UHL Playoff Races Heating Up
UHL Playoff Races Heating Up
Monday, Feb. 26th, 2007
LAKE ST. LOUIS, MO - With only six weeks left in the regular season, the playoff races are heating up in the United Hockey League (UHL). Eight franchises will make the playoffs, so teams are jockeying for position and attempting to punch their ticket to the postseason.
The outlook in the Eastern Conference is relatively unchanged after the past week. The Muskegon Fury remain the league’s best team with 85 points, and they have a 14-point advantage over the conference’s second best team, the Kalamazoo Wings. However, the K-Wings picked up two points on the Fury with a 2-1-0 week. Left wing Nick Bootland, tied for fifth place in the league with 64 points, tallied two goals and three assists to help lead Kalamazoo’s offense.
In third place, the Flint Generals have 48 points. However, this week’s biggest change was that the Port Huron Flags moved out of the cellar in the Eastern Conference and into fourth place (48 points) with a 2-0-0 week. The Flags have won three straight and now have one more point than the Elmira Jackals who have lost eight consecutive games. Goaltenders Dustin Traylen (2-0-0) and Noah Ruden (1-0-0) have combined for Port Huron’s last three victories including a shutout by Traylen in a 2-0 defeat of the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday.
An unbeaten month (12-0-1) by the Rockford IceHogs has moved them within one point of Fort Wayne for first place in the Western Conference. The IceHogs went 4-0-0 last week with goaltender Frederic Cloutier earning the victory in three of the games, including his second shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over Elmira on Friday. Rockford gained two points on the Komets who currently have 78 points after going 3-1-0 last week.
The Quad City Mallards remained the third-place team in the Western Conference (58 points), with the Chicago Hounds and the Bloomington PrairieThunder both pushing their way into the playoff picture. Although both teams currently would not qualify for the playoffs, they picked up valuable points last week. The Hounds went 1-0-1 for a three-point week and have 42 points. The PrairieThunder went 2-1-1 for five points, improving their season total to 39 points. Forward Jon Booras led the offense with three goals and one assist on the week. Continued winning streaks could boost the Hounds or the PrairieThunder into the playoffs.
ONLINE AUCTIONEER – The United Hockey League is making autographed and game-used items from the 2007 UHL All-Star Classic available through an online auction via the UHL website, www.theuhl.com, and Ebay, www.ebay.com. Items that are available include autographed jerseys, pucks and mini sticks as well as game used pucks from the All-Star Classic. All autographed and game-used memorabilia will be accompanied by a letter of authenticity signed by Richard Brosal, UHL President/CEO. The items became available via online auction on Wednesday, February 21 and will end on Wednesday, February 28. Click the banner links at www.theuhl.com to be directed to the listings or search on Ebay under the seller name “unitedhockeyleague”.
BLAME IT ON THE WEATHER – Two games this past week were postponed to due poor weather conditions. Saturday’s match Chicago at Quad City and Sunday's game Port Huron at Chicago were postponed. The games will be rescheduled and an announcement regarding the new dates and times will be forthcoming.
OWNERSHIP IN THE WINDY CITY – The Chicago Hounds have a new owner and his name is Craig Drecktrah. A native of Berlin, Wisconsin, Drecktrah still owns 49% of the Rockford IceHogs but now has 100% ownership of the Chicago Hounds. “I love hockey and enjoy owning a sports team. I will strive to make the Hounds the best UHL franchise possible,” says Drecktrah.
100,000 CLUB – The Bloomington PrairieThunder and the Elmira Jackals both surpassed 100,000 mark in attendance this past week. On Saturday night, a sell-out crowd of 4,031 put the Jackals over the 100,000 mark. On Sunday, the PrairieThunder went over the milestone with a crowd of 4,008 that saw Bloomington defeat Quad City, 5-3. Bloomington and Elmira became the third and fourth teams to surpass 100,000 fans this season, joining the Rockford IceHogs and the Fort Wayne Komets in the 100,000 club.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Bloomington PrairieThunder - (2-1-1) – The PrairieThunder has 18 wins this season, but a third of them have come in the month of February. Bloomington has won four of their last six games…Defenseman Jarad Bourassa scored the first empty-net goal in franchise history in a 5-3 win over Quad City on Sunday...Bourassa has scored 10 goals this season, ranking sixth in the league among defensemen…Forward Jon Booras has scored in five straight games (4g, 1a) and in nine of the last 10 games (6g, 3a)...Bloomington has a 7-5-0 record against this week’s opponents, Elmira and Chicago.
