Race for the Top Seed In UHL's West
Race for the Top Seed In UHL's West
Wednesday, Apr. 4th, 2007
LAKE ST. LOUIS, MO - In an eventful week of United Hockey League (UHL) action, the playoff picture came into focus, but remaining questions will highlight the final week of regular-season play. With three games left on the schedule for all 10 UHL franchises, the Colonial Cup Playoff seeding is set in the Eastern Conference, and four teams have clinched playoff berths in the Western Conference. However, the top-two seeds have not been determined in the West. In addition, three teams are still in contention for the Tarry Cup, awarded each year to the team that finishes the regular season with the best overall record, as determined by points earned in the standings.
In the Eastern Conference, the Muskegon Fury (103 points) will be the top seed in the playoff bracket. They will face-off against the fourth-seeded Port Huron Flags (65 points) in the first round of the playoffs. The other first-round series in the East will pit the second-seeded Kalamazoo Wings (96 points) against the third seed, the Flint Generals (71 points). With three Flint losses and three Port Huron wins this week, both teams could end with the same point total. However, the Generals own the second tiebreaker, head-to-head wins, thus clinching the third seed.
In the Western Conference, the Fort Wayne Komets, Rockford IceHogs, Quad City Mallards and Chicago Hounds have all clinched playoff berths. In fact, the Mallards will be the third seed and the Hounds will be the fourth seed in the Western bracket. However, only three points separate the Komets (100 points) and IceHogs (97 points). Therefore, the final week of action will determine who wins the conference title and who will face the Mallards and Hounds in the first round of postseason action. The Komets will play Bloomington, Muskegon and Kalamazoo this week, while the IceHogs will play Muskegon once and Chicago twice.
With six points separating the top three teams in the league, Muskegon, Fort Wayne and Rockford are still in contention for the Tarry Cup. The Fury holds the edge with a three-point advantage over the Komets and a six-point lead over Rockford. This week Muskegon will play both teams once in addition to Quad City. Four points will clinch the Cup for the Fury, but since both contending teams play the leader, the Tarry Cup is there for the taking.
WHO’S THE BEST – The final week of the season will determine the UHL’s top goal-scorer for the 2006-07 season. The four players with at least 40 goals this season have the best chance at capturing the title. Muskegon’s Todd Robinson is currently in the lead with 44 goals. Kalamazoo’s Kory Karlander is on his heels with 43 goals followed by Fort Wayne’s J.C. Ruid (42 goals) and Quad City’s Luke Stauffacher (40 goals).
RECORD BREAKERS – Fort Wayne goaltender Kevin St. Pierre set a franchise UHL record with 59 appearances in a single season. St. Pierre has a 39-18-3 overall record with 2.28 goals against average (GAA) and a .924 save percentage (SPCT) during the 2006-07 campaign.
With his 30th goal of the season on Sunday, Rockford’s Preston Mizzi became the IceHogs all-time points leader, passing Mike Figliomeni (145 pts). Mizzi leads Rockford with 30 goals, 42 assists and 72 points this season.
RECORD WATCH – Frank Littlejohn of the Elmira Jackals only needs one goal during the final week of the season to break the Jackals’ single-season goal record originally held by Jarrett Konkle (37 goals).
Patrick Nadeau of the Quad City Mallards is two points away from reaching 500 in his career.
Muskegon’s Todd Robinson tied the club’s single-season points record (122) on Sunday with a goal. He needs only one point to become the Fury’s all-time single-season leader.
Kalamazoo’s Kory Karlander tied the K-Wings’ UHL franchise record for goals in a single season on Saturday in Muskegon. He needs one more goal to become the club’s all-time record holder.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – There were three hat tricks in UHL action on Friday night. Rockford’s Bruce Watson scored three times in an 8-1 win over Elmira, Fort Wayne’s David Hukalo tallied three goals in a 6-4 win against Flint and Quad City’s Luke Stauffacher lit the lamp three times in a 3-2 victory over Kalamazoo.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Bloomington PrairieThunder - (1-1-1) – Forward Jon Booras is on a four-game point streak having scored three goals and four assists during the stretch…Left wing Jamison Orr has tallied three assists in his first seven games with the PrairieThunder…In a 4-2 win over Chicago on Friday, forward Mike Zbriger tallied his first game-winning goal for Bloomington…Defenseman Jarad Bourassa had a five-game point streak snapped on Sunday against Rockford…Bloomington closes the season with two home games (Fort Wayne, Flint) and one road trip to Kalamazoo.
