As the Play In Rounds wrapped up last night with the Missouri Mavericks beating out the Mississippi Riverkings. In addidition to the Texas Brahmas beating sweeping the Corpus Christi Icerays. The Conference Semifinals get underway tonight as the Top Seeded Teams now know their fates for the Southern & Northern Conference Semifinals get underway this weekend.
Texas Brahmas VS. Odessa Jackalopes
For Texas VS. Odessa, it's more then a series', it's personal for Odessa as the Jackalopes came within 1 game of making the CHL Presidents Cup Championship last year after the Brahmas blasted the Jackalopes 8-1 last year in Game 7. This year, Odessa will play the role of the top seed and will be looking to put their playoff disappointment behind them and will be looking to win the CHL Presidents Cup after having one of the best records in the last 5 years.
The Brahmas may have a younger roster then last year, but some imporant pieces from last year's Championship teams are still in place. Jason Deitsch is back after finishing the playoffs last year as the league leading scorer with 26 points (11G 15A) in 16 games.
Also look for Matt Pierce who was brought in from the Mississippi Riverkings in Feb. and had a strong finish to the regular season by who had 17 points in 19 games in a Brahmas uniform including getting a hat trick against Laredo back on March 5. He also had a point in both games against Corpus Christi.
Goaltending is going to be a huge part of this series as both teams have strong duos. Odessa is going with Joel Martin and Juha Toivonen who won an impressieve 21 & 27 games each. While for Texas, Last year's Championship Winning Goalie in Brett Jeager and Joe Palmer who was a finalist for Rookie of the Year this year.
Rapid City Rush VS. Missouri Mavericks
After missing out on the playoff entirely last year, the Rapid City Rush had a huge transformition this season as the Rush were able to eack out Colorado in the final couple of weeks to win the Top Seed and will face the league's new boys in the Missouri Mavericks who finished 5th and knocked out Mississippi.
The Rush have a list a mile long of goal scorers as the Rush have 10 players in double digit goals this season while having the best defenseieve record by giving up the fewest goals of the Northern Conference Playoff Teams with 197.
Missouri is looking to it's momentum and some very experienced players like Simon Watson and Jeff Christian who has at least 25 goals the last 5 staright seasons.
As for the Series themselves, I think the Texas VS. Odessa is going to be a long one with it going at least 6 games. As for Mississouri VS. Rapid City, I would expect Rapid City's strong offense to take over and win this series in either 5 or possibly 6 games at the most.
When I show the Top Scores and Goaltending for the Teams. I will show the Regular Season for both teams, as Rapid City & Odessa haven't played a playoff game yet. While Texas & Missouri have played just 2 or 3 games in the post-season.
#1 Rapid City Rush VS. #5 Missouri Mavericks
Rapid City Rush Regular Season Record: 43-14-7 93 PTS, 253 GF 197 GA
Rapid City Scoring Leaders
Les Reaney 64 GP 86 PTS (28G 58A)
Scott Wray 64 GP 78 PTS (31G 47A)
Brendan Cook 62 GP 67 PTS (29G 38A)
Rapid City Goaltending
Danny Battochio 42 GP 28-5-6 2.60 GAA .917 SV%
Miguel Beaudry 29 GP 15-9-3 3.28 GAA .896 SV%
Missouri Mavericks Regular Season Record: 31-27-6 68 PTS, 200 GF 220 GA
Play In Round against Mississippi
Game 1 4-2 W: Game 2 1-2 L: Game 3 3-1 W
Missouri Scoring Leaders
Jeff Christian 55 GP 78 PTS (29G 49A)
Nick Sirota 62 GP 45 PTS (19G 26A)
Jeff Macdermid 59 GP 44 PTS (23G 20A)
Charlie Effinger 13 GP 9-3-1 2.68 GAA .913 SV%
Gerry Festa 13 GP 5-4-3 2.88 GAA .906 SV%
All Rapid City Rush Home Games are @ Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
All Missouri Mavericks Home Games are @ Indendpendence Events Center
Game 1, 3/27: @ Missouri 7:05 PM
Game 2, 3/28: @ Missouri 7:05 PM
Game 3, 3/31: @ Rapid City 7:35 PM
Game 4, 4/2: @ Rapid City 8:05 PM
Game 5, 4/3: @ Rapid City 8:05 PM*
Game 6, 4/5: @ Missouri 7:05 PM*
Game 7, 47: @ Rapid City 7:35 PM*
#1 Odesssa Jackalopes VS. #4 Texas Brahmas
Odessa Jackalopes Regular Season Record: 48-11-5 101 PTS, 269 GF 187 GA
Odessa Scoring Leaders
Sebastien Thinel 64 GP 97 PTS (22G 75A)
Dominic Leveille 61 GP 76 PTS (23G 53A)
Collin Circelli 63 GP 72 PTS (37G 35A)
Joel Martin 36 GP 27-6-4 2.50 GAA .918 SV%
Juha Toivonen 30 GP 21-5-4 2.99 GAA .905 SV%
Texas Brahmas Regular Season Record: 32-25-7 71 PTS, 187 GF 190 GA
Play In Round against Corpus Christi
Game 1 5-4 W (OT), Game 2 2-0 W
Texas Scoring Leaders
Jordan Cameron 57 GP 57 PTS (21G 36A)
Jason Deitsch 51 GP 45 PTS (12G 33A)
Tyler Skworchinski 64 GP 38 PTS (21G 17A)
Brett Jeager 38 GP 19-15-5 2.72 GAA .912 SV%
Joe Palmer 32 GP 13-10-7 2.75 GAA .914 SV%
All Odessa Jackalopes Home Games are @ Ector County Coliseum
All Texas Brahmas Home Games are @ NYTEX Sports Center
Game 1, 3/26: @ Odessa 7:05 PM
Game 2, 3/27: @ Odessa 7:05 PM
Game 3, 3/31: @ Texas 7:05 PM
Game 4, 4/2: @ Texas 7:05 PM
Game 5, 4/3: @ Odessa 7:05 PM*
Game 6, 4/5: @ Texas 7:05 PM*
Game 7, 4/7: @ Odessa 7:05 PM*
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