UHL Playoff Picture Begins to Take Shape
UHL Playoff Picture Begins to Take Shape
Tuesday, Mar. 13th, 2007
LAKE ST. LOUIS, MO - The United Hockey League (UHL) season has four weeks remaining and the field for the Colonial Cup Playoffs will soon be set. The top two teams in each conference have already clinched a playoff berth. The Muskegon Fury lead the Eastern Conference with 91 points and the Kalamazoo Wings are second with 80 points. The Fort Wayne Komets lead the Western Conference with 85 points and the Rockford IceHogs are second with 83 points. The remaining weeks of the season will determine the seeding of the top teams in each conference.
With four teams in the playoffs, there will be intense battles to determine the other four postseason berths. The Quad City Mallards appear to be in the best position to take one of the remaining playoff spots. They sit in third place in the Western Conference with 67 points and have a 14-point advantage over the fourth place Chicago Hounds (53 points). After a 3-0-0 record last week, the Bloomington PrairieThunder appear to be getting hot at the right time, but they currently are on the outside looking in with 46 points.
Three Eastern Conference teams will be fighting for two playoff berths as only six points separate the Flint Generals, the Port Huron Flags and the Elmira Jackals. The Generals currently have 61 points and are in the driver’s seat for the third seed in the East. Right on Flint’s heels are the Flags with 56 points and the Jackals with 55 points. However, if the regular season ended today, given the playoff guidelines, all three teams would make the postseason because if the 5th place club in one conference has a higher point total in the final standings than that of the 4th place club in the other conference, the 5th place club will replace the 4th place club in the playoffs
Quad City Mallards – 67 points, 15 games remaining, currently holds the 3rd seed in the West
Chicago Hounds – 53 points, 15 games remaining, currently do not qualify for the playoffs
Bloomington PrairieThunder – 46 points, 13 games remaining, currently do not qualify for the playoffs
Flint Generals – 61 points, 12 games remaining, currently holds the 3rd seed in the East
Port Huron Flags – 56 points, 15 games remaining, currently holds the 4th seed in the East
Elmira Jackals – 55 points, 11 games remaining, currently holds the 4th seed in the West
The top four clubs in each conference will qualify for the playoffs. The 1st seed in each conference will play the 4th seed in their same conference with the 2nd seed in each conference playing the 3rd seed in their same conference. The winner of each series will play for the conference championship and for the opportunity to win the Colonial Cup. In addition, if the 5th place club in one conference has a higher point total in the final standings than that of the 4th place club in the other conference, the 5th place club will replace the 4th place club in the playoffs.
EXTRA ROUNDS – This past week there were seven games that were decided by a shootout, the most of any week this season in the UHL. In addition, the shootout that went 13 rounds in Saturday’s match between the Rockford IceHogs and the Kalamazoo Wings was the longest shootout in the UHL this season. It eclipsed two eight-round shootouts earlier in the year - Jan. 5 between the Quad City Mallards and the Elmira Jackals and Jan. 20 featuring the Fort Wayne Komets and the Port Huron Flags.
THE BANDS ARE BATTLING – The third of five “UHL Battle of the Bands” dates will take place on Friday at Chicago when the Hounds take on the Quad City Mallards.
UHL clubs have invited bands from their local area to perform at “UHL Battle of the Bands” home games. Winners from these local competitions will then compete for the grand prize, which involves meeting and performing for music executives with the potential of earning a recording contract. In addition to the competition, the home team for each of the games will wear special “Battle of the Bands” jerseys that will be auctioned off following the events. The jerseys are sponsored by Sony BMC/RCA Records and Netvisability. All proceeds from the jersey auction and the gameday silent auction will benefit the VHI Save The Music Foundation.
ON GREEN ICE – The Kalamazoo Wings will host their 26th Annual Green Ice Game on Saturday against the Port Huron Flags. The K-Wings are 16-6-3 all-time on Green Ice, including a record of 3-2-1 since joining the UHL.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Bloomington PrairieThunder - (3-0-0) – Last week, for the first time in franchise history, Bloomington won three consecutive games (on three consecutive days)…Only once before this season had the PrairieThunder won back-to-back games on consecutive days and only three times had they won two in a row…Goaltender Kris Tebbs won all three games last week, his first three starts as a member of the PrairieThunder…Center Brad Thompson’s 13th goal of the season on Sunday in a 3-2 win against Elmira was his first game winner of the year.
