Tag Archives: Garrett Zemlak


Hartford Wolf Pack        VERSUS       Springfield Falcons

Playing with a consistency, passion and sense of desperation like they’ve only found sporadically all season long, the Hartford Wolf Pack put on a first class performance as they dominated all over the ice Saturday Night at the MassMutual Center as they trounced the last place Falcons 6-1 behind multi-point performances from Brodie Dupont, Andres Ambϋhl and Derek Couture and a big night between the pipes for Chad Johnson.

“I thought we were pretty good in a lot of areas.” Head Coach Ken Gernander said. “I thought (Johnson) had a good night tonight. When they had some pressure he made some real good saves on the penalty kill.”

Gernander liked what he saw all over the ice. “The (power play); I thought that was some pretty good offense from them and some of our new guys played well as well.”

dupont100403_488“We knew we had to come out hard. We’re fighting for our lives,” the “First Star” Dupont said on his ninth multi-point game of the season. “A lot of guys are scoreboard watching. I think we’re just worried about playing our game and doing what we can control and for us to have any chance I think we’ve got to win out and just take it one game at a time. It’s all part of the journey and I think we played well tonight.”

It only took 47 seconds for the Pack to get a goal on the scoreboard. Defenseman Lee Baldwin earned his first professional point since joining the Wolf Pack on March 22nd, three games ago, when his shot from the left point was deflected in front by Dupont past Falcon’s starting netminder, Bryan Pitton (25 saves, 2-5-0).

But as they have want to do of late, the Pack scored a second goal just 1:10 later.

Derek Couture made a sweep with the puck behind the net from the right to the left and found Justin Soryal alone on the left side of the crease. Couture put the puck right on Soryal’s stick and the New Market, Ontario native slammed it under Pitton’s pads for his second goal in five games after going through a sixteen game drought.

Things pretty much stayed that way until Kris Newbury took a Slashing call at 6:18.

Jordan Eberle, who was named the Best Forward and MVP at the recent World Junior Championships for Team Canada, continues to be red hot since coming to Springfield eight games ago. The 19-year old entered the game with three goals and five helpers in seven games. Eberle put a goal and two assists of which came against the Pack on March 20th. The youngster out of Regina, Saskatchewan ended a four game goalless streak with a nice move and a little luck 34 seconds into the man-advantage. Eberle was on the left side of Johnson (30 saves, 21-18-2) all alone and took a pass and kicked to his stick and then threw it at the net. Dupont sliding back to help his goaltender had the puck hit his shoulder and slide into the net. The goal was Eberle’s fourth at 6:52 off a pass from ex-Pack, Chad Wiseman.

The tide had definitively turned and momentum had swung to the more northern of the two I-91 rival cities.

It didn’t help matters any that at 8:13, Dale Weise took an Interference call sending the Falcons to their third power play of the night. A goal by Springfield here and it could have turned the tide irrevocably for the home team.

But the Pack penalty killers were particularly aggressive on this kill and gave their hosts no room and no time. In fact, the best offensive penetration of the power play, came when Ambϋhl rushed the puck up the left wing side and left a drop pass for Ryan Garlock. The Pack center’s shot from the left side circle looked like it went into the upper corner of the right after it hit Pitton’s shoulder and popped out, but nothing referee Jean Hebert felt it didn’t go in and the play went on.

As things developed in the Pack zone, Ambϋhl make a big play with a huge hit in front of the net that sprung the puck free, and for the recipient of the hit, Chris Minard, probably some of his fillings. Ambϋhl then picked up the puck skated to just inside the top of the left defensive zone circle and put a perfect pass to Weise who was coming out of the penalty box. Weise got behind Ryan O’Marra, stormed in on Pitton and put one perfectly between the Pad’s for his 28th of the season.

“(Weise’s) been playing very well down the stretch here,” Gernander said. “Offensively we’re missing a couple of key guys and he’s picked up the slack and done real well.”

“They took the momentum away from us with (Weise’s) goal,” Eberle said. “That was definitely the turning point in the game.”

From there on it was all Wolf Pack.

After Jean-Francois David took a very sloppy Delay of Game call, the Pack power play unit kept the puck in the Springfield end for most of the two minutes. The Pack were controlling the puck in the zone when just two seconds after the power play expired, Kris Newbury found Couture, who had snuck away from Minard who was defending him, and the right winger took the pass in the slot, turned and beat Pitton high over the glove for his tenth of the season with just 44 seconds left in the second period. It was a crushing blow to the Falcons and they were done for the night.

The Pack picked up where they left off to start the third period and at 1:58 they cashed in.

Garlock made a tremendous pass to set up Ambϋhl in front of Pitton and the 2010 Swiss Olympian lasered it right past the Falcon goalie. The goal was Ambϋhl’s sixth on the season.

