El Dorado, Adirondack, West Virginia Top the League at the Halfway Mark

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2022 at 11:23 am

At the halfway mark of the 2021-22 season, El Dorado (24-13-3) leads the way in the Plante Conference, ahead of a resurgent Salem (23-14-3). Charleston put together a strong 13-5-2 quarter and leapfrogged Baltimore and Parry Sound to pull into the third spot — certainly one of the surprises of the year so far.

The Sawchuk Conference is topped by the league’s two best teams, Adirondack (32-7-1) and West Virginia (31-7-2). An 8-10-2 quarter for Vancouver, meanwhile, put them behind Farmington with both Hamilton and Ice Harbor nipping at their heels.

West Virginia’s Leon Draisaitl still leads the scoring race, with 77 points in 40 games, and also shares the league lead in goals (34) with Vancouver’s Connor Brown. Hamilton’s Tyson Barrie leads all defensemen with 46 points in 40 games, just ahead of the River Rats’ two blueline aces Jakob Chychrun and Dougie Hamilton. Tim Stutzle of Parry Sound leads all rookies with 42 points in 40 games, while Adirondack’s Kirill Kaprizov has the most goals among freshmen with 27 in 38 games — a major reason the Aces have climbed out of the basement. The Aces’ other big difference maker, Semyon Varlamov, tops the league in wins with 23 (to go along with a solid 2.65/.917 stat line), well ahead of the pack.

Adirondack Posts League’s Best Record in First Quarter

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2021 at 11:41 am

The talk of the GWMHL’s first quarter was Adirondack — after a rough 2020-21 season, the Aces surged to a league-best 16-3-1 start. Trailing just behind in the Sawchuk are two teams who were expected to be there in West Virginia (16-4-0) and Vancouver (15-4-1). Defending champ El Dorado leads the Plante with a strong 13-6-1 record, just ahead of Salem (12-7-1) and Baltimore (11-9-0).

West Virginia’s Leon Draisaitl leads all scorers with 44 points (18 goals and 26 assists) in 20 games, ahead of Ice Harbor’s Jonathan Huberdeau (37 points) and West Virginia linemate Sebastian Aho (36 points). Vancouver’s Connor Brown is the league’s unlikely goal leader at the quarter pole, lighting the lamp 22 times. Veteran Ice Harbor defenseman Kris Letang leads all blueliners in scoring, with 27 points in 20 games, while Parry Sound’s Tim St├╝tzle sits atop this year’s rookie class with 20 points in his first 20 games.

Also of note, West Virginia’s Brian Elliott leads all goalies in wins with 16 despite a terrible .871 save percentage. Watch out for the River Rats when Juuse Saros gets his turn in net.

Season Preview: Sawchuk (part 2)

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2021 at 11:26 am

We conclude our four-part preseason preview with a look at the rest of the Sawchuk Conference. Missed the rest? Here they are: Plante part 1 and part 2; Sawchuk part 1.

Ice Harbor Storm

Last season: 42-37-3 (missed playoffs)

Draft picks: G Spencer Knight (9), F Dylan Cozens (12), F Arthur Kaliyev (34), D Wyatt Kalynuk (78)

Notable additions: F Trevor Moore, F Victor Rask, F Sam Carrick

Notable subtractions: F Boone Jenner, F Nazem Kadri, F Kyle Turris, F Justin Williams, D Calvin De Haan, G Malcolm Subban

Analysis: Ice Harbor’s excellent depth up front — led by Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, with Alex DeBrincat, Matthew Tkachuk, Brayden Schenn, Blake Wheeler, and Sam Reinhart filling in the ranks — helped to absorb the fairly heavy losses of Nazem Kadri and Boone Jenner in the expansion draft. The team has yet to address its glut of righthanded defensemen, however, which puts perhaps unfair pressure on lefties Nick Leddy and Mike Matheson, and the team made waves by drafting Spencer Knight, which many saw as a vote of non-confidence in Carter Hart. Knight is a season away, and the team is hoping to shelter Hart with Jonathan Bernier and Linus Ullmark. The gambit could pay off. On paper, this is a playoff-caliber team — but that was true last season as well.

Player to watch: The Storm have a pretty good defensive group, but only one dynamic offensive presence in the form of Kris Letang. The Storm’s fortunes have often risen and fallen with Letang’s health. If he can play most of the season, it bodes well.

Outlook: Playoffs

Portland WinterHawks

Last season: 20-46-16 (missed playoffs)

Draft picks: F Yegor Sharangovich (5), D Mikey Anderson (25), G Vitek Vanecek (47), D Jacob Bryson (69)

Notable additions: F Ryan Hartman, F Alexander Barabanov

Notable subtractions: F Blake Lizotte, F Jake Virtanen, D Matt Niskanen, D Brent Seabrook, G Jaroslav Halak

%d bloggers like this: