Friday, December 14th, 2007
THUNDER AND OILERS READY FOR 1000TH GAMES
The Wichita Thunder and the Tulsa Oilers have several things in common during the first half of the 2007-08 season. They both are off to slow starts with the Thunder sitting at 4-14-0 and the Oilers sitting 6-11-1. They both have had to find new coaches within the last couple weeks with Mark French being dismissed on Sunday from Wichita, replaced by Rob Weingartner, and Butch Kaebel stepping down almost two weeks ago, replaced by Dan Hodge. The other thing the teams have in common is that they will both be participating in their 1000th regular season CHL game on Saturday night when Wichita hosts Rocky Mountain and Tulsa hosts the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.
So far this season, two other CHL teams have celebrated their 1000th game, the Oklahoma City Blazers on December 7th and the Mississippi RiverKings on December 8th. On both occasions, the teams celebrating the historic milestone won the contest giving hope to the fans of both the Thunder and the Oilers for a strong performance on Saturday night.
Wichita has lost four straight games but are just one game below .500 at home this season (4-5-0). For the Oilers, they have suddenly caught fire offensively scoring 17 goals in their last five games. Jeff Christian, the reigning CHL MVP, has six points (3-3=6) in his last two games and David Beauregard has five goals in his last five games.
Record Watch: Wichita’s Travis Clayton needs one goal to move past Paul Jackson for second on the CHL’s All-Time goal list.
EAGLES TAKE HOT PLAY ON THE ROAD
The defending CHL Champion Colorado Eagles are playing their best hockey of the season right now and move their strong play on the road facing the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs on Friday night and the Mississippi RiverKings on Saturday night. The Eagles have won three straight games and are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games. Last Saturday, the Eagles defeated the Mudbugs 5-2 in Colorado giving the ‘Bugs a chance at redemption tonight at the CenturyTel Center. Greg Pankewicz is one of the hottest Eagles scoring 21 points 5-16=21 during his current 11-game point streak.
Team Note: Eagles forward Chris Hartsburg announced his retirement this week after suffering a serious knee injury earlier this season. Hartsburg has scored 120 points in 144 career games with the Eagles.
BUCKS LOOK FOR REVENGE AGAINST CORPUS CHRISTI
The Laredo Bucks ended a three-game losing slide on Wednesday night when they defeated the Austin Ice Bats 4-1. The Bucks continue to dominate the Southeast Division with their 17-6-2 record but as of late it has been the division rival Corpus Christi Rayz who have had the upper-hand against the Bucks. In each of the last two meetings, the Rayz have claimed victory over Laredo and with those wins have propelled themselves towards a playoff spot in the Southern Conference. Currently the Rayz sit three points in back of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for the fifth and final playoff spot in the conference. The two teams meet on Friday night in Corpus Christi. The Rayz are coming off an impressive 5-2 victory over the SW Division leading Arizona Sundogs on Thursday night.
BLAZERS PUT STRONG HOME RECORD TO THE TEST VERSUS TWO DIVISION LEADERS
The OKC Blazers have been very impressive at home this season going 7-0-1 after a season opening loss on October 19th versus Youngstown. Their “home ice advantage” will be put to the test this weekend when they host the Rocky Mountain Rage (15-2-2) on Friday night and the Arizona Sundogs (14-6-1) on Saturday night. Both opponents are currently atop their respective divisions. The Blazers have been paced this season by the offense from the defense with Mike Burgoyne leading the team in scoring with 25 points (10-15=25), tops among league defensemen. Burgoyne has been aided by Peter Robertson who is among the top 10 in the league from the blue line with 17 points (6-11=17). The Blazers defeated the Sundogs in the only meeting the two teams have played and OKC is 5-0-1 all-time versus Rocky Mountain.
HOUNDS-BRAHMAS CONTINUE SERIES AT CHEVY CENTRE
The SteelHounds and Brahmas played a classic on Wednesday night in the first game of a three-game series at the Chevrolet Centre with the Hounds winning in overtime 4-3 after coming back from a 2-0 second intermission deficit. Youngstown is 11-1 all-time versus the Brahmas and 4-0 all-time in the Chevrolet Centre. Chris Richards has had his way versus the Brahmas in the past totaling six goals with 19 assists (25 points) in 12 games played. The veteran center is a +15 against the Brahmas in the two teams head-to-head history.