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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : sports : local November 20, 2014


3/24/2013 12:56:00 AM
Sundogs 2, Fort Worth 0
Sundogs close strong, lock up 7-seed, await playoff opponent
Les Stukenberg/The Daily CourierThe Sundogs’ Jeff Kryzakos, at right, celebrates his goal late in the game as Arizona blanked the Fort Worth Brahmas 2-0 Saturday night at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. The Sundogs swept the Brahmas in three straight games to close out the regular season.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
The Sundogs’ Jeff Kryzakos, at right, celebrates his goal late in the game as Arizona blanked the Fort Worth Brahmas 2-0 Saturday night at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. The Sundogs swept the Brahmas in three straight games to close out the regular season.
Doug Cook
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Say what you will about the Arizona Sundogs' struggles this winter, but one thing's becoming clear under new coach Scott Muscutt: These 'Doggies still have some bite left in them.

With a playoff berth firmly in hand heading into the weekend, Arizona's second season is rapidly approaching. And it seems anything could happen once the club gets there later this week.

The Sundogs won for the fourth time in five games on Saturday, knocking off the third-place Fort Worth (Texas) Brahmas, 2-0, to conclude the 2012-13 Central Hockey League (CHL) regular campaign on a high note in front of an announced crowd of 4,256 fans at Tim's Toyota Center.

"The guys are playing with a ton of composure right now," Muscutt said afterward. "Whether we're up one or down one, or up three or down three, guys just keep coming to play period after period, shift after shift. That's kind of what you want going into the postseason. We still have a ton of work to do, but it's starting to come together."

It was the second straight shutout victory for the Sundogs, who won five of their last seven games (5-1-1) to finish the season with a 32-27-7 record (71 points).

"Anytime you head into the playoffs, you want to be peaking - you want your game going north instead of south," Arizona forward Jeff Kyrzakos said. "We're playing playoff hockey ahead of time, and we wanted to finish as high as we could, too."

Thanks to the victory and the eighth-place Denver Cutthroats' 2-1 overtime loss to the fourth-place Rapid City (S.D.) Rush on Saturday, Arizona has clinched the seventh seed into the eight-team CHL playoffs that start on Thursday. The expansion Cutthroats (30-26-10, 70 points) are locked in as the eighth seed.

In other key CHL action on Saturday, the sixth-place Quad City (Ill.) Mallards (33-26-6, 72 points) took care of business by beating the Bloomington (Ill.) Blaze, 4-2, to clinch the playoffs' sixth spot.

League officials are waiting to release the playoff schedule until they figure out the available open dates for all eight postseason teams' arenas. A Sundogs source said after Saturday's game that Arizona is likely to have three first-round contests at home, on April 2, 3 and 8.

Since Muscutt took over as Sundogs coach on Feb. 6, shortly after former coach David Lohrei resigned mid-season, the Sundogs have improved the most on the defensive end.

In 20 games under Muscutt, the Sundogs own a 10-7-3 record. A winner of two CHL championships as coach of the now-defunct Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, Muscutt brought a proven track record with him to Arizona.

"We were missing a little bit of a d-zone system there before Muskie came in," Sundogs forward Derek LeBlanc said. "And since he's come in, everybody's bought in and everybody's doing a great job."

In the season finale, Sundogs goalie David Brown stole the spotlight, winning his third straight game by stopping all 24 of the Brahmas shots.

"Muskie's done a great job implementing a very good defensive system, and all my defensemen have really bought in and battled hard every second of every game," Brown said. "It's made my job that much easier, and there's a lot of communication. We've been able to take the next step as far as defensive coverage is concerned."

The Sundogs snapped a scoreless tie with 14:39 left in the second period on defenseman Mario Larocque's goal off a rebound in front of the net. Johan Ryd and Sebastien Geoffrion were credited with the assists as the hosts claimed a 1-0 lead.

Arizona clung to the one-goal advantage until only 43 seconds remained in regulation, when Kyrzakos flung in an empty-netter from near center ice for the 2-0 edge as time soon expired.

Neither team could get much going offensively in the third period.

With 9:08 remaining, there was a problem with a small patch of ice that took about 20 minutes to repair. But the Sundogs remained unfazed, as Brown continued making timely saves and Arizona's defensemen kept the Brahmas at bay.

For Arizona, the focus now shifts entirely to the postseason.

"You want to get hot at the right time of year," Brown said. "It doesn't matter what seed you are once you get in the playoffs. Anything can happen, and we're definitely playing our best hockey of the year at the right time of the year."




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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 25, 2013
Article comment by: Oh my gosh !

Couldnt agree more........Why the heck do these announcers (Leeza and Lou) need a microphone? Do they not understand that a microphone amplifies your voice. You do NOT need to yell into the microphone. Mr Announcer, why must you growl EVERYTIME you say someones name or a power play? All you need to do is talk.......and the audio on the video is ridiculously loud. EVERYTHING about the audio in that place is crazy.........with Lou in the box yelling GO GO GO GO GO..........for "45 seconds" which at best, gets about 17 seconds of cheering........I only go when the tickets are free but everytime I go, I regret it coz those announcers ruin the game.

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013
Article comment by: Cory Saz

Fun game and good to see so many fans turn out.

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013
Article comment by: Paul Leon

Agree with Alec what a game and what a way to end the season. now on to the second season
Go Dogs
Also thanks to Sean or Chris or whoever turned down the music
It is just right, loud enough for the players and fans


Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013
Article comment by: Bill Clooten

Love the Sundogs. However, am I the only who can't understand what the announcer says? I would suggest to the management that they replace him with a real announcer who knows how to control his or her voice.

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013
Article comment by: ALEC BARRY

WOW....WHAT A GAME....A REAL THRILLER FROM START TO FINISH WITH OUR SUNDOGS PLAYING LIKE CHAMPIONS AND HEADING INTO THE PLAYOFFS...THANK YOU SUNDOGS FOR PUTTING PRESCOTT VALLEY ARIZONA BACK ON THE HOCKEY MAP....WE LOVE YOU AND WE NEED YOU.

ALEC BARRY
PRESCOTT VALLEY AZ




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