| Disapointing opening
Grand Rapids & Manitoba spoil start of
10/18/04 - by Craig Haueter
Despite the labor stoppage in the NHL, the American Hockey League
raised the curtain on their 69th season this week. The Cleveland Barons
stumbled out of the blocks with a shootout loss in Grand Rapids Friday night by
a count of 3-2, followed by a 6-4 loss back home Saturday night at National
City Rink at Gund Arena in the home opener at the hands of the Manitoba
Friday night, Tomas Plihal and Scott Dobben scored the Barons
goals, both coming in the first period. The Barons employed a new checking
scheme to begin the 2004-05 campaign that included high energy skating and
relentless offensive pressure. After a scoreless overtime period, the Barons
and Griffins participated in the new shootout format implemented in the AHL to
eliminate ties. Marcel Goc and Shane Joseph converted the first two shootout
opportunities for the Barons, but Grand Rapids won the shootout with Nathan
Robinson converting the third shootout goal of the evening for Grand
Penalties made the difference in the home opener Saturday night
against Manitoba in front of 6,967 fans. Five of the two teams 10 goals
were scored on power plays, and the Moose earned a pivotal goal from a penalty
shot in the second period. Marcel Goc scored a pair of goals for Cleveland
(0-1-0-1) and Tomas Plihal added his 2nd goal in as many nights. Jason King led
the Moose in scoring with a hat trick.
Opening night roster: (Defense) Jim Fahey, Doug Murray, Josh Gorges, Christian
Ehrhoff, Greg Labenski, Tim Conboy; (Forwards) Riley Armstrong, Craig Valette,
Shane Joseph, Josh Prudden, Nick Bootland, Patrick Rissmiller, Tomas Plihal,
Ryane Clowe, Aaron Gill, Scott Dobben, Marcel Goc; (Goalies) Dimitri Patzold,
Missing in action: Matt Carkner (suspension), Garrett
Stafford (suspension), Grant Stevenson (eye infection), Mike Hoffman (healthy
scratch), Glenn Olson (healthy scratch), Milan Michalek (injured), Scott Ford
Marcel Goc kept a nice goal streak going Saturday night.
Going back to the end of last season, Goc has scored at least one goal in the
last 6 home games, the longest current streak in the AHL.
return to action Wednesday night (October 20) when they host the Milwaukee
Admirals (Nashville farm team), the reigning Calder Cup Champions.
average age of a player on an AHL opening-night roster was 23 years, 8 months.
That figure is 10 months younger than the average AHL player on opening night
in 2003. Providences (Boston) Patrice Bergeron, who turned 19 in July, is
currently the youngest player in the league.
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