The Thorne Cup Finals are just about here. Six teams. Five days. One champion. It should be some phenomenal hockey coming up this week at The Ice Sheet in Ogden, Utah.

Who’s the favorite to come out on top? It’s anyone’s guess. All six teams have a shot, with stats and storylines aplenty. But at this point, it’s a clean slate. The tired cliché of “who wants it more” has never been more true. This is playoff hockey, folks. This is pure desire, adrenaline, emotion and momentum to will the eventual champion on to victory. You can’t count anyone out. You do not want to miss these games.

Game Notes are compiled by Ogden Mustangs broadcasting and media specialist, Jon McBride. Catch Jon live during the games, calling the action via Black Dog Hockey, alongside Oklahoma City’s Eric Rodgers and Edson’s Keaton Tabbert.

Let’s take a look at comparable statistics and analysis for each of the six Thorne Cup teams.

Rhett Rampinelli led the Mustangs this season with 132 points, but it's the Mustangs depth and team defense that could be the difference maker in the Thorne Cup Finals.

Rhett Rampinelli led the Mustangs this season with 132 points, but it’s the Mustangs depth and team defense that could be the difference maker in the Thorne Cup Finals.

OGDEN MUSTANGS

Regular season record: 47-2-0-2
Regular season standings: 1st in the Mountain Division with 143 points, 1st in WSHL

Powerplay: 24% (5th overall in the WSHL)
Penalty Kill: 89% (2nd overall in the WSHL)

Playoff record: 4-1
Playoff results: 2-0 series victory over Steamboat, 2-1 series victory over Utah
Playoff goals for: 30 total, 6.0 per game
Playoff goals against: 5 total, 1.0 per game
Playoff goal differential: +25

Playoff performers to watch:

#12 – Ian Currie – 4 G, 5 A, 9 PTS, 1 SHG, big playoff performer with 12 playoff PTS last season

#13 – Rhett Rampinelli – 3 G, 5 A, 8 PTS, led the team, 3rd in the WSHL with 132 regular season PTS

#29 – Ammon Anderson – 3 G, 5 A, 8 PTS, 2nd in team scoring this season

#16 – Harry Gulliver – 2 G, 5 A, 7 PTS, 1 GWG, 1 GTG, 3rd straight season in the Thorne Cup Finals

#33 – Artur Ogandzhanyan – 1.00 GAA, .958 SV%, 95 saves in 4 appearances

How they’re coming into the finals:
The Mustangs come into their third consecutive Thorne Cup Finals with some major unfinished business. Last season, the Mustangs just barely came up short in El Paso, losing 3-2 in the championship game against the home-town Rhinos. Two seasons ago, hosting the finals at home, the Mustangs held a third-period lead against the eventual champions, the Wichita Jr. Thunder, before falling to them in the semifinals. This season, they come into the finals red hot, after a dominant regular season, finishing with 23 points more than any other team, scoring 25 more goals than any other team and allowing 15 fewer goals than any other team. Most recently, the Mustangs battled with some gritty playoff victories. This is a team that has shown they can win in a variety of ways. This is a team that was built from day one for a Thorne Cup run. Can the Mustangs keep it going? Are they the hottest team coming into the finals? Can they handle the pressure of having a massive target on their backs as the No. 1 seed?

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Tues., April 9, 7:30 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City

Game 2 – Wed., April 10, 7:30 p.m. vs. Edson

Game 3 – Thurs., April 11, 7:30 p.m. vs. El Paso

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
vs. LB – 2-1-0
vs. OKC – 1-1-1
vs. ELP – 1-0-0
vs. EDS – 1-0-0
vs. BEL – 0-0-0
Total – 5-2-1

Sebastian Heden put up ridiculous numbers this season, racking up a WSHL-high 148. He's got a ton of speed and offensive skill but will be facing much more difficult competition in the Thorne Cup Final than he faced in the Provincial Division.

Sebastian Heden put up ridiculous numbers this season, racking up a WSHL-high 148 points. He’s got a ton of speed and offensive skill but will be facing much more difficult competition in the Thorne Cup Finals than he faced this season in the Provincial Division.

