Friday, May 2, 2014

Allen vs Denver Preview, Officials Selected For Finals Including a Future NHLer, Lowest Attendance in History

The CHL championship finals have arrived as the Allen Americans take on the Denver Cutthroats tonight in game one of the best of seven finals. Get ready for "fish humor" to replace "duck humor" for the next couple of weeks. These seem to be two evenly matched teams but their success has been arrived at quite differently. During the regular season Denver had the two highest scorers in the league (Garett Bembridge 104 points and Troy Schwab 96 points) but no other player with 50 points. Allen on the other hand had seven players with over 50 points but only one (Alex Lavoie with 76 points) with over 60 points. Add AJ Gale, who spent most of the year in the American Hockey League (AHL) and the biggest challenge for the Americans will be to slow down what is undoubtedly the top line in the league in Bemberidge, Gale & Schwab.

Looking through all of the statistics both during the season and in the playoffs and you can see how both of these team got to the finals. It should be a good series with the likelihood it will go six or seven games. Here are just a few random statistics to prove the point:

- Denver has the highest win percentage in the playoffs (.727) while Allen is second (.667).

- Allen has scored more goals than Denver during the playoffs (42-29) and allowed fewer goals (25-28). Allen has played one more playoff game than Denver.

- Denver's AJ Gale and Troy Schwab lead the CHL in playoff scoring with 18 points. The next two highest scorers in the playoffs are Gregor Hanson and Anthony Maiani with 14 points.

- The top scorer among defensemen in the playoffs is Tyler Ludwig with 11 points and in second place is Steve Kaunisto from Denver with 9 points.

- Of the four teams that made it to the semi-finals (Allen, Arizona, Denver & Quad City) the least penalized team in the playoffs has been Allen with 146 minutes (12 minutes per game) while the most penalized team has been Denver with 195 minutes (18 minutes per game).

- These two teams met seven times in the regular season with Denver having the edge 4-3. Three of the seven games went to overtime so you might expect that in the finals.

- As you would expect, in the head to head match up between these two teams Allen had the more balanced scoring with Hanson at 8 points, Asuchak, Ludwig, McMillin, 7 points and Schaaafsma and Lessard with 6 points. Denver was led by Bembridge and Schwab.

- Thus far in the playoffs Allen is 5-1 at home but only 3-3 on the road. Denver is 4-2 at home and 4-1 on the road.

- During the regular season these two teams scored their goals vastly different if you look at goals scored by period. Denver had a big advantage over their opponents in the first period outscoring them by over 20 goals. Allen had their big advantage in the second period out scoring opponents by almost 30 goals. 

- During the regular season these two teams were very close on both the power play and penalty kill but the playoffs have been another story. Allen is at an amazing 33.33% and Denver is at 14%. Denver leads the CHL in playoff penalty kill percentage (92.31%) and Allen is second (90.20%).

- Two great goalies will be going head to head in this series. Bryan Pitton leads all goalies with a playoff GAA of 1.94 while Denver goalie Kent Patterson leads all playoff goalies in save percentage with .942.

- The last two times these teams met in the regular season was in Allen on March 28 & 29. The teams split the two games but Allen outshot Denver in those two games 99-46.

- The dates for Game’s 6 and 7 have been adjusted and will take place now on Wednesday, May 14 and Friday, May 16 (was originally scheduled for May 16 and May 17). 

-  The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced yesterday the three referees and four linesmen that will make up the on-ice officials crew for the 2014 CHL Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Finals. The referees selected for the finals are Zak Blazic, Jake Brenk and Tudor Floru and the linesmen are Kevin Cassidy, Brandon Gawryletz, Mike Daltrey and Mitch MacPherson. The only thing that will get more humor than the "fish humor" this series will be the referees as Blazic, Brenk & Floru have taken more than their share this year. Combine this with the two referee system for the finals and CHL Memes and others will have a field day.

- With officials getting so much criticism they rarely get any credit. If you want to focus on an outstanding linesman during this series take the time to watch Brandon Gawryletz during a game. He wears #49. Brandon played college hockey at the University of Alaska and you can tell by looking at him he was a big, strong defenseman. His first three strides are as quick as you will see and he always is the first to arrive at a scrum on the ice. He has worked some AHL playoffs games and has a great shot at making it to the NHL.

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Courtesy CHL Memes

DID YOU KNOW: The average attendance in the 2014 playoffs (3149) is the lowest in recent history going back to 2003. With Allen averaging 3910 thus far and Denver averaging 2329 unless there is a dramatic increase for the finals a record low average attendance seems assured. Here is the average league wide playoff attendance since Allen joined the CHL:
2014 - 3149
2013 - 3629
2012 - 4427
2011 - 3777
2010 - 3669


  1. Pretty good attendance considering we have only had weekday games.

  2. TJ, agree Allen has had horrible playoff dates this year. The only weekend dates were Good Friday and Easter. We averaged 4412 last year and if we do well next week we can close the gap from the 3910 average this year. Allen will have to average 5415 for the three home games next week to equal last year's average.

  3. The weekday games have been quite the factor it seems. Easter weekend kept a number of people away too.

    Interestingly, last Tuesday I sat next to a man who is a Stars season ticket holder who would have been at the Stars game that night! He asked me why there were so many empty seats considering we were in the playoffs and played so well. He really enjoyed the game. I guess some of it is still hockey in the south. He lives in Plano but wasn't from the south.