WSHL WEEKLY NOTES 11.23.18 – PROVINCIAL 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.
COLD LAKE WINGS (2-10-1-1, 9 pts)
The Cold Lake Wings saw their losing streak reach nine games but picked up a point Friday when they took the West Sound Admirals to overtime before falling, 6-5.
After a six-game homestand that saw them welcome all four teams from the WSHL’s Northwest Division, the Wings and the rest of the Provincial Division teams return to divisional play this week. The Wings go on the road to play at Edson Friday and Hinton Saturday.
Ilias Okemow’s name has been littering the scoresheets in Cold Lake this season as he leads the team in both points (8-12-20) and penalty minutes (53). Okemow saw a five-game point streak snapped Saturday against Seattle. He produced 10 points (5-5-10) during the stretch of games – all against Northwest Division opponents.
The 18-year-old Spruce Grove native had 14 points (5-9-14) and 34 PIM in just 19 games with the Kalkaska Rhinos of the USPHL Premier last season.
16-year-old defenseman Jaydon Ryan collected three assists in his first four games patrolling the Cold Lake blue line. Ryan is making the transition from Midget AA.
EDSON AEROS (11-1-1-1, 36 pts)
The Edson Aeros showed they could handle themselves outside the Provincial Division by earning 14 of a possible 18 points against Northwest Division teams over the last two weeks. The Aeros posted a 4-1-1-0 mark on the homestand with their only loss coming at the hands of the Bellingham Blazers on Friday night.
Sometimes you have to just tip your hat to the hot goaltender and that’s what happened Saturday as Blazers goalie Edward Coffey stopped 39 of 40 shots. It was the first time that Edson was held to under five goals since their 5-4 OT loss at Hinton on October 20 – a stretch of eight games.
The Aeros have produced 106 goals on the season – one of four WSHL teams to surpass the century mark. Four players – Sebastian Heden (22), Emil Johansson (22), Kevin Lundin (15) and Nathan Gottselig (15) have accounted 70% of the goals. All four rank in the top 15 in the league in goals scored while Heden (22-26-48) leads the entire 23-team circuit in points.
Edson’s homestand, which will reach 11 games by the end of the month, continues this weekend as they host Cold Lake and Meadow Lake.
Aeros head coach Bernie Lynch said there are those in hockey circles who insist the Provincial Division is a weak link in its inaugural season, but thinks the team did what it could to change that impression.
“I don't agree but it is what it is,” said Lynch. “I think the swing through Canada gave the Americans teams and us a ‘look-see’ and gives everyone an idea of where they stand talent-wise.”
Lynch was impressed by Seattle and Bellingham, in particular.
“Seattle and Bellingham are good teams,” he said. “Solid teams with good puck movement.”
HINTON WILDCATS (7-5-1-1, 24 pts)
The Hinton Wildcats split their six games against the Northwest Division, winning three and losing three – all in regulation. They managed to stay within 12 points of the first-place Edson Aeros which is closer than it sounds with three-point regulation wins in the WSHL, but the Wildcats are going to have to win some head-to-head games against the Aeros if they are going to make up ground.
Meadow Lake and Cold Lake come through the Murray Rec Center this weekend, but the Wildcats will go into Edson on November 30 for the first game of a home-and-home series that presents them with an opportunity to close the gap.
Hinton dropped a pair of games to the Northwest Division leaders from Bellingham but, sandwiched by those two setbacks was a big 7-3 win over the Southern Oregon Spartans.
Five unanswered goals in the second period propelled the Wildcats to victory. The Spartans led, 2-0, after the first period but, midway through the second period the Wildcats found their scoring touch and scored four times in a span of 3:08.
Dmitri Buttazzoni scored three times for Hinton, and Noah Kwasny (2-3-5) had a five-point night, while Kyle Franceschini made 24 saves to backstop the Wildcats to victory.
MEADOW LAKE MUSTANGS (2-12-0-0, 6 pts)
The Meadow Lake Mustangs snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the West Sound Admirals on Saturday.
Meadow Lake scored three unanswered goals in the second period to take a 4-2 lead into the third, and held on for their second win of the season.
West Sound took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but goals by Justyn Noltcho-Clarke, Justin Hebert and Shane Hounsell sent the Mustangs into the third with a two-goal lead.
Noah Finlay stopped 14 of 15 shots in the final frame, and made 44 saves in the game, to backstop the Mustangs to the win.
Meadow Lake has taken some lumps early in their inaugural season but is a young team and, as such, should show improvement as the season wears on. There are on two 1998 birthdates on the roster currently. The rest of the team has junior eligibility remaining after this season.
--- Compiled by Scott Harrington for Harrington Sports Media