WSHL WEEKEND WRAP-UP; January 31-February 3, 2019

by Scott Harrington

Two games were postponed due to extreme weather in Western Canada.  Meadow Lake at Edson Friday and Meadow Lake at Hinton Saturday.  Both games will be rescheduled (dates TBD).

Ontario Avalanche @ Long Beach Bombers

The Long Beach Bombers stayed within a point of Western Division leader Fresno by winning a pair of games against the Ontario Avalanche.  The Avalanche, who have had trouble scoring goals lately, generated 79 shots on goal over 120 minutes of hockey.  That should be a positive for them to take away from this series despite not picking up any points.

Long Beach 10, Ontario 4 – The Ontario Avalanche started putting pucks in the next, but the Long Beach Bombers found the net earlier and more often in a 10-4 win over the Avs Thursday night.

Ontario was shut out in three straight games in El Past a week earlier so first-period goals from Tanner Turcotte and Liam Massie were a welcome sight, but the Avs were already in a four-goal hole at that point.

Nine different Bombers lit the lamp, including Tomas Urbanec, who had a pair.  Gennady Malashenko and Eric Lovstrand each had a goal and three assists for Long Beach.

The Avalanche generated 41 shots on goal with Domenic Bosetti making 37 saves for the Bombers.

Newly-acquired Jan Sokolik scored a pair of goals for Ontario.

Long Beach 11, Ontario 2 – Erik Sillerstrom notched a hat trick Friday and Will Daigneault and Malcom Bohan scored two goals each as the Bombers pulled away with six goals in the second period to win, 11-2.

Five different Bombers skaters scored in a span of 13:34 in the second period to put the game out of reach.

The Avalanche again generated plenty of scoring opportunities, but Bosetti stopped 36 of 38 shots.  Charles Riordan and Logan Corrigan scored for Ontario.

San Diego Sabers @ Fresno Monsters

Fresno stayed one point ahead of Long Beach at the top of the Western Division by winning a pair of games over the third-place San Diego Sabers.

Fresno 4, San Diego 1 – Stanislav Daneav scored twice in the first period for Fresno to spark the Monsters to a 4-1 win over the visiting San Diego Sabers at Gateway Ice Center Friday night.

Fresno goalie Tyler Mathews made 32 saves on 33 shots, turning aside 17 shots without allowing a goal in the second period alone.

Jakub Vesely put the Sabers in the board four minutes into the third period, but that would be all the scoring for San Diego.

Marshall McKillop entered the San Diego crease to start the second period, and kicked out 29 of 30 shots over the final two frames to stop the bleeding, but the Sabers were unable to mount a comeback.

Fresno 3, San Diego 2 – Danaev’s goal with 4:47 left in the third period gave the Monsters a 3-1 lead and it stood up as the game-winner after Jakub Vesely’s extra-attacker goal got the Sabers back within a goal in the final minute of Saturday’s contest.

The Sabers out-shot the Monsters, 21-7, in the first period, but Max Karlenzig (45 saves) allowed only Jordan Ribbink’s goal to het past him.

Jarred Hicks and Cole Beckman scored the other Fresno goals and McKillop made 33 saves for the Sabers but took the loss.

Ogden Mustangs @ Utah Outliers

If the two games between the Utah Outliers and Ogden Mustangs at Accord Ice Center is any indication of what is in store should the two teams meet up in the Mountain Division Final next month then there is one hell of a series in store.  Of course, the rest of the division will have something to say about it before the two rivals meet up in a division final, but they will play two more regular season games when they meet in a home-and-home series later in the month.  This series ended up in a split with a total of eight goals scored over six full periods of hockey plus one overtime frame.  Great stuff.  And the Outliers showed that they could beat the league’s top team, Ogden, handing them just their third loss of the campaign.

Utah 3, Ogden 2 (SO) – Ogden led, 2-0, with 11:29 to go in the third period, but Utah rallied to tie, then won the game, 3-2, in a shootout.

Goals by Nicholas Ness and Jan Dvorak 2:02 apart knotted the score at 2-2. 

