USPHL Premier Through The Numbers: West Region 

Week of Nov. 10, 2022


By Grace Mello, Joshua Boyd, and Brendan Price


Records shown are for games since Nov. 1


Pacific Division

(By Grace Mello) 

All seven teams in the Pacific Division hit the ice this past weekend and there is no doubt that competition is getting fierce as we approach the halfway point of the season.

Las Vegas Thunderbirds (3-0)

Las Vegas has earned their third series sweep of the season, this time over the visiting Bakersfield Roughnecks. They finished the weekend with three decisive scores, including a 7-0 shutout win, bringing their overall record to 10-2-0-0. With 20 points they currently sit third in the division. 

The T-Birds are no strangers to earning points as they had some big scorers over the weekend. Narek Aleksanyan (‘02) had his biggest weekend yet, with 14 points (eight goals and six assists). He remains the point leader for Las Vegas with 37 total points (19-18-37). Antoine Tourigny (‘04) followed close behind with 11 points off four goals and seven assists. Nicholas Bonaldi (‘03) picked up three points in all three games for a total of nine points with three goals and six assists. Loic Gosselin (‘04) finished with eight points off seven assists and one goal and Samuel Dumont (‘04) earned himself seven points with three goals and four assists. 

  • Goalie Sam Peterson (‘03) earned his third win with a 29-save shutout. 

The Road Ahead: This weekend, the T-Birds will travel to Lakewood Ice Center to take on the Long Beach Shredders, this will be the second time these two face each other this season. Las Vegas took the first round with a series sweep between Oct. 20-22. They are 10-1-0-0 all-time against the Shredders, who won their only game in the all-time series 6-5 on Oct. 29, 2021, one night after taking a point in a shootout loss by the same score. 


Fresno Monsters (3-0)

The Monsters remain the team to beat. Over the weekend, they picked up their second three-game-sweep over Lake Tahoe. Their overall record is 14-3-1-0 and they sit at the top of the Pacific Division with 29 points. 

  • Goalie Ethan Jourden (‘04) earned two wins including a Friday night #ShutoutShoutout. Even with a short bench, Jourden was able to earn 26 saves in the 3-0 win. 
  • Defenseman Kelly Coldwater earned nine points (three goals, six assists), with three points in all three games played. He now has 19 points putting him in the fourth place spot for Fresno.
  • Assistant captain Christopher Miraldo (‘02) continues to lead Fresno with 39 points. Over the weekend, he earned six points off three goals and three assists. 
  • Following suit, Vitaliy Zhilin (‘03) sits in the No. 2 spot for the Monsters with 27 points after he picked up six points also with three goals and three assists. 

The Road Ahead: The Monsters will be taking this weekend off and finally make their way back home to Gateway Ice Center on Nov. 17 to take on the San Diego Sabers.


Ontario Jr Reign (1-0)

The Junior Reign had a short one-game weekend in Long Beach where they earned a 5-0 shutout win. Goalie Nicholas Heinzle (‘02) finished with 33 saves. 

  • Two of the five goals scored by Ontario were on the power play and one was a shorthanded goal. 
  • Leading scorer for the Junior Reign Ethan McKibbin (‘02) and forward Aidan Turner (‘03) both earned themselves a point with their power play goals. McKibbin now has 31 and Turner with 23. 
  • Jacob Pelletier (‘04) picked up two goals in the third period, including the shorthanded goal. This ties him up with Turner with 23 points.

The Road Ahead: The Jr. Reign and the San Diego Sabers will play a home-and-home series Saturday and Sunday, starting in Ontario on Saturday. The teams have not seen each other yet this year. The series is essential even. Both teams won three games apiece last year, but the Sabers have one extra point earned by an OT loss at 3-2-1-0 vs. the Jr. Reign’s 3-3-0-0 record of last year in the series. 


San Diego Sabers (1-0)

The Sabers also had made a quick stop in Long Beach for a one-game weekend. Sunday evening they finished on top of Long Beach with a decisive victory. 

The Sabers are tied for second in the division with the Jr. Reign, both teams standing with 22 points.  

  • San Diego created lots of opportunities for themselves and Mathieu Rioux (‘02) finished with a hat trick; This included a short handed goal and power play goal. 
  • Lucas Lundy (‘02), No. 2 scorer for the Sabers, helped get the puck in the net with three assists. This brings his point total up to 17 (two goals, 15 assists). 
  • Ulric Martel (‘05) and Michal Novak (‘03) each picked up a goal and two assists. Novak leads the Sabers in scoring with 20 points (11 goals and nine assists) and Martel is fourth in points with 13 (10 goals, three assists). 
  • Goalie Alex Hurens (‘05) picks up his second win for the Sabers with 36 saves on 37 shots.

