WSHL WRAP-UP; November 22-26, 2017

by Scott Harrington


Flyers win thriller in Long Beach

11.22.17 – Valencia 5, Long Beach 4 (2 OT)

Wednesday night’s pre-Thanksgiving tilt between the top two teams in the WSHL’s Western Division was junior hockey at its best.

The Long Beach Bombers scored the first three goals of the game, and led 4-2 going into the third period, but the Valencia Flyers battled back to notch a huge 5-4 road win on Jakob Kranabetter’s second goal of the game 52 seconds into the second overtime.

It looked like the Bombers had the game won in regulation, but Valencia’s Melwin Thorsson tied it up with 49 seconds left in regulation.

Kranabetter and Thorsson were not the only Flyers coming up with clutch goals.  Jason Hickman scored with 1:03 left in the second period, cutting into a 4-1 Bombers lead and giving Valencia a lift heading into the locker room for the second intermission.

Joseph Hebert got the Flyers within a goal at 12:22 of the third period and Valencia began pressing for the tying goal.  Long Beach and goaltender Domenic Bosetti (42 saves) were not able to protect the one-goal lead for the remaining 7:38.

Valencia’s Spencer Kozlowski made 31 saves in the game – including all 12 shots he faced in the third period and overtime as the Flyers mounted their comeback.


Blazers sweep Wichita, remain undefeated

11.22.17 – Oklahoma City 19, Wichita 0

11.24.17 – Oklahoma City 11, Wichita 0

11.25.17 – Oklahoma City 12, Wichita 2

The Oklahoma City Blazers looked like an undefeated team in their three-game sweep of the visiting Wichita Jr. Thunder last week.

Zachary Colgrove scored four goals and assisted on two more to lead the Blazers to a runaway win on Wednesday.  Six other OKC skaters scored two goals in the game, including Griffin Wieneck (2-3-5), and Travis Hudek collected five assists.

Bobby Cloutier (15 saves) posted the shutout for the Blazers.

Wichita’s Connor Green stopped 18 of 21 shots in the first period, but otherwise had a long night between the pipes for the Jr. Thunder.

If their Thanksgiving feast slowed the Blazers down it was not very noticeable.  Joshua Chamberlain scored a hat trick and Patrick Wiens stopped all 21 shots he faced as OKC won, 11-0, on Friday.

Ivan Bondarenko dished out four assists for the Blazers and Green went the distance in the Wichita net, making 40 saves – 20 of them in the first period.

The Blazers took care of business on Saturday, completing the sweep with a 12-2 win.  Wieneck (2-1-3) and Vitalii Mikhailov (2-3-5) each scored twice and Coutier made 16 saves.

Braeden Thomas and Hunter Litman scored the goals for Wichita while Connor Green (40 saves) and Austin Tilton (16 saves) shared the goaltending duties for the Jr. Thunder.


Bellingham tops Seattle, closes gap in Northwest standings

11.22.17 – Bellingham 7, Seattle 3

The Bellingham Blazers pulled themselves to within a point of the Seattle Totems in the Northwest Division standings by going into Seattle and picking up a convincing 7-3 win.

With Bellingham leading, 3-2, late in the second period, the Blazers took control of the game with goals by Spencer Vockel and Jamahl Eakett less than three minutes apart.  It was Eakett’s second goal of the game.

Tom Ignatovich figured in all three Totems goals, scoring two himself and assisting on the third.

Edward Coffey made 21 saves for Bellingham to get the win over Seattle’s Garrett Wills, who made 26 saves before being replaced by Jake Holden (5 saves) in the third period.


Express rolls through El Paso, leaves without a win

11.22.17 – El Paso 6, Springfield 3

11.24.17 – El Paso 6, Springfield 1

11.25.17 – El Paso 7, Springfield 3

The El Paso Rhinos maintained their own unbeaten record, sweeping the third-place Springfield Express – a team hoping to mount a challenge to the top two teams in the Mid-Western Division, who boast a combined 33-0-0 record.

On Wednesday, Nikita Sokov scored with :07 left in the first period to send the game to the first intermission tied, 1-1.  It was the first of two goals in the game for Sokov.

The Rhinos took a 3-1 lead in the second period, but the Express came bac with two quick goals – at 15:32 and 15:40, to even things back up.  Kyle Cagnoni got Springfield back within a goal and then Sokov tied the game again with his second goal of the night.

But, just 23 seconds after that, Timothy Heffner gave El Paso a 4-3 lead, and killed any momentum the Express had built.  Chaseton Sare and Adam Stalzer scored the only goals of the third period to give the Rhinos a 6-3 win.

Springfield’s Chad Purdy faced a ton of runner in the first period – 25 shots – but stopped 24 and the Express were still in it.  Purdy finished the game with 52 saves – 41 of them coming in the first two periods.

Friday’s game was close until the third period, when the Rhinos scored four unanswered goals to pull away for a 6-1 victory.

The Express were out-shot, 15-9, in the first period but led, 1-0, thanks to a Sokov goal and Kristof Dobos kicking out every Rhino shot.

El Paso scored twice in the second period to take the lead after 40 minutes.  Carlo Wittor scored the first of his two goals and Phillip Pugliese lit the lamp for El Paso.

Although the dam eventually broke for Dobos, he finished the game with 41 saves.  In the El Paso crease, Filip Krasanovsky stopped 23 of 24 pucks sent his way.

Springfield again played with the Rhinos of the first two periods in Saturday’s series finale.  Three times in the first 40 minutes of the game, El Paso went out to a two-goal lead, and three times the Express got the next goal to get back within one.

But El Paso wore them down and scored the only three goals of the third period, winning 7-3.

Sare and Stalzer each scored twice and Krasanovsky (17 saves) won his third game of the week.

Kayne Pasquet entered the Springfield cage early in the second period and made 27 saves in relief of starter Purdy (13 saves).


Casper sweeps visiting Cheyenne, creates separation in Mountain Division standings

11.24.17 – Casper 4, Cheyenne 0

11.25.17 – Casper 9, Cheyenne 1

11.26.17 – Casper 8, Cheyenne 0

The Cheyenne Stampede went into Casper for a three-game weekend series with hopes of catching the Coyotes, who were two points ahead of them in the Mountain Division standings.  It was Casper, however, who took advantage of the head-to-head match-up, sweeping the series and opening up an eight-point lead over the Stampede.

Lindros Beard scored two goals and Dylan Ossachuk stopped 20 shots as the Coyotes shut out the Stampede, 4-0, on Friday.

Bradley Green and Michael Syring scored the other Coyotes goals. 

Cheyenne netminder Devin Bain made 28 of his 37 saves in the first two periods.

Eight different Coyotes skaters scored in a nine-goal outburst on Saturday night.  Stepan Kudrna scored twice and Cameron Braun (1-3-4) had a game-high four points in a 9-1 Casper win.

Nolan Kare was sharp between the pipes for Casper, allowing just one goal on 32 shots.

Logan Syrup scored the Cheyenne goal in the third period.

The Stampede kept generating scoring chances on Sunday, but Kare made 31 saves to keep Cheyenne off the board in an 8-0 Casper win.

Cheyenne’s Daniel Miller stopped 16 of 17 shots in the third period to keep the game close, 1-0 Casper, after the first period, but the Coyotes broke out for five goals in the second period.

Green and Aaron Holenski each scored twice in the game with Green adding a pair of helpers.  Dallen Neese (1-4-5) also had a big game for the Coyotes.


Spartans pick up a win, but lose series to Warriors

11.24.17 – Southern Oregon 6, West Sound 5

11.25.17 – West Sound 3, Southern Oregon 2

11.26.17 – West Sound 7, Southern Oregon 3

The Southern Oregon Spartans gave their enthusiastic fans something to cheer about with a thrilling win on Friday, but the West Sound Warriors left Medford, OR with four points in a competitive series between Northwest Division rivals.

Friday’s series opener went into the third period tied, 4-4.  Alex Johnson gave the Warriors the lead 2:47 into the period, but Matej Valicek responded with his second goal of the game for the Spartans just 42 seconds later.

Southern Oregon out-shot West Sound, 16-7, in the third period, but the next 10 minutes went by without either team scoring thanks largely to West Sound’s netminder Robbie Brennan. 

With 6:12 left in the game, however, Southern Oregon’s Yanneck Kumli chased down a dump-in in the right wing corner of the rink, circled back up the boards, then went across the zone with a pass to Peter Toth at the blue line.  He put the puck on net, and Brennan made a left pad save, but Joel Holmberg crashed the net and deposited the rebound for the winning goal.  It was the third assist of the game for Kumli.

The Spartans out-shot the Warriors in all three periods, but Brennan made 44 saves to keep West Sound in it.  Austin Toussaint made 31 saves for Southern Oregon.

