The Steele County Blades and Minnesota Mullets, members of the United States Premier Hockey League are ready to play as part of Hockey Day Minnesota.
The teams will face off outdoors at beautiful Blakeslee Field on the campus of Minnesota State University in Mankato on Sunday, Jan. 23 (4:30 p.m. CST) The matchup will be broadcast live on HockeyTV with coverage leading up to the event provided by Junior Hockey’s Most-Watched Show, The Dan K Show.
The Dan K Show's Dan Kmiechick and Lucas Jones sat down upon the 2021 announcement to talk about the news via Zoom with the Blades' Head Coach Nick Adamek, the Mullets' Chris Walby and Minnesota Hockey Expert Dan Bradley. Watch the interview at https://youtu.be/DzMEWfo0S7k!
Nick Adamek, Head Coach of the Blades (located in Owatonna), talked about the opportunity to show the high level of hockey at the USPHL Premier level to prospective future players in the State of Hockey.
“I’m a California kid, never got a chance to play outside, and a lot of kids on our team who never got to play outside,” said Adamek, head coach of the Blades since 2014. “Now we get to play outside in arguably the second biggest outdoor event of the year behind the NHL’s [Winter Classic]. We had a pretty good idea that we would be part of it in 2021. Flash forward to the 2022 event, after the pandemic canceled [2021’s event], I hadn’t really thought about it. It wasn’t until [last summer], the news came through we’d be considered for it. Being the only southern Minnesota junior hockey team in the USPHL, it made it pretty special - they wanted to make sure they had that connection to southern Minnesota.
“There was no one else we wanted to be a part of this with than Chris Walby and the Minnesota Mullets,” Adamek added.
Walby, like Adamek, is not a Minnesota native (he’s from Lodi, Wis.), but he has certainly adopted The State of Hockey as his home. He first began coaching in Minnesota in 2012, and has been coaching the Minneapolis-based Mullets since they were originally the Forest Lake Lakers back in 2016-17.
“Moving up here to Minnesota the last 10 years, I’ve dreamed about coaching in this game,” said Walby. “It’s quite a pack that will be there. I’m excited for that, and it couldn’t be a bigger deal for us and our organization. When it was here in Minneapolis, I wanted to make it happen. Logistically, it didn’t happen, but Nick and his crew got it done.”
The Blades are celebrating their 10th season in 2021-22. Adamek sees the steady progression of the Blades continuing in 2021-22, as they’ve moved from ninth to seventh to fifth over the last three campaigns.
“It made us all hold our heads a little higher, and feel a little better about what we were doing here, and knowing how much it mattered to those paying the bills,” said Adamek.
“Last year, it was Year 2 of our new local ownership group. We went as young as we possibly could, they want to get better every day. Our motto is ‘be better every day.”
The Mullets are happy to be able to provide some of their players with not even a first, but in some cases a second or even more chances to play at Hockey Day Minnesota.
“The roster that we have this year, we have nine Minnesota players. We have players who played in this game, at the high school level, with Eveleth. With the group that is from Minnesota and knows about the event and the game, they’re absolutely fired up about it. The rest of us from out of state, it’s a dream - I always thought about doing this. I hope we have good weather, as [bad weather] is the only thing that could be a downfall.”
Bradley, who was the play-by-play voice of the Mullets the last few years, talked about the wild card of weather in an outdoor game.
“If you’re getting too much sunlight, that could mess with your ice quality. You want that cloud cover,” said Bradley. “You’re dealing with temperature changes, you’re seeing things differently. The boards and glass have different glare outside than they would outside. All that can mess with a player and force you to do things a little differently.”
Both the Mullets and the Blades are located along Interstate 35, and both teams said this game could be start of a rivalry cup series potentially known as the “I-35 Cup.”
Launched in 2007, Hockey Day Minnesota has served as a celebration of the game of hockey throughout the state, similar to Hockey Day Canada.
The USPHL congratulates both the Steele County Blades and Minnesota Mullets on becoming the first-ever Junior Hockey teams to participate in this incredible event.
Stay tuned to the USPHL and The Dan K Show for more information and updates regarding the event.
Paperwork, first college classes - and of course, practice for one of the most accomplished NCAA teams in the history of college hockey.
It was all part of the first full day at Boston University for now former Rockets Hockey Club NCDC standout defenseman Jack Page. The 2001-born native of West Chester, Pa., only very recently committed to Boston University - for the second half of this very 2021-22 season.
“I started talking to BU again this year around Thanksgiving about the possibility of coming in around Christmas time,” said Page, whose first contact with Boston University had been during his final 18U season in New Jersey, prior to joining the Rockets.
“The decision to join BU here for the second semester was officially made Wednesday night [Jan. 19],” said Page. “I was originally talking with them about coming in after Christmas, but things didn't work out then. I heard back from them again on Monday the 17th about coming in for the second semester. It was then a pretty crazy process trying to get all of the information into admissions in order to get admitted before classes started today on the 20th.”
Over two seasons with the Rockets, including making the 2021 NCDC Championship Game, he played in 57 regular season games posting 32 points. He also had three assists in four playoff games last year. His upside while with the Rockets was enough to earn him a spot in the NCAA Prospects All-Star Game last year. Coaches were certainly watching.
“The coaches really like my ability to skate, especially for a guy my size,” said Page, who is 6-feet-4-inches and 194 pounds. “They also liked my hockey IQ and felt that I could step in the second semester.”
He is stepping into an NCAA program that has a history of more than 100 years, which includes five NCAA championships, 37 NCAA Tournament appearances, 22 Frozen Fours and seemingly more alumni in the NHL than galaxies in the universe.
“What interested me most about BU was the great historic program with all the BU alumni that have gone on to play in the NHL. The passion for hockey at BU is amazing, playing in games like the Beanpot,” said Page. “Outside of hockey, BU really excites me because it gives me a great education especially for what I want to major in. I also love the campus here at BU, Boston is such an amazing city.”