“(Ambuhl) had a pretty good night. Nice to see him get rewarded with a goal,” Gernander said. “It was a pretty good effort all the way around.”

Dupont closed out the scoring with his second of the game with just 1:34 left in regulation.

“It was probably my worst opportunity of the night. I just fired it back on the net blind and hoped for a bank. I got the bounce that I wanted and it went in.” Dupont said of his 18th of the season. “I was intending to bank it off of him. The chances of that happening are usually not very good. But I got lucky. It doesn’t show how it goes in on the score sheets,” He said with a laugh. “Guys are playing a little more desperate now that our lives are on the line. I think that’s the way we have to play.”

The versatile Pack forward, who’s seen much of his time this season at center and now is playing wing, summed it all up best saying, “Every game from here on in is going to be our season on the line and we’re basically hoping for a little help around the league and we’ll do our part. Stranger things have happened and we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’re not looking past Wednesday night.”

At Hartfordwolfpack.com Bob Crawford sums up a very exciting night for the Insurance Capital’s home team. Meanwhile for the tale of woe for Springfield, you’ll find written up nicely by Robbin Jones, Jr. at MassLive.com.





1. x-Sharks 76 47 23 3 3 100 259 229 0-1-1-0 6-3-1-0 1223
2. x-Pirates 76 44 22 6 4 98 232 200 8-0-1-1 8-0-1-1 1364
3. x-Monarchs 77 42 26 3 6 93 206 188 7-0-0-0 8-1-0-1 1120
4. Devils 77 37 30 4 6 84 225 221 1-0-0-0 3-5-0-2 1362
5. Sound Tigers 77 36 31 4 6 82 192 215 0-2-0-0 5-4-1-0 1657
6. WOLF PACK 76 33 32 6 5 77 217 234 2-0-0-0 6-4-0-0 1495
7. Bruins 76 34 36 5 1 74 198 213 0-1-0-0 3-5-2-0 1143
8. Falcons 77 24 38 11 4 63 193 283 0-4-1-1 3-4-2-1 1575

x = clinched a playoff spot

y = clinched division title



1. Devils 77 37 30 4 6 84 Atlantic
2. W-B/Scranton 76 39 32 2 3 83 East
3. Sound Tigers 77 36 31 3 3 82 Atlantic
3. Norfolk Admirals 76 37 33 3 3 80 East
4. WOLF PACK 76 33 32 6 5 77 Atlantic

The top three teams from this list will make the playoffs.



Any combination of Bridgeport or Lowell, who’s ever on top, getting points and the Pack not getting them reduces that number. Pack have one game in hand on both Bridgeport and Lowell.

Either Wilkes-Barre or Norfolk will make it and be either the three or four seed in their division. The top Atlantic team will be in and depending upon their points, be either the third of fourth seed in the East Division.



A light night in the American League. The only game affecting the Wolf Pack is a big one. Norfolk visits Hershey at 6pm. If ever a team needed the best team in the AHL to win, the Pack need Hershey tonight. Other games see the recently eliminated Providence Bruins in Portland against the Pirates and Manitoba visits Hamilton for a showdown with the Bulldogs.



Things continue to break well for the New York Rangers’ top farm club. On Saturday, Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton had the night off as the Pack used up their game in hand with two points added to the ledger. In Bridgeport, the Sound Tigers lost again, this time to Portland 3-1. Upstate New York saw Norfolk drop a road game to Binghamton 5-3. Worcester couldn’t finish off Lowell and the Devils picked up two points with a win in overtime, 3-2.

In other action, Toronto knocked off Manitoba in a shootout 2-1. Albany beat down Adirondack 4-2. Rochester also won in a shootout over Hamilton 4-3. Hershey destroyed Syracuse (next year’s Springfield Falcons) 6-1. Here’s a surprise, Alex Giroux had another goal. Jay Beagle had two goals and Keith Aucoin had two assists. Providence was eliminated by Manchester with a 3-0 defeat. Peoria doubled up Lake Erie 4-2. San Antonio beat Chicago 3-0. Hugh Jessiman tallied his 20th of the season when he scored for Milwaukee in a 4-0 rout of Rockford. (BTW, for those Jessiman detractors out there, of which we are NOT one, the Big Guy, now has two straight seasons of 20 goals. He also has 20 assists for 40 points this season as well as 106 PIM and a plus-5. In his last full season in Hartford, he had 18 goals ad 24 assists for 42 points and a plus-10 in 71 games, and gotten driven out of town on a rail. Contrast that with the much hyped and little results from Evgeny Grachev. People seem to be lining up to raving so much about his potential. Grachev has not scored a goal in 23 games and just once in his last 34. He’s got 12 goals and 15 assists, 14 PIM and a nifty minus-13 having played in 76 games…food for thought.)

Last, but not lease, we had Houston behind two goals from Robbie Earl defeat Texas 3-2 and Abbotsford knocked off Grand Rapids 2-1.



