Taylor Cup Playoff Picture Becoming Clearer
April 1, 2002 - West Coast Hockey League (WCHL) News Release
BOISE, Idaho - The West Coast Hockey League's regular season enters its final week with the playoff picture all but set. The Idaho Steelheads are one victory away from claiming their first Founders Cup, while the San Diego Gulls are one win from clinching their seventh consecutive Southern Division title. In fact, only one playoff seeding has yet to be determined as the Bakersfield Condors are making a late season push to escape the Southern Division cellar prior to the playoffs.
The Condors are the WCHL's hottest team, entering April with a four-game winning streak and victories in eight of ten games. Bakersfield has pulled within one point of the Fresno Falcons, however the Falcons own two games in hand on the Condors. More impressive is the fact that the four-game winning streak has come against the WCHL's top four teams: Idaho, Colorado, San Diego and Long Beach. The Condors' convincing turnaround has established them as a team to be feared in the WCHL Taylor Cup playoffs.
The Northern Division playoffs are set with Anchorage visiting top seeded Idaho and Colorado facing Tacoma in the first round beginning April 12. Fans got a preview of the Idaho-Anchorage first round pairing in Anchorage last week, where the Aces hosted the Steelheads for a three-game series. The Aces stunned the Steelheads in the opener, 4-3 as they rebounded from a 3-1 third period deficit. Idaho exacted revenge over the weekend winning handily 5-1 on Friday and 6-2 on Saturday.
Southern Division fans will have to wait a few days to finalize their first round match ups. One thing is for certain, San Diego and Long Beach will be the top two seeds. Fresno has a tough four-game week against Idaho and Long Beach as they look to hold off the charging Condors. Fortunately for the Falcons, three of the four games are in the friendly confines of Selland Arena.
WCHL SEASON ENDING AWARDS ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK
BOISE, Idaho - The West Coast Hockey League will announce the 2001-2002 season-ending awards beginning this week. The awards are voted on by the coaches and general managers of the WCHL, as well as a media representative from each market. The awards will be announced on the following schedule:
Monday, April 1, 2002 All-WCHL Teams
Tuesday, April 2, 2002 WCHL Rookie of the Year
Wednesday, April 3, 2002 WCHL Outstanding Defenseman, WCHL Outstanding Goaltender
Thursday, April 4, 2002 WCHL Coach of the Year
Friday, April 5, 2002 WCHL Most Valuable Player
WCHL QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"This place sure seems to be lucky for me. Those weren't the prettiest goals, but you never say no to an open net."
Colorado Gold Kings forward Xavier Majic after scoring two goals in his first two games with Colorado.
WCHL Team-by-Team Notes: Thru March 31, 2002
Anchorage (19-42-9, 47 PTS, Fourth Place, Northern)...Anchorage hosted Idaho in a preview of their first round playoff matchup. The Aces won the opener 4-3 but dropped both games on the weekend...The Aces are 7-4-6 when leading after two periods of play...Dean Larson leads the Aces in scoring with 71 points...Anchorage concluded their home schedule last week and their 22 home losses are second-most in WCHL history and tie a team low set last season...Newly acquired goaltender Parris Duffus has had a rough WCHL start, allowing 28 goals in six games.
Bakersfield (30-35-5, 65 PTS, Fourth Place, Southern)...Bakersfield improved upon their late season rally and enter play this week on a four-game winning streak featuring wins over the WCHL's top four teams...Aaron Brand has assisted on goals in four consecutive games...Paul Rosebush netted his first career hat trick in Friday's 5-3 win over San Diego...Luciano Caravaggio recorded his first shutout of the season in a 6-0 dismantling of Colorado...Caravaggio also stopped all four of Long Beach's shootout attempts on Saturday to improve his league-leading shootout percentage to .889.
Colorado (37-26-7, 81 PTS, Second Place, Northern)...Colorado won two of four games last week, ending their eight-game losing streak...The Gold Kings swept a weekend series with Fresno...Xavier Majic has been impressive since joining the team, scoring five goals and three assists in six games.The Gold Kings are just 2-7-1 over their last ten games...Zac Boyer has scored goals in three consecutive games.
Fresno (29-31-8, 66 PTS, Third Place, Southern)...The Falcons defeated Colorado at home last Wednesday before dropping both contests in Colorado Springs over the weekend...Kris Porter has scored a point in seven consecutive games...The Falcons close the regular season with three of their final four games at home, where they have won three-straight...Fresno's power play unit continues to struggle, converting 14.4% of their chances this season, worst in the WCHL.
Idaho (46-16-7, 99 PTS, First Place, Northern)...Idaho won two of three games last week and is one victory, or one San Diego loss, from clinching their first Founders Cup...The Steelheads can establish a new franchise record for home victories with a win over Tacoma this week...Cal Ingraham has a six-game point scoring streak...Idaho's 4-3 loss to Anchorage on Wednesday was just their second loss of the season when leading after two periods...Seven Steelheads have scored 20 or more goals this season.
Long Beach (40-25-2, 81 PTS, Second Place, Southern)...The Ice Dogs went 0-2-1 last week, practically erasing any hope of a division title...Long Beach will be the league's busiest team during the final week of the regular season, they have five games in six days to close the year...Trevor Demmans leads the WCHL with a +29 plus/minus rating...Mike Buzak leads the WCHL with a 2.42 goals against average. His .909 save percentage ranks second among WCHL netminders.
San Diego (44-21-3, 91 PTS, First Place, Southern)...San Diego won just one of three games last week...The Gulls need just one victory or Long Beach loss to clinch their seventh consecutive Southern Division title...John Spoltore is the league's hottest player, scoring points in a season-best 13 consecutive games. Spoltore has 109 points for the season and his 80 assists are tied for third most in a single WCHL season...Mark Woolf's seven shorthanded goals are second most by a single player in a WCHL season.
Tacoma (30-32-6, 60 PTS, Third Place, Northern)...The Sabercats won three of four games last week, including victories over Long Beach and San Diego...Marty Flichel netted a hat trick in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Gulls...Flichel leads the team with 70 points in 63 games played...Mike Brusseau's .905 save percentage ranks fifth among WCHL goaltenders...Tacoma is 5-2-0 against Long Beach this season.
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West Coast Hockey League Stories from April 1, 2002
- 2002-2002 All-WCHL Team Announced - WCHL
- No Joke, Gold Kings Back on Track - Colorado Gold Kings
- Taylor Cup Playoff Picture Becoming Clearer - WCHL
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