Friday, December 7th, 2007
MUDBUGS TAKE HOT PLAY INTO THE COLD ROCKIES
With a snow storm on the horizon, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (10-6-2) look to continue their hot play as of late this weekend when they head into the state of Colorado for a meeting on Friday night versus the Rocky Mountain Rage (13-2-2) and on Saturday night versus the Colorado Eagles (9-6-3). The Mudbugs are 10-1-1 in their last 12 games, the best mark in the league, and have climbed out of the NE Division doldrums after an 0-5-1 start. Bossier-Shreveport has won five in a row and on the road this season has posted a 3-2-2 record.
The competition will be fierce this weekend with the match-ups versus the Rage and Eagles. Rocky Mountain is coming off a 6-2 win at Wichita on Wednesday night and currently has the highest winning percentage in the league (.824) with their 13-2-2 record. The Rage are 7-0-2 at home and have been paced by Scott Wray’s 24 points (8-16=24) in nine home games. The Rage will be without back-up goaltender Terry Dunbar and defenseman Justin Schmit who are both out serving league suspensions.
Colorado has turned it around after a slow start and are 6-2-1 in their last nine games. The Eagles are 7-2-0 at home and have received solid play as of late from forwards Greg Pankewicz and Riley Nelson. The two annual scoring leaders have caught fire with Pankewicz totaling 17 points (2-15=17) in his last 10 games and Nelson scoring three goals with three assists in his last two games.
The big match-up to watch will be the potent offenses of the Rage and Eagles, both in the league’s top four in scoring averaging over four goals per game, against the goaltending of the Mudbugs who rank second in the CHL allowing just 2.11 goals per contest. ‘Bugs goaltender John DeCaro is 7-0 in his last seven starts and has allowed just six goals during the win streak.
NE DIVISION SHOWDOWN
The two top teams in the Northeast Division meet this weekend when the Mississippi RiverKings host the Youngstown SteelHounds in a pair of games at the DeSoto Civic Center. The Hounds lead the division with 29 points, four better than Mississippi, and have been a road power this season going 13-3-1 away from home. The RiverKings have hit hard times in their last three games going 0-2-1 and especially in their last two games getting outscored 11-1 in losses to Texas and Odessa. Rick Kozak (13 points in 16 games) will be out of the line-up on Friday serving the final game of his two game suspension.
REDENBACH AND SUNDOGS CONTINUE STREAKING
Arizona Sundogs forward and reigning Sher-Wood/CHL Player of the Month is on quite a run notching at least one point in every game this season. His 16-game point streak is the longest in the league this year seeing him score eight goals with 26 assists. Last season’s longest point streak was 19 games reached by Youngstown’s Jeff Christian. Redenbach has reached multiple points in each of the last five games and in 11 of his 16 games this season. Meanwhile, the Sundogs continue to excel winning five straight games and leading the Southwest Division by a point over Odessa. The Sundogs power play has been scorching going 12 for their last 32 and overall they lead the league connecting 26.9% of the time. The Sundogs play at Rio Grande Valley on Friday and at Laredo on Sunday.
1-K GAME HISTORY MADE THIS WEEKEND
Two CHL teams will reach the 1000-game plateau when the Oklahoma City Blazers host Amarillo on Friday and the Mississippi RiverKings host Youngstown on Saturday. Both the Blazers and RiverKings have been in the league since 1992. Wichita and Tulsa will reach the 1000-game mark next weekend.
AMARILLO AND WICHITA LOOK FOR FIRST ROAD WIN
Both the Amarillo Gorillas and Wichita Thunder will attempt to win their first road games of the season this weekend. The Gorillas play at OKC on Friday and at Texas on Saturday. Thus far this season, Amarillo is 0-8-1 away from home. For Wichita, they will be at Colorado on Friday and at Rocky Mountain on Saturday. The Thunder is 0-6-0 this season on the road.
Several teams have been without key players this season as Jason Duda (Wichita) has been out since opening weekend and Ryan Tobler and Chris Hartsburg of Colorado have both been out for several weeks. Now added to the list is Rio Grande Valley’s leading scorer Dennis Maxwell (14-day IR), Corpus Christi’s Joe Blaznek and OKC’s Tyler Fleck. Texas goaltender David Cacciola missed Tuesday’s game with an unspecified ailment but could be back in action this weekend.