Northwest Showcase Stars

by Charles Woodall-Pike

The 2017 Western States Shootout is complete and there were many memorable moments from this year’s showcase. Idaho dealt El Paso their first defeat of the season on a last-second goal, while Utah goaltender Dawson Rodin made national highlight reels by scoring into an empty net. The Northwest Division had an impressive showing in Las Vegas, with two teams going 3-0 and all six teams picking up at least one win.

Southern Oregon (3-0-0)

The Spartans erupted for 25 goals over their three games at the showcase. Yanneck Kumli and Joel Holmberg led the charge for Southern Oregon, recording 11 points each. Both players also notched a hat trick during the showcase. Holmberg got his in a 6-0 victory over the Wichita Jr. Thunder, while Kumli recorded his three-goal game as part of a five-point performance in an 11-3 win for the Spartans over the San Diego Sabers.

West Sound (3-0-0)

The Warriors might not have had as dominant of a run as the Spartans did, but the end result was the same. West Sound forward Samuel Pelech played a key role in the Warriors’ perfect showcase. Pelech recorded an assist on both game-winning goals in West Sound’s first two games against the CPJHL Red Team and the Fresno Monsters. The Slovakian capped off the showcase by scoring the overtime winner against the Springfield Express.

Bellingham (2-1-0)

Despite losing to the Phoenix Knights on the last day, the Blazers still left Las Vegas with a winning record at the showcase. Ruslan Novruzov led Bellingham’s scoring with a five-point effort (three goals and two assists). The Russian forward assisted on the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over the CPJHL White Team and followed that with a hat trick to power the Blazers past the Dallas Snipers, 6-2.

Idaho (1-2-0)

While the IceCats dropped two of three at the showcase, they were all close games that Idaho had within reach. In their lone win, goaltender Tyler Matthews shut down the mighty El Paso Rhinos, making 27 saves on 29 shots. Matthews held off the Rhinos long enough for Russell Harren to pot the winning goal with a second left in regulation. In his other appearance in the showcase, Matthews made 24 saves in a 3-0 defeat against the Colorado Jr. Eagles.

Seattle (1-2-0)

After two rough losses to Casper and Phoenix, the Totems rebounded with a win over the CPJHL Red Team. Seattle got a big performance at the showcase from their top scorer, Michael Shippee. The Seattle native was one of four Totems to score in their 8-4 loss to the Knights. Shippee also twice tied the game against the CPJHL Red Team, setting the stage for Tyler Goclan to score late in the second half to give Seattle their lone win in Las Vegas.

Lake Tahoe (1-2-0)

The Icemen might have had the toughest time of the Northwest Division squads at the showcase, needing overtime to get their lone win against the CPJHL Red Team. Still, Tahoe got an impressive performance from their second-leading scorer, Ilja Cetvertak. Cetvertak had a hand in seven of Tahoe’s nine goals in Las Vegas, with two goals and five assists. In the Icemen’s 12-5 loss to Fresno, Cetvertak racked up a goal and four assists.

Which players stood out to you at this year’s Western States Shootout? Let me know on Twitter @CactusOnIce