2016 SHL Season Leaders

Points

Winchester, NY 104
Manning, NY 98
Valentine, HSY 83
Ericsson, ANC 82
Hart, HSY 81
Sweet, HSY 80
Koons, ANC 77
Frost, ANC 72
Alexander, HAM 70
McNeely, WSH 70

Goals

Manning, NY 55
Alexander, HAM 45
Frost, ANC 45
Nelson, NY 43
McNeely, WSH 39
Valentine, HSY 39
Bailes, MIC 36
Mango, SEA 33
Koons, ANC 33
Airston, DAK 32

Assists

Winchester, NY 88
Ericsson, ANC 63
Hart, HSY 51
Sweet, HSY 51
Costello, WSH 50
Smyth, HAM 49
Milton, HSY 48
Cherner, DAK 48
Lidjya, DAK 48
Sanchez, NY 47

Penalty Minutes

Zhlotkin, SEA 118
Kalashnikov, HAM 109
Hogaboom, WSH 98
McCallan, SAS 89
Zhzhynov, QUE 86
Nurmi, NY 82
Hendricks, DAK 82
Bradshaw, SAS 79
Morris, SEA 78
Madison, MIC 75

Wins

Lundquist, MIC 39
Worthington, ANC 31
Orion, WSH 28
Clarkson, HSY 26
Colt, HAM 21

GAA

Lundquist, MIC 1.57
Worthington, ANC 2.21
Lattimore, ANC 2.47
Tiktuunen, QUE 2.66
Orion, WSH 2.72

Save Percentage

Lundquist, MIC .941
Worthington, ANC .928
Orion, WSH .918
Zagurski, SAS .917
Tiktuunen, QUE .917
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SHL Player of the Week – Week 12

nicklas-ericsson
Nicklas Ericsson

Anchorage SmallThe SHL selected Anchorage Igloos RW Nicklas Ericsson as its Player of the Week.  Ericsson had one of the most prolific offensive weeks in SHL history, putting up an astounding 16 points, with 6 goals and 10 assists.  Ericsson put up his first career hat trick on Sunday, powering the Igloos to a 6-3 win over Seattle.  He also had a pair of three-assist games in the season’s final week, once on Tuesday in a 5-1 pasting of Dakota and again during the season finale, a 5-1 win over Michigan.  In between, he had a two-goal, two-assist game as Anchorage shellacked Saskatchewan 8-2.

Ericsson finished the season with 82 points, which put him fourth in the league.  His 63 assists were second only to Chase Winchester of New York, who set a new league record with 88 assists (and also won the league points title with 104, another new record).

“Because Jake [Frost] is the big goal scorer, he’s usually the one who gets all the attention and all the credit,” said Igloos coach Sam Castor.  “But Nicklas is the one feeding him for all those chances, and he’s the best in the business.  We came up short this year, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on Jake or Nicklas’ part.”

2016 SHL Final Standings

East W L T Pts GF GA
Washington Small Washington Galaxy 34 23 3 71 207 172
Hershey Small Hershey Bliss 33 24 3 69 208 186
New York small New York Night 26 32 2 54 229 251
Hamilton Small Hamilton Pistols 25 31 4 54 192 199
Quebec Small Quebec Tigres 18 36 6 42 143 186
West W L T Pts GF GA
Michigan Small Michigan Gray Wolves 43 14 3 89 170 109
Anchorage Small Anchorage Igloos 39 14 7 85 207 138
Dakota Small Dakota Rapids 32 22 6 70 227 203
Saskatchewan Small Saskatchewan Shockers 21 38 1 43 166 212
Seattle Small Seattle Sailors 10 47 3 23 152 244

Interview of the Week: Leslie Mills

This week’s interview is with SHL co-founder and Anchorage Igloos co-owner Leslie Mills.

SHL Digest: We’re here this week talking to the league’s founding mother, Leslie Mills.  Welcome, Leslie!

Leslie Mills: Hi, I’m glad to be here!

SHLD: How do you feel about the league after two seasons?

LM: I am very happy with where we are right now. I think that we have had a very successful and fun run so far!

SHLD: Why do you think the league has been so successful?

LM: I think it really has to do with the cooperation the entire SHL community has had. We have a really good comradery, and all of us together have made something really amazing.  

SHLD: What was your favorite moment from this season?

LM: I think my favorite moment has to be all of the little mishaps that occur over the season. I can’t pick just one! They just prove how many things are funny looking back, and shows the league’s flexibility and how we aren’t afraid to have fun.

SHLD: What are you most excited to see in the coming seasons?

LM: I am excited to see how it all plays out and all of the exciting and funny memories we will create in the future.

SHLD: Who is your favorite player in the league and why?

LM: It has to be Ryan Airston because his bunny obsession is really cute and fun. He isn’t afraid to be different, which I think is something very important about the SHL.

SHLD: Is there anything you’d like to see change in the SHL?

LM: I don’t think anything major is necessary. If anything I would say we should do more league-wide events, so the teams aren’t only seeing each other on the ice.

SHLD: Your team, the Igloos, won the coveted Vandy last season.  Is the trophy as shiny as everyone says it is?

LM: It is super shiny and cool. Admittedly, it is not something I would drink out of. But it looks like a perfect fit in its display case. The Vandy not only has physical value, but it commemorates the whole first season we had. It proves that teamwork gets the win in the end.