* If you have yet to sign up for our new service to our readers on Twitter, you’re really missing out on the most extensive coverage of the Wolf Pack and Checkers you’ll find anywhere. In addition to keeping you posted here on all major news stories, visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for in-game coverage of both Wolf Pack and Checkers games. Please “Follow” us on Twitter.

* The Pack have struggled on the road all season long. They won for only their second time in the last ten road games (2-6-1-1).

* The win pushed the Pack over the .500 mark with a 33-32-6-5 record good for 77 points. 

* American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews has announced that the Hershey Bears and the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company will host the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic at Giant Center on Sunday, January 30 and Monday, January 31, 2011, during the AHL’s historic 75th anniversary season.

The announcement was made on the Giant Center ice during the first intermission of the Bears’ game tonight against the Syracuse Crunch.

“There is no better place to hold the signature event of our 75th anniversary season than in the most historic and celebrated town in all of professional hockey,” said Andrews. “The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic will give us an opportunity to show the hockey world our sport’s best young players and to celebrate our league and our storied history in a place synonymous with the American Hockey League over the last seven decades.”

The 2011 event will take place Sunday, Jan. 30, and Monday, Jan. 31, and will mark the first time that the AHL All-Star Classic will be held at Giant Center, the 10,500-seat building that has already hosted three Calder Cup Finals and countless other memorable moments during its eight-year existence. Hershey has previously hosted All-Star events at Hersheypark Arena in 1954, 1959 and 1996.

The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic will also mark a return to an East vs. West format, pitting players from each of the AHL’s two conferences against each other. This will be the first East-West All-Star Game in the AHL since 1942.
Hershey, Pa., has been home to the American Hockey League’s most storied franchise since 1938, and the Bears have captured a record 10 Calder Cup championships in that time. Through the decades, Chocolatetown has boasted some of the most notable figures in our sport’s history, including AHL Hall of Famers Frank Mathers, Willie Marshall, Tim Tookey, Mike Nykoluk, Gil Mayer, John Paddock and Bruce Boudreau.

“On behalf of the entire Hershey family, the Bears are honored to be joining the American Hockey League in celebrating its 75th anniversary by hosting the 2011 All-Star Classic here at Giant Center,” said Doug Yingst, President and General Manager of the Hershey Bears. “This world-class event will shine an international spotlight on our community and our fans, and we are excited to be a part of such a historic occasion.”

The event logo for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic was also unveiled, and can be viewed on theahl.com.

* The Hershey Bears set an all-time American Hockey League record with their 58th win of the season on Saturday night, and in the process captured the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the American Hockey League’s 2009-10 regular-season points champion.

The Bears (58-15-0-3, 119 points) surpassed the record of 57 wins held by the 1992-93 Binghamton Rangers. (Some famous NY Rangers would play on that team including Sergei Zubov (30 games), Alex Kovalev (13 games), Darren Langdon (18 games), and Mike Richter (5 games)) Saturday’s victory was also Hershey’s 33rd of the season on home ice, tying an AHL record. And with four games still left to play, the Bears are five points shy of the 1992-93 Rangers’ all-time record of 124 points in a season.

The Bears had already claimed the F.G. (Teddy) Oke Trophy as the East Division champions, as well as the Frank S. Mathers Trophy as the regular-season champions of the Eastern Conference.

Under rookie head coach Mark French, the Bears have won their third East Division crown and their second Kilpatrick Trophy in four years, and will be bidding for their third Calder Cup title in the last five seasons. Hershey will have home-ice advantage for as long as they are in the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, which was instituted in 1997, honors the late Macgregor Kilpatrick, a member of the AHL Board of Governors for 27 years and a 2010 inductee into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Kilpatrick also served as the AHL’s senior vice president and general counsel during his tenure, and earned the James C. Hendy Award in 1976 as the league’s outstanding executive.

* The Pack fall back to 28/29 on the penalty kill at 79.7% and drop to 17th on the power play at 16.8%. 



Byers ©Newbury – Weise
Dupont – Crowder – Grachev
Soryal – Garlock – Ambϋhl
Brashear – McKelvie – Couture

Heikkinen – Sanguinetti 
Baldwin – Potter
Brouillette – Nightingale



(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized) 



P.A. Parenteau – Recall, NY Rangers
Anders Eriksson – Recall, NY Rangers
Devin DiDiomete – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Healthy Scratch
Cameron Talbot – Healthy Scratch
Roman Horak – Healthy Scratch 
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Season over
Michael Sauer – Shoulder – Season over
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season over
Brent Henley – Knee – Season over 



1. HFD – B. Dupont
2. HFD – D. Couture
3. HFD – A. Ambuhl


Jean Hebert (87)

Chris Low (88)
Jim Briggs (83)


Bob Crawford is on the air at 6:30 with the pre-game Wednesday night from the XL Center. The puck drops for this crucial game against Worcester at 7pm. This will be the next hurdle this team will have to get over if the Pack hope to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.

