Sports Notes: IceHogs at MetroCentre tonight

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Two Road Victories: The Rockford IceHogs came home from Kalamazoo, Mich., with a 2-0 lead over the Wings in their best-of-seven UHL Colonial Cup playoffs series after 5-1 and 3-0 road victories.

Game Three was April 19 in the MetroCentre, and Game Four will be tonight (April 20) in the “Big Orange Box,” with the puck dropping at 7:05 p.m. For ticket info, call the MetroCentre box office at (815) 968-5222.

Games Five, Six and Seven, if needed, will go back and forth between Kalamazoo, Rockford and Kalamazoo on April 22, 23 and 26.

Forward Brandon Segal had a three-goal “hat trick” and an assist, and center Alex Kim had a goal and three assists to spark Rockford to the 5-1 win April 16 and the 2-0 series lead. Jason Ralph also had three assists, and goalie Michel Robinson continued his sharp play, stopping 32 shots.

Center J.C. Ruid, fresh off injured reserve, tipped a face-off pass to defenseman Rod Aldoff, who got his first post-season goal and started the IceHogs on their way. Rockford used a big second period to break open the game in front of a Wings Stadium crowd of 2,591.

In the third period, Kalamazoo finally solved Robinson, breaking his franchise record post-season shutout streak at 114:23. Segal’s three goals is most in a post-season game in Rockford history as are the four-point outputs from Segal and Kim.

Rockford won Game One, blanking the Wings 3-0 behind goals by Kim, Eric Labelle and Segal April 15 at Kalamazoo in front of 2,217 fans. Robinson turned aside 41 shots and was named star of the game.

The win could have been costly, though. Leading scorer J.F. Dufour and National Hockey League veteran Reid Simpson were injured. Dufour was taken to a hospital because he had blood in one eye.

It was Rockford’s first road playoff win and only its second overall. The ‘Hogs are in the UHL playoffs for the third time in the six years they have been in Rockford. After the first two games, their all-time record was 3-5 (1-1 at home, 2-4 on the road). Their last appearance was in 2002-03 when they lost a best-of-five series 3-0 to the Quad City Mallards.

Rockford and Kalamazoo split six games during the regular season. The ‘Hogs were 46-25-9, 101 points during the regular season while the Wings were 50-24-6, 106 points.

Bacon Bits: Season awards—Heavy Hitter: Eric Labelle. Top Rookie: Steve Pelletier. Top Defenseman: Nathan Lutz. Most Improved: Miguel Lafleche. Leading Scorer: J.F. Dufour. Fan Favorite: Lutz. Unsung Hero: Olivier Proulx. MVP: J.F. Dufour and J.C. Ruid … The IceHogs drew a franchise record 147,717 fans this season … The IceHogs completed their most successful regular season in franchise history by setting franchise records for wins, road wins, win percentage, points and tied the mark for most wins at home … Rockford was the only team in the UHL to not allow a short-handed goal on the road … Winger Eric Labelle became the first IceHogs player to lead the league in penalty minutes (390) … Forwards Olivier Proulx and Miguel Lafleche and defenseman Steve Pelletier were the only players to play in all 80 IceHogs games … Defenseman Nathan Lutz and winger Terry Harrison played in 82 total games this season. They picked up the extra games while skating in the American Hockey League … The IceHogs led the UHL with loaning eight players to the American Hockey League … Goalie Michel Robinson finished the season leading the UHL in minutes played with 3,816, which also is a franchise record … Rockford finished second in the UHL with a 2.54 goals against average … Hot Hog Week 26: Winger Bruce Watson … Defenseman Joe Pace was signed April 6 and released April 7 … Winger Brandon Segal was assigned to Rockford from the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) April 6 and recalled April 9 … Defenseman Scott Hotham was signed to an ATO April 8 … Labelle was returned to Rockford from the Utah Grizzlies (AHL) April 10.

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Harlem Fires Perrone: Paul Perrone, longtime girls’ varsity basketball coach at Machesney Park Harlem, was fired April 11 by a unanimous Harlem School Board vote.

“I have not been given the courtesy of any reason for the firing,” Perrone told WTVO-TV-17. “I was told I’d be rehired two to three times in the last month. I’m at a loss for words.”

Perrone, whose team was 9-19 last season, has been in coaching 31 years. He has been Harlem’s head girls’ coach for 13 years, and was only 12 wins shy of becoming the school’s all-time winningest basketball coach, girls or boys.

This is the second straight year Perrone has been brought before the board in regard to his coaching. Last year, the board voted to rehire him despite unfavorable comments from non-supporters.

Perrone said his evaluations by the school’s administration had all been excellent this year. His scores have been 1s and 2s on a scale in which 1 is the highest mark, reported TV-17.

He said principal Charlie Hollerith and athletic director Jay Lauscher have been supportive of him.

“My A.D. told me on two occasions I’d be recommended to be rehired … I question the amount of support I got from them (the A.D. and school principal)…I’m being honest and open,” Perrone told TV-17.