The fans in Medford were treated to another exciting game on Saturday night, although the Spartans came up short.  Samuel Pelech’s shorthanded goal with 1:58 left in the second period broke a 2-2 tie and held up as the game-winner for West Sound.

With Southern Oregon on a power play, the Warriors cleared the puck all the way down to the Spartans end and Pelech was the first player down the ice.  Southern Oregon goaltender Krystof Holub mis-played the puck behind the net and Pelech was able to swoop in, steal the puck, and score a backhand wrap-around goal.

The Spartans out-shot the Warriors, 11-10, in a scoreless third period as Toussaint and West Sound’s Brian Eisele battled each other save-for-save in a one-goal game for the final 20 minutes.

Eisele finished the game with 30 saves on 32 shots.  Toussaint entered the game and stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief of Southern Oregon starter Holub (20 saves) who was injured on the game-winning goal.

Sunday was another one-goal game heading into the third period, but West Sound made sure the contest lacked the intrigue of the first two nights by scoring twice early in the period to take a three-goal lead on their way to a 7-3 win.

Pelech scored the last two goals of the game for the Warriors, who got 20 saves from winning goalie Eisele.  Harri Kroll had a goal and four assists while Mattias Wikstrom chipped in 1-3-4.

Toussaint was between the pipes again for the Spartans, making 26 of his 35 saves through the first two periods. 


Jr. Eagles get back on winning track in Superior

11.25.17 – Colorado 4, Superior 1

The Colorado Jr. Eagles took care of business in their only game of the week, shaking off the Thanksgiving meal and picking up two points in Superior with a 4-1 win over the RoughRiders on Saturday night.

The Jr. Eagles led, 2-0, in the second period when RoughRiders sniper Nikita Sheberov cut the lead in half with his 29th goal of the season.

Colorado restored their two-goal lead before the end of the period on a goal by veteran Trent Hines, then circled the wagons around Braden Lajoie (19 saves) in the third period.

Marshall Murphy was between the pipes for the ‘Riders and made 31 saves in the game.


Bombers post comeback road win against Avs

11.25.17 – Long Beach 6, Ontario 4

The Long Beach Bombers continue to defend their perch atop the Western Division standings, but they continue to be challenged each week.  The Bombers used a three-goal second period to come back and win on the road against the Ontario Avalanche, 6-4.

The Avalanche went out to a 2-0 lead in front of their home fans on goals by Declan Curtis and Thomas King, but Tomas Urbanec responded for the Bombers with one goal just 40 seconds after King’s goal and another with 6:15 left in the period to tie the game, 2-2.

Jesse Zaharichuk scored with 1:10 left in the frame to give the Avs the lead back, 3-2, at the first intermission.

Long Beach took control of the game in the second period, however, scoring three times – the first two by Artem Korolev 1:30 apart midway through the period.  Amir Burguev’s goal at 18:35 of the second period made it 5-3 Long Beach and would end up being the winning goal.

King scored his second of the game to get Ontario within a goal with 10:21 left in the game, but Long Beach netminder Matthew Ayers (32 saves) came up with the key stops when he needed to and Erik Ehrmantraut added an insurance goal for another big division win for the Bombers.

Filip Subrt made 26 stops through two periods in the Ontario net, giving way to Connor Duffy (11 saves) for the third period.


Ogden wins latest round of Battle of Utah

11.25.17 – Ogden 3, Utah 2

Matus Spodniak scored two goals, including the game-winner, and assisted on a third as the Ogden Mustangs posted a 3-2 win over in-state and division rival Utah Outliers, 3-2, on Saturday night.

Dylan Massie gave the visiting Outliers a 1-0 lead 8:27 into the game, but Spodniak set up Jacob Laurin to even the score with 2:58 left in the period.

Spodniak’s first goal gave Ogden their first lead of the game, but Massie responded for Utah just 32 seconds later, tying the game.  The game of one-upmanship continued 1:15 later as Spodniak gave Ogden a 3-2 lead with his second of the game at 8:37.

The final 31:23 of game time went by without another goal as the two rivals battled all over the ice and goaltenders Daniel Pavlicko of Ogden (21 saves) and Jonathan Chin of Utah (26 saves) defended their respective cages.

Ogden out-shot Utah, 12-3, in a scoreless third period.

--- compiled by Scott Harrington/Harrington Sports Media