ARIZONA SUNDOGS WIN CENTRAL HOCKEY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
/ Arizona Coyotes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, May 9, 2008
LOVELAND, Colo. – The Phoenix Coyotes’ Central Hockey League (CHL) affiliate, the Arizona Sundogs, have won their first-ever Ray Miron President’s Cup in just their second season of play in the CHL. The Sundogs defeated the Colorado Eagles 6-3 at the Budweiser Events Center on Friday to complete a four-game sweep. Sundogs goaltender Rob McVicar stopped 41 of 44 shots and earned playoff MVP honors.
Arizona would build a 2-0 lead in the first half of the opening period, taking advantage of two power play opportunities. Steve Rymsha tallied the Sundogs’ first power play marker at the 5:00 mark with one second remaining on a Greg Pankewicz hooking penalty. Tyler Redenbach and Chris Bartolone were credited with assists on Rymsha’s eighth goal of the postseason as the power forward slapped home a rebound on the near post. Just past the midway point of the period, Cory Urquhart once again made his mark on the history books with his CHL record-setting ninth postseason power play goal. The tally, his 17th goal overall in the playoffs, also matched the CHL record for goals in a postseason. With 3:45 to play in the opening frame, Colorado used an extra attacker after a delayed penalty to Sundogs forward Mark Kolanos to cut Arizona’s lead to one as defenseman Jason Beatty sent a wrist shot from the point that found its way through traffic and into the back of the net past Rob McVicar. Ryan Tobler and Riley Nelson assisted on the late-period goal. Shots were nearly identical in the first period with Arizona outshooting Colorado by a 14-13 mark.
The Eagles pulled even at two goals apiece 8:22 into the second period on a Fraser Filipic tally, his second of the postseason. Seth Leonard and Ed McGrane each collected assists on the equalizer. Arizona regained a one-goal lead with just six seconds remaining in the period on a spectacular individual effort by CHL regular season scoring champion Alex Leavitt. After calming passes from linemate Visser and defenseman Dan Laperriere, Leavitt split the Eagles defense below the near circle and patiently reached around Eagles goaltender Bryan Bridges and slid the puck across the goal line for his ninth goal and league-leading 29th point of the postseason. Colorado almost doubled Arizona in shots in the second period, 21-12, for a two-period 34-26 advantage.
In the third Arizona would score three goals en route to a 6-3 victory and a sweep of the defending champion Colorado Eagles. Kyle Hood opened the scoring in the third with a wrist shot from the top of the circle that would bounce off the skate of an Eagles defenseman and past Bridges to give the Sundogs a 4-2 lead at the 3:28 mark. Less than three minutes and while on the penalty kill, Redenbach collected an unassisted marker from the far circle that would send Bridges to the bench in place of Sebastien Laplante. At 16:10 of the period, Colorado pulled back to within two as Ed McGrane found the back of the net on passes from Leonard and Aaron Schneekloth. Leavitt tallied his second of the game with 2:10 to play in the game, an empty net goal while on the power play, all but securing the CHL title.
Rob McVicar continued to dominate in net, stopping 41 of 44 shots, earning the CHL Playoff MVP award. Bryan Bridges blocked 26 of 31 shots before being replaced by Sebastien Laplante in the third period. The Sundogs finished 3-for-7 on the power play while holding Colorado scoreless on five man advantage opportunities.
With the win, Arizona becomes the first team in the CHL in ten years to sweep a team in the President’s Cup Finals. The Sundogs finished the postseason with a 12-5 record, beating the New Mexico Scorpions in the semi-finals, the Laredo Bucks in the conference finals and the Colorado Eagles in the President’s Cup Finals.