Chad Costello of the Colorado Eagles played just 47 regular-season games last season, but still won the ECHL's Most Valuable Player award -- 29-47--76 totals and a +21 rating will do that.
Costello's season came to an end when he blew out a knee in a collision with then-Alaska Aces defenseman Chad Anderson at Sullivan Arena. Still, he was ready for the start of this season, even if he said he wasn't 100 percent.
Whatever percent he is so far this season is good enough. Costello not only leads the league in scoring -- 14-33--47 totals in 25 games -- but tonight he furnished a hat trick in a 5-2 win over visiting Las Vegas.
Um, and not any old regular hat trick -- Costello's three goals were all short-handed.
Maybe the most impressive thing about Costello thus far -- other than his terrific return from a horrific injury -- is that he has delivered at least one point in 23 of 25 games. That includes a point streak earlier of 14 games in which he went 8-23--31.
If it's any consolation to Aces fans, Alaska has relatively held Costello in check this season -- granted, he has at least one point in all five games against the Aces, and six points in those matches, but he hasn't scored a goal against Alaska yet this season.