Monday, April 19, 2010
On April 13, 1998, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim rookie Frank Banham scored his seventh goal of the season on a tap in at 13:44 of the third period against goalie Patrick Roy to tie their game with the Colorado Avalanche at 2-2. The game would end in a tie.
Frank Banham of the Mighty Ducks
Two days later rookie Matt Cullen opened the scoring of the Mighty Ducks game against the Edmonton Oilers at 17:29 of the first period. Czech rookie Josef Marha scored his eight goal of the season at 11:11 of the second period to extend the Mighty Ducks lead to 2-0 before the Oilers would respond with four straight goals prior to rookie Banham pulling the Mighty Ducks within one at 8:36 of the third period when he scored his eighth goal of the season. The Oilers would seal the game with an empty net goal to win 5-3.
On April 18th, the Mighty Ducks traveled to Los Angeles to face the Kings. Another Czech, rookie Pavel Trnka netted his third goal of the season on the power play at 17:28 of the first period. 83 seconds later rookie Mike Crowley scored his first NHL goal at 18:51 to widen the margin to two goals. A little over halfway through the second period Banham scored a goal in his third consecutive game to give the Mighty Ducks a 3-0 lead. The Kings scored on the power play in the third before rookie Marha's ninth goal of the season accounted for the final 4-1 score.
The final game of the regular season came on this date in 1998 with St. Louis visiting The Pond. Rookie Crowley, from the University of Minnesota, got the Mighty Ducks on the board with his second goal of the year with 2:40 remaining in the first period. It was the ninth consecutive goal scored by Mighty Ducks rookies over a span of four games.
After a St. Louis goal in the second period, Travis Green got the Mighty Ducks veterans on the board to end the rookie scoring streak at 9:27 of the second. Rookie Jeff Nielsen, also from Minnesota, scored the final Anaheim goal of the regular season with his fourth with 2:50 left in the game to make the score 4-3 for St. Louis.
Cullen has now played 12 NHL seasons and is currently with the Ottawa Senators, his fourth NHL club.
Banham played 32 NHL games, 27 with Anaheim and five with the Phoenix Coyotes, scoring nine goals and 11 points. He has played the majority of his career in Europe, spending time in Finland, Russia, Switzerland and primarily the Austrian league where he continues to play today.
Marha originally played for the Colorado Avalanche, the Mighty Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks over six seasons, totaling 159 games and 53 points prior to finding a home with Davos in Switzerland, where he just completed his ninth consecutive season.
Nielsen played two full seasons with Anaheim followed by 59 games with the Minnesota Wild to finish his career with 252 games played.
Trnka played six seasons with the Mighty Ducks before a trade to the Florida Panthers. He returned to his native Czech Republic where he continues to play.
Crowley made it into 67 games with Anaheim over three seasons before his playing days concluded in the 2001-02 season with the Houston Aeros of the AHL.
Today's featured jersey is a Nike 1996-97 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Frank Banham jersey.
The Mighty Ducks wore four jerseys in 1997-98, their normal home white and road eggplant jerseys. They also re-introduced a third jersey to their set following the disastrous "Wild Wing" jersey of 1995-96. The new alternate jersey used the standard team logo on the front of a white jersey with full length sleeve stripes and a new number font.
Boldly, the Mighty Ducks also produced a fourth jersey, reversing the colors of the third jersey, promoting jade to the primary color. The fourth jersey would see use for two seasons, while the white third jersey would be used for three seasons, the final one seeing a change in manufacturer to Pro Player.
As has happened before, today's video section illustrates how a player who fails to crack an NHL lineup, or is a journeyman at best, can move to Europe and have a long, successful career has a professional hockey player.
Case in point, Frank Banham, whose 32 games make him all but forgotten in NHL terms. Banham, with a total of nine NHL goals and 11 points, is considered to be "a sniper" while with with the Espoo Blues in Finland, where he scored 24 goals in 56 games in 2000-01.
Now playing with the Slovenian club Ljubljana Olimpija HK, which competes in the Austrian Erste Bank Hockey League, he electrifies the crowd with this game winning, spin-o-rama, backhanded goal, captured clearly on the replay.
2004-05 saw Banham play for SaiPa Lapeenranta in Finland, scoring 24 goals and 49 points in 56 games, captured here is this highlight reel.
While with Red Bull Salzberg he was a part of back to back Austrian championships in 2007 and 2008 and inspired a devoted following, as evidenced by this tribute video.