Bucks, Americans Series Preview
ALLEN, TX- The Laredo Bucks and the Allen Americans will start the 2010 Westwind Homes Central Hockey League Southern Conference semi-finals Friday night at the Allen Event Center. The Bucks and Americans will meet for the first time ever in a playoff series in Allen's first year of existence. The series is best of seven.
The Bucks earned the third seed in the Southern Conference thanks to a 32-20-12 (76 points) while the Americans finished with the second seed thanks to a 42-17-5 (89 points) record.
The Bucks were led in scoring once again this season by two-time CHL MVP Jeff Bes (19-5675) while 2008-09 CHL Rookie of the Year Darryl Smith set a new career high with 71 points (35-3671). Smith was the lone Bucks player to score 20 or more goals this season.
Laredo will get a boost from former team captain Brent Cullaton who will return to the Bucks for the playoffs. Cullaton played three games for the Bucks on their January road trip to Colorado and Rapid City where he scored three points (2-13). Cullaton captained the Bucks to the 2004 and 2006 President's Cup Championships.
The Bucks had nine players who posted double-digit goal totals this season.
The Americans were led in scoring by All-Stars Bruce Graham (31-4879) and Justin Bowers (23-5073) who combined to score 152 points this season. Graham, who was a finalist for league MVP, finished sixth in the CHL in scoring this season.
Allen had nine players who scored 10 or more goals this season including three who picked up 20 or more tallies (Graham, Bowers, Nino Musitelli).
The Bucks have three defensemen on their roster who have hoisted the President's Cup (Adam Rivet, Paul Elliott, Mike Looby).
Laredo is led on defense by Rivet (10-3040) and Jarred Mohr (10-2232) who combined to score 72 points and post a plus-seven rating.
The Bucks allowed the fifth-least amount of goals in the Southern Conference this season (215).
The Americans allowed the least amount of goals in the Southern Conference this season with 183.
Ryan Fairbarn (12-2840) and Tyler Wooddisse (112334) lead the Americans defense with Wooddisse having a plus-14 rating.
The Bucks finished third in the league on the power-play this season scoring at a 19.6% clip with the man advantage. Laredo had the second-most power-play goals in the league this season with 72 (Odessa led the league with 109).
Laredo was fifth in the league on the penalty kill as they finished at 83.8% and scored 15 shorthanded goals this season (fourth in CHL).
Allen finished sixth in the league on both the power-play (17.1%) and penalty kill (83.4%). The Americans put up eight shorthanded goals this season putting them 10th in the league.
The Bucks enter the playoffs with two rookie goaltenders on their roster in Pier Pelletier and Kevin Desfosses.
Pelletier enters the postseason red hot as he is 9-0-2 in his last 11 decisions. Pelletier's last regulation loss was January 31st in Odessa (4-3 defeat). Pelletier finished the regular season with a 9-4-3 record a 2.88 G.A.A and a.915 sv.%.
Desfosses went 11-12-3 this season with a 3.28 G.A.A and a.904 sv. % including an 8-7-3 record with the Bucks. Desfosses was 4-1 in his first five games for the Bucks this season.
Allen's Chris Whitley had an outstanding rookie season as he was a finalist for both rookie of the year and most outstanding goaltender.
Whitley led the CHL in wins and posted a 31-8-4 record with a 2.60 G.A.A and a.914 sv.%.
The Bucks and Americans met five times during the regular season with Laredoposting a 1-2-2 mark against Allen (0-2-1 in Allen). The Bucks lone win over the Americans came in a 6-1 romp in Laredo on March 4th. Laredo lost two overtime games to Allen this season while the two regulation losses came after Allen needed empty net goals to clinch the contests.
Terry Ruskowski has led the Bucks to the playoffs in each of the teams first eight seasons including winning two President's Cup Championships in 2004 and 2006. Ruskowski has a CHL postseason record of 60-37 and has led Laredoto wins in 13 of 18 playoff series' in their eight playoff appearances.
Allen's Dwight Mullins finished second in the CHL coach of the year balloting. Most recently, Mullins coached the North American Hockey League's Texas Tornados to their ninth consecutive playoff appearance.
Bill McDonald is Allen's associate head coach and is ranked fourth in CHL history with 319 career wins.
**2010 Southern Conference semi-finals: Bucks vs. Americans (all-times Central)**
*Best of seven*
Game 1: Fri. March 26, Laredo at Allen, 7:30pm (road watch party, TBA)
Game 2: Sat. March 27, Laredo at Allen, 7:30pm
GAME 3: TUE. MAR. 30, ALLEN AT LAREDO, 7PM
GAME 4: THUR. APR. 1, ALLEN AT LAREDO, 7PM
GAME 5: SAT. APR 3, ALLEN AT LAREDO, 7:30PM (if necessary)
Game 6: Tue Apr. 6, Laredo at Allen, 7:30pm (if necessary)
Game 7: Wed. Apr. 7, Laredo at Allen, 7:30pm (if necessary)
Bucks playoff tickets are on sale now! Don't miss the Bucks run at a third President's Cup Championship! Call 718-BUCK (2825), or head to the Laredo Energy Arena box office to get your playoff tickets now!
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