CHL Playoff Preview: Denver versus Tulsa

CHL Playoffs logoIn what promises to be one of the most high-powered, entertaining post-season match ups in the CHL, the second-seeded Denver Cutthroats will take on the seventh-seeded Tulsa Oilers. Denver (38-17-11) dominated the regular season series, beating Tulsa (34-29-3) five times in six meetings. The only win for the Oilers came on home ice on February 1 before they reeled off nine wins out of ten games during the month.

Troy Schwab

Troy Schwab

The Cutthroats finished the regular season just three points out of first place behind the strength of the CHL’s most dynamic scoring duo. CHL Most Valuable Player, Garett Bembridge, was the league’s only player to hit the triple-digit mark in scoring with 104 total points. He also led the league in goals scored with 42. Troy Schwab finished the year second in scoring behind 96 points, including 71 assists.

Denver also boasts a solid tandem in net with Kent Patterson and John Griggs. Patterson posted a 23-10-7 record with a goals allowed average of 2.71 and .922 save percentage. Griggs, added to the roster in late-February, has been equally impressive. Griggs posted nine-straight wins in his first nine appearances with the Fish, helping them to a 12-2-1 record in March. He boasts a goals allowed average of 2.34 and save percentage of .925 while posting two shutouts, including the regular season finale at Tulsa last Sunday afternoon.

Adam Pleskach (11), Vincent Arseneau (21)Not to be outdone, Tulsa offers its own group of goal scorers. Ben Gordon leads a long list of offensive firepower for the Oilers. The second-year Oiler had a breakout season, registering 36 goals and 53 assists for a team-high 89 points and placing him fourth in the CHL scoring race. Veteran forward Michel Beausoleil and rookie Adam Pleskach also reached the 30-goal plateau, making Tulsa the only team in the CHL to have three 30-goal scorers this season. Add to the mix Todd Robinson and Ryan Menei, and the Oilers appear to be a bit deeper than the Cutthroats in the scoring department.

Backstopping the Oilers will be ironman netminder Shane Madolora. The second-year Oiler posted 29 wins in the regular season, behind a goals allowed average of 2.92 and a .904 save percentage. Madolora logged 2,980 minutes in net for Tulsa while seeing action in a league-high 53 games. He will be backed up by Brad Fogal, who has finally found a home after spending time with two other CHL teams this season. Fogal has a record of 24-20-2 through three seasons in the CHL.

This series is different in the fact that it is the only one this post-season that begins on the home ice of the lower-seeded team. Due to building availability issues in Denver, the series will take on a 2-3-1-1 format with the first two games in Tulsa. Games three-five will take place in Denver before the two squads will swap one home game each if the series requires games six and seven.

Series Schedule (All times local):

Game 1: Denver at Tulsa, Friday, April 4 at 7:35pm

Game 2: Denver at Tulsa, Saturday, April 5 at 7:35pm

Game 3: Tulsa at Denver, Wednesday, April 9 at 7:00pm

Game 4: Tulsa at Denver, Friday, April 11 at 7:00pm

Game 5: Tulsa at Denver, Saturday, April 12 at 6:00pm

Game 6: Denver at Tulsa, Tuesday, April 15 at 7:05pm

Game 7: Tulsa at Denver, Thursday, April 17 at 7:00pm

 

Contact the writer: john.hall@prohockeynews.com

Contact the photographer: les.stockton@prohockeynews.com

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