2018 WSHL Midwest Division Grades

by Eric Rogers

El Paso Rhinos – A
The Rhinos have attacked this season with all eyes aimed at a Thorne Cup. Heading into the Western States Shootout with a perfect record, the team was just 1.4 seconds away from ending 2017 the same.
Offense – A-
El Paso currently sits third in the WSHL in Goals For with 193. While not leading the way, they sit a comfortable 41 goals ahead of the team in fourth.
Defense – A+
The defense of the Rhinos however, has been spectacular. Allowing only 47 goals in 2017, El Paso’s blueline and goaltending has been the biggest benefactor so far, this season.

Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers – B+
OKC had held steady with the Rhinos well into the season, until both teams crossed paths in El Paso with undefeated records. El Paso came out as the victor in that series, handing OKC only their second sweep in franchise history. A 2-1 record in Vegas puts OKC in a very good position to catch back up to the Rhinos in 2018.
Offense – A
The Jr. Blazers lead the league in goals scored in the 2017 half of the season with a total of 224. Their production has slowed though, scoring only nine goals between their three-game set against El Paso and in Vegas. OKC was able to put up 10 against Springfield in a two-game set nestled in between.
Defense – B
Oklahoma City’s defense has suffered some hits recently. OKC has allowed a total of 61 goals so far, this season, with 35 of those goals coming in their last ten games played. The second half of the season doesn’t get much easier, with three games against El Paso, and seven against Springfield.

Springfield Express – C
Springfield has shown promise this season, keeping up with both El Paso and Oklahoma City in multiple matchups this season. Going winless in Las Vegas dealt a huge blow for the Express, as they were hoping to show they had what it took to be mentioned in the same conversation as those teams.
Offense – B+
The Express have done well offensively this season, as they sit tied with the Long Beach Bombers with 148 goals scored. With six players this season scoring 10 or more goals so far, the Express will look to keep that firepower going into the back half.
Defense – C-
Despite scoring well, the Express’ goal differential of only +26 shows where Springfield has been lacking. The addition of Egor Sevriugen shows that Springfield is working to build up the blueline, but they will need to do so quickly with seven games against OKC coming in the new year.

Dallas Snipers – D+
Dallas has performed about to their expectations coming into this season, considering their division. Their 7-17-0 record places them at 20th in the WSHL, going 1-2-0 in Vegas, but picking up a big win over

Wichita Jr. Thunder – D-
The defending Thorne Cup champions have had a rough go of things this season, after losing 16 players from their Cup-winning team last season. The now-young team is looking to build up their skill sets as they take on the Midwest Division.
Offense – D-
The offense took the biggest hit for the Jr. Thunder. After scoring 293 goals a year ago, they sit with just 40 this season, the lowest in the WSHL.
Defense – D-
In a division with the first and third-highest scoring teams in the league, the Wichita defense has given up 253 goals this season. A big win over Cheyenne to close out the showcase in Vegas gives the Jr. Thunder a bit of a wave to ride on as they enter 2018.