WSHL WEEKLY NOTES 11.22.18 – MOUNTAIN DIVISION
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.
CASPER BOBCATS (3-12-0-0, 9 pts)
The Casper Bobcats were not able to bring any points back from West Valley City last week, but they stayed with the Utah Outliers for long stretches.
Bobcats head coach John Ambrefe was able to bring some positives out of the series, which wrapped up a 12-game stretch where the Bobcats played Oklahoma City, Ogden and Utah three times each.
“We did a good job controlling the front of our net with good stick work and shot blocking,” Ambrefe said.
But, while the team did put in a solid effort against the Outliers, the series also highlighted what has been an issue for the Casper club all season – generating offense against elite competition.
In the nine games against the three contending teams mentioned above, the Bobcats managed to score just 14 goals. They were shut out twice and managed just a single goal in three other contests.
The scoring situation in Casper would be even more dire were it not for their first line. Daniel Silar, a Czech import acquired from the El Paso Rhinos, joined the team for the Utah series and formed a unit with Florian Seelman and Kevin Richter.
That line accounted for all five Casper goals in the series with Silar contributing four points (1-3-4).
Seelman scored all three goals for the Bobcats a 5-3 loss on Saturday.
“We need to find more offense and we will,” said Ambrefe.
CHEYENNE STAMPEDE (2-16-0-1, 7 pts)
The Cheyenne Stampede picked up their long-overdue first win of the season and enjoyed the feeling so much they went out and won again the next night.
Jeremy Velazquez and Bryan Watters scored two goals each on Friday, and Brendan Carew made 36 saves, as the Stampede picked up their first win of the season, 5-2, over the Wranglers in Steamboat.
Cheyenne built a 3-1 lead by the first intermission. Watters scored the only two goals of the second period to make it 5-1 Stampede and Carew had all of the support he would need.
Carew was on his game again on Saturday, stopping all 44 shots sent his way as the Stampede won, 5-0.
Ben Gloe scored three goals for Cheyenne and Watters added another pair.
The Wranglers blew a three-goal lead in the third period of Sunday’s game, but maintained their composure and won, 7-5, on an Adam Albert goal.
A portion of the money raised from the Stampede's Military Appreciation weekend series has already been awarded to the Cheyenne Community AIM Foundation. The AIM Foundation provides comradery and eases loneliness among local military and veterans, and hosted a Thanksgiving Military Appreciation Dinner at VFW Post 1881.
OGDEN MUSTANGS (19-1-0-1, 58 pts)
The Ogden Mustangs had their season-opening winning streak snapped at 18 games. As a matter of fact, they lost again two days later. But, despite only earning four of a possible nine points last weekend at Oklahoma City, it was the most important series of the year for the Mustangs.
Ogden went toe-to-toe with a fellow Thorne Cup contender in a series that could have easily gone either way. They showed that they could beat the Blazers but, at the same time, came away with some things that they can improve upon.
“OKC is big and they work very hard,” said Mustangs head coach Jake Laime. “Offensively, I thought we were the better team, but we didn’t capitalize. OKC worked hard and they were very opportunistic.
Laime wasn’t too concerned about the end of the winning streak.
“We were due for the loss and need to learn from bad habits,” said Laime. “I talk about doing this right...we didn’t. We cut corners and didn’t consistently compete in the dirty areas. Hopefully this is a humbling experience and we move forward with ammunition and a little bit of a fire in our belly. Going undefeated was never a goal – winning the right way, no matter who the team is has been my focus.”
Most of the Mustangs players left town for the holidays, but the team will be back on the ice Monday.
The Mustangs will not play again until December 7, giving them not just the week of Thanksgiving, but the entire next week as well – 18 days off in total before hosting the Cheyenne Stampede December 7-9.
STEAMBOAT WRANGLERS (3-14-1-0, 11 pts)
A 7-5 win on Sunday salvaged something from the Steamboat Wranglers’ three-game series against the Cheyenne Stampede last weekend. The Wranglers blew a three-goal lead, but maintained their composure and won, 7-5, on an Adam Albert goal.
The Wranglers took a three-goal lead into the third period, which they began on a power play on a fresh sheet of ice, but the Stampede killed the penalty, then scored three times in a span of 2:32 to tie the game, 5-5.
The Wranglers righted the ship, however, and at 8:40 a partially deflected shot by Adam Albert trickled into the Cheyenne net. The Stampede still had time to tie the game back up but Blake Reinert, who made 12 of his 27 saves in the third period, shook off the three rapid-fire goals and made the saves he needed to down the stretch.
The seven Wrangler goals came from six different skaters (Andrew Demorat scored twice). It was the latest example of Steamboat’s balanced scoring. Nine Wranglers have between 4-8 goals.
Steamboat embarks on a 13-game road trip – plus the showcase in Las Vegas – beginning with a trip to Wichita this weekend.
The Wranglers will not play at the Howelsen Ice Complex until January 11.
UTAH OUTLIERS (13-7-1-0, 41 pts)
Utah got back to their winning ways by sweeping the Casper Bobcats in West Valley City last week. Now, they will have some time off before heading to Long Beach for a pair of games November 29-30.
Despite having seven regulation losses, the Utah Outliers may arrive in Las Vegas for the Western States Showcase as the most battle-tested team in the league.
The Outliers will have played Ogden (4x), Oklahoma City (3x), El Paso (3x), Long Beach (2x) plus what should be a challenging schedule at the showcase – all before Christmas.
With inter-division series under their belts against two division leaders (plus the Rhinos and division rival Ogden) the first half of the regular season is a gauntlet for Paul Taylor’s squad.
Following the holiday break, the Outliers will play 15 of their final 20 regular season games against Casper, Cheyenne and Steamboat.
--- Compiled by Scott Harrington for Harrington Sports Media