Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thauwald crossing the pond for 2010-11

Will play in The Netherlands (no, not Odessa)

Scott Thauwald has reportedly signed with the Nijmegen Devils in The Netherlands. Nijmegen is in the providence of Holland.

The Devils play in the Dutch Eredivisie League which is the highest level pro league in The Netherlands.
The team won their ninth championship title in the 2009-10 season. After beating the Ruijters Eaters from Geleen, the Nijmegen team went on to the finals. In the play-offs against the Tilburg Trappers, the Nijmegen team sweeped their opponent with 3 - 0 in a best of five.

This will be Thauwald's third year of pro hockey. He joined the Texas Brahmas in December 2nd in a trade with the Arizona Sundogs. He tallied 11 points (7 G, 4 A, +2) and 18 penalty minutes in 40 games played during the regular season. He had an a
ssist during the post-season.

Thauwald will start playing in September.

Read the source article here
Photo Credit - Robert Keith

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Palmer recalled by Rockford

Rookie net minder heading back to the playoffs

Joe Palmer has been recalled by the Rockford IceHogs (AHL), it was announced today.

Palmer, 22, appeared in 32 games with the Brahmas in his first professional season. He finished with a record of 13-10-4, a goals against average of 2.75 and .914 save percentage. This is his second career recall to the IceHogs.

in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Before turning pro, he skated in 68 games with Ohio State University (NCAA), finishing with a 25-34-8 record, a 3.04 The Yorkville, New York native was selected #96 overall (round 4) by the Chicago BlackhawksGAA and .889 save percentage.

He signed an AHL contract with Rockford on August 20, 2009.

The IceHogs are in third place in the West Division with a 43-29-3-3 record. They've clinched a playoff berth and will close out the regular season on the road this weekend with games at Texas (Stars) and San Antonio (Rampage).

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Monday, April 5, 2010

The final blow - Collin Circelli scored the game-winner 2:04 into overtime

Jacks beat Brahmas in 5-4 overtime

Odessa to face either Allen or Laredo in Southern Conference Finals

Throughout the Central Hockey League, it’s known as one of the toughest buildings for a visiting team to play in. It’s small, it’s cold and it lacks many of the amenities found in other arenas housing a minor professional hockey club.

One of the NYTEX Sports Centre’s biggest assets is the rowdy, loud and proud fans of the Texas Brahmas who filled the venue on Monday night as the home team faced elimination.

Up 4-2 after two periods, it appeared that the defending league champions might just pull off a win and force a Game Seven showdown in the Southern Conference Semi-final series. The Odessa Jackalopes had other plans.

After scoring two goals in the third period and sending the game into overtime, the Jackalopes needed just over two minutes to end the Brahmas’ season, courtesy of a pass from Jeff Pierce to Collin Circelli, which led to the game-winning goal.

With the win, the Jackalopes overcame a two-game deficit, winning four straight and in the process, doing something no other team had, winning three straight post-season contests in the arena, affectionately known as “The Shoebox”.

Odessa now advances to the Southern Conference Finals; one more hurdle on their quest for the team’s first President’s Cup Championship. They will face the winner of the Allen Americans /Laredo Bucks series which resumes on Tuesday night. The Bucks currently lead the series, three games to two.

A slashing call on Brahmas defenseman Kevin Seibel led to the first tally of the game as Kenny Bernard pushed the puck past an outstretched Brett Jaeger to make it a 1-0 contest at the 3:43 mark.

Less than three minutes later, a pass from James Hiebert found the blade of line mate Jason Deitsch, who slapped it over Juha Toivonen’s gloved hand for the equalizer at the 6:22 mark.

The Brahmas gained the lead with a power play goal of their own after Luke Sellars’ slap shot from the point was blocked and Lee Jubinville sent in the rebound at the 8:56 mark.

Odessa answered less than four minutes later when Jeff Pierce netted a goal for the Jacks just as a holding penalty on Brahmas defenseman Tyrell Mason expired.

The Jackalopes led the shot count 18-8 after 20 minutes and the score was tied 2-2 heading into the first intermission.

The Brahmas scored the only points of the middle frame beginning with James Hiebert’s pass from the point that allowed a deflection at the net by Jason Deitsch to put the Brahmas up 3-2 at the 3:01 mark.

Then, Jordan Cameron carried the puck from the left wing corner, behind the Jackalopes net and circled in front, sliding a backhander into the goal with 4:03 to play in the period.

