Western Division Showcase Preview
The 2017 Western States Shootout is coming up later this month, and the Western Division be featured in some of the showcase’s premier matchups.
The Bombers will face Colorado and Utah in the first two days, and then end their showcase with a matchup against the El Paso Rhinos on Thursday. This will be the first games out of the Western Division for Long Beach this season, and their only regular season games against the top teams in other divisions. It will be a good test for the Bombers who have been up-and-down recently, with a 5-3-2 record since the start of November.
Valencia, sitting in second place in the Western Division, will take on a trio of Mountain Division teams at the showcase. The Flyers will open with Utah and Colorado, before a matchup with the Ogden Mustangs to wrap up the first-half of their season. These out-of-division games will be the last chance for Valencia to face non-Western Division opponents until they close their season on the road in Bellingham.
Fresno will face Springfield, West Sound and Tahoe at the showcase. Their 12-9-0 record, as of December 4th, perfectly tells the story of their season so far. Fresno has shown flashes of greatness, such as an 11-3 win over Valencia and a 7-2 win over Long Beach, but the consistency isn’t there. They’ll be looking to find that consistency to end the first half, and hope to carry it over into January when the playoff-push gets underway.
Phoenix is scheduled against Dallas, Seattle and Bellingham at this year’s Western States Shootout. The Knights began the season 0-13-0, but turned it around in November to head into the showcase with an 8-17-2 record. Their showcase is a good opportunity to continue improving under first-year head coach Colten St. Clair.
The Avalanche are the lone Western Division team to not face three WSHL teams. Instead, they’ll face Springfield, Superior and the CPJHL Red All-Star Team. The game against CPJHL Red will be their opening game to the showcase, and the second game that the All-Star team will play that day, with the other coming early in the morning. Ontario, whose spot in the standings isn’t reflective of their play due to a low number of games played, also drew the Express, who sit third in the Mid-West Division, and Superior, who sits fourth in a very strong Mountain Division.
The Sabers have had a rough first half, with just one win as of December 4th. They’ll have a chance to pick up some more points at the showcase, however, after being scheduled against the other three last-place teams. They’ll face Wichita, Cheyenne and Southern Oregon at the Western States Shootout. It will be the last time during the regular season that the Sabers will face a team outside the Western Division.
The Western States Shootout schedule is based off how a team performs through the first few months of the season. Meaning, Long Beach will have a tougher schedule than the rest of the Western Division. To see how the schedules compare for each Western Division team, here are their opponents’ combined records, as of December 4th.
Long Beach – 58-10-3
Valencia – 55-14-4
Fresno – 37-32-6
Phoenix – 18-36-6
Ontario – 23-22-3
San Diego – 6-64-0
The three-day showcase will begin Tuesday, December 19 and wrap up on Thursday, December 21. The games will be split between City National Arena, which is the brand new Vegas Golden Knights’ practice facility, and SOBE Ice Arena. For more information on the showcase, including the full schedule, click here.