WSHL WEEKLY NOTES 11.29.18 – 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)
Three games in a month – that’s all that the competitive hockey that the Casper Bobcats have played recently. Since a 6-2 loss to Ogden on October 28, Casper spent one weekend in West Valley City playing the Utah Outliers but, other than that, has just been practicing and resting.
The extra time to work on Xs and Os will hopefully pay dividends for the Casper special teams units. Their power play (12.7%) and penalty kill (72.9%) are both ranked 20th in the league.
The waiting finally ends for the Bobcats Friday night when they play the first of three games against the Jr. Thunder at Wichita Ice Center.
Norwegian Sniper Vegard Faret has transitioned to the NAIA program at Lindenwood University-Belleville in Illinois. While Faret never suited up for the Bobcats, WSHL fans in Casper will be familiar with him from his stint with the Casper Coyotes two seasons ago.
Faret moved to the Springfield Express last season where he scored 38 goals and caught the attention of college scouts. He has scored nine goals in his first 11 games as a freshman with the Lynx, leading the team in goals and points (14).
Lindenwood has had success finding players in the WSHL as Faret’s teammates include WSHL products Filip Subrt, Brody Surette, John Crusinberry and Dallen Neese and Cameron Seto.
CHEYENNE STAMPEDE (2-16-0-1, 7 pts)
Fresh off a 12-day break in their schedule, the Cheyenne Stampede host the Northern Colorado Eagles this evening at Cheyenne Ice and Events Center.
The Stampede were last in action November 16-18 in Steamboat, CO where they won two of three games against the Wranglers. Jeremy Velazquez and Bryan Watters scored two goals each, and Brendan Carew made 36 saves, as the Stampede picked up their first win of the season, 5-2, in the opening game.
Carew was on his game again the next night, stopping all 44 shots sent his way as the Stamps won again, 5-0. Ben Gloe scored three goals for Cheyenne and Watters added another pair.
“Carew has established himself as a ‘go-to’ guy for us thus far,” said Cheyenne head coach Neil Breen. “He works hard in practice, competing on every puck, and it showed in Steamboat.”
The 19-year-old Surry, BC native has faced more shots (436) than all but one other goaltender in the WSHL this season. He has been sharp, stopping 89.2% of them.
The Stampede were idle over the Thanksgiving Holiday, giving them time to reflect on winning their first two games after competing so well against elite competition and coming up empty far too often in the early stages of the season.
“I gave the boys a few days off for the holiday,” said Breen. “We took the time to recoup from injury and sickness. It was needed, but we were back on the ice Monday.”
Breen says his “top six” (top two forward lines) have been very productive, but the “bottom six” should not be overlooked when it comes to impacting the team’s chances of success.
“I think, more than anything, you need a group of guys who buy into every aspect of the game on both sides of the puck,” Breen said. “Production can mean a lot of things. As long as everyone sticks to the plan, you get point production from everyone, you get hits, and quality ‘Grade A’ scoring opportunities.”
Stampede general manager Mark Lantz talks expansion and community outreach with WSHL365:
Part 1 -> http://bit.ly/2E2AV44
Part 2 -> http://bit.ly/2Ausham
Cheyenne forward Hakan Salt talks differences from last year’s team and playing once again for Team Turkey -> http://bit.ly/2DLKjrS
OGDEN MUSTANGS (19-1-0-1, 58 pts)
The Ogden Mustangs are taking advantage of a two-week break in their schedule to rest up after their grueling three game series against the Oklahoma City Blazers November 16-18.
Ogden has just four more games to play before the Western States Showcase. The ‘Stangs will welcome the Cheyenne Stampede to The Ice Sheet for a three-game series December 7-9, and play a single game at Utah December 14 before heading Vegas.
Mustangs netminders Owen Zdunski and Artur Ogandzhanyan rank second and fifth in the WSHL in goals-against average amongst goalie with 360 or more minutes played.
Ogandzhanyan is 12-0-1 with a 2.08 GAA and .927 save percentage. Zdunski has not seen as much action, playing just six games, but has been even more impressive with a 1.33 GAA and .942 SV%.
