In the nine short weeks we’ve been publishing the CHL Power Poll, one thing has been certain – the poll will never be quite the same from week to week. This week, we have a major shake-up involving the third through ninth spots. The only things that didn’t change were the teams at the top and bottom of the list.
Missouri holds strong in the top spot after posting a perfect record last week. On the other end of the standings, the losses continue to pile up for St. Charles, who has held down the tenth position in our poll since week one. Continue reading for a run down of all of the other positions, and feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
1. Missouri Mavericks (32-13-2, 66 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 1st
The Mavericks are on a roll. Eight wins, including three each against Allen and Quad City and two versus Denver, in their last ten games. The Mavs are also riding a four game winning streak into two road games this weekend at Denver. They are in very good shape heading into the final playoff push as they sit six points ahead of second place Denver with one game in hand.
2. Denver Cutthroats (25-13-10, 60 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd
They may be six points behind the Mavs, but the Fish have also been hot lately. Denver, riding a five game winning streak, has defeated Rapid City twice and Allen once as they enjoy the friendly confines of the Denver Coliseum. The real test for the Cutthroats comes this weekend when they will host the league leading Mavericks for a pair of games. If you’re keeping track, Denver defeated Missouri 3-2 the last time they played.
3. Tulsa Oilers (26-23-3, 55 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 9th
The Oilers are big movers this week, moving up from ninth place last week. The team has looked much better lately, as they have won seven of their last eight games, including three wins in a four game series with Arizona. Tulsa, 4-1-0 in their last five, needs to continue to rack up W’s if they hope to improve their playoff seeding after digging themselves a hole during the month of January. The wins will also help to offset the number of games in hand every other team holds on them, specifically Brampton, Arizona and Wichita.
4. Quad City Mallards (24-13-8, 56 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd
The Mallards have hit a bit of a skid, losing their last two games and suffering injuries to a couple of key players. Those two losses likely pushed them below Tulsa. On the bright side, they have won twice against Rapid City, which is a good thing despite Rapid City’s recent struggles. An interesting thing to note is that three of the Mallards four losses in February have come at the hands of the first place Missouri Mavericks. The Mallards have a full slate this week with games at Tulsa, Wichita and Allen.
5. Rapid City Rush (29-18-1, 59 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 6th
The Rush move up one spot this week, despite having won just one game out of their last five. Through their last 10 they are 2-7-1, with wins coming against Denver and St. Charles. They are still in good shape in the playoff hunt, but things have to change if they want to climb back to the top – they are just 9-13-1 in 2014. The Rush need to push ahead, and this weekend’s two gate set against Arizona is not a sure thing.
6. Arizona Sundogs (24-22-3, 51 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 4th
Arizona and Allen presented a problem for us this week as they tied in our balloting. We’ve given the nudge to the Sundogs. Despite dropping three of four to Tulsa recently, the ‘Dogs have a better record in the last ten and more recently, in the last five. The Sundogs have injury problems, but also have been playing very well, regardless of the outcome. The head to Rapid City this weekend for a pair of games where we like their chances. Despite a 3-4-1 season record against the Rush, Arizona has won their last three games with Rapid City.
7. Allen Americans (26-18-4, 56 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 5th
The Americans have issues right now, from their five game losing streak, to the recent fine handed out to goaltender Mark Guggenberger and subsequent media attention for tripping Missouri’s mascot in a recent game. Allen is 2-8-0 in their last ten games as they struggle to find a way out of the hole they are in. Interestingly, three of their last five losses have come at the hands of Missouri. The Americans will look to right the ship with match ups against Wichita and Quad City before they return to what is sure to be a rowdy and unfriendly Independence Events Center on Tuesday.
8. Wichita Thunder (22-22-4, 48 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 8th
The Thunder haven’t given up on this season, and you shouldn’t give up on them. They took a big step towards the playoffs last weekend by claiming two wins out of three at Brampton. They quietly continue to gain points, posting a 6-4-0 record in their last ten, with some of those wins coming against Allen, Denver and Missouri. Look for the Thunder to regain their home ice advantage as they will host Allen, Quad City and Arizona this week.
9. Brampton Beast (25-21-5, 55 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 7th
The Beast drop two spots this week after losing two of three at home against Wichita last week. In their last five, they are 2-1-2, highlighting their inconsistency. They need to improve if they hope to hold off Tulsa, Arizona and Wichita in the playoff push. An interesting side note is that the Beast are the only team to lose to last place St. Charles in the last 18 games. They could help their playoff positioning with a pair of wins at home as they prepare to host St. Charles this weekend.
10. St. Charles Chill (10-35-5, 25 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 10th
It pains us to watch any team go through this type of season, but the numbers don’t lie – St. Charles will finish last in the CHL this season. The Chill have lost seven in a row and are just 1-9-0 in their last ten. Since January 3, they have won three games. The good news is that they are safe from setting the CHL record for fewest wins in a season. The only question is if they will play the role of spoiler in their 16 remaining games.
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Lou Lafrado, Maurice Fitzgerald, Ed Bailey, Les Stockton and Rich Guill contributed to this week’s poll.