We’re fully back by now - every division will see games played by the end of Sunday, in many cases for the first time since the weekend before Thanksgiving. However, some teams did hit the ice for some more local games after the turkey was heartily consumed. We won’t keep you - let’s dive right into how everything’s going.
New England Division
Who’s Hot: The Northern Cyclones, who went 4-0 at the IHC Showcase, have the hottest hand at 10-0-1-1, but several teams are on impressive point streaks - the Junior Bruins (7-0-2-0), Bridgewater Bandits (6-0-0-0), Twin City Thunder (3-0-0-1) and Springfield Pics (2-0-0-0).
The Cyclones face the Islanders Hockey Club Friday, the Thunder on Saturday and the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs next Wednesday.
• Cyclones vs. Islanders series score.
• The Cyclones are outscoring their opponents at a 3:1 ration in the second period of games (30-10).
• Hunter Meyer’s most recent power play assist, on Nov. 19, was his 11th on the season, good for second in the USPHL Premier among defensemen. Meyer is on an active six-game, six-assist helper streak.
• Fellow defenseman Andrew Nieusma posted a goal and four assists at the IHC Showcase, another active streak carried into December.
The Boston Junior Bruins travel to Maine on Friday for a showdown with the Thunder, and on Sunday, they go to the Olympia in Springfield to face the Pics.
• All-time series vs. Thunder
• The Junior Bruins are an impressive 11-0-1-0 when leading after two periods.
• Averaging just 8.82 penalty minutes per game, the Junior Bruins hold the title of cleanest team so far in the USPHL Premier.
• Since falling in his first game of the season on Sept. 25, Jake Romney is undefeated in regulation, standing at 5-0-1-0 from October onwards. Romney moved up to the Premier this year after putting together an outstanding season with the Elite Junior Bruins last year.
The Bandits, who also went 4-0 at the IHC Showcase, got right back to business on Dec. 1 with a 4-3 victory over the division-leading South Shore Kings, and they have now pulled themselves to within three points of first place. They face the Boston Advantage on Friday, and then the Islanders Hockey Club on Thursday.
• Their six-game winning streak is their longest since they ended the 2019-20 season on a 6-0 run, from Feb. 9-17.
• The Bandits’ recent defensive prowess, allowing just four goals in their four showcase games, pushed them from 10th to seventh in goals against (and from 2.23 to 2.00 even).
• Being the only Bandit to score a goal in a 1-0 win over Wisconsin Rapids on Nov. 21 helped Brett Williams keep a scoring streak alive which he extended to six games and 10 points after the win over South Shore. He is also on an active five-game goal-scoring streak with five G’s.
After the Thunder face the Junior Bruins, they will face the Cyclones on Saturday.
• The Thunder’s recent run has moved them up two spots, from ninth to seventh in the New England Division.
• Bradley McMains, who scored 23 points in 26 games for the Thunder last season, returned to the team in November and already had eight points in nine games. McMains also played games for the Thunder’s NCDC team last year.
Springfield went 3-1 at the IHC Showcase, falling only to the Minnesota Mullets (4-1) on Nov. 18. After facing the Junior Bruins on Saturday, the Pics will go up against the South Shore Kings next Wednesday.
• The Pics are dead even in goals for and against at 57-57 overall, and they’re also even in the second (19-19) and third (22-22).
• Sean Donoghue, who had four goals (two apiece) in his two games on Nov. 21, and he had assists in three straight games before that, giving him 4-3-7 in his last five contests.
• Tyler Wilson is on a 4-5-9 scoring run in his last five games.
Atlantic East Division
Who’s Hot: The New York Aviators and P.A.L. Jr. Islanders are both on 3-0 runs, while the leading Rockets Hockey Club have gone 2-0-1 in their last three. Even with these recent streaks, the standings have not changed since before many of the teams took part in the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase in the last pre-Thanksgiving weekend.