Off a faceoff in the Ogden end, a Mustangs defender tried to loft the puck up and out of the zone, but Ness was able to pull it out of the air with his glove and drop it to his stick.  His wrist shot from between the circles hit Artur Ogandzhanyan’s glove, but he did not trap it and it fell to the ice behind him and trickled over the line.

Two minutes later, Ness’s wrist shot from a severe angle in the left circle was again gloved by Ogandzhanyan but fell to the ice in front of the Mustangs net and Dvorak got his stick on it first for an ugly goal but a big one, tying the game 2-2 with 7:49 left in regulation.

Utah out-shot Ogden in every period including the overtime.  The Outliers out-shot the Mustangs, 4-0, in the sudden-death period.

In the shootout, Utah’s Zach Dornseifer converted in the first round, skating in and sniping a snap shot up over Ogandzhanyan’s glove and just under the bar.

Dornseifer was the only shooter to be successful.  Oscar Wahlgren (25 saves) denied all five Mustangs shooters including Matthew Thielemann, the fifth and final shooter who needed to score to extend the shootout.  He tried to go up over Wahlgren’s blocker but missed wide and the Outliers had their biggest win of the season.

Ogden 3, Utah 0 – Ogandzhanyan posted a 35-save shutout on Saturday – making 17 shots in the first period alone as the Outliers came out flying – and the Mustangs scored all of their goals in the second period of a 3-0 win.

Ian Currie broke the ice at the 5:58 mark of the second period, finally solving Utah netminder Charles-Olivier Lepage, who had 32 saves making his WSHL debut against the league’s top team.

Lepage covered the puck in a scramble in front of his net, setting up a faceoff in the circle to his left. 

Bobby McKinley won the draw cleanly to Oliver Wieringa and his high shot hit Lepage up in the shoulder, the puck dropping to the ice to his right where Currie pounced on it and deposited it in the open net.

Ammon Anderson and Bryson Bartell added goals 1:18 apart later in the period and that was all Ogandzhanyan needed.

Ogden out-shot Utah, 9-7, in a scoreless third period.

Oklahoma City Blazers @ Wichita Jr. Thunder

The Oklahoma City Blazers moved to within eight points of the El Paso Rhinos – with four games in hand – by sweeping the Wichita Jr. Thunder in three games over the weekend.

Oklahoma City Blazers 10, Wichita 2 – Jordan Sgro notched a hat trick and Henrik Overvall (2-2-4) and Vitalii Mikhailov (2-1-3) each scored a pair of goals as Oklahoma City put the Jr. Thunder away, 10-2, in Wichita Friday night.

Newly-acquired Jeremy Van Dyke picked up three assists and Xavier Garneau turned aside 21 of 23 shots for the Blazers.

The Wichita goals were scored by Erik Back and Jonathan Bullock.

Oklahoma City 7, Wichita 2 – The Blazers scored five times in the second period on Saturday to pull away in a 7-2 win.  Vitalii Mikhailov scored twice early in the period and OKC struck three times in a span of 4:16 later in the frame.

Elis Ericson made 51 of his 63 saves over the final two periods as the Blazers cranked up their offensive attack.

The Jr. Thunder generated plenty of scoring chances themselves, but Bobby Cloutier (31 saves) recovered from allowing two first-period goals to stop all 24 shots sent his way over the final 40 minutes.

Wichita led, 2-0, in the game.  Marcus Ohlsson-Ornelius scored just :36 after the opening puck drop and Thomas Srsha made it 2-0 at the 17:03 mark.

Nathan Inniss got a big goal for OKC with exactly two minutes left in the period, taking some of the wind out of the Jr. Thunder’s sails before the intermission.

Oklahoma City 7, Wichita 4 – Oklahoma City had a 4-0 lead before Wichita got on the board in Sunday’s series finale.  The Jr. Thunder made a push, scoring three times in the third period, but came up short, 7-4.

Mikhailov (2-2-4) again led the charge for the Blazers with newly-acquired Jeremy Van Dyke adding a pair of goals of his own.