Odessa had a 13-11 shot advantage in the second period and 31-19 after 40 minutes, but the home team was ahead by two scores entering the second break.

The final frame saw a new face in net for the Jackalopes as Odessa head coach Paul Gillis sent Joel Martin in relief for Toivonen.

Early in the period, Jordan Cameron was called for a five-minute charging major after a hit that left Odessa defenseman Philippe Plante sprawled on the ice. The additional game misconduct put the Jackalopes’ special teams on notice and they answered with a score. Alex Dunn brought the puck up the right wing side and passed it to Kory Karlander who sent it top shelf at the 5:04 mark.

Then, at the 7:38 mark, Sebastien Thinel took a pass from Jean Bourbeau and sent it inside the left post to tie the game at four all, eventually sending the game into sudden death overtime.

There was only one shot on goal in the extra frame, and it counted for everything. Collin Circelli, on a feed from Jeff Pierce, drove deep to the right post and ended the Brahmas’ season when he faked a shot and then went to the backhand, beating Jaeger at the 2:04 mark.

After a brief celebration by the Jackalopes, the teams lined up for the customary handshakes and well wishes as this chapter in the 2010 CHL post-season drew to a close.

Odessa will open the Southern Conference Finals at 7:05 p.m. Friday at the Ector County Coliseum. Game Two is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Odessa wins third straight

Brahmas face elimination after 2-1 loss

Just a week ago, the Texas Brahmas were on top of the world, having just one their second straight playoff game on the road against the Odessa Jackalopes. A considerable feat, since Odessa had only lost six regular season contests at home and the Brahmas had only won nine games on the road this year.

Now the Brahmas are facing elimination from the Southern Conference Semi-finals after dropping their third consecutive game to the Jackalopes in a 2-1 battle on Saturday night at the Ector County Coliseum.

3,278 fans witnessed post-season hockey at its very best, complete with defensive battles, remarkable saves and the best thing they could have hoped for – a dramatic win by the home team.

The Brahmas came out firing early in the first period, sending four consecutive shots towards the net, only to have them turned away by Odessa net minder Juha Toivonen. A slashing call on Brahmas defenseman Ross Rouleau led to the Jackalopes’ first power play of the night. Unleashing four shots of their own during the man-advantage, Odessa found themselves equally challenged by the efforts of Brahmas goaltender Joe Palmer.

After a scoreless 20 minutes, shots were even at nine and both teams returned to the locker rooms for the first intermission.

The middle frame opened to seven seconds of four-on-four hockey due to off-setting minors late in the first period. The Jackalopes had two early power play opportunities but were unable to solve Palmer, who had made 12 saves to this point.

Texas defenseman Justin Kinnunen nearly had the first score of the game, but a quick thinking Toivonen was able to shift from the right post to the left post to stop the shot, deflecting the puck with the right toe of his skate before it could cross the goal line.

8:45 into the period, Odessa’s Kenny Bernard dropped the gloves with Jason Deitsch for the first fight of the series. The two battled briefly to a draw and earned matching five minute majors for their efforts.

With less than six-and-a-half minutes remaining, the Brahmas thought they had scored on a blast from Tyler Skworchinski, but their celebration was cut short when referee Jon McIsaac ruled that the puck never crossed the goal line.

Consecutive minors on Odessa gave the Brahmas a 5-on-3 opportunity for 1:38 but the visiting team remained unable to solve Toivonen.

After 40 minutes, shots were 25-21 in favor of the Brahmas, but the game remained scoreless.

The Jackalopes began the final frame on the power play due to an unsportsmanlike conduct call on James Hiebert late in the middle frame. Joe Palmer managed two huge saves on shots by Kenny Bernard and Philippe Plante and the Brahmas were able to kill off the penalty.

Over 45 minutes into the game, the first tally of the night was finally registered by the home team. After winning a face off in the left circle, Collin Circelli fed the puck to Jeff Pierce. Pierce found Sebastien Thinel who sent in a wrister from above the left hash mark, beating Palmer five hole for the score at the 5:32 mark.

A high-sticking double minor on Matt Pierce, followed by a hooking call on Scott Thauwald would lead to a 24-second 5-on-3 opportunity for the Jackalopes, who wasted no time making it count for something. With eight seconds remaining on the two-man advantage, Sebastien Thinel took possession of the puck in the right circle and fed it to Philippe Plante who sent his shot inside the left post to give the Jackalopes a 2-0 lead at the 14:14 mark.

