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2014 Sports Blog of the Year
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A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
So we have two different situations in the East and West.
One Conference, the East, is as competitive as ever. 9 teams for 10 spots. Winners, losers and streakers.
In the other Conference, the West, no one wants the 8 seed. It changes nearly every day like the stock market. Rochester? Lost 9 straight. Utica? Get real. Oklahoma City, Rockford, Charlotte? Let’s pass the hot potato! You take it! No, you take it!
We have three reservations for playoffs. Playoff tickets were punched in Texas, Manchester and Grand Rapids. Those three are at the top of the Week 26 AHL Power Rankings this week.
Biggest gain this week are the 11-time Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bears, who handled their business this weekend winning both their games and got help from an unlikely source. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins swept the Norfolk Admirals this weekend allowing the Bears to close the gap within a point of the Admirals for the eighth and final spot in the Playoffs.
Biggest free falls this week belong to the Utica Comets and the St. John’s IceCaps. The IceCaps may get passed for the 4 seed and lose out on home ice. The Comets are putting up a fight but may look back to this weekend if they do not make playoffs.
To see where everyone else ended up this week, click through the jump if you didn’t link in direct.
|Rank||Team||Last Week||Comment||This Week|
|1||No change.||There aren’t many Category 5 superteams. Texas may be the only one. Led Hamilton after first period Saturday 2-0, outshooting them 20-3. Won 6-1. Wrapped up the West Division Championship Sunday.||Host LE Fri. & Sun.|
|2||2nd (+1)||Griffins emerging as the only team that can challenge Texas for the Western Conference title.||Host IA Wed., HAM Fri. & Sat.|
|3||3rd (+1)||Monarchs are the first team in the East to reserve a table at the dance. Can probably dress an all ATO lineup the rest of the way, and still win.||Host HFD Fri., POR Sat., @ WOR Sun.|
|4||4th (+1)||5 of 6 for the East Division leader. Will that point left behind in Albany Sunday cost the B-Sens a 3 seed?||@ RCH Fri., Host NOR Sat., WBS Sun.|
|5||6th (+1)||Wolves see three game losing streak end Sunday in Rockford.||Host MIL Tue. & Sat., IA Sun.|
|6||7th (+1)||Marlies are now the lone team in the North Division which are in playoffs. This division used to be so competitive.||@ UTI Fri., Host RCH Sat., UTI Sun.|
|7||8th (+1)||Solidified the playoff push with a sweep at Norfolk. Looked frustrated Wednesday at home vs. the Bruins. Only threat to Binghamton for East Division Championship.||Host BRI Fri., ALB Sat., @ BNG Sun.|
|8||9th (+1)||Devils are looking more and more everyday like a playoff club. Big game Saturday in Wilkes-Barre vs. the Penguins.||@ SYR Fri., WBS Sat., ADK Sun.|
|9||10th (+1)||Falcons can clinch this weekend. Will cruise to Northeast Division Championship. Very interesting series with the IceCaps ahead.||@ BRI Tue., STJ Fri. & Sat.|
|10||12th (+2)||Two big wins this week. Then had Saturday and Sunday off to rest up for the final eight games of the season.||Host WOR Fri., @ HFD Sat., Host POR Sun.|
|11||2nd (-9)||IceCaps will make playoffs, but the three game losing streak they are in may cost them home ice in Round 1.||Host SPR Fri. & Sat.|
|12||16th (+4)||Shutout the Sound Tigers twice this weekend. Playoffs chances still alive, but 6 of the final 8 games are against playoff teams.||@ MCH Fri., Host PRO Sat., NOR Sun.|
|13||17th (+4)||Needed to beat Oke City at home, and did, twice. Some breathing room now going to April.||@ SA Fri., OKC Sat. & Sun.|
|14||25th (+11)||The Bears were the biggest Penguins fans this week. Draw to within a point of the 8th place Admirals, whom WBS swept.||@ POR Wed., WOR Sat., BRI Sun.|
|15||19th (+4)||Heat better hope they don’t draw the Marlies in the first round. They can’t seem to get by Toronto.||Host RFD Fri. & Sat.|
|16||20th (+4)||Split a series with the Griffins then beat the Wolves Sunday. Right now, the 8 seed in the West.||@ ABB Fri. & Sat.|
|17||14th (-3)||Once seemingly healthy lead over Hershey and the 9 seed has dwindled to one point after a sweep by the Penguins.||@ ADK Fri., BNG Sat., HFD Sun.|
|18||13th (-5)||Ads beat beatable teams then either ran out of gas or were overpowered by the Griffins Sunday.||@ CHI Tue., Host IA Fri., @ CHI Sat.|
|19||22nd (+3)||Bulldogs needed more than 4 of 8 points to keep faint playoff hope alive. Not out of the question yet, but it isn’t getting easier.||@ OKC Wed., GR Fri. & Sat.|
|20||11th (-9)||Comets playoff chances took a nosedive after getting swept by the Heat this weekend.||Host TOR Fri., @ SYR Sat., TOR Sun.|
|21||18th (-3)||Beat beatable teams Wednesday and Saturday. Got smoked by Manchester Friday. If the Sharks pull a miracle and make playoffs, they’ll likely draw Manchester. Good luck with that.||Host POR Tue., @ PRO Fri., Host HER Sat., MCH Sun.|
|22||15th (-7)||Oh, Monsters. How you have let me down time and time again this year. Lake Erie only gets two of six points this weekend. Head to Texas this week.||@ SA Tue., TEX Fri., SA Sat., TEX Sun.|
|23||21st (-2)||Took two shootout loss points out of the Queen City. Barons are 1-9 in shootouts this year. That’s probably why.||Host HAM Wed., CHA Sat. & Sun.|
|24||28th (+4)||5 of 6 for the Crunch this week. Starting to show some pride. Some more winnable games this week.||@ RCH Wed., Host ALB Fri., UTI Sat.|
|25||26th (+1)||Manage to salvage another disappointing weekend with a wild win over a disinterested Monarchs club. The second team eliminated from playoffs.||@ WOR Tue., Host HER Wed., @ MCH Sat., PRO Sun.|
|26||23rd (-3)||Swept by the lowly Bulldogs this weekend. These were points that the Rampage had to have, that went to the dogs.||Host LE Tue., CHA Fri., LE Sat.|
|27||30th (+3)||Wild, much like the Phantoms, looked great at the start of the year and then the bottom fell out.||@ GR Wed., MIL Fri., CHI Sun.|
|28||27th (-1)||Shutout by the Wolf Pack in the home and home series. That about snuffs out all playoff hopes.||Host SPR Tue., @ WBS Fri., ADK Sat., Host HER Sun.|
|29||24th (-5)||The free fall continues. Nine game losing streak. Mark it down, won’t make playoffs.||Host SYR Wed., BNG Fri., @ TOR Sat.|
|30||29th (-1)||What went wrong for the Phantoms? They were in it at the start of the New Year then the bottom fell out after that. First team eliminated from playoff consideration.||Host NOR Fri., BRI Sat., ALB Sun.|
We are closing in on the end of the season. If you think your team needs to be ranked higher, let me know in the comments!
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