FRESNO MONSTERS (7-6-0-0, 21 pts) @WSHLMonsters
An eight-point lead might feel pretty safe, but the Fresno Monsters need to be on their toes when the Valencia Flyers come to Selland Arena for three games starting Thursday.
Not only does the WSHL’s new three-point system mean the gap could disappear more quickly (the Flyers could pass the Monsters with three regulation wins), Valencia also holds four games –
and a possible 12 points – in hand on Fresno.
That should make for a pretty spirited series between the second-place Monsters and the Flyers, who started their schedule later that the rest of the division, and seem to be still trying to find their footing.
Some might assume that a goalie brought in from the NAHL would take over as the #1 on a WSHL roster, but Max Karlenzig, who has been playing well all season, earned a second start in the series against Long Beach last weekend by backstopping the Monsters to a 4-2 win over the first-place Bombers with a 34-save performance on Friday.
Newcomer Tyler Mathews played the first game of the series, making 34 saves in a 5-2 loss on Thursday.
The Monsters continue their six-game home stand November 23-25 against the upstart San Diego Sabers.
VALENCIA FLYERS (4-4-0-1, 13 pts) @valenciaflyers
The Valencia Flyers started their season later than every other team and the division and are still trying to make up ground. No team in the league has played fewer games than the Flyers (9), who sit fourth in the Western Division standings despite having a better points percentage and goal differential than third-place San Diego.