The Jr. Islanders doubled their wins total for the season by going 3-1 at the IHC Showcase. They lost in their first game in a shutout to MJDP, but defeated the Wooster Oilers, Lake Erie Bighorns and the host Islanders Hockey Club.
• Ryan Nocerino and Kyle Marchionna registered the first two P.A.L. shutouts of the season - against Wooster and the IHC - two games apart at the showcase.
• P.A.L. hosts the Utica Jr. Comets (who went 4-0 at the IHC Showcase) for two games on Saturday and Sunday in their return to action.
• At 43rd in the league in shots for (32.33), the Jr. Islanders don’t typically outshoot their opponents, but they are 6-1-0-0 when they do - accounting for all six of their wins so far this year.
• Anthony Vernillo earned six points, scoring in all three of the P.A.L. wins at the showcase.
The Aviators last played Nov. 20-21 against the Elmira Jr. Enforcers and remain off until Wednesday against the Jersey Whalers. From there, they take part in the Dec. 10-12 showcase hosted by the Philadelphia Hockey Club.
• The Aviators get off to great starts in games, outshooting their opponents by a better than 2:1 ration (270-131) and outsourcing them at better than 3:1 (34-10). Their 5.24 goals for per game is sixth in the league.
• Oliver Munck is tied for second in the league in power play goals with eight and tied for first in shorthanded goals with four.
• Munck also carries a 9-6-15 scoring streak from his last eight games into his first December action. Ross Jaldung is on a 3-6-9 run in his last six games, Blake Kashark has a 2-6-8 run in his last four, and Alex Kallgren has 2-4-6 in his last four.
The Rockets take on the Jersey Whalers Friday, the same team they faced in their last game on Nov. 17. They take on the Philadelphia Hockey Club one night later.
• The Rockets remain undefeated in games of 65 minutes or less when scoring first, going 7-0-0-1 with the first goal.
• They are also fully undefeated at 9-0-0-0 when leading after two periods.
• Nick Cyprian has the most productive active goal streak, scoring 11 in his last five games.
• Jason Finan has five goals and six assists for 11 points in his last three games. Michael Stevens has a 2-5-7 run in his last three and defenseman Brendan Pomerantz has four assists in his last three games.
Great Lakes Division
Who’s Hot: After the Metro Jets took their first loss in 21 games at the IHC Showcase (after tying a record for best start in USPHL Premier history at 20-0-0-0), the hottest streak now belongs to the Toledo Cherokee, who are on a 13-game winning streak. The Columbus Mavericks and Pittsburgh Vengeance are the two other teams to have won at least their most recent game.
The Cherokee have a home-and-home with the Columbus Mavericks beginning Friday. The Cherokee are 11-0 all-time against the Mavericks.
• Both teams are undefeated when leading after the first and second periods.
• On the horizon next weekend is a home-and-home vs. the Metro Jets, the only team to have beaten the Cherokee this year (twice).
• With 12 victories, Joey Cormier is your USPHL Premier wins leader in net, and he’s also third in goals against average (1.70).
• David Crandall’s power play assist in the Cherokee’s most recent win over Fort Wayne was his eighth, placing him fifth among league defensemen in that category. He has a 1-6-7 scoring streak in his last five games.
• Columbus’ Alex Toth is on a 4-0 winning streak, going back to Oct. 23.
• Toledo’s Bailey Byrd is on a 13-10-23 run in his last nine games, moving his career total to 176 points - good for seventh all time and just four points out of fifth place.
• Zeth Stelmaszak is also red-hot for the Cherokee, posting a 4-17-21 run in his last nine games.
• Toledo’s Brandon Clark has an active 7-7-14 streak going over his last six games, including seven goals in his last four games; Jacob Slater is on an active 6-4-10 streak in his last seven games; Lucas Rumberger has a 6-7-13 line in his last six games; Kieran Carlile has 1-10-11 in his last four games.
The Vengeance, who split the post-Thanksgiving weekend with the Atlantic West’s Buffalo Stampede, will pay a visit to the Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones for the weekend. Their biggest challenge there is stopping The Drake Barnish Show.