“The action the board took this evening in dismissing coach Perrone will be vigorously opposed by the union,” said Harlem teachers’ union President Lynn Kearney. “…We will file a grievance on behalf of coach Perrone.”

Perrone added: “I’m very pleased that the Harlem Federation of Teachers feels there is the need to fight this. It’s unbelievable, but it has been the history of the Harlem School District.”

The board’s decision does not affect Perrone’s teaching position. He teaches health at the high school.

He told TV-17 this is the type of decision that makes coaches leave the profession. “A lot of coaches are getting out … many are saying I have a life and a future beyond coaching,” he said.

But Perrone said despite the firing, he might consider coaching again because of his love for it.

“I know if I coach again, it will be at a school district that’s more honest and open with their employees,” said Perrone. “I don’t want to get into this situation again.”

Besides two NIC-9 championships, Perrone led the Huskies to six regional titles and coached them to two state Sweet 16 appearances, according to the local daily. He has had five seasons of 20 or more wins during his career while compiling a 206-176 mark, including 27-4 in 1998-99.

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Stadium Delay: The Rockford RiverHawks’ new stadium apparently won’t be ready in time for the June 8 opening date, and the team could play games through June at the Rockford Park District’s Marinelli Stadium on 15th Avenue.

The team planned a news conference April 19 to discuss a new stadium completion schedule and opening date, among other topics. The RiverHawks open the Frontier League season May 25 in Sauget against the Gateway Grizzlies and had planned their home opener for June 8 as part of a three-game series against the River City Rascals.

But they could play that series at Marinelli, their home since their arrival in 2002, and also could have these series dates at Marinelli: June 11-13 vs. Mid-Missouri Mavericks, June 17-19 vs. Washington Wild Things, June 21-23 vs. Evansville Otters, and June 24-26 vs. Ohio Valley Redcoats.

A three-game home series against Gateway is scheduled to begin June 30. Otherwise, the next home series would begin July 6 against the Chillicothe Paints, according to the local daily.

Kurt Carlson, a member of the RiverHawks ownership group overseeing the stadium construction, said wet grounds this spring have hampered building of the $6-$7 million project northeast of I-90-39 and Riverside Boulevard in Loves Park.

A report April 11 by WTVO-TV-17 said ballpark construction was behind schedule—and showed not much was happening at the site.

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Gladiators Leave Town: The Forest City Gladiators are no more. They now are the McHenry County Gladiators, and will play their home games at Algonquin Jacobs High School, seven miles north of I-90 off Randall Road (off Bunker Hill Drive).< p>First home game will be June 18 at 7 p.m. vs. the Cedar Valley Vikings of Cedar Falls, Iowa.

In a news release, the Triple-A semi-pro Gladiators thanked Rockford and surrounding communities for help and hospitality during their three-year stay in the Forest City.

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Second No-Hitter: Junior pitcher Jessica Zammuto (Roscoe/Hononegah H.S./Rock Valley College) tossed her second no-hitter of the season April 11, beating Concordia (Wis.) 1-0 to lead Rockford College to a non-conference doubleheader sweep.

Zammuto improved to 9-3 on the year, facing three batters over the minimum (due to three walks) while striking out nine. Her other no-hitter came against Wisconsin Lutheran College (at that time her name was incorrectly spelled Zamuto, based on information provided by Rockford College).

Rockford downed Concordia 6-0 in the other game to extend its win streak to six games. The Regents were 15-5 after the two wins. Sophomore Amber Fryman (Long Point, Ill./Woodland H.S.) allowed just one hit in gaining the complete game win, upping her record to 6-2 for the Regents.

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Regents Ranked Sixth: The Rockford College baseball team (13-8) was ranked sixth in the April 11 American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division III poll for the Central Region. The next poll is due out April 25. Polls for all divisions are available at the collegiate baseball Web site of

Carthage (17-4) was ranked No. 1 in the central area, followed by Illinois Wesleyan (16-4), Luther (15-4), Wartburg (14-6) and Washington (27-4).

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College Bowling Tourney: The 2005 Intercollegiate Bowling Championships of the United States Bowling Congress Collegiate will be Thursday through Saturday, April 20-23, at the Cherry Bowl in Cherry Valley.

The Cherry Bowl previously has served as host to the Professional Women’s Bowling Association’s Greater Rockford Open and Women’s Collegiate/Pro Challenge, and currently hosts the Illinois High School Association girls’ state bowling championships.

The IBC brings together the top 16 men’s and women’s teams in the country to compete for national titles on national television (College Sports Television). CSTV broadcast the 2004 event from Tulsa, Okla., where the University of Kansas won the men’s title and Pikeville (Ky.) College captured the women’s crown.

Visit or call (800) 514-BOWL, ext. 3402, for more information.

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Indiana St. Tabs Shelton: Senior Matthew Shelton, 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher at Machesney Park Harlem, has signed a national letter of intent to pitch at Division I Indiana State University.

