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WSHL WEEKLY NOTES 02.15.19 – 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 (3-29-1-2, 13 pts)
www.coldlakewings.com
@ColdLakeWings

Scoring nine goals over two games and picking up a point in the standings was a nice sign for a Cold Lake team that had only scored more than two goals in a game twice since Christmas.

The Wings will try to build on that momentum as they welcome Hinton and Edson to Imperial Oil Place this weekend.

At the trade deadline Cold Lake sent 17-goal scorer Nigel Cardinal was to the WSHL’s busiest team, the Southern Oregon Spartans.

The Wings did add some goaltending depth.  Former Seattle Ravens (USPHL) goaltender Vinay Pathak, 20, played just two games for San Diego before being flipped to the Wings.  Also, Defenseman Eric Powley was brought in from the Vegreville Rangers (NEAJBHL) where he had six points (2-4-6) and 30 penalty minutes in 32 games this season.

While many of their peers around the league were filling up the transaction wire the Wings, for the most part, had already made their biggest moves well in advance of the trade freeze.

Forwards Ryoto Inukai and Trey Beck were brought on board a month ago and forward Dorian Hall and goaltender Max Gaudet were shipped to Hinton.

EDSON AEROS (26-6-1-1, 81 pts)
www.aeroshockey.ca
@AerosEdson

Despite a healthy lead in the Provincial Division of the WSHL, the Edson Aeros were active prior to the deadline as they tried to fortify their roster for what they hope will be a run to the Thorne Cup tournament in Ogden, UT in their inaugural season.

Defenseman Brian Bailer and veteran WSHL goaltender Bronson Sudberry were significant additions.

Bailer is a 6’5”, 190-pound blue liner who spent the first half of the season playing Junior A for the Canmore Eagles (AJHL).  He has eight points (1-7-8) in nine games since joining the Aeros.

Sudberry, acquired from the Wichita Jr. Thunder, is in his third season playing in the WSHL.  He spent the previous two with the Superior RouighRiders.  Sudberry faced a lot of rubber with the Jr. Thunder, seeing 717 shots in 860 minutes between the pipes (roughly 50 shots per 60 minutes).

Bailer and Sudberry join the likes of forward Ryley Bast (Utah) and Samuel Pollack (Northern Colorado) and defensemen William Andersson (Northern Colorado) and Jarius Moar (Smith Falls Settlers CPJHL) who were previous additions to the roster after the showcase.

Edson head coach Bernie Lynch hopes these new players will have time between now and the end of the regular season to integrate themselves into the lineup and have the Aeros flying high when the puck drops for the playoffs.

The Provincial Division playoff champion will join the top teams from the WSHL’s other four divisions as well as the host Ogden Mustangs at the six-team championship tournament April 9-13 in Ogden.

The Thorne Cup is a similar format to the Memorial Cup with teams playing three preliminary round games to qualify for the single-elimination semifinals and final.

HINTON WILDCATS (19-13-1-1, 60 pts)
www.hintonwildcats.ca
@HintonWildcats

Despite Edson’s convincing lead in the division, the second-place Hinton Wildcats were not shy or conservative at the trade deadline.

Hinton general manager and head coach Geoff Walker brought in seven players and moved out two prior to the February 13 roster freeze.

Forwards Trey Beck and Ryoto Inukai were dealt to Cold Lake while forwards Emilio Ficaccio (Long Beach), Dorian Hall (Cold Lake), Max Sturko (Minnesota Iron Rangers, SIJHL) and Dalton Eagle Bear (Steamboat), goaltenders Max Gaudet (Cold Lake) and Avery Heath (Bellingham) and defensemen Deva Shahi (Bellignham) were all added to the Hinton roster since the New Year.

As the presumptive starting goaltender in the post-season Gaudet, a 20-year-old goalie, has the potential to be one of the biggest difference-makers added to the mix.  He has made 4 or more saves in three of his four complete games in the Wildcats crease.

If Gaudet can keep pucks out of the Hinton net, the Wildcats have the potential to do some damage at the other end with three 20-goal scorers (Dimitri Buttazzoni 27, Brandan Auger 26 and Jakob Arseneault 21) and 43 power play goals on the year (7th in the WSHL).

MEADOW LAKE MUSTANGS (9-23-1-0, 29 pts)
www.meadowlakemustangs.com
@ML_Mustangs

When Shane Hounsell and Andrew Hawes joined the team six week into the season they had a huge impact.  Hounsell has scored 21 goals in 20 games, Hawes 16 in 14.

The Meadow Lake Mustangs are hoping to double-down on that positive impact by bringing in a handful more players at the deadline.

Defenseman Zackery Kozinski paid immediate dividends, scoring in both of his first two games with the Mustangs – including a hat trick (and an assist) in the second contest.  Kozinski, a 1999 birthdate, was playing his third season of senior hockey for the St. Walburg Eagles in the SaskAlta Senior Hockey League (SASHL).

2000-born forward Denni Kantel has been brought in from the Cold Lake Ice (NEAJBHL) where he had scored 10 goals and added 10 assists in 30 games this season.

The Mustangs were able to bolster their lineup without making any immediate subtractions.

Meadow Lake is coming from too far back – 31 points behind second-place Hinton – but it will be interesting to see how the Mustangs and Wildcats fair against each other in their remaining games.

The two teams are on a collision course for the Provincial Division Semifinals in what could be a very entertaining best-o-f-three series to determine who (minus a monumental upset) gets to go up against Edson for a shot at a division championship and a berth at the Thorne Cup.

