- Anytime you win the deciding seventh game of a playoff series on the road like Quad City accomplished in Rapid City you know your team is playing well. And what a disappointing end of the season for Rapid City who had the best start of any team in CHL history and were unbeatable the first two months of the season. It seems like a long time ago but remember Rapid City started the season 10-0 and were 17-3 toward end of December.
- It was fitting that the final goal of the game last night was scored on the power play by Quad City with less than two minutes remaining to put the game out of reach (3-1) for the Rush. Rapid City had an Achilles heel this year and it was their special teams. For such an accomplished offensive team they could never solve their special teams problems which ranked them dead last in the league. Their struggles continued in the playoffs as the Rush were only able to score two power play goals in twenty three opportunities (8.70%).
- While Quad City was winning in Rapid City, Allen has been at home sleeping in their own beds, practicing, and recuperating from their 4-1 opening round series win over Brampton. Yesterday Alex Lavoie, Spencer Asuchak, Steve Tarasuk did not participate in practice.
- It will be important that Allen gets off to a good start in the series with Quad City. How many times have you seen the well rested home team get beat in the first game of a playoff series by the team that has had to play seven difficult games, travel long distances in a short time frame and appear to be an exhausted team. Beware the trap!
- Here is the CHL press release on the next round of the playoffs which has some good information:
The CHL’s Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Semi-Finals are set with the four teams determined that will compete for right to play in the Presidents’ Cup Finals. The final four consists of the Denver Cutthroats, the Allen Americans, the Quad City Mallards and the Arizona Sundogs. The highest remaining seed is the Cutthroats (#2 seed) who earned their way to the Semi-Finals with a four games to two series win over the Tulsa Oilers. Forward A.J. Gale paced the team in scoring in the Opening Round with two goals and eight assists (10 points, most in the CHL playoffs by any skater). Denver will play the Cinderella story Sundogs in the next round after Arizona became the first eight seed to knock off the top seed when they dismissed the Bud Poile Governors’ Cup winning Missouri Mavericks four games to two in the Opening Round. Arizona was led by David Rutherford’s nine points (2-7=9) in the first round of the playoffs. During the regular season, the Sundogs won seven of the 11 head-to-head match-ups but it was a very close series with seven of the contests being decided by one goal and four games needing to be decided in overtime or a shootout. CHL Most Valuable Player Garett Bembridge was the top scorer in the series with seven goals and 11 assists (18 points) in the 11 games he played. Arizona’s Andrew Engelage, the CHL’s Most Outstanding Goaltender recipient, went 6-2 with a 2.34 goals against average and a.931 save percentage against Denver. The first two games of the series have been finalized and will be in Denver on Friday and Saturday. The remainder of the series will be announced shortly.
Denver Cutthroats (2) vs. Arizona Sundogs (8)
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – Arizona at Denver, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Arizona at Denver, 6:00
Game’s 3 through 7 – TBD
The other Semi-Finals pairing pits the defending Presidents’ Cup Champion Allen Americans (the #3 seed) against the Quad City Mallards (#5 seed). The Americans disposed of their opposition the quickest in the Opening Round needing just five games to defeat the Brampton Beast. Greger Hanson averaged nearly two points a game in the first round finishing with four goals and five assists (nine points). Allen goalie Bryan Pitton was arguably the best netminder in the Opening Round going 4-1 with a 2.01 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. Allen’s opponent, the Mallards are fresh off their Game 7 win on Wednesday night in the Opening Round. Thomas Heemskerk went 3-1 in the series with a 1.92 goals against average. The Americans and Mallards split four games during the regular season with each team winning once on the other’s home ice. Jamie Schaafsma and Alex Lavoie each had six points leading the way for Allen and Matt Duffy and Vladimir Nikiforov each had four points pacing the Flock. The series begins on Friday in Allen and will be a 2-3-2 format. The entire series schedule is as follows:
Allen Americans (3) vs. Quad City Mallards(5)
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – Quad City at Allen, 7:05
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Quad City at Allen, 5:05
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 23 – Allen at Quad City, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., Apr.25 – Allen at Quad City, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Allen at Quad City, 7:05
*Game 6 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Quad City at Allen, 7:05
*Game 7 – Wed., Apr. 30 – Quad City at Allen, 7:05
The Americans and Sundogs will be going for their second franchise championships while the Cutthroats will be aiming for their first title in just their second season. The Mallards have won three titles, all in a different league, but are competing for their first CHL crown.
- Congratulations to Ice Angel Co-Captain Rachel who has reached the pinnacle of professional cheerleading by being selected as an NFL cheerleader for the Houston Texans.
|Congrats to Rachel, NFL Cheerleader|
- Congratulations are also in order for former Allen American's defenseman Matt Register who played in Allen during the 2011-2012 season as a rookie. Matt has been playing for the Ontario Reign (ECHL) the last couple of years and has had a great season being named a first team all star and now being selected as the defenseman of the year in the ECHL. Remember there are 21 teams in the ECHL. Quite an accomplishment for Matt. Here is the ECHL press release:
The ECHL on Wednesday announced that Matt Register of the Ontario Reign is the CCM Hockey ECHL Defenseman of the Year for 2013-14 as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media members. The ECHL Defenseman of the Year award is presented annually to the defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position. Register, who was named to the All-ECHL First Team last week, finished the season tied for second among ECHL defensemen with 14 goals and 44 points while his three game-winning goals were tied for fourth. His 30 assists were tied for sixth among blueliners and his +21 rating was second on the Reign.
|Matt Register selected ECHL Defenseman of the Year - photo by SceneByKimberly.com|
|Courtesy CHL Memes|
DID YOU KNOW: Home ice advantage isn't always the difference in the first round of the playoffs. Rapid City was the #4 playoff seed in the last two years with home ice advantage and lost both series. Last year those seeded #1 (Allen), #2 (Wichita) and #3 (Ft. Worth) all advanced to the second round. This year only #2 (Denver) and #3 (Allen) advanced with #1 (Missouri) and #4 (Rapid City) being eliminated.