WSHL WEEKLY NOTES 01.24.18 – MID-WESTERN DIVISION
DALLAS SNIPERS (7-26-0, 14 pts)
Jaroslav Vasicek went 3-1-4 in three games against Oklahoma City this past weekend, serving as a lone bright spot for a Dallas team that has been competing, but falling short, against the better teams in the league.
The Snipers are now on a nine-game losing streak with first-place El Paso next on their dance card. While led by Vasicek (18-23-41), Alex Hladonik (14-26-40), and Sterling Cooper (18-29-47), Dallas has been getting career seasons from their leaders and the rest of their team. Every veteran player with more than ten points on the season has already surpassed their previous best numbers in the WSHL.
After El Paso, Dallas will take on Wichita in a six-game home-and-home series for an opportunity to build some space between them and the Mid-Western Division cellar.
If their trend of players having great personal seasons continues, maybe they steal a point or two before the end of the season.
EL PASO RHINOS (34-1-1, 69 pts)
El Paso had a bye week and had an opportunity to relax a bit with a comfortable ten-point lead on second-place OKC in the standings.
Even in the middle of one of the best seasons in the WSHL’s history, the Rhinos still found time to continue being one of the league’s leaders in community engagement.
Rhino players were seen playing street hockey with middle schoolers, and Ty Erramouspe and Kayden Pickles were judging a local spelling bee. Hopefully, the kids didn’t have to spell Ty’s last name.
And, to get a bit of exercise in their time off, the players visited a local ballet company to get some work in on those pirouettes.
The bye week also saw a slew of Rhino players celebrate their birthdays. Goaltender Kayden Pickles
(2.12/.895 in 3 wins), goalie Trevor Buckmeier, Erramouspe (21-15-36), and Head Coach Cory Herman all saw birthdays in the last week.
This weekend, the Rhinos begin a six-game homestand against Dallas, then host the Jr. Eagles the second weekend of February.
It’s the United Blood Services Series against Dallas this weekend where proceeds from special jersey auctions will benefit United Blood Services. Those who donate blood receive free tickets.
OKLAHOMA CITY BLAZERS (29-5-1, 59 pts)
Ivan Bondarenko played his 100th WSHL game this weekend, going 7-7-14 in three contests against the Dallas Snipers. His season totals are now a consistent 41-44-85.
Bondarenko’s career totals with the Blazers are now up to 89-105-194 in 101 career games, which puts him not far behind former Blazer great Kirill Romanov in several categories as the franchise’s all-time leader.
Bondarenko needs 13 goals, 11 assists, and 23 points to pass Romanov for as the Blazers’ all-time leader in those categories. Just five more goals will also give Bondarenko the most goals in a single season for the Oklahoma City franchise.
It’s been an impressive season for the Blazers star, as he’s leading the Mid-Western Division in goals and points. What’s more impressive is that the Russian forward has helped the Blazers to 262 goals on the year – second only to Ogden’s 278.
And, with 59 points in the standings, the Blazers have the second-most points in the league overall. That’s something that has gone unnoticed with OKC sharing the division with league-leading El Paso.
The Blazers have six straight games with division rivals Springfield beginning this weekend for a chance to maybe make a dent in El Paso’s ten-point lead. OKC is 2-0-0 against the Express so far this season and this upcoming six-game set will complete their season series.
SPRINGFIELD EXPRESS (20-12-6, 46 pts)
The Express rolled over Wichita last weekend, but still can’t seem to catch any ground in the standings. Springfield is now on a nine-game winning streak with a big six-game home set with Oklahoma City coming up next.
It was a scoring bonanza for many on the Express, with Vergard Faret going 5-7-12 against the Jr. Thunder, Filimon Ledenkov recording 1-9-11, Akos Szigeti going 5-3-8.
The Express have been playing well in 2018 – scoring 91 goals on their current winning streak – and their upcoming series with OKC will play huge for a team looking to roll into the playoffs on a high
WICHITA JR. THUNDER (3-30-0, 6 pts)
It was a contentious series between two division rivals as Friday and Saturday’s games saw the Jr. Thunder accumulate 111 PIMs and the Express roll out 51 PIMs for a two-team, two-game total of 162 PIMs on 52 penalties.
Wichita’s 865 PIMs in 33 games (26+ per game) is second only to Southern Oregon’s 1,044 in 35 games (30 per game).
Defenseman John Tucker’s 104 PIMs is good for sixth in the league.
The Jr. Thunder announced their College Fair Night for high school Juniors & Seniors to visit with reps from local colleges on Febrary 16th when they host the El Paso Rhinos.
--- Tyler Whidden for Harrington Sports Media