WSHL WRAP-UP; February 1 – February 4, 2018

by James Talluto


Idaho wraps up 8th straight division title

02.01.18 – Idaho 9, Tahoe 4

02.02.18 – Idaho 6, Tahoe 3

02.03.18 – Idaho 5, Tahoe 4

The franchise may have re-branded and changed their name to the IceCats this season, but the results are the same for John Olver’s Idaho squad as they clinched first place in their division for the eighth straight division with a sweep of the Tahoe Icemen.

Tahoe fell behind 3-0 in Thursday’s series opener, but came back with second period goals by Phil Heisse and Paul Frys to get within a goal.  

Any momentum Tahoe built up was killed by two Idaho goals late in the second period.  Russell Haren, with 3:21 left in the period, and Matthew Kindred’s second of the game with under a minute left in the frame, restored Idaho’s three-goal lead and they came out hard in the third period, winning 9-4.

A pair of Idaho blue liners, Tristan Phillips and Terry Ryder, had three assists each in the game.

Frys scored both Tahoe goals in the third period to give him a hat trick.

Artur Pavliukov, who recently joined Tahoe from the Kenai River Black Bears (NAHL), made 49 saves for the Icemen.  Jacob Hough got the win for the IceCats, making 28 of his 33 saves over the final two periods.

The IceCats scored four times in the first period on their way to a 6-3 win on Friday.  Ryder scored twice in the final 2:13 of the period to give Idaho a boost heading into the locker room.

The Icemen did not stop working however, and scored the only goal of the second period – off the stick of Sergei Grebenshchikov.  That made it a two-goal game, but the Icemen were not able to get any closer.  The first 11:37 of the third period went by without any scoring – then Jacob Hedencrona scored an insurance goal to put the game away for Idaho.

The Icemen had a 4-2 lead in the third period Saturday, and it looked like they might post their second major upset win in two weeks, but Idaho came storming back.  Easton Easterson scored at 6:41 to get the IceCats within a goal.  They really turned the heat up, peppering the Tahoe net with 27 shots in the final frame.

Blake Nelson scored with 5:55 left to tie the game, then Hunter Lester scored the winner with 1:48 left on the clock.

Hough gave up four goals on 24 shots, but came up with the key stops late in the game when he needed to.  Pavliukov made another 56 saves for Tahoe.


Monsters take two of three from Knights, tie for 3rd in Western Division

02.01.18 – Phoenix 8, Fresno 3

02.02.18 – Fresno 6, Phoenix 3

02.03.18 – Fresno 10, Phoenix 3

The Fresno Monsters dropped an 8-3 decision at home to the Phoenix Knights on Thursday, but recovered to win the next two games and move into a tie for third place in the Western Division with the Valencia Flyers.  The Knights, meanwhile, have wins against Valencia, Ontario and Fresno – the three teams directly ahead of them in the division standings – over the last three weeks.

Phoenix showed no sign of bus legs in Thursday’s series opener.  Fresno scored first, but the Knights jumped on them to score the next four goals before the first intermission.  Included in that run was the first of two goals on the night for Anthony Masanotti.

Michael Caravella had a goal and four assists for Phoenix and the Knights got 35 saves from Rhett Bruckner. 

Daylon Monnon’s goal with 3:29 left in Friday’s game was a big one.  It was his third of the contest – and 53rd of the season – and sealed a Fresno win.  With the hat trick, Mannon set the Monsters franchise record for goals in a season – one he would keep adding to on Saturday.

Phoenix was pressing late, down a goal, and defenseman Cory Hurtubise made a stretch pass from beside his own net off the right wing boards to Mannon at the center red line.  The right-handed Mannon chipped the puck off the boards, side-stepped a Phoenix defender and cut towards the Phoenix net.  He dragging the puck past another defender in the right circle and made a quick move to his backhand and deposited the puck.

Cody Key, who had four assists in the game, added an empty-net goal for a 6-3 final in favor of the Monsters.

Masanotti again scored twice for the Knights and Bruckner made 52 saves – 40 of them through the first two periods to keep Phoenix in the game.

Fresno’s Max Karlenzig was tested more and more as the game wore on, stopping 15 of 16 shots in the third period and finishing the game with 34 saves.

The deeper the two teams got into the series, the stronger the Monsters played.  Mannon scored twice in the first 2:13 of Saturday’s game and ended up with another hat trick in a 10-3 Fresno win.

