The 2017 Thorne Cup Finals are here. Six teams. Five days. One champion. It should be some phenomenal hockey coming up in Ogden, Utah. Who’s the favorite to come out on top? It’s anyone’s guess. All six teams have a legitimate shot, with stats and storylines aplenty to back them up. 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 do not want to miss these games.

Game Notes are compiled by Ogden Mustangs Director of Broadcasting and Social Media, Jon McBride. Catch Jon live at the finals, calling 10+ games over the five days on WSHL TV  from Black Dog Enterprises.

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

THE OGDEN MUSTANGS

Regular season record: 42-7-3
Regular season standings: 1st in the Mountain Division with 87 points

Playoff record: 3-2-1
Playoff results: 2-1 victory over Casper, 2-1 loss to Colorado
Goals for: 28 total, 4.7 per game
Goals against: 16 total, 2.7 per game
Powerplay: 8-for-28, 29%
Penalty kill: 23-for-24, 96%

Playoff performers to watch:

#18 – Matus Spodniak – 6 G, 5 A, 11 PTS (led the team with 89 regular season PTS)

#19 – Corey Iapalucci – 4 G, 5 A, 9 PTS, pts in all 6 playoff games

#11 – Montell Greene – 4 G, 5 A, 9 PTS

#4 – Austin Dittenhafer – 1 G, 5 A, 6 pts in 4 GP

#35 – Vladimir Cibulka – 2.58 GAA, .900 SV%

Coming into the finals like:
The Mustangs come in as the host team, looking to cap off what has been their best season in franchise history with their first Thorne Cup Championship. They’re the only finalist to have played in a series that has gone to three games this postseason. In fact, both of their series have gone to three games. Could fatigue play a factor for the Mustangs? Will home-ice advantage in a tough rink for opponents to play be the x factor? In the regular season, the Mustangs were the top defensive team in the WSHL, allowing just 98 goals. In the postseason, when defense and goaltending can often be the difference-maker, can the Mustangs’ play in their own zone be the difference in keeping the Thorne Cup in Ogden? We’ll find out soon.

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Wed., April 12, 7:30 p.m. vs. Idaho

Game 2 – Thurs., April 13, 7:30 p.m. vs. Long Beach

Game 3 – Fri., April 14, 7:30 p.m. vs. Colorado

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
COL – 5-3-1 (including playoffs)
vs. IDA – 3-3-0
vs. LB – 0-0-1
vs. WIC – DNP
vs. VAL – DNP
Total – 8-6-2

 

THE LONG BEACH BOMBERS

Regular season record: 46-5-1
Regular season standings: 1st in the Western Division with 93 points

Playoff record: 4-0
Playoff results: 2-0 victory over Las Vegas, 2-0 victory over Valencia
Goals for: 25 total, 6.25 per game
Goals against: 2 total, 0.5 per game
Powerplay: 8-for-24, 33%
Penalty kill: 17-for-18, 94%

Playoff performers to watch:

#26 – Anton Bowallius – 4 G, 4 A, 8 PTS (led the team with 91 regular season PTS)

#47 – Kiril Markevich – 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS

#5 – Cal Owens – 21 PIMs

#9 – Nick Short – 7 A, 7 PTS

#37 – Domenic Bosetti – 0.46 GAA, .981 SV%

Coming into the finals like:
The Bombers come into Ogden with what appeared to be one of the easier routes on paper. Statistically, their strength of schedule ranking this season was among the bottom half of the league, but still, they’ve racked up enough quality wins to qualify as the No. 1 team overall in the league power rankings. They’ve obliterated teams all season long with a very high-powered offense and an underrated defense. Will the Bombers be able to continue to dominate against a higher-caliber of competition? If/when adversity hits, will they be able to keep their cool? We’ll find out soon.

