Colorado Teams Looking to Climb Mountain
In the WSHL’s Mountain Division, the stage is set for another thrilling season of junior hockey. In Boulder, the Superior RoughRiders are ready to clean the slate after a disappointing finish last season. Over in Fort Collins, the Colorado Jr. Eagles are prepared to defend their Mountain Division championship. Here is some analysis into the league’s Colorado-based squads.
Colorado Jr. Eagles
The Eagles are set to make a run toward another Thorne Cup Finals under head coach Steve Haddon. With a mix of veteran talent that includes Vincent Mastrandrea, Carter Dahl and Braden Lajoie, Colorado seems poised to defend their Mountain Division crown.
Early Series To Watch
Oct. 13-15 – The Eagles will get an out-of-division road test as they travel east to take on the Springfield Express. This will be the first of two meetings against Springfield in October, as the Express visit Fort Collins for Halloween weekend. Colorado will look to make a strong statement against a Springfield team from the Mid-West Division, one of the toughest divisions in the WSHL.
15 – Colorado plays 15 of its first 22 games this season at home at the NoCo Ice Center. Defending home ice will be vital for the Eagles to get off on the right track as they posted a 16-6-3 record at home last year.
While the Eagles are perched atop the Mountain Division to start this season, the Superior RoughRiders are looking to rebound after finishing at the bottom of the standings last year. While they still got into the Thorne Cup playoffs, head coach Paul DePuydt will no doubt be looking for a better result during the regular season. With a structured and disciplined play style, look for Superior to come out of the gates ready to avenge last year’s performance.
Early Series To Watch
Oct. 20-22 – Just like the Eagles, the RoughRiders have their own early road matchup against a Mid-West team. For Superior, their challenge comes in the form of the Oklahoma City Blazers, who finished second in the Mid-West standings last year. This will be the first time that the RoughRiders and Blazers have faced each other.
34 – After playing Ogden on Oct. 8, Superior will go 34 days without facing a divisional rival. The RoughRiders will play Dallas, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and El Paso during that stretch.
Nov. 11 at Superior, Nov. 25 at Superior, Dec. 2 at Superior, Jan. 6 at Colorado, Jan. 12-13 at Superior, Feb. 2-3 at Colorado, Feb. 17 at Colorado
Colorado and Superior will have to wait until Veterans Day to begin their nine-game season series, five of which are single games. Six of the nine contests come after the Western States Shootout, including three in February. With so many second-half games against each other, both teams could have a say in how their in-state rival finishes the season.
Follow Mountain Division Insider Charles Woodall-Pike on Twitter @CactusOnIce
Photo Courtesy of Marc Mauno