Friday, January 6, 2012
1.) Komets Grab #1 Spot on Coaches Poll- The Fort Wayne Komets (20-8-1) have become the fourth different team (joining Allen, Evansville and Wichita) to lay claim to the #1 spot on the CHL Coaches Poll. Fort Wayne earned eight first place votes followed by Wichita with five and Allen with three. The top five teams on the most recent poll are the Komets, Thunder, Americans, Mallards and Rush. Fort Wayne will tangle with the Dayton Gems (11-13-6) three times this weekend with Friday’s and Sunday’s games at Fort Wayne and Saturday’s contest in Dayton. The Komets are 4-1 so far this season versus the Gems.
2.) All-Star Game Approaching- The 2012 CHL All-Star Game is set for Wednesday, January 11 in Prescott Valley, Arizona at Tim’s Toyota Center. The game’s format will feature the host Arizona Sundogs taking on a team of CHL All-Stars. The voted-in starters for the CHL team were announced recently with Jesse Schultz (RPD), Bruce Graham (ALN) and Brandon Marino (QDC) winning the forward spots. The starting defensemen are Andrew Martens (WIC) and Jeff Terminesi (TUL) and Nick Boucher (FTW) will be the starting goaltender. Allen Head Coach Dwight Mullins will coach the CHL All-Stars. The game will be available LIVE on CHL-TV!
3.) Bees Road Trip Continues- The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (14-12-4) continue their trek this weekend with a pair of games in Rapid City against the Rush (16-12-1) who have won six straight home games. The Bees have won three straight games on their journey, all against Arizona, and are 3-1 so far on their six-game trip. Wylie Rogers is 5-3-3 on the season and has been in net for all three of the Bees wins on their current road trip. This weekend’s games in South Dakota will mark the first time the Killer Bees have ever played in Rapid City. The Rush lead the all-time series with points in all five previous match-ups (3-0-2) including a shootout win earlier this season.
Inside the Numbers
5: The number of consecutive games that Quad City forward Brandon Marino has scored a goal (six goals during that streak). The five-game goal streak matches the longest in the league this season tying RGV’s Aaron Lee and David Marshall and Rapid City’s Jesse Schultz. Marino leads the league with 20 goals on the season (29 games played). In his previous two professional seasons (131 games), the Riverside, California native scored 23 goals. Marino will look to keep his streak alive on Friday night when Quad City (17-11-1) hosts Wichita (20-8-1).
On the Fly
-Fort Wayne’s Nick Boucher received some recognition this week earning the Oakley Three Star Player of the Month award and the Sher-Wood/CHL Goaltender of the Month award. Boucher leads the league with 18 wins, a 2.28 goals against average and three shutouts (he is second with a .922 save percentage). In December, Boucher was 10-1-1 with a 2.04 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. Boucher was been voted the starting goaltender for the CHL All-Stars in Wednesday’s All-Star Game in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
-Wichita’s Alex Bourret is coming off a stellar month of December that has earned him several recognitions. Bourret was named the Sher-Wood/CHL Player of the Month and was selected as a CHL All-Star for Wednesday’s All-Star Game. During the month of December, Bourret had eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points. He is tied for fourth in the league in scoring with 39 points (13-26=39). On Thursday, the former first round pick in the 2005 NHL Draft was called-up to the AHL and the Worcester Sharks.
-After meeting four times over a seven-day period in November, the Arizona Sundogs (9-16-6) and the Texas Brahmas (14-11-6) meet again this weekend for a pair of games in Prescott Valley. The two teams have split the previous four games with all four contests decided by one goal. Former Brahma and current Sundog Jeff Hazelwood has four goals in those four games against his former club. It is no surprise that it is tight when these two teams meet as they are first and second in the CHL in one-goal games with Texas leading the way with 22 close ones and Arizona playing in 18 one-goal contests. The Sundogs have lost seven straight games overall and the Brahmas have dropped their last two. This weekend’s series will feature the CHL’s most penalized team (Arizona, 22 minutes per game) and the least penalized team (Texas, 12.5 minutes per game).
-Since losing a CHL season-high 12 straight games, the Bloomington Blaze have righted the ship and been playing very solid hockey. The Blaze are over .500 during since their tough start to the season (9-8-0) and have been fueled by the strong play of forward Vladimir Nikiforov and Jon Booras. Nikiforov has 23 points (10-13=23) in just 17 games and Booras leads the team in scoring with 31 points (15-16=31). The Blaze play Evansville three times this weekend who has defeated them in three of the previous four meetings.
-Allen’s all-star forward Bruce Graham is currently riding the league’s longest active point streak at 12 games, one game shy of tying the longest streak of the season. Graham has five goals and 13 assists during his streak and his team is 7-2-3 over that stretch. Graham is third in the CHL in scoring with 40 points (14-26=40) on the season.
-The Laredo Bucks (11-17-0) have not seen home ice since December 16 and finally this weekend, their road trip comes to an end. The Bucks have fared well going 3-3-0 so far on their seven-game road trip with a pair of wins in Allen and a win in Missouri to their credit. The Bucks play the final game of their seven-game journey at Allen (17-6-6) on Friday night and then head home to face the Americans two more times before the All-Star break. Goaltender Ryan Rondeau has won three of his last four decisions including the two wins in Allen.