March 8, 2012 - Federal Hockey League (FHL)
(1) New Jersey Outlaws (39-3-1-9) vs. (6) Cape Cod Bluefins (13-3-4-31)
New Jersey Outlaws Season Leaders:
Goals: Travis Kauffeldt (44)
Assists: Travis Kauffedlt (56)
Points: Travis Kauffeldt (100)
Runner Up: Kevin Cooper (43g-48a-91p)
Plus/Minus: Jeff Winchester (+76)
PIM: Travis Kauffeldt (115)
Wins: Dan McWhinney (24)
Cape Cod Bluefins Season Leaders:
Goals: Kevin McCready (26)
Assists: Andrew Hutton (31)
Points: Justin Barr, Brad Surdam & Kevin McCready (50)
Runner Up: Andrew Hutton (14g-31a-45p)
Plus/Minus: James Gordon (+12)
PIM: David Lun (84)
Wins: Chris Testa (8)
In the first round of Federal Hockey League playoff action, the New Jersey Outlaws and the Cape Cod Bluefins are set in stone to face off against one and other in what will be the playoff debut for both FHL clubs. The New Jersey Outlaws, who in their inaugural season did something that not many professional teams could accomplish, came into the league the new kids on the block and rolled over teams in the FHL, becoming the Regular Season Champions. The Cape Cod Bluefins come into this Best of Five series the serious underdogs being the sixth place team out of eight teams, but don't count the Bluefins out as they have defeated the Outlaws in the past and as they say history can repeat itself which means the Outlaws will have to be on the top of their game.
The Bluefins came on strong during their last regular season game defeating the Danville Dashers by a score of 5-2 while the Outlaws ended their season unable to shoot down the Aviators, losing to the Brooklyn squad by a score of 4-3, but the last time these two competed against each other the result in the playoff preview was a 6-4 for the Outlaws, but as we saw in the FHL, tides change rapidly over time and the Playoffs could be completely different from what happened in the regular season.
This series will be fast paced, hard hitting and full of many goals as the offense of the New Jersey Outlaws will look to fire shots at the Bluefins early and often but the Bluefins are no stranger to being faced with plenty of shots as Cape Cod goaltender Chris Testa has saved 505 shots in 18 games, but the Bluefins know they can't just rely on strong goaltending to win the game, they will have to be smart defensively and pounce on opportunities and mistakes made by the Outlaws, which will be hard to come by as the Outlaws play a tight defensive game which will make this a series that has a potential to be a low scoring but intense series.
The home ice advantage will go to the New Jersey Outlaws as they will be playing automatically three games at their home rink and the Cape Cod Bluefins will automatically have two. The winner of this series will advance to the Commissioner Cup Championship sponsored y the Feldmeier Corp. Will the New Jersey Outlaws be able to reel in the Bluefins to shore and continue on with their near perfect season or will the Cape Cod Bluefins slickly outsmart the Outlaws? If you can't make it to any of these games, don't worry, you can catch each and every FHL Playoff game on the FHL Network!
(2) 1000 Islands Privateers (29-3-2-15) vs. (5) Akwesasne Warriors (20-4-1-20)
1000 Islands Privateers Season Leaders:
Goals: Adam McAllister (37)
Assists: Brad Smulders (54)
Points: Brad Smulders (88)
Runner Up: Paul Kelly (31g-52a-83p)
Plus/Minus: Michael Byrd (+28)
PIM: Chase Tippin (81)
Wins: Matt Anthony (24)
Akwesasne Warriors Season Leaders:
Goals: Pierre Dagenais (81)
Assists: Sylvain Deschatelets (86)
Points: Pierre Dagenais (143)
Runner Up: Sylvain Deschatelets (18g-86a-104p)
Plus/Minus: Pierre Dagenais (+52)
PIM: Ahmed Mahfouz (199)
Wins: Adam Thompson (7)
Defending Commissioner Cup Champions the Akwesasne Warriors have placed themselves in fifth place meaning they will face off against the 1000 Islands Privateers. These two competitive teams know each other very well as they met each other last year in the first round of playoffs as well and have found themselves to become rivals with each other as this year has carried on. It's safe to say that the Warriors and Privateers are far from friends as many of circumstances have surrounded these two clubs this year that have put a distance and boiling hatred between the two squads.
The Warriors who are known to bring a physical and high scoring game to the ice have been described as one of the toughest teams to play against in the FHL and the Privateers are no stranger to these encounters as the two have faced off against each other a total of thirteen times this season, but what has happened between this two teams in the past, including their encounter with each other in last year's playoffs will be nothing but statistics and history as both teams will look to come out with a fresh, new attitude against each other that will be sure to keep everyone anxiously awaiting each and every play.
The Bonnie Castle will be the destination of where these two teams will battle against each other as the Privateers were able to clinch home ice advantage, something they didn't have in last year's playoff series and although the Bonnie Castle may be in jeopardy for next season, with two playoff games being held there, with a good attendance, this could be exactly what is needed for the Privateers to stay at the Castle for next season and as good as that will be for the Privateers, the Warriors will look to spoil the night for the home town fans as they're previous playoff experience will help them not to crack under pressure. In this best of three series, the Warriors will automatically receive one home game on Opening Night; the rest will be played out at the Castle as the series is carried out.
