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Panthers Prospect Report: 1.31.12

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers


Position: C              Shoots: Left
Height:   6-1            Weight: 202
Born: 5/12/81 in Vancouver, BC
How Acquired: Signed a one-year contract with Florida as a free agent on July 14, 2011.
The Skinny
Center Bracken Kearns takes home this week's honor of “Prospect On Fire”.

Signed as a free agent in the off season to help the Panthers depth up the middle, Kearns has made an impact in San Antonio so far this season.

Playing in his second straight season with the Rampage (last year as part of the Phoenix Coyotes organization), has recorded 32 points (13 goals) in 39 games, good enough for second highest stats on the team. That has been helped by a seven-game point streak. Currently active, Kearns has recorded eight points (3-5-8) over that stretch.

Kearns hit a personal milestone this season as he made his NHL debut when he skated against the NY Islanders on October 20th. The 30-year old has played in five games with the Panthers.

The Vancouver, BC native's best statistical season in the AHL came in 2009-10 when he recorded 36 assists and 51 points in 80 games for the Rockford IceHogs. Kearns played for the University of Calgary, where he captained the Calgary Dino’s hockey team.

Kearns’ father, Dennis, is a former All-Star defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks. .

San Antonio 39 13 19 32 36 5

(24-18-2, 7th in AHL Western Conference)


Thursday, February 2 at Oklahoma City (7:00pm CT)
Friday, February 3 vs Lake Erie (7:00pm CT)

WEEKLY NOTES: The Rampage continued its march up the Western Conference standings with two more wins last week. A seven game winning streak has San Antonio in seventh place, and has them within four points of fourth seeded Houston. On Friday night, the Rampage beat rival Texas for the fifth time in six tries this season, skating to a 6-2 victory. Jon Matsumoto, Michal Repik, and Scott Timmins all recorded a goal and an assist in the blowout. The next night, San Antonio beat Houston 5-2, led by goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris. Morris made 36 saves for his seventh consecutive victory, which established a franchise record for consecutive wins by a San Antonio netminder.  

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: San Antonio will play two games in two days, as they visit Oklahoma City on Thursday night and host Lake Erie on Friday. Oklahoma City should pose a tough test for the red hot Rampage, as they possess the best record in the AHL. Conversely, Lake Erie sits at the bottom of the Western Conference, and is one point away from last place in the league.

ON A ROLL: It’s hard to find a team that’s playing better than San Antonio is right now. The Rampage has reeled off seven straight victories, outscoring their opponents 27-12 along the way. San Antonio looks increasingly impressive, winning three of the last four by at least three goals.

PACK YOUR BAGS: After San Antonio hosts Lake Erie on Friday night, they will not return home until March. The team will spend the rest of the month on the road, on an eleven-game trip.

WELCOME BACK: The Rampage acquired yet another new player this past week, as Florida dealt Tim Kennedy to the San Jose Sharks organization for former Rampage defenseman Sean Sullivan.  Sullivan is a familiar face for San Antonio fans, as he is the all-time leader in goals (21), assists (68), and points (89) among Rampage defensemen.

BY THE NUMBERS: Newly acquired Jon Matsumoto continues to lead the Rampage in goals, assists and points (17-24-41), including seven points in his first five Rampage games. Colby Robak and Bill Thomas lead the way in the plus/minus category for San Antonio with plus-13 ratings. Dov Grumet-Morris continues to lead San Antonio in all statistical categories, with 13 wins, a 1.99 goals against average, and a .932 save percentage.

(18-14-6, 9th in ECHL Eastern Conference)
Wednesday, February 1 vs Toledo (7:30pm ET)
Friday, February 3 vs South Carolina (7:30pm ET)
Saturday, February 4 vs South Carolina (7:30pm ET)

WEEKLY NOTES: On Wednesday, Mike Pelech buried the game-winning goal at the 3:41 mark of overtime to give the Cyclones a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Express, their seventh comeback win this season. Friday night, Taylor Aronson’s power play goal at the 2:34 mark of overtime sealed a wild 3-2 victory for the Cyclones over the Wings. On Saturday night, the Cyclones were shutout for the first time on the season, by a count of 3-0 against the Express. Sunday afternoon, Cincinnati lost a two-goal lead and fell in a shootout, 3-2 at the hands of the Express again. 

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Cincinnati will look to get back to their winning ways, as all three of their games this week will be played at home. After a Wednesday night game against Toledo, the Cyclones play a back-to-back weekend set with South Carolina. Toledo is currently in 11th place in the 12 team ECHL Eastern Conference, while South Carolina sits in 5th. South Carolina should provide an especially stiff test, as they have won 11 of their last 12 games.

NO NEED FOR NAIL CLIPPERS: The Cyclones have found themselves in closely-contested battles all season long. Nearly 66 percent of their games have been decided by two-goals or less, including eight of their last ten games. In such situations this year, the Clones are 10-9-0-6.

FEELING THE FEBRUARY LOVE: Over the years, the Cyclones have been extremely successful in the month of February. Over the past there seasons, the Cyclones have compiled a 22-12-4 record in "Cupid's Month." Their best February record ever came in 2009-10 when they went a staggering 9-2-2. This February, Cincinnati will play 17 games in 29 days - their busiest one ever.


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