Going 3-0-0 on the road Texas increased its lead in the race for the Brabham Cup to eight points over Cincinnati and to 12 points over Las Vegas.
The Brabham Cup is the trophy awarded to the ECHL regular season point champion, who is guaranteed home-ice advantage throughout its participation in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The award is named in recognition of Henry Brabham, who founded the ECHL in 1988-89 with five teams in four states. Brabham, who was the first inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame, owned three of the original five teams, including the legendary Johnstown Chiefs who are celebrating their 20th season in 2007-08. The dedication of the Virginia businessman was crucial to the league surviving to span from coast-to-coast while advancing 350 players and countless coaches, on-ice officials and front office personnel to the National Hockey League.
Las Vegas picked up three points at Victoria to move a point closer to Cincinnati while increasing its lead over the Salmon Kings in the National Conference to eight points. The Cyclones won at Fresno on Feb. 29 and lost at Stockton on Mar. 1, ending their ECHL record winning streak at 17 games.
Texas is 43-6-9 while Cincinnati is 42-9-3 and Las Vegas is 36-11-11. If the three were to win all of their remaining games, the Wildcatters and Cyclones would finish tied at 123 points while Las Vegas would have 111 points. Cincinnati, however, would be awarded the Brabham Cup as it would have 60 wins while Texas would have 57 wins.
Cincinnati leads the ECHL with 220 goals and 4.07 goals per game while Texas is second with 216 goals and 3.72 goals per game and Las Vegas is sixth with 200 goals and tied for sixth with 3.45 goals per game. The Cyclones have allowed a league-low 120 goals and lead the ECHL in goals-against average with 2.22 while Texas is second with 137 goals allowed and a goals-against average of 2.36 and Las Vegas is third with 136 goals allowed and a goals-against average of 2.50.
The Wildcatters have won their last three road games and will play at Augusta on Tuesday before returning home to host Pensacola on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Augusta has won the first two meetings to improve to 10-5-1 all-time against the Wildcatters. Texas is 3-0-0 at home and 7-0-0 overall against Pensacola this season and 22-16-4 all-time against the Ice Pilots. The Wildcatters clinched a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs in only 48 games, breaking the league record of 56 games by Louisiana in 2001-02.
Cincinnati concludes its current road trip with a game at Bakersfield on Monday before returning home to host Reading on Friday and Saturday. The Cyclones have won their last 11 home games, breaking the team mark of eight wins from Dec. 22, 1996-Jan. 14, 1997. They are 1-0-1 at home and 3-1-1 overall in the season series with Reading and 12-10-3 all-time against the Royals.
The Cyclones set the ECHL record with 17 consecutive wins from Jan. 16-Feb. 29, surpassing the mark of 14 games set by Knoxville from Dec. 28, 1993-Jan. 29, 1994 and tied by Louisiana from Nov. 23-Dec. 22, 2001.
Las Vegas returns home to open a nine-game home stand hosting Stockton on Tuesday, Bakersfield on Friday and Phoenix on Saturday. The Wranglers are 3-0-0 at home and 6-1-1 overall against Stockton this season and 15-3-1 all-time against the Thunder. Las Vegas is 29-10-1 all-time against Bakersfield, including 2-0-0 at home and 6-2-0 overall this season, and is 21-2-3 all-time against Phoenix, including 2-0-1 at home and 7-0-1 overall this year.
Las Vegas is the defending Brabham Cup champion having won in 2006-07 with 106 points. The Wranglers finished one point ahead of Alaska, which had won the award in 2005-06 with 113 points, one point in front of Las Vegas. The Aces and Wranglers finished with the second-highest and third-highest point totals in league history in 2005-06. Las Vegas and Alaska are the second and third teams, respectively, in ECHL history to score 100 points in back-to-back seasons, joining Trenton, which won the Brabham Cup in 2000-01 with 104 points and finished second in 2001-02 with 102 points.