If you can attend the home games, they cost is as little as $10 a ticket, why not just go? For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.

Too far away or can’t make it? Listen live at WTIC.com or from your cell phone or computer visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for complete live in-game coverage. 



Hartford Wolf Pack 6 At Springfield Falcons 1 – Status: Final

Apr 3, 2010 – MassMutual Center

Hartford 2 2 2 – 6

Springfield 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Hartford, Dupont 17 (Baldwin, Crowder), 0:47. 2, Hartford, Soryal 5 (Couture), 2:57. Penalties-Gimblett Spr (roughing), 3:29; Weise Hfd (holding the stick), 4:02; Bendfeld Spr (interference), 10:01; Riley Spr (delay of game), 15:35.

2nd Period-3, Springfield, Eberle 4 (Wiseman), 6:52 (pp). 4, Hartford, Weise 28 (Ambuhl), 10:21. 5, Hartford, Couture 10 (Newbury, Potter), 19:16. Penalties-Gimblett Spr (high-sticking), 1:01; Newbury Hfd (major – slashing), 6:18; Weise Hfd (interference), 8:13; Heikkinen Hfd (fighting), 13:00; McDonald Spr (fighting), 13:00; Weise Hfd (fighting), 16:03; Taylor Spr (fighting), 16:03; David Spr (delay of game), 17:13.

3rd Period-6, Hartford, Ambuhl 6 (Garlock, Brouillette), 1:58. 7, Hartford, Dupont 18   18:26 (sh). Penalties-Garlock Hfd (slashing), 0:00.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 7-10-14-31. Springfield 8-12-11-31.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 of 5; Springfield 1 of 2.

Goalies-Hartford, Johnson 21-18-2 (31 shots-30 saves). Springfield, Pitton 2-5-0 (31 shots-25 saves).




Charlotte Checkers      VERSUS         Florida Everblades


Carroll Scores Late Goal To Secure Top Spot For First Time In Franchise History

Andrew Carroll scored a late goal to force overtime and clinch first place in the American Conference as the Charlotte Checkers were edged, 4-3, in a shootout by the Florida Everblades on Saturday.

It is the first ever regular season division and conference title for the Checkers who were 17 points back of first-place South Carolina in mid-January. Charlotte’s 43 wins are the most ever for head coach Derek Wilkinson and the second most in franchise history.

The Checkers will now play Toledo in a best-of-five series in the first round of the Kelly Cup Finals with games 1 and 2 being played Tuesday and Wednesday in Ohio. The teams will return to Charlotte for game 3 Friday and, if necessary, games 4 and 5 on Sunday and Monday.

Charlotte held a 2-2-1 record against the Walleye this season. Toledo has allowed the second most goals of the 15 teams in the ECHL playoffs which is good news for the high-powered Charlotte offense.

Checkers rookie backup goaltender Garrett Zemlak did his best impression of Ryan Munce with 36 saves and five impressive shootout stops on the night to earn a point. Forward David Marshall scored twice on the power play while Carroll, who has a knack for delivering important goals, scored his team-leading 30th late in the third period to lock up first place.

The first period was physical with plenty of scoring chances. The Checkers began the game with a strong forecheck and did a good job of creating offense, but couldn’t seem to find the back of the net.

Zemlak then bailed out his defense several times as a few turnovers in the defensive zone led to a number of high quality shots for Florida.

Charlotte, however, drew first blood at the 12:53 mark of the period, when winger David Marshall scored on the power play. Marshall was left alone at the top of the nearside circle and drove to the net. Center Brock Bradford saucered a pass through the defense and onto the stick of Marshall who put the puck past Florida goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu.

Florida would strike back when winger Milan Gajic carried the puck into the Checkers zone on a 2-on-1 and blasted a slapshot on the blocker-side past Zemlak to even the score at 1-1.

The two teams’ mutual dislike for one another became clear during the second period and several post-whistle scrums occurred. As a result, 18 penalties were handed out during the period with 12 going to Charlotte.

After Matt Schepke was assessed a cross-checking penalty, Everblades forward Ross Carlson broke the tie with a power-play goal off of a one-time pass from the top of the circle.

Charlotte would then surrender a pair of 5-on-3 power plays and help give Florida the upper hand. On the second two-man advantage, the Everblades added another power-play goal when forward Brandon Buck wristed a shot from the slot into the top corner.

The Checkers headed to the locker room down 3-1 after 40 minutes but came out with one goal in mind – to take the game to overtime and gain the all-important extra point.

Minutes into the third period, Charlotte would cut the deficit to one goal when Marshall collected a David Urquhart pass, went forehand-to-backhand and lifted the puck over a sprawling Beckford-Tseu.

