Springfield Express Season Preview

by Eric Rodgers

The Springfield Express open the 2017-18 season as a yet another team with a new head coach in the Midwest Division of the WSHL. Longtime WSHL bench boss Jeremy Law has moved into the ACHA ranks with Missouri State University, while John Ambrefe, formerly of the Casper Coyotes, steps in for him.

Ambrefe will aim to help the Express reload their offense this season, as the top seven scorers and eight of the top ten from last season, age-out. Nikita Sokov, tenth on the Express in scoring, makes his return to Springfield this season as the lone returnee from the 2016-17 squad.

Fourteen players total depart the WSHL as they age-out from last season. Three have already debuted with professional clubs overseas in the Jansson brothers, Filip and Robin, and Kiril Zhovnir. Hunter Lovdokken moves onto NCAA Division III.

Springfield has loaded up on young, international scoring talent this season. For three straight seasons, Akos Szigeti has played with the Hungarian National Team in international competition, scoring nearly a half-point per game in his international career. Another name to watch for is Arkhip Ledenkov, who scored 33 points in 43 games with Team Belarus U18 last season.

Of the 20 new players joining Springfield, seven were born in 1998 and seven more in 1999 or later. WSHL veterans joining Ambrefe in his move from the Mountain Division include Kyle Cagnoni, Vegard Faret, and Michael Polito. With a young team, those veterans, plus Sokov, will be relied on heavily this season. 


Players moving on:

Hunter Lovdokken (NCAA Div. III)
Filip Jansson (Sweden Div. II)
Robin Jansson (Sweden Div. II)
Kiril Zhovnir (Ukraine)

Returning players:

Nikita Sokov (F) 1997

New additions:

Frank Kupka 1999
Bradyn Barone 1999
Ondrej Cerny (F) 1997
Dominik Sedlacek (D) 1998
Akos Szigeti (F) 1999
Arkhip Ledenkov (F) 1999
Oscar Andersson (F) 1998
Hunter Mason (F) 1998
Ian Herrmann (F) 1999
Vegard Faret (F) 1997
Kyle Cagnoni (F) 1997
Gustav Ekstrand (F) 1998
Marcel Hack (F) 1998
Michael Polito (F) 1997
Filimon Ledenkov (F) 1999
Bruno Ndossi (F) 1998
Josef Soderling (D) 1997
William Cawthorn (G) 1998
Brandon Kourt (G) 2001
Kristof Dobos (G) 1997

Story by Eric Rodgers, WSHL Midwest Division correspondent. You can find Eric on Twitter, @ericrsports.

Photo courtesy of Marc Mauno