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Page last updated at 07:52 GMT, Thursday, 8 July 2010 08:52 UK

Panthers sign American netminder Craig Kowalski

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Nottingham Panthers have signed American netminder Craig Kowalski to replace Kevin St Pierre.

The 29-year-old comes to the UK after a season in Italy, but the NHL draft pick has spent much of his career playing in North America, including the AHL.

Coach Corey Neilson said: "Craig was one of my top targets when I was recruiting in my first year and he has stayed on my radar ever since.

"He has the ability to win games for his teams almost single-handed."

In the 2007/08 season he was named on the East Coast Hockey League all-star team as the American Conference's starting netminder.

He fits with what we're aiming for this year, every guy is going to earn what he gets, every night we play

Corey Neilson on netminder Craig Kowalski

"He has proved he can stand the pressure of facing a lot of rubber, whilst also being able to maintain his concentration in games where he only has around 25 shots to deal with," added Neilson.

"His numbers are fantastic. He had a tricky start to his European career on an expansion team in Italy last year, but even there his stick-handling skills shone through and he even scored a goal.

"He's desperate to win, wants to get that winning feeling back and he wants to be part of a good team with big ambitions.

"He fits with what we're aiming for this year, every guy is going to earn what he gets, every night we play.

"All the reports on him are good. His stick-handling will help us break up opponents' forechecks.

"A former coach of mine and Craig's said 'I'd take him on my team any day, in the ECHL or the AHL' and David Beauregard played on the same team in Italy last year and he said the same thing."

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see also
Panthers up with best - St Pierre
07 Jul 10 |  Ice Hockey
Panthers start season with Giants
29 Jun 10 |  Ice Hockey

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