In defeating the Sioux Falls Stampede by a 3-2 regulation score Saturday night at the Premier Events Center, the Green Bay Gamblers completed their first weekend sweep of the 2014-15 regular season, improved their record to 8-9-2 and increased their season points total to 18.
Kevin Reich performed admirably in his seventh outing between the pipes since joining the roster late last month, successfully warding off 35 of 37 shots on goal against him – a performance that ran his save percentage to .935 with Green Bay.
Chris Brown, meanwhile, extended his consecutive goals streak to three games with his first-period power-play score, and with another at next Friday’s home game will match Ryan Lough’s team-high streak of four consecutive games with at least one goal from last season.
Joe Wegwerth chipped in with his second goal of the season in the victory, and complemented it with his ninth assist for good measure. Brian Bowen contributed with his fifth score, additionally, while the Gamblers’ defensive lines held Sioux Falls goal-less on five power play opportunities.
With the victory on the books, Green Bay will head home for practice this week in preparation for their weekend-opening matchup with Bloomington Dec. 5 at the Resch Center. Madison will then travel to town Dec. 6 to round out the weekend.
The Green Bay Gamblers defeated the Sioux Falls Stampede by a 5-2 regulation mark Friday evening at the Premier Events Center. With the victory, Green Bay increased its season points total to 16 and improved its regular-season record to 7-9-2 through 18 regular-season contests.
Kevin Reich started in net for Pat Mikesch in the weekend opener, successfully saving 17 of 19 shots on goal against him. Five different players scored for Green Bay in the affair, of which included Chris Brown, who has now accumulated 7 PTS (2 G, 5 A) in his last five games. Matthew Dawson, Ryan Tait, Mark Yanis and Jake Kauppila also chipped in with goals of their own.
With their seventh victory in the books, the Gamblers will now look to string together consecutive wins for the first time this season at Saturday night’s weekend finale in South Dakota. Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. CT. Follow us @GamblersHockey for continual updates and statistics, and show your support using #GoGamblers.
The Green Bay Gamblers were defeated by the Madison Capitols by a 4-3 regulation mark Wednesday evening to begin their three-game road trip. With the loss, Pat Mikesch and company fell to 6-9-2 through their first 17 games of the regular season and maintained their points total of 15.
Ryan Tait tallied a pair of goals in the losing effort for Green Bay, while Chris Brown scored and assisted to increase his team-best points total to 15. Jason Pawloski made his tenth start of the season in net for the Gamblers, allowing four of 34 total shots against him for a save percentage of .882.
With the loss in the rear view mirror, Green Bay will aim to catch fire on the road during their two-game set in Sioux Falls, S.D., which is set to begin Friday evening at 7:05 p.m. CT. Follow us @GamblersHockey for continual updates throughout this weekend and show your support using #GoGamblers on Twitter.
Green Bay, Wisc. – With three consecutive overtime shootout losses in the rear-view mirror – the first time that’s happened in franchise history, believe it or not – the Green Bay Gamblers will head to Madison on Wednesday before making the seven-hour bus ride to Sioux Falls, S.D., this weekend for a two-game stand against the Stampede, which is set to begin Friday at 7:05 p.m. CT.
This weekend will be the only meeting between both clubs during the 2014-15 regular season, and will mark Green Bay’s first return to Sioux Falls since dropping both games of a road trip last February. Both clubs sport nearly identical points totals and winning percentages — Stampede 15, .441; Gamblers 14, .438 — to this juncture of the season.
Gamblers head coach and general manager Pat Mikesch is confident that his club will be able to rebound this weekend from those late-game losses, despite an abbreviated week of practices and one of the United States Hockey League’s youngest rosters.
“We’ve definitely had to grind through this first quarter of the season,” Mikesch said, “but I have no reason to believe these guys won’t bounce back or lose focus on what we’re trying to accomplish here. We’ve had a shorter week with getting ready for the Madison game on Wednesday night, so we’re just trying to build off of where we’re at.”
