Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bucs snap Ice win streak

The Des Moines Buccaneers ended the Indiana Ice's two-game win streak Friday night with a 4-3 victory over the Ice in Des Moines.

Des Moines scored three goals in 5:04 of the second period to turn a 2-1 Ice lead into a 4-2 deficit, and the Bucs were able to hold off an Ice charge in the third. The Bucs peppered Ice netminder Dalton Izyk with 27 shots in that game-turning second period, outshooting the Ice 27-7 in the frame and 47-40 for the game.

Each team had two power play goals as special teams factored in largely. The Ice were 2-for-6 on the power play, the Bucs 2-for-7. The Ice had four third-period power plays in a comeback attempt -- including a 6-on-3 in the final 23 seconds as Des Moines had two in the penalty box and Izyk was pulled for the extra attacker.

Anthony Greco and Gaspar Kopitar scored at even strength at 10:14 and 13:23 of the second, with Justin Hussar getting the first assist on each goal. Hussar also scored on the power play in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Luke Voltin -- who started the year with the USNTDP -- scored the eventual game-winner on the power play at 15:18.

Defenseman Ryan Obuchowski scored twice for the Ice, both on the power play. He got the scoring started at 11:57 of the first, and then tried to get the Ice back into it with a shot at 8:19 of the third. Jacob Fallon had the first assist on both goals. Robert Polosello also scored for the Ice at 5:00 of the second from Christian Hilbrich.

At 25-11-5, the Ice are in a second-place tie with defending Clark Cup champ Dubuque in the USHL Eastern Conference. Green Bay (68 points) has a 13-point lead on the division. The Dragons' road trip will continue Saturday night with a game at Omaha.

Next weekend will feature back-to-back nights in Muskegon. The next home game will be March 9 vs. Youngstown.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blog update

Just a personal note to our regular readers (thanks for reading!). We haven't gone away. Unfortunately, the last two weeks, we've had to dial back a little bit because of work and family-related demands on my time. I do this as a labor of love to promote the game I love in my hometown, both past and present.

The "today in history" posts and the pregame "Tale of the Tape" updates will resume shortly, possibly as soon as Saturday.

Thanks for reading!

Ice get weekend off to good start

In front of 11,949 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the annual Pack the House Night, Jon Gillies showed the season's largest crowd why he's one of the top draft-eligible goaltenders in North America.

Gillies stopped all 32 shots he faced to outduel Matthias Dahlstrom in what turned out to be a 2-0 Ice victory over the Chicago Steel.

The two goaltenders locked horns for the first two periods -- Dahlstrom stopped all 20 Ice shots in the opening 40 minutes, including 16 in the second period. Gillies made 17 saves.

The Ice's Kirill Lebedev -- a midseason pickup who was playing his fifth game as an Iceman tonight -- scored just 36 seconds into the third on a feed from Daniil Tarasov to break the ice.

With Gillies in net, it would be all the offense the Ice needed. He stopped all 15 shots he faced in the third, and Lebedev set up Tarasov for an empty-netter to seal it in the final minute. Ryan Obuchowski had the second assist on both goals.

The Ice improved to 24-10-5 with the victory and stayed two points ahead of Dubuque and Youngstown, who remain tied for third in the USHL Eastern Conference.

The shutout was Gillies' third of the year and sixth of his two-year USHL career.

The Ice are back in action Saturday at the Pepsi Coliseum against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. It will be their final home game before embarking on a long road trip.

3 stars
1. Jon Gillies (Ice) 32 saves, shutout, win
2. Kirill Lebedev (Ice), G, A, GWG, +2, 3 shots
3. Daniil Tarasov (Ice), G, A, +2, 8 shots

USHL boxscore

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Two-point weekend: Ice fall in Dubuque

The Indiana Ice completed a pivotal weekend against two of the Eastern Conference's other frontrunners with two points -- beating first-place Green Bay in overtime on Friday, but they fell to the Dubuque Fighting Saints on the road tonight.

The teams have split four games, with the home team winning each this season.

The Ice lost 6-1 to the Fighting Saints. as Dubuque scored five times in the second period to put the game away quickly.

Six different Fighting Saints scored goals -- Jono Davis, T.J. Moor, Ty Lundey and Max Gardiner each had a goal and an assist.

Zemgus Girgensons -- the Dubuque star and one of the league's most dynamic players -- scored on a beautiful play with 4:50 left in the first, but the game was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes as Robert Polosello scored on assists from linemates Jacob Fallon and Christian Hilbrich just 59 seconds later.

The Ice were outshot 14-6 in the opening period, but things stayed tied.

They wouldn't be for long -- Davis and Eric Freschi scored 1:48 apart in the second period to give Dubuque a 3-1 lead in the first five minutes of the middle frame. That chased Ice starter Jon Gillies. But backup Dalton Izyk would fare no better -- Moor, Lundey and Gardiner scored in the span of 11:19 on three of the 11 shots aimed at Izyk, and Gillies returned to the nets to close out the game.

