It's been several months since Selland Arena's ice was thawed, months since the old barn heard the roar of Fresno hockey fans and months since the valley's hockey faithful have had the opportunity to watch their beloved Monsters.
Don't think that just because they haven't been playing at home, that the Monsters haven't been busy. Both teams started the season with lengthy road trips against solid opponents and both have been successful.
As always, the North American Hockey League season officially commenced with a showcase in Minnesota. The Monsters hit the ice running for the 2011-12 season and swept their way to a 4-0 record after the tournament. They followed that up with a trip to Dawson Creek, B.C. and added a couple more wins to their record. From Canada, the team headed up to Alaska for 8 more games against their rivals up there.
With a current record of 7-5-2, the Monsters are in second place in the NAHL West division. That puts them 2 points ahead of the Kenai River Brown Bears.
The "NA" team has been led in the scoring department by Jeff McMinimy (15 pts), while Zack Wallace is right behind him (13 pts). Jeff Pauluk leads all players who returned from last year's squad with 10 points in 7 games and a +2 rating. Mac Haight (4 wins) and Tomas Sholl (3 wins) have split the goal tending duties down the middle, playing 7 games apiece.
Up next for the NAHL Monsters is the home opener on October 28th, where they host Kenai and have the opportunity to solidify their place in the standings.
The WSHL Monsters got their season underway with a trip down to San Diego a couple of weeks ago. They swept their series with the Gulls and came home boasting a perfect 3-0 record.
This past weekend, the "WS" team traveled to the lonestar state to take on the Texas Brahmas. Once again, they completed a 3-game sweep and now have a record of 6-0. All of their wins have come in regulation and have been by at least 2 goals.
Nick McKee and Marc Haaf lead the team with 8 points apiece, while Josiah Nikkel is right behind them with 6. Stanton Turner, Gunnar Dircks and Justin Plate all have 5 points so far. Goalies Marcus Harbison and Tom McGuckin have been sharing the load in net and have 3 wins each.
The WSHL Monsters are on the road again this weekend, when they head to Arizona to face the Phoenix Knights. Once they complete that series, they'll head back home and get ready for their home opener, which is also on the 28th. They'll be facing their arch rivals, the Idaho Jr. Steelheads three times that weekend.