Wichita’s Ericson made 55 saves in the game, stopping 21 pucks in each of the first two periods.

Seattle Totems @ Southern Oregon Spartans

To some it may seem like in division races that have become more spaced out over the course of the season that late regular season games don’t mean a lot.  But don’t underestimate the importance of these games – especially when a team can prove to themselves that they can play with – and defeat – a team that they might run into in the Thorne Cup payoffs.  That was exactly what happened for the Southern Oregon Spartans in this two-game split with the Seattle Totems.

Seattle 4, Southern Oregon 1 – Southern Oregon led, 1-0, at the end of the first period on Friday but Seattle scored two goals early in the second period to take the lead and the Totems went on to a 4-1 win over the Spartans.

Kayden Pickles stopped all 16 shots he faced in the first period as the Spartans took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Michele Vignoli Sanin. 

But the Totems beat Pickles three times in the middle period to take a 3-1 lead and added an insurance goal in the third period for a 4-1 win.

Alec Johnson, :39 into the second period, and Nicholas Snyder at 1:16, gave Seattle a lead that they would not surrender.

Rustam Kulizade continued his strong play since joining the Totems late in January.  He allowed just one of 27 shots to get past him, stopping all 18 shots he faced over the final two periods.

Southern Oregon 7, Seattle 2 – Four goals in a span of 7:04 in the third period allowed the Spartans to pull away for a 7-2 win on Saturday.  It was an important win that proves that they can beat a potential playoff opponent.

Logan Emery (2-3-5) figured in five of the seven Spartans goals and Eric Vanderhoff (2-1-3) scored the first two goals of the game for Southern Oregon.

Spartans goalie Gabriel Lessard (29 saves) repelled all 13 Seattle shots in the first period as Southern Oregon took the lead.

Seattle starting goaltender Wyatt Monear was lifted in the third period but not before making 30 saves.

Valencia Flyers @ West Sound Admirals

Valencia 12, West Sound 2 – Friday’s game in Bremerton, WA was tied, 1-1, after the first period, but the Valencia Flyers scored 11 goals over the final 40 minutes for a 12-2 win over the West Sound Admirals.

Tristan Warr and Dominik Knap each had hat tricks for Valencia.  Knap added four assists for a seven-point game.  Danylo Moroz (1-4-5) also had a big night for the Flyers and Mack Willy stopped 29 of 31 shots.

Artem Popov and Oliwer Stensson had the goals for the Admirals.

West Sound 9, Valencia 6 – Saturday’s game could not have gone much more differently than Friday’s.  West Sound built a four-goal lead in the first period, saw it shrink to a single goal in the second, then finished strong with five more goals in the third for a 9-6 win.

West Sound’s Stensson (2-3-5) and Harmen Vining (1-4-5) had a game-high five points each and Artem Popov (2-1-3) added a pair of goals.

Josh Breznik made 56 saves for the Admirals – 42 of them through the first two periods.

Danylo Moroz (2-2-4) figured in four of the six Valencia goals.

Northern Colorado Eagles @ Cheyenne Stampede

Northern Colorado 4, Cheyenne 3 – Cheyenne’s Bryan Watters scored with 6:04 left in the third period to tie Friday’s game, 3-3, but the Eagles won it on Nikita Sheberov’s goal with 1:01 to go in regulation.

There was a faceoff in the right circle in the Cheyenne zone and Jacob Elik won the draw cleanly to Sheberov who’s shot was blocked, but Elik nudged it back to him and his second shot was good for the game-winning goal.

Michael Petrotto assisted on three of the four Northern Colorado goals – including the game-winner.

Brendan Carew, the WSHL’s leader in saves this season, continued his fine season, making 56 saves.  Carew stopped all 25 of 25 shots in the second period, keeping the game tied, and the two teams went into the final period even at 1-1.

Kody Kifer scored twice for the Stampede.

El Paso Rhinos @ Dallas Snipers

The El Paso Rhinos won the first two games of their series in Dallas, but the Snipers kept chipping away and were rewarded with a win in Sunday’s series finale.  A big confidence boost for the team and three important points in the Mid-Western Division race.

