FRESNO MONSTERS (23-12-3-0, 75 pts)
They may have leveraged an additional seven games played, but the Fresno Monsters are at
the top of the Western Division standings for the second week in a row.
The Monsters will host the San Diego Sabers this week for a Friday-Saturday series. They
will be the final two home games of the 2018-19 WSHL regular season for Fresno. It will
likely not be the last time they take to the Selland Arena ice, however. A top-two finish in
the division would mean hosting a best-of-three division semifinal series in mid-late March.
The Monsters will play three away games next week, then will not play any games at all
from February 9 to March 2 – a three-week hiatus – before playing their final five games of
the season on the road.
Fresno’s average age (19.0 years) has them in the middle of the pack in the league, but the
Monsters are the most seasoned team in the Western Division with 1,385 games of WSHL
experience on their roster.
Logan Domagala (159 games in his fourth WSHL season) and Taylor Hiatt (120 games in his
third) are at the top of the list and another nine players have played 50+ WSHL games
including both goaltenders – Tyler Mathews (fourth WSHL season) and Max Karlenzig.
SAN DIEGO SABERS (13-15-3-1, 46 pts)
With a total of 791 WSHL games played on their roster, the San Diego Sabers are the least
experienced team in the Western Division. As a matter of fact, on the one team in the
league – the Casper Bobcats – has fewer cumulative WSHL games played on their roster
outside of the members of the new Provincial Division.
That being said, the Sabers are having a fine season, and are gearing up for a run in the
Western Division playoffs. They look like they are on a collision course with the Fresno
Monsters for a best-of-three division semifinal series that would likely take place in Fresno.
The Sabers last won a playoff series in 2015 when they finished in sixth place in the division
but upset #3 seed Long Beach, two games to one, in a Western Division Quarterfinal series.
The team has been playing the top two teams in the division tough, and put a scare into the
Ogden Mustangs last week, so they are starting to look like one of those teams that nobody
wants to play in the first round.
Last weekend, in three games against the WSHL’s top team, the Sabers failed to collect any
points but played Ogden tough all series – culminating with their 4-2 lead in the second
period of Saturday’s game before eventually losing, 7-4.
Two goals in the first 4:30 of the second period gave the Sabers a two-goal lead in that
game but the Mustangs came to life and scored the next five.
Marshall McKallip again kept the Sabers in the game most of the way, making 69 saves, but
he could not hold the Mustangs back the whole game.
Josef Kankovsky scored twice for San Diego