• Cincinnati’s Drake Barnish has 13-13-26 in his last eight games, not only giving him a healthy league-leading 66 points, but also places the fourth-year Premier player at 196 career points - just 20 away from former Chicago Cougar Jozef Martancik (216).
• It’s worked out well in the past for Pittsburgh to hold a first period lead - they are 6-0-0-0 when they lead after the first.
• Nick Tessier led the way offensively for Pittsburgh over the weekend against Buffalo, posting 2-3-5, as the Vengeance had to rebound from a shutout loss to end their IHC Showcase stand.
The Metro Jets take on the Lake Erie Bighorns on Saturday and Sunday at home in hopes of starting a new winning streak.
Midwest West Division
Who’s Hot: The Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings have utilized a 4-0-2 point streak (including 3-0-1 at the IHC Showcase) to leapfrog the Minnesota Blue Ox into first place. The Blue Ox went 2-2 the same event, and won their most recent game (6-0 vs. the Lake Erie Bighorns) to end their November action. The Hudson Havoc started the month of December with a win over the Minnesota Mullets as well.
The Riverkings are idle this weekend as they prepare for a three-game weekend between Dec. 9-11 against first the Dells Ducks and then the Minnesota Mullets.
• The Riverkings stand sixth league-wide with 33 points on the season, just two points ahead of division rivals the Minnesota Blue Ox at eighth (31 points).
• The Riverkings goalies are extremely strong in shootouts, giving up just one shootout goal in 10 attempts this season. Only fellow Midwest West team the Steele County Blades have done as well league-wide.
• Goalie Riley Allen stands fifth in minutes played with 861.
• The Riverkings are fifth overall in fewest shots against per game (25.86).
The Blue Ox have just one game this weekend as they take on the Minnesota Mullets on Saturday.
• The Blue Ox are most productive in second periods, outscoring their opponents by more than a 2:1 ratio (35-15).
• The Blue Ox are approaching 1,000 shots for on the season, a mark held by only the Metro Jets and Fresno Monsters so far. The Ox average 46.33 shots per game and have 976 total.
• Defenseman Cale Goenner scored his 12th goal of the season in his first IHC Showcase game against the Boston Junior Bruins, placing him second league-wide in goals by blueliners. Two of his 12 goals are shorthanded goals, making him one of only two D-men leaguewide with two shorties.
The Hudson Havoc, after winning 7-1 on Thursday against the Mullets, move on to face the Rum River Mallards on Saturday and the Steele County Blades Sunday, both on the road.
• The Havoc are undefeated in regulation when scoring first, going 8-0-0-1 off first goals of games.
• At 1.83 goals against per game, the Havoc rank fourth league-wide in terms of team defense.
• Defenseman Evan Izenstark has goals in each of his last two games.
Who’s Hot: The leading Florida Eels are on a 3-0 winning streak, and they’ll go up against the Tampa Bay Juniors, who are 2-0. The Florida Jr. Blades, idle since a 7-4 win over Palm Beach to close a split weekend way back on Nov. 14, are the only other team with a win in their last game.
The Eels and Juniors will once again meet - for the fifth and sixth of eight meetings this season - as the two are just two points apart in the Florida standings. The Eels lead with 33 points against the Juniors’ 31. Both are Top 10 teams in the league.
• The Eels hold a close all-time lead of 19-15-2-0 in the series since 2017.
• In each team’s last five games, their only losses are to each other - the Juniors beat the Eels 4-1 on Nov. 12, and the Eels beat the Juniors 4-1 on Nov. 14.
• With three points in a recent one-sided win over the Palm Beach Typhoon, Taurin Haddon-Harris joined just 11 other players in crossing the 40-point mark of the season ahead of the Dec. 10 halfway point.
• Haddon-Harris also has the league’s best assist streak, with 18 helpers in his last nine games. He’s added eight goals over that same point streak for 26 points.
• Also for the Eels, Damon Kiyawasew has seven goals and three assists in his last 10 games, including a five-goal outing against the Typhoon on Nov. 21.
