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As if Worcester goalie Jamie McLennan's statistics aren't impressive enough this season, consider this: It's a miracle McLennan is even living and walking.

McLennan, who leads the AHL with a 1.05 goals-against average and a perfect 4-0-0 record, came within hours of death this summer from what turned out to be a meningitis-related sickness. He showed up at an Alberta hospital in the nick of time.On his way home to Edmonton, McLennan stopped to visit friends. He felt poorly, so he went to the hospital where he was told he probably had the flu.

The next day he felt worse, so he went back. This time doctors kept him there for a month, the first week in intensive care.

``They (doctors) said if I had waited a couple more hours, it would have killed me,' McLennan told The Hockey News.

McLennan still wasn't out of the woods. The disease had attacked his whole body, damaging nerves and leaving him unable to walk. He lost 30 pounds and a lot of muscle.

``After he passed the point of he was going to live, the next thing was whether he was going to walk again,' said Worcester coach Greg Gilbert.

After weeks of rehabilitation, McLennan was able to walk out of the hospital. A few months later he skated into training camp ready to play hockey.

``He's a person that that wasn't going to hold him back,' said Gilbert. ``He worked harder and harder every day to get back.

``To go through something like that in the summer and be able to report to camp in great condition is a compliment to him.'

McLennan has played well enough to get recalled briefly by the St. Louis Blues. He returned to the IceCats in time to beat Carolina 4-2 on Wednesday. McLennan could be in goal again tonight at the Greensboro Coliseum when the IceCats and Monarchs meet again.

POINTLESS: Craig Martin has failed to get an assist or goal through the Monarchs' first 13 games, a stretch he can't recall having since his first year of minor-league hockey.

``I'm not worried about it,' said Martin, who nonetheless is second in the AHL in penalty minutes. ``I'll break out of it soon.'

Meanwhile, defenseman Trevor Doyle has matched his career-high scoring total of the previous two seasons with three assists already despite missing six games because of a league suspension.

``I'll work with him,' Doyle said, offering to share his scoring secrets with Martin.

Doyle, by the way, has not received a penalty in three games since returning from his suspension. He racked up 47 penalty minutes in his first four games.

SCALPERS TICKET: Monarchs public address announcer Tom ``T.J.' Jorgensen put his hair where his mouth was, and he lost it all on the Atlanta Braves.

Jorgensen and fellow WTCK morning show host Matt Pencola took sides on the outcome of the World Series, wagering their locks on the Braves and the Yankees, respectively.

The payoff will come at center ice between the second and third periods of the Monarchs' home game against the Baltimore Bandits on Nov. 22. Jorgensen, and six ``Ticket' listeners who joined in on the bet, will get their heads shaved while Pencola and his Yankee brethren jeer them on.

The sad reality for Jorgensen is that he's not even a Braves fan. He likes the White Sox. But the Braves seemed like a sure thing to him, especially when they jumped to a 2-0 series lead.

``I just let it fly that Tuesday, saying it's the men vs. the boys and the Yankees were a total embarrassment,' said Jorgensen, whose wife is less than enthusiastic about his pending public scalping.

Pencola, whose spouse threatened to take a different man to her 15th high school reunion if he lost the bet, caved to pressure to accept the wager in the first place. But the diehard Yankees fan's trepidation has turned into sheer pleasure.

SLAPSHOTS: David Nemirovsky scored the Monarchs' first short-handed goal of the season Wednesday against Worcester. Bob Halkidis had intercepted the puck and passed it to Nemirovsky, who connected on a slapshot from the right faceoff circle. ... Last season's scoring stalwarts Gilbert Dionne and Steve Washburn haven't been producing of late, and the two sat out most of the third period in Wednesday's game.



WHO: Worcester IceCats (10-4-0) vs. Carolina Monarchs (3-9-1)\ WHERE: Greensboro Coliseum\ WHEN: 7:05 p.m.\ TICKETS: $12 and $9 adults; $6 children and students\ RADIO: WKEW (1400 AM); WBBB (920 AM); WTOB (1380 AM)

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