Monday, March 5, 2012
1.) Thunder Finds Home Away from Home- What a week for the Wichita Thunder (39-15-2) who rolled through the state of Indiana claiming six of a possible six points in two wins over the Evansville IceMen (36-17-4) and one win over the Fort Wayne Komets (36-17-4). The Thunder’s victories showed their muscle against the two top clubs in the Turner Conference in what could possibly be a Presidents’ Cup preview. Wichita gained all kinds of momentum from their six-goal third period in their 8-5 comeback win on Wednesday in Evansville. On Friday, they topped the IceMen 2-1 and then on Sunday beat the Komets 3-2 in a shootout. Wichita showed incredible balance with 11 different goal scorers accounting for their 13 strikes. Wichita is now in the lead in the chase for the regular season point’s title with 80 points, four clear of both Evansville and Fort Wayne. The Thunder have another stern test this week when they travel to South Dakota to play a pair of games against the Rapid City Rush (Friday/Saturday).
2.) Bees Still Buzzing- A three win week for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (25-26-7) have pushed them into a playoff spot with 57 points, one more than the fifth place Tulsa Oilers (25-24-6). The Bees need to keep winning as the Oilers have three games in hand on the South Texas swarm. The Bees host the two bottom squads in the Berry Conference this week with the Laredo Bucks (23-31-2) coming to town on Wednesday and the Arizona Sundogs (17-31-9) in for a pair of games this weekend. The Bees are coming off a 41-save effort from John Murray in a 4-0 shutout win on Sunday at Laredo. Aaron Lee continued his strong offensive play for the Killer Bees with three goals and three assists in his last four games. Tulsa hosts Rapid City (30-19-6) on Tuesday night in a crucial game for the Oilers.
3.) Flock Flies South- Two teams trying to find some consistency meet in a pair of games this week at the Allen Event Center when the Quad City Mallards (31-23-2) play the Allen Americans (30-15-9). It will mark the first ever meeting between the Americans and Mallards. Allen is in second place in the Berry Conference but have just a one point lead over the third place Texas Brahmas. The Americans are just 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and have lost four of their last five games (1-3-1). Quad City is in fifth place in the Turner Conference trailing the fourth place Rapid City Rush by two points and the third place Missouri Mavericks by three points. The Flock have alternated wins and losses in each of their last 13 games. Forward Brandon Marino has scored seven goals with three assists in his last five games and has climbed to number two in the league in scoring with 77 points (36-41=77).
Inside the Numbers
4 – After winning 10 straight games, longest win streak in the CHL this season, the Evansville IceMen (36-17-4) have dropped four straight games losing twice to Wichita, once to Quad City and once to Bloomington. The IceMen have seen their Turner Conference lead evaporate as they are now tied with the Fort Wayne Komets (36-17-4) for first place in the Turner. The IceMen play at Missouri on Tuesday and then play a critical two-game set in Fort Wayne against the Komets on Friday and Saturday.
On the Fly
-The longest point streak in the CHL this season came to an end on Sunday with Evansville’s 5-2 loss to Bloomington. IceMen veteran Todd Robinson failed to score a point ending his league-high point streak at 17 games. During his streak, Robinson scored 11 goals and 17 assists. The Evansville Captain leads the league in scoring with 82 points (22-60=82).
-The Texas Brahmas defense continues to be the best in the CHL allowing 2.37 goals per game. Rookie goaltender Mark Guggenberger leads the league with a 1.87 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. Texas is off until Friday when they host Missouri. -Bloomington forward Jon Booras reached a milestone on Sunday playing in his 400th professional game (388 of them have been played in Bloomington with the Blaze or PrairieThunder). Booras, tied for the team lead with 44 points, celebrated his milestone in style netting a hat trick and helping the Blaze to an impressive 6-2 win over Evansville. On the week, Booras scored four goals and two game winning goals earning Oakley CHl Player of the Week honors.
-Fort Wayne goalie Nick Boucher went 2-0-1 last week improving his record to 29-11-2 on the season. His 29 wins are tops in the CHL and his 2.35 GAA is third in the league. Boucher is 6-2 with a 2.01 GAA against the Komets Tuesday night opponent, Dayton.
-Quad City rookie Jared Brown is currently on a five-game point streak which has helped add to his lead among rookie scorers in the CHL. Brown has 60 points (22-38=60) on the season which is eight more than any other first-year player. During his streak, Brown has three goals and four assists.
-Missouri goaltender Charlie Effinger continues his workhorse run playing in both Mavs games last week and winning both while allowing just three scores. The Mavs netminder has played in every game since January 7th (24 straight games) and has posted a 15-7-2 allowing two goals or fewer in half of those games. The Mavs host Evansville in a key Turner Conference game on Tuesday (the IceMen have dropped four straight games).
-Forward Olivier Proulx has been a nice addition for the Arizona Sundogs scoring eight goals with 17 points in 17 games played. He is currently on a four-game point streak with three goals and two assists over that stretch.
-The Rapid City Rush ends their five-game road trip on Tuesday in Tulsa. So far, the Rush are 2-2 but after their eight goal outburst last Wednesday in Arizona, the Rush scored just once in both Friday’s and Saturday’s losses (@ Missouri, @ Tulsa). The Rush are third in the league averaging 3.44 goals per game.