The Mustangs have defeated the Wildcats in six straight head-to-head meetings including a pair last weekend, but Meadow Lake’s win on Saturday came in overtime.

--- Compiled by Scott Harrington for Harrington Sports Media

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WSHL WEEKLY NOTES 02.15.19 – NORTHWESTERN 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.

BELLINGHAM BLAZERS (30-11-0-2, 92 pts.)
@BhamBlazers

After defeating Southern Oregon 7-4 in the series opener last weekend, the Bellingham Blazers dropped consecutive one-goal games against the Spartans on home ice.

The Blazers are still in firm control of the Northwest Division with a 22-point lead, but second-place Seattle has seven games in hand on Bellingham, so the race for the division crown is far from over.

This weekend, the Blazers will battle West Sound in a three-game set. After opening the series at home, the two clubs will travel to Bremerton Ice Center to for a pair of contests that will wrap up their 15-game season series.

Although there have been a couple of close calls, Bellingham is undefeated against West Sound through 12 matchups.

The Blazers were one of the more active teams in the WSHL prior to the trade deadline, adding a total of nine players over the last few weeks. One of those players was goaltender Jack Walsh, who takes the spot of two-year veteran netminder Avery Heath after the 20-year-old was sent to the Hinton Wildcats.

Forward Ruslan Abianov, another recent addition, is off to a hot start with his new club. Abianov, 17, has a goal and five assists through eight appearances with Bellingham. Also, Krystof Knapek has three points in three games since joining the Blazers.

SEATTLE TOTEMS (22-11-1-2, 70 pts)
@SeattleJrTotems

The Seattle Totems are back in action this weekend with a three-game set on the road against the Valencia Flyers, the only series of the season between the two clubs.

The Flyers are sitting at the bottom of the Western Division with an 8-24-1-4 record, but they won’t be an easy win for the Totes. Valencia has taken two of three games against West Sound and logged an overtime victory over the Fresno Monsters recently.

“With the Flyers playing some good hockey lately and our 20-hour snowy bus ride, I’m sure we’ll have our hands full this weekend,” said Totems Head Coach and General Manager Michael Murphy.

The Totems have been bolstering their roster over the last few weeks without losing much talent. The only player Seattle traded at the deadline was defenseman Pavel Simak, and it brought in seven different skaters.

Among the recent additions are forward Tom Ignatovich, who has 11 points (4-7-11) in six games, and goaltender Rustam Kulizade, a 17-year-old Russian who has compiled a 2.16 goals-against average to go along with a .936 save percentage over four appearances.

Kulizade joins incumbent netminder Wyatt Monear, a veteran who has compiled a 3.84 goals-against average and an .883 save percentage, to form a solid goaltending duo.

“We feel with our goalie situation, we now have a solid one-two punch with Rusty and Wyatt,” said Murphy. “If one guy gets hot and takes over, we’ll ride them a bit, but for now we’ll keep using both of them.”

SOUTHERN OREGON SPARTANS (11-25-2-1, 38 pts.)
@wshlspartans

We’re starting to see a much-improved version of the Southern Oregon Spartans, who won their road series against division-leading Bellingham with a pair of dramatic victories.

After the Blazers threw the first punch with a 7-2 win on Friday night, Southern Oregon responded the following evening with a 5-4 win in overtime.

Forward Logan Emery was the hero as he netted his second goal of the game three minutes into the extra period to cap off a four-point night and give his team one of its most impressive victories of the season. Blueliner Axel Low contributed a pair of goals and an assist while newcomer Matej Valicek added a goal and a helper.

In the rubber match last Sunday afternoon, a fantastic 37-save effort from netminder Kayden Pickles propelled the Spartans to a 2-1 win in a game that had a playoff-like atmosphere.

Some of the Spartans’ recent improvement could potentially be traced back to several recent roster moves made by head coach Ken Hoey and company. Among the additions are Valicek and forwards Mitchell Rutledge, a former El Paso Rhino, and Jan Sokolik, who has played for the Ontario Avalanche and San Diego Sabers this season.

Sokolik is off to a great start with a pair of goals and an assist through three games. Perhaps the most notable newcomer could be four-year veteran Harmen Vining, a blueliner who has developed as an offensive threat in his fourth WSHL season.

Vining has 10 goals and 41 assists for a total of 51 points in 33 games and is one of the highest-scoring defensemen in the league. He will join forces with Low (16-31-47) to give the Spartans defensive corps quite a scoring punch.

Southern Oregon will begin its final homestand of the season this weekend with a three-game series against West Sound.

WEST SOUND ADMIRALS (7-29-2-0, 25 pts.)
@wsadmirals

Even with all of the player movement that occurred within the Northwest Division as the trade deadline approached, the West Sound Admirals seem to have had a bit more roster turnover than their division rivals.

Forwards Oliwer Stensson, Alec Johnson, and Caleb Travis are no longer with the team along with offensive-minded defenseman Harmen Vining.

Eight new skaters have joined the Admirals’ roster as the club heads into this weekend’s series against Southern Oregon, including former Spartans Sarp Demirezen, Yehor Honcharenko, Madiyar Zhaxylykov, and Adam Van Akin.

The top scorer currently listed on West Sounds’ active roster is Cory Kane, a 17-goal scorer averaging nearly a point per game in his first WSHL season. He’s followed by Artem Popov (13-6-19), a 19-year-old who appeared in six games with the Utah Outliers last season, collecting five points (1-4-5).

The Admirals only have four home games left in the regular season. West Sound will play nine of its final 13 games in enemy territory.

---Jared Tennant for Harrington Sports Media

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Written By: Jon McBride and Posted on: The Ogden Mustangs News

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