EDSON AEROS

Regular season record: 37-6-1-1
Regular season standings: 1st in the Provincial Division with 114 points, 5th in the WSHL in points, but 2nd overall in winning percentage

Powerplay: 30% (1st overall in the WSHL)
Penalty Kill: 87% (5th overall in the WSHL)

Playoff record: 4-0
Playoff results: 2-0 series victory over Cold Lake, 2-0 series victory over Hinton
Playoff goals for: 32 total, 8.0 per game
Playoff goals against: 8 total, 2.0 per game
Playoff goal differential: +24

Playoff performers to watch:

#5 – Sebastian Heden – 3 G, 9 A, 12 PTS in 2 GMS (did not play in the division finals series against Hinton), led the WSHL in regular season scoring with 148 PTS

#7 – Emil Johansson – 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS, led the WSHL in regular season goals with 76

#10 – Kevin Lundin – 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS, 100 regular season PTS

#11 – Ryley Bast – 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS, big contributor since coming over from the Outliers

#31 – Liam Austin – 2.00 GAA, .932 SV%, 118 shots faced, has started all 4 GMS

How they’re coming into the finals:
Now this is going to be an interesting team to watch. In the inaugural season of the Provincial Division in the WSHL, the Aeros cruised to a division title. They’ve been dominant all season long, north of the border. However, they got served a bit of a wakeup call when the came to Vegas at the midway point of the season and got swept at the Western States Shootout (against three teams that are also here at the finals). Since that point, they’ve revamped the roster a bit, adding some key pieces, including depth players up front and a star defenseman. Since the Showcase, the Aeros are on a 26-game winning streak. They have what could be the best line in the WSHL in the Swedish trio of Heden, Johansson and Lundin. Can those three carry this team similarly to how Wichita’s top line carried them to a title in Ogden two season’s ago? Was getting swept in Vegas truly the wakeup call the Aeros needed? Will they come into Ogden with a chip on their shoulder? Can they ride the momentum of that 26-game winning streak? Or will their lack of out-of-division experience and in-game, top-tier opposition hurt them?

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Tues., April 9, 3 p.m. vs. Long Beach

Game 2 – Wed., April 10, 7:30 p.m. vs. Ogden

Game 3 – Thurs., April 11, 3 p.m. vs. Bellingham

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
vs. OGD  – 0-1-0
vs. ELP – 0-1-0
vs. LB – 0-1-0
vs. BEL – o-1-0
vs. OKC – 0-0-0
Total – 0-4-0

The Rhinos were led by Jonas Burman this season, amassing 76 regular season points. He's part of a mostly-new roster this season, with only five returners from last season's Thorne Cup title team.

The Rhinos were led by Jonas Burman this season, amassing 76 regular season points. He’s part of a mostly-new roster this season in El Paso, with only five returners from last season’s Thorne Cup title team.

EL PASO RHINOS

Regular season record: 37-8-3-3
Regular season standings: 1st in the Midwest Division with 120 points, 2nd in WSHL

Powerplay: 25% (4th overall in the WSHL)
Penalty Kill: 88% (3rd overall in the WSHL)

Playoff record: 4-0
Playoff results: 2-0 series victory over Dallas, 2-0 series victory over OKC
Playoff goals for: 23 total, 5.7 per game
Playoff goals against: 2 total, 0.5 per game
Playoff goal differential: +21

Playoff performers to watch:

#17 – Eimantas Noreika – 5 G, 3 A, 8 PTS, 2 GWG

#22 – Jonas Burman – 1 G, 7 A, 8 PTS, 5 PPA, led the team with 76 PTS in the regular season

#8 – Dillon Manchester – 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS

#24 – Martin Dubsky – 6 A, 6 PTS, 2nd in regular season scoring with 75 PTS

#1 – Nils Velm – 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%, 23 saves on 23 shots in 2 playoff appearances

How they’re coming into the finals:
The Rhinos are looking to defend their Thorne Cup title from last season and rack up back-to-back titles for the first time in franchise history. There are five returners from that championship-winning team who bring experience with them to Ogden. The Rhinos clawed their way back to win last season’s title after losing their first two games of the week and getting into the semis via a tiebreaker. This a tough team to play against, playing a highly-physical brand of hockey year-in and year-out, able to get under their opponents’ skin. Can they win with that brand of hockey in Ogden? Can they ride the momentum of a dominant postseason thus far? After playing 13 consecutive home games, how will they react to playing on the road/neutral ice, in a building they haven’t played in before?

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Tues., April 9, 11 a.m. vs. Bellingham

Game 2 – Wed., April 10, 3 p.m. vs. Long Beach

Game 3 – Thurs., April 11, 7:30 p.m. vs. Ogden

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
vs. OKC – 7-3-1 (including playoffs)
vs. BEL – 1-0-0
vs. EDS – 1-0-0
vs. LB – 0-3-0
vs. OGD – 0-1-0
Total – 9-7-1

TCGN5

Domenic Bosetti will end a lengthy WSHL career in this his third consecutive appearance in the Thorne Cup Finals. He put up phenomenal numbers this season for the Bombers. Can he be a difference maker between the pipes in Ogden?

