Playoff Races Take Shape as GWMHL Reaches Season’s Midpoint

In News on December 23, 2020 at 9:22 am

Just in time for the holidays, the GWMHL finished its second quarter yesterday. The halfway point means the mid-season free agent draft is coming, as well as the trade deadline, but most of all it’s a chance to see some bonafide playoff races begin to form.

In the Plante, El Dorado (26-10-4) solidified its hold on first place, 9 points ahead of second-place Baltimore (23-16-1). But a race for the third and fourth spots is already taking shape, as Pittsburgh (19-15-6) and Salem (20-19-1) are barely ahead of Charleston (18-19-3). Winnipeg and South Side are both within striking distance, too.

The Sawchuk race saw West Virginia (27-11-2) come down to earth a bit in the second quarter, making way for a surprising Vancouver club (26-9-5) to narrowly take the top spot. The reigning champs in Boston (25-13-2) are right in the mix, as is Delta (21-12-7). It’ll be an uphill climb for any of the other teams to make a push for a spot, as fifth-place Ice Harbor (20-19-1) trails by 8 points.

Along with his teammates, West Virginia’s Leon Draisaitl cooled off a bit but still holds a healthy lead in the points race with 64. Delta’s Nathan MacKinnon put up 28 points in the second quarter to take second place with 59. Alex Ovechkin of El Dorado leads all goal-scorers with 32. Farmington’s John Carlson has a whopping 45 points, first among defensemen, although Vancouver has four blueliners in the top 10 as they’ve driven the team’s success so far. And finally, Charleston freshman Dominik Kubalik leapfrogged past Baltimore’s injured Cale Makar to take the rookie scoring lead.

River Rats Seize Early Season Lead with Monster First Quarter

In News, WVR on November 16, 2020 at 7:36 pm

The West Virginia River Rats, who had one of the league’s worst records last season, made a huge splash to start the 2020-21 season, going 18-2-0 and scoring 114 goals in their first 20 games. It’s early, but that high-octane offensive output, led by a dominant top line of Leon Draisaitl, Sebastian Aho and Patrik Laine, puts the Rats on pace to shatter league records by season’s end.

In the Plante Conference, the usually competitive Parry Sound sagged to a very disappointing 6-12-2 start, leaving an opening for both Baltimore (13-7-0) and Pittsburgh (12-6-2) to put themselves into the top four in the conference. Salem (12-8-0) made up for its anemic offensive start (57 goals) by allowing just 49 while El Dorado (13-6-1) also had a strong start.

No team in the Sawchuk was remotely as good as West Virginia, but the first quarter saw good starts from defending Gump Cup champ Boston (14-5-1), thanks to sparkling play by Ben Bishop. Vancouver (13-4-3) had a surprisingly good showing, putting the team a few points ahead of cup contending division rival Delta (11-6-3). Adirondack fans were shocked to see its team limp along to just 3 wins in the first 20 and the league’s worst record.

Draisaitl leads all scorers after 20 games, with a jaw-dropping 45 points. Linemates Aho and Laine are third and fourth, respectively, and Aho leads all goal-scorers with 20. San Jose’s Mitch Marner is a distant second behind Draisaitl in the scoring race, with 33 points. Baltimore’s strong quarter was largely driven by its blueline, which featured three players — Brent Burns, Anthony DeAngelo and rookie Cale Makar — scoring at a point-per-game pace. Also of note, Vancouver’s two Sheas, Weber and Theodore, are one-two in defenseman goals with 10 and 9. Makar’s 20 points give him a five-point lead in the rookie scoring race.

Boston’s Bishop has three shutouts already, along with the best stats (2.39, .920) of any of the goalies who have seen more than half of their teams’ games so far.

Season Preview: Plante West

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2020 at 7:03 pm

Our fourth and final division preview covers the Plante West, one of the league’s more intriguing divisions. Can El Dorado match its success from last year (before losing in the cup final, that is)? Will Parry Sound finally get over the hump and turn regular season success into a championship? Can Baltimore turn its big 2020 draft lottery win into a resurgence?

You can read the other three previews here: Plante East, Sawchuk West, Sawchuk East.

Parry Sound Orrsmen

Last season: 45-26-11 (lost in second round)

Draft picks: F Emil Bemstrom (18), F Egor Korshkov (81)

Notable additions: F Emil Bemstrom, F Nick Paul, D Christian Djoos, D Christian Jaros

Notable subtractions: F Micheal Ferland, D Andy Greene, D Andrej Sekera, G Ryan Miller