By Brian Lester
After seven games, the Long Beach Bombers proved they have the potential to be one of the better teams in the Western States Hockey League this season.
They played the Fresno Monsters tough in three-game series in early October, winning once, and went into the final weekend of the month with a four-game win streak and a 5-2 record.
“We are in a good spot, but it’s still early in the season,” said Long Beach head coach Chris White. “We have a good mix of veterans and young players, and we have played well, but we still have a lot of things we need to work on.”
The Bombers have several players who have risen to the occasion, including Patrik Johansson and Tomas Nemeth, each of whom scored seven goals and dished out eight assists in seven games.
John Beatty (three goals, six assists), Michael Sjolin (one goal, seven assists) and Carl Lyden (five goals, two assists) have also played key roles for the Bombers.
In goal, Dennis Tschudi went into the season as the No. 1 goalie and played well, allowing 14 goals and making 186 saves.
Bailey Ketola and Kent Nusbaum arrived right before the start of the season and have seen time between the pipes as well. Ketola played in three games and racked up 88 saves.
“Bailey has played great,” White said. “Dennis has done a great job, too. I think in time he will be one of the top goalies in the league.”
Injuries have prevented the Bombers from being at full strength. One of the other issues Long Beach has dealt with is on-ice discipline.
“We’ve had some frustration issues. Players have to realize you just have to play hard and not open your mouth,” White said. “We will continue to work at that and just go out and work hard and play hard every day.”
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