Page, who is majoring in Finance with plans to graduate from Boston University Questrom School of Business, first visited the campus on Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue a few years back as an 18U player.
“I fell in love with the campus and the school and I knew BU was the spot I wanted to be in,” added Page.
He was also equally smitten with his two years with the team at Bridgewater Sports Arena, teh Rockets Hockey Club.
“I could not have asked for a better junior hockey experience. I loved coming to the rink every day and getting to play the game I love with all my teammates, who are some of my closest friends,” Page said. “I’m so grateful to play for Jason Kersner. I learned so much from him both inside and outside of hockey.
“I feel my game really excelled playing in the NCDC. Jason Kersner was a huge help in developing my game - not only developing my hockey IQ and skill set, but also teaching about the mental game and having a great attitude,” he added. “I learned so many things at the Rockets that I will be able to take with me through all aspects of life. I am very grateful to have played for such a great organization.”
The USPHL congratulates Jack Page, his family, the Rockets Hockey Club and Boston University for his commitment and immediate advancement!
The United States Premier Hockey League is excited to announce that the USPHL Premier and USPHL Elite National Championship tournaments will take place March 24-29, 2022.
Round-robin games take place for all teams March 24-26 at Cyclones Arena in Hudson, N.H. The Quarterfinals for the USPHL Premier and Semifinals for the USPHL Elite will take place March 27 at Cyclones Arena.
The Semifinals and the Championship games for the USPHL Premier and the Championship Game for the USPHL Elite will be held at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., on March 28 and 29.
The National Championships will see fields of 16 teams for the USPHL Premier and eight teams for the USPHL Elite Division.
Playoffs in the USPHL Premier and USPHL Elite divisions begin the weekend of March 6 and will conclude for all divisions by the weekend of March 20 to determine the 24 total teams that will make the trip to Nationals.
For the Premier Nationals, there will be four pools of four teams apiece, with the top two teams from each group moving on to Quarterfinals, and the winners of the Quarterfinals facing each other in the Semifinals. Winners of those semifinal games will play in the National Championship Game. All of the Quarterfinal, Semifinal and Championship games in both divisions are single elimination, winner-take-all contests.
On the Elite side, two groups of four teams will hit the ice in the round robin, with two top teams emerging from each of those pools to play in the Semifinals. The winners of the Semifinals will also compete in a winner-take-all National Championship Game.
To learn more about the Premier and Elite playoffs, including Nationals, visit:
The USPHL Elite Championship Game will take place on March 28 at Merrimack College, followed one day later by the USPHL Premier Championship Game on March 29.
Watch USPHL.com and The Dan K Show in the run-up to March as we break down who’s making playoffs, who’s hot and much more fun all the way to and through March 29!
Yes, we are still just under two months from the end of the 2021-22 NCDC season, but teams are certainly jockeying for position so that those in playoff positions don’t begin to lose hold of them - and those without them are on a furious push to make the postseason. Only eight out of the 13 teams will be skating in games after the regular season ends March 13, so the race is definitely on, especially with just over 17 games on average remaining per team. A lot could change in two months, for better or for worse depending on where your team is right now. The hockey that results will be fantastic, that is 100 percent certain.
Jersey Hitmen Extend Winning Streak To Three Games After Sweep Weekend
The Hitmen brought in the Islanders Hockey Club on the busiest North vs. South weekend outside of showcase play in two years (not counting last year’s Hub City Tampa games). The home cooking went down well for the Hitmen, who defeated the IHC by scores of 6-0 and 7-2. Along with a 5-2 win over the Rockets Hockey Club on Jan. 8, they have won three in a row or better five times this season.
• The two wins over the Islanders evened out the Hitmen’s record against North Division teams, as they now stand at 5-5-1-0 against those squads.
• With four more power play goals this weekend, the Hitmen continue to stand at first in PP percentage with a 26.3 success rate (44-for-167).
• With a league-leading 138 goals for and 83 against (ranking second), the Hitmen continue to dominate in goal differential with a +55. That is +38 better than their nearest competition in this stat category.
• The Hitmen also get more shots on goal than any other team by quite a bit. They are the only team averaging above 40, with a 41.97 average per game (1,301 shots in 31 contests).
• Defenseman Dakota Zarudny has the hottest active goal streak in the league with four tallies in four games. Hitmen also populate the top spots of the best active assists streak (Dominiks Marcinkevics, 10 in his last six games) and points streak (Patriks Marcinkevics, 25 points in 11 games).
• With 57 points, Patriks Marcinkevics leads the league in scoring by 13 points over his closest competitor. He is also the league leader in assists (37), power play assists (17) and power play points (20).
• Zarudny’s goal streak makes it three Hitmen defensemen in the top three spots for scoring by blueliners in the league. Sean Melso leads with 32 points, followed by Brandon Cimino with 27 and Zarudny with 25. Melso also leads the league in assists by a defenseman with 26, and Cimino is first among D in power play assists (12) and power play points (15).
Boston Advantage Move Into Tie For Fifth Place With Cyclones After Sweep Weekend
The Advantage were able to leapfrog the Northern Cyclones and move from sixth into fifth with two straight victories against the visiting Connecticut Jr. Rangers. The Advantage’s 5-3 and 5-4 wins were the first two wins against the same opponent in two straight games - because these were the Advantage’s first two consecutive games against a common opponent this season! They’ll do that three more times this season, twice against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
• The two wins also gave them 30 points on the season, tying them for fifth place in the North Division with the Northern Cyclones. Both teams are just below the “Mendoza line” for playoffs, by two points out of fourth place. They are also both only six points out of tying for first place!
• The Advantage are undefeated after one period when leading after one or two periods. Up after 20 minutes, they are 7-0-1-0, and when leading after two, they are 11-0-1-0. They are one of just three teams with no losses in regulation when up after 20 minutes.
