CHL Weekly: Nearing halfway, point spread is narrow at the top

Allen Americans (21-10-3, 45 points) 2nd place

The Americans picked up five of a possible six points, dropping a game in overtime to Denver and picking up wins against Denver and Tulsa. Allen was two-for-nine on the powerplay during a rough game in which the Cutthroats’ Sean Zimmerman netted the game winner in the extra frame.

They bounced back quickly, as Mark Guggenburger stopped 34 shots and Kale Kerbashian recorded a four-point night in a 5-0 shutout of Denver. Alex Lavoie’s two goals helped the Americans capture a 6-5 win in a back-and-forth battle at Tulsa on Sunday.

Allen Americans leading scorer Alex Lavoie / Photo by Les Stockton

Lavoie continues to pace the team with 47 points, also ranking him at first place in CHL rookie scoring. Allen now prepares to take on the Arizona Sundogs in a three game series, beginning on Friday at the Allen Event Center. Following Saturday’s game the two squads will bus to Arizona for game three on Monday night.

Arizona Sundogs (14-18-1, 29 points) 8th place

The Sundogs picked up two wins by shutout, extending their current winning streak to four games. Andrew Engelage is playing his best hockey of the season, as he stopped all 30 St. Charles shots on Friday and 27 Quad City shots on Saturday to extend his scoreless streak to 206:25. Ian Schultz scored two goals for the Sundogs, including a powerplay marker that served as the game-winner at Quad City.

Paul McIlveen continues to sit atop the team leaderboard with 30 points (10 G, 20 A), while Kevin Baker is in second with 24 points (12 G, 12 A). Former Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs star David Rutherford has six points in his first five games with the team. The Sundogs prepare for a big mid-season test this weekend, as they will travel to Allen for a pair of games with the Americans before returning home to host the Americans on Monday.

Brampton Beast (18-16-2, 38 points) 7th Place

The Beast saw mixed results last week, picking up two wins and two losses as they closed out a six game road trip. The offense was alive and well to begin the week, scoring five goals in each of their first two games. Scott Howes continued his hot-streak, contributing three points during a 5-3 win at St. Charles and adding a hat trick, including the overtime game-winner during a 5-4 win at Quad City. The offense struggled, however, during a two-game series at Tulsa where the Beast suffered 5-2 and 7-2 losses at the hands of the Oilers.

Rob Collins leads the offensive efforts for Brampton with 38 points, with Jason Pitton in second with 29 points. Howes has 22 points in just 11 games and is currently riding a six-game pointstreak. The Beast return to home ice this weekend, as they will open a three-game series with the struggling St. Charles Chill beginning on Friday night.

Denver Cutthroats (18-10-6, 42 points) 4th place

The Cutthroats secured four out of a possible six points last week, as they picked up a pair of overtime wins over St. Charles and Allen then dropped a 5-0 decision to the Americans. Aaron MacKenzie netted the game-winner in a 4-3 overtime victory at St. Charles Wednesday, while Garett Bembridge and Troy Schwab both added multiple-points to the scoresheet. Sean Zimmerman scored the overtime winner at Allen on Saturday, while Bembridge added four assists and Schwab contributed a goal and assist to secure a 4-3 victory.

Bembridge continues to lead the team in scoring with 56 points (27 G, 29 A), Schwab’s 28 points (9 G, 39 A) ranks him second. Jean-Philipp Chabot and Steve Kaunisto are tied for third place with 20 points each. The Cutthroats continue their month-long road trip this weekend with a three game series at Rapid City.

 

Missouri Mavericks (21-10-1, 43 points) 3rd place

The Missouri Mavericks took on the Rapid City Rush at home in Independence for a two game series. The Rush dominated the Mavericks in the second and third period of the game on Friday, a very physical game landed the rush a 7-3 win. The next day the Mavericks came out swinging hard and scored three goals in the first five minutes, this momentum coupled with a physical and forceful level of play landed the Mavericks a much needed 5-1 victory over the Rush.

