The West Bend Power will open the 2023-24 season on home ice against the Oregon Tradesmen at 7:30pm on Saturday, September 16 at the Kettle Moraine Ice Center. The Power have 14 returners from the 2022-23 season and are led by first year Head Coach Jason Woods.
The Power have a majority of their core from last year returning for the 2023-24 season. Two key members of Coach Woods’ squad are forwards Connor O’Neal and defenseman Max Mudge.
O’Neal is in his third season with the Power. The Milwaukee native will provide a steady veteran presence on the forecheck while acclimating rookies and acquisitions alike to West Bend. Up front the Power will be led by Andrew Butler, Bryce Garber and O’Neal. “Those guys will set the table for our other returning forwards as well as our new guys,” said Woods. “On the defensive side we are really excited about our group. Tommy Kundinger, Zach Wolverton, Liam Fraser and Mudge all have a ton of skill, grit and experience back there to rely on,” added Woods. The grizzled defenseman Fraser made his mark with the Power last season standing up for his teammates notching 131 penalty minutes in just 35 games.
In net, Gavin Wohlmacher looks to take the starter’s reins after coming over from the former New Ulm Steel, now known as the Wisconsin Woodsmen. Wohlmacher had three starts for the Power last season, winning all of them.
Right where we left off
Oregon and West Bend have no love lost coming off their series in the 2023 Fraser Cup Playoffs. The Tradesmen swept the Power in a three-game series, however both games were decided by a single goal, with game two being decided in overtime. The series was intense with 46 penalty minutes accumulated between the teams in the pair of contests.
Across the Aisle:
Oregon has a different looking roster than last season, with 12 of their 21 players being rookies to the NA3HL. Still, the Tradesmen have some key returners that fans should look out for.
Goaltender Tyler Fromolz will once again protect the crease for Oregon. After a stint with the North American Hockey League’s Austin Bruins, Fromolz became the backbone in net for the Tradesmen. He garnered a 17-6-3 record while earning a 2.62 goals allowed average and a 0.916 save percentage. Jordan Larkee is an explosive forward circling back for his second season with Oregon. He averaged nearly a point per game last year and is a balanced player with an equal 13 goals and 13 assists in 27 games played.
Additionally, the Tradesmen brought over experienced forward Zack Slinger from the Gillette Wild in the frontier division of the NA3HL. Slinger may bring leadership to this young Oregon team, playing the past two seasons with Gillette, while gaining playoff experience in both years.
Saturday’s opening night matchup against the Oregon Tradesmen will be streamed on NAHLTV with puck drop at 7:30pm CST broadcasted by Frank Zawrazky. The pregame show with Frank will begin around 7:15pm. Streaming information can be found at the link provided. https://nahltv.com/