Omaha, NE – The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights equaled two American Hockey League season highs as they pushed further toward securing a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Knights shutout Milwaukee 2-0, blitzed Houston 10-2 and edged San Antonio 2-1 to move to within one point of first place in the West Division.
Along the way, the Knights set a new franchise record with their eighth straight road win. This week, the Knights visit San Antonio for one final game on Tuesday. Then, they’ll travel to Des Moines to face Iowa on Friday and return home to host Manitoba on Saturday.
The Knights are now 42-22-4-1, good for 89 points. That total puts them just one point behind first-place Chicago with three games in hand. They are also five points ahead of third-place Milwaukee with two games in hand. The top two teams in the West Division will receive home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
LAST WEEK''S RESULTS:
Wednesday, March 21: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 2, Milwaukee Admirals 0
The Knights closed out the season series with the Admirals in the first game of the week. Tim Hambly scored a powerplay goal just 5:29 into the game. Carsen Germyn added a goal 4:08 later to give the Knights a 2-0 advantage after one. Andrei Taratukhin assisted on both tallies. Goaltender Brent Krahn made sure that lead held. He made 26 saves for his second shut out of the season. The Knights were 9-1-0-0 against Milwaukee this season.
Saturday, March 24: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 10, Houston Aeros 2
The Knights set numerous team records in their last visit to Houston. They led 2-0 after one period on goals by Dustin Boyd and Chris Lee. Boyd scored just 19 seconds into the game to set the tone of the evening. Lee’s goal came on a five-on-three powerplay. Tim Ramholt made it 3-0 early in the second period before Joey Tetarenko scored to put the Aeros on the board. The Knights countered with a shorthanded goal from Andrei Taratukhin, but the Aeros would get a goal from Josh Olson 2:31 later to stay close. Carsen Germyn restored the three goal lead when he followed Olson’s goal 1:54 later. It was the start of six unanswered goals for the Knights. Brad Ference, Boyd and Steve Marr all followed with powerplay tallies to put the Knights up 8-2 after two. Kris Chucko and Cam Cunning scored goals 29 seconds apart midway through the third period to complete the scoring. Brent Krahn made 29 saves for his second straight win.
Sunday, March 25: Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 2, San Antonio Rampage 1
The Knights seized the advantage at 15:40 of the first period when Brandon Prust fired home a pass from Kris Chucko. Chris Neiszner made it 2-0 late in the second period when he tipped in a shot by Tim Hambly for his first goal of the season. The Rampage cut the Knights’ lead in half when Alex Leavitt scored at 5:12 of the third period. It would be the only goal allowed by Curtis McElhinney who shook off a personal two-game losing streak to earn his 29th win of the year.
CCM VECTOR/AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE:
The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights nominated center Andrei Taratukhin as the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the week ending March 25, 2007. In three games last week, he scored a goal and had five assists for six points as the Knights won three straight games. On Wednesday, Taratukhin assisted on both goals in the Knights’ 2-0 win over Milwaukee. On Saturday, he tied a franchise record with four points in a game (one goal and three assists) in a 10-2 win over the Houston Aeros. He was held scoreless in the Knights’ final game of the week, a 2-1 win at San Antonio. The native of Omsk, Russia leads the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in assists (41) and points (58), tying the team record for points in a season with still eleven games to play. He has points in five of his last seven games.
AK-SAR-BEN KNIGHTS BASICS
POWERPLAY: 60/390, 15.4%
VS. DIV.: 32-16-4-1
PENALTY KILL: 339/392, 86.5%
LAST TEN: 6-3-1-0
OPPONENTS THIS WEEK:
Tuesday, March 27 @ San Antonio Rampage (Phoenix Coyotes)
Eighth of ten meetings; fifth of five meetings in San Antonio, TX
The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights finish the San Antonio half of their season series with the Rampage in the first game of the week. Following Sunday’s 2-1 win, the Knights are now 5-1-1-0 against the Rampage including a mark of 3-0-1-0 in San Antonio. The Knights are 11-4-1-1 against the Rampage all time. The Rampage are in sixth place in the West Division with a record of 28-38-1-4. They are 16-17-0-2 at home this season. Yanick Lehoux leads the Rampage in scoring with 25 goals and 40 assists for 65 points. His assist total is also a team best. Donald MacLean is in second with a team leading 29 goals and 55 points. Both goaltenders, Josh Tordjman and David LeNeveu have earned 12 wins this season. Tordjman has a team-leading 2.62 goals-against average. The Rampage do not play before hosting the Knights.
Friday, March 30 @ Iowa Stars (Dallas Stars/Edmonton Oilers)
Eleventh of twelve meetings; fifth of six meetings in Des Moines, IA
The Knights and Stars renew acquaintances on Friday. The Stars shutout the Knights 3-0 in the last meeting on March 7. The Knights are 6-4-0-0 against the Stars this season and 3-1-0-0 in Des Moines. All time, the Knights are 7-2-0-0 at Wells Fargo Arena. Iowa begins the week in fourth place in the West Division with a record of 36-30-3-1, good for 76 points. That puts them just one ahead of fifth-place Peoria for the last playoff spot in the West Division. Junior Lessard and Vojtech Polak are tied for the team lead in scoring with 43 points. Lessard leads the team with 22 goals while Polak has a team-high 26 assists. Goaltender Dan Ellis leads the Stars with 25 wins in 47 games played. He’s got a 2.95 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage. The Stars host Peoria on Tuesday before welcoming the Knights.
Saturday, March 31 vs. Manitoba Moose (Vancouver Canucks)
Third of four meetings; first of two meetings in Omaha
The Knights finish the week with a non-division game against the Moose. The Knights dropped a pair of games to Manitoba in Winnipeg back in February. All time, they are 3-3-0-0 against the Vancouver Canucks’ top prospects, including a mark of 1-1-0-0 at home. The Moose are the top team in the North Division and the Western Conference with a record of 41-19-7-4, good for 93 points. They are 17-10-4-2 on the road this season and 8-2-0-0 in their last ten games. Jason Jaffray leads the team in scoring with 34 goals and 41 assists for 75 points. Brad Moran is second in scoring with 66 points including a team-leading 44 assists. Drew MacIntyre leads the Moose goaltending corps with a record of 21-9-2, a 2.17 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. The Moose begin a seven-game road trip in Milwaukee on Tuesday. They’ll visit Chicago on Wednesday before coming to Omaha.
The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights set or extended nine franchise records in their 10-2 win at Houston on Saturday. Among the records:
Most goals in a game: 10
Most goals in a period: 6
Most powerplay goals in a game: 5
Most powerplay goals in a period: 4
Fastest goal to start a game: 0:19
Quickest three goals: 2:42
Largest margin of victory: 8
Most points/period: 3 (Andrei Taratukhin, Brad Ference)
The Knights tied an AHL season-high with 10 goals in one game.
With their win on Sunday in San Antonio, the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights have now won eight straight games on the road, a franchise record and equal to the longest road win streak in the league this season.
Defenceman Steve Marr earned his first American Hockey League goal when he scored in the Knights’ 10-2 win at Houston. It came in his 65th AHL game spread out over two seasons.
Defenceman Tim Ramholt scored the eventual game-winning goal in Saturday’s 10-2 win at Houston. He now has two goals on the season, both of which are game winners.
Defenceman Tim Hambly scored the game winning goal in the Knights’ 2-0 win over Milwaukee last Wednesday. Two of his three goals are game winners.
With their win on Wednesday over Milwaukee, the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights set a new franchise record for points in a season.
For player stats during the 2005-06 season, please visit the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knight's roster page by clicking here.