Weekend Preview 10.24.19
Games on the Slate:
Southern Oregon Spartans vs. Ogden Mustangs
Games against the Mustangs will be a grind but the Spartans are not entering the series empty handed. They didn’t wait long for their first six points defeating the West Sound Admirals in two games last weekend.
The Spartans were not successful against either Utah-based teams in recent history. Ogden swept three games versus the Spartans in Medford in 2017 while the Outliers also won all six meetings that season.
The Ogden Mustangs are heading into their fourth weekend series still undefeated having earned two wins against the Outliers in their home-and-home series last weekend.
Las Vegas Thunderbirds vs. Valencia Flyers/
Las Vegas Thunderbirds vs. San Diego Sabers
Undefeated Las Vegas Thunderbirds will meet the Valencia Flyers and San Diego Sabers for the first time this season. As a reminder, the Thunderbirds opened their season with four straight wins over the Fresno Monsters and a fifth win against the Ontario Avalanche in Anaheim last weekend.
The Thunderbirds will start with two games at the Ice Station in Valencia where the Flyers are still trying to find a win. Valencia opened its season with a thrilling overtime win in San Diego, but has dropped their last six at home with three more games left in the home stand.
This weekend will be important for the Flyers who will want a few more points before hitting the road for five games—Ontario for two and Utah for three.
The Sabers will meet the T-Birds only once this weekend at the Ice-Plex. San Diego recently suffered a setback to the Avalanche but managed a win over the Flyers to split their weekend. The Sabers are only two points from second place in the west.
Steamboat Wranglers vs. Utah Outliers
The Wranglers are among a few teams who haven’t had an ideal start. The Wranglers are currently down six games after being swept by Ogden and the Pueblo Bulls. They won’t get the needed breather this weekend either when they travel to West Valley City and face the Utah Outliers.
Utah owns the season series from last year with nine convincing wins and the Wrangler’s strongest effort being a 4-5 loss to start 2018-2019. The Wranglers were previously in the Mountain Division with the Ogden Mustangs and Utah Outliers but did not move to the Northwest Division with them and remained in the Midwest-Mountain merger.
Pueblo Bulls vs. El Paso Rhinos
This will be the first meeting between the two teams who already have a connection to serve as a catalyst for the rivalry. Pueblo’s coaching staff includes two former El Paso Rhinos in Chris and Marcus Wilhite. Chris is among the Rhino’s top five All-Time Leaders in games played and Marcus is third in All-Time goals, assists, and points.
The Bulls are first place in the division with 22-points while the Rhinos are third with 17-points. The Rhinos have the potential to leapfrog the No. 2 spot depending on the outcome between the Eagles and Snipers.
The Rhinos have three games less than the Bulls and are still undefeated through their first two series. Since losing their first two games in overtime and shootout, the Bulls have won seven straight including two sweeps of their competition. Both expansion teams are currently first in their divisions.
Seattle Totems vs. Bellingham Blazers
The two heated rivals will meet for another home-and-home series with the first game scheduled to be at the Bellingham Sportsplex.
Both the Totems and Blazers are returning from Canada with lackluster results. Seattle lost twice to the Timberwolves, including a shutout, and also was blanked by the Edson Aeros. Bellingham lost to Edson twice, including a shutout, and was also defeated by the Timberwolves.
The Totems and Blazers met twice this season in what was Seattle’s opening series and Bellingham’s second of the season. Seattle won 6-2 and 8-0 presenting the better game. Of note, Cameron Waisman scored a career high, five goals, on Oct. 12 against the Blazers and also had two goals against them the next night.
The Blazers and Totems are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the Northwest as the Spartans also have six points.
Fresno Monsters vs. West Sound Admirals
Fresno will travel up north to pay the West Sound Admirals a visit at the Bremerton Ice Center for three games. The cross-division opponents will play each other a total of five times all together when the Admirals return to Fresno on Nov. 15-16.
Last year, the Monsters had to make the same trip to Washington and swept the only series between them winning 9-2, 5-4, and 12-3. Tristan Baker, Deakan Fielder, Zackary Turpin, and Jackson Bauml all played in those games and registered points against West Sound.
The Admiral’s haven’t any returning players with points against the Monsters, however, Cory Kane, who did play, recently scored a hat-trick versus the Southern Oregon Spartans. The Admirals have the second fewest games played, with four, and the only one of two teams with zero points.
Ontario Avalanche vs. San Diego Sabers
Ontario Avalanche vs. Valencia Flyers
The Avalanche are tied for second place in the division, with Fresno, and the Monsters are also in action this weekend. Ontario will have two games against the Sabers and one against the Valencia Flyers with all three games being on the road.
