Dog Caller - Sundogs Find New Coach and Still More Wins

On 2/5/13 forward Adam Smyth played in his 500th professional game - Valerie Haugh

Undefeated without an official Head Coach, how would Arizona fare with a new man in charge?

Last Tuesday night the Sundogs faced the Denver Cutthroats and Arizona's newly acquired forward Kip Brennan scored first with a goal midway through the opening period, assisted by Jason Morgan. Denver would score before the end of the first and then again in the second period to take the lead. With the goalie pulled for an extra attacker in the last minute, Arizona forward and Captain Jason Morgan would light the lamp, assisted by Jake Hauswirth and Mario Larocque, to tie the game and send it to overtime. Neither team would score in the extra frame. In the shootout, no Cutthroat player would score, but Sundogs' forwards Jake Hauswirth and Johan Ryd would both find the back of the net for the 3-2 victory. Arizona had 44 shots on goal, and goalie Adam Russo turned away 19 of the 21 shots he faced.

The next day the Sundogs announced the hiring of Scott Muscutt to be the head coach for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. According to the team's press release, Muscutt has 11 years of head coaching experience, all of them with the CHL's now defunct Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. He led his team to the playoffs 10 out of 11 times and has won 2 championships, most recently in 2010-11. He has coached 709 games, with an all-time record of 432-213-64.

Muscutt joined the team in Rapid City for back-to-back games against the Rapid City Rush. On Friday night, Rapid City would get the only goal in the first period. Just over two minutes into the middle frame with the Sundogs on the power play, forward Derek LeBlanc would tie the game, assisted by Jason Morgan and Mario Larocque. The Rush would score before the end of the second period and get the eventual 2-1 win. The Sundogs totaled 35 shots on goal, and goalie Adam Russo made 30 saves on 32 shots.

The two teams met again Saturday night. The tone was set early when Sundogs' goalie David Brown turned away a penalty shot in the opening frame. Arizona defenseman Paul Kurceba would score the only goal of the first, assisted by Johan Ryd and Chad Nehring. Midway through the second, forward Derek Leblanc would increase the Sundogs' lead, assisted by Matt McCready and Chad Nehring. Before the second intermission, Rapid City would get on the board to cut the lead in half. Five minutes into the third period and on the power play, Arizona forward Chad Nehring would score and get his third point of the night, assisted by Derek Leblanc and Mario Larocque. The Rush would pull their goalie in the final minute of the game, leaving a wide open net for Sundogs' forward Adam Smyth, assisted by Johan Ryd and Matt Register, and giving Arizona the 4-1 victory. Arizona had 26 shots on goal, and Brown turned away 34 of the 35 shots he faced.

Dog Bites

Forty-five games into the season, Arizona is 23-21-4 and is in 6th place with 50 points, 12 points out of 1st place.

The Sundogs' special teams currently has a 11.98% power play percentage and an 81.77% penalty kill percentage with 4 shorthanded goals scored and 2 allowed.

On 2/2 defenseman Paul Kurceba was placed on 7-day IR, forward Cody Purves was placed on 7-day IR; On 2/9 defenseman Paul Kurceba was activated from IR.

Forward Chad Nehring continues to lead the Sundogs in both goals (26) and points (47).

Arizona has two home games against the Fort Worth Brahmas tonight and Wednesday before hitting the road to play the Tulsa Oilers on Friday night and the Quad City Mallards on Saturday night.

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