Friday, January 10, 2014

1st Place?, Catching Up (Dell, Pineault, Yellow Horn, Maiani), Hot Goal Scorers & More

- As PA announcer Lee Hastings would say, "It is hockey night in Allen" and tonight starts three games in three days. After two games with Denver the Americans travel to Tulsa on Sunday for a 4:05 pm game. This is the rescheduled game (originally scheduled February 22) and different from what you will see on printed schedules. With Rapid City in Missouri for two games it is possible (not probable) that Allen could head home from Tulsa Sunday night in first place and Rapid City in third place. If Allen wins all three games this weekend and Missouri sweeps Rapid in regulation the point standings would be Allen: 46, Missouri: 45, Rapid City: 44. However, it is also possible (not probable) Allen loses all three games and Rapid City sweeps Missouri so Allen would be eight points back. Just shows what an important weekend it is with the top teams playing each other. Should be fun to watch.

Haven't checked in with some former players for a while to see how their season is going so here goes:
- Aaron Dell: Aaron has become the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) #1 goalie after a couple of stints in the AHL where he was not playing. Aaron has a 7-2-1 record in Utah with a GAA of 2.27 and save percentage of .912.

- Adam Pineault: Adam also plays for the Utah Grizzlies and is still recovering from a broken jaw he suffered in early December. I saw a picture recently where he was on the bench as an assistant coach  at a home game.

- Ryley Grantham: Ryley is still with Springfield (AHL) and did play four games recently but has only played in five games all season. He has one assist and 19 penalty minutes. Springfield leads the entire AHL (30 teams) in points.

- Brett Skinner: Brett started the season with Norfolk (AHL) but was released in late November and signed on with Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL) where he has been playing regularly. For the season (27 games) Brett has seven goals and seven assists.

- Colton Yellow Horn: Colton just returned to the line up after missing a month with an injury. While his team is in ninth place in a twelve team league he is having another great year. In 31 games he has 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists). Yellow Horn plays in an Austrian league but his team is in Hungary about 40 miles from Budapest.

- Anthony Maiani: Anthony is not playing hockey and the last I heard is still pursuing opportunities outside of hockey.

- Of course there are those former players that are on other teams in the CHL like Scott Howes (Brampton),  Garrett Clarke (Arizona), Todd Robinson (Tulsa), John Snowden (St. Charles), Steve Kaunisto (Denver) and Jim McKenzie (Quad City). I think the one player the coaching staff would like to have back and would make a different decision if they had to do it over again is Jim McKenzie. He got caught up in the veteran numbers in the summer and there were some other issues as well but the bottom line is I think this is the one decision the management regrets. Just my hunch. Jim was just called up by the Iowa Wild (AHL) and here is some of what was reported locally about his call up:
 It's a big part of why minor leagues like the Central Hockey League exist — to allow players to gain valuable playing experience in hopes of a call-up to the higher leagues.
That being said, when players do get called up — as Quad-City Mallards defenseman Nicholas Rioux and forward Jim McKenzie were this week to the AHL's Iowa Wild — it leaves the minor-league clubs fighting to fill the holes left in their absence. "You can’t replace guys like Jimmy, he does it all," forward Mike Stinziani said. "He scores, he hits, he fights, he’s one of our leaders. But we’ve got to step up as individuals. There’s no excuse to losing because he got called up.

- Talk about hot goal scorers around the CHL here is a recap from the league.
Finding the Back of the Net- Several CHL snipers have been unstoppable lately with Brampton’s Scott Howes leading the way with an amazing 10 goals over his last four games.  The forward has played just nine games for the Beast who have gone 5-3-1 since inking Howes.  In his time this season, Howes has 12 goals with eight assists and if you combine his goal scoring start to this season with the end of his time in Allen last season, Howes has scored 23 times in his last 18 CHL games.  Garett Bembridge (Denver) leads all CHL goal scorers with 27 strikes and in his last seven games has found the back of the net six times.  Arizona’s new addition, David Rutherford has four goals in his three games since joining the team and Allen defenseman Tyler Ludwig has six goals over his last four contests.    

- Here are some other interesting facts from the CHL "Shots from the Point"
-Missouri forward Sebastien Thinel is three goals away from becoming the sixth CHL player all-time to reach 300 CHL goals.  Thinel would become the second player this season to reach that mark joining Rapid City’s Scott Wray who currently sits at 303 goals.  Other players in the 300-goal club are Joe Burton, Travis Clayton, Jason Duda and Paul Jackson.
-Brampton (18-14-2) is a perfect 4-0 on their current six-game road trip that ends in Tulsa (17-17-2) this weekend with games on Friday and Saturday.  The Beast have scored 21 goals during their trip (5.25/game) which is much higher than their 3.21 goal/game average on the season (seventh in the CHL).  Overall, the Beast is riding a five-game road win streak.
-Rapid City’s Tim Boron is just two wins shy of 100 in his CHL career.  The netminder is 98-54-8 in his CHL career and he would become just the 14th goalie to reach the 100-win plateau.
-The Denver Cutthroats are 5 for 15 on the power play during their four-game win streak.  On the season, the Fish are the best PP unit in the CHL at 22.8% with Garett Bembridge (11 PP goals) and Jean-Philipp Chabot (7 PP goals) sitting as the top two scorers on the man advantage in the league.  Denver plays a pair of games in Allen this weekend (second in the CHL on the penalty kill, 85.3%).
-Allen (19-10-2) has the longest active win streak in the CHL at five games and currently are just four points behind Rapid City for first place in the league.  The Americans have outscored the opposition 23-12 during their streak.
-The Tulsa Oilers (17-17-2) begin their longest home stand of the season on Friday night, six games.  The Oilers will see Brampton twice, Missouri twice and Wichita and Allen each once.  The Oilers are coming off a shutout win in Rapid City on Tuesday night.

DID YOU KNOW: Because the Allen Event Center was not completed the Allen Americans played the first seven games in franchise history on the road. They won the first four games and finished the road trip 5-2.

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