CHL Headlines for Friday, March 18
Who’s Next In
Three teams could find their way into the playoffs as soon as Friday night as Odessa, Mississippi and Arizona are all on the doorstep of clinching a playoff spot. The Jacks magic number is just one point meaning any combination of Odessa earning a point or the Laredo Bucks failing to earn a point would result in a playoff berth for the Jacks for the fourth straight season. For the second straight night, the Jacks will face the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, this time in the Jack Shack. Arizona and Mississippi need a little help along with a win. The Sundogs host the Colorado Eagles on Friday night and the RiverKings host the Texas Brahmas on Friday night. Laredo, who plays a huge roll in this equation, is at Rapid City both Friday and Saturday.
Clayton Closing in on Burton
Bossier-Shreveport forward Travis Clayton is already the CHL’s all-time leader in games played with 876 but his recent offensive surge has him threatening to become the league’s all-time point’s leader before the end of the season. Clayton’s assist in Wednesday’s loss at Fort Wayne gives him 12 points (5-7=12) in his last seven games giving him 980 in his CHL career. The all-time leader is Joe Burton who sits at the top with 985 points. Clayton and the Mudbugs have four games remaining making more than a point-a-game average a necessity to claim the #1 spot this season. Clayton has 44 points (15-29=44) in 56 games this season. Wednesday’s helper was the 600th assist of Clayton’s career making Doug Lawrence (684) and Clayton the only two players to every reach that plateau.
There were three games on Thursday in the CHL with Dayton keeping their lead over Fort Wayne for seventh place in the Turner Conference thanks to a 2-1 win over Evansville. Damian Surma, the former Evansville forward, scored the game winning goal in the third period with the Gems on the PP. In Quad City, the Wichita Thunder improved to 4-0 on the season versus the Mallards thanks to four point nights for both Troy Schwab and Bobby Hughes and finally the Odessa Jackalopes blasted the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees by a final score of 5-2. Mike Lesperance and Sebastien Thinel each had a pair of goals for Odessa.
By the Numbers
20- The current point streak of Tulsa forward Chad Costello who had two goals in his first game with the Oilers in almost a month on Tuesday in Texas. Costello had been up with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters. His 20-game streak is the longest in the CHL this season.
1- The number of shootout losses the Tulsa Oilers have this season falling for the first time on Tuesday in Texas. The 4-3 loss to the Brahmas made Tulsa the last CHL team to lose a shootout this season. Texas’ Chad Woollard ended up with the game winning goal in the shootout giving him a league-leading 41 goals on the season.
19-8-2- The Colorado Eagles record versus teams from the Berry Conference. The Turner Conference leading Eagles play in Arizona on Friday and Saturday and this season have won six of the seven meetings versus the Sundogs.
102- The league-leading point total of Odessa’s Sebastien Thinel who had two goals and an assist last night in the Jacks 5-2 win over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Thinel eclipsing the century mark is the first time in Odessa’s team history that a player has accomplished this feat. Thinel has the longest active goal scoring streak in the league striking in five straight games.
3-0-0- The record of the Fort Wayne Komets against the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, their opponent on Friday night. The Komets have outscored the ‘Bugs 12-8 in the three games as two have been decided by one goal. Colin Chaulk has two goals and four assists versus Bossier-Shreveport.
44- The number of points that Rapid City’s Ryan Menei has scored on home ice this season scoring 18 goals with 26 assists. No other Rush player has more than 26 points at home. Menei is a finalist for the league’s MVP award and has 82 points (36-46=82) on the season.
-The Missouri Mavericks can make some noise over the next four games and at the same time thwart the charge of their rivals, the Wichita Thunder. The Mavs have won four straight home games and will host their next four at the Independence Events Center. Three of those four games will be against the Thunder including Friday and Saturday. Mississippi comes to town on Sunday providing the other opponent for Missouri. The Mavs are in fourth place in the Turner Conference but are just two points behind Bloomington for third place.
-If the Laredo Bucks are to catch the RGV Killer Bees for the final playoff spot in the Berry Conference, they are going to have to earn it as they go head-to-head with the defending CHL Champion Rapid City Rush in South Dakota on Friday and Saturday. The Rush are two points behind Colorado for first place in the Turner Conference. The Bucks trail the Killer Bees by two points in the chase for the eighth and final spot.
-Last year’s CHL MVP, Colorado’s Kevin Ulanski, is coming off one of his best games of the season getting involved in all five Eagles scores in their 5-0 win over Laredo on Wednesday. The game was the 300th consecutive sellout for the Eagles (regular season and playoffs) and the two goals and three assists for Ulanski moved him, for the time being, into sole possession of second place in the CHL’s scoring race with 89 points (30-59=89). Last night, Odessa’s Todd Robinson moved up to 90 points (27-63=90) with a pair of helpers in the Jacks win at RGV.
-The Mudbugs have seemingly found a jewel on the blue line with the late season signing of Kevin Young. The d-man has six assists in four games with the ‘Bugs and is a +4. After playing professionally in Europe for the past five seasons, this is the first North American pro stint for the White Rock, BC native.