With this weekend's final two regular-season games in Ontario, Calif., rendered somewhat less than vital for the ECHL Brabham Cup-winning Alaska Aces, the team will leave leading scorer Nick Mazzolini and winger Alexandre Imbeault at home.
Coach Rob Murray at practice this morning said there's no reason for Mazzolini, the club's most valuable player, to risk injury. Mazzolini said rest is more important than anything this time of the season and he's not sweating the ECHL goal-scoring title -- he's tied with Colton Yellow Horn of Ontario (who has been in the AHL for a long stretch now) with 36 goals, one ahead of Florida's Mathieu Roy and two clear of Colorado's Michael Forney. Besides, Mazzolini said, he had plenty of chances to boost his goal numbers last week in three games in Colorado, so whatever happens in the goal-scoring race happens.
Imbeault has been suffering issues with his back for a few weeks now, so the thinking is it is best for him to stay home for rest and treatment in preparation for the playoffs, which the Aces open Friday, April 5.
Murray said he'll split starts in Ontario -- games are Friday and Saturday -- between goaltenders Gerald Coleman and Mark Guggenberger.
Meanwhile, the ECHL released the All-Rookie team today -- the team was voted by coaches, media relations directors, broadcasters and media. (For what it's worth The Blog does not vote -- he sees just nine of the circuit's 23 teams and it's not like you can just click on the TV at night and see ECHL highlights, so figures he isn't in position to make a fair, knowledgeable vote)
2012-13 ECHL All-Rookie Team
G – Ryan Zapolski, South Carolina Stingrays (39 gp, 26-11-2, 1.66 GAA, .942 save pct.)
D – Cameron Burt, Ontario Reign (59 gp, 1g, 36a, 37 pts., +19)
D – Sacha Guimond, Gwinnett Gladiators (57 gp, 12g, 35a, 47 pts., -4)
F – Mario Lamoureux, Ontario Reign (69 gp, 25g, 38a, 63 pts., +30)
F – David Pacan, Cincinnati Cyclones (57 gp, 14g, 38a, 52 pts., +10)
F – David Vallorani, Reading Royals (66 gp, 17g, 41a, 58 pts., +18)