Friday, March 28th, 2008
‘THE GREATEST SHOW ON ICE’
The Arizona Sundogs open their best-of-seven Southern Conference semi final series tonight versus the New Mexico Scorpions at the Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. The Sundogs come into the game as the favorite in the series and on a nine-game winning streak. The Sundogs and Scorpions played 12 times during the regular season with each team winning six times.
During the regular season, the Sundogs strategy was to outscore the opposition putting the best offense in the league on the ice each night. Arizona scored 40 more goals than the second highest scoring team (Colorado) and finished as the only CHL team averaging over four goals per game, they actually averaged over four and a half.
One of the biggest strengths of Arizona is their power play which finished tops in the league connecting 26.8% of the time. They scored 103 PP goals, 21 more than Rocky Mountain who was second.
It will be an interesting series with the Scorpions who also can put goals on the board averaging 3.69 goals per game (4th in the CHL). Whoever scores last could be the team that earns the victory.
RIVALRY DESPITE THE GEOGRAPHY
Despite having 1400 miles between their two locations, the Colorado Eagles and the Youngstown SteelHounds have built quite a rivalry in the team’s short history. The two squads will meet in the playoffs for the second consecutive season with last year’s best-of-seven series still in the back of both team’s minds. It was a hard-hitting physical series, the Eagles admit the most physical they had en route to the Ray Miron President’s Cup, that saw Colorado win in six games. This season, the rivalry picked up right where it left off as the teams met five times during the regular season with Youngstown winning three of them. The teams combined for 246 PIM’s in the five games. The ace up the sleeve for the Eagles is that the Hounds have never won at the Budweiser Events Center going 0-8-1. On the flip side, the Eagles have lost five straight games at the Chevrolet Center in NE Ohio. Riley Nelson has been the star in the regular season versus Youngstown posting five goals with seven assists in five games. COUNTING ON THE PAST
The Odessa Jackalopes have until Saturday night to get ready for the Laredo Bucks after their two games to one win in their opening round best-of-three series with Austin. The series was very tight defensively and has to have given a small edge to the Jacks already having their playoff beards sprouting. The other “mental” advantage they may have versus the Southern Conference’s top team is that during the regular season the Jacks had little trouble with Laredo going 3-0-1. Rookie goaltender Alexandre Vincent went 2-0-1 versus the Bucks with a 1.33 GAA and a shutout. MANY STORYLINES
The Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs and the Texas Brahmas have several story lines heading into their conference semi final series that begins on Sunday. First, the Brahmas pillaged several former Mudbugs prior to the season starting with the team’s head coach Dan Wildfong (488 career games with the Bugs) and assistant coach Forbes MacPherson (413 career games with the Bugs). Scott Sheppard, Blair Manning, Craig Minard and David Cacciola are also all former Mudbugs who know where the Texas sweater. During the regular season, Texas was one team who experienced success versus the Governors’ Cup champion Mudbugs going 6-5-0 versus Bossier-Shreveport. HODGE RETURNS FOR OILERS
In one of the first off-season coaching decisions for CHL teams, the Tulsa Oilers announced that Dan Hodge would return as the team’s head coach next season after seeing his team go 20-25-3 under his reign. Next season will be a big one for the Oilers who move into the Bank of Oklahoma Center in downtown Tulsa.