Key (1-3-4) had another four-point night, as did Deivids Templemanis (1-3-4).  Key’s goal was his 100th in 138 career games as a Monster.

Phoenix actually controlled the play for much of the night, and out-shot the Monsters 46-38 for the game, but the Knights could not convert at nearly the same rate as they had earlier in the series.

Karlenzig made 43 saves in the game, stopping 35 of 37 shots through the first two periods as the Monsters built a 7-2 lead.

Fresno’s Adam Polomsky scored twice in the game.


Bombers regain momentum with key win over Ontario

02.01.18 – Long Beach 5, Ontario 3

The Long Beach Bombers watched as their lead in the Western Division shrank to four points over the second-place Ontario Avalanche in recent weeks.  They really needed a win in this one to re-assert themselves as the top dog in the Western Division and that’s exactly what they got.

Parker Moskal scored at 4:37 and 7:11 of the first period to give the Bombers a 2-0 lead.  Morgan Soderstrom made it 3-0, but the Avs got a big goal from Henrik Lohman in the final minute of the first period to give them some signs of life.

Long Beach scored the only goal of the second period to go up 4-1, and the first half of the third period went by without any scoring, which played into the Bombers favor as they protected a seemingly safe lead.  But William Ma and Justin Davis scored 2:42 apart for Ontario and the Avs were back within a goal with just under six and a half minutes left in the game.

Bombers captain, defenseman Amir Burguaev, scored with 2:39 left to quell the Ontario comeback and seal a 5-3 win for Long Beach.

Goaltender Spencer Kozlowski, acquired from the rival Valencia Flyers, was between the pipes for the Flyers and made 33 saves to get the win in his Bombers debut.

Miroslav Rohlik had a goal and three assists for Long Beach and Tomas Urbanec also collected three assists.


Utah opens up four-point lead atop Mountain Division

02.02.18 – Utah 13, Cheyenne 0

02.03.18 – Utah 10, Cheyenne 1

02.04.18 – Utah 12, Cheyenne 0

The Utah Outliers assumed sole possession of first place in the Mountain Division by sweeping three wins from the Cheyenne Stampede over the weekend while the Ogden Mustangs and Colorado Jr. Eagles left points on the board.

With Colorado and Ogden both suffering upset losses that allowed Utah to ascend into first place, the Outliers were not about to take any points for granted and give the lead back.  They came out hard on Friday against the sixth-place Cheyenne Stampede, firing 34 shots on goal in the first period and breaking  

the game open with seven second period goals on their way to a 13-0 win.

Stampede goaltender Robbie Hufnagel earned the praise of the Utah fans by stopping 32 of 34 shots in the first period and making 59 saves in the game.

Kane Toriumi (3-3-6) and Alex Crilley scored hat tricks for the Outliers and Brandon Krumpschmid picked up four assists.

The Outliers continued putting points in the bank on Saturday.  Hufnagel stopped 14 of 15 shots in the first period, and it was just 1-0 Utah after one period, but the Outliers broke out for four goals in the second period and added five more in the third for a 10-1 win.

Toriumi scored a hat trick and Dylan Massie scored twice for the Outliers and Otto Saxin handled the net-minding duties (11 saves).

Nikita Gordeev scored for Cheyenne and Hufnagel made 42 saves in the game for the Stampede.

Oskars Ancitis scored a hat trick and Dawson Rodin (12 saves) posted his fifth shutout of the season as Utah completed the sweep with a 12-0 win Sunday.  

Roman Svik (2-3-5) and Toriumi (2-1-3) each scored twice for Utah and Jan Pixa (1-3-4) had four points.


Coyotes post second major upset in as many weeks

02.02.18 – Casper 5, Ogden 3

02.03.18 – Ogden 4, Casper 1

02.04.18 – Ogden 11, Casper 2

The Ogden Mustangs won two of three in Casper over the weekend, but the loss in Friday’s series opener knocked them off their long-standing perch atop the Mountain Division standings.

Dylan Ossachuk was the story between the pipes for the Coyotes on Friday night, making 85 saves in all and stopping 37 of 38 Ogden attempts in the second period alone.

It’s not as if the puck was in the Casper end of the ice the whole game.  Ogden’s Tymen Edelkoort faced 33 shots through the first 40 minutes – stopping 31 of them.  He ended the game with 43 saves.