Four Major League teams are scouting him, according to his father, Grover A. Shelton Jr. Matthew was only 2-0 for Harlem as of April 11, according to the local daily. But he rang up some impressive numbers in summer ball, including playing for the Kenosha Indians traveling team.

For that traveling team, he batted clean-up, played the outfield and first base when not pitching (no errors), with a .429 batting average. He had five homers, three triples and 12 doubles while the Kenosha team posted a 42-5 record and won five tournaments.

In youth baseball, Shelton pitched in three World Series, going 5-0 with two saves as a pitcher and batting .735 when pitching and playing the outfield.

Indiana State is coached by Bob Warn, who is in his 30th season. He has 1,020 career victories, including seven seasons with 40 or more wins. He ranks 13th in career victories among active Division I coaches. Indiana State plays in the Missouri Valley Conference.

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Playing in Venezuela: With the 2005 CBA season in the books, several Rockford Lightning players have signed to play in Venezuela.

All-Star and starting point guard Stais Bosmen and all-time leading scorer Ronnie Fields have taken their scoring abilities to Trotamundos del Carabobo. Jermaine Walker, who averaged more than 20 points per game in the playoffs, has begun play with Marinos del Anzoategui while starting power forward Jermaine Tate has joined Gaiteros del Zulia.

All have played in Venezuela in years past. “It is the natural progression of CBA players,” said Lightning bench boss Chris Daleo. “Players who play well in the CBA earn top dollar in many of the summer professional leagues in South America. After the season ends in Venezuela, players will try to make an NBA summer league roster and then an NBA veteran’s camp.”

Lightning 2005-2006 season tickets now are on sale; call the Lightning office at (815) 874-4232.

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Boylan, Hononegah Tie: Rockford Boylan and Rockton Hononegah girls’ soccer teams battled to a 1-1 tie in two 10-minute overtime periods April 12 to stop history in the making. The tie keeps Boylan’s record of never having lost a Northern Illinois Conference match intact, although there have been at least two ties with Rockford Guilford over that nearly 20-year span.

Boylan freshman Monica Barrera headed in a free kick from Anne Meshes with 3:11 left to tie it. Barrera also headed in a corner kick from Meshes later, but that was ruled to have happened after time ran out. Cristi Brandt scored the Hononegah goal with 10:42 left on the first-period clock.

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‘Hawks Job Fair: The Rockford RiverHawks have scheduled their annual job fair for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Sleep Inn, 725 Clark Drive. Management will accept applications and conduct interviews that day. Contact Dawn Plock at (815) 964-2255 if any additional information is needed.

The RiverHawks are the defending champions of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league in its 13th season. Season tickets, suites and 10-game mini-season plans are available by calling the box office. All games are broadcasted live on WRHL-FM-102.3 and online at

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Basketball Clinic: Tex Winter, father of the Triangle Offense, will be among the speakers at the Chicago Basketball Clinic for youth and high school coaches April 29-30 at Elmhurst York High School. For more info, call (800) COACH-13, fax (314) 991-1929 or e-mail

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RCL Quitting PSL: Rockford Christian Life is pulling out of the Private School League, with the exception of football, reported WTVO-TV-17. The rest of the sports teams will compete as independents beginning in September 2006.

The majority of PSL schools are in the Chicago suburbs. Christian Life athletic director Jeff Compton told TV-17 that all of the travel had become a burden on athletes, fans and coaches.

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NFL Flag Football: Online registration started April 1 for the Rockford Park District’s NFL Flag Football program for boys and girls 6-14 at

Registration also will be April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Carlson Arctic Ice Arena, 4150 N. Perryville Rd., and April 30 from noon to 3 p.m. at Brown Park, 2010 N. Main St. Fee is $55, due at registration. Greg Taylor (815-633-4383) and Lamont Jones (815-979-3281) run the program.

The season starts June 11, with all games played at Brown Park on Saturdays starting at 9 a.m. A football camp is slated May 28 at Brown.

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Owens in at NIU: Carol Owens, who played at Northern Illinois in the era when Jane Albright coached the Huskies to six straight winning seasons and four NCAA tournaments, is the new head women’s basketball coach at her alma mater.

Owens, an assistant at Notre Dame for 10 years, was an integral part of the teams that started the Northern Illinois tradition under Albright, culminating her senior season with a 26-5 record and the school’s first trip to the NCAA.

She replaces Carol Hammerle, 56, who retired in March after seven seasons and only one winner at NIU. Since Albright left for Wisconsin in 1994, NIU women’s basketball has had two winning seasons. In 1994-95, Liz Galloway-McQuitter went 17-14 in her first season using mostly Albright’s players. She was fired after four seasons and a 37-75 record.

At least two Rockford-area players will be at NIU next season—Stephanie Raymond, a Rockford Lutheran standout guard who led the 7-20 Huskie

s in points per game (15.5) and minutes (38.8) last season, and Rockton Hononegah recruit Kacia Gillette.

From the April 20-26, 2005 issue

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