Monday, December 19, 2011
1.) You’re an All Star- The head coach position for the CHL team in the upcoming 2012 CHL All-Star Game in Prescott Valley, Arizona will be determined this week. The game, scheduled for Wednesday, January 11, will feature the host Arizona Sundogs facing off against a team of CHL All-Stars. Marco Pietroniro, in his sixth season with the Sundogs, will be Arizona’s coach and the CHL team’s bench boss will be either Allen’s Dwight Mullins, Wichita’s Kevin McClelland or Fort Wayne’s Al Sims. The position will go to the person with the highest winning percentage after the games on December 23rd. Mullins and McClelland each currently have a win percentage of .708 with Sims sitting with a win percentage of .682. Mullins is in the driver’s seat controlling his own destiny as a pair of wins this week by the Americans will secure the spot for the coach. The starters and reserves for the game will be announced next week.
2.) Thunderous Week - The team of the week in the CHL is easily the Wichita Thunder (17-7-0). With their 4-0 record, the Thunder are now tied for first place in the Berry Conference and, along with Allen, have the highest point total in the CHL (34). The Thunder have won five straight games and last week topped Fort Wayne on Tuesday, Rio Grande Valley on both Friday and Saturday and Texas on Sunday. Thomas Beauregard was named the Oakley CHL Player of the Week with five goals and four assists in the four games. Alex Bourret also had a huge week with three goals and eight helpers. Goaltender Adam Russo went 3-0 allowing just four goals. The Thunder will look to extend their win streak on Friday night when they travel to Quad City to play the Mallards who are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
3.) In First Place- For the first time since joining the CHL, the Fort Wayne Komets (15-7-0) begin a week in first place in the Turner Conference thanks to their home-and-home series sweep over the Evansville IceMen (13-7-2). On Saturday, the Komets won their fifth straight on home ice with a convincing 7-4 victory over the IceMen. Colin Chaulk (2-1=3) and Jesse Bennefield (0-3=3) each had three points for the Komets. On Friday night, the Komets handed the IceMen their first regulation loss when leading after two periods (11-1-1) thanks to Bobby Chaumont’s two third period goals. Chaumont finished the game with a hat trick. The Komets host Texas (12-8-5) on Wednesday and then travel to Dayton (10-10-4) for their final game before the Christmas break.
Inside the Numbers
599: The total number of games coached in the CHL for Rio Grande Valley’s Terry Ruskowski. On Wednesday night when RGV hosts the Allen Americans, Ruskowski will become just the fifth head coach to coach in 600 CHL games. Ruskowski joined the Bees this season after spending the previous nine seasons with the Laredo Bucks. In his career, Ruskowski is 353-186-60 with his 353 all-time wins ranking fourth on the league’s wins list.
On the Fly
-The Missouri Mavericks (11-9-3) may have turned a corner on Sunday afternoon with their 4-3 overtime victory over the Evansville IceMen (13-7-2). The Mavs entered the game on a three-game slide but John-Scott Dickson scored three goals (including the OT game winner) and had an assist. The Mavs are 9-3-2 on the road this year but are just 2-6-1 at home. This week, Missouri host the Laredo Bucks (9-14-0) on Tuesday and Friday.
-Despite having their modest three-game win streak end on Friday against Rapid City, the Laredo Bucks (9-14-0) bounced back nicely with a 3-1 win at Allen on Saturday night. Ryan Rondeau made 38 saves earning the win for the Bucks who are 4-1 in their last five games. The Bucks travel to Missouri this week for a pair of games against the Mavericks.
-The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (10-11-4) are just 1-5-4 in the month of December having lost their last nine games (0-5-4). After playing five of their last six games on the road, the Bees are back at home on Wednesday hosting the Allen Americans (15-5-4). RGV is 8-5-2 on home ice this season.
-Rapid City forward Mike Vaskivuo enjoyed his road trip to Texas where he scored five goals with two assists in the Rush’s four-game road trip to Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Texas. Vaskivuo had two goals and seven assists in his previous 16 games before the trip and in four games nearly matched that production. His big night came on Friday when he netted a hat trick with two assists in Rapid City’s 6-2 win at Laredo.
-The Arizona Sundogs (9-13-4) have played in four straight one-goal games going 1-2-1 over that stretch and on the season, only the Texas Brahmas (12-8-5) have played more ‘close ones’ than the Sundogs. Arizona is 7-5-4 in one goal games and Texas is 8-5-5. In fact, 14 of the last 16 games for the Brahmas have been determined by just the one goal.
-The Evansville IceMen (13-7-2) continue their trend of winning the games they score first in. On the season, the IceMen are 10-1-1 when scoring first and just 3-6-1 when the opponent scores first. The IceMen will look to put an end to their season-long three-game slide on Friday when the host the Texas Brahmas (12-8-5).
-Despite having the league’s best penalty kill (86.5%), the Allen Americans (15-5-4) are the only CHL team yet to score a shorthanded goal. The Americans were fourth in the league last season with 13 SHG’s.
-Five was the magic number on Saturday night in Bloomington as the Dayton Gems defeated the Bloomington Blaze 4-2 thus ending their five-game losing streak and at the same time ending the Blaze’s five-game home winning streak. The Gems took two of the three games over the weekend in the weekend series against the Blaze. Larry Sterling saw action in all three games winning both decisions he factored in to while stopping 98 of 102 shots. Sterling is 5-1 with a 2.21 GAA since joining the Gems.
-The Quad City Mallards (13-9-1) and the Bloomington Blaze (6-15-2) meet for the fifth time this season on Tuesday night with the Blaze still looking for their first win against the Flock. Quad City has outscored Bloomington 24-13 in the four previous games as Brandon Marino, Justin Chwedoruk and Sean Flanagan have all scored eight points. A win by the Mallards on Tuesday would vault them into second place in the Turner Conference past the idle Evansville IceMen (13-7-2)