Friday, April 23, 2010 - - PLAYOFF EDITION - - FINALS PREVIEW
Distributed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the end of the Ray Miron Presidents' Cup Playoffs
The fight for the Ray Miron President's Cup begins tonight in Rapid City, South Dakota at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena when the Northern Conference Champion Rapid City Rush face-off against the Allen Americans. The Rush finished with the highest point total in the Northern Conference during the regular season (93) and the Americans finished second in the Southern Conference with 89 points.
Ray Miron Presidents' Cup Finals Schedule:
Rapid City vs. Allen (best-of-7, all times local)
Game 1 - Friday, April 23 - Allen @ Rapid City, 7:05 PM
Game 2 - Saturday, April 24 - Allen @ Rapid City, 7:05 PM
Game 3 - Wednesday, April 28 - Rapid City @ Allen, 7:30 PM
Game 4 - Friday, April 30 - Rapid City @ Allen, 7:30 PM
*Game 5 - Saturday, May 1 - Rapid City @ Allen, 7:30 PM
*Game 6 - Tuesday, May 4 - Allen @ Rapid City, 6:35 PM
*Game 7 - Friday, May 7 - Allen @ Rapid City, 7:05 PM
* - if necessary
This marks the first visit to the finals for both franchises who are both in the infant stages as teams in the Central Hockey League. The Rush are playing in their second season improving by 40 points from their first season to second season. For the Americans, they make it to the CHL Finals in their expansion season becoming just the third CHL/WPHL team to play for the championship in their first season joining the 2000 Indianapolis Ice (won CHL championship), the 1997 WPHL's Fort Worth Brahmas and the 1995 CHL San Antonio Iguanas.
Path to the Finals:
Rapid City has played 11 post-season games sweeping the Missouri Mavericks in four games during the Northern Conference Semifinals and then won in seven games over the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in the Northern Conference Finals. Allen has gone seven games in each of their first two series' beating the Laredo Bucks in the Southern Conference Semifinals and the Odessa Jackalopes in the Southern Conference Finals.
CHL Playoff Brackets
The Rush won the Northern Conference by two points over the Colorado Eagles finishing with a 43-14-7 record and 93 points. Rapid City's 51 points earned on home ice was the second highest point total (Odessa, 54 points). On the road, the Rush were tied for the second highest point total with 42. Allen had 89 points in the regular season with a 42-17-5 record. The Americans were 23-5-4 at home with 50 points (third most in the league) and away from home they were 19-12-1, 39 points. The match-up features one of the top offenses in the league in Rapid City (3.95 goals/game, third in the CHL) against the second best defense in the league (Allen allowed 2.86 goals/game, second in the CHL).
The Rush are led by the 2010 CHL Coach of the Year Joe Ferras who is 226-179-39 in his CHL coaching career. He won the yearly honor for the league's top coach by just two points over Allen's first-year bench boss, Dwight Mullins.
Rapid City's power play was the fourth best in the league at 19.5% connecting on 64 of 329 chances. There was little variance from the home to road marks as they were 19.8% successful at home and 19.1% on the road. On the penalty kill, the Rush were second in the CHL at 85.4% including the best home penalty kill in the CHL (87.1%). For the Americans, they were sixth in the league on the power play at 16.9% and sixth on the penalty kill at 83.4%. Each team scored eight shorthanded goals during the regular season.
Allen's Justin Bowers has 14 points in his last six games scoring five goals with nine assists over that stretch. The CHL All-Star is tied for the league lead with 23 points (8-15=23) in the post-season. His line mate, Nino Musitelli, is fourth in the CHL with 19 points (9-10=19) with his nine goals sitting as the second most in the playoffs. For the Rush, Scott Wray (5-11=16) and Les Reaney (6-10=16) each have 16 points in the playoffs leading their team. Reaney leads all players with three game winning goals. In net, both Danny Battochio (RPD) and Chris Whitley (ALN) have been in net for all of their team's wins. Both players are rookies finishing one, two in the regular season in wins (Whitley had 31 and Battochio had 28).
Head to Head:
The Rush won two of the three regular season meetings topping the Americans 6-1 in Allen on January 15 and then splitting a two-game series in Rapid City on March 12 and 13. Allen won the first meeting in overtime, 5-4, and the Rush rebounded the next night with a 5-4 win in regulation. Rapid City's Les Reaney led all scorers in the series with five points (2-3=5) and teammate Brendan Cook led all players with three goals. Nino Musitelli (Allen) led his club with four points (2-2=4). Special teams showed a big discrepancy in the series with Rapid City going scoreless in 11 power play chances versus the Americans and Allen posting four PP goals in 14 chances.
Rush vs. Americans Head-to-Head Stats
Keep up with all the post-season news, notes and stats with the Playoff H Q located online at www.centralhockeyleague.com and follow all the CHL's happenings on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CHLprohockey . Fans can also follow the CHL on Facebook.