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|MALLARDS' HEEMSKERK TO AHL'S WORCESTER SHARKS; MALLARDS SIGN FOX, NIEDERT; NIKIFOROV PLACED ON IR|
|News Releases - Sports & Recreation|
|Written by Brian Lavelle|
|Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:40|
MOLINE, Ill. (January 16, 2014) – Quad City Mallards goaltender Thomas Heemskerk has joined the American Hockey League’s Worcester Sharks on a professional tryout agreement while the Mallards have signed forward Justin Fox and goaltender Nick Niedert and placed forward Vladimir Nikiforv on seven-day injured reserve, the Mallards announced today.
Heemskerk, 23, ranks second in the Central Hockey League in goals against average (2.45) and save percentage (.920) and is tied for third in shutouts (2). The 6’ 0”, 210-pound Chilliwack, British Columbia native has suffered just one regulation loss this season, going 9-1-4 in 15 games. Heemskerk is unbeaten in regulation in his last five games, a stretch during which he has posted a 4-0-1 record, a 1.57 goals against average, a .944 save percentage and two shutouts. Last week Heemskerk was named CHL Goaltender of the Week.
This is Heemskerk’s third AHL call-up this season. The third year netminder joined the Iowa Wild for a pair of stints as a back-up earlier in the campaign. Heemskerk is no stranger to Worcester, having seen action for the Sharks each of the last two seasons. Over two games last year with the San Jose Sharks’ top affiliate, Heemskerk turned aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced in 67 minutes, turning in a 1.79 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. In four games with Worcester in 2011-12, he went 0-1-0 with a 2.14 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
Heemskerk spent the bulk of his first two seasons in the ECHL. Last year he went 14-17-3 with a 3.10 goals against average and a .906 save percentage in 38 games with the San Francisco Bulls. Heemskerk began his professional career in 2011-12 with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder, for whom he posted a record of 13-12-0 along with a 3.27 goals against average and a .893 save percentage in 25 games.
Heemskerk turned pro after four years in the major junior Western Hockey League. In his final WHL campaign, he finished second in the league in minutes (3,841), third in saves (2041) and fifth in wins (36) while recording a 2.94 goals against average, a .908 save percentage and a pair of shutouts in 65 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The 2010-11 season was the second straight campaign during which Heemskerk landed among the league leaders. In 2009-10, while tending goal for the Everett Silvertips, he topped the Western League in save percentage (.927), finished third in goals against average (2.34) and was tied for seventh in shutouts (4) while going 24-12-4 in 42 games. Heemskerk’s efforts helped the Silvertips earn a share of the United States Division title. Heemskerk joined Everett midway through the 2008-09 season after spending his first year and a half in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice.
Fox joins the Mallards from the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Huntsville Havoc. The 26-year old Whitby, Ontario, native leads the SPHL in points (40), is tied for the league lead in assists (24) and is tied for fourth in goals (16). Tuesday Fox was named SPHL Player of the Week after piling up three goals and three assists in two games last weekend.
The 6’ 0”, 190-pound Fox split last season between Huntsville and the CHL’s Tulsa Oilers. Fox scored twice and totaled 11 points in 23 games with Tulsa. He recorded ten goals and 21 points in 24 SPHL regular season games and produced three goals and four assists in eight playoff games while helping the Havoc to the SPHL finals. As a rookie in 2011-12, Fox notched 22 goals and totaled 46 points in 52 games for Huntsville.
Before arriving in Huntsville, Fox played four seasons of college hockey- two for Salem State College and, after transferring, two for the State University of New York-Oswego. He registered 58 goals and 153 points in 104 career collegiate games. In 2009-10 and 2010-11 he helped propel Oswego to both the State University of New York Athletic Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Division III Frozen Four.
Niedert rejoins the Mallards from the Danville Dashers of the Federal Hockey League. The 31-year old served as backup goaltender in three games for the Mallards last month before returning to Danville. The 5’ 8”, 185-pound product of Hudson, Iowa, has gone 3-9-1 with a 5.05 goals against average and a .874 save percentage in 13 games with the Dashers this season and also tended goal in one ECHL game for the Utah Grizzlies.
Niedert played for five teams in four leagues last season- the Gwinnett Gladiators and Reading Royals of the ECHL, the Bloomington Blaze of the CHL, the August RiverHawks of the Southern Professional Hockey League and the Danbury Whalers of the FHL. Over the course of his nine-year career, Niedert has played for 22 teams in nine different leagues after competing for five teams over three seasons of junior hockey. He first wore the Mallards’ colors during the club’s 2011 training camp.
Nikiforov, who has scored six goals and totaled 20 points in 31 games, has been sidelined by an upper body injury.
The Mallards return to action tomorrow night against the Thunder in Wichita. The Mallards next play at home on Friday, January 31 at 7:05 p.m. against the Tulsa Oilers. January 31 is another $1 Dog/$1 Beer Night presented by 97X. $1 hot dogs and beers will be available at iWireless Center concession stands during each of the Mallards’ 11 Friday night home games this season.
Tickets for the January 31 game and all Mallards regular season home games can be purchased at the iWireless Center ticket office, Ticketmaster outlets, through ticketmaster.com or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free at 1-800-745-3000. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the second period.
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