Independence, MO - Jan 11th, 2014 Missouri Mavericks forward Andrew Courtney snaps the puck past Rush netminder Keaton Hartigan in the first period. ( J. Griffith | Pro Hockey News)

Independence, MO – Jan 11th, 2014 Missouri Mavericks forward Andrew Courtney snaps the puck past Rush netminder Keaton Hartigan in the first period. ( J. Griffith | Pro Hockey News)

Mavericks forward, team captain and occasional defenseman (as Thinel was placed on the blue line during the most recent game while d-man Matt Stephenson was serving a one game suspension) continues to sit atop the Mavericks leaderboard with 42 points being comprised of 10 goals and 32 assists. Mavericks forward Eric Castonguay continues to sit in second place with 35 points comprised of 15 goals and 20 assists.

The Mavericks will take on the Tulsa Oilers in Tulsa this week, they will then return home to take on the Wichita Thunder in a home-and-home series.

Quad City Mallards (16-8-7, 39 points) 6th place

The Quad City Mallards went 0-1-2 last week, dropping a Wednesday night overtime heart-breaker to the Brampton Beast along with a shootout loss to the Wichita Thunder on Friday, only to end the week with a tough 1-0 loss to the Arizona Sundogs – putting a damper on a season high crowd of 5,834. The Mallards struggles coincide with the call up’s of defenseman Nicholas Rioux and winger Jim McKenzie to the AHL Iowa Wild earlier in the week. The Mallards are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and with the fewest games played in the CHL, they boast the league’s 4th best winning percentage (.629).

Ty Rimmer prepares to take the net for the Quad City Mallards / Photo courtesy of Rich Guill - Sean Flynn Photography

Ty Rimmer prepares to take the net for the Quad City Mallards before a season-high crowd of 5,834 on Saturday, Jan. 11 / Photo courtesy of Rich Guill – Sean Flynn Photography

The Mallards will not play at home again until January 31 as they travel to Wichita for a single game on Friday before heading to Canada for a three-game series in Brampton beginning on January 23. The Mallards have won five-straight road games, and look to best that season high total Friday in Wichita. Scoring leaders Gabriel Levesque, Jeff Lee, and Mike Stinziani, all with 11 goals, look to get back on track after a tough week.

Rapid City Rush (23-9-0, 46 points) 1st place

The Rapid City Rush traveled to Independence, Missouri to take on the Missouri Mavericks in a two-game set. The Rush came out strong and forceful on Friday which led to a 7-3 victory over the Mavericks. The next day the Mavericks overpowered the Rush and came out with a three-goal lead in the first five minutes. The Mavericks momentum slowed, but the Rush were unable to recover dropping the game with a 5-1 loss.

Independence, MO - Jan 10th, 2014 Missouri Mavericks forward Mike Ramsay is steered away from the goal as Rush netminder Keaton Hartigan covers the puck. ( J. Griffith | Pro Hockey News)

Independence, MO – Jan 10th, 2014 Missouri Mavericks forward Mike Ramsay is steered away from the goal as Rush netminder Keaton Hartigan covers the puck. ( J. Griffith | Pro Hockey News)

Rush forward Jesse Schultz sits atop the Rush leaderboard with 50 points consisting of 12 goals and 38 assists while forward Konrad Reeder trails with 47 points consisting of 22 goals and 25 assists.

The Rush will take on the Denver Cutthroats in Rapid City this next week where they will look to increase their lead on the CHL leader board.

St. Charles Chill (8-23-5, 21 points) 10th place

The St. Charles Chill suffered another disappointing weak as they dropped five out of six possible points, including an overtime loss to Denver and a shutout to Arizona. St. Charles was riddled with penalties in every game and were only able to capitalize on one out of 13 power play opportunities across the three games.  Sitting in last place with only 21 points for the season, the Chill are quickly slipping into an irrecoverable tailspin.

Chill forward Kyle OKane continues to sit atop the leaderboard with 25 points being comprised of 14 goals and 11 assists, while team captain and forward Jordan Fox sits in second place with 24 points consisting of 9 goals and 15 assists.

The Chill will travel to Brampton, Ontario to take on the Beast in their barn for a three game series this week.

