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IceCaps Koger has been there, played that

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Székesfehérvár, Hungary, to Salzburg, Austria, to Laredo, Texas, to Cincinnati, Ohio to St. John’s, NL, makes for a unique hockey road map.

But that’s the route taken by forward Daniel Koger, the newest member of the St. John’s IceCaps.

The 22-year-old Koger, who had been playing with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, was signed Monday to a pro tryout by the IceCaps, a team looking to shore up its depth on the wing as it begins a four-game, six-day homestand tonight in a matchup against the Syracuse Crunch.

St. John’s (14-4-4, first in the AHL’s Eastern Conference) also announced it has recalled right-winger Tommy Maxwell from the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL.

Maxwell had been with the IceCaps during the early part of the 2011-12 American Hockey League season, but didn’t get into a game before being assigned to Colorado. The 26-year-old, who spent most of the past three seasons with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, had a goal, four assists and 69 penalty minutes in 15 games for Colorado.

Koger earned top junior honours in Hungary before playing as a 19-year-old in the Austrian Elite League, first with Salzburg, then with a team from his native Székesfehérvár, the only Hungarian entry in the Austrian pro circuit.

Last year, Koger brought his game to North America and the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League. In 64 games with the Bucks, he had 29 goals and 23 assists for 52 points, which would have tied him for the league’s rookie lead had he qualified, which he didn’t because of his European experience.

It did earn Koger a move up the pro ladder to Cincinnati, where he’s played 12 games, registering five goals and six assists for 11 points, second-most on the Cyclones. His plus-eight rating was the best for the team coached by Jarrod Skalde, who happens to have been a former roommate of IceCaps’ head coach Keith McCambridge when the two were teammates on the AHL’s Saint John Flames.

"When Zinger (IceCaps general manager Craig Heisinger) brought up (Koger’s) name, I said ‘Why don’t I give Skalde a call.’ I know what Skalde stands for, so his opinion on whether a guy can play means that much more," said McCambridge.

Skalde obviously gave the thumbs-up on Koger, a six-foot-two, 200-pounder who has plenty of international experience with Hungary’s national junior and senior teams, albeit in second-tier competition.

If Koger plays against Syracuse tonight, he will be the first Hungarian-born and -trained player to appear in an AHL game since goaltender Levente Szuper, who played for three-plus seasons in the league in the early 2000’s, mostly for the AHL Flames.

•••••

Syracuse, the farm team of the Anaheim Ducks, brings a roster with more than a few familiar names.

The Crunch (10-8-1-1, 10th overall in the AHL’s Eastern Conference) have veteran Troy Bodie, one of the last cuts from the Winnipeg Jets’ training camp this fall; centre Mark Bell, the eighth overall pick (by Chicago) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft; Nathan Bell, another veteran forward and former NHL first-round draft pick (23rd overall by Vancouver in 2000); defenceman and former Montreal Canadiens prospect Mathieu Carle, and forwards Peter Holland and Kyle Palmieri, the Ducks first- and second-round picks in the 2009 NHL draft.

However, for St. John’s hockey fans, the best-known Syracuse player may be one who has yet to appear in a game with the Crunch this season. That’s former St. John’s Fog Devil netminder Timo Pielmeier, just promoted from Elmira of the ECHL after Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers was recalled by the Ducks.

Notes

Koger is now the only player on the IceCaps with a tryout contract. That’s because veteran centre Garth Murray, who had been operating on a PTO, has been signed to an AHL deal by the team. Murray has a goal, five assists and a plus-two rating in a checking role with St. John’s ... Winger Kevin Clark, who didn’t play in the IceCaps’ 4-2 win over the Toronto Marlies Sunday because of illness, took part in an optional team practice Monday at Mile One ... The leading scorer for Syracuse is winger Patrick Maroon (10 goals, 11 assists) ... Tonight is reverse jersey night at Mile One, meaning IceCaps fans will get to see their team wearing the polar night blue duds normally featured on the road ...

