December 14, 2012 - Central Hockey League (CHL)
Three Things You Need to Know
1.) Battle at the Top- The first place Allen Americans (15-5-1) travel to Colorado to take on the third place Denver Cutthroats (14-8-1) on both Friday and Saturday. Allen leads the Wichita Thunder (14-7-2) by one point and the Cutthroats by two points for the top spot in the Berry Conference. Denver beat the Americans back on December 7 by a 2-1 score in Texas. Allen is the best road team in the CHL with an 8-2-1 record and the Cutthroats lead the league with 10 home wins. The Fish have won five straight games and eight of their last nine contests. With a win over Allen on Friday, Denver will tie the Americans for the longest win streak in the CHL this season at six games. Denver's Brad Smyth needed a shootout game winner on Tuesday to extend his point streak that now sits at 10 games, second longest in the CHL this season (Allen's Brett Skinner had a 12-game point streak to start the season).
Note: The Cutthroats have the league's best PP at home (25.9%) and the Americans have the best road PP (31%).
2.) Thunder Doing it with Depth- The Wichita Thunder (14-7-2) have twice in the last seven days had a taste of first place and are currently sitting one point behind Allen for the top spot in the league. Wichita is 13-4-1 since a 1-3-1 start to the season and in large part have received great balance with their attack. Five skaters have 20 or more points for the Thunder which is the most 20 point scorers of any CHL team. Two more players (R.G. Flath and Chad Painchaud) have 19 points meaning seven players could be in the 20-point territory by the end of Friday's game versus Fort Worth. The five 20-point players are Neil Trimm, Ian Lowe, Kevin Young, Greger Hansen and Matt Summers.
3.) Blaze Look to Get Well- The Bloomington Blaze (12-9-1) have lost back-to-back home games for the first time this season but on Friday night hope to get well when they host the Tulsa Oilers (8-14-2) who have dropped four straight games and sit in last place in the conference. Bloomington has won all three previous meetings this season against the Oilers scoring 19 goals in the three games. Travis Granbois has five goals and four assists in the three games against Tulsa and for the Oilers, Gary Steffes has scored five times against the Blaze.
By the Numbers
599: The number of games that Rapid City Head Coach Joe Ferras has coached in the CHL ranking him sixth on the league's all-time list. On Friday night versus Quad City, Ferras will join Doug Sauter, Scott Muscutt, Chris Stewart, Terry Ruskowski and Bill McDonald as the only men to coach 600 CHL games. Ferras is 315-230-54 all-time in his CHL coaching career working the bench for Rapid City and Amarillo.
-Missouri forward Sebastien Thinel has taken over the league lead in points with 32 (8-24=32) and is closing in on 500 assists in his CHL career. Currently, the veteran has 495 helpers and with five more assists, he will become just the sixth player in CHL history to amass 500 in a career.
-With an empty-net shorthanded goal on Wednesday, Quad City's Mickey Lang now leads the CHL with three shorthanded markers and his team is tops in the league with five shorthanded goals. Lang leads the Flock with 23 points (11-12=23) on the season. Lang's goal on Wednesday morning in Bloomington helped the Mallards end a four-game slide.
-After missing 11 days on the injured reserve, Allen forward Scotty Howes returned on Wednesday night and led the Americans to a victory over Arizona thanks to a pair of power play goals. Howes leads the league with 15 goals and leads the league with eight power play goals.
-Missouri's Andrew Courtney is the reigning Oakley CHL Player of the Week and he takes a three-game goal streak (4G) into Friday's game versus Arizona. The Mavs have won five straight games and will look to tie the longest win streak in the CHL this season with a win over the Sundogs. The game between Missouri and Arizona will be the first between the two teams since Derek LeBlanc was dealt from the Mavs to the "Dogs where he has scored six goals with six assists in 17 games since joining Arizona.
-Be sure to catch all of the action on CHL-TV all season long.