• Second-year goaltender Connor Bradford, who had both wins this weekend, moved up to fourth in NCDC wins with 12 this year. He is also second in shutouts (two) and minutes (1,477) and he is fourth in saves (766).
Rockets Hockey Club On Three-Game Point Streak To Remain In South Hunt
The Rockets played host to the Northern Cyclones and came out with a 4-3 shootout loss and a 5-1 victory. Along with their 4-2 win over Connecticut on Jan. 9, the Rockets have earned points in their last three to stand with 39 points, third in the South Division. They are four points behind the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders (in second) and five points behind the division-and league-leading Jersey Hitmen.
• With their shootout win (first of the season), the Rockets improved to 15 points earned after 60 minutes this season, good for second in the league. They are 4-2 in OT and 1-3 in shootouts this season.
• The Rockets’ 9-1-0-1 (.863) record against North Division teams is the best record, by winning percentage, of any NCDC team against teams from the other division.
• The Rockets remain one of the most potent offensive teams, standing at second in goals for per game average with a 3.66.
• They remain the only team in the league to have not lost a one-goal game in regulation this year (6-0-2-3).
• Penn State University recruit Jason Gallucci is enjoying a four-game four-assist helper streak going back to Jan. 8. With two assists this weekend, he moved into fifth in the league among defensemen with 17 total.
• Niagara University recruit Johnny Wescoe, who is third in points with 43, moved into fourth in both power play assists (12) and power play points (16).
P.A.L. Jr. Islanders Earn Pair Of Wins Over Twin City Thunder
The Jr. Islanders kept their one-point gap behind the Hitmen in place. One slip-up by the top team could see a flip for not just the South Division lead but the Founders Cup lead right now as well. P.A.L. is at 43 points, with the Hitmen at 44. Both teams have 21 wins.
The Twin City Thunder took the Islanders to a shootout on Friday, but fell to the hosts 5-4 before the Jr. Islanders won 3-0 in the Saturday.
• The Jr. Islanders improved their winning percentage in games beyond 60 minutes to a league-leading .857. They are 4-0 in overtime and 2-1 in shootouts.
• The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders lead in penalty killing with an 88.8 percentage rate, killing off 127 of 143 power plays against them.
• They also possess the league’s best overall defense, giving up only 2.42 goals per game, a quarter-goal per game better than anyone else.
• With a 15-0-0-0 record when leading after two, the Jr. Isles have the best record in that situation. They have 13 wins in one-goal games, five more than anyone else in the league.
• Harrison Chesney and Cam Smith are 1-2 in save percentage for the NCDC, at .941 and .928, respectively. They are also first and third in goals against average at 2.12 and 2.48, respectively.
• Smith’s shootout win against the Thunder was his second, good for a tie for third in that category. He has stopped the most attempts this year with a 1.000 percentage 5-for-5 on saves.
Philadelphia Hockey Club Earns Sweep Over South Shore Kings
The PHC won 5-4 in a shootout and then 3-2 in regulation against the visiting South Shore Kings. This raised the squad from sixth to fifth in the South Division, and only four points out of fourth place rather than the six they started the weekend with.
• These were the Philadelphia Hockey Club’s 20th and 21st one-goal games of the year, good for 65.6 of their total 32 games. The next closest in terms of one-goal games is the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders’ 17. They’ve also gone beyond 60 minutes a league-leading 12 times (Rockets are second with 10).
• The Philadelphia Hockey Club is No. 1 in fewest shots against per game in the league at 32.44 per game.
• In the shootout win, PHC was tied with South Shore after two periods. Philly is undefeated in regulation at 4-0-4-0 when tied in periods. The Northern Cyclones, at 2-0-0-0, are the only other team with no losses in regulation when tied after 40 minutes.
• Ryan Keyes’ two saves on the shootout made him one of four goalies in the league who have not given up any shootout goals when in that situation this year.
• Chip Hamlett registered his 20th assist of the season to remain in the top three for assists by blueliners.
Around The Boards In The NCDC
The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs went to Utica and split their Thursday-Friday series with a 4-2 Monarchs win and then a 4-1 Utica Jr. Comets victory. Earning two points was enough for the Monarchs to leapfrog the South Shore Kings into third place in the North Division. Utica remains fourth in the South.
• The Monarchs scored a shorthanded goal to remain in first in the league with seven, tied with the Northern Cyclones (who also registered a shortie over the weekend).
• Mitchell Day reclaimed sole possession of the NCDC wins lead with his 15th W of the year against the Jr. Comets. He is also first in saves with 809, and he is third in minutes (1,447) and save percentage (.927).
• The Jr. Comets are third in shots on goal per game (35.54).
• Utica’s John Gutt is tied for third in league scoring with 43 points and he is also third in assists (31).
• Army recruit Owen Carlile’s recent power play goal put him into a four-way tie for second in that category with seven. Defenseman Domenick Evtimov’s sixth goal of the season has him in a three-way tie for second in goals by an NCDC defenseman. He is also fourth in assists with 19.
• Sebastian Woods is tied for second in saves (800) and is fourth in minutes (1,434).
The Cyclones earned two points from the weekend by defeating the Rockets 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday.
• The Cyclones lead the league in shootouts with five (3-2). They are also the only team with no overtime decisions this year. They complete 60 or 65 minutes, no in between.
• Austin Rice’s shootout-winning goal was his league-leading second SOG by a defenseman and the only winner by a blueliner so far this year.
• Kristoffer Eberly tied for the league lead in shootout wins with his third. Eberly is also fourth in save percentage at .924.
• Defensively, in shootouts, the Cyclones goaltenders are 4-for-21 on attempts, an impressive .191 rate against opposing forwards.
