A new season brings another opportunity for veteran players to lift the Thorne Cup. While some players from last season have now aged out or moved on in their hockey careers, there are still plenty of returning vets still hungry to win a championship in the WSHL. As the season draws closer, here is a look at some of the top returning players from the Mountain Division as they begin another journey that they hope will end with a trophy in April.
Entering his final season of eligibility, Spodniak is trying to cement his name in Ogden Mustangs history. The Slovakian forward is closing in on the franchise's all-time points record. With another high-scoring performance like last year (89 regular season points and 17 playoff points), Spodniak will be able to etch his name as the greatest Mustangs scorer of all-time. His run toward history will help power Ogden as they attempt another run at the Thorne Cup.
Another top scorer for his team, Mastrandrea returns to the Colorado Eagles as they look to defend their Mountain Division championship. A Colorado native, Mastrandrea enters his final year of junior eligibility looking to build off of an impressive 2016-17 season. He led the Eagles with 77 points in the regular season and he was one of five Colorado players to notch at least six points during the postseason. Mastrandrea will no doubt be a key component to the Eagles' offense again this year.
Along with Mastrandrea, Lajoie is back in Fort Collins for another season with the Eagles. He had the sixth-best goals against average and the fifth-best save percentage among goaltenders with at least 30 games played last year. The 19-year-old Wichita native played a big role in Colorado's run to a Mountain Division banner, posting a 24-10-3 record. Lajoie will look to continue to frustrate the rest of the Mountain's big scorers and hopes to do that all the way to April.
What other veteran players from the Mountain Division are you excited to see this season? Let me know on Twitter @CactusOnIce
Article by Charles Woodall-Pike, WSHL Mountain Division Correspondent
Photo courtesy of Marc Mauno
Last season, the Chris Seto of the Southern Oregon Spartans set the Northwest Division and the WSHL ablaze as he led all players in the Northwest Division in scoring with a total of 114 points, good for fifth in the league's scoring race, as well. This season, Seto takes his talents to the Kontinental Hockey League's Kunlun Red Star organization.
Of the Russia-based KHL, Kunlun stands as the lone Chinese representative in the league. With the 2022 Winter Olympics taking place in Beijing, the Kunlun organization is hard at work creating a development program. Looking for promising young talent, Kunlun signed Seto to a three-year deal over the summer.
After participating as a part of the KHL team's roster in the preseason and training camp, Seto's season begins overseas. Of the talent shown so far by Seto, with WSHL career 212 points in 101 games, it won't be long before we see Seto climbing the ranks of the Kunlun Red Star organization.
Story by Eric Rodgers, WSHL Midwest Division correspondent. You can find Eric on Twitter, @ericrsports.