LONG BEACH BOMBERS

Regular season record: 35-8-6-2
Regular season standings: 1st in the Western Division with 119 points, 3rd in the WSHL

Powerplay: 28% (3rd overall in the WSHL)
Penalty Kill: 81% (11th overall in the WSHL)

Playoff record: 4-0-1
Playoff results: 2-0 series victory over Ontario, 2-1 series victory over Fresno
Playoff goals for: 23 total, 4.6 per game
Playoff goals against: 7 total, 1.4 per game

Playoff goal differential: +16
Playoff performers to watch:

#7 – Gennady Malashenko – 6 G, 6 A, 12 PTS

#24 – Tomas Urbanec – 6 G, 4 A, 10 PTS, 2 SHG, 2 GWG, playing in his 3rd consecutive Thorne Cup Finals, Bombers all-time leading scorer, 6th in all-time WSHL scoring with 287 career PTS, needs 2 points to pass Matus Spodniak for 5th

#27 – Artem Korolev – 3 G, 5 A, 8 PTS, led the team in regular season scoring with 92 PTS

#86 – Christoffer Juvas – 3 G, 3 A, 6 PTS, had just 3 G in 20 GMS in the regular season

#37 – Domenic Bosetti – 1.40 GAA, .953 SV%, 1 SO, played in all 5 GMS, 3rd straight season in Thorne Cup Finals

How they’re coming into the finals:
The Bombers have once again won a division championship, and once again will now look to prove themselves on a league-wide stage. In the past two seasons, their results at the Thorne Cup Finals were disappointments, to say the least, being outscored 20-10 last season in El Paso and 14-5 two seasons ago in Ogden. But this has felt like a different Bombers squad this season. The Bombers filled their schedule with top-tier out-of-division matchups this season, which included hosting El Paso, traveling to Ogden and traveling to Bellingham. They went 6-3 in those games. This team has some fight to it. They also come into the week as the only team in the finals to have not only played in Ogden this season, but to have ever played in Ogden. Can that bit of experience advantage help them? Are they coming into the week with something to prove after disappointing showings the past two seasons? Will having the most experienced goalie of any team at the event be a difference-maker?

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Tues., April 9, 3 p.m. vs. Edson

Game 2 – Wed., April 10, 3 p.m. vs. El Paso

Game 3 – Thurs., April 11, 11 a.m. vs. Oklahoma City

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
vs. ELP – 3-0-0
vs. BEL – 2-1-0
vs. OGD – 1-2-0
vs. EDS – 1-0-0
vs. OKC – 1-0-0
Total – 8-3-0

TCGN6a

A hot goalie can make a huge difference in playoff hockey. Edward Coffey is coming off a gem of a shutout performance to earn a Northwest Division Championship for the Blazers. Can he steal a game or two for the Blazers in Ogden?

BELLINGHAM BLAZERS

Regular season record: 34-14-0-3
Regular season standings: 2nd in the Northwest Division with 105 points, 7th in the WSHL

Powerplay: 17% (18th overall in the WSHL)
Penalty Kill: 84% (7th overall in the WSHL)

Playoff record: 4-1-0
Playoff results: 2-0 series victory over Southern Oregon, 2-1 series victory over Seattle
Playoff goals for: 24 total, 4.8 per game
Playoff goals against: 17 total, 3.4 per game
Playoff goal differential: +7

Playoff performers to watch:

#12 – TJ Prexler – 5 G, 4 A, 9 PTS, led the team in regular season PTS with 121

#21 – Robbie Eichelberger – 4 G, 3 A, 7 PTS

#11 – Tommy Steven – 3 G, 2 A, 5 PTS, 2 GWG, team-high 8 GWG in regular season

#3 – Jamahl Eakett – 3 G, 1 A, 4 PTS, 2nd in team scoring in the regular season with 114 PTS, returning to his home state of Utah for the finals

#1 – Edward Coffey – 3.33 GAA, .919 SV%, 124 shots faced, 1 SO

How they’re coming into the finals:
Bellingham is coming into Ogden on a wild ride. After a heartbreaking end to the regular season meant losing the regular season division title and home ice advantage for the division finals, the Blazers gutted out series victories over Southern Oregon and at Seattle. They were on the brink of elimination against the Totems in the division finals after losing Game 1 and seeing Game 2 go to overtime, but they hung on for the OT winner and then a 2-0 shutout victory in Game 3 with a gem of a performance from their goaltender Edward Coffey to win their first ever Northwest Division championship, sending them to their first ever Thorne Cup Finals. By the way, the Blazers have done all of this since parting ways with their head coach at the end of the regular season. Can they find ways to win in Ogden? Can Coffey steal a game or two on the league’s biggest stage? Can they relish the role of underdog, coming into the week from what many believe was a weaker division this season?