Chicago Hounds - (1-1-1) – The Hounds finished the month of March with a 10-6-2 record…During the month, forward Todd Grant led the team with 25 points on 11 goals and 14 assists…The Hounds finish the regular season with back-to-back games against Rockford (one home, one away). Chicago has posted a 4-6-1 record against the IceHogs this season…Forward B.J. Radovich has recorded nine points (8g, 1a) in his last four games played…Forward Tim Plett tallied his second short-handed goal of the season against Fort Wayne on Saturday.
Elmira Jackals - (1-2-0) – The Jackals have the best shootout record in the league at 9-1 and are guaranteed to set a franchise record for fewest shootout losses in a season. The previous low was five in 2004-05…Center Mike Oliveira has recorded four points (2g, 2a) in nine games played for Elmira...The Jackals have a -71 goal differential this season with 204 goals scored and 275 goals allowed and needs 27 goals in their final three games to avoid a franchise record for fewest goals in a season…Goaltender Zach Sikich had a 1-1-0 record and a .910 SPCT last week.
Flint Generals - (1-2-0) – Right wing Bogdan Rudenko recorded the Generals’ second hat trick of the season in a 7-2 win at Port Huron on Sunday…Left wing Bobby Reynolds is on a 10-game point streak (4g, 10a). He needs a point in each of this season’s final three games to tie him for the longest point streak in the UHL during 2006-07…Goaltender Jason Muzzatti is 3-1-2 in his last six starts and posted a .938 SPCT last week…Defenseman Martin Ondrej is the only General to appear in every game this season…Flint plays two home games and one road game this week.
Fort Wayne Komets - (3-0-0) – For the third time in eight UHL seasons, the Komets have reached 100 points…Fort Wayne is on a four-game winning streak and has an 8-1-1 record over the past 10 games…Center Bruce Richardson tallied his 100th UHL assist and defenseman A.J. Bozoian skated his 100th-career UHL game on Wednesday against Flint…Center Terry Marchant (2g, 3a) and defenseman Jonathan Goodwin (3g, 2a) are on a four-game point streaks…Defensemen Guy Dupuis and Mario Larocque have played all 73 games for the Komets this season.
Kalamazoo Wings – (3-1-0) – The K-Wings have won eight of their last nine games…Kalamazoo is undefeated (30-0-0) when leading after two periods…Goaltender Ryan Nie has won five consecutive starts and leads the league with a 1.95 GAA and a .932 SPCT…Kalamazoo earned its first 10-win month of the season in March…Defenseman Jason Lawmaster is on a five-game point streak (4g, 1a)…Left wing Nick Bootland (nine) and center Kory Karlander (eight) rank second and third in the league, respectively, in game-winning goals.
Muskegon Fury - (1-1-1) – With a 3-2 win over Port Huron on Friday, the Fury clinched their fourth UHL division championship…The Fury are unbeaten at home over their last seven games with a 4-0-3 record…The Fury have outscored their opponents 92-56 in the second period this season…Defenseman Joe Pomaranski played in his 100th pro game on Saturday…Muskegon finished its regular season schedule against Eastern Conference teams with a 28-11-4 mark…Defenseman Dave Van Drunen is two points away from having 200 in his career.
Port Huron Flags - (0-2-2) – The Flags lead the league in shootout appearances this season with 16…Wednesday’s shootout loss to Chicago was only the second shootout loss to a non-conference opponent this season…Ending a drought of over 120:00 scoreless minutes against Kalamazoo, right wing Robert Snowball scored at 9:25 in the second period on Sunday…Center Ryan Markham scored his sixth shorthanded goal on Friday at Muskegon. He ranks third in the league and first among rookies in SHG…Left wing Scott Wray leads the league in shots (380).
Quad City Mallards - (3-0-0) – With four points over the weekend, forward Chad Woollard moved into 9th-place on the Mallards all-time scoring list with 153 points (78g, 75a). He has established a career-high in points this season with 78 (34g, 44a)…Goaltender Jason Tapp recorded his 30th win of the season on Sunday against Muskegon. It marks the second consecutive year that he reached the 30-win mark…Tapp is on a six-game winning streak…Forward Luke Stauffacher recorded six multi-point games in the month of March, and he ranks second on the team in penalty minutes (211).
Rockford IceHogs - (2-0-1) – With his tally on Sunday, center Preston Mizzi became the first IceHogs skater to register 30 goals in back-to-back seasons…Left wing Bruce Watson became the eighth player in club history to record two hat-tricks in one season after Friday’s three-goal outburst against Elmira…The IceHogs reached 45 wins for the third consecutive season…Head Coach Steve Martinson has reached the 45-win plateau in each of his 12 seasons of coaching…Defenseman Dan Boeser has a plus-8 rating and three assists over his past four games.
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