• Michael Felsing’s shorthanded goal in the 4-3 shootout win gave the Cyclones seven on the season, tied for first with their in-state rivals the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
• Junior Bruins at South Shore Kings, Jan. 19 - The two teams have split their 2021-22 meetings, but the Junior Bruins have dominated the all-time series, 16-4-2-0.
• Jersey Hitmen vs. P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Jan. 19 and 22 - The two top teams from the South Division clash after earlier splitting games on Nov. 3 (3-1 P.A.L. win) and Nov. 5 (4-2 Hitmen win).
• South Shore Kings at Islanders Hockey Club, Jan. 20 - These two teams have split their season series so far, while the Islanders hold an all-time lead of 17-5-1-0, though the Kings have gone 5-5-0-1 since 2019.
• Philadelphia Hockey Club vs. Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Jan. 21-22 - Yet another continuation of a season series that is so far split. The Rangers won 3-2 on Nov. 6 and the PHC won 6-5 one night later.
• Northern Cyclones vs. Twin City Thunder, Jan. 21 and 23 - It’s a Maine vs. New Hampshire showdown. The Thunder have won two 3-1 victories this year, and the Cyclones have won one victory - also by a 3-1 score.
• Boston Advantage vs. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Jan. 21-22 - In two seasons, the Monarchs have one more point than the Advantage with a 3-1-1-0 record (against the Advantage’s 2-1-0-2 series mark).
• Utica Jr. Comets at Rockets Hockey Club, Jan. 21-22 - The Rockets and Utica are completely tied in points earned over their all-time series. The Rockets’ record is 12-10-1-0, while the Jr. Comets (and their predecessor Syracuse Jr. Stars)’ all-time mark is 11-9-2-1.
• Islanders Hockey Club at Junior Bruins, Jan. 22 - The Junior Bruins have won twice, but the Islanders scored a decisive victory in their third meeting this year back on Dec. 10.
Drop The Pucks!
All the work, all the dedication and all that scoring that Timothy Heinke has done for the South Shore Kings has paid off. The 2001-born native of Kensington, Conn., made his commitment on Jan. 14 to Quinnipiac University for a future career at the NCAA Division I ranks.
“I was intrigued by their on-ice success, the fact that it is a smaller school and their business programs,” said Heinke, in an e-mail response to questions as he was on his way to a tilt with the Philadelphia Hockey Club. “I was impressed by the gorgeous facilities, the coaching staff and how close it is to home. Making the commitment was a no-brainer.”
It’s also been a no-brainer this year to expect some kind of contribution in a Kings game from Heinke. He may be a junior rookie, but several years at Avon Old Farms School prepared him to go up against the NCDC’s best and prosper. He had 19 goals and 29 points in 26 games heading into the aforementioned Saturday game with Philly.
“[Quinnipiac liked] my overall game as a power forward, my physicality and my ability to produce,” said Heinke, who also added he just started talking with Quinnipiac coaches two weeks earlier, during the holiday break.
The Kings originally acquired Heinke in the 2021 NCDC Entry Draft last spring, and that was a fortuitous pick. Heinke has joined with Sacred Heart University recruit Chikara Hanzawa to provide an unstoppable offensive push for the Kings this year. His talent with the puck was underscored when he scored a “Michigan Move” goal, joining teammate and Colby College recruit James Tepper in pulling off the move twice by one team in the same period. The two plays made the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10.
Heinke chalks up that highlight to the overall experience of being a King.
“Everything about the organization, from practices to video sessions to off-ice training, have been first class,” Heinke said. “In addition, the relationships I have built with my teammates and coaches will last forever. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity the Kings organization has given me.
“The mental side of my game has become significantly stronger,” added Heinke. “The league has challenged me to perform all aspects of my game more consistently than ever before.”
Even with the commitment, it doesn’t guarantee minutes in his future with the Bobcats. He knows there’s still work to be done down the stretch drive and into the March playoffs.
“I need to work on every aspect of my game,” said Heinke. “Quinnipiac has a very prestigious hockey program and there is a lot of work still to be done in order to have an impact on the team’s future success.”
Future success off the ice is, of course, the leading reason for anyone to go on to college. Heinke isn’t 100 percent certain what he will major in, but he expects something in business and/or civil engineering.
The USPHL congratulates Timothy Heinke, his family, the South Shore Kings and Quinnipiac University for his commitment.
The United States Premier Hockey League is proud to announce that two direct league alumni have been named to the roster for Team USA’s Men’s Hockey entry at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, set to begin Feb. 4 and conclude on Feb. 20.
Strauss Mann and Sean Farrell both played at the Midget level for the Connecticut Jr. Rangers and Boston Junior Bruins, respectfully, before moving on to other junior hockey routes, NCAA Division I hockey and - in Mann’s case - the professional hockey ranks. This will be the first time representing the U.S. at the Olympics for both players, and MAnn’s first time representing the U.S. in an international tournament.
Strauss Mann, Goaltender
Mann, a 1998-born native of Greenwich, Conn., joined the former Connecticut Yankees in the inaugural season of the USPHL, 2013-14, playing seven games that season. He came back the next season when the team became known in their current form as the Connecticut Jr. Rangers. He played in 14 USPHL 18U games that year, posting a .910 save percentage.
From the Rangers, he played three seasons of prep and USHL hockey before starting his NCAA hockey career with the University of Michigan in 2018-19. He experienced massive success in his final two seasons in Ann Arbor, being named to the Big Ten’s Best Goaltender and First Team All-Conference in 2019-20. The next year, 2020-21, he was a team captain along with being named Big Ten Second Team All-Conference.
He moved on to pro hockey for 2021-22, playing for Skelleftea HK in Sweden, where he’s gone 9-4-0, posting a 1.77 goals against average and a .930 in his rookie pro year.
Sean Farrell, Forward
Farrell, a 2001-born native of Hopkinton, Mass., joined the Junior Bruins for a season of USPHL 16U roster in 2015-16. He played in 30 games and registered 35 points, along with two goals in two playoff games.
