Weekly Mid-West Division Preview (10/1 - 10/4)

 The intra-division series between the Springfield Express (2-0-1) and Wichita Jr. Thunder (1-2-0) 

September 18-20 are the only games that are on the books in the Mid-Western Division standings.  The 

rest of the six-team division gets underway this weekend with the Dallas Snipers hosting the Express, the 

Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers going into Wichita and the Tulsa Jr. Oilers heading up to Casper to face the 

defending Mountain Division Coyotes.


The Express finished third in the division last season and defeated Tulsa in the playoffs before bowing 

out to Oklahoma City in a hard-fought division semifinal series that went the full three games.

The Snipers hope to get their season off on the right foot.  They lost their first five games of 2014-15, 

and were just 5-17-2 by the end of November, before slowly digging themselves out with a 12-8-2 mark 

the rest of the way.

A quicker start to the season could result in stronger positioning come playoff time.  Dallas has been 

eliminated by El Paso in the division semifinal each of the last two years.


The El Paso Rhinos do not begin defense of their division title until October 22-24 when they head to 

California for a three-game road trip through Valencia (2 games) and Long Beach (1 game).

The Rhinos have won the division nine straight years going back to their entry into the WSHL for the 

2006-07 season.

Cory Herman is back for his 10th season at the helm of the franchise he founded.  The team is looking for 

their third Thorne Cup after titles in 2008 & 2014.  Herman boasts 369 career wins in the regular season 

(369-50-10) and another 48 in the post-season (48-16).

Click here to read about some new signings for the Rhinos on www.elpasorhinos.com


The Jr. Blazers swept last year’s six-game season series against Wichita and hope to keep that trend 

going as they open the season with three games against the Jr. Thunder at Wichita Ice Center.

A pair of Jr. Blazers from last season, forward Dominik Vlk and defenseman Miroslav Pokorny, will be in 

training camp with the ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers.  Vlk scored 27 goals and 51 points in just 34 games with OKC.

Click here to read the whole story on www.okcblazershockey.com


The Express jumped out to the early lead in the division by collecting five of a possible six points in their 

home opening weekend against Wichita.  They are hoping to improve upon their third-place finish in 

their first year in Springfield, MO.  That came after missing the playoffs in four of five seasons as the 

New Mexico Renegades (2009-2014) before relocating.

Click here to read about the Express acquiring defenseman Alex Smith, a veteran of over 100 WSHL 

games, from Oklahoma City.


The start of a new season provides a clean slate for the Jr. Oilers, who finished 2014-15 on a 23-game 

losing streak and have not won in front of their home fans since a three-game sweep of Dallas 

November 7-9, 2014. 

Sam Mancini and Sam Hiserodt are two players Tulsa is pleased to have back.  Click here to read more 

about them on www.tulsajuniorhockey.com.


Joel Gellvear is the all-time leader in goals (33), assists (48) and points (81) in Jr. Thunder history.  He has 

accumulated those totals in just 68 games played and returns for a third season with the franchise.

“Joel is a definitely a first line center in the WSHL, said Wichita coach Rob Weingartner.  “He has great 

work ethic and sees the ice very well.  His constant production over the last couple years is proof of 


Another returning forward, Jet Bell, leads the team with six points (1-5-6).  Zach Balodis and Tom 

Lindstrom are also back on the blue line. 

Click here to read a preview of the Jr. Thunder on www.usajuniorhockey.com