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Dog Caller - 3 games, 3 points, and Massive Honors

The Sundogs played their final road game this past week before returning home for a weekend stand. During the week Arizona was the recipient of an avalanche of awards.

Derek LeBlanc wearing the St.Patrick's specialty jerseys on the green ice
Derek LeBlanc wearing the St.Patrick's specialty jerseys on the green ice
Valerie Haugh

For their last game on the road of the regular season, Arizona faced the Allen Americans on Tuesday night. Neither team would be able to light the lamp during the first two periods. Midway through the third, Sundogs' forward Derek LeBlanc would score an unassisted goal to break the scoreless tie. Unfortunately, Allen would score twice before the final buzzer to take the 2-1 win. Arizona had 24 shots on goal, and goalie David Brown turned away 33 of the 35 shots he faced.

Friday night, the Sundogs would take the ice against the Wichita Thunder. The Thunder would score twice in the opening period. With only 10 seconds left in the first, Arizona forward Chad Nehring would find the back of the net, assisted by Derek LeBlanc and Brian Bicek. The Sundogs would gain the lead in the second period with two goals in 12 seconds. Forward Kevin Baker would score the first goal, assisted by Matt McCready, and forward Sébastien Geoffrion would net the second, assisted by Cody Purves and Mario Larocque. The Thunder would tie the game with a third period goal. With just over a minute left in the game, Chad Nehring would get his second goal of the game, assisted by Ron Myers and Karl Linden, and the 4-3 victory for the Sundogs. Arizona totaled 30 shots on goal, and goalie Adam Russo made 21 saves on 24 shots.

The two teams met again on Saturday night and this time the Sundogs would strike first. With his team on the power play, forward Chad Nehring would light the lamp, assisted by Jason Morgan and Matt McCready. Wichita would score once in the first, once in the second and once in the third to take the lead. With 4:26 left in the game, Arizona forward Sébastien Geoffrion would narrow the lead, assisted by Cody Purves. The Sundogs would go on the power play and with just under three minutes left, forward Kevin Baker would tie the game, assisted by Cody Purves and Jeff Kyrzakos, and send it to overtime. Neither team would score in the extra frame and they would go to a shootout. The Sundogs would be unable to score, but the Thunder would score once to get the 4-3 win. Arizona had 31 shots on goal, and goalie Adam Russo turned away 37 of the 40 shots he faced.


Best of the Best

On March 15th The Central Hockey League released the results of the annual ‘Best of the Best' poll as voted on by CHL players, coaches and operational staff from each CHL team (each club submitted one ballot). The poll consists of 50 categories that cover all aspects of the league including on-ice performance, in-game entertainment as well as top venues, concessions, websites, etc. Each team provided three top choices for each category, with first place votes counting as five points, second place votes counting as three points and third place votes counting as one point. The Sundogs received the following accolades;

Adam Russo - first in "Best Goaltender in Shootouts"

Chad Nehring - second in "Most Underrated Player"

Jason Morgan - first in "Best Leader", first in "Best Player on Face-Offs" and third in "Best Penalty Killer"

Kip Brennan - first in "Best Fighter (Heavyweight)" and second in "Best Bodychecker"

Mario Larocque - third in "Best Bodychecker"

Arizona Sundogs - second in "Best Training/Equipment Staff", third in "Best Team Uniforms", third in "Best Arena Concessions" and third in "Best Mascot"

Prescott Valley - third in "Best City"

Hampton Inn & Suites - first in "Best Host Hotel"

Athletic Trainer of the Year

The CHL announced that the Arizona Sundogs' Vince Fedorowich was named the league's "Athletic Trainer of the Year". This honor was voted on by his peers across the league; Fedorowich earned a nomination last year and finished second. The 2012-2013 season is his second with the Sundogs after spending the 2010-11 season working for the CHL's, Quad City Mallards. Prior to Quad City, Fedorowich lived in Virginia for three years working as an athletic training assistant for the American Hockey League's (AHL) Norfolk Admirals from 2007-09. He has also worked stints for the AHL's Iowa Stars and the Boston Red Sox Single-A affiliate the Greenville Drive. He is a graduate of Graceland University and received a Masters Degree from Old Dominion University in 2009.

Equipment Manager of the Year Runner-Up

The CHL announced that the Arizona Sundogs' Bryan Connor was voted runner-up for "Equipment Manager of the Year". Connor has been the Sundogs' Head Equipment Manager for three seasons and this is first at being recognized in this category. The New York native worked for the American Hockey League's San Antonio Rampage from 2008-10 as assistant equipment manager. Prior to joining the Rampage Connor worked for the New York Dragons a team of the Arena Football League, first as an equipment intern, followed by football operations assistant and then serving as Manager of Football Administration. Connor earned a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Long Island University where he also served as Assistant Equipment Manager for four years.

All-Rookie Team

The CHL announced the six member CHL All-Rookie Team for the 2012-13 season, selected through balloting of CHL head coaches, and Arizona defenseman Matt McCready earned a spot on the roster. McCready is the top scoring rookie defenseman in the CHL with 27 points, 4g/23a. The Sundogs acquired McCready in a trade with Missouri in December and in 32 games with Arizona, he has totaled 21 points, 3g/18a and a +2 plus/minus rating. The Kingsville, Ontario native appeared on half of the ballots.

Dog Bites

Sixty-three games into the season, Arizona is 29-27-7 and is in 8th place with 65 points, 18 points out of 1st place and holding onto the final playoff spot by 7 points.

The Sundogs' special teams currently has a 14.29% power play percentage and an 82.22% penalty kill percentage with 4 shorthanded goals scored and 4 allowed.

On 3/12 forward Jake Hauswirth was activated from IR, forward Brian Bicek Brian was activated from suspension and forward Sébastien Geoffrion was granted leave by league; On 3/15 defenseman Paul Kurceba was moved from 14-day IR to season ending IR and forward Sébastien Geoffrion was activated from leave by league; On 3/16 defenseman Kirill Tulupov was placed on league suspension for 1 game; On 3/17 defenseman Kirill Tulupov was activated from suspension.

Forward Chad Nehring still leads the Sundogs in both goals (33) and points (55).

Arizona will play its final three regular season games at home, all against the Fort Worth Brahmas. The teams will meet Wednesday, puck drops at 6:05pm, Friday and Saturday, puck drops at 7:05pm.