Both teams will be hitting the ice again tonight as the Thunder return home to play the Tulsa Oilers, while the Allen Americans will make their way across the DFW Metroplex to play the Texas Brahmas at the NYTEX Sports Center tonight. In addition to the Berry Conference Lead, it's another night with both teams looking to fight off desperate teams as the Oilers & Brahmas will look to pull away from the 5th Place RGV Killer Bees who defeated the Laredo Bucks 5-3 last night where the gap from 3rd through 5th place is just 2 points going into tonight's action.
I know were still about a month-and-a-half before the regular season, but it's never to early to a look at what the current playoff matchups would look like in both conferences. After last year's "Playoff Race" where only the last place teams would advance. This year, only the top 4 in both conferences will advance to the playoffs this season.
If the playoffs began today, here's what the Conference Semifinal Matchups would like. The Wichita Thunder would have home ice advantage in the playoffs right now as they would stand right now. Also, a possibility of an All DFW Playoff Series could become a growing possibility as the Americans & Brahmas are currently 2nd & 3rd right now.
Up North, it's starting to become a 5 team race for the Turner Conference as the Dayton Gems & Bloomington Blaze are starting to fall the way side. Currently the Ft. Wayne Komets are leading with 58 points through 43 games played while the chasing gap is separated by just 7 points where the Quad City Mallards sit with 51 points through 44 games played this season. It's going to be a very tight race in the North with any of the 5 teams that could get into the playoff race and possibly have a shot of fighting for the top seed
Here's what would the Conference Semifinals would look right now.
Berry Conference (South)
#1 Wichita Thunder VS. #4 Tulsa Oilers
#2 Allen Americans VS. #3 Texas Brahmas
In the Chase
#5 RGV Killer Bees, 1 PT behind #4 Tulsa & 2 PTS behind #3 Texas
Turner Conference (North)
#1 Ft. Wayne Komets VS. #4 Rapid City Rush
#2 Evansville IceMen VS. #3 Missouri Mavericks
In the Chase
#5 Quad City Mallards, 1 PT behind #4 Rapid City
This weekend's Central Hockey League Schedule
Tulsa Oilers VS. Wichita Thunder 7:05 PM
Allen Americans VS. Texas Brahmas 7:30 PM
Laredo Bucks VS. Texas Brahmas 7:30 PM
RGV Killer Bees VS. Allen Americans 7:35 PM
Evansville Icemen VS. Tulsa Oilers 7:35 PM
RGV Killer Bees VS. Tulsa Oilers 4:05 PM
Press Release from the Allen Americans
In Allen, Texas: The Wichita Thunder erased a 2-0 Allen lead after two periods, scoring four unanswered goals in the third for a 4-2 win Thursday Night at the Allen Event Center.
The Americans opened the scoring in the first when Adam Pineault put one back of the net, with a blast from the slot to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. Nick Layton had the only assist. It was Pineault's first goal of the season, in his first game from Allen. The Americans out shot Wichita 10-4 after one period of play.
The Americans added to their lead in the second as Colton Yellow Horn netted his 20th of the season, on a feed from Adam Pineault. It was Pineault's second point of the night. Jarrett Lukin drew the second assist and the Americans went up 2-0 after two periods of play.
The Thunder cut the lead in half at 3:45 mark of the third, when former Americans forward Dustin Donaghy let one fly from the right wing boards to make it 2-1 Allen. The Americans surged the net had come off before the puck went in the net, but the goal would stand. Six minutes later, it was Donaghy again, with a quick nab from the left side on the power play, to tie the score at two.
The Thunder would grab the lead for the first time at the 16:09 mark of the third period, when Jarred Mohr beat Rejean Beauchemin with a quick shot right off the faceoff to make it 3-2 Thunder. Mohr added an empty netter late in the third for his second of the game, and the Wichita Thunder would go on to win by a score of 4-2.
The loss drops Allen three points behind Wichita heading into tomorrow night's game at the Texas Brahmas.