The Checkers remained persistent on the forecheck, keeping Florida on their heels for much of the third period and their determination paid off. Steve Ward drove into the zone, left the puck behind the net for Carroll who then wrapped it around, squeezing it between the post and skate of Beckford-Tseu to tie the game with 2:15 remaining.

After an uneventful overtime period, Shea Guthrie would score the lone shootout goal to give the Everblades the 4-3 victory. The Checkers, however, walked away victorious with the division and conference title.

Charlotte (43-21-8) will face Toledo in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning home for game 3 on Friday. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/playoffs. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.





* The Checkers have clinched their first ever regular season division and conference title and will play Toledo in the first round

* Charlotte is 16-3-1 in its last 20 home games and is 12-1-1 in their last 14 overall

* Ryan Munce is 10-1-0 in his last 11 starts and leads the ECHL with a .913 save percentage

* Andrew Carroll leads the ECHL with six shootout-winning goals and leads the Checkers with 30 goals

* Last Saturday’s crowd of 12,044 was the largest in the entire ECHL this season

* The Charlotte Checkers have clinched the top seed in the American Conference and will face the Toledo Walleye in the first round of the 2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

American Conference Quarterfinals (best-of-five series)

Game 1 – Tuesday, April 6 – Charlotte at Toledo, time TBD

Game 2 – Wednesday, April 7 – Charlotte at Toledo, time TBD

Game 3 – Friday, April 9 – Toledo at Charlotte, 7 p.m.

Game 4 (if necessary) – Sunday, April 11 – Toledo at Charlotte, 2 p.m.

Game 5 (if necessary) – Monday, April 12 – Toledo at Charlotte, 7 p.m.



Roche – Leveille © Doig
Stefanishion – Taylor – Slattengren
Schepke – Bradford – Carroll

Urquhart – Schaeffer
Hendrikx – Ward
Berube – Reynolds



(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized) 



Daniel Tkaczuk – Healthy Scratch
Tysen Dowzak – Healthy Scratch
Jean-Philipp Chabot – Healthy Scratch
Randy Rowe – Recall in Lake Erie
Matt Ford – Recall in Lake Erie
Julien Brouillette – Recall in Hartford
Ethan Graham – Recall in Texas
Chris Snavely – Wrist Surgery – Season over
Trevor Glass – Back Surgery – Season over
Codey Burki – Undisclosed – Season over
Chris Chappell – Shoulder Surgery – Season over



1. CHR – A. Slattengren
2. CHR – M. Stefanishion
3. FLA – M. Pistilli



Tim Mayer (11)

Jay Jacobs (54)
James Johnstone (61)



It’s the Kelly Cup playoffs and the Checkers are the top seed coming out of the American Conference and number two overall. Toledo should be a challenge. Jason Shaya will be on the air likely at 7pm Tuesday night.

For live in-game coverage from your cell phone or computer, we’ll have the action for you at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday.

You can always buy tickets for any Checkers game home or away at Ticketmaster.com.

Should you want to watch this very exciting team from the comfort of your computer chair, all Checkers games are available on B2Live. 



Charlotte Checkers 3 At Florida Everblades 1 – Status: Final

Apr 2, 2010 – Germain Arena

Charlotte 0 3 0 – 3

Florida 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Hendrikx Chr (fighting – major), 2:37; Olson Fla (fighting – major), 2:37; Berube Chr (high-sticking), 4:25; Roche Chr (hooking), 17:59; Olson Fla (cross-checking), 20:00.

2nd Period-1, Charlotte, Slattengren 17 (Stefanishion, Reynolds), 7:41 (sh). 2, Florida, Pistilli 2 (Lang, Nicholson), 8:04. 3, Charlotte, Stefanishion 21 (Slattengren, Taylor), 10:08. 4, Charlotte, Hendrikx 8 (Leveille, Bradford), 12:56 (pp). Penalties-Schepke Chr (holding), 5:46; Olson Fla (hooking), 12:00; Urquhart Chr (fighting – major), 18:31; Baker Fla (cross-checking, fighting – major), 18:31.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Carroll Chr (hooking), 2:34; Stefanishion Chr (roughing), 12:52; Reynolds Chr (cross-checking), 19:42.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 12-13-2-27. Florida 7-11-8-26.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 of 3; Florida 0 of 6.

Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 26-14-2-1 (26 shots-25 saves). Florida, Lemay 1-1-0-0 (27 shots-24 saves).


(Dupont photo courtesy of theahl.com)



Hartford Wolf Pack CT Lottery As the season is getting close to the end there are going to be player moves and other such things that happen that come in day by day. Today there are two such stories. One for YOUR Hartford Wolf Pack and the other from the Charlotte Checkers.

First comes the word of the signing of Chris McKelvie to an Amateur Try Out agreement.

