Jacksonville Sports Day

ECHL NOTES: Utah’s Ortega Named CCM ECHL Rookie of the Month

Photo by Kevin Bires

Austin Ortega of the Utah Grizzlies is the CCM ECHL Rookie of the Month for February. Ortega scored seven goals and added 14 assists for 21 points in 11 games during the month. The 23-year-old picked up at least one point in 10 of his 11 outings in February, including eight multi-point games. He had three points on Feb. 9 at Rapid City, Feb. 19 against Idaho and Feb. 24 against Wichita and ended the month on an eight-game point streak. Ortega was named ECHL Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 25 after recording eight points (2g-6a) in three games.

Florida Bests Icemen 6-2

The Jacksonville Icemen’s four-game unbeaten streak ended as they lost, 6-2 to Eastern Conference-leading Florida Everblades in Estero. Florida who was first to find the back of the net. Just over halfway into the frame, John McCarron fired a shot from below the right circle on a 5-on-3 power play to beat Austin Lotz. Jacksonville would outshoot the ‘Blades, 11-9, but trail following the first 20 minutes.

Early in the second period, Garet Hunt scored from the left circle to briefly tie the game. The goal would tie Hunt’s season-single goal record of 14 from 2013-14 with the Stockton Thunder. The ‘Blades tallied four goals in the second frame. The onslaught started with Quentin Shore, who scored off a rebound from the right circle to give the ‘Blades their second lead of the game. Next, it was Michael Kirkpatrick who scored after playing pitch and catch on a 2-on-1 breakaway with teammate Mitchell Heard.

Following that tally was Brett Bulmer’s goal, as Justin Kea slid him the puck through the crease for the tap-in goal. Zack Kamrass fired a shot above the left circle, through a screen, and past Austin Lotz for the 5-1 Florida lead. Colton Phinney would come into the game to replace Lotz after the fifth goal.

Shortly before the period ended, Tanner Eberle dished a backhand pass across the ice to Elgin Pearce, who one-timed it past Martin Ouellette to make it 5-2. Justin Kea took the puck at center ice and skated past an Icemen defender before putting it past Phinney for the 6-2 advantage.

Nagle Named Goaltender of the Month

Pat Nagle of the Toledo Walleye is the Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Month for February. It is the second time this season that Nagle has received the monthly honor. The 30-year-old went 8-0-0 with one shutout, a 1.72 goals-against average and a save percentage of .942 during the month.

A native of Bloomfield, Michigan, Nagle allowed two goals or less in six of his eight starts and made at least 27 saves five times. He made a season-high 44 saves in a 4-2 win at Indy on Feb. 3 and stopped all 28 shots he faced in a 1-0 victory against Wichita on Feb. 11 for his second shutout of the season.

Shea is February Plus Performer

Fort Wayne Komets’ defenseman Bobby Shea is the AMI Graphics ECHL Plus Performer of the Month for February after leading the league with a plus-minus rating of +26. Shea posted an even or better rating in all 12 games during the month including a +6 on Feb. 9 against Wichita. He was also a +4 in back-to-back games on Feb. 3 at Wheeling and Feb. 7 against Wichita. The 27-year-old ranks third in the league with a +31 rating this season while posting 23 points (6g-19a) in 53 games this season.


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