Alexander Neverve (1.22) has only played 147 minutes and therefore does not qualify here.
The Mustangs have three players in the top 20 in league scoring: Rhett Rampinelli (17-28-45), Ammon Anderson (14-21-35) and Kerry Kruzel (11-19-30).
Thomas Pokorney, who piled up 195 penalty minutes in just 38 games wit the Mustangs in the 2013-14 season, must have learned to do more than fight during his time in the WSHL. He is playing his senior year with one of the top-ranked ACHA teams in the nation at Ohio University.
Following his season in Ogden, Pokorny spent the following season sitting in penalty boxes up and down the East Coast with the Bay State Breakers of the USPHL, then transitioned to the college game with the Bobcats. Just 13 games into the season, he has already set career highs in assists (7) and points (10).
In the most resent ACHA poll, OU was rated #4 in the nation.
STEAMBOAT WRANGLERS (4-16-1-0, 14 pts)
The Steamboat Wranglers were the only team in the Mountain Division to play any games during the week of Thanksgiving, playing an exciting three-game series against the Jr. Thunder in Wichita.
Steamboat took a 2-0 first-period lead Friday, but the Jr. Thunder recovered and won on home ice, 6-3, behind a four-goal performance by Quinn O’Reilly. Jack Rousseau and Jeremy Landers, Jr. scored for the Wranglers and netminder Chayo Goodwin made 33 saves.
Jordan Belly stopped 36 of 37 shots to backstop the Wranglers to a 5-1 win over Wichita on Saturday. Steamboat’s five goals came from five different skaters, including Rousseau, who tallied the game-winner at 4:46 of the second period.
Sunday’s rubber match was a fittingly-tight contest. Steamboat held a 5-3 lead midway through the third period, but the Jr. Thunder rallied to win in dramatic fashion, 6-5.
Rousseau scored two more goals and Blake Reinert made 23 saves for the Wranglers.
The Wranglers, who returned to Steamboat with three points from their trip to Wichita, sit in the middle of the five-team Mountain Division two months into their first season in the WSHL.
The Wranglers will play a single game this week – against the Northern Colorado Eagles at the Greely Ice Haus Saturday night. Then they’ll close out their pre-showcase schedule by visiting the two teams behind them in the division standings – Casper and Cheyenne – for three games each.
Steamboat actually dropped two of three games against the Stampede two weeks ago, but has yet to play the Bobcats. The head-to-head meetings give the Wranglers a chance to solidify their position in the standings before heading to Vegas. If they don’t take care of business, and let the Bobcats and Stampede gain on them, it will make for a very interesting second half in the middle/bottom of the Mountain Division standings.
Defenseman Avery Albert, 20, is more than halfway to his WSHL career high of 26 points (7-19-26) set with the Colorado Evolution in 2015-16. Albert is second on the team with 15 points (5-10-15) and leads the club in assists (10) and penalty minutes (65).
UTAH OUTLIERS (13-7-1-0, 41 pts)
The Outliers take a road trip to California this week, playing the Western Division-leading Long Beach Bombers Thursday and Friday, then visiting the Avalanche in Ontario on Saturday before heading back to Utah.
Head coach Paul Taylor’s team will try to break a trend that they have established over the first two months of the season – struggling against elite teams but cleaning up against teams in the bottom half of the standings.
- (5 points) against Ogden, Oklahoma City and El Paso
12-0-0-0 (36 points) against Steamboat, Cheyenne and Casper
Continuing as they have will allow the Outliers to finish comfortably in second place in the Mountain Division this year but, if they have aspirations of claiming a division playoff title, or making a run at the Thorne Cup, they have to start winning games against the upper-echelon teams in the WSHL and the two games at Long Beach will be a good test…
Grand Rapids, MI native Brandon Krumpschmid, who joined the Outliers last year after playing the previous two seasons in the NAHL, moved directly from West Valley City to the NCAA Division III program at Trine University this season.
The 20-year-old Austrian scored his first collegiate goal in a 5-1 win over Lawrence University on November 3.
--- Compiled by Scott Harrington for Harrington Sports Media