WSHL WEEKLY NOTES 11.30.18 – PROVINCIAL DIVISION
COLD LAKE WINGS (2-12-1-1, 9 pts)
The Cold Lake Wings and Meadow Lake Mustangs enter their home-and-home series this weekend tied for third place in the Provincial Division of the WSHL.
The Wings have not played the Mustangs during their current 10-game losing streak, however, and split their only two games against their travel partners back on October 19-20. The two teams will play five more home-and-home sets throughout the remainder of the season.
While they have not been winning as of late, Cold Lake has been putting the puck in the net at a decent clip. The Wings have scored 16 goals in their last five games (3.2 goals per game). Five Cold Lake players have scored six or more goals, so there is some offensive depth as well.
The problem has been more on the defensive side for the Wings, who have allowed 115 goals in 16 games (7.19 per game), including 44 over those last five games.
Cold Lake enjoys homestands on both sides of the holiday break so, after Friday’s game at Meadow Lake, the next time the Wings will play on the road (outside of the league showcase in Las Vegas) will be January 11 when they return to Meadow Lake.
EDSON AEROS (12-2-1-1, 39 pts)
Meadow Lake’s win over the first-place Edson Aeros last weekend was probably the most surprising outcome in the Provincial Division this season but the Mustangs’ recent roster additions, and their drastic improvement since the beginning of the season, showcases an overall elevation of play in the WSHL’s Provincial Division in just the first two months.
The Aeros responded by making an addition of their own, acquiring 20-year-old center Sebastian "Sebbe" Lind from the Wichita Jr. Thunder on Tuesday.
"We're very excited to add another high-quality player to our lineup", said Aeros president and general manager Axel Axmann, "And we're not done yet. It’s very apparent that other teams in our division have vastly improved and we definitely need to keep pace with them."
The Aeros did pick up three points in the standings last weekend. WSHL scoring leader Sebastian Heden scored four goals, and added three assists, to lead the Aeros to an 11-1 win over the Cold Lake Wings on Friday. Emil Johansson (3-2-5) and Olle Berndtsson (2-3-5) both had five-point games while Nathan Gottselig added a pair of goals.
Edson head coach Bernie Lynch says his team is very excited about the WSHL showcase coming up in Las Vegas December 18-21.
“I am very much looking forward to introducing our inaugural team to the scouts at the Vegas showcase,” Lynch said. “I'm in this to provide opportunities for my team and players.”
The Edson Aeros take on the Hinton Wildcats in a home-and-home series beginning in Edson Friday night.
HINTON WILDCATS (9-5-1-1, 30 pts)
Hinton stayed within shouting distance of first-place Edson with a pair of wins last week.
Brendan Auger (2-2-4) figured in four of the five Wildcat goals in a 5-2 win over Meadow Lake. Noah Kwasny also scored twice and Justin Dupuis made 24 saves for the Wildcats.
Then Auger and Dmitri Buttazzoni both scored twice in a six-goal third period for Hinton to complete matching hat tricks in a 9-3 win over the Cold Lake Wings. Hinton took a modest 3-2 lead into the third, but the floodgates opened for the Wildcats in the final frame and they won going away on home ice.
Auger also collected four assists in the game for a seven-point effort. Kwasny had four helpers in the game as well. The Wildcats gave goaltender Samuel Gendron (23 saves) all of the support he needed – even if it came late in the game.
Auger scored 1:04 into the third period to give the Wildcats a two-goal lead with what ended up being the game-winning goal.
MEADOW LAKE MUSTANGS (3-13-0, 9 pts)
The Meadow Lake Mustangs picked up their third win of the season, defeating the first-place Aeros, 6-5, in Edson on Saturday night behind a hat trick from their newest player. Andrew Hawes scored the game-winning goal, breaking a 5-5 tie in the third period with the third goal of his WSHL debut.
With Edson pressing in the Meadow Lake zone for the go-ahead goal, he intercepted a cross-ice pass, skated all the way down to the left circle to create a two-on-one and took the shot himself, burying a wrist shot for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Newly-acquired Shane Hounsell (2-3-5) had five points in the game for Meadow Lake, including an assist on Hawes’ game-winner.
Mustangs netminder Trevor Buckmeier also came up with a big game in the upset. He made 47 saves on the night, stopping 16 of 17 shots in the third period with the game on the line.
Meadow Lake head coach Marty Ross is encouraged with the impact the roster additions have had, but also knows that the work is not done to be a competitive team in the WSHL.
“Things are looking up,” he said. “As far as recruiting no we are not done. We will keep trying to pick up players that we think could contribute to the organization on and off the ice.”
The Mustangs are leaving no stone unturned and hope the big win last week are a sign of things to come in the second half of their inaugural season.
“If I’m not at one of our games I’m in an arena someplace else looking for players,” said Ross.
The Mustangs also played at Hinton last Friday. Noah Finlay kept Meadow Lake in the game with 44 saves, stopping 23 of 24 in the first period alone to prevent Hinton from pulling away, but the Wildcats prevailed, 5-2.
--- Compiled by Scott Harrington for Harrington Sports Media