Friday, May 9, 2014

Why Tonight's Game is Special, Hanson Will Play, Schaafsma Leads All Scorers, Shots From The Point

The Allen Americans take on the Denver Cutthroats tonight at the Allen Event Center (AEC) and the game is special for several reasons. It commences the last weekend of hockey in Allen for the year. A win will give the Americans the chance to close out the series before the hometown fans on Saturday. Lot's of friends and family have made the trek to Allen from Michigan to Minnesota to all over Canada to watch their sons, brothers, nephews, son-in-laws, cousins, boyfriends, and buddies play in the CHL finals which always adds some extra incentive. The game will be special because there will be lots of people in the building (over 5000) making more noise than has been made all year. Finally, the game tonight will be special as it is an opportunity to put to rest the Friday night playoff losing streak that stands at four. Hard to believe the Americans overall record in the playoffs is 10-5 but they are 0-4 on Fridays.

- The line up tonight will be the same as Wednesday. That means Greger Hanson will be able to play after the slash he took to the arm in the last game. Cain Franson and Trevor Hendrikx will not be dressed tonight.

- It is always interesting to see what the CHL puts up on their page about the finals series. Here is their "Shots From the Point" for today:
Series Notes:
-Allen defenseman Daniel Tetrault started Game 3 with a goal ending a 13-game goalless streak in the post-season.  The last strike for the veteran d-man was in the very first game of the playoffs versus Brampton.
-Denver forward Troy Schwab did not record a point in a game for the first time in this year’s playoffs ending his 13-game point streak in Game 3.  Schwab nearly tied the game late in the third period with one of many Denver shots that hit the crossbar or post.  Schwab is still tied with teammate A.J. Gale for the playoff scoring lead with 22 points.
-Allen went 0 for 6 on the power play in Game 3 and are 0 for 16 so far in the Finals.  The Cutthroats have allowed just four PP goals in 68 chances in the post-season (94%).
-The Americans have won six of their seven home games in the playoffs outscoring the opposition 28-13.  They have outscored the opposition 14-4 over their current four-game post-season home win streak.
-Allen goalie Bryan Pitton is 6-1 with a 1.86 GAA and a .937 save percentage on home ice in the playoffs.
-After scoring 13 points (6-7=13) in his first 11 playoff games, Allen forward Bruce Graham has just one helper over this last four games.
-Despite taking the loss, Denver goalie Kent Patterson made 34 saves on 36 shots and has 34+ saves in eight straight games.  He has a 2.51 GAA and a .933 save percentage so far in the post-season.

- For those interested the referee for the game tonight is Tudor Floru.

- Jamie Schaafsma leads all scorers in the finals with seven points (4 goal 3 assists). No one else on the Americans has more than three points and Denver's top scorers have four points. Jamie is scoring on over 30% of his shots. Jamie has been getting plenty of coverage on his playoff performance in his hometown paper with a recap of how he did after each game. Here is the blurb after the game on Wednesday:
"Jamie Schaafsma of Blenheim had one assist for the Allen Americans in a 3-1 win over the Denver Cutthroats in Game 3 of the Central Hockey League final Wednesday. The Americans lead 2-1 in the best-of-seven final. The next two games will also be in Allen. The Americans are trying to become the first back-to-back CHL champions since the Memphis RiverKings in 2002 and 2003. Schaafsma has seven points in the championship series."

- Todd Robinson, the hero of the game seven overtime win in last years championship finals has taken a coaching job and appears to be done playing hockey though no retirement announcement has been made. Here is part of the press release:
The Muskegon Lumberjacks have announced a new addition to the organization's assistant coaching staff in former Muskegon Fury and Lumberjacks Forward Todd Robinson, who spent nine seasons as a player with Muskegon's Minor Professional Hockey organization. Robinson will join Rich McKenna as the team's two assistant coaches for the upcoming 2014-15 season along with having an added role in Business Development. "I am very excited to be back and get involved in the Muskegon organization as my family and I have proudly called this area our home for the last 14 years," shared Robinson. "This is a great opportunity for me both on and off the ice as I will offer my advice and assist in any way that I can in helping the team get better while continuing to help spread the USHL brand to our great fans within the community.  I am eager for the upcoming season to get started."

- I had a chance to talk to a couple of CHL officials about two issues you have been asking about. On the decision to not use two referees in the finals, that was made by the Board Of Governors during the CHL summer meeting back in July. Never did get a good explanation as to why they chose not to publicize the decision. As to the decision to change the dates for games six and seven of the championship finals twice with the last change coming in the middle of the series it was done at the request of the Denver Cutthroats. Everyone I talked to agreed the last minute change didn't put the CHL in the best light. Denver made the proposal for the change from Friday to Saturday based on past experience with crowd size on both days and it was a compelling argument. Allen had to agree to the change and I would assume some type of financial concessions were made to Allen for the additional expense they will incur by staying an extra day in Denver if a game seven takes place. What is hard to understand is why it would take until the middle of the finals series for the Denver front office to figure out they would have a much bigger gate on Saturday than Friday.

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Courtesy CHL Memes

DID YOU KNOW: Both Allen and Denver are 8-2 in the playoffs when they score the first goal and in the final series the team that has scored the first goal has won all three games.

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