After a prep season, he was named to the USA National Team Development Program’s Under-17 squad in 2017-18. He made his international tournament debut that year, playing in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, winning Gold. The next year, while a member of the NTDP’s U18 team, he played in the World Junior Under-18 Championships, where Team USA took home Bronze.
In 2019-20, he joined the USHL’s Chicago Steel, setting the league mark that year for most assists (41). But he blew even that out of the Lake Michigan water the next year. He was named the USA Hockey Junior Player Of The Year for 2020-21. With the Steel, he was a First Team USHL All-Star, USHL Player Of The Year, a Clark Cup Champion, and he led the league in assists (72) and points (101). He added 10 points in eight playoff games en route to the Clark Cup title.
This year, he is with Harvard University, where he had 19 points in 13 games before being named to the Team USA roster.
Best of luck to Strauss Mann, Sean Farrell and all of our Team USA athletes at the Winter Olympics in Beijing!
The United States Premier Hockey League is proud to announce that eight former USPHL players, who suited up for league teams at various levels, were recognized by NHL Central Scouting by being placed in the Mid-Term Rankings for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, scheduled for July 7-8, 2022, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.
Below are short profiles on each player who has played games in the USPHL. We wish the best of luck to all. Watch for the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings to be released in April 2022.
North American Goalies
3. Dylan Silverstein (Islanders Hockey Club, USPHL 16U 2018-19)
Silverstein (‘04/Calabasas, Calif.) helped the Islanders Hockey Club win the USPHL 16U National Championship in 2019. During the regular season, he played 13 games and went 10-2 on the season. He currently plays for the U.S. National Team Development Program.
4. Cameron Whitehead (Utica Jr. Comets, NCDC 2020-21)
Whitehead (‘03/Orleans, Ont.) gets another shot at the NHL Draft, as he was among those listed in the Final Rankings for the 2021 Draft. Whitehead was the clear No. 1 for the 2020-21 Jr. Comets, as he played in 29 regular season and two playoff games for the campaign. He currently tends net for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL.
5. Tyler Muszelik (Rockets Hockey Club, USPHL 16U 2019-20)
Muszelik (‘04/Long Valley, N.J.) never lost a USPHL game in his time in the league, going 8-0 in the regular season and 2-0, all as a true 15U player (the Rockets 15U team played as the Rockets HC Black team in the USPHL 16U American Division in 2019-20). The University of New Hampshire recruit currently plays for the U.S. National Team Development Program’s 18U squad.
5. Karlis Meszargs (Florida Eels, USPHL Elite 2019-20)
The 2003-born native of Riga, Latvia, suited up for the Florida Eels of the USPHL Elite during the 2019-20 season, tending the Eels net for 17 games and posting a 2.52 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. He currently plays for HK Riga in Russia’s MHL.
North American Skaters
37. Cameron Lund, C (Boston Junior Bruins, NCDC 2020-21)
The 2004-born Lund grew up in Bridgewater, Mass., and played youth hockey for both the South Shore Kings and Junior Bruins. Years later, he would be a major cog in the machine for the 2020-21 Junior Bruins NCDC team, from which he committed to Northeastern along with teammate Jackson Dorrington. Last season, Lund posted 17-17-34 totals in 40 games, and he added six more points in six playoff games. Lund is currently playing in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers.
57. Jackson Dorrington, D (Boston Junior Bruins, NCDC 2020-21)
Dorrington, an ‘04, committed to Northeastern University while with the Junior Bruins last season. He played the full season for Mike Anderson’s squad, posting two goals and 18 assists for 20 points in 33 regular season games. He also added three assists in six postseason games as the Junior Bruins advanced to the NCDC Dineen Cup semifinals. He is currently playing in the USHL for the Des Moines Buccaneers, after playing for Team USA in the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup this summer.
73. Ryan Healey, D (Boston Advantage, USPHL 16U/NCDC 2020-21)
Healey, a teammate at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup of Jackson Dorrington and Cameron Lund, played in four USPHL 16U games, posting four points. He also played in two NCDC games. The ‘04 Hull, Mass., native is committed to Harvard University after playing for his current team, the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers.
176. Jacob Guevin, D (Northwood School, USPHL 18U 2019-20)
A Nebraska-Omaha commit, the ‘03 out of Drummondville, Que., played in 12 USPHL 18U league games in 2019-20, posting a 5-11-16 line. He added an assist in three playoff games. He currently plays for the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks.
The USPHL wishes the best of luck to all of its alumni who received Mid-Term rankings for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Forward: Tyler Healey, Twin City Thunder
Healey (‘02/Arthur, Ont.) was monstrous for the only 3-0 NCDC team at the USPHL Winter Showcase. He posted 2-3-5 in just his first game alone, vs. the Boston Advantage. He went and added two goals in a Game 2 win against the Islanders Hockey Club, and then posted a goal to close out the event against the Utica Jr. Comets. Overall, Healey now has 20 points in 21 NCDC games.
Defense: Austin Rice, Northern Cyclones
Rice (‘02/Fort Myers, Fla.) is a fifth-year USPHL player in his third year with the Cyclones’ NCDC squad. He posted four assists in three USPHL Winter Showcase games, and came out with an even rating (one of only five Cyclones to finish the event even or a plus). He also put up a blocked shot over the weekend.
Goaltender: Dylan Kruss, Islanders Hockey Club
Kruss (‘01/Thornhill, Ont.) joined the Islanders in October, and had his best performance yet with 33 saves on 35 shots by the second-ranked P.A.L. Jr. Islanders to earn his second victory with the IHC.
Forward: John Gutt, Utica Jr. Comets
Gutt first pulled on a jersey with the USPHL crest in 2016, and here in 2022, he has passed the 200-game mark for the league recently at the USPHL Winter Showcase. The Utica College commit celebrated the double-century milestone by posted a pair of goals and three assists for five points, helping the Jr. Comets go 2-1 in Marlborough, Mass. He now has 41 points in 33 games this year and an NCDC career total of 75 points - tied for second all-time in Utica/Syracuse history.
