Due to the Thanksgiving holiday and lack of WCHL hockey games, we decided to try a little something different. Something a bit fun perhaps. Although we have yet one weekend left of games, it was a perfect time to take a look at the first half of the season.
I started off with actual statistics according to the ACHA:
WCHL Scoring leader:
WCHL Goaltending leader:
WCHL Player with most Penalty Minutes:
WCHL Team with most Penalty Minutes:
Then I took a look at some more of the lighter side of the WCHL, so to speak:
WCHL Surprise team:
WCHL Hardluck team:
WCHL Family duo:
Best hockey names in the WCHL:
Best WCHL Social Media:
Let’s take a look at who walked away with the honors from the first annual, unofficial, WCHL Podcast’s, “The Lindas”
WCHL Scoring Leader:
Brian Hogan (Arizona) with 34 Points; 18 Goals, 16 Assists. Ranked #7 in ACHA
Andrew Kovacich (Missouri State) 27 Pts; (13 G, 14 A) and Ryan Hogland (Missouri State) 26 Pts. (11 G 15 A) round out the top three for the WCHL.
WCHL Goaltending leader:
Lucas Felbel (Arizona State) with 1.98 Goals Against Average and a .940 Save Percentage. Ranked #6 in ACHA.
Hunter Fernandez (Oklahoma) 2.02 GAA; .928 SV% and Jordan Gluck (Arizona State) 2.34 GAA; .921 SV%
WCHL Penalty Minute Leaders:
Player: Brandon Formosa (Central Oklahoma) with 88 PIM’s.
Ryan Hogland (MSU) 79 PIMs; Donny Danroth (UCO) and Tyler Minx (UCO) who both have over 60 PIMs, also receive honorable mentions.
Team: Missouri State leads the WCHL with a team total of 565 Penalty Minutes.
Central Oklahoma is just behind them however, with 534 PIMs. Rest of the WCHL is as follows:
- 3. Colorado -348 PIMs
- 4. Colorado State -308 PIMs
- 5. Arkansas -303 PIMs
- 6. Arizona -291 PIMs
- 7. Arizona State – 212 PIMs
- 8. Oklahoma – 187 PIMs
WCHL Surprise team:
#11 Oklahoma (11-4-3): I decided to go with OU over ASU mostly because the team has put in the work and has kept fighting to overcome losses. While Arizona State was a contender due to their first year back into the ACHA DI and not quite sure what they were going to bring to the table, I decided that regardless, it’s not overly surprising their success this first half of the season.
Oklahoma lost seven seniors after the 2015-2016 season, most of them their big playmakers. To say the Sooners weren’t expected to be a huge powerhouse on the ice this season isn’t to be mean. The team however has pulled though, made some great comebacks on the ice and even pulled off some upsets (ACHA National Champion Lindenwood being one). The new Sooners have a no quit attitude and it shows. Penalty troubles that have plagued previous year’s teams have been addressed and the boys are staying out of the box. It shows. Hunter Fernandez looks to be playing his best hockey in his Senior year, currently holding onto three shutouts (He had four shutouts at the end of last season). Oklahoma currently sits in 4th place in the WCHL rankings.
WCHL Hardluck team:
#25 Arizona (4-10-1): The winner of this award wasn’t going to go so much to a team with a bad record, say Arkansas or Missouri State, but more to the team that just can’t seem to catch a break. All teams have to buck up now and then and fight through adversity. Sometimes that adversity can kill a team’s mojo however. Arizona has not stopped their fight despite out of ordinary setbacks.
The Wildcats started their season this year with not one team practice before their first game. They are still severely restricted in their ability to practice as a team. They share their home arena with the new AHL Tucson Roadrunners and that has hurt their practice and their game schedule, which in turn hurts their fan attendance. Numerous injuries, including some big Wildcat playmakers have also slowed the ‘Cats down. The team hasn’t shown any signs of quitting, they still take it to any opponent and are still battling. This winter break might be just what they need for a change of luck.
Best WCHL Family Duo:
The WCHL is lucky to have three groups of brothers playing in the league.
- Alex O’Dea (Arizona) and Jeff O’Dea (Oklahoma)
- John and Brian “Toppie” Hogan from Arizona
- Dylan and Ryan Ostertag from Arizona State.
Unfortunately, the Brothers O’Dea have been taken off the ice due to injury. There is no doubt what “Toppie” Hogan contributes to Arizona, but as a whole, the Brothers Ostertag are the winners of this award. Between the two, they have 5 game winning goals for the Sun Devils and are the stuff nightmares are made of for opponents when on the ice.
Best Hockey Names in the WCHL:
One great thing about hockey, besides sick flows, are hockey names. Those names that just scream “hockey”. We have some great hockey names floating around the WCHL. A quick rundown of some of my favorites:
- Chase Dobler – Missouri State
- Dak Dice – Colorado
- Zach Kowalchuk – Arizona State
- Olivier Roy – Oklahoma
- Zach Piekarski – Arkansas
- Phil Nygardh – Central Oklahoma
I decided to go with a tie in this one. Mostly to avoid teasing if I chose Missouri State to run away with this one. Jake Champaign is still a great hockey name, if not the best in the WCHL but I have to say, Luc Gradisar from Arkansas is right there with him.
Colorado State is a runaway team winner for the most hockey of hockey names however. With guys like Dax Deadrick, Alex Neitenbach, Justin Schneeberger, Corey Taylor, Dayn Pyykkonen and Davis Kitagawa; it’s a roster full of greatness.
WCHL Social Media Maven:
(This award focuses only on twitter and facebook usage, since they are the main ones fans use to get information about games)
I am happy to say that all the teams in the WCHL do a good job on their Social Media accounts. Some are better than others, some are finally getting around to taking it seriously. Arizona, Colorado State, Arizona State, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri State and Oklahoma all interact great with fans on their platforms. A big bonus for me is appropriate (and maybe inappropriate?) times to use gifs. I’m a sucker for them and a big proponent of using media in posts when doing game play by play. Social Media is where it’s at for teams. The fans crave the info. Kudos to all the WCHL teams who get that info out there. I know it is not always easy to pull off. Keep up the good work and remember: never link your facebook and twitter accounts. Just say no.
The winner is Arizona on this one. All the teams are pretty evenly matched in what they are putting out there, but Arizona has a little extra they pump out. On their facebook page, they also post Player and Coach interviews that they hold during intermissions and after games. There is never anything wrong with that!
If you haven’t already, you should check out the WCHL Podcast. I’m not saying it’s awesome, but it does feature the League Commissioner Chris Perry and yours truly. We talk about all things WCHL hockey, so really there is no reason to not listen and love it!