Sunday, April 6, 2014

Playoff Update, No CHL Expansion to Casper, Changes in Wichita

- As the Allen Americans await their long bus ride to Brampton which starts tomorrow (Monday) night two of the other series played their second games last night. Denver squared their series with Tulsa 1-1 by winning in Tulsa by a score of 4-2. What is undoubtedly the top line in the CHL (Bembridge, Schwab, Gale) scored all four goals for Denver with league MVP Garett Bembridge scoring a natural hat trick (see "Did You Know" below) in the third period to secure the victory. The teams now head to Denver for the next three games. In the other series between Rapid City and Quad City it was a penalty filled night as the referee Jake Brenk called 28 minor penalties as the Mallards beat the Rush in overtime by a score of 3-2. Lots of penalties played to the advantage of Quad City with the Rush penalty kill and power play both ranked last in the league. All three Mallard goals came on special teams (two power play and a short handed goal) including the game winner which was a 5 on 3 power play. This series is also tied 1-1 as the teams head to Quad City for the next three games.

- The second game of the Missouri vs Arizona series is tonight in Missouri. After the game tonight this series switches to Arizona for the next three games.

- While Allen will wait until Thursday night for game three of their series with Brampton all of the other series will have game three on Wednesday evening.

- It is probably early to be talking about next year with the playoffs just getting underway, however I came across a couple of articles that talked about next year that you might find interesting. The first is written by Tom Dixon, Star-Tribune staff writer for that talks about CHL expnasion in Casper, Wyoming.

Former U.S. Rep John Wold has cut the strings attached to an offer of $1 million toward installing ice at the Casper Events Center. That’s the announcement expected from City Manager John Patterson at the Casper Hockey Extravaganza fundraiser for the Casper Oilers youth hockey team at the Best Western Ramkota on Saturday evening. “If I have the opportunity, I’m going to thank Mr. Wold for giving amateur hockey the chance to thrive here in Casper,” Patterson said. “He has now removed any conditions to his funding, and we are now in the process, I have to tell you it’s a process, toward getting ice at the Events Center.” A phone call Friday to Wold requesting an interview was not returned. That process will likely include discussion at an April 15 regular meeting of the City Council . The city would have to make up the difference in the estimated $2.2 million to install the ice. Wold made the offer in September after the city’s attempts to attract a Central Hockey League team to the city for the 2013 season failed. In exchange, he wanted to approve the franchise and lease agreement with the hockey team, the ice floor budget, engineering plans and any additional funding. The city recently entered into another round of talks with the ownership of an unidentified team, but the deal apparently fell flat again. “About two weeks ago, they said, ‘Oh, maybe not this year,’ but they told us to keep in touch,” Patterson said. “If we already had the ice, I believe they would have said yes.” Patterson has said the ice could be installed in a matter of months. The ice would stay on the floor about eight months a year. A 1-inch-thick board would cover the ice during concerts and other events. The 10-team Central Hockey League is roughly equivalent to AA baseball. Teams play 33 home games a year from October to March. The three teams with the best attendance averaged about 5,200 fans per game. The bottom three teams averaged about 2,300 fans. Patterson believes Casper’s central location is key to closing the deal with a team. “Casper is the perfect market. We are right here amongst a lot of hockey teams,” Patterson said. “They can easily travel from Rapid City to Boise, Salt Lake, the Denver area.” Putting a team in place for the fall start of the 2014 season is unlikely, Patterson said.

- The second article is written by Jeffrey Lutz, who covers the Wichita Thunder for the Wichita Eagle and posted this story at It talks about the future of the Thunder and coach Kevin McClelland:

Kevin McClelland is committed to improving the Thunder, even if Wichita’s hockey coach isn’t committed to any certainty regarding his status beyond the recently completed season. McClelland, who led the Thunder to appearances in the Central Hockey League finals in 2012 and 2013, has one year remaining on his contract. He doesn’t like not knowing where he’ll be in two seasons, but now may not be the best time to ask owners Brandon, Johnny and Rodney Steven for an extension. Wichita missed the playoffs, finishing ninth in the 10-team CHL after failing to recover from a dismal start. It doesn’t seem that McClelland wore out his welcome, but this season was a harsh comedown for a franchise that had grown accustomed to winning during his previous three years. “I haven’t talked to anybody yet, and who knows?” McClelland said regarding the likelihood of a return next year. “I have another year left and I imagine we’ll be moving forward, but I’m not real keen on going into the last year of a deal, that’s for sure.” McClelland said he would prefer to return but hesitated at the idea of signing an extension. “We love it here,” McClelland said. “It’s been great for me and my family. We’ve been treated well by the fans and the ownership, and it’s been a great place. But security is No. 1 for my family and me in this business.” If McClelland stays, he’ll have substantial work to do in overhauling the Thunder’s roster. Wichita gave the core of the two finals teams another shot to win a championship, but many of those players underperformed and the newcomers failed to match the production of those who departed after last year. No matter what McClelland decides on mainstays such as Andrew Martens, RG Flath and Matt Summers, the core will look different after the retirement of Matt Robinson, Wichita’s leading scorer over the last four years and one of only two Thunder players, along with Flath, to score 20 goals this season. McClelland will be searching for scoring after high-priced additions Jesse Dudas and Jon Booras were unable to lead a postseason charge. “We’re going to sit down, management, owners and myself, on Monday and iron a few things out and move on after that,” McClelland said. Wichita started 2-10 and couldn’t recover, and a 12-17-4 record at Intrust Bank Arena ultimately dashed any playoff hopes. The Thunder endured early injuries to Ian Lowe, Matt Summers and Dudas, and nine players who ended the season on the active roster missed at least five games. “It’s disappointing (from) where we’d been the last couple seasons,” McClelland said. “It’s a totally different feeling, one that I’m not very happy with. I don’t like that. Where we’ve been the last couple years, and all of a sudden, boom, like that. I know things can happen in the world of sports, but you never want to see your team take that much of a drop.”

Courtesy CHL Memes

Courtesy CHL Memes

Read more here:

DID YOU KNOW: There are two types of natural hat tricks. The first definition is a player scoring three goals in the course of a single period. The second definition (and more common) states that a player scores his three goals all in a row, with no other player scoring a goal in between his goals. The record in the NHL for the fastest natural hat trick occurred in 1952 by Chicago Blackhawks Bill Mosienko. He scored a natural hat trick in 21 seconds of the game. 

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