Northwestern Division February Review

by Charles Woodall-Pike

Only a few more games separates the 23 WSHL clubs and the Thorne Cup playoffs. As March rolls around, the postseason picture is starting to come into focus and teams are locking into their ranks in the standings. With the last full month of the regular season winding down, here is a look back at the Northwest’s best performers from February.

Bellingham Blazers – Ruslan Novruzov

Bellingham rolled through February, ending the month with a 10-game winning streak. During this run, Novruzov has recorded at least a point in all 10 games, with 11 goals and 14 assists. In the seven wins in February, he scored 18 points (eight goals and 10 assists), including three four-point games. Novruzov, along with fellow Russian forward Ilya Abubakirov, has spearheaded the Blazers’ offense this season and will look to continue racking up points heading into the playoffs.

Idaho IceCats – Jacob Hough

Through 48 of 51 games this season, Idaho is one of only three WSHL teams that have allowed fewer than 100 goals against this season (El Paso and Utah are the others). The IceCats have gotten outstanding goaltending all season, particularly from Jacob Hough. In a February where Idaho had to face Mountain Division giants Utah and Ogden, Hough managed to shut down two of the highest scoring offenses in the league. In five games against the Outliers and Mustangs, Hough picked up four wins while allowing 14 total goals, including three games of allowing two goals or fewer.

Lake Tahoe Icemen – Paul Frys

Frys is the Northwest’s leading point scorer and the only player in the division with more than 100 points this season. It has been nearly impossible to keep the Portland native off the scoresheet during this campaign as he is averaging better than two points per game. During February, Frys recorded at least four points in five of Tahoe’s nine games and recorded three hat tricks.

Seattle Totems – Michael Shippee

The Totems had a rough February, going 1-8-1 for the month. Despite this, Seattle got big performances from leading scorer Shippee. The Seattle native notched at least a point in eight of the 10 games, including six multi-point games. During their road series in Ontario against the Western Division leading Avalanche, Shippee factored into eight of the nine goals the Totems scored.

Southern Oregon Spartans – Austin Toussaint

Like Seattle, Southern Oregon also had a difficult February, losing eight straight 

games at one point before ending the month with a 6-2 win over Tahoe. Toussaint has been doing everything he can in goal to give the Spartans opportunities to win games. The North Dakota-born goaltender has faced a lot of pucks this season and has put together some incredible performances in net, namely that 84-save effort in an overtime loss to Idaho on Jan. 27. Toussaint also had some solid efforts in February, making 52 saves in a 3-2 loss to Tahoe on Feb. 10 and stopping 45 of 47 shots in the win over the Icemen on Feb. 25.

West Sound Warriors – Dmitri Munirov

February saw West Sound fade out of the race for second in the Northwest as they dropped all four games they played. The biggest production in the month came from Munirov, who had two goals and an assist in a 6-4 loss to Seattle on Feb. 11. The Russian forward has been a good addition to West Sound’s roster, with eight goals and 10 assists in 18 games since being acquired from the Utah Outliers just before the Western States Shootout.