#USPHLPlayoffs: Seattle Totems vs. Casper Roughnecks

By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com

Casper Roughnecks (3) at Seattle Totems (2)
All Games At Olympic View Arena
Thursday, Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m. PST
Friday, March 1, 8 p.m. PST
Saturday, March 2, 4:15 p.m. PST (If Necessary)

The Casper Roughnecks and Seattle Totems might hardly recognize each other when they meet in the first round of the Northwest Division Playoffs. They haven’t played since a one-off Jan. 6 game, with the bulk of their contests coming earlier in the season.

One thing the two teams do know about each other is that they are practically equals. OK, so the Totems had 58 points from a 28-14-1-1 record vs. the first-year Roughnecks’ 41 points after going 19-22-2-1. But in their season series, both teams went 3-2-1-0, dead even at seven points apiece.

“Casper is a well coached hockey club and one that we have to really respect if we have any chance of advancing past the first round,” said Seattle Head Coach Mike Butters. “They are big and intimidating and when they slow the game down, and get us to shy away from the physical play, it really makes it tough on us. Their defensemen are really good puck carriers and they are also tough to defend against when their defense rushes the puck.

“The other significant thing they do is they run a variety of trick face-off plays in the offensive zone and it really keeps us on our toes,” Butters added. “We have to respect their forwards who drive deep into the corners and run their offense down low. We are pretty banged up right now, but our group is motivated to have a good series.

”The teams’ last meeting on Jan. 6 was a 3-0 Seattle win, but Casper had won both of their games over the Dec. 8-9 weekend.

“I expect this series to be a hard-fought series. The teams are pretty evenly matched and have had some hard battles during the regular season play,” said Casper Head Coach Danny Randall. “I feel the winner of this series will be the team that stays out of the box, and can capitalize on the other teams’ mistakes.”

The Roughnecks are going to have to figure out how to stop an offense that features three players with 60 or more points – Seth Morris (64 points), Trevor Loucks (63 points) and Roman Wolynec (60 points). The Roughnecks have one of their own in Cameron Krause, who put up 66 points of his own. Fellow forwards Kristof Molnar and Kananga Mangala each finished with 47 points. Veteran Aiden Ma, who came with Randall from the former Rock Springs Prospectors, led the Roughnecks in plus-minus at +12, and defenseman Marko Cejka led the team in blocked shots with 47.

Wolynec led the Totems in plus-minus with a +22, and defensemen Peter Konopka and Michael Karvelas each had 54 blocked shots on the season.
The Totems picked up Camden Widgington from the Utica Jr. Comets in December, and he went 8-3-0-0 with the Totems with a .930 save percentage (he was 14-4-1-0 with a .928 save percentage for the full season). Around the same time that Widgington came to Seattle, veteran goalie Kai Rivas joined the Roughnecks from the Bellingham Blazers. He would finish 3-2-1-1 for the Roughnecks and his save percentage for the full season was .921.