Monday, November 11, 2002

Monarchs ruling the AHL East

WEEKLY RELEASE #5

SPRINGFIELD, MA ... A recent 10-game unbeaten streak has put the Manchester Monarchs atop the Eastern Conference throne in the American Hockey League.

The second-year club, with former AHL scoring champion Bruce Boudreau behind the bench, shook off an opening night loss and proceeded to go on a 10-game tear which included eight consecutive victories. After one month of the 2002-03 season, the Monarchs own the top spot in the AHL's North Division and the best record (9-2-1-0) in the Eastern Conference. Manchester also leads the league in attendance, averaging 8,346 fans for each of their six home dates thus far at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

Prior to his recall to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, first-year pro Mike Cammalleri was leading the Monarchs' offense with 14 points in nine games, while headlining an impressive troupe of AHL rookies that includes Jared Aulin (3+5=8 pts.), Yanick Lehoux (4+4=8), Scott Barney (three game-winning goals) and Cristobal Huet (5-1-1 in seven appearances).

Defensemen Joe Corvo, with five goals and 14 points already this season, and Jason Holland (10 assists) anchor the league's top-ranked power play unit, as the Monarchs have scored 24 times with the man advantage through 12 games. Up front, 2002 AHL All-Star Eric Healey (6+6=12 pts.), 2000 Stanley Cup champion Steve Kelly (5+8=13) and 11-year NHL veteran Steve Heinze (6+7=13) lead an offense that is averaging four goals per game, second-most in the league.

Manchester's winning ways haven't been without excitement. The Monarchs are already 6-0-0 in one-goal decisions and 3-0-1 in overtime, and have scored 22 of their 48 goals in the third period or OT.

The Monarchs are back in action on Friday night when they host the Saint John Flames.

PIGSKIN ON THE POND ... Sunday marked a bye week for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, but there was football in the air at the Gund Arena as the Cleveland Barons hosted the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks.

As part of their "Pigskin on the Pond" promotion, the Barons wore special brown jerseys with white numbers and triple white and orange stripes on the sleeves, black pants and brown, triple-striped socks. The jerseys were auctioned off after the game, with proceeds (as well as two dollars from every ticket sold) going to Cleveland Barons Charities and the Cleveland Browns Foundation. Several members of the Browns, past and present, were on hand for the festivities.

The Barons and Browns also supplied "Dream Seats" to 150 children between the ages of 9 and 16, and every fan in attendance received a commemorative pin featuring the alternate jersey.

Cleveland beat Cincinnati, 4-3, to earn their first home win of the season.

AHL'ERS HELP CANADA WIN DEUTSCHLAND CUP ... Saint John defenseman Micki DuPont scored the game-winning goal early in the second period on Sunday as Canada defeated Germany, 2-0, to claim first place at the 2002 Deutschland Cup tournament in Hannover, Germany. Canada finished with a perfect 3-0-0 record.

Manitoba's Steve Kariya recorded an assist in Friday's 4-1 victory over Switzerland, and Binghamton's Mathieu Chouinard made 24 saves, Utah's Jon Sim scored a goal and Houston's Travis Roche tallied an assist in Saturday's 3-1 victory over the United States. Michael Henrich of Hamilton also participated in the tournament.

OFF THE ICE ... Grand Rapids marks Veterans' Day with several concourse displays chronicling American war history at its second annual Hockey Recess for local schoolchildren at Van Andel Arena on Tuesday; the Griffins host Manitoba at noon... Six members of the Manitoba Moose recently visited a local Wal-Mart to raise funds for the team's Yearling Foundation... Manchester goaltender Cristobal Huet's autographed catching glove and blocker are up for auction on eBay through Nov. 14... Comcast SportsNet Classics, a monthly program that reaches into the archives of Philadelphia's sports history, will premiere "Dreams of Hockey Glory," the story of the 1997-98 Calder Cup champion Phantoms, on Tuesday evening.

ETC. ... Rochester snapped its season-opening 12-game winless streak with a pair of weekend victories over Cleveland and Chicago... After starting the season with 14 games in the NHL, Jamie Lundmark scored three goals and added an assist in his return to Hartford, an 8-2 win over St. John's on Wednesday... After an 0-5-1 start, the Maple Leafs salvaged the finale of their seven-game road trip, beating Saint John 4-2 on Saturday thanks to Mikael Tellqvist's 49-save performance... Utah rookie Jason Bacashihua made 46 saves in Utah's 2-1 loss to Grand Rapids on Saturday; he made 47 stops in a loss to Houston on Oct. 12... Manitoba finished off a four-game season-series sweep of Lowell with weekend wins in Winnipeg... Philadelphia's Mark Greig became the 37th member of the AHL's 600-point club with a goal against Norfolk on Friday... The Phantoms' Andre Savage has eight points in two home games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year, and four points in his 10 other matches... Syracuse has shut out Wilkes-Barre five times in their last six meetings after Karl Goehring's 31-save effort in Saturday's 2-0 Crunch win... Houston goaltender Derek Gustafson improved to 7-0-0 on the year with a 5-1 win over San Antonio on Sunday... Milwaukee's Jan Lasak stopped 59 of 61 shots in two weekend games at Utah to improve to 6-0-3 this season... Daniel Tkaczuk, loaned to Bridgeport by St. Louis on Wednesday, tallied three goals and an assist in his first four games with the Sound Tigers... Grand Rapids is 4-0-2 in its last six games... Albany has scored a power play goal in 13 of its 14 games this season... Manchester is 3-for-31 (9.7%) on the power play in four games against Portland this year, and 21-for-52 (40.4%) in eight games against the rest of the league... Springfield has allowed nine shorthanded goals in 14 games... After starting the season with 10 straight home games, Saint John hits the road for a nine-game road trip, beginning Tuesday in Albany.