Defense: Dakota Zarudny, Jersey Hitmen
Zarudny (‘01/Orangeville, Ont.) was huge on the goal front during the weekend, scoring his first NCDC hat trick against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers and then he added one more goal in their win against the Rockets Hockey Club. He now has 21 points in 29 games for the season and his nine goals lead all USPHL defensemen.
Goaltender: Sebastian Woods, Utica Jr. Comets
Woods (‘01/Limehouse, Ont.) was in net for all three Jr. Comets games on the weekend, going 2-1 and making 123 saves on 133 shots for a .925 weekend save percentage. His best individual performance was stopping 50 of 51 shots put on him by the Boston Junior Bruins for a win.
The USPHL Winter Showcase was a big part of the start of the 2022 portion of this 2021-22 season. One team in particular, the Twin City Thunder, made the best of the opportunity, winning all three of their games at the showcase. Joining with a win to close 2021, they are on a league-best active 4-0 winning streak.
None of the other NCDC teams have won more than their most recent game, but the races in both the North and South Divisions remain tighter than ever. One point separates the top two teams in the South, and coincidentally, in the NCDC as a whole. The North Division-leading Junior Bruins - at 36 points as of Wednesday morning - are only four points back of the league-leading Jersey Hitmen, and three back of the second place P.A.L. Jr. Islanders.
Thunder Bring The Noise To Jump Into Second In The North
Twin City started with wins of 7-5 and 4-3 against the Boston Advantage and Islanders Hockey Club, respectively, before going up against the Utica Jr. Comets on Monday. The Jr. Comets are just five points behind the Hitmen at this point. Twin City completed the showcase sweep, the only team to do so, with a 6-3 victory.
• The Thunder’s 4-0 run is their best streak of the season so far, and their best since Nov. 14-22, 2019, when they also went 4-0 just after their launch as an NCDC program.
• The Thunder are the third-cleanest team in the NCDC, averaging just 9.96 penalty minutes per game, one of three NCDC teams to average under 10 minutes per game.
• In shootouts, the Thunder have the number one lowest goals against with a 1-for-9 rate.
• With 23 power play goals in 96 attempts, the Thunder’s 24 percent success rate is second best in the NCDC.
• The Thunder are the only NCDC team with a zero differential in shots for vs. shots against, with 950 of each. Their 33.64 shots against per game are fourth in the league (33.64 goals for is eighth).
• The Auburn, Maine squad is third in goals against in the league with 2.93.
• Tyler Healey and Tristan Rand’s matching three-game goal-scoring streaks (all at the Winter Showcase) are good for a tie for first in the league. Healey has five in three and Rand has three in three. Rand’s 4-5-9 line over six games is tied for the second-longest points streak in the NCDC.
• Healey moved into a four-way tie for first in game-winning goals with four.
Junior Bruins Start 2022 With 3-1 Record To Hold Onto First In North
The Junior Bruins matched Twin City with three wins in this new year, though they also played one more game than the Thunder, that being a loss. Even still, they remain the team to beat in the North. They got back to action on Jan. 4 with a 4-1 win over South Shore, ahead of the USPHL Winter Showcase.
At the Showcase, they defeated the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders (4-1) and Philadelphia Hockey Club (3-1) on either side of a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Utica. They are now off until meeting South Shore in a Wednesday, Jan. 19, rematch.
• Their defeat of Philadelphia falls right in line with their league-best success rate in two-goal games (8-2-0-0).
• The Junior Bruins have the tightest total goal differential (including shootout goals) at +2, or 98-96.
• With a 9-5-1-1 record as the away team, the Junior Bruins are best in the league on the guest bench.
• At 9.61 penalty minutes per game, the Junior Bruins have the lowest PIM in the league.
• Holy Cross recruit Joe Solimine is first in longest assist streak with five games in which he’s posted five assists. He’s also tied for second longest overall points streak with six games (2-5-7).
• Solimine is on many league leaderboards, including points (40, fourth), assists (27, fifth), power play assists (14, second), power play points (18, second). He is also the league leader in shorthanded points, with four.
• With his most recent three wins, Colin Winn is tied for first in, well, wins. He has 14 now on the season. He is the sole leader in shutouts with three, minutes (1,589) and saves (800).
• Army recruit Jude Brower’s power play goal against Philadelphia put him into a three-way tie for first in PPG’s by a defenseman. He is third in power play points (10), and tied for second in game-winning goals (two).
Jersey Hitmen Go 1-1, Remain In First Overall And In South
The Jersey Hitmen took a 7-4 loss to Connecticut in their first game back from the holiday break, but rebounded quickly the next day to defeat the I-287 rivals the Rockets Hockey Club by a 5-2 score. They saw the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders go 1-2 at the USPHL Winter Showcase, so they were able to remain in first when the dust settled.
• At a league best 10-4-2-0, the Hitmen are first when they’re the home team. They are also first at 13-2-1-0 when scoring the first goal of a game.
• The Hitmen’s 25 percent success rate on the power play (40-for-160) is also No. 1 in the NCDC.
• The Hitmen are also first in goals for (125) and shots for (1,212) as well as per-game averages in both categories (4.31 and 41.79).
• Twin brothers Patriks and Dominiks Marcinkevics are both on matching nine-game point streaks of 19 points apiece. Mateo Dixon and Dominiks Marcinkevics both have four-game assist streaks, with six and seven, respectively. Patriks is in a four-way tie for longest goal streak at three games (five goals).
• Dakota Zarudny stands first in goals by an NCDC defenseman with nine on the season. Sean Melso is tied for second with six.