The Road Ahead: As mentioned above, it’s Sabers vs. Jr. Reign first in Ontario and then at Carlsbad. 


In Other Action 

Lake Tahoe will travel to Bakersfield where they will face the Bakersfield Roughnecks for the first time ever.


Mountain Division 

(By Brendan Price) 

Utah Outliers (2-0) 

The Outliers grabbed all four points available last weekend while returning the favor from a month ago to their in-state rival, rising to 14-1-0-1 to remain in sole possession of first place. The Outliers shutout in Provo on Friday and snared a road shootout win on Saturday in Ogden. • Goaltenders Nathan Dickey and Marco Felicetti grabbed a win apiece in net and the pair are now a combined 10-1-1 with a 2.21 GAA, .918 save percentage, and three shutouts.

  • Outliers center Miles McCue continues to torch opponents to the tune of 32 points (8-24-32) in 14 games. He’s had a special affinity for scoring on NoCo; 10 points (3-7-10) in 12 games and a 63 percent faceoff win percentage.
  • The Outliers are 3-for-4 on shootout attempts for a .750 percentage, the best rate of success of any team with at least two shootouts so far. 

The Road Ahead: The Outliers have been virtually unbeatable at home over the past two years – in fact, they’ve won 10 straight regulation contests at home. The last team to beat them in regulation at home? The Northern Colorado Eagles, who come to town for two games this weekend. They face the Eagles on Friday and again on Sunday. 

  • The Outliers beat the Eagles 3-1 earlier this season on Oct. 1, the Outliers’ second game. Over the prior two years, the Outliers went 12-5-0-1 against the Eagles. 
  • Special teams may be where the rubber meets the road this weekend for NoCo; their penalty kill is fifth overall in the USPHL and is set to face the top two power play units in the division in Ogden and Utah. On the other side, the NoCo power play is still searching for their first power play goal on the road; they’re 0-for-11 in their first three road games. 
  • Forward Marc-Antoine Prince is quietly heating up for the NoCo Eagle offense with eight points (3-5-8) in his last five games.
  • The Outliers also face the Idaho Falls Spud Kings on Saturday. Utah has won both of their meetings so far by decisive margins. 
  • The Spud Kings’ wait for their first division win is over after never trailing in their 4-1 win over Provo to finish out the weekend. The Spud Kings have picked up the pace over their last six games, going 2-3-1. Along with bringing in longtime USPHL coach Marty Quarters behind the bench, other big reasons for the improvement have been the acquisitions of George Goodwin and Justin Davis. Goodwin has four points in three games since arriving from Twin City and Davis had a pair of goals in the Spud Kings’ 4-1 win on Sunday.


Ogden Mustangs (1-0-0-1)

The ‘Stangs split a pair of one-goal contests over the weekend, slipping past Idaho Falls and scoring in the final ten seconds of regulation to earn at least one point in Saturday’s loss to Utah. 

  • Rookie Jacob Williams upped his point streak to five games with a goal and an assist over the weekend. The Waterford Township, Mich., product has 17 points (4-13-17) through his first 14 games with Ogden.

The Road Ahead: The Mustangs face Idaho Falls on Friday and then Northern Colorado on Saturday, both at home. Saturday, it’ll be a top-five special teams matchup – Ogden’s fourth in the league power play unit takes on NoCo’s fifth overall penalty kill. 

  • The Mustangs lead the league with 30 power play goals and Jake Meure leads the team with eight of them. Meure has repeatedly stuffed the score sheet against opponents, but no one more so than the Eagles. The Fremont, Calif. product has 26 points (9-17-26) in 24 career games against NoCo, including nine points (2-7-9) in his last five games against the Eagles. 
  • Friday’s opponents the Spud Kings have matched up well with Ogden in two meetings thus far; they’ve been within one goal or tied in 108 of 120 minutes played against the ‘Stangs. Backup goaltender Jude Ayling may have earned himself another start this weekend. He’s stopped 94/101 shots in his last two starts, good for a .931 save percentage, and his numbers have been improving in each of his last four starts.
  • Northern Colorado and Ogden split their season-opening series, with Ogden winning 4-2 and NoCo winning 4-3. 
  • The Eagles lead the all-time USPHL series by one point, at 13-10-0-0 for 26 points vs. the Mustangs’ mark of 10-8-3-2 for 25 points. 
  • The Eagles withstood a late Bulls’ rally on Friday night to get a 5-3 win, but lost a home series for the first time in nine tries and fell to fourth place in the division after last weekend. • NoCo defenseman Xavier Fortin had his seven-game point streak snapped in Sunday’s 4-2 defeat; his 17 points (5-12-17) are still second among Mountain Division defenseman and his 1.21 points per game is nearly double his career average.


