Thursday, January 19, 2012

From Where I Sit - A Close Look at the Berry Conference

Terry Ruskowski said the other day that the playoff race is fully on in both conferences and that every point was important for the rest of the year. I fully agree. With five teams battling for four postseason spots, let’s take a closer look at the one that matters to us…the Brahmas’ conference.

As I write this, Wichita and Allen are in the top two positions and will make the playoffs. But the Brahmas, Killer Bees and Oilers are fighting tooth and nail for the last two coveted places…and one team will be disappointed.

Ten teams are in playoff contention league-wide...the good teams. There are four bottom dwellers who are still dangerous, but I predict will miss the post-season (Laredo, Arizona, Dayton and Bloomington).

TEXAS BRAHMAS - 17-13-7, 41 points. 29 games left - 23 vs. good teams (14 at home); 6 vs. bottom feeders.

The Brahmas have the most home games left of the three teams (18) and the fewest roadies (11). Our defense and goaltending is the best. Even with Guggs dinged a little, Steve Silverthorn will show all that he is a great professional and step up in the interim. The powerplay and scoring in general has been a problem and the team needs another sniper. Lastly, we have the “Shoebox factor” in our favor. We win 3 of every 4 games in our beloved arena.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES - 17-14-5, 39 points. 30 games left - 14 vs. good teams (10 away); 16 vs. bottom feeders.

The Killer Bees have by far the easiest schedule left with most of their games against lowly teams (Laredo- 10, Bloomington - 3, Arizona - 2 and Dayton - 1). Most of their games against playoff contenders will be on the road, including two at the convention center in Fort Worth. The Bees have been playing well lately and have good special teams. If they get David Marshall back from the AHL and a couple more players get healthy, they will be trouble.

TULSA OILERS - 17-14-3, 37 points. 32 games left - 27 vs. good teams (14 away); 5 vs. bottom feeders.

The Oilers have the most games and toughest schedule remaining. They play all but five of their remaining 32 games against contenders. Tulsa is a quality team full of productive rookies that score a lot of goals. They just signed ex-Brahma Steve Christie as a backup 'tender to take some of the load off Keserich. Their defense is suspect. Like the Brahmas, the last third of their season is full of home games.

How will this race unfold ?

My guess is that RGV will be in the playoffs, primarily because their unbalanced schedule dropped ten more games with the Bucks in their laps. Roscoe, who missed the post-season last year, is also very motivated not to let that happen again. The Brahmas chances? I think we will have to beat out a good Tulsa team to get in. We have seven toughies left with Allen but our five against RGV (four at home, one away) and five vs. Tulsa (three at home, two away) will be huge.

It will be exciting ! See you all at the games.


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