CHL Headlines for Monday, February 28
Team of the Week: Bloomington PrairieThunder
The Bloomington PrairieThunder completed their five-game road trip by winning impressively in Texas by a 4-1 score thus going 4-0-1 on their journey. Overall, the PThunder have earned points in 10 straight games and on Sunday did something they failed to do in each of their first four seasons as a franchise, clinch a playoff berth. The PThunder actually have the highest win percentage in the Turner Conference but trail Rapid City by three points and Colorado by two points. Bloomington has four games in hand on the Rush and two games in hand on the Eagles. Over their 10-game point streak (7-0-3), the PrairieThunder have allowed just 10 goals with Brad Phillips going 4-0-2 and Marco Emond going 3-0-1.
What a month of February for the Texas Brahmas and the forward duo of Greg Hogeboom and Chad Woollard who combined to score 27 goals with 26 assists and a +23 plus/minus rating. The Brahmas went 9-3-0 in the month grabbing hold of second place in the Berry Conference. Hogeboom scored goals in nine of the 12 games in the month and finished February on a seven-game goal scoring streak. Woollard scored 13 goals in the first nine games of the month marking the longest goal streak in the CHL this season. The veteran had a seven-game goal streak in January and his 35 goals overall lead the CHL. Hogeboom ranks sixth in the CHL in scoring with 73 points (32-41-73) and Woollard is right behind him with 70 points (35-35=70).
Four Teams Dancing
four CHL clubs earned their spot in the 2011 CHL Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Playoffs last week with Allen claiming the first berth followed by three Turner Conference teams (Rapid City, Colorado and Bloomington). The Americans are still the league’s best team with 78 points and a 38-11-2 record. They have a 15 point lead over the Texas Brahmas for conference supremacy. The Turner is much tighter with the Rush holding a narrow one point lead over the Eagles and a three point lead over the PrairieThunder, although Bloomington has the conference’s highest win percentage at .644. Several other CHL teams could clinch a berth by week’s end.
One player reached the 500-point plateau last week and one could do so as soon as his next game as Evansville’s Jeff Christian’s goal just 3:19 into Friday’s 6-5 shootout loss to Dayton made him the 23rd player to reach 500 CHL points. The newly acquired IceMen forward had a solid weekend scoring three goals with three assists helping Evansville to a 1-1-1 record. This week could see the 24th player to reach the 500-point mark as Tulsa’s Marty Standish has 203 goals and 296 assists in his CHL career positioning him one point away from 500 CHL points. The Oilers host Rapid City on Tuesday night.
By the Numbers
14-9-3- The identical home and road records of the Missouri Mavericks whose 62 points on the season have them sitting in the fourth spot in the Turner Conference. The Mavs split a pair of games this past weekend with the conference-leading Rapid City Rush with the win coming Saturday night via a 4-0 shutout performance. Missouri, 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, hosts Dayton on Tuesday night.
21- The number of consecutive games that Texas rookie goaltender Wayne Savage has appeared in playing in every Brahmas game since January 7. Over that stretch, Savage has posted a 14-5-2 record helping the Brahmas grab hold of second place in the Berry Conference. On the season, Savage is 18-10-3 with a 2.59 goals against average (fifth in the CHL) and a .918 save percentage.
37- The number of saves Dayton goaltender Jeff Jakaitis made on Sunday in his team’s 8-0 trouncing of the Fort Wayne Komets. The win was the all-stars 20th of the season and his second shutout. His 2.55 goals against average ranks third in the league and his .929 save percentage is second only to Quad City’s David Brown (.931).
12- The current road winless streak of the Arizona Sundogs who came close to breaking the streak on their recently completed five-game road trip - the ‘Dogs lost in overtime in four of those five games, including all three games this past weekend. Arizona is 0-7-5 in their last 12 road games and is neck-and-neck in the fight for the final playoff spot in the Berry Conference currently leading Laredo by two points for that eighth spot.
11- The number of points that Missouri forward Todd Griffith has in 10 games with the Mavs. The former Brahma was acquired in a trade for Sean Muncy and since joining Missouri has scored seven goals (six in the last four games) and added four assists. Griffith is a +7 over his last four games and the Mavs are 3-0-1 over that stretch.
-Allen has had little to worry about this season with the lone exception of a brief four-game slide in mid-February but since that stretch, the Americans have bounced back in fine fashion winning four straight games with wins over RGV, Laredo, Texas and Bloomington. Chris Whitley has been in net for all four wins allowing eight goals over that span.
-The Fort Wayne Komets posted a 9-4-0 record in the month of February, their best since February since 2008. Colin Chaulk led all skaters with 16 points (4-12=16) and Tab Lardner paced the crew with eight goals in the month. The Komets 55 points are good for seventh place in the Turner Conference, one point better than Dayton.
-The Odessa Jackalopes swept a pair of games with the Arizona Sundogs this past weekend and are tied with the RGV Killer Bees for the sixth spot in the Berry Conference. The Jacks will be tested this week as they take on the top three teams in the conference when they play second place Texas on Tuesday, Third place Tulsa on Friday and Saturday and first place Allen on Sunday (the only road game of the week). Both Mike Ramsay and Sebastien Thinel are on seven-game point streaks and Thinel is leading the CHL with 81 points (20-61=81).
-The RGV Killer Bees captured the first ever Cricket Mayor’s Cup in their season-long battle with the Laredo Bucks. The two teams battled 16 times this regular season and the Bees finished with 20 points winning the rivalry after Saturday’s 3-2 in at State Farm Arena. The Killer Bees finished 9-5-2 in the season series versus Laredo.