El Paso 6, Dallas 3 – Karolis Krasilnikovas scored with 4:25 left in the third period to get the Dallas Snipers within a goal at 4-3, but the El Paso Rhinos scored two late goals to put away a 6-3 win on Friday.

The Snipers gave the Rhinos a run for their money, rallying from a three-goal second period deficit.  El Paso’s Dillon Manchester scored the only two goals of the first period, and John Erramousepe made it 3-0 when he scored his first of two goals at 3:43 of the second period, but the Snipers responded with goals from Eric Eaton and Jasa Jenko before the end of the period.

Snipers goalie Alexander Aleshkin stopped 21 of 22 shots in the second period and finished the game with 51 saves.

Adam Stalzer collected three assists for the Rhinos.

El Paso 8, Dallas 1 – Dallas kept making the Rhinos work on Saturday.  The game was tied 1-1 after 39:51 of hockey, and El Paso had just a 2-1 lead at the second intermission, before exploding for six goals in the third period of an 8-1 win.

El Paso’s eight goals came from eight different skaters and Nils Schneider (20 saves) stymied the Snipers when they did get their chances.

Kyle Plantz stopped 39 of 41 shots through two periods – making 27 saves in the second period alone – but the dam finally burst on him and the Snipers in the third period.

Zach Thompson’s goal with :08 left in the second period put the Rhinos up 2-1 and stood up as the game-winner.  Martin Dubsky had a goal and three assists.

Dallas 7, El Paso 5 – The Snipers kept giving the Rhinos everything they had and it finally paid off on Sunday.  Gasper Konc scored two third-period goals for Dallas in their 7-5 win.

Danny Jamison was between the pipes for Dallas and he made 32 of his 40 saves in the first two periods, allowing the Snipers to build a lead.

The Snipers seemed to gain strength as the game wore on.  Hunter Best and Karolis Krasilnikovas matched Konc’s two-goal output for Dallas and Jasa Jenko dished out three assists.

Stalzer scored to get El Paso with a goal with 12:02 to go in the game and the Rhinos put the pressure on looking for the tying goal.

With the Rhinos applying pressure as they tried for the tying goal late in the game, Konc helped work the puck out of the Dallas end under intense pressure from the El Paso forecheck.

As he skated through the neutral zone down the right side of the ice, the Rhinos appeared to be in a good defensive posture but, skating hard down the right wing on a two-on-four, Konc was able to cut to the net on a sharp angle and somehow slip the puck into the net for a crucial insurance goal, securing the Snipers’ biggest win of the season.

Cold Lake Wings @ Hinton Wildcats

Hinton 5, Cold Lake 1 – Hinton scored three times in the first period Friday night and held on for a 5-1 win over the visiting Cold Lake Wings.

The Wildcats built a 3-0 lead in the first period and Sam Gendron stopped 15 of 16 shots to make it stand up.

Noah Kwasny scored two goals – including the game-winner – for the Wildcats.

Casper Bobcats @ Northern Colorado Eagles

The Northern Colorado Eagles won a pair of home games to keep themselves in the thick of the Mid-Western Division race while, at the same time, preventing the Casper Bobcats from creating any more separation from the two teams chasing them in the Mountain Division.

Northern Colorado 7, Casper 3 – The Casper Bobcats scored two quick goals midway through the second period to get within a goal at 4-3, but North Colorado’s Nikita Sheberov scored the last three goals of the game to secure a 7-3 win for the Eagles Saturday night.

With Northern Colorado up 4-3 late in the second period, Sheberov accepted a pass in the neutral zone as the streaked down the left side of the ice.  He went hard to the net, getting position on a Casper defender, and attempted to backhand a pass into the slot.  The puck hit the stick of a Bobcat and trickled just inside the far past to give the Eagles a two-goal lead and some breathing room going into the third period.

Eight minutes into the third period Sheberov struck again.  Again using his speed, he came down the left side, cut to the middle inside the Casper blue line, moved into a better shooting position and let go a 35-foot wrist shot that found the net.

