Friday, October 17th, 2008
CENTRAL HOCKEY LEAGUE HEADLINES
1.) Sundogs Raise the Banner
2.) Coaching Debuts
3.) Expansion Craze
4.) Rivalry Friday Night
1- The Arizona Sundogs will raise the CHL Championship banner on Friday night in their first game of the season and the first of back-to-back games versus their Southwest Division rival Odessa Jackalopes. Head Coach Marco Pietroniro’s team is missing some of last season’s top performers like Alex Leavitt, Tyler Redenbach, Cory Urquhart and Rob McVicar, all of who will be tough to replace, but off-season signings Joel Irving (6-4, 225) and Cory Stillman (6-2, 211) give the ‘Dogs a BIG forward presence.
2- Three coaches will make their head coaching debuts this weekend and exactly half the teams will have coaches that were not behind the bench for their current team this time last year. The rookies are Chris Brooks (RGV), Sylvain Cloutier (CRP) and Brent Bilodeau (WIC). Coaches who are making their opening night debuts with their current teams are Kevin Kaminski (MIS), Dan Hodge (TUL), Joe Ferras (RPD), Kevin McClelland (COL) and Tom Coolen (AMA). Last season, there were only three new coaches – Randy Murphy in New Mexico, Dan Wildfong in Texas and Paul Gillis in Odessa – with only Widfong winning his debut.
3- The Rapid City Rush make their regular season debut with a pair of games versus the defending Northern Conference Champion Colorado Eagles. The Rush open the season with a CHL record-tying 14-game road trip and do not play at home until Saturday, November 29th as their home facility is being completed (the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena). The Rush went 1-1 in pre-season defeating Rocky Mountain and losing to the Eagles.
4- There are seven games on the schedule for the CHL’s opening night with three of those games feature match-ups with great rivalries. The Oklahoma City Blazers will host the Tulsa Oilers, the New Mexico Scorpios welcome the Amarillo Gorillas and the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs face the Texas Brahmas.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Number of wins the Blazers have versus the Oilers in 187 career regular season match-ups (100-68-19)…The two rivals meet on Friday night at the Ford Center
Before signing to play with Bossier-Shreveport this season, the number of games Travis Clayton has played with Wichita, his only CHL home…Clayton is second all-time in the CHL in games player (696) and third in points (834)
The Sundogs current regular season win streak (March 6-22)..The defending champs last home loss came on Feb. 23rd versus New Mexico…Arizona was 4-1 at home last season versus the Jackalopes (their opening night opponent)
The Killer Bees current regular season losing streak (March 11-22)…The Bees were outscored 39-13 in the final seven games of the regular season in 2007-08
The number of wins that Mudbugs goaltender Ken Carroll is behind Lance Leslie for fourth on the CHL’s all-time win’s list…Carroll is the CHL’s all-time leader with 26 shutouts…Last year, he went just 2-3-1 versus the Brahmas, the ‘Bugs opening night opponent
The number of points that Tulsa’s Jeff Christian has scored in the last three seasons (Tulsa, Youngstown)…He has pocketed 38 points (16-22=38) in 20 career games versus the Blazers, the Oilers opening night opponent (the most versus any single team)
-The last time the Mudbugs and the Brahmas played was Game Four of the Northern Conference semifinals where Texas swept the regular season champs out of the playoffs
-The Laredo Bucks won all six of their October games last year and started the season with a 10-game winning streak
-The Mudbugs are 1-6-3 over the last two seasons in the month of October