SHLD: The Igloos didn’t make the playoffs this year.  What do you think you’ll need to do to get back into the playoffs next season?

LM: I think that there are some very fast-paced and strong teams in the league now, which is a little different than last year. We need to focus on making sure we are equally strong on all areas of the ice. And focus on what we are good at and not try to get too fancy with it.

SHLD: Care to make a prediction about the Finals this year?  Who do you think will win and in how many games?

LM: That is a difficult question! I think it could easily go all the way to Game 7 but in the end, my money is on Michigan. They have been such a strong team this year.

SHLD: What would you like to say to the fans who have faithfully supported the SHL for the last two seasons?

LM: I would like to say and gigantic thanks to all of you. Thanks for sticking with us through our first 2 seasons. We love all of you guys and here’s to many more great seasons to come!

SHL Announces Addition of Minor League

Starlight Hockey LeagueThe SHL is growing… and growing up.  Last week, the league announced plans to expand to 12 teams in 2018.  This week, SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell revealed that the SHL will be adding a minor league, the Continental Hockey League, which will take the ice next season.

“This is the next step in our evolution as a league,” said Commissioner Mitchell.  “It demonstrates the level of success we’ve experienced over the last two seasons.”

The owners began discussing the idea of a minor league at the beginning of the current season.  “There was a sense that we wanted to be able to start developing our own younger players, rather than stick them on a reserve list and have them ride the bench,” said the commissioner.  “Creating our own pipeline for player development will allow us to stick around for years to come.”

In addition, league sources noted that the creation of a minor league will provide additional flexibility for next season’s expansion draft and in making trades.

The teams in the CHL will have a one-to-one affiliate relationship with the SHL.  The initial lineup of  CHL teams (and their parent clubs) are listed below:

EASTERN DIVISION

Baltimore Blue Crabs (Washington)

Cleveland Centurions (Michigan)

Maine Moose (Quebec)

Oshawa Drive (Hamilton)

Virginia Rhinos (Saskatchewan)

 

WESTERN DIVISION

Albuquerque Screaming Eagles (Hershey)

Minnesota Freeze (Anchorage)

Muncie Squirrels (Dakota)

Omaha Ashcats (Seattle)

Utah Owls (New York)

 

 

 

Shockers Stumble to Finish Line

Saskatchewan SmallIt’s fair to say that the second half of this season was a disaster for the Saskatchewan Shockers.  After a surprisingly strong 14-15-1 record in the first half, the Shockers collapsed in the second half, posting a 7-23-0 mark.  That record included a pair of seven-game losing streaks.  Their late-season misadventures ranged from a stick getting wedged in the boards to a pair of players getting arrested after taking a joyride at the airport.  Their dismal half came to a suitably disappointing close, as the Shockers stumbled through a memorable final week.

“We took a big step forward this year,” said Saskatchewan coach Myron Beasley.  “It just doesn’t feel like it right now.”

The week began on an embarrassing note, as the Shockers lost in overtime to the SHL’s worst team, the expansion Seattle Sailors.  The win allowed Seattle to tie last year’s Shockers for the fewest-ever points recorded in a season with 23.  (The Sailors did wind up setting a record for fewest victories, finishing with 10 vs. the Shockers’ 11.)  Seattle won only two of its final 27 games; both were against Saskatchewan.

After the game, Beasley called the loss “kind of humiliating, to tell you the truth.”  Little did he know how much worse it could get.

The next night, the Shockers hosted their rivals, the Dakota Rapids.  The Rapids soared in the second half (19-8-3) while the Shockers cratered, and this game starkly illustrated the team’s opposite trajectories.  When the shelling stopped, the Rapids had set a new SHL record for goals in a game, pounding the Shockers 10-4.  Stickel, one of the stars of the airport misadventure, started in goal for Saskatchewan and surrendered all 10 goals. Beasley took some criticism for subjecting his backup netminder to such a pummeling, although he later admitted, “I kind of lost track of the score after a while.  I didn’t know it was that bad.”

On Tuesday, the Shockers watched Michigan outshoot them 42-18 and clinch the West division title with a 3-1 win.  In many ways, it was the highlight of the Shockers’ week.  “At least we got to see someone having a good time,” said RW Brad Stevens.

The next night, the Shockers were in Anchorage, and Stickel was back in net.  The result was another thumping, with the Igloos winning 8-2.  Stickel’s last two calamitous outings swelled his GAA from 4.61 to 5.29.  “I think I’m kind of going deaf from the goal horn going off in my ear so many times,” he said after the Anchorage fiasco.

The Shockers closed out the season at home, and managed to salvage a shred of dignity, beating an imploding New York team 6-4.  But even in victory, Saskatchewan lost.  The win dropped the Shockers out of the second spot in the draft, allowing them to finish a single point ahead of Quebec.  In a shallow draft, the slip could cost the Shockers dearly.

Despite the second-half swan dive, the team announced that Beasley will return as coach next season.  “There were some guys offering me condolences after the announcement,” admitted the coach.  “But I’m happy about it.  After all, it means I still get paid!  Yippee!”

Beasley added in all seriousness that he was optimistic about next season.  “I know these last severaal weeks were kind of a slog,” the coach said, “but I think it’s made us stronger.  Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?  We’re not dead yet.”