Here’s the release:



*           *           *           *

Minnesota Native Played Four Seasons at Bemidji State Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack have signed forward Chris McKelvie to an Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement.

McKelvie, a 24-year-old native of New Brighton, Minnesota, comes to the Wolf Pack from Bemidji State University, where he played four seasons of College Hockey America (CHA) action.  McKelvie skated in 37 games for the Beavers this season, registering eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points, along with 26 penalty minutes.  Season highlights for McKelvie included a two-goal effort in a 5-0 win October 24 at Northern Michigan and back-to-back multiple-point games vs. Niagara, December 4 (two assists in an 8-2 win) and December 5 (goal and an assist in a 3-2 triumph).

In 120 career games in a Bemidji State uniform, the 6-1, 190-pound McKelvie totaled 18 goals and 15 assists for 33 points, plus 88 PIM.

The second piece of news surrounds the Charlotte Checkers. We told you yesterday that Devin DiDIomete was headed back to Hartford. Other news though from Derek Wilkinson is that the team has released defenseman Ryan Crane and signed Garrett Zemlak to a contract.

Charlotte Checkers Here’s the release:



DiDiomete Recalled To Hartford; Crane Released; Zemlak Signed To Contract

Charlotte Checkers head coach and general manager Derek Wilkinson announced today that forward Devin DiDiomete has been recalled to the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack, defenseman Ryan Crane has been released and rookie goaltender Garrett Zemlak has been signed to a contract.

The moves come less than one week before the end of the regular season, at which time the Checkers must submit a 23-man playoff roster.

Zemlak, 20, joined the Checkers on Mar. 22 from the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. He is 2-0-0 in two games with a 1.85 goals against average and .933 save percentage. His two victories came against Reading, both by virtue of shootouts.

Prior to arriving in Charlotte, Zemlak enjoyed a four-year junior career in the WHL with Prince Albert and Saskatoon. In 57 games with the Raiders this season, he posted a 26-25-4 record with a 3.11 GAA and .909 save percentage, leading the team in wins, shutouts, GAA and save percentage.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound netminder was named Prince Albert’s Most Valuable Player, Most Inspirational Player and won the Molson Cup Three Star Award. He was also runner-up for the WHL’s Eastern Conference Goaltender of the Year.

DiDiomete spent 15 games with the Checkers, recording two goals, two assists and 128 penalty minutes.

The Checkers (42-21-7) will travel to Florida this weekend for two games before returning next week to host two or three playoff games next week. Playoff dates will be announced shortly and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/playoffs. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200. Visit www.gocheckers.com/AHL for more information


Charlotte Checkers      VERSUS     Reading Royals


Rookie Zemlak Stops 32 In First Pro Start; Charlotte Inches Closer To Playoff Berth

The Charlotte Checkers battled back from a two-goal deficit with three unanswered goals and downed the Reading Royals, 4-3, in a shootout on Thursday evening for their third straight road win.

Daniel Tkaczuk potted two goals while rookie goaltender Garrett Zemlak stopped 32 of 35 shots for the win in his first ever professional game. Andrew Carroll netted his league-leading fifth shootout-winning goal and Matt Schepke chipped in with two assists.

The Checkers have now won six straight games and can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Trenton tomorrow night in Charlotte.

The Royals opened the scoring at the 6:21 mark of the first period when Olivier Labelle picked up a rebound from a Rob LaLonde point shot and poked it in for his 22nd of the season.

Early in the second, Reading would make it a 2-0 game, on the power play, when Stefano Giliati took a pass at the side of the net and let go a perfectly-placed shot high over the glove of Zemlak.

The Checkers then responded with a power-play strike of their own just 98 seconds later. David Urquhart let a wrist shot go from the point and Tkaczuk was on the doorstep to pot his 10th of the season.

Less than three minutes later, Charlotte tied it on a goal by Carroll, his team-leading 25th. Michel Leveille held the puck in at the blueline to keep the play alive and skated to the hash marks before feeding a pass back to Steve Ward. Ward then let go a wrist shot that made its way through traffic and into the back of the net.

The Checkers would then take their first lead of the game on Tkaczuk’s second of the night. Zemlak played the puck to Schepke who skated the length of the ice and broke in alone on Reading goaltender Matt Dalton. Dalton stopped the initial shot and Tkaczuk banged home the rebound for the 3-2 lead.

Reading held a 26-17 advantage in shots through 40 minutes, however Zemlak stood his ground to keep it a one-goal game.

Midway through the third, the Royals went to work on the power play and made no mistake as Ryan Cruthers netted his 17th to send the game to overtime.

After a scoreless overtime, the two teams prepared for a shootout. Aaron Slattengren was the first to shoot for Charlotte and did not disappoint as he potted his league-leading seventh shootout goal. Giliati would even it up for Reading before Carroll put the Checkers ahead again.

