Friday, January 20, 2012
1.) ‘21’- The Evansville IceMen (21-9-3) have won four straight games and are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games putting them in second place in the Turner Conference trailing the conference leading Fort Wayne Komets by just one point. On Tuesday, the IceMen shutout the Quad City Mallards, 2-0, marking their 21st win of the season at exactly the halfway point of their schedule. Last season, the IceMen won 21 games all season finishing with a 21-32-13 record. Nicklas Lindberg and Brian Bicek have been leading the offensive charge recently with Lindberg recording nine points (2-7=9) in his last five games and Bicek recording five goals in his last four games. Rookie goaltender Bryan Gillis is undefeated in January winning all six starts while allowing just seven goals. Gillis is 13-3-1 on the season and the Halifax, Nova Scotia native has not allowed a goal in nearly five straight periods (99:27). Defenseman Steve Makway has taken over the lead among all d-men with 26 points (4-22=26) fueled by his recent eight-game surge that has seen him total 10 points (2-8=10) and a +11 plus/minus rating. The IceMen host Quad City on Friday and Tulsa on Sunday.
2.) Batman Hitting Stride- The Rapid City Rush have been climbing the standings after falling below .500 on Dec. 6 with an 8-9-1 record going 11-3-1 since and finding themselves within three points of the final playoff spot in the Turner Conference. A large part of the reason is goaltender Danny Battochio who is 8-1-1 in his last 10 decisions allowing 21 goals over that stretch. The 2010 CHL Rookie of the Year is 70-30-10 with seven shutouts in his two years plus with the Rush in the CHL. Most of the damage for the Rush has been done at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center where they are 14-4-1 on the season with a 10-game point streak (9-0-1). The Rush are at home this weekend when they host the Dayton Gems in a pair of games.
3.) Road Trip Concludes- The Wichita Thunder (23-9-2) are 2-1-0 on their current five-game road trip that has seen them travel to Rapid City for a pair of games and then south the Arizona for a contest on Wednesday. The trip concludes this weekend in Texas with a pair of games against the Brahmas on Friday and Saturday before the Thunder return home to face the Brahmas on Sunday. Wichita’s two wins have both been in shootouts pushing their road record to 8-6-2 on the season. The Thunder and Brahmas have played four times this season with all four games decided by one goal with Wichita winning the last three in a row. Wichita is 11-2-2 in their last 15 games and currently lead the Berry Conference by three points over the Allen Americans.
Inside the Numbers
120:00: The minutes of shutout hockey the Missouri Mavericks (20-13-3) and goaltender Charlie Effinger have dealt the Bloomington Blaze heading into a home-and-home series between the two teams this weekend. The Mavs have won four straight games and with 43 points, are tied for third place in the Turner Conference. Effinger is the reigning Oakley CHL Player of the Week after winning three games in as many days last weekend. Missouri is in Bloomington Friday and then host the Blaze on Saturday.
On the Fly
-The Tulsa Oilers have won just once in their last seven games and this weekend will need to erase that trend as they go head-to-head with the two top teams in the Turner Conference (Fort Wayne and Evansville). The Oilers will play the Komets on Friday and Saturday and then travel to play the IceMen on Sunday. Tulsa is 1-4-1 in their last six away from home and now find themselves in fifth place in the Berry Conference two points out of the conference’s final playoff spot.
-For the fourth time this season, Wichita’s Brett Hemingway scored the game winning shootout goal for the Thunder, this time in Arizona in a 2-1 win over the Sundogs on Wednesday night. Hemingway is 5 for 7 in shootouts this season with four game winners. The Berry Conference leading Thunder are 6-1 in shootouts this season.
-RGV goaltender Wylie Rogers has helped his team on their recent surge posting a 4-1-1 record since Dec. 30 allowing 16 goals over those six games. Rogers is ninth in the CHL with a 2.68 GAA.
-Texas goaltender Steve Silverthorn won his second straight outing and improved to 8-9-5 on the season thanks to his 22-save effort in Wednesday’s 4-2 win at Laredo. Silverthorn’s wins and losses do not reflect his otherwise solid numbers as he ranks fourth in the league with a 2.49 GAA and he carries a .904 save percentage. The Brahmas are in third place in the Berry Conference just four points behind second place Allen. Texas has a chance to make up some ground this weekend as they play three straight games against the conference leading Wichita Thunder (Friday and Saturday in Texas and Sunday in Wichita).
-The Arizona Sundogs have been close to turning the corner and putting together a streak as they have earned points in six of their last eight games going 3-2-3 over that stretch. The Sundogs are eight points out of the final playoff spot but have been getting good play from Scott Reid in net recently. The veteran net minder is on a five-game point streak going 3-0-2 over that span while allowing just six goals in his last four decisions. Arizona hosts Allen this weekend in games on Friday and Saturday.
-Both the Laredo Bucks and the Dayton Gems will look to end slides this weekend as the Gems are 0-4-1 in their last five games and the Bucks are without a point in four straight games. The Gems will have a tough go at it this weekend with games Friday and Saturday in Rapid City (9-0-1 in their last 10 home games) and the Bucks will host Rio Grande Valley on Friday and Saturday (the Bees have won four of the previous seven meetings this season with the Bucks).