by Scott Harrington

 WSHL standings are expressed W-L-OTW-OTL (“W” and “L” represent regulation wins and losses; shootouts are included in overtime results).  Three points are awarded for a regulation win, two for an overtime win and one for an overtime loss.

 COLD LAKE WINGS (3-29-1-2, 13 pts)


 Scoring nine goals over two games and picking up a point in the standings was a nice sign for a Cold Lake team that had only scored more than two goals in a game twice since Christmas.

The Wings will try to build on that momentum as they welcome Hinton and Edson to Imperial Oil Place this weekend.

At the trade deadline Cold Lake sent 17-goal scorer Nigel Cardinal was to the WSHL’s busiest team, the Southern Oregon Spartans.

The Wings did add some goaltending depth.  Former Seattle Ravens (USPHL) goaltender Vinay Pathak, 20, played just two games for San Diego before being flipped to the Wings.  Also, Defenseman Eric Powley was brought in from the Vegreville Rangers (NEAJBHL) where he had six points (2-4-6) and 30 penalty minutes in 32 games this season.

While many of their peers around the league were filling up the transaction wire the Wings, for the most part, had already made their biggest moves well in advance of the trade freeze.

Forwards Ryoto Inukai and Trey Beck were brought on board a month ago and forward Dorian Hall and goaltender Max Gaudet were shipped to Hinton.

EDSON AEROS (26-6-1-1, 81 pts)


 Despite a healthy lead in the Provincial Division of the WSHL, the Edson Aeros were active prior to the deadline as they tried to fortify their roster for what they hope will be a run to the Thorne Cup tournament in Ogden, UT in their inaugural season.

Defenseman Brian Bailer and veteran WSHL goaltender Bronson Sudberry were significant additions.

Bailer is a 6’5”, 190-pound blue liner who spent the first half of the season playing Junior A for the Canmore Eagles (AJHL).  He has eight points (1-7-8) in nine games since joining the Aeros.

Sudberry, acquired from the Wichita Jr. Thunder, is in his third season playing in the WSHL.  He spent the previous two with the Superior RouighRiders.  Sudberry faced a lot of rubber with the Jr. Thunder, seeing 717 shots in 860 minutes between the pipes (roughly 50 shots per 60 minutes).

Bailer and Sudberry join the likes of forward Ryley Bast (Utah) and Samuel Pollack (Northern Colorado) and defensemen William Andersson (Northern Colorado) and Jarius Moar (Smith Falls Settlers CPJHL) who were previous additions to the roster after the showcase.

Edson head coach Bernie Lynch hopes these new players will have time between now and the end of the regular season to integrate themselves into the lineup and have the Aeros flying high when the puck drops for the playoffs.

The Provincial Division playoff champion will join the top teams from the WSHL’s other four divisions as well as the host Ogden Mustangs at the six-team championship tournament April 9-13 in Ogden.

The Thorne Cup is a similar format to the Memorial Cup with teams playing three preliminary round games to qualify for the single-elimination semifinals and final.

HINTON WILDCATS (19-13-1-1, 60 pts)


Despite Edson’s convincing lead in the division, the second-place Hinton Wildcats were not shy or conservative at the trade deadline.

Hinton general manager and head coach Geoff Walker brought in seven players and moved out two prior to the February 13 roster freeze. 

Forwards Trey Beck and Ryoto Inukai were dealt to Cold Lake while forwards Emilio Ficaccio (Long Beach), Dorian Hall (Cold Lake), Max Sturko (Minnesota Iron Rangers, SIJHL) and Dalton Eagle Bear (Steamboat), goaltenders Max Gaudet (Cold Lake) and Avery Heath (Bellingham) and defensemen Deva Shahi (Bellignham) were all added to the Hinton roster since the New Year.

As the presumptive starting goaltender in the post-season Gaudet, a 20-year-old goalie, has the potential to be one of the biggest difference-makers added to the mix.  He has made 4 or more saves in three of his four complete games in the Wildcats crease.

If Gaudet can keep pucks out of the Hinton net, the Wildcats have the potential to do some damage at the other end with three 20-goal scorers (Dimitri Buttazzoni 27, Brandan Auger 26 and Jakob Arseneault 21) and 43 power play goals on the year (7th in the WSHL).

MEADOW LAKE MUSTANGS (9-23-1-0, 29 pts)



When Shane Hounsell and Andrew Hawes joined the team six week into the season they had a huge impact.  Hounsell has scored 21 goals in 20 games, Hawes 16 in 14.

The Meadow Lake Mustangs are hoping to double-down on that positive impact by bringing in a handful more players at the deadline.

Defenseman Zackery Kozinski paid immediate dividends, scoring in both of his first two games with the Mustangs – including a hat trick (and an assist) in the second contest.  Kozinski, a 1999 birthdate, was playing his third season of senior hockey for the St. Walburg Eagles in the SaskAlta Senior Hockey League (SASHL).

2000-born forward Denni Kantel has been brought in from the Cold Lake Ice (NEAJBHL) where he had scored 10 goals and added 10 assists in 30 games this season.

The Mustangs were able to bolster their lineup without making any immediate subtractions.

Meadow Lake is coming from too far back – 31 points behind second-place Hinton – but it will be interesting to see how the Mustangs and Wildcats fair against each other in their remaining games.

The two teams are on a collision course for the Provincial Division Semifinals in what could be a very entertaining best-o-f-three series to determine who (minus a monumental upset) gets to go up against Edson for a shot at a division championship and a berth at the Thorne Cup.

The Mustangs have defeated the Wildcats in six straight head-to-head meetings including a pair last weekend, but Meadow Lake’s win on Saturday came in overtime.

--- Compiled by Scott Harrington for Harrington Sports Media