Friday, March 19, 2010
CENTRAL HOCKEY LEAGUE HEADLINES
North Crown Yet to be Decided
The Rapid City Rush (43-13-6) and the Colorado Eagles (41-14-7) are still fighting for the Northern Conference championship with the Rush needing one point in their final two games to secure their franchises’ first conference title. The Rush play at Amarillo (20-33-9) tonight and then at Odessa (46-11-5) on Saturday to close out the regular season. Colorado is in Arizona finishing off their three-game series to finish the 2009-10 campaign. A pair of Colorado wins and a pair of Rapid City regulation losses would earn the Eagles their seventh straight division/conference crown.
Note: Rapid City Head Coach Joe Ferras was named the CHL Coach of the Year on Wednesday and on Friday night he returns to the place he coached for five seasons with a chance to win the conference crown.
Bees and Rays Ready for HUGE Weekend
The only playoff spot yet to be determined is the final spot in the Southern Conference with Corpus Christi (28-26-8) and Rio Grande Valley (26-26-10) still battling it out for the final berth. The Rays need two points to secure the final spot and can do so on Friday night in Allen when they face the Americans (41-16-5). Should the Rays stumble in Allen and the Killer Bees top Wichita at the State Farm Arena on Friday night then a colossal showdown is set for Saturday with RGV hosting Corpus Christi in the Bee Hive with a playoff berth on the line. Awaiting the winner of the Bees/Rays debate is the defending CHL Champion Texas Brahmas who are set as the number four seed in the South.
Odessa Wins Bud Poile Governors’ Cup
The Odessa Jackalopes (46-11-5) capped off a tremendous regular season this past week when they won the Bud Poile Governors’ Cup with their shootout victory in Laredo on Wednesday night. The Jacks had already clinched the Southern Conference title and now have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Odessa is two wins from reaching the 100-point plateau and finishes their regular season with a pair of tough games, one versus Laredo on Friday night and one versus Rapid City on Saturday night. The Jacks went 22-7-3 on the road this season and are sitting 24-4-2 on home ice heading into their final two contests. Odessa will be the number one seed in the Southern Conference and will await the Opening Round best-of-three series winner (Texas, Corpus Christi or Rio Grande Valley).
BY THE NUMBERS
105- Colorado forward Kevin Ulanski’s league-leading point total as he closes in on winning the Joe Burton Scoring Championship. He has 33 goals and 72 helpers on the season and leads the league with a +43 plus/minus rating. The all-star forward is one of five finalists for the CHL Most Valuable Player Award which will be announced on Monday, March 22.
7- The current length of Mississippi’s Ryan Held’s goal scoring streak, the longest active streak in the league. Should Held score a goal in the ‘Kings last two games, he will top the longest goal streak of the season set by Kenny Bernard (ODE) at eight games.
14- The number of consecutive wins, dating back to last season, the Mudbugs have over the Tulsa Oilers after Thursday’s 2-1 shootout win at the CenturyTel Center. Bossier-Shreveport went 6-0 this season versus Tulsa. David Rutherford scored the game winner in the shootout and John DeCaro made 19 saves winning his third straight start improving to 23-13-1 on the season.
6-4-1- The Mississippi RiverKings record this season versus their Opening Round best-of-three series opponent, the Missouri Mavericks. The ‘Kings have a one point lead over Missouri and need just one win or a Missouri loss to clinch home-ice advantage in the series that will begin on Monday, March 22 at the lower seed’s venue.
-The Colorado Eagles have won six straight games and are the hottest team in the CHL outscoring their opposition 37-15 over that stretch. Ed McGrane has scored nine goals over his last five games and Kevin Ulanski has 12 points (5-7=12) over that same stretch. McGrane is currently on a six-game goal streak tallying 10 goals over that span.
-Missouri’s Jeff Christian is currently on an 11-game point streak scoring 19 points (5-14=19) over that span. Christian already had a 14-game point streak earlier in the season (Dec. 18-Jan. 22).
-The Wichita Thunder needs one win this weekend, either Friday at Rio Grande Valley or Saturday at Laredo to reach double-digits in wins and avoid tying the CHL record for fewest wins in a season (1999-2000 Memphis RiverKings, nine wins).
-The Allen Americans need two wins this weekend to reach 91 points which would tie the CHL record for most wins in an expansion season set by the Colorado Eagles during their inaugural campaign. Allen plays at home to Corpus Christi on Friday and then host Amarillo on Saturday.