The Coyotes led, 2-0, after the first period on goals by David Pokorny and Cameron Cross.

Ogden’s Kerry Kruzel scored the only goal of the second period, but Casper went up 3-1 early in the third period.

Matus Spodniak scored at 6:37 to get the Mustangs back within a goal, but Ossachuk stood tall for Casper and would not allow the equalizer.  

Lindros Beard made it 4-2 Casper, but Ross Bartlett responded for the Mustangs just 25 seconds later to make it a one-goal game once again with 4:52 left.  That’s a lot of time when you are protecting a one-goal lead against some of the most prolific scorers in the league, but Ossachuk and the Coyotes held the fort until Bradley Green could seal it with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Casper’s Jacob Elik assisted on three goals in the game, including the game-winner and the empty-netter. 

Ogden came out ready to play on Saturday, out-shooting Casper 16-2 in the first period, but Ossachuk was on his game again, and kept the Mustangs off the board.

Harry Gulliver finally broke the ice in the first minute of the second period, making it 1-0 Ogden.  Ryan Mascali and Spodniak added tallies and Ogden took a 3-0 lead into the third.

Green put the Coyotes on the board at the 5:36 mark, but Bartlett ended any comeback hopes when he made it 4-1 Ogden a little over three minutes later, and that’s how it ended up.

Edelkoort faced just two shots in the first period, but 31 over the next two frames, stopping 30 of them.

Ossachuk ended the game with 59 saves as he continues his hot stretch.

Jacob Laurin (3-1-4), Ross Bartlett (2-3-5) and Kerry Kruzel (2-2-4) led the way as the Mustangs scored eight times in the first period and rolled to an 11-2 win on Sunday.

Edelkoort started, but Jonathan Chin entered the Mustangs net in relief and played the final 40 minutes, stopping 27 of 29 shots, including all 16 sent his way by the Coyotes in the third period.


Spartans top Totems twice, move to within three points of Seattle

02.02.18 – Southern Oregon 5, Seattle 3

02.03.18 – Southern Oregon 5, Seattle 4 (OT)

The sixth-place Southern Oregon Spartans welcomed the fifth-place Seattle Totems to Medford, OR and closed the gap in the standings with a pair of wins.

The Spartans built a 3-0 lead in the first period in front of their fans on Friday and went on to a 5-3 win.

Joel Holmberg scored twice in the first period for the Spartans and defenseman Alex Low had three assists in the game.

Austin Toussaint continued his strong play in the Spartans crease, stopping 23 of 26 shots, while Bogden Klochkov scored twice for Seattle.

Klochkov scored a hat trick on Saturday, finding the net in each period of regulation, but it was Low’s second goal of the game for Southern Oregon that was the difference 3:18 into overtime.

Klochkov knotted the score, 4-4, with his third of the game at 15:17 of the third period and that sent the game to sudden-death.

Keegan Randell also scored a pair for the Spartans and Holmberg (1-3-4) had four points.

Southern Oregon had a three-goal lead in the second period, but the Totems persevered.  Joshua Barrett, who entered the Seattle crease in the second period, stopped all 17 Spartans shots in the third period to help the Totems pick up a point in the standings.

Toussaint (34 saves) made his fifth straight start for Southern Oregon.  He has stopped 247 of 264 in that span (.936 save percentage).


Jr. Eagles take three of four points against RoughRiders

02.02.18 – Colorado 5, Superior 0

02.03.18 – Superior 4, Colorado 3 (OT)

The Colorado Jr. Eagles have left three points on the table over their last three games and, as a result, have fallen four points behind first-place Utah, and two points in arrears of second-place Ogden in the Mountain Division race.

Braden Lajoie made 12 of his 25 saves in the third period to preserve a 5-0 shutout win for the Jr. Eagles on Friday in which five different played scored for Colorado.

The Jr. Eagles were lucky to get one point from Saturday’s game.  They trailed, 3-0, in the third period but came back to tie and send the game to overtime.  Kyle Cagnoni won it for the RoughRiders 21 seconds into the second overtime, but every point is important in the Mountain Division race and Colorado was rewarded for battling back with one point for the OTL.

John Tower put Colorado on the board at 8:38 of the third period, then Michael Petrotto scored at 13:49, and again with 1:49 left in regulation, to force overtime.

