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Bagelface, Cuff, and Janssen Leading Vasteras' Resurgence

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Eggly Bagelface is currently on pace for career-highs in nearly every major goaltending statistic

 

VASTERAS, Sweden - Heading into the VHL's 36th season, you would have been heavily ostracized if you said that the Vasteras Iron Eagles would be only two points behind Helsinki and seven points ahead of Cologne after 22 games. And yet, that is where the standings currently sit; the Dynamo sit in first place in the European conference with 33 points, and have been absolutely spectacular with special teams, as they currently register a 23.32% Powerplay rate and a 89.62% Penalty-Kill rate, both of which lead the league. In a bit of a slight surprise, the Helsinki Titans sit in second place with 28 points, despite a slumping powerplay (14.81%). However, the Titans are second to only the Dynamo in terms of goals scored and are also second in the league in goals allowed. Then, in possibly one of the largest surprises of the season, are the Iron Eagles, sitting in the 3rd and final playoff position in the Euro conference. While the Iron Eagles have very lackluster team statistics, they have been able to win games on the backs of goaltender Eggly Bagelface and forwards Zach Cuff and Willem Janssen. 

 

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Zach Cuff has been a godsend for Vasteras

 

Winger Zach Cuff was acquired in an arguably minor deal with Cologne in the off-season, and the change of scenery could not have worked out any better for Vasteras and Cuff. Cuff currently not only leads the team with 26 points in 22 games, but the entire league as well (in the left wing category at least). Meanwhile, franchise forward Willem Janssen is having quite the season as well, with 24 points in 22 games, good enough for second on the team and second in the league at his position. Cuff and Janssen have shown great chemistry together, and both being on the same line together is starting to become a nightmare for opposing defensemen. However, arguably the biggest reason for the recent surge by the Iron Eagles has been the spectacular play of netminder Eggly Bagelface so far in the season. As of right now, Bagelface has a .936 Save Percentage (2nd), 1.89 Goals Against Average (3rd), and 4 Shutouts (T-1st). The most puzzling thing regarding Bagelface's play is that Vasteras did not bring in any new defenders who were better than what the Iron Eagles had last season. Only time will tell if Bagelface has truly entered the ranks of the VHL Goaltending Elite, as there is still more than half of a season to play before any naysayers can be silenced. 

 

After the Iron Eagles in the standings are the Cologne Express, who just cannot seem to get it going, as they have a roster that on paper clearly trumps Vasteras'. Cologne has a bonafide superstar forward in Kameron Taylor, a #1 defender in Malcom Spud, and a clear-cut #1 goalie with Evgeni Chekhov, so why are they not winning games? There really doesn't seem to be an obvious answer, but the Iron Eagles are not questioning it. And last but certainly not least, are the rebuilding Riga Reign, who sit with 15 points. The Reign are led by the Gow duo, Robert III and Robin, who both are scoring at more than a PPG pace (26P and 23P), although don't look for the Reign to break through into the playoff picture anytime soon.

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Content: 3/3 - A nice article explaining the Iron Eagles's strong play to start the season. The Express may be able to make the 3rd spot in the European Conference interesting depending on what direction they go, but right now, it's Vasteras's spot to lose. 

 

Grammar: 2/2 - Just two small ones.

 

European conference = European Conference

Goaltending Elite = goaltending elite

 

Appearance: 1/1 - Very nice.

 

Overall: 6/6

 

FINAL: 6/6

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