Erstwhile Alaska Aces winger turned Peoria Rivermen call-up Hans Benson made a fight-free debut in the American Hockey League on Thursday night, though he did get his lumber up in someone’s grill in the first period and made the perp-skate for high-sticking.
That Benson, the Aces’ chief of police, didn’t find any takers in Peoria’s 3-1 road win against the Iowa Stars wasn’t that surprising.
First, the game was tight throughout, courtesy in part to Peoria (and occasional Aces) goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu, who stopped 26 shots. Secondly, the AHL doesn’t track ice time online, so it’s hard to know whether Benson played much more than the occasional shift. Lastly, Iowa isn’t exactly “The Fight Club.’’ The guys in the Stars lineup Thursday, including center Dan Hacker of Wasilla, have totaled just 11 fights all season, and no one who dressed entered the evening with more than 71 penalty minutes; Benson engaged in 12 bouts and racked up 205 penalty minutes all by his lonesome in 33 games with the Aces.
Ah, well, there’s always the weekend for the 6-foot, 210-pound Benson. Peoria, which includes Aces defenseman Patrick Wellar, who didn’t dress Thursday (nor did Aces winger Kevin Croxton), entertains Houston on Saturday and Sunday. Aeros defenseman John Scott has fought eight times this season, and as UAA Seawolves fans may remember from Scott’s college days with Michigan Tech, he’s a strapping lad – his tale of the tape reads 6-foot-7, 255 pounds.
And while we’re on the subject of Houston, the Aeros on Thursday received former UAF Nanooks winger Aaron Voros after the New Jersey Devils traded Voros to the Minnesota Wild for a seventh-round pick in the 2008 NHL draft. Voros has played this season for Lowell in the AHL, where his teammates included former Aces sniper Chris Minard and winger Jason Ryznar of Anchorage.
Who knows? Maybe Benson and Voros will share a meet-and-grett. Voros is 6-4 and 205, and, as they say in hockey, quite willing -- he has dropped the gloves six times this season.
And speaking of Alaska connections, the blog don’t need no six stinkin’ degrees of separation. Peoria on Thursday loaned Aces defenseman Stephen Wood to Bridgeport of the AHL in exchange for the loan of forward Peter Ferraro. Ferraro played junior hockey in Dubuque, Iowa, where his coach was former UAA captain and head coach John Hill. The Aces on Thursday got back forward Julian Talbot back from Providence of the AHL. One of Providence’s alternate captains is center Nate Thompson of Anchorage.
And while Voros is on the way in at Houston, former Aces scoring machine Alex Leavitt, the ECHL’s Rookie of the Year and scoring champ last season, was loaned by Houston to San Antonio of the AHL. Leavitt began the season in Houston, but has been playing lately for the Texas Wildcatters of the ECHL.