FRESNO MONSTERS (13-6-0-0, 39 pts)
For the second week in a row, the Fresno Monsters posted a three-game sweep of a division opponent at Selland Arena. It not only gives the Monsters a six-game winning streak, it pulled them to within a single point of first place in the Western Division.
It has been a team effort in Fresno, but there are a trio of Monsters in particular, who have been producing at an impressive rate lately.
Petr Philippov produced three points in each game against San Diego last weekend, giving him 14 points (7-7-14) over the last six games.
Dustin Truex, meanwhile, extended his point streak to 10 games. He had collected 22 points (10-12-22) in that span.
Nakita Garin went through a stretch where he lit the lamp just once in seven games, but he still leads the club with 16 goals on the season after scoring four times in the last four games.
Jacob Haynes, three-year Monster (2013-2016), continues to produce with SUNY-Fredonia (NCAA Division III). Haynes went directly from the WSHL to NCAA hockey after scoring 52-goals for the Monsters during the 2015-16 season. As a freshman at Fredonia, Haynes scored 25 points (10-15-25) in just 21 games.
The 22-year-old Ontario native has five goals in the first eight games this season, giving him 51 points (23-28-51) in 53 career games for the Blue Devils.
ONTARIO AVALANCHE (4-9-0-2, 14 pts)
A 5-3 win over Valencia the day after Thanksgiving was just Ontario’s second win since October 20. The Avalanche were unable to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, losing their next game to the Flyers, 6-4.
Ontario will play three times at home this weekend, playing Fresno Friday and Sunday with a single game against the Utah Outliers sandwiched in between there on Saturday - a unique scheduling arrangement. The Avs will hope Long Beach softens the Outliers up as Utah plays at Long Beach Thursday and Friday.
18-year-old Connor Duffy ranks seventh in the WSHL in saves, with 359, this season. Duffy has managed that total in just 10 appearances between the pipes for the Avalanche, who usually do a better job of suppressing shots against.
Duffy has also collected two assists from his goaltending position already this season – both on the power play.
Jeremy Van Dyke has collected a point in 10 of his last 11 games.
Former Avalanche forward Sean Reynolds is playing his second year of pro hockey. Following a four-year NCAA Division III career with Lawrence University, the 6’0”, 185-pound Anaheim native began his first year of pro hockey with the Danville Dashers of the Federal Hockey League last year. He played well enough, scoring 17 goals in just 22 games, to earn a promotion to the Southern Professional Hockey League for a 21-game stint in Evansville.
Reynolds is back in the FHL this year with the Elmira Enforcers where he has 13 points (6-7-13) in 11 games played.