CHL Headlines for Friday, January 14
The 2011 CHL All-Star game was this week and it was one of the more entertaining games in the history of the event as the CHL All-Stars defeated the Rapid City Rush, 11-6, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena in front of a near capacity crowd of 5,009. There were several star-studded performances in the event including the CHL team’s Most Valuable Player, Jason Dale of Bloomington, who scored two goals and tied a CHL All-Star record with five assists (also carried a +7 in the game). Evansville’s Brian Bicek and Wichita’s Matt Robinson each scored hat tricks in the game with the unique portion being that their hat tricks were scored as a part of three straight goals by each player (Robinson’s was scored in the first period). Odessa’s Sebastien Thinel, the league’s leading scorer, did a great job setting players up recording five assists. Thinel was the lone CHL All-Star that had played in a CHL All-Star game before (it was his sixth appearance). For the Rush, Ryan Menei won his team’s Most Valuable Player award scoring two goals just 25 seconds apart in the second period. In fact, Menei’s two goals were a part of a CHL All-Star record as the Rush scored three goals in a 36 second stretch of time breaking the old mark of 49 seconds to score three goals (2006 game). Missouri’s Robby Nolan allowed those three goals to the Rush, all in the first minute of the second period, but settled down to make 17 saves on 20 shots and earn the win in the game.
Second Half Begins
The second half gets under way on Friday night with nine games including some key match-ups. Perhaps two of the biggest are the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (21-12-1) taking on the Allen Americans (24-7-1) in a battle of the two top teams in the Berry Conference and the Odessa Jackalopes (17-14-3) taking on the Colorado Eagles (18-11-2) in a game that will pit the rivals against each other for the fourth time this season. Colorado is 2-0-1 so far this season versus the Jacks. Other game on the slate for Friday night are Rio Grande Valley at Laredo, Bloomington at Dayton, Texas at Wichita, Arizona at Tulsa, Evansville at Fort Wayne, Rapid City at Quad City and Mississippi at Missouri.
The race for the conference titles is very different in the Berry and the Turner as the Allen Americans continue to pace the entire league with 49 points and have shown no signs of letting up. Allen is ahead of Bossier-Shreveport by six points in the Berry Conference and has a 12 point lead over the number three team in the conference (Odessa). In the Turner Conference, each night’s results can change things as the Rapid City Rush currently lead the way with 40 points but that is just one point ahead of both Bloomington and Missouri and just six points ahead of the seventh place team (Wichita). One great week by a team or a bad week can make it conference roulette.
300- The number of penalty minutes the Missouri Mavericks and Mississippi RiverKings combined for the last time these two teams got together way back on October 29. Each club was racked up for 150 minutes with 276 of the 300 PIM’s coming in the third period of the 5-2 Mississippi win. The teams square off Friday night in Missouri.
5-0- The head-to-head record between the Rapid City Rush and Missouri Mavericks with the Rush winning every meeting so far in the history of the two clubs outscoring the Mavs 24-9. The teams are currently separated by a point for the lead in the Turner Conference and they battle on Saturday night for the first time this season.
11- The number of points that Tulsa forward Chad Costello has scored in the four games his team has played in 2011. Although the Oilers are just 2-2 since the New Year kicked off, Costello has scored four goals with seven assists and is a +5. On the season, the first-year Oiler is third in the league in scoring with 51 points (20-31=51) and he is currently on a seven-game point streak.
75- The total number of points out of the Bossier-Shreveport line-up with both Justin Aikins and Brett Smith out with injuries. Aikins leads the team in scoring with 11 goals and 33 assists and Smith has 13 goals to go with 18 helpers.
71- The number of goals the Wichita Thunder have scored on home ice this season ranking first in the CHL. The Thunder are 11-5-2 at the INTRUST Bank Arena and seven times have scored five goals or more in front of the home fans.
-Rio Grande Valley’s Zak McClellan has scored a single goal in six straight games marking the second longest goal scoring streak this season just one behind Dayton’s Brandon Naurato. McClellan will look to the longest streak on Friday versus Laredo whom he has scored three goals with four assists in nine head-to-head games this season.
-Both the Berry Conference leading Allen Americans and the Turner Conference leading Rapid City Rush are a perfect 14-0 when leading after two periods this year. Only Bloomington (10-0-0) can boast such numbers as they are undefeated when leading after 40 minutes and Laredo has not lost in regulation going 10-0-3 when holding the two period lead.
-Few teams in the CHL have done as well winning the close ones as the Bloomington PrairieThunder who are 11-3-1 in one-goal games. The PThunder are one point out of first place in the Turner Conference despite being the second lowest scoring team in the CHL averaging just 2.74 goals per contest. Only Fort Wayne, 2.37 goals per game, scores fewer goals than Bloomington. Other teams excelling in the close ones are Arizona (9-2-4), Rapid City (6-0-4), Dayton (10-5-3) and Quad City (10-6-0). The Killer Bees and Bucks are at the other end of the spectrum going 5-8-3 and 4-5-5, respectively, in one-goal games.
-The Fort Wayne Komets have lost just one game in regulation since Dec. 18 going 5-1-3 over that stretch. Nick Boucher, the reigning Oakley CHL Goalie of the Week, is 4-0-3 in his last seven decisions allowing 18 goals in those decisions.