CHL Weekly: Battle for first place heats up

Allen Americans (16-10-2; 34 points) 4th place

After a sloppy start to the weekend, allowing the Tulsa Oilers to come back from a two goal deficit and score four unanswered goals in the third period Thursday night, Allen woke up and played some strong hockey. Big wins over St. Charles and in a rematch with Tulsa Saturday night moved Allen into a tie with the Oilers for fourth place. The good news for Allen is they have four games in hand over Tulsa, the bad news is Quad City is now one point ahead of them and has two games in hand over Allen.

Arizona Sundogs (10-17-1; 21 points) 9th place

With a light schedule last week, the Sundogs managed to pick up one win out of a two-game home set with the Denver Cutthroats. Arizona battled back in the second game, winning 4-3 in overtime on a goal from Matt McCready. Newcomer Brandon Coccimiglio contributed two goals and an assist and now has five goals in the last four games. Paul McIlveen continues to lead the team in scoring with 27 points.

The Sundogs host the Cutthroats again tonight before travelling to Wichita for two games this weekend.

Brampton Beast (14-13-2) Seventh Place

The Brampton Beast picked up one point this week, losing three games to the Quad City Mallards while picking up a single point in an OT loss. Brampton lost 5-4 in their first game, lost 3-2 in overtime in their second game, and dropped Monday night’s game 3-2. The biggest event of the week, however, came in the second game when a massive brawl broke out, resulting in a two game suspension for Mallards forward Jordan Lane and Beast forward Mike MacIsaac. 

Beast forward Rob Collins sits atop the team leaderboard with 27 points consisting of eight goals and 19 assists, while Matt Caruana is in second with 10 goals and 13 assists. The Brampton Beast now head to Missouri to take on the Mavericks in a two game series followed by the St. Charles Chill. 

Denver Cutthroats (13-9-6; 32 points) 6th place

It was a weekend split for the Fish against their rivals, the Arizona Sundogs. Garett Bembridge continues to be a goal scoring machine for Denver, notching a pair of goals and an assist for a three point weekend. Bembridge now sits tied with Tulsa’s Todd Robinson for first in league scoring with 45 points  (24G, 21A). Denver currently sits in sixth place, one point behind Quad City who has three games in hand on the Cutthroats.

Denver finishes out their series with Arizona tonight before moving to Aspen for a pair of games with the Tulsa Oilers this weekend.

Missouri Mavericks (19-7-1) Second Place

 The Missouri Mavericks picked up four out of a possible six points this weekend when they beat the Rapid City Rush two games in-a-row. Missouri traveled to Rapid City for a three-game series, the Mavericks won the first game 4-2, won the second game 4-3 and lost the third game 4-7.  

Missouri played with a short bench as forward Colt King was serving the remaining games on a seven game suspension. In addition they also lost defensemen Kyle Hood and Saverio Posa the week before as Kyle Hood retired from hockey and Saverio Posa opted to continue his college education. 

 Mavericks forward Sebastien Thinel continues to sit atop the Mavericks leaderboard with 37 points consisting of 10 goals and 27 assists. Eric Castonguay sits in second place with 27 points consisting of 12 goals and 15 assists. 

 The Mavericks head home this week to take on Tulsa and Brampton in one game sets. 

Quad City Mallards (15-6-5; 35 points) 3rd place

Things appear to be coming together for the Mallards, as they swept a three-game series at Brampton to push their winning streak to five games while vaulting Allen and Tulsa, landing in third place in the standings. All three games were decided by one goal, with Saturday’s 3-2 victory coming down to Darren McMillan’s overtime marker.

Mike Stinziani continues to pace the squad with 23 points, while Jim McKenzie and Gergo Nagy follow closely with 22 points each. The Mallards open a light schedule this week by hosting the Chill Friday night before travelling to St. Charles to complete the home-and-home series the following night.

