December 22 in Indianapolis hockey history
1961: On the way to Omaha, the Chiefs team bus overheats on U.S. 136 near Crawfordsville. The team heads back home, piles into four cars and drives to Nebraska to play the Knights. The team hits a snowstorm, and only coach Alex Shibicky and two players make it. Two cars are stranded 140 miles away from Omaha in Osceola, Iowa. Another can’t be found. Omaha GM Ken Wilson can’t contact any of the stranded players and has to cancel the game – which had sold 6,000 tickets and was going to be televised locally. The stranded Chiefs make it for the next night, but fall 6-2 to the Knights.
1976: The Racers beat the Czechoslovakian National Team, at the time one of the most powerful teams in the world, 3-2 at MSA.
1981: Glen Duncan has his first professional hat trick in a 9-5 Checkers victory over Cincinnati. Charlie Skjodt also has a big day with a goal and five assists.
1984: Shawn Dineen has three assists in a 3-2 Checkers victory over Flint. Kevin Devine scores the game-winner with 9:58 left.
1989: The Ice strike for four goals in the first 11:22 — including three in a span of 1:57 — to chase Stephane Beauregard and beat Fort Wayne 6-4. Dan Vincelette scores at 9:31 of the first and again at 10:56. Just 26 seconds later, Everett Sanipass adds the fourth goal. Mike McNeill — who assisted on Sanipass’ goal — led off the scoring at 1:55. Mike Rucinski had a three-point night with a goal and two assists.
1994: Jeff Shantz assists on three goals in a 4-2 win over Cleveland. Craig Fisher scores twice, Steve Dubinsky tallies shorthanded, and Dan Gauthier scores the game-winner. Christian Soucy makes 37 saves.
Happy birthday to …
Roger Cote: Racers defenseman in 1974-75. In 36 games, he had six assists and 24 penalty minutes with the team. Cote came to the Racers after playing two seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, and had 17 points in 155 WHA games. It was the last of 15 pro seasons for Cote, who played primarily in the AHL with the Springfield Indians throughout the 1960s, where the 5-foot-9, 185-pound defenseman was named “toothpick.” A native of Belleterre, Quebec, he is 77.
Bob Fitchner: Racers center from 1974-76. He played 130 games with the team, tallying 26 goals and 35 assists, as well as 208 penalty minutes. He was dealt to Quebec in exchange for Rene LeClerc midway through the 1975-76 season, and he remained with the Nordiques until he retired in 1981. He played 11 pro seasons from 1970-81, playing with Edmonton, Indy and Quebec in the WHA and later NHL, playing 492 major pro games, with 80 goals and 159 assists. A native of Sudbury, Ont., he is 66.
Peter Fiorentino: Defenseman for the Ice in 1995-96, where he had 10 scoreless games. He also played five postseason games with the team that year. Fiorentino played for Denver, Flint, Las Vegas and Quebec in the IHL, and several years for the Rangers’ affiliates in Binghamton and Hartford in the AHL, before finishing in 1997-98 for Binghamton’s entry in the UHL. He played one NHL game with the Rangers in 1992-93. A native of Niagara Falls, Ont., he is 48.
Scott Darling: Ice goaltender in 2007-08. He had a 27-10-2 record and a 3.04 GAA that season over 42 starts, backstopping the Ice to a division title. He also had one shutout with the Ice. He went from the Ice to play for the University of Maine for two years, where he was 25-20-6. He turned pro in 2010, played two years in the SPHL for two different teams, played in the ECHL for Florida, Wheeling and Cincinnati and the CHL for Wichita. He made his AHL debut in 2012-13, playing one game for Hamilton, and followed with 26 games with the Milwaukee Admirals in 2013-14. In the summer of 2014, he signed with the Blackhawks, and started the season in Rockford. He was called up to Chicago early in the 2014 season and later was a part of their Stanley Cup title in 2015. He had a 9-4-0 record with a .936 save percentage and 1.94 GAA in 2014-15, then followed with a 12-8-4 mark and .915 save percentage the following year. Darling became the sixth Indiana Ice alum to play in the NHL. A native of Lemont, Ill, he is 28.