Bronson Sudberry, making just his second start of the season for Superior, made 52 saves to backstop the team to a big win – one that they can draw some confidence from as they gear up for the playoffs.

Lajoie made 29 saves for the Jr. Eagles.


Snipers set tone for potential playoff match-up with Wichita

02.02.18 – Dallas 6, Wichita 1

02.03.18 – Dallas 11, Wichita 3

02.04.18 – Dallas 7, Wichita 3

The Dallas Snipers and Wichita Jr. Thunder will meet in a first-round playoff series, so that added some intensity to their three-game series.

Dallas opened up with a 6-1 win on Friday.  Wichita out-shot Dallas, 33-22, over the final two periods, but Manny Legace came up with a big game in the Snipers net.  Legace stopped 32 of 33 shots over the final 40 minutes to finish the game with 42 saves.

Jaroslav Vasicek scored a goal in each period for Dallas, giving him a hat trick.

Christian Winther scored for the Jr. Thunder.

The Snipers scored 11 times on Saturday, winning 11-3.  Vasicek and Taner Byrd were the only Dallas players to score twice in a balanced attack.  Vasicek also contributed a pair of assists and Michael Pistek 

(1-4-5) had a team-leading five points.

Trace Parker went the distance in the Wichita net, making 40 saves, and Tyler Inlow (1-2-3) figured in all three goals for the Jr. Thunder.

A Danil Trenikhin goal with 0:20 left in the first period made it 4-2 Dallas and the Snipers scored twice in the first 5:36 of the second to break the game open on their way to a 7-3 win Sunday.

Sterling Cooper and Eric Eaton each scored a pair of goals and Evan Williams made 39 saves for the Snipers.

Inlow and David Zarycki scored 2:51 apart to tie the game, 2-2, in the first period, but Wichita was unable to build on that push.


Bombers edge Flyers, open up 10-point lead in Western Division

02.03.18 – Long Beach 5, Valencia 4

A pair of goals 34 seconds apart late in regulation gave the Long Beach Bombers a 5-4 comeback win in a spirited battle against their Western Division rival, the Valencia Flyers.

With their second win of the weekend, Long Beach started to give themselves some breathing room at the top of the division standings, knocking off both of the teams closing in on them.

Melwin Thorsson’s second goal of the game, at 10:46 of the third period, gave the Flyers a 4-3 lead.  

Miroslav Rohlik scored his second of the game with 3:23 left, tying the game, then Tomas Urbanec followed with the winner just 34 seconds later.

The Bombers picked up goaltender Spencer Kozlowski from Valencia last week, but it was Domenic Bosetti between the pipes for Long Beach.  He made 35 saves.

Mack Willy made 36 stops in his Flyers debut.

Joseph Hebert also scored twice for Valencia and Jason Hickman picked up three assists.


Express send message to Blazers with shootout win

02.04.18 – Springfield 4, Oklahoma City 3 (SO)

The Oklahoma City Blazers and Springfield Express are on a collision course for a division semifinal series in the Mid-Western Division.  They are also in the middle of a stretch of seven consecutive games against each other – all of them being played at Springfield’s MediaCom Ice Park.

The Blazers won all three games last weekend, but Sunday’s was a one-goal game and, a week later, the Express broke through with a 4-3 shootout win.

Griffin Wiencek’s goal at 13:06 of the second period knotted the game at 3-3, and the final 26:54 of 

regulation – plus another 10 minutes of sudden-death overtime – went by without any scoring.

Despite the lack of goals, it was actually a fairly wide-open game with both teams trading chances, but Springfield’s Kayne Pasquet (46 saves) and OKC’s Bobby Cloutier (51 saves) made save after save, keeping the game tied and eventually leading to a shootout.

In the second round of the shootout, after the Blazers missed their attempt, Filimon Ledenkov scored low stick-side on Cloutier to make it 1-0 Springfield.

Ivan Bondarenko answered on his “must-score” shot to even it up, using a slow-motion approach to the net, then pulling off a “Forsberg” forehand-backhand drag play.

Neither team scored in the third round.

In the fourth round, the Blazers’ Lukas Slansky faked a slap shot and Pasquet poke-checked him, giving Springfield a chance to win on their next shot.

Bruno Ndossi was the next man up for the Express and he went straight to the net and beat Cloutier with a quick wrist shot five-hole, ending the shootout in Springfield’s favor.

--- compiled by Scott Harrington/Harrington Sports Media