Tonight was my first night really back at things after being sick most of the past month. If you haven't seen me around, it's because I haven't been around much. If I've learned one thing over the years, it's that hockey rinks are no good for sick people, especially if you have a respiratory problem. The dry air is very hard on the lungs. That's my hockey health tip for the day -- if you're sick, don't go to hockey games. You'll only feel worse and could cough up a lung.
In celebration of my impending wellness, you get a full-service post with updates and photos. We'll begin pre-game, with the two-touch match. I had nothing better to do before warmups and didn't have the energy to go back upstairs, so I stood and watched. It was Stamoulis, Mahrle, Turple, Campbell, Busniuk and Milam playing. At the end it was down to Busniuk and Milam. Busniuk talked a good game, but he lost to JMo.
The Gladiators dressed seven defensemen tonight, as Jimmy Jackson made his return to the lineup. Myles Stoesz was scratched as a result. "Had to scratch somebody," Pyle commented on that. I asked if he would make a roster move because he had too many D, and he said he'd more likely move someone up front. That could get interesting as there are already enough forwards. I asked if York signing in the CHL had anything to do with Jimmy coming back and Pyle said no, they just offered him more money. Oh, Dirk Southern had his knee surgery on the 31st and all went well. Pyle was happy with the game, just a hard-fought battle that ended 1-0 in Mississippi's favor.
Here were the lines:
Lou Dickenson - Jeff Campbell - Tomas Pospisil
Matt Anderson - Mike Vigilante - Mike Hamilton
Bryson Busniuk - Stuart MacRae - Andy Brandt
Jimmy Jackson - Jamie Milam
Jeff Mason - Dinos Stamoulis
Chad Denny - Ryan Mahrle
Power play unit #1: Dickenson, Campbell working the half wall, Anderson in the slot, Busniuk and Milam as the triggerman.
Power play unit #2: Mason the trigger, Vig the point/sinker, MacRae, Hamilton and Brandt in the slot.
PK unit #1: Jackson, Milam, Hamilton, Anderson
PK unit #2: Denny, Mason, Vigilante, Campbell
PK unit #3: Brandt, MacRae, Sitko, Mahrle
PK unit #4: Pospisil, Busniuk
Basically everyone played on the PK except Stamoulis.
Brad Schell update: he's now practicing with a junior or college team (Pyle wasn't sure which), to see how he handles the physical contact. In lieu of a photo of Schell, here's his cousin, Morgan Cey, who backed up tonight.
Mississippi crawls across the ice. OK, maybe they're stretching.
I have never seen a team have so much fun during warmups as the Sea Wolves. Here are Lance Monych and Gio Flamminio (now that's a name).
Flamminio yaks it up.
"You guys are killing me over here."
In game -- Andy Brandt and Travis Lisabeth.
Funny crowd shot. I didn't mean to get this, it was the background of another. "What's wrong with my teeth?"
Pospisil, a Czech, chats with Marek Kvapil, a Slovak, on a faceoff.
Pospisil in action.
Dickenson in action. He's really flashy, so this is not an unusual visual below.
The star of the game was Ryan Munce though. He had a 36-save shutout. I had intended to talk to him afterwards regardless of outcome, but it's always nice when guys have really good game because they are happier to talk. When I was finishing up with him, Jeff Pyle yelled down the hall to him "Good game" on his way out. Munce didn't know who he was, so I had to explain. Anyway, Munce has a lot of talent, and for whatever reason, the Tampa Bay Lightning have buried him in Mississippi even though he has the best numbers of anyone who has played in Norfolk this year, including Ramo. I bet he signs with another NHL team next year and sticks in the AHL. He's really too good for the ECHL (has a .948 save percentage, 2.09 GAA and 7-2-0 record with 2 shutouts). Seems like a down to earth kid.