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Tues., April 9, 11 a.m. vs. El Paso

Game 2 – Wed., April 10, 11 a.m. vs. Oklahoma City

Game 3 – Thurs., April 11, 3 p.m. vs. Edson

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
vs. LB – 1-1-1
vs. EDS – 1-0-0
vs. OKC – 0-1-0
vs. ELP – 0-1-0
vs. OGD – 0-0-0
Total – 2-3-1

TCGN7

Vitali Mikhailov has been OKC’s leading scorer this season, after racking up 107 points in the regular season, but it was his heroics in Game 2 of their opening-round series against the Eagles that kept the season alive and ended up giving them a shot at the Thorne Cup Finals.

OKLAHOMA CITY BLAZERS

Regular season record: 37-10-2-1
Regular season standings: 2nd in the Midwest Division with 116 points, 4th in the WSHL

Powerplay: 29% (2nd overall in the WSHL)
Penalty Kill: 91% (1st overall in the WSHL)

Playoff record: 2-2-1
Playoff results: 2-1 series victory over Northern Colorado, 0-1-1 series loss to El Paso
Playoff goals for: 12 total, 2.4 per game
Playoff goals against: 15 total, 3.0 per game
Playoff goal differential: -3

Playoff performers to watch:

#91 – Vitali Mikhailov – 4 G, 2 A, 6 PTS, led the team with 107 regular season PTS, 8th in WSHL all-time scoring

#16 – Stephane Doering – 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS

#6 – Dominic Loubert – 4 A, 4 PTS

#26 – Jeremy Van Dyke – 2 G, 1 A, 3 PTS

#30 – Bobby Cloutier – 2.60 GAA, .909 SV%, 2nd season in the Thorne Cup Finals

How they’re coming into the finals:
The Blazers come into Ogden in improbable fashion to say the least. They barely survived their first round matchup at home against Northern Colorado after losing Game 1 and being down in the final minute of Game 2, before willing a miraculous comeback. After winning that series, they went into El Paso and got swept in the division finals. Their only hope at getting a bid to Ogden as this season’s wildcard team was if the Mustangs came up with a remarkable comeback of their own in Game 3 of their division finals to knock out the Outliers, who would’ve taken that wildcard spot if they could’ve held on to their final-minute lead. But the Mustangs came back to win, knocking out the Outliers and thus punching Oklahoma City’s ticket. Does any team feel as grateful to be in the finals as OKC? Will they show an added level of urgency to not squander the chance they’ve been given? They get the unenviable task of facing home-town Ogden on Day 1, but if they manage to pull off a victory there, can they ride that momentum all the way?

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Tues., April 19, 7:30 p.m. vs. Ogden

Game 2 – Wed., April 10, 11 a.m. vs. Bellingham

Game 3 – Thurs., April 11, 11 p.m. vs. Long beach

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
vs. ELP – 4-5-2 (including playoffs)
vs. OGD – 2-1-0
vs. BEL – 1-0-0
vs. LB – 0-1-0
vs. EDS – 0-0-0
Total – 7-7-2


Thorne Cup Playoff Leaders

Goals

Malashenko – LB – 6
Urbanec – LB – 6
Currie – OGD – 5
Bast – EDS – 5
Johansson – EDS – 5
Lundin – EDS – 5
Berndtsson – EDS – 5
Noreika – ELP – 5
Manchester – ELP – 5
TJ Prexler – BEL – 5

Assists

Heden – EDS – 9
Bailer – EDS – 7
Burman – ELP – 7
Gottselig – EDS – 6
Dubsky – ELP – 6
Malashenko – LB – 6
Anderson – OGD – 5
Rampinelli – OGD – 5
Gulliver – OGD – 5
Lind – EDS – 5
Rongione – EDS – 5
Korolev – LB – 5
Stromback – LB – 5
Timon Prexler – BEL – 5

Points

Malashenko – LB – 12
Heden – EDS – 12
Urbanec – LB – 10
Currie – OGD – 9
TJ Prexler – BEL – 9
Rampinelli – OGD – 8
Anderson – OGD – 8
Burman – ELP – 8
Noreika – ELP – 8
Korolev – LB – 8

Goals Against Average

Velm – ELP – 0.00
Ogandzhanyan – OGD – 1.00
Parent – ELP – 1.00
Bosetti – LB – 1.40
Austin – EDS – 2.00
Cloutier – OKC – 2.60
Coffey – BEL – 3.33
Pawlick – BEL – 3.50

Save Percentage

Velm – ELP – 1.000
Ogandzhanyan – OGD – .958
Bosetti – LB – .953
Parent – ELP – .941
Austin – EDS – .932
Coffey – BEL – .919
Cloutier – OKC – .909
Pawlick – BEL – .901

Shots

Bosetti – LB – 149
Cloutier – OKC – 143
Coffey – BEL – 124
Austin – EDS – 118
Ogandzhanyan – OGD – 95
Pawlick – BEL – 71
Parent – ELP – 34
Velm – ELP – 23

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