INDIANAPOLIS, IN — In front of an electric crowd of 4,795 and a nationwide television audience on the NHL Network, the best of the best in the ECHL put their skills on display during the skills competition of the CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
The skills competition occurred during the break after the 3v3 semifinal mini-games featuring each of the ECHL’s four divisions and before the championship game between the South and Mountain division all-stars.
The speedsters took to the ice first in the fastest skater competition. The six skaters were divided by conference. Matt Petgrave from Brampton, Norfolk’s Grant Besse, and Cody Wydo from Wheeling represented the Eastern Conference. The Western Conference was represented by Cincinnati forward Justin Danforth, Artur Tyanulin from Fort Wayne, and Idaho’s Justin Parizek.
Petgrave set the early time with an opening run around the rink in 13.24 seconds. Immediately after Petgrave’s run, Danforth, digging in low and deep in the corners, blazed around the ice in 12.75 seconds – the fastest time recorded in an ECHL skills competition. Wydo would eventually pick up the silver medal with a 13.04 time, but Petgrave’s record-setting run earned him the pole position this afternoon.

Once the sprinters were done tearing up the ice in Motor City, the league’s snipers and backstops went head-to-head in the rapid-fire shootout. In the shootout, each goalie faces two waves of skaters from the opposing conference. Both conferences were represented by five shooters, each taking two chances against each netminder, with the goalie making the most saves declared the winner. The Eastern goalies were Florida’s Martin Ouelette and Etienne Marcoux from the hosting Indy Fuel. From the Western Conference, the netminders were Wichita’s Shane Starrett and Pat Nagle from Toledo.
While the skaters put on a show, with some great sniping from Allen’s David Makowski and Taylor Cammarata from South Carolina, Starrett only allowed a single goal in ten attempts against the Eastern Conference shooters, continuing his stellar day in the pipes from his 16-save semifinal win against the team from the Central Division, including this beauty.

Finally, the big guys took to the ice and attempted to blast pucks through the netting and break the glass in the hardest shot competition. Each conference was represented by four skaters, each of whom had two attempts to break the speed limit. The Eastern Conference had Worcester’s Woody Hudson, Sam Kurker from Manchester, Orlando’s Nolan Valleau, and Phil Lane from Atlanta. Shooting for the Western Conference were Kyle Bushee from Kalamazoo, Willie Raskob represented Quad City, Utah’s Cliff Watson, and Dante Salituro from Rapid City.
Hudson set the initial standard with a 93 mile-per-hour blast on his second attempt. After attempts to surpass Hudson from Raskob, Kurker, and Bushee fell short; it was Orlando’s Valleau who smoked a rocket through the net at 97 miles-per-hour. Take a look at Valleau’s shot. Correction: Try and take a look at Valleau’s shot.

After the skills competition was completed, the Mountain and Southern All-Stars continued the afternoon matinee for the fans, taking their talents to overtime in a 6-5 Mountain victory on Watson’s first-round shootout winner.

Look for more of our continuing coverage from today’s 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, including today’s recap of the divisional 3-on-3 tournament and tonight’s ECHL Hall of Fame induction banquet.

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