All it truly comes down to in the end is the playoffs, if you think about it the regular season is nothing but stats, but when you look at the regular season and you look at player stats, one name sticks out by far for the Warriors, Pierre Dagenais. Dagenais had 143 points this season and the closest player to him was teammate Sylvain Deschatelets who trailed Dagenais by 40 points. If this is a sign of how offensive these two will play in the playoffs then the Privateers will have to be aware and play a strict game of defence.
This series will be full of emotion, spirited tilts, sweat, flying fits, hard hitting and goal scoring which can't be missed as the Akwesasne Warriors will be looking to repeat their Commissioner Cup Championship victory while the 1000 Islands Privateers will look to overcome many faults this season and produce a quest to the cup which can be caught on the FHL Network.
(3) Danbury Whalers (28-2-1-19) vs. (4) Brooklyn Aviators (25-1-5-19)
Danbury Whalers Season Leaders:
Goals: Chris Seifert (24)
Assists: Matt Moffat (42)
Points: Matt Moffat (59)
Runner Up: Greg Holy (15g-31a-46p)
Plus/Minus: Matt Moffat (+24)
PIM: Corey Fulton (220)
Wins: Peter Vetri (21)
Brooklyn Aviators Season Leaders:
Goals: Jesse Felten (27)
Assists: Ken Trentowski (30)
Points: Jesse Felten (54)
Runner Up: Andrew Owsiak (45)
Plus/Minus: Brian Marks (+34)
PIM: Lucas Schott (158)
Wins: Josselin St. Pierre (12)
The passion will be the fuel to heat the fire that will be this series between the Danbury Whalers and the Brooklyn Aviators. Brooklyn who saw themselves as the New York Aviators last season carried themselves all the way to the Commissioner Cup Finals, but they find themselves in a different boat this year. Captain and defensemen Jarrett Rush has been called up to the ECHL and hasn't been with the Aviators for quite some time now which will be a huge absence on the blue line as the Aviators will look to find a way to slow down the speedy Whalers.
The Danbury Whalers has been the diamond of the FHL as they have led the past two seasons in average attendance and the last game of the year, the fanatic Danbury Whalers fans packed the Danbury Arena to a total of 3,000 fans and if that is any indication of how many will be out for this playoff war, then we have a fiasco on our hands. The passionate Danbury fans who bleed green and blue will look to their club which they have been there for from the get-go to retrieve what the fans believe may be rightfully theirs, the Commissioner Cup but coming up against a team like Brooklyn, it will be no easy task. Although coming fourth this season, they have come on strong as of late defeating the New Jersey Outlaws twice to end out the season.
In this best of three series, it will surely be a spirited tilt. Towards the end of the season, these two teams faced off twice to give us a little preview of what will be in store for the playoffs. Although the Whalers have a strong showing in a 5-2 defeat over the Aviators, it was the fourth placed Aviators who played shocker and defeated the Whalers by a score of 7-1. Although the regular season is nothing but stats to playoff teams, if this is any indication of how these games will be played out, fans will be in for a treat; high scoring and back and forth action between the two.
If Jarrett Rush is returned from the ECHL that would be a massive boost for the Aviators, but the Whalers have a player of their own that has the chance to return from the ECHL, Alec Kirschner. If he is sent back down that would prove to be a offensive threat to match the defensive ability of Jarrett Rush as Alec in his short 19 games with the Whalers this seasons potted 24 goals and notched 20 assists for a total of 44 points which puts him third in Whaler point leaders. If we see these two players back, it will be interested to see which one will have the bigger impact; the defensive minded player for the Aviators or the speedy sniper for the Whalers?
This series will be one to make history for sure as Danbury looks to please its fans that have supported them time in and time out while Brooklyn will look to make it to the Commissioner Cup Championships once again, but this time with a different result. Can't make it to the rink to catch the game, stuck at the office? No problem! The FHL Network will feature all of the FHL Playoff Action.
Catch all the playoff action LIVE on the FHL Sports Network
A1 1000 Islands vs Akwesasne Fri, Mar 09 7:35 pm at Anowarako:wa Arena
A2 Akwesasne vs 1000 Islands Sat, Mar 10 7:05 pm at Bonnie Castle Arena
**A3 Akwesasne vs 1000 Islands Sun, Mar 11 5:05 pm at Bonnie Castle Arena
B1 Danbury vs Brooklyn Fri, Mar 09 7:35 pm at Aviator Arena
B2 Brooklyn vs Danbury Sat, Mar 10 7:35 pm at Danbury Arena
**B3 Brooklyn vs Danbury Sun, Mar 11 5:05 pm at Danbury Arena
C1 Cape Cod New vs Jersey Fri, Mar 09 7:35 pm at Capital One Ice Vault
C2 Cape Cod vs New Jersey Sat, Mar 10 7:35 pm at Capital One Ice Vault
C3 New Jersey vs Cape Cod Wed, Mar 14 7:35 pm at HYCC Kennedy Arena
**C4 New Jersey vs Cape Cod Thu, Mar 15 7:35 pm at HYCC Kennedy Arena
**C5 Cape Cod vs New Jersey Sat, Mar 17 7:35 pm at Capital One Ice Vault
** Represent games that may be needed.