Another week is in the books and we have a new team on the top of our Pro Hockey News CHL Power Poll. With a month remaining in the regular season, the Denver Cutthroats have overtaken the Missouri Mavericks for the top spot this week. Other familiar names are still in the thick of the playoff race as there continues to be movement in our poll as teams hit either hot or cold streaks heading into the final stretch. You can read our week 10 power rankings below.
1. Denver Cutthroats (26-14-10, 62 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd
The fish are tied for third place in the CHL standings with the Allen Americans with 62 points. Currently six points behind the Missouri Mavericks, the Cutthroats have one game-in-hand against both Allen and Missouri. Denver takes over the top spot this week after splitting a pair of home games with the Mavericks, including a 6-2 win last Friday. With the CHlL’s top two leading scorers, the Cutthroats now look ahead to a three game series this weekend with the Rapid City Rush.
2. Tulsa Oilers (27-23-3, 57 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd
The Oilers continue to play their best hockey of the year behind second-year forward Ben Gordon. Tulsa picked up a 4-3 home win over Quad City in their only game played last week. Gordon is the CHL Player of the Week for the second-straight week after posting 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points in the last eight games, propelling the Oilers to a 7-1-0 record in that stretch. The Oilers, who have scored 40 goals in the last 10 games, take to the road this weekend for contests at Wichita and St. Charles.
3. Missouri Mavericks (33-16-2, 68 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 1st
Despite holding a five-point lead in the standings, the Mavericks slipped two spots in this week’s power poll after dropping three of their last four games. In those three losses, the Mavs scored just a combined four goals, with a one-goal outing in two of the losses. The Mavericks, 6-4-0 in their last ten games, will face the St. Charles Chill on the road and at home, sandwiched in between a home game with the Wichita Thunder. Saturday night’s game with the Thunder should be one to watch as the Mavs have struggled against them, posting a 3-4-2 record. Wichita shut out the Mavs 3-0 the last time the two squads met on February 9.
4. Quad City Mallards (26-15-8, 60 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 4th
The Mallards hold steady at fourth after winning two of three last week, including a 5-1 home win over Missouri. With just 49 games played, Quad City still holds games-in-hand on all other CHL teams and it could come in handy. The call-up woes continue for the team, as they recently lost co-leading scorer Gergo Nagy (14 G, 29 A – 43 points) to the AHL Chicago Wolves. Luckily for them, they will have the crowd on their side for a while since they play their next six games at home, including a rematch with Missouri and a two-game set with Brampton.
5. Brampton Beast (27-21-5, 59 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 9th
The Beast are the biggest movers in this week’s poll, climbing four spots after a three-game sweep of struggling St. Charles. The Beast tied the Rush in voting this week, so we’ve given them the nod based on their better records in recent games. The Beast are 6-3-1 in their last ten and 4-1-0 in their last five. Now they take to the road for a pair of games against Quad City, who they trail by just one point in the CHL standings. This should be a good shortened series as the Beast are 7-4 on the road in 2014 and won their last game with the Mallards 5-4 in overtime on January 8.
6. Rapid City Rush (31-18-1, 63 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 5th
The Rush slipped one spot this week, despite a three-game winning streak, including a pair of 2-1 extra time wins over Arizona. Tied with Brampton in voting this week, the Beast were placed in fifth based on their recent record being better than the Rush. Rapid City is 4-5-1 in their last ten and 3-1-1 in their last five. Sitting in second place in the CHL standings, the Rush are just five points behind the Missouri Mavericks with one game-in-hand. Is their current streak proof that they are out of their rut? We will find out this week as they will take on Denver three times.
7. Allen Americans (29-18-4, 62 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 7th
The Americans remain in seventh place this week, but we have a feeling they may be back on the rise soon. Allen broke it’s five-game skid with wins against Wichita, Quad City and Missouri. Despite their recent struggles, 4-6-0 record in last ten games, the Americans are just one point out of second place and six points out of first. They could very well extend their winning streak this weekend as they take on struggling Arizona for a pair of home games.
8. Wichita Thunder (23-24-4, 50 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 8th
The Thunder just can’t seem to find their stride at home as they’ve posted a record of 10-14-2 this season at Intrust Bank Arena. One of those wins, their only one of the week, came in a 4-3 shootout victory over Arizona on Tuesday. The time has come for the Thunder to buckle down if they want to have a chance to make it to their third-straight Ray Miron President’s Cup Final. With 15 games remaining, Wichita is four points behind eighth place Arizona with one game-in-hand. That makes Sunday’s home game with the Sundogs a four-point game and a must win.
9. Arizona Sundogs (24-22-6, 54 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 6th
The Sundogs slipped three spots this week as they find themselves in the middle of a five-game skid, with their last three losses coming in the shootout or overtime. Sitting just four-points ahead of Wichita for the final playoff spot and three-points behind Tulsa for seventh with a game-in-hand, the Sundogs have employed the services of former Bossier-Shreveport and Rapid City forward Shawn Limpright. The 32 year-old forward could provide the spark that the Sundogs need as they hit the road for games at Allen, Wichita and St. Charles.
10. St. Charles Chill (10-36-6, 26 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 10th
Nine losses in a row for the Chill. As they prepare to face Missouri in a home-and-home, along with home games against a hot Tulsa team and hungry Arizona squad, it could a rough week again. One bright spot worth noting is that St. Louis native Kyle OKane is leading the team in scoring with 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points. That’s got to feel good for the hometown product.
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Lou Lafrado, Maurice Fitzgerald and Rich Guill contributed to this week’s poll.