The Sabers and Avalanche already met once this season in what is still Ontario’s only loss to San Diego this season. The Sabers won 4-2 on Oct. 11 but then dropped their next three meetings to the Avs, in Anaheim. Ontario scored 16 times in three games to earn the sweep.
Ontario’s ownership of the season series so far has been bolstered through Tanner Turcotte’s play who has registered five goals and three assists in four games against the Sabers.
Goalie Jacob Okihara has two wins against San Diego holding a .929 and .909 SV% in those games along with only three goals against.
Saturday will be the first time that the Avalanche and Flyers meet this season. Ontario eliminated the Flyers from playoff contention in last year’s play-in round winning 5-2 and 9-2 at their old rink, Ontario Center Ice Arena. In total, the 2018-2019 season series was even with both teams taking home four wins in the regular season.
Wichita Jr. Thunder vs. Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers
The Wichita Jr. Thunder began their season against the Jr. Blazers and are now tasked in returning the favor at Arctic Edge Ice Arena. Wichita unfortunately lost all three games of the opening series 1-6, 3-9 and 4-6.
Since the series, the Jr. Thunder have lost five of the last six with the only win being against Northern Colorado on Oct. 18. Although Wichita has lost the majority of their games they are heavily tested and are slowly trending in the right direction as far as generating shots and getting pucks on net.
Conversely, the Blazers haven’t seen action since that series against Wichita. The nine points they earned against Wichita has held up firmly to keep the Jr. Blazers in fourth place of the Midwest-Mountain Division. Benjamin St. Onge was buzzing against the Jr. Thunder, who will need to keep tabs on him, as he scored three goals and seven assists for a 10-point weekend.
Barrhead Bombers vs. Hinton Timberwolves
Barrhead Bombers vs. Edson Aeros
The weekend slate for the Bombers includes a home-and-home against the Timberwolves and a single game versus the Edson Aeros. The Bombers got a good look at the Timberwolves a couple weeks ago but weren’t able to capitalize in two games and endured their steepest loss of the season, 11-1 at the Murray Rec. Center.
The majority of Hinton’s roster had points against the Bombers in their two previous games, with Jamahl Eakett standing out for his team. Adam Robertson and Carter Wickson goaltended effectively against the Bombers, which opens the possibility for either to start. Hinton managed three goals in the first period of both prior games so the Bombers must work to a stronger start in order to avoid playing from behind against the high scoring T-Wolves.
The Bombers have never played against the Aeros since moving to Barrhead. The Aeros faced the Long Beach Bombers on two occasions last year including one meeting in the Showcase and more recently at the Thorne Cup in April.
The Bombers and Aeros split the season series with Long Beach taking the first game and a much improved Aeros team winning in the round-robin of the Thorne Cup Finals.
Meadow Lake Mustangs vs. Edson Aeros
Meadow Lake Mustangs vs. Hinton Timberwolves
The Meadow Lake Mustangs will get their first taste of the Edson Aeros in a two-game swing at Repsol Place in Edson. The Mustangs have only played against the Cold Lake Hornets and Barrhead Bombers, remaining undefeated through four games.
This isn’t their first rodeo as the teams have 11 games against each other in 2018-2019. The Aeros have the winning side of recollection beating the Mustangs in every single game. Meadow Lake struggled to get their season going last year undergoing lopsided defeats and scoring very little. The complete opposite is happening this time around setting up the new look Mustangs for a more confident appearance against the Aeros.
The Aeros have actually played more Northwest Division teams than Provincial Division teams, going into this weekend. Edson took two of three from the Timberwolves and then swept the Seattle Totems and Bellingham Blazers including two shutouts. Of note, the Aeros have scored at least six goals in three of their five wins.
Meadow Lake has yet to face the Hinton Timberwolves but will have the opportunity in one game this weekend.
Northern Colorado Eagles vs. Dallas Snipers
It was a very physical affair the last time the Snipers and Eagles met at the Greeley Ice Hause. Northern Colorado won two of three, relinquishing only three points to the Snipers who won Game 2. The Eagles scored 11 goals and the Snipers put home nine.
Brennan McFarley, Dawson Grebinski, and Tyler Trombly all had points in the three games versus Dallas. Alexsey Syrotenko and Arvidas Domeika had points in two of three games for the Snipers.
The Eagle’s have fared more positively at home with a 4-2-0 record but will test their mettle on the road with the next three being at the Dr. Pepper Star Center. Dallas enjoyed a bye week and hasn’t played since that series versus the Eagles only adding more fuel to the flame for this series. Dallas, for the most part, has a favorable first half of the season playing 14 of their first 17 at home.
This will be the final time the teams play each other this season.