Casper’s Henry Deenee made 29 of his 40 saves over the final two periods.  Marshall Murphy made 32 saves for the Eagles.

Cameron Braun (2-1-3) scored a pair of goals for Northern Colorado while Denis Matic and Kevin Richter each had a goal and an assist for Casper.

Northern Colorado 8, Casper 1 – Sheberov scored two more goals and Murphy stopped 28 of 29 shots as the Eagles won again, 8-1, on Sunday.

Danial Silat finally got the Eagles on the board at the 8:36 mark of the third period, but the Bobcats were in too big a hole at that point.

Kayne Pasquet made 30 saves for the Bobcats before giving way to Ludwig Norquist (17 saves) at the start of the third period.

Cold Lake Wings @ Edson Aeros

Edson 10, Cold Lake 5 – Edson scored four goals in each of the first two periods and the Aeros were in control pretty much the whole way in a 10-5 win over the visiting Cold Lake Wings Saturday night.

Emil Johansson (3-2-5) led the way with a hat trick with Sebastian Lind (5 assists) and Sebastian Heden (1-3-4) right behind.  Coleman Mueller and Olle Berndtsson each had two goals and an assist for the Aeros.

Connor Frith and Dylan Tonks each had a pair of goals for the Wings.

Steamboat Wranglers @ Cheyenne Stampede

The Cheyenne Stampede posted two huge comeback wins in front of their home fans over the team they are chasing in the Mountain Division.  With the two wins they closed to within seven points of the Steamboat Wranglers.  If they catch them, this series will be the turning point.  If they don’t, they have at least proven that they can beat the team they may end up facing in the first round of the playoffs. 

Cheyenne 6, Steamboat 3 – Steamboat led, 3-2, after two periods, but the Cheyenne Stampede thrilled their fans with four goals in a span of 9:09 in the third period for a 6-3 comeback win.  The Wranglers had leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, but Cheyenne kept coming back each time. 

Stampede leading scorer Bryan Watters figured in five of the six Cheyenne goals, scoring a pair and assisting on three more.  Logan Syrup had a goal and three assists and Kody Kifer had a pair of goals for the Stamps.

Steamboat out-shot Cheyenne, 17-11, in a scoreless first period but Brendan Carew (43 saves) kept the Stampede in the game.  Carew also stopped all 16 shots in the third period as the Wranglers kept the pressure on.

Ian Young made 25 of his 30 saves through the first two periods for Steamboat.

Cheyenne 4, Steamboat 3 – Cheyenne trailed, 3-2, with 1:46 left in Sunday’s game, but scored twice to post a dramatic 4-3 regulation win, snatching three huge points away from the Wranglers

Steamboat had leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 but the Stampede got the next goal each time, then took their first lead of the game with 1:08 remaining in regulation time.

With just under two minutes to go and the Wranglers protecting a 3-2 lead, a Cheyenne rush was broken up at the Steamboat blue line and the puck cleared into the neutral zone.  On the regroup, Hakan Salt sidestepped a Wranglers player, then zipped a cross-ice pass to Bryan Watters just outside the blue line at the left wing.  Watters came into the zone with speed, danced around a Steamboat defenseman putting the puck between his skates, then went upstairs with a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle to tie the game.

With the Stampede crowd whipped up, and Steamboat back on their heels, Salt made an end-to-end rush.  He skated out of the Cheyenne zone, split a pair of forecheckers just outside the Stampede blue line, then continued on into the Steamboat end.  He found a soft spot in the defense inside the Wranglers blue line and, using a defenseman as a screen, sent a 35-foot wrist shot that found the back of the net and gave the Stampede a thrilling victory.

Winning the game in regulation instead of overtime gave them an additional point in the ever-tightening Mountain Division race.

Watters and Salt each had two goals in the game and Steamboat’s Jordan Belley made one more save (47) than Cheyenne’s Spencer Northway (46) who was making his WSHL debut.

--- Compiled by Scott Harrington for Harrington Sports Media