An exhausted Brahmas team continued to battle but managed to do nothing more than prevent the shut-out. With Joe Palmer pulled in favor of the extra attacker, a redirection in front of the net by Tyler Skworchinski beat Toivonen with 13 seconds remaining to seal the final score at 2-1.

Palmer stopped 35 of 37 shots faced but took the loss; his first of the playoffs. Toivonen stopped 34 of 35 shots to earn his third consecutive post-season win.

The series now shifts back to the NYTEX Sports Center, where the Brahmas will either be eliminated or force a Game Seven Showdown.

Odessa hands Brahmas 5-1 loss

Jackalopes even series at 2-2

One way to sum up the Southern Conference Semi-final series between the Odessa Jackalopes and the Texas Brahmas would be to call it “the series of the road team.” The Jackalopes came into the NYTEX Sports Center fresh off a 6-3 game three win and left with another lopsided victory, coming out on top of the Brahmas 5-1 to even the CHL Southern Conference Semi-Final series at 2-2.

Odessa jumped out to a 3-0 lead in an eventful first period that saw 20 combined shots, 23 combined penalty minutes and an early goalie change. Mike Ramsay scored at 7:09 of the period, beating Brahmas goalie Brett Jaeger off of a rebound. Mike Lesperance and Kenny Bernard were awarded the assists.

The Jackalopes scoring machine pumped out a power play goal at 12:53, as Collin Circelli scored while James Hiebert was in the penalty box serving a two minute minor for roughing. :01 remained on the penalty to Hiebert when Circelli sailed the puck into a wide open net to the left of a sprawled out Jaeger. Alex Dunn and Bernard tallied the helpers.

The third Jackalopes’ goal came at 15:07 of the period when Sebastien Thinel had enough time to knock in his own rebound past Jaeger. Jeff Pierce and Circelli provided the assists on the play. Following the goal, Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong wasted little time pulling Jaeger in favor of backup Joe Palmer.

Palmer stopped 2 shots in the 4:53 he played in the first. Hiebert would receive the hook at 17:17 of the opening period, as he drew a five minute major for slashing and a 10 minute game misconduct. The call was made after Circelli was sent to the box to serve a two minute minor on an incidental high stick.

The Jackalopes outshot the Brahmas 14-12 in a hard hitting second period. In fact, one hit was hard enough that the game had to be delayed for about 14 minutes to replace a pane of glass. Jackalopes net minder Juha Toivonen played solid in net, as he continued to have a perfect save percentage on the night and neither team scored in the middle frame.

The Brahmas caught a break at 1:39 of the third period, as Odessa’s Dave Van Drunen was sent to the box for tripping. However, a tough Jackalopes penalty kill would up the defensive pressure and the Brahmas would not manage a single shot on goal during the man advantage.

Jeff Pierce added to the Jackalopes’ lead at 7:11 of the third period, as he poked in his own rebound top shelf past Palmer to make the score 4-0. Patrick Mbaraga and Thinel were given the assists. Tyler Skworchinski nearly answered Pierce’s goal as he rang a shot off of the cross bar from the left circle at 8:30 of the period.

Kevin Seibel would finally break Toivonen’s shutout bid and get the Brahmas on the board at 14:18 of the final period. Assists were given to Adam Chorneyko and Matt Burto on the shot that Seibel released from the right side near the blue line. The goal was Seibel’s first of the playoffs.

A little excitement occurred in the Brahmas’ crease at the 15:34 mark of the period. Palmer would make a save and hold on to freeze the puck, and as Jeff Pierce skated through the crease Skworchinski would take exception and knock him to the ice. After a brief pow wow cooler heads prevailed as Skworchinski and Lesperance would be sent to the box for roughing.

Thinel found the net again at 18:47 of the third as he intercepted a pass and sailed it into the net past Palmer. The unassisted marker closed out the scoring for the night and even the series at two games each. Game five is scheduled for Saturday night at the Ector County Coliseum.

Article written by John Hall of Pro Hockey News
Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, April 2, 2010

A place in the sun

CHL assumes control of Sundogs' franchise

The Central Hockey League assumed control of the Arizona Sundogs' franchise Friday, citing a breach in the licensing agreement with previous ownership, CHL Director of Operations Bob Hoffman announced.

"Every CHL franchise is given a license agreement," Hoffman said. "There are specifications, there are operational protocols that need to be handled by within that license agreement, and it's up to that ownership group to adhere to that. This ownership group was in violation of that license agreement."

