With three weeks remaining in the regular season, three CHL teams have officially clinched playoff berths. Others are close to securing their spots, while a few teams towards the bottom of the standings continue fighting for their playoff lives.
This week we see a familiar squad re-claiming the top position in our weekly power poll, while the rest of the field prepares to try their hand at knocking them off their perch.
1. Missouri Mavericks (39-16-2, 80 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd
The Mavs are back in the number one position after claiming three wins last week, pushing their current wining streak to six games. The Mavericks claimed big wins over Allen and Rapid City earlier in the week before claiming a one-goal victory in their first of three games at Brampton. Missouri, first place in the CHL by six points, looks to close out their final two games at Brampton this weekend as they inch closer to the Governor’s Cup.
2. Denver Cutthroats (32-15-10, 74 pts.) Last Week’sRanking: 3rd
The Cutthroats move up a position this week as they extended their current winning streak to six games. Denver won all four games last week, sweeping three at Brampton and defeating Quad City. The fish are playing well at the right time, tied with Rapid City for second place with one game-in-hand over the Rush. The Cutthroats are at home for three games this week, two with Quad City and one against the Allen Americans.
3. Rapid City Rush (36-20-2, 74 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 6th
The Rush are big movers in this week’s poll, jumping three spots after claiming three wins out of four games last week. The Rush proved that they are back, dropping Tulsa twice and Wichita once on the road. Their only setback came in a shootout loss at Missouri. They are now tied with Denver for second, with just six points separating them from first-place Missouri. The Rush return home this week to host Quad City and Allen.
4. Tulsa Oilers (29-25-3, 61 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 1st
The Oilers fell three spots this week after suffering two losses at home to the Rapid City Rush, getting out-scored 10-2 in those two games. Tulsa still maintains seventh place in the standings and is just three points behind Brampton and Quad City, who are tied for fifth place. The Oilers open perhaps the most important series of their season this weekend. Tulsa will head to Wichita to face the Thunder on Friday and Saturday before returning home to host the Thunder on Sunday afternoon. Tulsa’s next five games are against Wichita.
5. Allen Americans (32-20-4, 68 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 5th
The Americans remain in the same spot this week after they went one-for-three last week, losing at Missouri and picking up a split against St. Charles. Allen is still in good position as they hold down fourth place in the standings while being six points behind second place Rapid City with two games-in-hand. The Americans remain on the road this week with a pair of games at Rapid City before finishing their week at Denver.
6. Brampton Beast (29-24-6, 64 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 4th
The Beast fell two spots this week as they lost four-straight at home last week. Just 1-3-1 in their last five games, Brampton dropped a three game series to Denver and suffered a setback to the Missouri in the first of their three game home series against the Mavericks. The Beast will face the Mavericks two more times this weekend as they look to hold their ground over the Mallards and Oilers.
7. Quad City Mallards (28-19-8, 64 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 8th
The Mallards climbed one spot this week after posting a 2-1 record last week with two wins over Arizona and a one-goal loss to Denver. The Mallards have had their struggles recently, posting a 2-3 record in their last five and winning four of their last six. Big things could be in the works for them though, as they face a full slate of games this week. The Mallards will take on Denver twice then head to Rapid City for a one-off before closing out the week at home against St. Charles.
8. Arizona Sundogs (26-26-6, 58 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 7th
The Sundogs fall one spot this week, after losing a pair of games at Quad City. Arizona, 2-3-0 in their last five and 2-5-3 in their last ten, hold down the final playoff position by six points but trail Tulsa for seventh place by just three points. That makes this weekend’s Tulsa-Wichita series very interesting for Arizona. Should they be able to handle St. Charles and Denver this week, they should remain in good shape for the playoff hunt.
9. Wichita Thunder (23-27-6, 52 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 9th
The Thunder remain in the same spot this week after losing their only game last week in a shootout to the Rapid City Rush. Wichita, losers of five-straight, still remain in playoff contention, but need to string together some wins. The Thunder will take on Tulsa twice at home this weekend, then will travel to Tulsa and Allen to close out their week. They are currently six points behind the Sundogs for the final playoff spot with two games-in-hand.
10. St. Charles Chill (11-40-6, 28 pts.) Last Week’s Ranking: 10th
The Chill snapped their 12-game losing streak last week, defeating the Allen Americans 5-2 last Saturday before a record crowd. The following day they suffered a 6-4 loss to the Americans. They now head to Arizona for a pair of games before travelling to Quad City for a game on Wednesday to open their seven-game road trip.
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Lou Lafrado, Maurice Fitzgerald, Ed Bailey and Rich Guill contributed to this week’s poll.