Weekly Mid-Western Division Preview (10/8 - 10/11)
DALLAS SNIPERS (1-1-1)
Overall, it was an encouraging opening weekend for the Dallas Snipers. They picked up points in two of their three games against a strong Springfield team with five players scoring multiple goals: Daniel Nordlander (4-1-5), Michael Tugo (2-3-5), Hampus Ahlebrand (2-2-4), Sterling Cooper (2-2-4) and Dusan Olsa (2-0-2).
Nordlander scored three of his four goals on the power play while both of Olsa’s tallies came shorthanded.
It seems the Snipers are starting to live up to their name. Over the past four seasons, the goal totals for the team look like this: 132, 138, 172, 193. Notice a trend?
In addition to the five players listed above, last year’s leading scorer Alexander Yunanov (1-3-4) has returned. He put up 53 points (22-31-53) in 40 games as an 18-year-old last year.
Although they are on the road to take on the Colorado Evolution in an inter-division series this weekend, the Snipers play 15 of their first 21 games at the Dr. Pepper Star Center.
EL PASO RHINOS (0-0-0)
The Rhinos continue to count down until their season opener October 23 at Valencia against the upstart Flyers.
OKLAHOMA CITY JR. BLAZERS (2-1-0)
Two-time 100-point scorer Tomas Nemeth signing with the Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers was the biggest signing of the summer in the WSHL.
Nemeth surpassed the century mark in each of the last two seasons in Long Beach, scoring 105 and 100 points, respectively. His WSHL career also included a 10-game stint in Wichita during the 2012-13 season in which he produced 19 points (9-10-19).
After his opening weekend as a Jr. Blazer, he has played 100 career WSHL regular season games, producing an 82-148-230 scoring line. He added seven points (4-3-7) in five post-season games during his time in Long Beach.
Could he become the first WSHL player to eclipse the 300-point mark?
SPRINGFIELD EXPRESS (4-1-1)
Linus Dahlberg produced more than a point-per-game for the Springfield Express last season, scoring 21 goals and assisting on 28 others in 45 games played.
Dahlberg, a 19-year-old who added seven points (2-5-7) in five playoff games last spring, has taken his game to a new level in the early stages of the 2015-16 season.
Dahlberg leads the WSHL scoring race with 19 points (6-13-19) in his first six games.
Click here to see pictures of the Express visiting the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
TULSA JR. OILERS (1-2-0)
Despite winning just one of three games in Casper against the Coyotes, Tulsa Jr. Oilers head coach Marty Magers was pleased with the way his team played.
“It's was a great test last weekend in Casper.” Said Magers. “I thought we could have won the first two games.
“We played great as a team but we ran out of gas,” he continued. “We have a great group of men and I couldn't be more happy with their effort and attitude.
Magers is eager to see how his team responds to their next challenge this weekend.
“This weekend in Springfield will be a challenge,” he said. “They have 2 good coaches there that will always produce a great team. We are excited about the weekend.”
WICHITA JR. THUNDER (2-4-0)
Zach Balodis, a 6’0”, 185-pound defenseman from Cleveland, OH, is back for a second season in the WSHL in Wichita. Balodis, who played his minor hockey with the Cleveland Barons in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League, produced 39 points (12-27-39) in just 31 games last season.
Another returning veteran for the Jr. Thunder is Oshawa, ON native Jack McClelland (pictured above). Jack, 19, is the oldest of three McClelland Brothers playing in Wichita, along with Matt (18) and Max (18). He played five games of major junior hockey last season for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.
Now in his third season for the Jr. Thunder, McClelland has collected 74 points (31-43-74) and 271 penalty minutes in 69 career WSHL games.