2-4-1, a 2.39 goals-against and a .903 save percentage. Rookie Tobias Stephan was 2-3-0 in six games against the Knights. He had a 1.88 goals-against and a .927 save percentage in head-to-head play. This is the Stars’ second appearance in the Calder Cup Finals. In their inaugural season of 2005-06, they lost a first round series to eventual Western Conference Playoff Champion Milwaukee in seven games.
Goaltender Curtis McElhinney set nine Ak-Sar-Ben Knights’ goaltending records during the 2006-07 season including wins (35), shutouts (7), goals-against average (2.13), save percentage (.917), total goals against (113), shootout wins (8), consecutive appearances (16), consecutive wins (7) and shutout streak (165:57). He also tied the franchise record for appearances in a season (57).
Three Knights’ players finished tied for the team lead in points (60). Along the way, Carsen Germyn set a new team standard for goals in a season (28) while Andrei Taratukhin set a new team record for assists in a season (43). Dustin Boyd set new team records for goals (27), assists (33) and points (60) by a rookie.
Germyn tied for the AHL lead with nine game winning goals.
Rookie David Van der Gulik finished with a franchise record +27 plus/minus rating. He ranked fourth best among all AHL players.
The Knights tied an AHL record with 27 road wins this season.
The Knights finished with the top road penalty kill in the AHL (89.2%).
The Knights finished tied for first in the AHL in shootout wins (8).
For player stats during the 2005-06 season, please visit the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knight's roster page by clicking here.