Consolidated Sports, a division of The Monarch Corporation owned by Bill Yuill, bought the Sundogs in December of 2008. Calls to the ownership group Friday were not immediately returned.

The CHL will oversee operation of the Sundogs and assume the lease at Tim's Toyota Center until the transfer to a new ownership group can be completed.

Despite the ownership change, both Hoffman and Sundogs' director of Public Relations Shane Ferraro called hockey operations within the club "business as usual."

"It's a surprise to us, but the thing we want our fans to know is that as a front office staff, as a hockey staff, it's business as usual for us," Ferraro said. "We're still preparing to celebrate our fifth season with our fans. It's important for our fans to know it's business as usual."

Hoffman added that the ownership change wouldn't hinder the team's ability to sign free agents and get ready for the 2010-2011 season

The Sundogs are heading into their fifth season in the CHL this fall and are just two seasons removed from winning the Ray Miron President's Cup (2008).

This past season, the team finished seventh in the Southern Conference with a 24-34-6 record. Arizona finished 14 points out of playoff contention.

Story by Justin Rains/The Daily Courier, Prescott, AZ

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Pierce suspended

Out for tonight's game against the Jackalopes

The Central Hockey League has suspended Brahmas forward Matt Pierce for one game, it was announced today. Pierce will therefore join the crowded suite upstairs for tonight's game.

I don't have the particular reason for the suspension.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jackalopes rise to the occasion

Odessa wins Game Three 6-3

Down but not out after two consecutive losses at the Ector County Coliseum, the Odessa Jackalopes were on a mission. With the next two games at the NYTEX Sports Centre, there was no way they could consider any possibility but winning. It was time to step up. And step up they did.

With Juha Toivonen defending their net, Odessa’s three first-period strikes led the way for a 6-3 final score against the defending President’s Cup champion Texas Brahmas, cutting the Brahmas’ series lead in half and extending the series to at least five games.

The NYTEX fans were in top form as the game began, hurling comments at the Jackalopes players and beating on the metal wall panels to the beat of “Let’s go Brahmas”. Their enthusiasm diminished as the events of the first frame unfolded.

A board checking call of Jason Deitsch led to the Jackalopes’ first power play of the game. It took Jeff Pierce just 26 seconds to open up the scoring after a battle in front of the Brahmas’ net. Pierce was able to beat Brett Jaeger inside the right post to make it a 1-0 contest at the 4:50 mark.

Two-and-a-half minutes later, Odessa defenseman Garrett Gruenke made it 2-0 after taking possession of a loose puck at the left point and fired the puck past Jaeger through a screen in front of the Texas net.

A second defensive tally came at the 10:32 mark when Alex Dunn managed to force the puck through a crowded crease as several players scrambled for possession in front of the net.

The Texas offense would produce just four shots on goal compared to 17 for the Jackalopes and after 20 minutes, the Brahmas went into the locker room with a seemingly impossible deficit to overcome.

The Brahmas came back in the second period, scoring a pair of power play goals to bring them with reach of tying the game.

Collin Circelli was called for elbowing after he rung Grant Jacobsen’s bell near the penalty box he was about to visit. Jordan Cameron scored on a slap shot from the left circle 28 seconds later to make it 3-1 at the 3:51 mark.

Just past the midway point of the middle frame, and taking advantage of a 5-on-3, Justin Kinnunen scored on a setup by Tyler Skworchinski to make it a 3-2 contest at the 10:33 mark.

Texas had the 16-12 shot advantage in the period and entered the second intermission down by one score.

Any hopes of a comeback for the home team were doused when Odessa scored two goals in less than a minute to go up 5-2.

Odessa took a 4-2 lead at the 3:54 mark when Pierce scored his second of the game, poking the puck into the net.

Less than a minute later, Mike Ramsay scored on a rebound, making it 5-2 at the 6:41 mark.

Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong changed goalies, placing Joe Palmer in net. Palmer stopped six of six in relief of Jaeger.

Adam Chorneyko scored the feel good goal for the Brahmas at the 14:43 mark to pull Texas back within two, but Odessa’s defense held them off.

Odessa added an empty-net goal with 1:18 left to seal the final score at 6-3.

Jaeger made 32 saves on 37 shots and took his first loss of the post season. Toivonen stopped 28 of 31 and earned his first win.

Game Four takes place on Friday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre.