Mountain Division Showcase Games

by Charles Woodall-Pike

December has arrived and the 2017-18 WSHL Western States Shootout is just a few weeks away. All 23 WSHL squads along with two CPJHL teams will soon converge on Las Vegas for the league’s annual showcase. The league recently released the schedule for the showcase and there are several intriguing matchups to look forward to. Here is a look at the most notable games for the six teams in the Mountain Division.

Casper – 12/20 vs. CPJHL White Team

The Coyotes are one of two Mountain Division teams who get to face one of the CPJHL teams at the showcase (Superior will see the same squad later that day). Casper has not fared well against their WSHL opponents this season, with just six wins in their first 20 games. Perhaps a look at some teams outside their division – and outside the WSHL – could give the Coyotes a boost heading into the second half.

Cheyenne – 12/21 vs. Wichita Jr. Thunder

Entering December, Cheyenne has two wins on the season and both came against the defending champion Thunder. Conversely, Wichita’s lone win on the season came against the Stampede on Oct. 7. These two struggling teams meet on the last day of the showcase trying to find a spark to take into 2018.

Colorado – 12/20 vs. Valencia Flyers

Colorado’s Western States Shootout schedule brings a rematch from last season’s Thorne Cup Finals in the Valencia Flyers. The Flyers defeated the Eagles 3-1 on April 12, part of a winless appearance in the Finals for Colorado. Valencia and Colorado both sit second in their respective divisions, which could pave the way for these two teams to meet again this April.

Ogden – 12/19 vs. Oklahoma City Blazers

In what has started to become somewhat of a tradition at the showcase, Ogden will square off against Oklahoma City. The Mustangs defeated the Blazers the last two years at the showcase. Heading into December, Ogden leads the Mountain Division race by five points, while Oklahoma City is one of three teams yet to lose a game this season. This will definitely be one of the games to watch on the showcase’s first day of action.

Superior – 12/21 vs. Ontario Avalanche

The RoughRiders and Avalanche have not met since the 2015 Western States Shootout, with Ontario winning 2-0. Superior and Ontario both enter December as the only two teams with a goal differential of zero. With Superior sitting fourth in the Mountain Division and Ontario currently fifth in the Western Division, both teams will be looking to start a push up the standings.

Utah – 12/20 vs. Long Beach Bombers

The Outliers have one of the more formidable schedules for this year’s showcase. In between taking on Valencia and Oklahoma City, Utah will face the Long Beach Bombers. The Outliers have one of the lowest goals against totals in the WSHL this season thanks to their sharp defense and stellar goaltending. Utah will need that trend to continue at the showcase, especially when trying to rein in the high-powered Long Beach offense.