WSHL WEEKLY NOTES 10.10.17 – MID-WEST DIVISION
DALLAS SNIPERS (0-3-0, 0 pts)
The Dallas Snipers opened their season hosting El Paso for a three-game set in which they were swept by the Rhinos.
An Alex Hladonik goal midway through the second period Saturday, with Michal Pistek and Simon Birkehorn assisting, was the Snipers’ first goal of the year.
Coach Aaron Davis has said before that his young team will need some adjustment, and the team’s first game showed it. The Rhinos scored two in the opening frame, and outshot the Snipers 51-16 in Friday’s game.
Manny Legace made 46 saves on Friday, and Rafael Goncalves combined with Evan Williams to make 47 saves in Saturday’s 9-1 loss. Sunday saw Williams and Legace combine for 54 saves as Dallas was outshot 171-74 through three games, and outscored 11-1 in first periods.
Visiting the Mountain Division-leading Superior RoughRiders next week means it’s going to be a tough slog for the Snipers at the beginning of the season, but with slow-starting Wichita up after that, there’s still time for the young guns in Dallas to pull it together.
EL PASO RHINOS (3-0-0, 6 pts)
Coach Cory Herman’s El Paso Rhinos got off to a fast start in their season premier against Dallas, outscoring the Snipers 24-3 in the three-game sweep.
We talked last week about the Rhino players itching to get started, with Herman saying, “They are getting really excited to start the season. Practice is getting old to say the least.”
After outscoring Dallas 11-1 in the first periods of the three games, it’s safe to say Herman’s El Paso squad was ready to go.
Chaseton Sare, who scored 50-58-108 in 50 games last year, went 3-6-9 to lead the team against the Snipers over the weekend.
Czech goaltender Filip Krasanovsky earned the shutout Friday, and made 21 saves in Saturday’s 9-1 victory, opening his North American hockey career with 92 straight minutes without allowing a goal.
Canadian rookie Kayne Pasquet got the call on Sunday, making 26 saves in the 10-2 win.
Nine different players scored in the Saturday’s 9-1 win, and 21 skaters scored a point in the three-game series.
While many of the team’s players are new to the league, coach Herman knows there’s still work to do, even after the early success thus far.
“(The new guys) are transitioning well,” Herman said. “We have a lot of work to do and last weekend definitely exposed us to those areas we need work on.”
OKLAHOMA CITY BLAZERS (3-0-0, 6 pts)
After a complete drubbing of Wichita two weeks ago, the Oklahoma City Blazers are still waiting for their next series which is two weeks away yet.
But coach Gary Gill won’t let his team get cold in the layoff.
“Right now we are just focused on us getting better everyday,” Gill said. “It’s a long break, but we know the rest of the league is playing, and when its time to play again we have to be ready.”
Veterans Ivan Bondarenko (4-10-14) and Josh Chamberlain (6-6-12) started strong against Wichita, 13 different Blazers scored against the Thunder, but now it’s a wait-and-see game until their next game coming against the Mountain Division’s Superior RoughRiders on October 20 in OKC.
“We have had a few controlled scrimmaged with local college teams so we aren't just facing ourselves every practice,” Gill said of the team’s prep.
Gill also said the team has been busy with team-building activities including team dinners and playing paint ball.
No word on which of his players Gill takes aim at while on the paint ball course.
For more information, including the team’s make-up games in the wake of Tulsa’s dormancy this season, check out the OKC website at OKCityHockey.com. Also, check out their new jerseys, or their Twitter at @OKCBlazersWSHL.
SPRINGFIELD EXPRESS (3-0-0, 6 pts)
Coming into the season, Massachusetts native Kyle Cagnoni had 28 points (13-15) in parts of two seasons playing with OKC and Superior. He now has 12 points (5-7) in his first three games with Springfield.
After crushing Wichita in their first three games, the Express will host Colorado in what is sure to be a test against one of the league’s best teams.
Twenty one Springfield skaters scored against Wichita, and they’re all going to be needed against the Eagles.
Good news for Express alum Gael Lubwele, who lead the team with a 35-41-76 line last season. The Montreal-native scored a goal and an assist in his first two games with Portage College in Alberta.
WICHITA JR. THUNDER (1-8-0, 2 pts)
After being the Mid-Western Division’s whipping post for the first two series of their season, the Wichita Jr. Thunder finally got their first win, coming in the middle game of a three-game series against the Mountain Division’s Cheyenne Stampede.
Tyler Inlow, Quinn O’Reilly, and Carson Weingartner each scored a goal and an assist in Friday’s 7-3 loss, and goalie Connor Green made 29 saves.
Inlow scored two giant third-period goals to lead the Thunder to their first win since last season’s Thorne Cup championship.
Wichita jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the first period, only to allow three goals in the second, including two scored seven seconds apart.
But the three-goal third period – including two powerplay goals – became the difference in the 5-3 victory.
Unfortunately, the momentum ended after the win, with Cheyenne winning 8-1 on Sunday, with the Stamps scoring six unanswered goals.
After the teams first nine games, Tyler Alverson leads the team with a 2-4-6 line in his first seven WSHL games.
For more information, including pictures from their championship run last season, visit the Jr. Thunder at WichitaJuniorThunder.com.
--- Tyler Whidden for Harrington Sports Media