Rapid City Rush (21-5-0; 42 points) 1st place

The heavyweights battled in a three-game series this weekend when the first place Rush took on the Missouri Mavericks in a tight race for first place. Missouri is the only team to have defeated the Rush multiple times this season with three wins of the five contests between the two to this point. The Rush dropped the first two games before responding with a 7-4 victory in the final game of the series. With three remaining regular seasons games between the clubs, this will be one to watch closely as many are touting it as the championship preview.

St. Charles Chill (7-19-4) 10th place

The St. Charles Chill continued to struggle this week as they dropped six points after losing all three games played this week. The first game against the Allen American’s the Chill fell 1-5, the second game they fell 2-3 against the Wichita Thunder, and the final game this week they fell 2-5 against the Wichita Thunder. St. Charles continued to struggle on the powerplay through all three games. 

Forward Kyle OKane continues to sit atop the Chill leaderboard with 19 points consisting of 11 goals and 8 assists. Forward Anthony Perdicaro sits in second place with 18 points consisting of 8 goals and 10 assists. The Chill will take on Rapid City, Quad City and Brampton this week in a mix of at home and away games.

Tulsa Oilers (16-14-2; 34 points) 5th place

The Oilers had a promising start to their week as they scored four unanswered third period goals to secure a 4-2 comeback win over visiting Allen on Thursday night. Tulsa was not as lucky the following two nights, as they dropped a home contest to the Wichita Thunder and subsequent road trip to Allen on Saturday. Tulsa allowed 15 goals in the last two games of the week while scoring only six goals.

Todd Robinson leads the squad with 45 points, while Ben Gordon is in second with 41 points. Adam Pleskach leads the team with 19 goals while Gordon and Michel Beausoleil have 17 goals each. Tulsa prepares for a long bus trip this week, facing off at Missouri tonight before travelling to Aspen, Colorado for a two-game set with the Denver Cutthroats this weekend.

Wichita Thunder (11-14-4; 26 points) 8th place

The fortunes appear to be turning for the Thunder, who claimed wins in all three games last week. Wichita crashed the BOK Center Friday night, dropping an 8-2 loss on the arch-rival Tulsa Oilers before returning home to claim a 3-2 and 5-2 win over the visiting St. Charles Chill. Jon Booras holds a nice lead on the team leaderboard with 36 points while Defensemen Jesse Dudas and Andrew Martens have 24 points each.

The Thunder take on the Allen Americans tonight before returning home for a two-game set with the Arizona Sundogs this weekend.

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CHL Player of the Week: Matt Robinson, Wichita Thunder

Matt Robinson, Wichita Thunder / Photo by Les Stockton

Robinson contributed two game-winning goals and three assists as the Wichita Thunder went a perfect 3-0 on the week. His 23-points ranks him fourth in scoring on the team, while he leads the Thunder with 14 goals this season.

CHL Goalie of the Week: Shane Owen, Missouri Mavericks

Shane Owen, Missouri Mavericks / Photo by Les Stockton

Owen is the Goalie of the Week for the second week in a row and fourth time this season. Owen claimed a 4-2 win and 4-3 win, making a total of 45 saves during a three-game series at Rapid City. His 16 wins ranks him second in the league while his 2.37 goals against average is also good for second place.

The Central Hockey League attendance records are as follows:

Team              No. Games    Total Att.       Average

Missouri          12                 62,979        5,248
Tulsa              16                 75,167         4,697
Rapid City      15                 68,400         4,560
Wichita           15                 67,451        4,496
Allen               13                  53,977        4,152
Quad City       12                 39,841        3,320
Brampton       12                 27,981         2,331
Arizona           14                31,689          2,263
St. Charles     17                31,131          1,831
Denver           16                 23,852          1,490

Contact the columnist at jeremiah.griffith@prohockeynews.com or via Twitter @JAGriffith_PHN

John Hall and Maurice Fitzgerald contributed to this report:  john.hall@prohockeynews.com, maurice.fitzgerald@prohockeynews.com

Contact the photographer at: les.stockton@prohockeynews.com

Follow us on Twitter: @prohockeynews

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