CHL Headlines for Monday, October 18
Attendance Up in First Weekend- The CHL welcomed 76,111 fans over opening weekend highlighted by 10,480 fans in Fort Wayne for the Komets/Rapid City Rush game on Saturday night. Overall, the league averaged 4,756 fans this past weekend compared to 4,141 fans over opening weekend a year ago, an increase of 15 percent. Other opening weekend highlights include two sellouts for the Colorado Eagles extending their minor pro record of consecutive sellouts to 269 games, a crowd of more than 7,100 fans on Saturday night at the home opener for the Wichita Thunder and more than 5,000 fans in both Tulsa and Mississippi for their respective opening nights.
Openers On Tap- Six more home openers are set for this week with Arizona, Bloomington and Texas opening their doors for the first time in 2010-11 on Friday night and Evansville, Laredo and Rapid City playing in front of the home fans for the first time on Saturday night. The lone CHL team to not have their home opener after Saturday night will be Odessa who plays at home for the first time on October 28. Home openers did not lead to instant success this past weekend as the home team won only six of the 11 games falling into that category. The Sundogs home opener on Friday is an interesting story as the ‘Dogs will host the Fort Wayne Komets marking the two teams in the CHL with the furthest distance between them (1,819 miles).
Smitty Starts Strong- On Monday, the CHL named Bossier-Shreveport’s Brett Smith the Oakley CHL Player of the Week after his eight points (4-4=8) in two games and an impressive seven points (3-4=7) in the ‘Bugs opening night win over Mississippi. Smith’s point total leads the league and he is tied for the league lead with a +5 plus/minus rating. His seven-point night established a new team record for the Mudbugs. The Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week will be announced on Tuesday.
Duda Honored- Prior to the Wichita Thunder’s home opener on Saturday night versus a Tulsa, the famous number ‘11’ of Jason Duda was hoisted into the rafters. The 2010 Rick Kozuback Award winner (given for perseverance and overcoming obstacles) ranks in the top three in CHL history in games played, points, goals and assists. He joins Ron Handy (9), Rob Weingartner (35) and Bobby Desjardins (35) as the only players to have their numbers retired in the 18 year history of the Thunder.
Outstanding Goalie Returns- With half of their season opening four-game road trip down, the Odessa Jackalopes will welcome back the 2010 CHL Most Outstanding Goaltender award winner Joel Martin who was re-assigned to the team from Bridgeport (AHL) on Monday. The Jacks are the CHL affiliate of the New York Islanders and watched as Martin began the year in the NHL camp of the team on Long Island before starting the AHL’s season with the Sound Tigers. Martin posted a 27-6-2 record with a 2.50 GAA last season en route to being honored by the league. He’ll join Odessa in time for games in Bloomington and Dayton this weekend.
:09- The amount of time it took the Quad City Mallards and Patrick Levesque to light the lamp in their home opener on Saturday night versus Odessa. The bad news for the Flock was that was the only offense they would get as Odessa won their first game of the season behind a pair of goals from 2009 CHL MVP Sebastien Thinel. The Jacks won 4-1.
9- The number of shorthanded goals scored in the 16 games on opening weekend with Bossier-Shreveport scoring three shorthanded goals in their game on Friday, a 10-1 win over Mississippi. Last season, the CHL saw a shorthanded goal scored in one out of every three games but over opening weekend a SHG came in less than one out of every two games. Brett Smith of the Mudbugs scored a pair of shorthanded goals while no other CHL team scored more than one SHG on the weekend.
1994- The last time the Fort Wayne Komets had lost their home opener in regulation before Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Rapid City Rush. Fort Wayne had gone 13-0-2 in their previous 15 home openers. Danny Battochio made 36 saves earning the CHL’s only shutout thus far on the young season.
0.92- The current goals against average of Bloomington goalie Marco Emond after Saturday’s 2-1 shootout win at Missouri. The PrairieThunder’s new netminder is 109-54-7 in his CHL career seeing time with Laredo, Colorado, Tulsa and Arizona. Emond was on the Cup winning team in 04 with Laredo, 07 with Colorado and 08 with Arizona.
Watch Out For
Tuesday in Louisiana – A pair of 2-0 clubs battle on Tuesday night at the CenturyTel Center when the Mudbugs host the Tulsa Oilers. The Mudbugs won a home-and-home series over the Mississippi RiverKings including a 10-1 victory on Friday in their home opener, while the Oilers won a home-and-home versus their rivals the Wichita Thunder. The game was on the original schedule for December 26 but was forced to be moved to earlier in the season due to a building conflict.