Tulsa Oilers (19-18-2, 40 points) 5th place

The Oilers snapped a five-game skid, picking up three wins in four games last week, including a 3-0 shutout win at Rapid City on Tuesday. Shane Madolora stopped all 38 shots he faced as Drew Fisher and Michel Beausoleil each had a goal and assist and Todd Robinson added three helpers for Tulsa. Ryan Menei scored two goals on Friday as the Oilers defeated the Brampton Beast 5-2 at the BOK Center.

The flood gates remained open for Tulsa’s offense on Saturday, as Ben Gordon record a hat trick while Beausoleil and Ryan Cramer added two goals each during a 7-2 Tulsa win. Tulsa’s lone setback came on Sunday, as they dropped a 6-5 decision to the Allen Americans in their regular season series finale.

Tulsa’s Todd Robinson recorded career assist number 1,000 in his 971st game on Saturday, Jan. 11 / Photo by Les Stockton

Todd Robinson continues to lead the team in scoring with 57 points (12 G, 45 A), and recently surpassed Denver’s Garett Bembridge for the league lead. Robinson also reached a career milestone last week, picking up his 1,000th career assist on a third period goal by Beausoleil on Saturday night. He registered the historic point in just his 971st career game.  Tulsa has a light schedule this week as they will host the Missouri Mavericks on Friday night.

Wichita Thunder (12-17-4, 28 points) 9th place

The Thunder stopped a three-game skid with a 3-2 Shootout victory over the Quad City Mallards in the only game they played last week. Wichita is 3-1 in the shootout on the season. Matt Robinson scored in the shootout, moving him into third place all-time for shootout goals with 14. Robinson is six goals behind Travis Clayton and only seven behind Thunder Assistant Coach Jason Duda for the all-time shootout goal lead.

Matt Summers centers a pass for Tomas Klempa during Wichita’s 3-2 shootout win at Quad City on Friday. / Photo by Ed Bailey

Matt Summers is really heating up his scoring after returning from a month-long spot on the Injured-reserve list. Summers has 15 points ( 5g, 11a) in just 22 games. Jon Booras continues to lead the team in scoring with 37 points.

The Thunder will host Quad City on Friday, then travel to Missouri for a showdown with the Mavericks on Saturday before wrapping up the weekend by hosting the Mavericks on Sunday.

 

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CHL Player of the Week: Ben Gordon, Tulsa Oilers

CHL Player of the Week, Ben Gordon celebrates a goal / Photo by Les Stockton

Tulsa Oilers forward Ben Gordon picked up his second player of the week honor of the season after a productive week. Gordon contributed eight points (4 G, 4 A) in four games last week, helping the Oilers win three out of those four games. Gordon scored a powerplay marker in a 3-0 road win at Rapid City on Tuesday, then netted a hat trick against the Brampton Beast on Saturday. The 28 year-old sixth-year pro is fourth in the CHL with 49 points (21 G, 28 A).

CHL Goalie of the Week: Andrew Engelage, Arizona Sundogs

CHL Goalie of the Week, Andrew Engelage is on the fifth-longest scoreless minute streak in CHL history / Photo by Les Stockton

Arizona Sundogs goaltender Andrew Engelage grabbed goalie of the week honors for the second time this season, thanks to a pair of shutout wins last week. The Oshawa, Ontario native is 4-0 in his last four starts and has not allowed a goal in 206:25. Engelage leads the CHL in shutouts this season with four. His 2.53 goals against average ranks third in the league, while his .913 save percentage places him in a tie for fifth. Engelage currently owns a record of 12-8-1.

The Central Hockey League attendance records are as follows:

Missouri90,416175,318
Tulsa89,804194,726
Rapid City72,634164,539
Wichita75,479174,439
Allen75,415184,189
Quad City55,227163,451
Brampton27,981122,331
Arizona34,341152,289
St. Charles43,044221,956
Denver24,694181,371

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

John Hall, Ed Bailey, Les Stockton and Rich Guill contributed to this report: john.hall@prohockeynews.com, Ed.Bailey@prohockeynews.com, les.stockton@prohockeynews.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @prohockeynews

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