• Melso is the points leader among NCDC defensemen with 29, three ahead of teammate and Bentley recruit Brandon Cimino. Melso and Cimino are also first and second in assists, with 23 and 21, respectively. Cimino leads in power play assists (11) and power play points (14).
Around The Boards In The NCDC
The South Shore Kings started the year with the aforementioned loss to the Junior Bruins but came back two days later to defeat the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, 4-2. South Shore also defeated the Boston Advantage on Wednesday, Jan. 12 by a 6-1 score.
• The Kings are first in the league when leading after one period (8-0-0-0) and tied for first when leading after two periods (7-0-0-0, tied with P.A.L.)
• The Kings are also third in goals per game (3.60).
• Jakub Teply’s four game-winning goals are in a four-way tie for first in the league.
• Timothy Heinke is tied for second in NCDC goals with 19.
The Boston Advantage won two games at the showcase and lost one, allowing them to at least keep a four-point lead over the seventh-place Islanders Hockey Club in the North Division. They beat the Northern Cyclones 3-1, lost to the Thunder 7-5 and defeated Philadelphia, 5-2.
• Goaltender Connor Bradford is third in minutes played (1,361), fifth in saves (687) and tied for second with two shutouts. He is also one of two goaltenders to face two penalty shots and stop both.
• Both of defenseman Connor Lally’s goals this year are game-winners, placing him in a league-wide tie for second in that category.
• Arik Altman scored in all three showcase games and posted five points overall for the weekend.
Connecticut split their weekend of games, defeating the Hitmen 7-4 and falling to the Rockets by a 4-2 score.
• With goals in each of his last two games, Andrei Levushkin is fourth in goals with 18. Derek Manzella is fourth in saves (697).
• Connecticut has given up just one shorthanded goal this year, leading the league.
• Their 36.79 shots on goal per game are good for second in the league.
The Northern Cyclones won one of their three showcase games, defeating the Philadelphia Hockey Club, 6-4. They fell to the Advantage (3-1) and P.A.L. Jr. Islanders (3-2). They remain in fifth in the North Division and their lead over sixth has not shrunken from two points.
• Goaltender Kristoffer Eberly is fourth in save percentage with a .927 mark.
• At 9-5-0-1, the Cyclones have the league’s third best record as the home team.
• Pavel Karasek, returning for his fourth NCDC season, had two goals and two assists for four points at the USPHL Winter Showcase, scoring in all three games.
The Utica Jr. Comets went 2-1 at the USPHL Winter Showcase, and they stand at fifth in the entire league at 35 points overall. Starting Saturday at the showcase, they won 6-4 against the Islanders Hockey Club and 3-1 against the Junior Bruins before falling 6-3 to Twin City.
• Utica’s John Gutt, who just passed his 200th overall USPHL game (including years in the USPHL Midget and Premier divisions), moved into a tie for second in league scoring with 41 points in 33 games. A Utica College recruit, Gutt is also third in assists with 30. He had a team-leading 2-4-6 line at the USPHL Winter Showcase.
• Defenseman Domenick Evtimov finished with 2-2-4 in his final two games in Marlborough, Mass., and Army recruit Owen Carlile had 2-2-4 over the three games.
The Rockets Hockey Club, Jersey Hitmen and Connecticut Jr. Rangers all took one win over another, with the Rangers beating the Hitmen, the Hitmen beating the Rockets and the Rockets beating the Rangers over the weekend. The Rockets, in fourth one month ago, jumped over Utica by one point into third. After their 5-2 loss to the Hitmen, they beat the Rangers 4-2 on Sunday.
• The Rockets are second in goals for per game (3.77) and third in shots for per game (36.47).
• Cole Vallese has three points over each of his last three games, while teammate Tyler Dysart registered a 1-2-3 line against the Rangers.
The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders got one win, a 3-2 defeat of the Northern Cyclones on Sunday, but also came from Massachusetts with losses to the Junior Bruins (4-1) and the Islanders Hockey Club (3-2).
• Goalie Harrison Chesney has stopped the last two consecutive penalty shots in the league, on Dec. 18 against Philadelphia’s Alexander Hollands and Jan. 10 against the Islanders Hockey Club’s Aaron Schwartz.
• Tyler Crist stands in first overall in the NCDC in goals with 22, and is the only player to have crossed the 20-goal mark so far.
• Spencer Korona leads the league in assists with 33 in 31 games.
• Goaltender Cam Smith still leads the league in save percentage with a .932 mark.
The Islanders Hockey Club made it so that 12 of 13 NCDC teams started the first 10 days of 2022 with at least one win. After falling to the Comets and Thunder, they came back with a 3-2 win over the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders on Monday.
• With three power play assists of his four total on the showcase weekend, Andrew Carmody moved into a tie for fourth in power play points by a defenseman with nine. He is also the league leader in GWG’s by a defenseman with three.
• Aaron Schwarz’ penalty shot on Monday against the P.A.L.’s Harrison Chesney was the second this year for the IHC, leading the league in that category. Patrik Somerville also took an unsuccessful penalty shot on Nov. 19, that one being the only OT penalty shot this year.
• New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs at Utica Jr. Comets, Jan. 13-14 - This will be the first meeting since two Hub City Tampa games last year, both won by Utica. The Jr. Comets (and their predecessors the Syracuse Stars) hold a 7-3-0-0 all-time series lead.
• Twin City Thunder at P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Jan. 14-15 - The two current second place teams clash at Northwell Health Ice Center on Long Island. P.A.L., which won all three Hub City Tampa meetings last year, holds a 5-2-0-0 all-time series lead.
• Islanders Hockey Club at Jersey Hitmen, Jan. 14-15 - The first meeting of these two traditional powers; they both played a hard three-game series for the Dineen Cup in 2018, won by the Islanders. The Hitmen are up 11-5-1-1 in the all-time regular season series.