Chicago Hounds - (1-0-1) – Chicago has picked up points in each of its last three games, going 2-0-1…Center Matt Amado (15g, 16a) and left wing Steve Cygan (13g, 18a) are tied for the team lead with 31 points…Forward Drew Otten led the Hounds in February with 14 points in 11 games…Goaltender Brenden Cuthbert (1-0-1) recorded both of the Hounds’ decisions last week. He posted a 2.50 GAA and a .912 SPCT…The Hounds embark on a four-game road trip this week to Bloomington, Kalamazoo and Flint. Chicago has an 8-17-3 record away from the Sears Centre.
Elmira Jackals - (0-3-0) – Center Jeff Daw scored his first goal as a Jackal on Saturday against Rockford. The goal was short-handed, and it was the Jackals UHL-leading 21st short-handed goal of the season…The Jackals are 20-14-1 this season against the bottom five teams in the UHL. However, Elmira has a 3-19-0 record against the current top four teams in the overall standings…In three games this past weekend, goaltender Kris Tebbs posted a 3.00 goals against average…The Jackals will play two home games and two away games this week.
Flint Generals - (0-1-1) – With a 4-3 shootout loss to Fort Wayne on Saturday, the Generals are 1-6 in shootouts this season…Left wing Jeff Zehr scored his 20th goal of the season against the Komets. He is the first Flint player to reach the 20-goal mark this season…Zehr also leads the team with 11 power-play goals…Flint has the best road power play in the league (.200)…Center Terry Marchant is tied for 18th in the UHL with 47 points (18g, 29a)…Flint plays Elmira twice this week, and the Generals have posted a 4-5-1 record against the Jackals this season.
Fort Wayne Komets - (3-1-0) – The Komets scored three goals in the span of 47 seconds in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Quad City. It set a club record for three fastest goals in a UHL game…Defenseman Guy Dupuis had an eight-game home point streak and a three-game assist streak snapped in a 2-0 loss to Port Huron on Friday…Center Bruce Richardson has a six-game road point streak (4g, 8a) and center J.C. Ruid has a five-game road point scoring streak (3g, 5a)…The Komets will play two road games this week at Quad City, and they are 5-2-0 against the Mallards this season.
Kalamazoo Wings – (2-1-0) – Right wing Tyler Willis set the K-Wings UHL record for most games played (235) on Saturday at Bloomington…Center Kory Karlander had his nine-game point streak snapped against the PrairieThunder…Kalamazoo has killed 44 of their last 47 penalties…Left wing Nick Bootland is on a six-game point streak…The K-Wings have won three straight road games, one game shy of tying their season high. They will play one road game this week…Head coach Mark Reeds will coach his 800th career game on Saturday against Muskegon.
Muskegon Fury - (1-2-0) – Muskegon concluded February with their first .500 or below month of the season at 4-5-0…With a 6-1 victory over Flint on Friday, the Fury advanced their Eastern Conference road record to 12-1-1…In posting a perfect 4-0-0 record against the Generals this season, Muskegon has outscored Flint, 21-6…By assisting the first goal in the win over the Generals, center Todd Robinson became the first player in the UHL this season to reach 100 points…The Fury have a 10-2-0 record following a loss this season…Goaltender Ryan Cyr posted a 1.51 GAA last week.
Port Huron Flags - (2-0-0) – With their first win over Fort Wayne this season, the Flags hit the 20-win marker. Goaltender Dustin Traylen blanked the Komets 2-0, and he now is tied for third in the league with three shutouts...Port Huron is on a three-game winning streak and has recorded consecutive road victories for the first time this season…The Flags are one win shy of breaking the team’s record for points in a season, 49, set in 2005-06...Center Greg Bullock and left wing Ben Gustavson are both riding three-game assist streaks.
Quad City Mallards - (0-3-0) – The Mallards lost three games last week, but are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games…Forward Luke Stauffacher recorded his seventh multiple-goal game of the season in a 5-3 loss to Bloomington on Sunday...Stauffacher was the second Mallard to reach 30 goals this season, joining forward Don Parsons (32 goals)…The next four games for Quad City will be played against teams they are chasing for playoff positioning. They will play the Komets twice and Rockford once this week before opening next week at Fort Wayne.
Rockford IceHogs - (4-0-0) – Rockford is unbeaten in a club-record and UHL season-high 13 straight games (12-0-1). They have also won seven games in a row…The 12 wins in the month of February is a club record for most wins in a month…On Sunday in a 4-1 win over Elmira, two IceHogs single-season records were tied. Center Mike Doyle netted his sixth game-winning goal, and center Kevin Ulanski tallied his third short-handed goal of the season…Right wing Jason Ralph has nine multi-point games in his 21 games played for Rockford this season.
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