Pueblo Bulls (2-1-0-0) 

The Bulls (10-6-1, 17 pts, 3rd) became the third division team to 10 wins, by taking two wins from their Colorado rivals on the road. After a 5-3 loss to NoCo, they won 6-2 and 4-2. 

  • Balanced scoring has been the key for Pueblo all season and it held true in their three games last weekend. Ten different goal scorers notched the 13 goals on the weekend – the Bulls now have eight different players with five or more goals, leading the division. 
  • One of them is winger Thomas Soucy, who has goals in six of his last seven games and is tied for the team lead (11).

The Road Ahead: It’s a three-game home stand against Provo, running Friday through Sunday. The Bulls have dominated Provo over the past two seasons – they’ve won six straight over the Predators and are 12-1-0 since the beginning of the 2021-22 season. 

  • They’ll look to Soucy, who has 17 points (8-9-17) in 12 career games against Provo, to stay hot and second-year Bull Isaac Hood to build on his three-game point streak. 
  • Hood has been Mr. Everything in his career against the Predators; 11 points (3-8-11), 50 percent on faceoffs, thirteen hits, and twelve blocked shots in 11 games.
  • Yuri Ushakov exploded for a hat trick and five points in the Predators’ 8-5 win over Idaho Falls on Thursday night. The explosion nearly doubled Ushakov’s scoring total for the season, 11 points (8-3-11) in 13 games. The breakout game from Ushakov has been indicative of a larger problem for Provo; the Predators have been held to two goals or fewer in 11 of their first 14 games. They went on to fall 4-0 to Utah and 4-1 to Idaho Falls over the remainder of last weekend. 
  • Rookie Emmanuel Nkombou continues to develop as a two-way force for Provo; he has a point in two of Provo’s three wins, has won 50% of his faceoffs, and leads the team in hits (20). 


Northwest Division

(By Joshua Boyd)

Vernal Oilers (3-0) 

The Oilers left the weekend just as they came into it – undefeated. Now, they join the Metro Jets Development Program as one of the only two undefeated teams remaining in the USPHL Premier. They are 11-0 overall, and MJDP is 10-0. The Oilers are chasing the best first-year team record posted by eventual 2021-22 Premier regular season champions the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, which was set at 13-0 before their first loss. 

Recently, the Oilers went up to Washington State and defeated the Seattle Totems, 6-2, and then the Bellingham Blazers on Saturday and Sunday by 6-1 and 7-4 scores. 

  • Vernal is second in the league in goals for by three hundredths of a percentage point at 7.64, behind Las Vegas’ 7.67. 
  • Alex Rene Bartakovics ranks third in points per game league-wide with a 3.27 average. He is tied for fifth with 36 points, and fourth in assists with 23. 

The Road Ahead: It’s a showdown of two of the top three teams in the division when the Oilers and Rock Springs Prospectors play a home-and-home series. It’s Vernal hosting on Friday and Rock Springs on Saturday. These will be the first meetings for these two organizations that share common ownership.


Rock Springs Prospectors (3-0) 

The Prospectors hit gold in Wyoming last weekend, defeating the Rogue Valley Royals in three straight in a match-up of two squads in their first seasons ever. After an opening weekend 6-2 winner for Rock Springs, it was a lot closer on Saturday when the Prospectors broke a 1-1 tie to win 3-2. It was less close on Sunday when the Prospectors won 9-4. 

  • An Oct. 30 loss to Seattle is Rock Springs’ only defeat out of their last six, pushing them to 9-4-1-0 and just three points out of first place, held by the undefeated Vernal Oilers. 
  • After posting two points in his first seven games, Ondrej Matas has rung up eight goals and five assists for 13 points in his last seven. 
  • Tyler Rayner (‘03) put up three goals and two assists for five points in his last four games, including four points this past weekend. 
  • Also on a hot streak, ‘05 forward John Tzatzalis is on a 3-4-7 run in his last five contests. 

The Road Ahead: See above, as the Prospectors trade home games with the Oilers. 


In Other Action

Bellingham, which fell twice to Vernal last weekend, will travel to face Rogue Valley for a three-game series in Medford, Ore. Rogue Valley is 3-2-0-0 against Bellingham so far this year. The Blazers’ two wins both came against the Royals, including in their last meeting, a 4-3 regulation victory for Bellingham on Oct. 30. 

  • Seattle is off from game action this weekend and will be back Nov. 17 to start a two-game set against the Royals. 


Drop The Pucks!