As the Western States Hockey League gets back into action this weekend following the league's Las Vegas Showcase just before Christmas. The League gets back into action tonight with the Dallas Ice Jets VS. El Paso Rhinos series this weekend at Polar Ice House in Grapevine, Texas. I will be at all 3 games this weekend for this very important series which could determine who could rise as the favorite in the WSHL's Mid-West Division.
Game times are Friday Night at 7:00 PM, Saturday Night at 6:00 PM & Sunday Afternoon at 1:00 PM this weekend for what should be a very exciting series between the Division Leaders.
Look for game stories after each game as the Ice Jets Junior Team plays their 1st Home Game since November 30 when the defeated the Texas Jr. Brahmas 7-4. As for recent streaks for both teams, the Ice Jets have come a great December while they were on the road for basically the entire month, they won 2 of 3 against the Arizona Red Hawks 2-1 & 5-3 wins, they also had a 2-1 SO Loss as well to begin their series as the Renegades currently sit in 4th Place with a 12-12-1 record (25 PTS, 90-94) so far this season. Also against the the New Mexico Renegades where they also went 2-1 as well with dominating wins on December 10 (5-2) & December 11 (6-0).
Then to wrap up the Pre-Holiday Break portion of the schedule, they went 2-2 in their 4 game showcase with wins over lowly Park City (6-1) & Long Beach Bombers (3-0), while their two losses were by a single goal, including a very close loss to the Fresno Monsters (3-2) who currently have the league's best record at an impressive 28-2-1; and has a strong 19 points lead in the West Division. The Monsters are up 5 points over the Idaho Jr. Steelheads who are currently leading the Mountain Division right now.
The Ice Jets will play the Idaho Jr. Steelheads from February 17-19, while the Ice Jets VS. Fresno Monsters Game in the Vegas Showcase will be their only Head-to-Head Matchup of the regular season back on December 17. So the only time they could play each other again would be in the playoffs and possibly could faceoff at the Throne Cup Tournament in late March.
El Paso on the other hand has been up-and-down recently which included a 1-3 Vegas Showcase Record where even the team writer was discouraged about the WSHL Vegas Showcase, read about that here. Despite also losing to the Fresno Monsters & Idaho Jr. SteelHeads like the Ice Jets did as well in Las Vegas, they also barely beat an average Cheyenne Stampede team and let the game against the Boulder Bison team get away in the 2nd Half (They played 25 minute Halves during the Showcase).
What's helping the Rhinos this weekend is that they have 2 games in hand and if they can dominate the series this weekend, they could be as close as 1 point back and would make this a big time fight for the Mid-West Division Title over the rest of the regular season, this is the only regular season series in Dallas between the Division Leaders. Later in regular season, they will play again at the Sierra Providence Event Center from February 24-26 near the end of the regular season as the WSHL Regular Season will wrap up on March 4 this year.
In addition to the important regular season series, this could be a future playoff series as well as the Rhinos are set to host the WSHL Thorne Cup Championship Event from March 28-31. So this could be an important part on the road to the Throne Cup later in March.
This was coming off a great weekend against the Fresno Monsters where El Paso just hammered Fresno 7-3 back on December 10 giving the Monsters only their 2nd loss in regulation of the season. Just a couple of nights later, the Rhinos handed the Monsters their only Overtime loss of the season with a 5-4 Overtime win. This was despite El Paso giving up 2 goals in 3:24 to go from a 4-2 lead, to having the game tied at 4-4 with just under 90 seconds remaining in the 3rd period.
Game Times this weekend at Polar Ice in Grapevine Mills Mall at 7:00 PM on Friday Night, 6:00 PM on Saturday Night and 1:00 PM Sunday Afternoon. If you enter Grapevine Mills Mall in Neighborhood 5, go through the Food Court then you will pass stores like the NIKE Factory Store ; Finish Line and across the hall from Puma Store as well.
Admission is just $5 for everyone, so come out and support the Ice Jets in one of their most important home series of the season up to this point.
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