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January 26, 1996

January 26, 1996

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

LEAGUES

Alban meets challenge, keeps Spartans on top

Michigan State coach Ron Mason was confident sophomore goalie Chad Alban could take over as the Spartans’ main man this season. Just about everyone else around the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, it seemed, had their doubts. Alban, a 5-foot-9 native of Kalamazoo, Mich., is proving Mason right and the critics wrong. After playing three games in three nights in an MSU sweep at Alaska-Fairbanks, Alban improved his record to 17-6-0 and lowered his goals-against average to 2.45. Moreover, he’s a reason why the Spartans moved into first place. During a 10-game stretch from late November to early January, Alban didn’t allow more than three goals in any contest, was 8-2-0, had a 2.06 goals-against average and a 92.0 save percentage “He has gotten better as the year goes along,” Mason said. “Early in the…

NHL TEAMS

Hamrlik to rub shoulders instead of bang heads

AC/DC will have to wait. The heavy-metal band which is scheduled to play at the ThunderDome Jan. 20 was erased from Roman Hamrlik’s daily planner when word came the Tampa Bay Lightning’s resident headbanger would be playing in the All-Star Game the same night in Boston. “I was really looking forward to seeing AC/DC,” Hamrlik said. “Could have had backstage pass and everything. But this much better. I go to All-Star Game instead, because this is dream come true.” Seeing AC/DC, Metallica or any other heavy metal band used to qualify as Hamrlik’s biggest dream. His wish list began to change a few years ago, though, when he established himself as one of the premier young hockey talents in the Czech Republic. “First dream was to make the NHL,” said Hamrlik, who earned a…

LEAGUES

Veteran RiverKing Brower finally coming of age

It may be the best comeback story in the Central League, except Memphis RiverKings’ goalie Scott Brower doesn’t think he has been anywhere. He never thought there was any thing wrong with his forgettable beginning to 1994-95. He thought it was just a matter of regaining his confidence. This season, his confidence is brimming over. And why not? In 30 games, he was 16-10-4 with a 3.90 goals-against average and 89.3 save percentage. More impressively, he led the CHL with three shutouts and was player of the week twice. “I’m starting to feel comfortable,” Brower said. “I have a good relationship with (coach) Herb (Boxer). When I first got here, I had a lot of adjustments to make. I had just played two seasons (in Finland). My confidence might have been low, but…

COLUMNISTS

New Cap-gunslinger

Steve Konowalchuk is not like a lot of NHL players who are living out their dream. That’s because growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Washington Capitals’ left winger didn’t feel he had a legitimate shot at making the big leagues. Even when he moved to Prince Albert, Sask., at 15 to pursue a higher calibre of hockey, the NHL remained a long-shot. “I was a pretty good player for Salt Lake City, but then again Salt Lake City isn’t exactly a hockey hotbed,” said Kono-walchuk, who was a surprising second on the Capitals with 16 goals after 37 games. “When 1 moved to Prince Albert I got cut from a bantam team one year and a midget team the next. It didn’t make me very happy, but I didn’t give…