SteelHounds host 3 games with Killer Bees
The first contest is tonight at the Chevrolet Center.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown SteelHounds will begin a three game series with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees tonight at the Chevrolet Centre.
The Hounds have lost four of their last six overall and four in a row at home. They will look to turn it around against the Bees, who are led by former SteelHounds goaltender Jeremy Symington.
Symington won the first two games of the season -- both on the road -- for Youngstown before being waived.
Former SteelHounds forward Doug Orr also returns this weekend. He had three goals in 12 games with Youngstown before being waived in early December. He has four goals and four assists with the Bees.
Dangerous front line
Youngstown will counter with the newly formed dangerous line of Jeff Christian, Chris Richards and Garrett Larson. Christian and Richards lead the Central Hockey League (CHL) in assists with 41 and Christian leads the league in overall points with 63.
Larson was acquired from Colorado in a trade last week. He's scored in each of his first two games with the Hounds.
"I like what Garret [Larson] brought to the table last weekend," said SteelHounds coach Kevin Kaminski. "We have been looking for a steady third piece to the puzzle to play with Jeff and Richy ]Richards] and I think he fit in just fine. Now we have to get back that consistency we have been lacking in the past few weeks."
Rio Grande Valley (15-17-5, 35 points) is tied for third place in the CHL Southeast division. Youngstown is 7-3-4 against the Southern Conference this season including a 4-1 win on Jan. 13th over the defending CHL champion Laredo Bucks.
"[Bees coach] Paul Fixter is a coach with a lot of experience at higher levels and he has done a lot lately to improve this team," said Kaminski. "He joined the mix late in the summer much like I did here in Youngstown and after making several trades of key players I think he feels comfortable with the group he has."
Six points out of second
Youngstown (16-13-7, 39 points) is six points back of second place in the CHL Northeast division. The Hounds play 16 of their last 27 games at the Chevy Centre and are in the fifth playoff position. The top six teams in each conference advance.
"This is a critical three games for us," said Kaminski. "We have started slipping in the standing somewhat and good teams are able to respond and stop the bleeding. This weekend will show us where we stand right now. I am looking forward to the challenge."