After six months of an enduring, hard fought regular season, the Central Hockey League playoffs will get underway today.
The defending CHL champion Colorado Eagles host the Youngstown SteelHounds tonight at the Budweiser Events Center for game one in a best-of-seven series.
Home ice belongs to the Eagles, who will play game two on Saturday night at the BEC, then travel to Youngstown for the next three games, followed by games six and seven back in Colorado if necessary.
The Eagles (46-17-1) dominated the SteelHounds (34-20-10) in the regular season series, winning four out of five games. Colorado won the first four games, but Youngstown defeated them 3-2 in the fifth and final game on March 18. It was the SteelHounds’ first and only victory over the Eagles in the team’s two-year history.
Youngstown brings the CHL’s Most Valuable Player, Jeff Christian. The star left winger led the CHL with 78 assists and 116 points during the regular season.
However, Colorado brings CHL Man of the Year Riley Nelson and CHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman Brad Williamson to the ice on their side.
The Eagles enter the playoffs as a No. 2 seed, behind only the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. The CHL playoffs consist of 12 teams battling for the Ray Miron President’s Cup trophy.
Along with Colorado, Youngstown and Bossier-Shreveport, the North Division brings Oklahoma City, Wichita and Memphis. The South Division brings the defending champion Laredo Bucks, along with Corpus Christi, Rio Grande Valley, New Mexico, Amarillo and Arizona.
Eagles beat writer Brandon Owens can be reached at email@example.com.