Friday, February 17, 2012
1.) Poll Leaders- The current CHL Coaches Poll (announced on Feb. 15) has the same club on top that was there the previous two polls, the Wichita Thunder (32-13-2). The Thunder received 10 of the 13 possible first place votes (teams are unable to vote for themselves). The Thunder lead the CHL with 66 points and are four points ahead of Allen for the top spot in the Berry Conference. Wichita has been nearly unbeatable since early December going 20-6-2 over their last 28 games. The Thunder will be tested mightily over their next nine games hosting Quad City on Friday and then playing the three top teams in the Turner Conference for the next eight games. Wichita will play Missouri four times, Evansville three times and Fort Wayne once. The combined winning percentage of those three opponents for the Thunder is .708 and their combined records are 87-33-10. So far, Wichita is 6-2-0 against those three opponents this season. The Thunder and Mavs (winners of five straight games) meet in a home-and-home series on Saturday and Sunday.
2.) IceMen Road Trip Concludes- The Evansville IceMen (30-13-4) will play their final game on their current four-game road trip on Friday night in Tulsa, the same place the trip started last weekend. The IceMen defeated the Oilers 4-1 last Saturday night but maybe the bigger story was the combined 127 penalty minutes and six game misconducts handed out. Both Steve Makway and Mike Sgroi were suspended for their actions in the game (Makway is back in the line-up but Sgroi will still be serving his suspensions). The IceMen are unbeaten on their current road trip going 3-0 thus far and are currently in first place in the Turner Conference with 64 points. Evansville returns home on Sunday to face the Arizona Sundogs in the first of four straight games at the Ford Center and six of the next seven. Forward Brian Bicek has goals in four straight games (five goals) and leads the league with 30 strikes and forward Todd Robinson is currently riding an eight-game point streak (4-10=14) and leads the league with 68 points (15-53=68).
3.) Two Powers Collide- The Allen Americans (27-12-8) and the Fort Wayne Komets (30-15-2) meet on Saturday night for the first time the history of either franchise. The Americans are 116-45-16 in their 177 all-time games and won the CHL’s regular season championship last year. The Komets are playing in their 60th season as a franchise and their second in the CHL. In their two seasons in the CHL, the Komets are 61-42-10 and are currently just two points behind the Turner Conference leading Evansville IceMen (30-13-4). The Americans are in second place in the Berry Conference, four points behind the CHL’s top team, the Wichita Thunder (32-13-2). Maybe no Komet is hotter right now than Chris Auger who has six goals, nine assists and is a + 9 over his last 10 games. Allen is coming off being shutout for just the second time this season (4-0 to Texas on Tuesday) and is just 1-2-1 in their last four games.
Inside the Numbers
155:16 - The current scoreless minute streak for Texas Brahmas (24-17-8) rookie goaltender Mark Guggenberger who had back-to-back shutouts this week; Tuesday vs. Allen and Wednesday vs. Dayton. The streak for Guggenberger is the third longest in the CHL this season behind Allen’s Rejean Beauchemin’s 178:56 and Evansville’s Bryan Gillis’ 175:14. The league record belongs to John DeCaro (222:41 in 2007-08). Guggenberger is one of three goalies to have back-to-back shutouts in the Brahmas franchise history (Steve Plouffe and Rob Laurie). The Brahmas put their four-game win streak on the line as they host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (20-22-7) on Friday and Saturday.
On the Fly
-Missouri will put their five-game win streak on the line on Friday night when they host the Arizona Sundogs. The Mavs are 5-0 this season against the Sundogs and with 58 points, currently sit in third place in the Turner Conference (four points behind Fort Wayne and six points behind conference leading Evansville).
-No CHL team has scored the first goal fewer times this season than the Arizona Sundogs. The Sundogs have lit the lamp first just 13 times in their 47 games going 7-6-0 in those contests. Conversely, the Allen Americans have scored the game’s first goal the most in the league, 31 times in 47 games going 20-5-6 in those games.
-Quad City’s Eric Giosa is fourth in the league in goals with 24 and is tied for third with 58 points (24-34=58). Maybe most impressive is his propensity to find the net away from home helping the Flock to a respectable 12-11-0 record on the road. Giosa is tied with Dayton’s Damian Surma for the most road goals in the CHL (15) and has lit the lamp five times in his last seven road contests. Giosa and the Mallards play at Wichita on Friday night.
-Texas Captain Adam Hogg has scored goals in three straight games with two of those serving as game winners and is a +5 over that span. Hogg has 15 goals on the season and has scored in four of his last five contests helping the Brahmas to four straight wins.
-RGV forward Dan Gendur has been one of the hottest players in the CHL notching points in 11 of his last 15 games totaling eight goals and 12 assists over that span. The Vancouver native has moved into the league’s top 10 in scoring with his hot streak that has whim sitting now with 51 points (19-32=51). The Bees have lost four straight games (0-3-1) and are four points out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Berry Conference.
-The Bloomington Blaze and the Fort Wayne Komets are the only two CHL teams that have not lost a game in regulation when leading after 40 minutes. Bloomington is 11-0-1 and Fort Wayne is 26-0-1 and those two clubs meet twice this weekend starting with Friday in Fort Wayne and then again on Sunday in Bloomington. Allen leads the league with the most losses when leading after two periods falling six times in 24 chances (18-3-3).