The stage was then set for Zemlak to seal the victory in his first ever game. Ben Gordon skated in on the Charlotte net, faked and let a shot go which the rookie steered away with the left pad, giving the Checkers a 4-3 win.

The Checkers (37-20-7) will host Trenton Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.


Charlotte shoots first for each round.
Charlotte Reading
# Shooter Score
19 Aaron Slattengren Yes
11 Michel Leveille No
24 Matt Schepke No
18 Daniel Tkaczuk No
12 Andrew Carroll Yes
Score # Shooter
No 13 Olivier Labelle
Yes 20 Stefano Giliati
No 14 Ryan Cruthers
No 25 Andrew Sarauer
No 76 Ben Gordon
Totals: 2 1  


1. x-South Carolina Sting Rays 66 37 17 6 6 86 226 200 0-1-1-0 5-2-2-1 876
2. Charlotte Checkers 64 37 20 4 3 81 226 205 7-0-1-0 7-2-1-0 1359
3. Florida Everblades 64 34 21 4 5 77 207 192 2-0-0-0 7-2-1-0 1160
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 63 28 28 4 3 63 219 243 0-2-0-1 3-5-1-1 1025

x= Teams who have clinched a playoff spot.

It was a light night foe the East Coast League. Cincinnati disemboweled Johnstown, 7-1. Jimmy Kilpatrick and Dustin Sproat each had two goals and a helper. Maxime Lacroix has three helpers , Mathieu Aubin had two. Scott Reynolds had a goal and an assist, in the winning effort.

In Las Vegas, ex-Pack Brock McBride had a pair of helpers for the Alaska Aces who also had a hat trick and an assist from Bryan Miller, a goal and two assists from Nick Mazzolini,  goal and an assist from ex-Sound Tiger and NHL’er Eric Boguniecki, but it wasn’t enough. Las Vegas got a four point night (2g, 2a) from Adam Miller, Mike Madill had a goal and two helpers, Jason Krischuk had a trio of assists, Chris Neiszner had two goals and Alex Bourret had a goal and a helper himself as the Wranglers won 55 seconds into overtime on Craig Switzer’s goal giving Vegas an 8-7 victory.


*  How Garrett Zemlak was not voted the game’s First Star could only mean one thing, the voters must have been Jose Feliciano, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles.

* The Checkers have won six in a row, are 7-0-1 in their last eight games and 11-2-1 in their last 14 at home

* Ryan Munce has won five straight games, is 6-0-1 in his last seven starts and ranks third in the ECHL with 21 wins

* Matt Schepke leads the team with a +20

* Andrew Carroll leads the ECHL with five shootout-winning goals and is tied with Schepke for the team lead with 24 goals

* The 2010 class of inductees for the Charlotte Hockey Hall of Fame, presented by American Airlines, was announced today and will include former goaltender Gaye Cooley, former player and coach Fred Creighton and Cliff Mehrtens, the ECHL Checkers’ beat writer since the team’s inception in 1993.

The three will be honored during the second intermission of Friday’s game when the Checkers host the Trenton Devils at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Cooley played five seasons in Charlotte and backstopped the Checkers to three championships – one in the EHL in 1971-72 and back-to-back SHL titles in 1974-75 and 1975-76. The Kirkland Lake, Ontario native was a three-time EHL All-Star and led the league in goals against average in 1971-72 and 1974-75. Cooley recorded 16 shutouts and posted a 2.87 career GAA in 181 games as a Checker.

Prior to joining the pro ranks, Cooley played at Michigan State and led the Spartans to the 1965-66 NCAA National Championship. He ranks sixth in all-time save percentage at Michigan State and held the school record for career save percentage throughout the 60’s and 70’s.

Cooley joins Nick Vitucci as the only two goaltenders in the Charlotte Hockey Hall of Fame.

Creighton played four seasons in a Checkers uniform before stepping behind the bench for seven as the team’s head coach. He compiled 90 points and 389 penalty minutes in 204 games as a player and a 294-178-35 (.614) record as a coach.

As Checkers head coach, the native of Port Arthur, Ontario had six consecutive seasons above .500 and helped the team to back-to-back league championships in 1970-71 and 1971-72.

Creighton went on to become head coach of the NHL’s Atlanta Flames for five seasons and the Boston Bruins for a single season in 1979-80. He was twice named Minor League Hockey Coach of the Year and won four championships in 22 seasons as a head coach. Creighton was also recently inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

Mehrtens has covered the ECHL Checkers for the Charlotte Observer since the team’s inception in 1993. He has attended hundreds of Checkers games and has not missed a playoff contest. During the 1995-96 playoffs, Mehrtens traveled with the team to Roanoke, Charleston, Tallahassee and Jacksonville as the Checkers went 13-3 en route to their only ECHL championship.