• Northern Cyclones at Rockets Hockey Club, Jan. 14-15 - These two teams will play their games as double-headers, first at the Bridgewater Sports Arena on Saturday and at the Ice Vault on Sunday, with the Hitmen and Islanders. The Cyclones hold the all-time series lead at 10-4-0-1.
• South Shore Kings at Philadelphia Hockey Club, Jan. 15-16 - These two teams split their only two meetings ever, both at Hub City Tampa last year.
• Connecticut Jr. Rangers at Boston Advantage, Jan. 15-16 - The Rangers won both of their Hub City Tampa meetings, the first in OT.
Drop The Pucks!
Taurin Haddon-Harris, Florida Eels
Mr. Consistency wearing the “C” for Captain, Haddon-Harris just keeps getting the job done for the division-leading Eels. Haddon-Harris (‘01/Boca Raton, Fla.) is absolutely on a mission, already passing his already lofty 45 point totals of 2020-21 with currently 49 to his name. From December, he picked up 4-5-9 in just six contests. This included the Eels’ only two goals in the rematch of the 2021 USPHL Premier Championship game between the Eels and Charlotte Rush, won by the Rush in a shootout. He also scored the game-winner against the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes - another 2021 Nationals participant - in the Eels’ showcase-closing win.
Connor Nelson, Tampa Bay Juniors
Nelson (‘02/Woodbury, Minn.) began a scoring streak in November that has now reached eight games, with six of those coming in the month of December. Nelson racked up six points in his four games at the USPHL Florida College Showcase in Estero, Fla., part of an overall 5-4-9 month and a 6-6-12 active scoring streak he is carrying into the new year. Overall, Nelson has 31 points in 29 games in this, his first USPHL Premier season.
Ben Baker, Atlanta MadHatters
Baker (‘02/Powder Springs, Ga.) is enjoying this, his fifth overall USPHL season and second with the MadHatters. Just past the halfway point, Baker has already passed his points total of 2020-21 when he scored his 24th point at the USPHL Florida College Showcase. Overall for December, Baker posted six goals and four assists, including a 3-1-4 line against the Palm Beach Typhoon on Dec. 11. He also had a goal and an assist on his team’s only goals in a loss to the Hampton Roads Whalers at the showcase. Prior to these two seasons with the MadHatters, Baker played three seasons with the Northern Cyclones Academy program, playing there at the USPHL 15U, 16U and 18U levels. He also played his first NCDC game in 2019-20 with the Cyclones.
Hunter Howe, Florida Eels
Howe (‘01/Glenwood Springs, Colo.) has been a quiet Premier staple for four years, starting back in 2018-19 and joining the Eels for the first time last season after being acquired from the Provo Riverblades. Howe was a +2 for the month of December and put himself in front of six shots. Overall, Howe has suited up for 69 Eels Premier regular season games, registering 12 points and helping keep his squad at the top of the Florida Division.
Parker Chadwell, Tampa Bay Juniors
The Juniors are keeping the Eels on their heels this year due to the efforts of players like the third-year Premier Junior (in his fourth year overall with the organization). Chadwell, a 2001-born native of Tampa, posted five points in his six December games, and he also blocked six shots while registering an even rating in a month where only six Juniors registered a plus rating. Chadwell has posted 32 points in 109 regular season USPHL Premier games.
Alexandre Caron, Florida Eels
The third-year Eel who helped lead his team to the 2021 National Championship game is back to his old tricks, putting together a month in which he never gave up more than two goals in a 60-or 65-minute game. He went 2-1-0-1 and knocked away 131 of 139 shots for a .942 save percentage. Overall, he is 11-2-0-1 with a 2.20 goals against average and a .932 save percentage for this season.
Valerii Kneib, Potomac Patriots
Kneib (‘02/Bratsk, Russia) is putting together a very fine first season in the USPHL Premier. During the month of December, Kneib put up 10 points with all but three of those points coming on the big stage of the USPHL Florida College Showcase. His 5-5-10 line in eight December games gave him a points total of 36 points in 29 games.
Troy Andrews, Potomac Patriots
Andrews (‘01/Etobicoke, Ont.) had an 11-point month, and just like his teammate Kneib, he also had seven points in four games at the showcase in Estero, Fla. Overall, Andrew’s line for the month read 4-7-11, with nine points coming in a five-game scoring streak that encapsulated the trip to Florida. Andrews stands second to Kneib in team scoring for the surging Patriots, with 35 points in 29 games.
Brenden Yingling, Richmond Generals
A Lebanon Valley College commit already, Yingling (‘01/Mechanicsburg, Pa.) moved up from the Generals’ Elite squad last year to the Premier team this year and is leading the way with 34 points in 28 games. During the month of December, he had 6-8-14 over the course of just eight games. Like his two fellow Forwards of the Month, he also shone brightly under the spotlight of the Florida Showcase, posting 12 points in just four games, including two four-point efforts.
Tyler Fittro, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
A familiar name to this list, Fittro (‘01/Cedar Falls, Iowa) simply gives no reason at all to take him off this list. He just keeps producing at a breakneck pace, including a 1-6-7 month of December. He had six of those points over the Florida Showcase, and finished the month with a team-leading seven blocked shots and was a +1 on a team where the leader was a +3.
Connor Carlile, Hampton Roads Whalers
Carlile (‘01/Southlake, Texas) had a great month, sharing the lead of his team in plus-minus (+6) and also blocking six shots all while registering seven points (2-5-7) in six games for the Whalers in December. Six of these seven points were scored in a sweep weekend over their Virginia rivals the Richmond Generals. Carlile now has 20 points in 25 games.
Dylan Dallaire, Potomac Patriots
Dallaire put together a 3-3-1-0 month and really got a good workout. The second-year Patriot, a 2001-born native of Timmins, Ont., really got a workout - he faced 186 shots in the month and sent away 11 of those for a .941 save percentage - and he was the only goaltender in the South Division to face at least 100 shots on the month. Overall, he has a .913 save percentage for the season.