Weekend Preview – Power hosts Woodsmen for Autism Acceptance Night

Jan 18, 2024

West Bend, WI – The West Bend Power look to continue their winning ways when they host the Wisconsin Woodsmen on Saturday, Jan. 20 with a 4:30pm CST puck drop at Kettle Moraine Ice Center,

Saturday is Autism Acceptance night sponsored by Packerland Rent-a-Mat and The Threshold, Inc.  Power Broadcaster Frank Zawrazky, the only openly Autistic hockey broadcaster at any level, is leading this promotional night. The night is headlined by a silent auction with hockey memorabilia from players including Daniel Briere, Cole Caufield, Lane Hutson and Ben Eager. All proceeds benefit to the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin and the auction starts at 3:30pm CST. A link to their website is here. https://assew.org

Clinching the Postseason

The Power have recentered their game with the start of the 2024. On their most recent road trip to Peoria, West Bend swept the Mustangs. The Power emerged victorious in a Jan. 12 shootout by a score of 2-1 and won and 3-1 the following night.

Head Coach Jason Woods is excited to bring this momentum home. “It’s going to be a great Saturday at the rink,” Woods said. “We are excited to build off what we accomplished last week and celebrate Autism Acceptance. Frank has done an unbelievable job of helping put this weekend together and we are excited to be playing in this game!”

New Faces in Town

West Bend made a few trades, bringing in defenseman Michael Sobaski from the El Paso Rhinos along with forward Nik Johnson and goaltender Jesse Easterwood from the Willmar Warhawks.

Sobaski came over on Jan 12, and played in both games against Peoria, scoring the deciding goal during Friday’s shootout win. Nick Mammel, Rhinos Head Coach from 2021-2023, currently with Oakland University ACHA D1 said about Sobaski. “He is a high intensity player. When he signed his tender with El Paso, he called every other team and thanked them for their interest.” His 17-goal rookie season was second among all El Paso players, one away from being tied for first.

Johnson and Easterwood were secured on Jan. 17. Their General Manager, Connor White had positive things to say about each of them. “Johnson is a Tasmanian Devil on ice,” White said. “He one of the hardest workers and plays an in-your-face style of hockey.” White went into detail about Easterwood, “Jesse is a Bonafide starter and heck of a leader,” said White. “Jesse is going to major in paleontology and is very into dinosaurs.”

Across the Aisle

Wisconsin has had an up and down regular season. The Woodsmen sit in the Central Division’s 4th place with a record of 16-12-1-2 and 35 points. Depth has been a large factor for Wisconsin, with five different forwards earning above 20 points this year. Still, captains Nick O’Brien and Hunter Nelson are leading the way. During his rookie year, with the New Ulm Steel last season, O’Brien led his team with 28 assists in 46 games played. Hunter Nelson has come into his own throughout his second season of junior hockey. Nelson is riding a season long 4 game point streak having earned 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in that timespan.

The Woodsmen also bolstered their goaltending on Jan. 12, acquiring Steven Kelley for Dixon Ehlers from the Minnesota Loons. Kelley has a 2-9-0-1 record through 13 games this season and 4.40 goals allowed average. Despite Minnesota’s 3-28-1-1 record, Kelley boasts a 0.923 save percentage, second among all goalies in the NA3HL West Division.

Broadcast Information

Frank Zawrazky returns to the headset on Jan. 20 versus the Wisconsin Woodsmen at 4:30pm CST for Autism Acceptance Night. All games this season are streaming on www.nahltv.com. https://nahltv.com/