A native of New Orleans, Mehrtens has covered every major event in ECHL Checkers history, including the inaugural 1993-94 season and the move to Time Warner Cable Arena. Mehrtens has won several journalism awards throughout his career and has covered high school and pro sports for 25 years


Crane – Leveille ©Slattengren
Doig – Tkaczuk – Stefanishion
Carroll – Chabot – Schepke

Urquhart – Schaeffer
Berube – Hendrikx
Dowzak – Ward


(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)


Mike Taylor – Sick – Day-to-Day
Randy Rowe – Recall in Lake Erie
Matt Ford – Recall in Lake Erie
Julien Brouillette – Recall in Hartford
Ethan Graham – Recall in Texas
Kenny Roche – Recall in Providence
Devin DiDiomete – Lower Body injury – 2-3 weeks
T.J. Reynolds – Undisclosed Injury – 2-3 weeks
Chris Snavely – Upper Body – 2-3 weeks
Trevor Glass – Back Surgery – Season over
Codey Burki – Undisclosed – Season over
Chris Chappell – Shoulder Surgery – Season over


1. CHR – A. Carroll
2. REA – R. Cruthers
3. CHR – D. Tkaczuk


Keith Kaval (20)

Ray King (39)
Matt Macpherson (83


A nine hour bus ride from Reading, PA back home to Charlotte for a battle with Trenton  Friday night. Jason Shaya will be on the air both nights at 7pm.

For live in-game coverage from your cell phone or computer, we’ll have the action for you at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday.

You can always buy tickets for any Checkers game home or away at Ticketmaster.com.

Should you want to watch this very exciting team from the comfort of your computer chair, all Checkers games are available on B2Live.


Charlotte Checkers 4 (SO) At Reading Royals 3 – Status: Final SO

Mar 18, 2010 – Sovereign Center

Charlotte 0 3 0 0 – 4

Reading 1 1 1 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Reading, Labelle 22 (LaLonde, Gordon), 6:21. Penalties-Carroll Chr (holding), 11:05; Hendrikx Chr (roughing, roughing), 12:57; Stamoulis Rea (roughing), 12:57; Ward Chr (interference), 15:33.

2nd Period-2, Reading, Giliati 18 (Cruthers, Gordon), 2:58 (pp). 3, Charlotte, Tkaczuk 10 (Urquhart, Schepke), 4:36 (pp). 4, Charlotte, Ward 5 (Leveille, Carroll), 7:26. 5, Charlotte, Tkaczuk 11 (Schepke, Zemlak), 13:08. Penalties-Schepke Chr (hooking), 2:24; Giliati Rea (interference on the goalkeeper), 3:13; Gordon Rea (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:26; LaLonde Rea (holding), 11:00; Stefanishion Chr (cross-checking), 15:34; Dowzak Chr (holding), 18:50.

3rd Period-6, Reading, Cruthers 17   11:44 (pp). Penalties-Gordon Rea (hooking), 3:03; Urquhart Chr (hooking), 4:00; Chabot Chr (high-sticking), 5:55; Schaeffer Chr (interference), 6:39; Slattengren Chr (holding the stick), 10:15.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – Charlotte 2 (Slattengren G, Leveille NG, Schepke NG, Tkaczuk NG, Carroll G), Reading 1 (Labelle NG, Giliati G, Cruthers NG, Sarauer NG, Gordon NG).

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 6-11-6-3-1-27. Reading 15-11-8-1-0-35.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 of 4; Reading 2 of 10.

Goalies-Charlotte, Zemlak 1-0-0-0 (35 shots-32 saves). Reading, Dalton 18-19-0-3 (26 shots-23 saves).



Charlotte CheckersHowlings has confirmed an exclusive report provided by Jess Rubenstein of theprospectpark.blogspot.com,  that Prince Albert Raiders netminder, Garrett Zemlak will be joining the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL as their backup netminder for the rest of the season.

Zemlak, 20 years of age, left Prince Albert Sunday night. He was to catch a Monday flight headed east.

Before leaving Prince Albert, the 6’1″ 195 pounder from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan picked up four post-season awards, including Most Valuable Player and Most Inspirational Player.

Zemlak has signed an ATO (Amateur Tryout Agreement) with the New York Rangers and will join their ECHL affiliate in Charlotte.

This season, in 57 games, Zemlak posted a 26-25-4 record along with a 3.11 GAA and a .909 save percentage. Zemlak also gave the Raider’s four shutouts.

In assessing what Zemlak can bring to the table, Rubenstein says, “Past experience says he’s not a bad guy. He can get hot for stretches. I doubt though that he has much a career beyond the ECHL.”

Howlings is very fortunate to have Rubenstein as a contributor Juniors. We’d be complately lost without his knowledge and expertise of what is going on in the juniors ranks.

(Photo courtesy of whl.ca)