By then, the Ice trailed 6-1. There would be no further scoring, as the Ice were outshot 34-15 in the first two periods, and 43-22 for the game.

Dubuque was 1-for-6 on the power play. The Ice were 0-for-3.

The Fighting Saints' victory, coupled with Youngstown's victory tonight, allowed both teams to pull within two points of the Ice. Indy is now 23-10-5 with 51 points -- nine back of Anderson Cup leader Green Bay. But Dubuque has 49 points, as does Youngstown.

The Ice will briefly return to friendly confines next weekend, hosting Chicago at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Pack The House Night on Friday. The Muskegon Lumberjacks visit the Pepsi Coliseum on Saturday night. After that, the Ice will play seven straight road games.

3 stars
1. Max Gardiner (Dub)
2. T.J. Moor (Dub)
3. Eric Freschi (Dub)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ice beat Gamblers!

Every win is a big one, but a road win in Green Bay is a huge one for the Indiana Ice to open a two-game road weekend.

Daniil Tarasov scored 36 seconds into OT to give the Ice a 3-2 victory over the league-leading Gamblers. The OT game meant the Ice gained one point on the Gamblers, who also got a standings point for the OTL.

The game was very cleanly-played -- only one penalty on each team, and all of the goals were scored at even strength.

Tarasov's goal was his 25th of the year and was assisted by linemate Sean Kuraly.

The two also hooked up for the game's first goal midway through the first, as Tarasov had the second assist (and Ryan Obuchowski the first) on Kuraly's 23rd goal of the season at 10:35 of the first. Green Bay's big guns -- Sam Herr and Alex Broadhurst -- answered at 11:49 and 14:58, but Kirill Lebedev, who joined the Ice in January, tied the game in transition with 1:28 left, assisted by R.J. Boyd and goaltender Jon Gillies.

Lebedev was playing in his third game with the Ice -- first since Jan. 21 -- and scored his second goal in those three games. 

The goaltenders -- Gillies and Ryan McKay -- dominated from there. Gillies stopped 24 shots, McKay 23 in the game.

One of the new defensemen acquired in Thursday's Alex Barron trade suited up, as Peter Hand skated and had a clean line -- no points, even +/-, no penalty minutes or shots. Trevor Owens, the other defensman acquired in the deal, did not dress. The Ice suited up Jose Delgadillo, Hand, Boyd, Obuchowski, Joe Fiala and Matthew Krug on defense. Of the six who dressed tonight, two were acquired in deals within the last few weeks and a third -- Boyd -- came in a trade over the summer.

Three stars (as chosen by the Gamblers)
1. Alex Broadhurst (GB)
2. Sam Herr (GB)
3. Nolan LaPorte (GB)

Seriously, who should've been the three stars
1. Daniil Tarasov (Ice), G, A, GWG
2. Sean Kuraly (Ice), G, A
3. Jon Gillies (Ice), 24 saves, holding GB's potent offense to two goals, and getting an assist of his own.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ice deal captain to Waterloo

Alex Barron, the Indiana Ice's captain, was dealt to the Waterloo Black Hawks today in exchange for two defensemen -- Trevor Owens and Peter Hand.

Both players are USHL vets -- Owens is in his second year, Hand his third.

Owens had two goals and five assists in 28 games, and stands 6-foot, 205 pounds. A 1993 birth-year player, he has a year of USHL eligbility remaining after this season. He also played 30 games for Waterloo last season and has three goals and six assists in his career. He is a plus-6 this year, and one of his two goals came on the power play. He has 33 PIMs in those 28 games. A native of Raleigh, N.C., he will wear No. 8 with the Ice.

Hand has skated in 126 USHL games with Chicago and Waterloo and has been one of the league's tough guys. He has two goals, 12 assists and 353 PIMs in his career. This season, he has five assists and led the Black Hawks with 69 PIMs. He was a minus-4. He stands 5-10, 185, and is a native of Schenectady, N.Y. He will wear No. 5 with the Ice. He is also a 1993 birth-year player, and therefore would have more USHL eligibility remaining.

Barron had three goals and 12 assists for the Ice in 36 games. He was a plus-17, and a plus-41 for his career. He has 3 goals and 26 assists in 87 USHL games, all with the Ice. He is in his final year of USHL eligibility and has committed to play at Quinnipiac University.

This is the fourth trade the Ice have pulled off this year mid-season with another USHL team -- acquiring Ryan Cole from Lincoln (who has since been dealt to the NAHL), swapping Cody Bradley to Dubuque for John Doherty, trading Alexander Kuqali to Sioux Falls in exchange for Jose Delgadillo and now the Barron for Owens/Hand deal.