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Wed., April 12, 3:30 p.m. vs. Wichita

Game 2 – Thurs., April 13, 7:30 p.m. vs. Ogden

Game 3 – Fri., April 14, 3:30 p.m. vs. Valencia

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
VAL – 7-1-0, inc. playoffs)
vs. IDA – 1-0-0
vs. OGD- 1-0-0
vs. COL – 1-0-0
vs. WIC – DNP
Total – 10-2-0

 

THE IDAHO JR. STEELHEADS

Regular season record: 43-5-4
Regular season standings: 1st in the Northwest Division with 90 points

Playoff record: 4-0
Playoff results: 2-0 victory over Lake Tahoe, 2-0 victory over Butte
Goals for: 30 total, 7.5 per game
Goals against: 9 total, 2.25 per game
Powerplay: 9-for-23, 39%
Penalty kill: 20-for-23, 87%

Playoff performers to watch:

#27 – John Deroche – 5 G, 4 A, 9 PTS

#11 – Oleg Losev – 4 G, 5 A, 9 PTS

#17 – Lance Herning – 1 G, 7 A, 8 PTS (led the team with 69 regular season PTS)

#28 – Alex Piliya – 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS

#35 – Sergei Pysarenko – 2.25 GAA, .875 SV%

Coming into the finals like:
The Steelheads come into Ogden looking to keep the dynasty alive. Winning the championship would give them their third consecutive title. It would be their second time doing that in the past seven seasons. Last season they needed three overtime wins to get to the finals. This season, the path has been easier, but now facing off against some elevated competition, they’ll need to step up their game. Can the Steelheads’ experience pay off in potentially more tight games? Will the target on their backs be too big to overcome this time? No one is sleeping on the Steelheads. We’ll find out soon if the dynasty will continue.

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Wed., April 12, 7:30 p.m. vs. Ogden

Game 2 – Thurs., April 13, 3:30 p.m. vs. Valencia

Game 3 – Fri., April 14, 11 a.m. vs. Wichita

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
OGD – 3-3-0
vs. LB – 0-0-1
vs. COL – DNP
vs. WIC – DNP
vs. VAL – DNP
Total – 3-3-1

 

THE COLORADO JR. EAGLES

Regular season record:  38-11-3
Regular season standings: 2nd in the Mountain Division with 79 points

Playoff record: 4-1
Playoff results: 2-0 victory over Utah, 2-1 victory over Ogden
Goals for: 16 total, 3.2 per game
Goals against: 14 total, 2.8 per game
Powerplay: 3-for-20, 15%
Penalty kill: 22-for-26, 85%

Playoff performers to watch:

#25 – Hunter Cooley – 4 G, 1 A, 5 PTS, 2 OT winners

#26 – Matt Jung – 3 G, 2 A, 5 PTS

#9 – Vincent Mastrandrea – 1 G, 3 A, 4 PTS (led the team with 77 regular season PTS)

#10 – Adam Wammes – 16 PIMS

#1 – Braden Lajoie – 2.09 GAA, .937 SV%

Coming into the finals like:
The Eagles come into Ogden looking to grab the Thorne Cup this year, after coming so close last year, when they fell in three very tight games against the Steelheads. This year they hold a competitive advantage over four other finalists, having played six previous games in Ogden this season. Outside of the Mustangs, no other finalist has played in Ogden this season. And not only are the Eagles familiar with The Ice Sheet, they’re familiar with winning at The Ice Sheet, going 4-2 this season and 4-1-1 in the playoffs in Ogden over the past two seasons. The Eagles have great goaltending, which you need to win in the playoffs, and that goaltending comes from an experienced duo who has shared time over the past two seasons. With a potential of five games in five days, will the Eagles depth in net be a difference maker? Will they finish what they couldn’t last season? We’ll find out soon.

