Three Gladiators named to All-ECHL team

DULUTH - Forward Jeff Campbell, goaltender Craig Kowalski and defenseman Jamie Milam were voted onto the All-ECHL team on Friday.

Three not very surprising picks.

"They all deserve it," Gwinnett head coach Jeff Pyle said.

All three are among the league's best at their positions.

Campbell, the 2005-06 MVP, was among the five first-team All-ECHL selections on Friday as the league's second-leading scorer.

An all-rookie team selection in 2003-04, Campbell had a 13-game assist streak from Nov. 30 to Dec. 28 this year. It was the league's longest such streak since Pee Dee's Dany Bousquet got at least one assist in 12 consecutive games in 2002.

Campbell made one trip to the American Hockey League this season, collecting three points in eight games with Norfolk.

Pyle said other AHL teams have come calling for Campbell, but the 26-year-old decided not to go.

"Soupy had the opportunity, could have been out of the league and stayed," Pyle said. "From that aspect, he's probably been the main vein for us. He's been the go-to guy, the constant in an inconstant situation."

Kowalski and Milam were second-team selections.

Kowalski's 29 wins lead the league. He is fourth in goals-against average (2.33), save percentage (.923) and minutes played (2,574).

"K-wal is a goalie like I've never had before," Pyle said. "He's outspoken, he's more of a leader. Most goalies aren't. They just do their job and they're quiet. He's more of an outgoing guy. He's just got leadership qualities written all over him."

Kowalski was voted as a starter for the ECHL All-Star Game and also played in the AHL where he was 2-1-0 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 2.36 and a save percentage of .906 in four games with Syracuse.

"He's had a great year and deserves all the credit," Pyle said. "I could vote him for MVP and not bat an eyelash."

Milam, also a starter at this year's All-Star Game and member of last year's all-rookie team, is tied for the ECHL lead among defensemen with 31 power-play points. He is second with 52 points in 70 games.

"Milo has grown quite a bit, I think, from a standpoint of his game all around and maturity," Pyle said. "I think people forget that in the end, that's what this league is for.

"He's taken that step and I hope he, at some point, gets that chance (at the next level)."