The last of the big professional hockey leagues in North America gets underway on Friday as the Central Hockey League will get ready with some great matchups and 2 new teams set to make their league debut on the road. Let's start with a rematch of the Championship series between the Texas Brahmas and the Colorado Eagles.
On Friday in Colorado is the Eagles first chance to get back at the Brahmas since beating them in 5 games to win the C.H.L. President's Cup Championship which included winning 3 in a row at the NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hill, Texas to win championship.
Nearly all the big guns for the Brahmas are back looking to repeat as champions with players like Justin Kinnunen, Jason Deitsch and goalie Brett Jeager who had an amazing 2.20 G.A.A. and a .930 SV% during last years playoffs that just shut down the Eagles offense who scored a league leading 275 goals during the regular season last year.
Colorado has been among the elite in the Central Hockey League, despite losing the Championship Series the last 2 years. In 2008, it was the Arizona Sundogs which won the 2008 Presidents Cup Championship, but they failed to make the playoffs last season.
Then losing to the Brahmas last year, part of the problem was that lack of scoring depth with Ed Mcgrane scoring 13 goals during last year's playoffs while no one else had more then 5, despite having 4 players having 8 or more assists during the post season.
Among the teams that are looking to have a break out year are the South Texas trio of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, Laredo Bucks and the Corpus Christi Icerayz. For Corpus Christi, they were in a battle with New Mexico and Arizona for the 5th and final playoff spot in the Southern Conference for basically the entire season until they were able to clinch the playoff spot on the 2nd to final night of the regular season.
With players like Justin Quenneville who had a break out year last season and some new players like Jereme Tendler to help out on the defense.
Laredo and Rio Grande Valley who both had early playoff exits are hungry for big time success. After a great play in round against the Icerayz, the Killer Bees fell down back to earth when they got sweeped by the defending champion Brahmas in the Southern Conference Semifinals. However, it was a coming out party for the Killer Bees who are looking for a very big year to battle with the likes of Odessa, Laredo and Texas for the top of the Southern Conference.
Some of the top players that the Killer Bees will be looking for is Grant Goeckner-Zoeller who had a great year by scoring 21 goals last season.
For the Laredo Bucks, it was the first time in a long time that they haven't reached at least the Southern Conference Final in the C.H.L. After finishing 3rd and losing to Odessa in the Conference Semifinals, the Bucks are looking to get back in the Championship Chase with players like Darryl Smith who had a fantastic year by scoring 70 points (34 G, 36 A), and finishing just outside the top 10 in league scoring.
For these 3 teams, Laredo will travel to Bossier-Shreveport and Rio Grande Valley. For the Killer Bees, will only have 1 game by hosting the Laredo Bucks.
Finally, for the Corpus Christi Icerayz will travel to Odessa to play the Jackalopes on Friday, and then hosting the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs on Saturday night.
Finally, the 2 new teams in the Allen Americans and the Missouri Mavericks are ready to hit the road on long road trips as both teams won't play their first home game until early November as both teams perform last minute work to their new arenas.
For Allen, the Americans will start with a pair of games as they will head west to play the Arizona Sundogs. The teams first home game will take place on November 7 against the Corpus Christi Icerayz.
The Missouri Mavericks, it will be a trip to South Dakota as a weekend with the Rapid City Rush awaits them. For the Mavericks, the teams first home game will be on November 13 against the Wichita Thunder.
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