Let’s take an in-depth statistical look at and comprehensive preview of the match-up before the final two-game weekend set of November kicks off Friday evening at Denny Sanford Premier Center. For continual updates throughout each contest, follow the Gamblers on Twitter @GamblersHockey.
Team Season Stats
Green Bay: 6-8-2 record | .438 WPCT | 14 PTS (seventh in Eastern Conference)
Sioux Falls: 6-8-3 record | .441 WPCT | 15 PTS (fifth in Eastern Conference)
Points: GB Christopher Brown (13), SF Dakota Joshua (19)
Goals: GB Christopher Brown (5), SF Dakota Joshua (9)
Assists: GB Christopher Brown (8), SF Dakota Joshua (10)
Kevin Reich (GB): 2-1-1 record | 2.15 GAA | .935 save rate | 29.0 SV/G
Jason Pawloski (GB): 2-6-1 record | 3.74 GAA | .906 save rate | 31.2 SV/G
Stefanos Lekkas (SF): 4-4-1 record | 2.69 GAA | .904 save rate | 25.1 SV/G
Arthur Brey (SF): 2-4-2 record | 2.23 GAA | .907 save rate | 21.9 SV/G
Statistically speaking, both clubs have yet to establish themselves as threats to their United States Hockey League counterparts. Green Bay has tallied a conference-low 41 goals to go with the east’s lowest power play percentage (.092). Sioux Falls, meanwhile, maintains the west’s worst power play conversion rate (.075); though it does hold the league’s second-best penalty-kill frequency (.886).
One player whom Green Bay will aim to limit this weekend is Stampede forward Joshua Dakota, whose 19 points — 9 goals, 10 assists — through 17 contests ties of the eighth-highest mark in the league. He’s also converted 19 percent of his shots on goal, and holds true to three game-winners, which ties the top mark in the league.
“I don’t think we’re too worried about the exact matchups,” Mikesch said, “but I do think some of our bigger, stronger defensemen will match up well against him (Dakota), simply because he plays a very well-rounded game. They’ll need to make sure their aware of when he’s on the ice, much like against Matt Iacopelli of Muskegon.”
Mikesch admitted that incorporating more players on the offensive end of the ice will become crucial as the season progresses. Interchanging Jake Kauppila and Sam Miletic in the line chart last Saturday was part of that effort, he added, which will hopefully help to calibrate a roster that has become somewhat dependent upon front-line forwards Chris Brown, Brent Gates Jr., Brian Bowen and Sam Miletic.
“Our top two lines have been doing so much of our scoring, and we need to work on balancing that out a bit,” Mikesch said. “At some point, I could see (Sam) Miletic getting back up with (Chris) Brown and (Ryan) Tait, but (Jake) Kauppila had good game with them the other night.”
One player who may eventually shift to the top line at some point this season is Aaron O’Neill, who was recently activated from the 45-day injured reserve list. O’Neill, a University of New Hampshire commit, missed much of his summer after undergoing surgery to repair a sore shoulder last season, and made his first start of the season last Saturday.
“He’s getting better and better,” Mikesch said. “He played the second half of last year with a sore shoulder, and that really hurt his confidence. But I think he’s getting to that point now where he’s more and more confident. His intelligence and his overall skill-set have really helped him get back; and I expect him to grow more as we move forward.”
Though Jason Pawloski will receive the start in net Wednesday evening at Madison, Green Bay hasn’t made a decision on how best to incorporate Kevin Reich into the mix this weekend in Sioux Falls. As we noted prior to last Saturday’s game, Pawloski, a Minnesota State recruit, has performed admirable against some of the league’s best competition to this point in the season.
What will be the key for Green Bay this weekend against the Stampede? Considering last Saturday marked the first time since 2012-2013 that the Gamblers didn’t win after leading through two periods of play, the answer to that question becomes rather clear: Playing a complete game from start to finish.
“I think we need to play three periods of hockey,” Mikesch said. “I think we’ve played a lot of two-period games, and we’ve allowed teams to come back when we’ve gotten leads. But we’ve also gotten slow starts and played good second and third periods. That’s when I think we’ll be a complete team — when we’re able to put 60 minutes together on a regular basis.”
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