2011-2012 Season in ReviewTuesday, May 01, 2012
The Elmira Jackals recently completed their fifth ECHL season and most successful one to date, going 45-22-2-3 on their way to capturing Eastern Conference's regular-season title for the first time since entering the league in 2007-2008. The Jackals proceeded to defeat the Reading Royals in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, three games to two, before falling to the Florida Everblades in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, four games to one. The playoff series win was Elmira's second in ECHL competition and first since the 2008-2009 season.
GAZLEY RISES TO TOP OF ECHL
Dustin Gazley became the fifth rookie in ECHL history to lead the league in scoring, putting together 85 points, including an ECHL-best 60 assists. The first-year skater beat out Las Vegas' Adam Miller for the league's scoring crown by one point. Gazley was the third rookie in the last 22 years of ECHL play to record the most points in a season.
The Novi, Mich. native earned the John A. Daley Trophy as the ECHL Rookie of the Year, becoming the second Jackal ever to win that award (Justin Donati, 2009-2010). Gazley was 19 points ahead of Cincinnati's Mathew Sisca for the rookie scoring belt. He was also named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team and the All-ECHL First Team for his efforts.
The Jackals became the first team in ECHL history to have the league's leading scorer in three-straight seasons. Tyler Donati posted an ECHL-best 114 points (38g-76a) in 2009-2010 while Justin Donati's 94 points (27g-57a) topped the league in 2010-2011.
ELMIRA SETS FRANCHISE RECORDS
The Jackals highlighted ther 2011-2012 season by equaling and setting multiple club records.
Elmira's league-best 45 wins tied the overall franchise record for victories in a season, originally set in the 74-game UHL season of 2001-2002. The Jackals set a new club mark in ECHL play for wins in a season, breaking the previous record of 41, accomplished in 2007-2008.
Elmira's 25 home wins were the most for the club in ECHL competition and tied its record for First Arena victories set in 2001-2002. The Jackals' previous record in ECHL play for home wins was 21 in 2007-2008. Elmira's 20 road wins tied the franchise record both in the ECHL and UHL. The Jackals also reached 20 wins on the road in 2001-2002 and 2007-2008.
JACKALS EQUAL LEAGUE SHOOTOUT MARK
Elmira won 11 shootouts in 2011-2012, tying the ECHL record for shootout victories in a season in the league's overtime/shootout era. The Jackals won their first eight shootouts of the year before finally falling in one on Jan. 29 in South Carolina. Mike Radja led the league with nine shootout tallies while Brian Stewart tied for the ECHL lead with nine shootout wins. Stewart won his first nine shootouts of 2011-2012 of the season and was 13-0 lifetime in shootouts (10-0 - ECHL, 3-0 - AHL) before he and the Jackals lost one on the final day of the regular season to the Wheeling Nailers at WesBanco Arena, 4-3.
The Lexington Men O' War and the Greenville Grrrowl were the first two teams in league history to amass 11 shootout victories in a season. Lexington did it in 2002-2003 while Greenville tied the record in 2004-2005. The Toledo Storm hold the overall league record with 17 shootout wins, setting the mark in 1995-1996, part of a five-season span in which the league when directly from a tied regulation game to a shootout.
The Jackals could never be counted out of a game in the regular season, as they accumulated 23 comeback wins in 2011-2012. Elmira notched the second-most victories by an ECHL team ever when trailing after two periods, recording 12 during the campaign. The Jackals had won four games when facing a deficit after 40 minutes in each of their first four seasons in the league. The 1995-1996 Storm set the league bar with 13 wins when trailing after two periods. The Jackals totaled 10 wins when trailing during a game by two goals, including six against their first-round playoff opponent and rivals, the Royals.
During their first-round series against Reading, the Jackals became the eighth team in ECHL history to overcome a two games to none deficit and prevail in a best-of-five series.
The Jackals were involved in a slew of nailbiting games during the season and led the league in one-goal wins, going 26-8-2-3 in contests decided by one tally. Of Elmira's 72 games during the regular season, 57 were decided by one or two goals. The Jackals accounted for 36 of their 45 wins in one or two-goal contests.
GOALTENDERS POST RECORD CAMPAIGNS
Brian Stewart and Timo Pielmeier accounted for the two best seasons by Jackals goaltenders in ECHL competition in terms of save percentage and goals-against average. Stewart's .917 save percentage and 2.56 goals-against average were the best marks by an Elmira goalie since the club joined the ECHL. His 26 wins were one shy of Joel Martin's record 27 in 2007-2008. Pielmeier's .910 save percentage and 2.72 goals-against average were second best only to Stewart. The duo helped Elmira set a club low in ECHL play of 204 goals against during the regular season.
RIVET'S PRESENCE LEAVES LASTING IMPACT
Craig Rivet signed with Elmira on Oct. 10 and had a positive influence on the Jackals' success in 2011-2012. The former Buffalo Sabres captain and a veteran of 923 NHL games posted a +11 rating with the club, scoring five goals and adding 19 assists for 24 points.
RADJA RETURNS IN STYLE
Mike Radja tore up the league in the final month of the season when he returned from the AHL on Mar. 3. Radja scored 14 goals in 13 games in March, the most by any player in a single month in the league in 2011-2012. The Yorkville, Ill. native had a hat trick in his first game back with the Jackals to start the month, his first as a pro. Radja led the Jackals during the season with 31 goals and was named the club's MVP.
SPECIAL TEAMS STAND OUT
The Jackals were the only team in 2011-2012 to have a top-five power play and a top-five penalty kill, as the club ranked in the top five in both categories for the first time in their ECHL history. The power play, led by eight goals from Mike Radja, was fourth in the league at 21.1%. The penalty kill, paced by the shot-blocking prowess of Jean Bourbeau, also checked in fourth at 84.4%.
BINGHAM BACK ON TOP
In his third season as a head coach in the ECHL and first since the 2004-2005 campaign, Pat Bingham won his second regular-season conference championship. He also won the Eastern Conference regular-season title in 2003-2004, leading the Wheeling Nailers to a 51-17-4 record.
JACKALS ANNOUNCE ANNUAL AWARDS
Prior to their final home game on Mar. 30, the Jackals announced their team awards for 2011-2012. They were alloted as follows:
Most Valuable Player - Mike Radja
Rookie of the Year - Dustin Gazley
Defensemen of the Year - Matt Campanale and Mario Larocque
Leading Scorer - Dustin Gazley
Hardest Working Player - Artem Demkov
Unsung Heroes - Jean Bourbeau and Jordan Pietrus
Most Improved Player - Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel
Community Service Award - Jordan Pietrus
Player's Player Award (Best Teammate) - Craig Rivet
2012-2013 SEASON TICKETS ON SALE
Jackals 2012-2013 season tickets are on sale now, and fans are invited to take advantage of early-bird pricing from now until June 15th.
Packages start as low as $324 and include tickets to all 36 regular season and any preseason home games. Exclusive advantages available only to season ticket holders include a discount off the walk-up ticket price, the same seat all season long, access to the annual Blue/White scrimmage, discounts to select First Arena events, and special season ticket holder coupons.
Fans can take advantage of early-bird pricing by paying in full by June 15th. Current season ticket holders looking to reserve the same seats for next year must place a $100 deposit by June 15th or risk losing their current seats. Partial season ticket plans are also available as well.
Avoid lines at the box office on game day by purchasing season tickets to see the Jackals in 2012-2013. Fans may download the 2012-2013 season ticket form by clicking here or can order their tickets by calling (607) 734-PUCK (7825) or by visiting the First Arena Box Office.