Fresno and Long Beach meet this weekend in the Battle for the West

FRESNO MONSTERS (6-4-0, 18 pts) @WSHLMonsters

The Fresno Monsters played a single game last week, travelling to Valencia on Friday.  Martin Dlugolinsky and Stanislav Danaev each scored twice in the game for the Monsters, and Cole Beckman’s goal in the final minute of the third period secured a 5-3 win over the Flyers.

It also marked the Monsters debut of their new goaltender, WSHL veteran Tyler Mathews.  Mathews, who made 28 saves to pick up the win, has had previous stints in the WSHL with Salt Lake City and Idaho.  The 19-year-old began the season with the Maryland Black Bears of the NAHL and provides Fresno head coach Kevin Kaminski with another option between the pipes. 

Max Karlenzig has been a workhorse, playing the first nine games and getting solid results (5-4-0/3.29/.907), but having two established veterans can be a huge plus over a 52-game season in a very competitive division like the Western.

Case in point – the Monsters play three-in-three at division leader Long Beach starting Thursday, so it will be interesting to see how Kaminski splits up the starts for his goaltending tandem.

LONG BEACH BOMBERS (9-2-0, 26 pts) @LBBombersHockey

With his first of four assists in Friday’s 5-1 win over the El Paso Rhinos, Tomas Urbanec became the all-time points leader for the 25-year-old Bombers franchise, surpassing Johnny Linehan’s 234 set during a six-year junior career (2007-2013).

Just 38 seconds after the opening faceoff, Erik Sillerstrom skated the puck out of the Long Beach end and through the neutral zone to create a three-on-two for the Bombers.  As he crossed the blue line, he passed the puck to Urbanec who was along the right-wing boards, and Sillerstrom went hard to the net.  Urbanec’s return shot/pass was re-directed by Sillerstrom, giving the Bombers an early lead.

Video here: