The 2021 Western States Shootout culminated with a regulation win for the Vernal Oilers over the Cold Lake Aeros, a top-2 matchup that showcased the pace of play between the league’s best. Despite a leaner slate of teams this year, there was no shortage of competitiveness. Overall, a total of five games required extra minutes by going to overtime or shootout to determine the victor.
The showcase was highlighted by the extension of the longest active win streak in the league in Vernal’s 15 consecutive wins by going perfect at Las Vegas Ice Center.
Perhaps another great narrative out of the Showcase was the tremendous growth that the Barrhead Bombers displayed toward the end. The Bombers came into the fray as the lowest ranked team, and suffered a significant loss against the Cold Lake Aeros to start off their week in Las Vegas. Although Barrhead had trouble maintaining leads, they went to overtime in their next three games including a win over Hinton to close out.
Of note, the win for Cold Lake on Sunday proved to be the only shutout win by a team, therefore Nathan Proulx registered the only clean sheet among goalies.
Firepower came from various individuals and each team had their go-to which made for many great battles. We saw a flurry of goals from Marian Pazitka who had 12-points in three games including a four goal game; Joshua Kochan and Artur Aloyan each tallied 12-points; and finally, Luke Parry had himself a natural hat trick on a overtime winner to keep Vernal’s streak alive.
We established that Prouix had the only shutout but Cole Manahan and Brody Hsiao each remained perfect through the showcase moving to six wins in the season with a .951 SV% and .919 SV% respectively. Manahan made a total of 52 saves in two games conceding only two goals.