CHL Headlines for Friday, November 26
Thanksgiving Rewind- Playing in their 49th Thanksgiving Day game, the Fort Wayne Komets ended their five-game losing streak and finally found some offense scoring a season-high five goals in their 5-2 win over Quad City. Frankie DeAngelis had a goal and an assist for the Komets who improve to 31-14-4. In Dayton, the Evansville IceMen and David Wilson spoiled the holiday game by shutting out the Gems, 1-0. Wilson finished with 39 saves earning the win and Nicklas Lindberg scored the only goal of the game. The other Thanksgiving game was in Tulsa where the Oilers topped the Mississippi RiverKings, 7-2. Gordon Bell and John Mori each had two goals and an assist
Mac Comes Back- It will be an interesting weekend for the Wichita Thunder (6-6-2) and more specifically their head coach Kevin McClelland as he leads his team against the Colorado Eagles (10-3-1) in a home-and-home series. The former Eagles coach returns to the Budweiser Events Center as the enemy for the first time since leaving the team in the off-season. As Colorado’s head coach, McClelland posted a record an 87-30-11 record making it to the CHL Finals in 2009. On Friday, the Thunder play in Colorado and then the two teams head back to Wichita for a game on Saturday in the INTRUST Bank Arena. Wichita has the league’s longest current losing streak with four straight defeats (0-2-2).
Jacks and Rush Collide- Two of the top teams from the 2009-10 season battle on Friday and Saturday in South Dakota when the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Champion Rapid City Rush (8-5-2) host the Bud Poile Governors’ Cup Champion Odessa Jackalopes (5-10-1). The Rush have points in all but one of their last eight games posting a 5-2-1 mark over that stretch. Odessa had their three-game win streak snapped earlier this week with an 8-6 loss to Texas. The Brahmas scored four unanswered goals to win that contest. Odessa’s Sebastien Thinel is on a six-game point streak recording four goals and 10 assists over that stretch. He leads the league with 28 points (10-18=28) on the season. The hot hand in Rapid City has been Ryan Menei who has five goals and five assists over his last five games.
Busy Weekend for Streaking ‘Bugs- The hottest team in the CHL, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, will put their seven-game win streak on the line with three-games-in-three nights facing off against some stiff competition. The ‘Bugs will be in Tulsa tonight to take on the suddenly hot Oilers who have won back-to-back games allowing just two goals over those two games. Bossier-Shreveport then heads to Texas for another match-up versus their rivals, the Brahmas and then finish the tough weekend at home against the Mississippi RiverKings. Forward Brett Smith has eight points (4-4=8) and is a +8 in his last five games and Justin Aikins has 10 points (3-7=10) and is a +8 over the last handful of games and leads the CHL with a +19 plus/minus rating. The ‘Bugs are currently tied with Allen for first place in the Berry Conference and the highest point total in the CHL (28 points).
6 - The league-leading number of goals among defensemen scored by Mississippi’s Nathan Lutz and Evansville’s Mario Larocque. Lutz leads all d-men with 16 points (6-10=16) and has scored goals in three straight games. Conversely, Larocque did most of his scoring early on and has not found the back of the net in five straight games.
12- The total number of goals that the CHL leader David Rutherford has scored this season leading a quartet of players who have 10 goals (Mudbugs Brett Smith, Americans Nino Musitelli, Colorado’s Daymen Rycroft and the Rush’s Ryan Menei. Rutherford is also tied for the league-lead with four game winning goals.
8- The number of goals that Colorado’s Kyle Jones has allowed in the month of November posting a 4-0-1 record. The league’s current top backstop is carrying a 1.65 goals against average and a .949 save percentage. He has recorded a league-best two shutouts blanking Dayton and Rapid City.
61- The number of NHL games that recent Allen signing Kip Brennan has played in his career scoring a goal with an assist and recording 222 penalty minutes. The veteran has played with four NHL squads (NY Islanders, LA Kings, Atlanta and Anaheim). He could be in the line-up for the first time this weekend when the Americans finish their three-game visit in Arizona versus the Sundogs. Should he dress, it could set up quite an anticipated showdown with the CHL’s leading PIM guy, Adam Smyth (97 minutes). Smyth has seven fighting majors this season, tied for the league lead.
-Bloomington earned a big road win on Wednesday beating Missouri 3-2 thus improving their mark away from home to a staggering 4-1-0 allowing just nine goals during those five games. In their win over the Mavs, the team got good news offensively as two of their mainstays from a year ago, Craig Macdonald and Jon Booras, each scored their first goals of the season. Macdonald was held without a point in the PrairieThunder’s first eight games after scoring 44 goals in the IHL last year (second most). Booras was playing in just his fourth games but struck for the first time and it served as the game winner.
-After losing a franchise record six straight games, the Laredo Bucks have rattled off back-to-back wins beating Rio Grande Valley twice this week. The Bucks will complete their current three-game road trip this weekend with a game in Texas on Friday and in Mississippi on Saturday. It is Laredo’s only visit of the season to the DeSoto Civic Center in Mississippi. Neil Trimm has a goal and four assists and is a +5 over the last three games.
-Colorado’s Scott May, the Oakley Three-Star Player of the Month for October, continues to lead the league’s overall three-star race with 23 points. Trailing by two points are Bossier-Shreveport’s David Rutherford and Allen’s Jarret Lukin.