bmcc@thetelegram.com

Twitter@telybrendan

SCORING

No. Player Pos GP G A Pts +/- PIM

19 Marco Rosa C 22 6 16 22 11 6

10 Spencer Machacek RW 22 7 12 19 4 6

48 x* Carl Klingberg LW 20 9 7 16 5 10

5 Jason King RW 22 9 6 15 2 20

6 Jason DeSantis D 13 4 10 14 4 8

23 Shawn Weller LW 21 3 9 12 -4 22

15 xJason Jaffray LW 15 7 5 12 5 9

4 Paul Postma D 16 3 8 11 -6 10

21 Riley Holzapfel C 18 7 3 10 6 2

9 Kevin Clark RW 19 3 7 10 2 10

25 Aaron Gagnon C 13 3 6 9 2 6

16 * John Albert C 18 1 8 9 4 6

24 * Zach Redmond D 22 1 7 8 9 10

44 xArturs Kulda D 13 2 4 6 9 12

2 Travis Ramsey D 22 2 4 6 5 10

8 xMark Flood D 11 1 5 6 4 4

17 Garth Murray C 19 1 5 6 2 25

14 * Eric O’Dell C 9 3 1 4 4 6

3 xBrett Festerling D 11 1 3 4 1 6

11 * Shayne Wiebe LW 7 0 4 4 4 2

49 * Kyle Bushee D 8 1 2 3 1 6

50 * Jason Gregoire LW 8 1 2 3 3 2

45 * Jake Marto D 8 0 3 3 4 0

18 * Ben Chiarot D 7 1 1 2 -3 13

22 Kenndal McArdle LW 5 1 0 1 1 12

29 Peter Mannino G 7 0 0 0 - 4

1 David Aebischer G 8 0 0 0 - 0

40 Eddie Pasquale G 8 0 0 0 - 2

TOTALS 22 81 141 222 - 265

GOALIES

No. Player GP Rec SO GAA Sv%

29 Peter Mannino 7 4-3-0 1 2.53 .914

1 David Aebischer 8 4-0-3 1 2.82 .889

40 Eddie Pasquale 8 6-2-0 0 3.16 .886

TOTALS 14 9-2-3 1 2.70 .898

* - rookie¬¬ x - Currently not with IceCaps

TEAM STATS

Record: 14-4-4

Position: 2nd overall in AHL, 1st in Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division

Home: 6-4-2 Road: 8-0-2

Overtime: 0-4 Shootouts: 0-0

Record within division: 5-1-0

Last 10 games: 7-2-1 Current streak: 2-0-0

Goals for/against: 81/64

Goals for/against by period: 1st -31/24, 2nd - 22/22, 3rd -28/14, OT - 0/4

Record when scoring first: 10-1-1

Record when leading after one period: 8-0-1

Record when leading after two periods: 10-1-0

Power play (goals/chances): 21-for-113 (18.6 %, 15th in AHL)

Penalty kill (kills/chances): 72-for-90 (80.0%. 21st in AHL)

Shots for/against: 480/374

Average home attendance: 6,306 (4th in AHL)

Penalty minutes: 265 total, 12.05 pg avg. (30th in AHL)

Category Leaders

Goals: Jason King, Carl Klingberg (9)

Assists: Marco Rosa (16)

Plus-minus: Marco Rosa (+11)

Penalty minutes: Patrice Cormier (34)

Power-play goals: Shawn Weller, Jason King, Riley Holzapfel (3)

Game-winning goals: Riley Holzapfel (3)

Shots: Marco Rosa (64)

Shooting percentage (25+ shots): Riley Holzapfel (26.9%)

MOLSON CUP THREE-STAR LEADERS

(3 points for 1st-place vote, 2 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd)

Marco Rosa (11), Carl Klingberg (9). Peter Mannino (9)

MARY BROWNS HARDEST-WORKING PLAYER

(1 point for each selection)

John Albert (3), Marco Rosa (2), Travis Ramsey (2)

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