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Series Preview: Lake Tahoe Icemen vs Idaho IceCats at Tahoe

This will be the third match-up this season between Tahoe and Idaho.  In October the Icemen faced the IceCats in Idaho, but weren’t able to take away a win.  They met up again in Tahoe in December where the Icemen beat the IceCats for the first time.  The Icemen had a successful series against the Western Division first place Long Beach Bombers last weekend, coming away with two games of three.  Hopefully the momentum they built will continue into the coming series.

Tahoe had a great start against the Bombers last weekend, winning the first game 7 – 1.  With two wins they were able to tie the West Sound Warriors for second place in the Northwest Division behind the Idaho IceCats.  Head Coach Mickey Lang is looking forward to the match-up, “this is another great challenge for us, [the IceCats] are a disciplined team, the best coached team, and a team that has had our number this year.  However, we’ve proven we can beat anybody when we play the right way, and when we do, I believe we’re the best team in the league.  I can’t wait to see us rise to another challenge.”

Overview

The Idaho IceCats (formerly the Idaho Jr. Steelheads) head to Lake Tahoe with a 13-3-1 away game record and 63 points overall in just 36 games.  They have a 20-point lead on the Icemen and sit comfortably in the top spot in the Northwest Division.  The IceCats have 211 goals for, and only 64 goals against.  That being said, 30% of all goals against the IceCats were scored by the Icemen, even though the Icemen only constitute 16% of the games they’ve played this season.  The IceCats boast a 28% success rate on the power play.  They have 652 minutes in penalties this season in 36 games, which is an average of 18 minutes per game.  The IceCats boast an impressive 91% success rate on the penalty kill.

The Tahoe Icemen have an 12-6-2 record at home with 43 points overall in 39 games.  They have a 23% success rate on the powerplay, and a 79% success rate on the penalty kill.  The Icemen sit second in the league overall with 1060 minutes in penalties; an average of 27 minutes per game.  The Icemen have only been shutout once this season and tend to be strong in scoring.  They have 174 goals for, and 173 goals against.

Goaltending

The Idaho IceCats have three goalies on their roster.  Jacob Hough (30) has a 0.939 save percentage in 26 games this season.  Tyler Matthews (33) has a 0.941 save percentage in 18 games.  Shaun Brown (35) has a 0.883 save percentage in 27 games.

The Tahoe Icemen have four goalies on their roster.  Wade Conlan (1) has a 0.903 save percentage in 28 games.  Tommy Spero (29) has a 0.891 save percentage in 23 games.  Maximilian Haselbacher (30) has a 0.907 save percentage and two assists in 27 games played this season.  Newly returned Artur Pavliukov (30) has a 0.896 save percentage in 2 games played.

Who to watch

Idaho IceCats

Forward Lance Herning (17) has 58 points in 32 games, but did not score in his last game against the Spartans.  He is one of the fastest skaters in the league.

Right wing Quinn Martin (15) leads his team in penalties with 69 minutes in 31 games played; an average of just over 2 minutes per game.

Tahoe Icemen

Forward Paul Frys (14) has 78 points in 39 games and is on an 18-game point streak, scoring 41 points (15 goals and 26 assists).  He is one of the top ten scorers across all divisions in the WSHL.

Easton Easterson (9) leads his team with 155 penalty minutes in 23 games this season; an average of just under 7 minutes per game.

Predictions

After watching the Icemen last weekend, they can easily take at least two games in the series, and possibly push a third to overtime.  When the Icemen are on their game they can easily keep up with any team, in any division, including the Idaho IceCats.

Thursday and Friday evenings’ games start at 7pm.  Saturday’s game starts at 2:30pm at the Ice Arena at 1176 Rufus Allen Blvd.  There are 3 beers on tap, the parking is free, and all bleacher seating is open.  Tickets are $6.  Children 6 and under are free.

By Harper Dial

 

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