Chicago Hounds - (2-1-0) – Spanning the past two weeks, the Hounds won five consecutive games, a franchise record…Goaltender Brenden Cuthbert was in net for all five victories. He had a 1.40 GAA and a .958 SPCT during the winning streak…Rookie center Matt Amado became the first player in Chicago history to score 20 goals in a season. He has scored a goal in seven of the past nine games…Defenseman Chris Busby leads the Hounds in assists (25) and in plus/minus rating (+11)…Chicago will play five games this week, three at home and two at Quad City.
Elmira Jackals - (2-2-0) – The Jackals finished their six-game road trip with a 2-4-0 record…Getting three starts last week, goaltender Dave Lemanowicz went 2-1-0 while posting a 2.70 GAA and a .917 SPCT…Defenseman Rob Chappell scored his first professional goal in a 3-2 shootout win over Flint on Wednesday. On Saturday he lit the lamp two more times in Chicago…Center Erik Anderson and defenseman Kim Brandvold each led the team with a plus-4 rating last week…The Jackals will play Muskegon twice this week, and they have posted a 1-6-0 record against the Fury this season.
Flint Generals - (1-0-3) – The Generals last four games have gone to a shootout, the longest streak of consecutive shootout games in the league this season…Center Shawn Snider has taken the team lead in scoring with 49 points on 16 goals and 33 assists…Left wing Jeff Zehr leads the UHL in shooting percentage at 23.4 percent, scoring 22 goals on 94 shots…Right wing Mike Kinnie is on a four-game point streak…The Generals snapped an 0-for-59 slump on the power play on Sunday…Flint will play four road games this week, and the Generals have posted a 13-14-4 road record this season.
Fort Wayne Komets - (3-1-0) – The Komets regained first place in the Western Conference by winning 3-of-4 games last week, including a 3-1 win over Rockford on Sunday to move two points ahead of the IceHogs in the standings… Defenseman Mario Larocque recorded a point in all three Fort Wayne victories last week, including the game-winning goal against Rockford…Fort Wayne has been successful on 28-straight penalty kills and have not surrendered a power play goal in five straight games…The Komets have allowed a league-low 157 goals in 64 games played.
Kalamazoo Wings – (1-1-1) – On Wednesday with a 2-0 win, the K-Wings became the first team to shut out Muskegon this season…Goaltender Ryan Nie’s last five victories have all come via shutout. He leads the UHL with a 2.10 GAA and a .928 SPCT…Right wing Brent Cullaton played in his 700th career game on Friday against Bloomington…Kalamazoo is 19-4-4 when defenseman Chris McAllister is in the lineup…Center Kory Karlander is four goals shy of 200 in his career…The K-Wings are the league’s top-scoring 3rd-period team with 89 goals.
Muskegon Fury - (1-1-1) – In their last four games, the Fury have only surrendered six goals for a 1.50 GAA…Goaltender Ryan Cyr has been in goal for each of Muskegon’s last six victories…Center Todd Robinson tied the UHL record for game winning goals in a season (11) against Rockford on Friday…When the Fury surrender three goals or less, their record is 39-6-2…Muskegon needs six more victories to attain 50 in a season for the third consecutive year…The Fury have a 2-2-2 record in March and a 12-10-2 mark since the All-Star break.
Port Huron Flags - (2-1-0) – The Flags claimed two shootout victories this week, giving them a 7-6 record in extra play…Goaltender Dustin Traylen leads the UHL with six shootout wins. He has picked up victories in eight of his last nine starts in goal…Left wing Scott Wray ranks second in the UHL with 304 shots…Center Greg Bullock has recorded a point in eight of his last nine games (3g, 9a)…Port Huron’s two consecutive home wins are currently the second longest streak in the league…With three home games this week, the Flags are 16-11-3 this season at home.
Quad City Mallards - (1-0-2) – On Saturday night, the Mallards extended their home-ice unbeaten streak to 11 games (9-0-2). The team is tied with Rockford for the longest home-ice winning streak in the UHL this year…Forward Brett Pilkington (59 points) passed teammate forward Justin Chwedoruk (57 points) for the lead amongst rookies in scoring with five points (1g, 4a) last week…The Mallards roster features five of the top 15 scores in the UHL…Goaltender Brad Smith earned his first UHL win on Saturday with a 4-2 victory over Port Huron.
Rockford IceHogs - (1-3-0) – After going unbeaten in 15-straight games, the IceHogs have lost three of four…The 13 round shootout on Saturday against Kalamzoo was a club record for longest shootout and most shootout shooters in a game…Goaltender Frederic Cloutier set a club mark for most saves in a shootout with 12…The IceHogs have attempted three penalty shots this season and have faced two penalty shots. All five attempts have failed…The IceHogs set a club record on Friday with 108 penalty minutes in a 4-1 loss to Muskegon.
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