Thursday, November 25, 2004
Save Mart Center at Fresno State
Victoria Salmon Kings at Fresno Falcons
(3-8-0, 6 pts) (4-7-1, 9 pts)
2004-05 vs. Victoria: 1-1-0
ECHL Game #182, Falcons Game #13,
Home Game #11
Referee: Andy Thiessen (#3)
Linesmen: Jason Burkart (#46), Craig Kneale (#44)


The Falcons and Salmon Kings square-off in a two-game, Thanksgiving set tonight and tomorrow as Fresno tries to keep alive a three-game winning streak at home. Victoria arrives having snapped a six-game losing streak last Sunday with a 4-1 victory over the Alaska Aces. The eighth-place Salmon Kings wrap-up a season-opening, 14-game road trip in Bakersfield on Saturday before finally making their ECHL home debut on Dec. 5 with three straight against the Condors. The Falcons dropped their first clash with Victoria on Oct. 24, 5-0, before exacting a bit of revenge in a come-from-behind, 6-4 win on Nov. 13 to even the season series at a game apiece. This two-game set marks the Salmon Kings’ final visit to Fresno this season. The Falcons venture to Victoria on two separate occasions for a total of four games during the month of February.

The Falcons notched their third straight win at Save Mart Center by virtue of a 3-2 win against the San Diego Gulls last Saturday. Rookie goaltender Brett Jaeger made 36 saves and Shaun Sutter, Jason Weaver and Dan Tessier all scored to help lead Fresno to the victory despite getting out-shot, 38-17. The win draws their record at home to within a ½ game of .500 after a 1-5-1 start. These two games against Victoria cap a stretch of 12 of 14 at Save Mart Center to begin the season, which will be followed by a three-game road trip beginning on Saturday in San Diego.

The Falcons enter tonight’s game ranked 22nd (12.7%) on the power play and 24th (79.2%) on the penalty kill. The Salmon Kings are also ranked 24th (79.2%) when short-handed and 13th (16.7%) with the man advantage. The last time the two teams met, Fresno converted 2 of 5 power play chances while killing off all four Victoria opportunities.

The line of Derek Krestanovich at center, Shaun Sutter at right wing and Jason Weaver at left wing has been responsible for four of Fresno’s last five goals. Krestanovich took over the team’s goal scoring lead last Friday in a 4-2 loss to the Long Beach Ice Dogs with his third and fourth tallies of the season. His linemates then each scored last Saturday in the victory over the Gulls. Combined, the trio has four goals and seven assists in the last two games.

Jaeger’s second career win last Saturday moved him up the league goaltending rankings to 6th (93.7%) in save percentage and 10th (2.05) in goals against average…Tessier has back-to-back game-winners for the club. On Nov. 13 he scored a power play goal with 1:29 remaining to finally lift Fresno in front of Victoria, and what seemed like an insurance goal late in the game against San Diego last Saturday turned into the game-winner when the Gulls cut the lead to one less than a minute later…Tessier still leads the Falcons in scoring with 11 points (3g-8a), and Sutter is second with 10 points (2g-8a).

Although he’s not wearing his usual #47, the Fresno player wearing #55 tonight is no stranger to the club - it’s former Falcon Kris Porter, who’s been signed to help the team through a sudden rash of injuries to its forwards. Mike Kiesman has been activated off seven-day IR, but Jim Lorentz (7-day) has now joined John Wroblewski (7-day) and Lanny Gare (30-day) on the injured list. Fresno suspended forward Shawn Heaphy earlier in the week and traded goaltender Simon Lajeunesse yesterday to the Gwinnett Gladiators in exchange for cash. Michael Dilorenzo fills the void left by Lajeunesse’s departure as an emergency back-up to Jaeger.