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Wed., April 12, 11 a.m. vs. Valencia

Game 2 – Thurs., April 13, 11 a.m. vs. Wichita

Game 3 – Fri., April 14, 7:30 p.m. vs. Ogden

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
vs. WIC – 3-0-0
vs. VAL – 1-0-0
vs. OGD – 4-4-1 (including playoffs)
vs. LB – 0-1-0
vs. IDA – DNP
Total – 8-5-1

 

THE WICHITA JR. THUNDER

Regular season record: 35-13-4
Regular season standings: 3rd in the Midwest Division with 74 points

Playoff record: 6-0
Playoff results: 2-0 victory over Dallas, 2-0 victory over Oklahoma City, 2-0 victory over El Paso
Goals for: 33 total, 5.5 per game
Goals against: 13 total, 2.5 per game
Powerplay: 5-for-22, 23%
Penalty kill: 20-for-27, 74%

Players to watch:

#15 – Oskar Gullstrom – 8 G, 8 A, 16 PTS

#23 – Zachary Balodis – 1 G, 10 A, 11 PTS

#88 – Peter Cicmanec – 5 G, 6 A, 11 PTS (led the WSHL with 134 regular season PTS)

#28 – Martin Trudman – 7 G, 3 A, 10 PTS

#37 – Erik Spath – 2.79 GAA, .911 SV% (9 consecutive Ws)

Coming into the finals like:
The Thunder come into Ogden as possibly the hottest team in the WSHL. They have not had a regulation loss in two full months, a 17-game span. This is a team that can put the puck in the net, with some dangerous offensive weapons. Their top line of Gullstrom, Cicmanec and David Good each had 100+ points this season. In they playoffs they’ve been getting some help through secondary scoring. The Thunder finished the season No. 3 in the Midwest Division. They are the first No. 3 seed in WSHL recorded his to make a run to the Thorne Cup Finals. Can they keep it going? Do they have enough left in the tank to take on the best of the best in the WSHL? We’ll find out soon.

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Wed., April 12, 3:30 p.m. vs. Long Beach

Game 2 – Thurs., April 13, 11 a.m. vs. Colorado

Game 3 – Fri., April 14, 11 a.m. vs. Wichita

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
COL – 0-3-0
vs. LB – DNP
vs. IDA – DNP
vs. OGD – DNP
vs. VAL – DNP
Total – 0-3-0

 

THE VALENCIA FLYERS

Record: 40-9-3
Regular season standings: 2nd in the Western Division with 83 points

Playoff record: 2-2
Playoff results: 2-0 victory over Ontario, 2-0 loss vs. Long Beach
Goals for: 12 total, 3 per game
Goals against: 13 total, 3.25 per game
Powerplay: 3-for-19, 16%
Penalty kill: 16-for-23, 74%

Players to watch:

#17 – Jordan Hank – 6 A, 6 PTS

#16 – Patrik Tondl – 3 G, 3 A, 6 PTS, 2 GWG

#49 – Dusan Olsa – 4 G, 1 A, 5 PTS (led the team with 82 regular season PTS)

#10 – Jakob Kranabetter – 2 A, 2 PTS (led the team with 78 PTS last season)

#93 – Joakim Blomgren – 2.12 GAA, ,939 SV%

Coming into the finals like:
The Flyers come into Ogden as the underdog. As the wildcard team, other teams may find it easy to sleep on this team from Valencia, but they’ve shown they can hang with the best. They took Long Beach to overtime in Game 1 of the division finals, displaying some impressive defense and goaltending. They had a solid second half to the season overall, winning 18 of 19 games to close out the regular season schedule. Like the Eagles, the Flyers have some unfinished business this year. Last season, they finished the regular season with a pristine 45-7 record, finishing with the most points in the league and a Thorne Cup Favorite, but with the different playoff format last year, they got bounced in the division finals, and their season was over just like that. Can they make good on getting a chance this year as the wildcard? Can an underdog mentality spark something special from this team? We’ll find out soon.

Their Thorne Cup Finals schedule:

Game 1 – Wed., April 12, 11 a.m. vs. Colorado

Game 2 – Thurs., April 13, 3:30 p.m. vs. Idaho

Game 3 – Fri., April 14, 3:30 p.m. vs. Long Beach

Head-to-head record vs. other finalists:
LB- 1-7-0 (including playoffs)
vs. COL- 0-1-0
vs. IDA- DNP
vs. OGD- DNP
vs. WIC- DNP
Total – 1-7-0

 

 

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