• Tampa Bay Juniors goalie Blake Mons and Eels goalie Duncan Rolleman are both on 4-0 winning streaks.
The Blades get back to business at home against the Atlanta MadHatters and then also have a Thursday, Dec. 9, game against the Eels.
• The Blades are 1-3 against the MadHatters so far this season.
• Between this weekend’s games, the game with the Eels and the USPHL Florida College Showcase (Dec. 17-20), the Blades will play all of their seven December games at their home facility.
• Cole Ketola has a goal and six assists for seven points in his last three games, including a 1-4-5 performance against the Eels in a 7-5 loss to their Mid-Gulf Coast rivals.
Atlantic West Division
Who’s Hot: Four of the five teams are coming off the good vibes of wins, with the leading WBS Knights on a 4-0 streak, the Hershey Cubs 2-0 recently and each of the Utica Jr. Comets and Buffalo Stampede won their last games.
The Knights will play the Cubs and Elmira Jr. Enforcers this weekend, their first action since a pair of wins over the Jersey Hitmen on Nov. 13-14.
• The Knights have defeated the Cubs 6-2 and 4-1 earlier this year.
• The Knights are second in the league in winning percentage at .944 (17-1), just behind the 20-1 Metro Jets (.952). Their 34 points have the Knights tied for third in that category.
• Knights goalie Joe Hughes (6-0) is one of just three goalies in the top 20 of goals against average who remain completely undefeated on the season - he joins the Jets’ Daniel Miscavish (7-0) and Utah’s Garrett Alderman (9-0) in that respect.
• The Knights are the only team with no losses in at least four games beyond 60 minutes, as they are 2-0 in OT games and 2-0 in shootouts.
• Teague Porter enters December with an active six-game point streak of 6-8-14.
• The Cubs swept the Buffalo Stampede in their last action on Nov. 19-20, making them the second hottest team in the Atlantic West. Their Saturday game against the Knights is their only action this weekend.
• In five of the Cubs’ seven wins, they scored first and were undefeated when doing so (5-0).
• In shutting out Buffalo, 3-0, Hogan Nelson registered his first Premier shutout after a strong Elite career with the Richmond Generals in which he posted four SO’s last year.
• Filip Tjarnhell has four goals in his last three games.
Utica plays the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders on the road in two of just four games in the month of December for them. They are coming off a split post-Thanksgiving weekend against the Philadelphia Hockey Club.
• With six goals and four assists in his last four games (for 10 points), Andrew Martino pushed his goals total to 28, good for second in the USPHL Premier.
• Defenseman Andrew Manley has scored six points in four of his last five games to push himself into the top eight of league blueliner scoring with 21 points.
Buffalo rather enjoyed November as they earned three of their four total wins after Halloween, including a couple victories where they came back from being down - including scoring five third period goals after being down 4-1 against Pittsburgh just after Thanksgiving.
• Buffalo’s Luke Remenyi is the busiest goalie in the Premier, playing the second most minutes (1,009) while making the most saves (766). Remenyi was in net for each of the three November wins.
• Caden Cranston is on a 2-5-7 scoring streak in his last three games, and Joe LoBrutto has six assists in his last three games.
Midwest East Division
Who’s Hot: The Chicago Cougars have won their last two, and MJDP fell in their most recent game to see a tie in points between the two teams. The Midwest Blackbirds are enjoying a four-game winning streak.
The Cougars last played Nov. 19 and 21, defeating the Detroit Fighting Irish and the Motor City Hockey Club. They jump back into action with three in a row against the Decatur Blaze.
• The Cougars are 23-1-0-1 all-time against the Blaze. The Cougars picked up a one-sided victory back on Oct. 15.
• The Cougars have outscored their opponents by 2:1 ratios in each of the second and third periods (29-13 and 28-14, respectively). Even if they’re tied after one period, they’re still tough to beat at 5-0-1 when knotted up after 20.
• Michael Sliwinski, Joe Gulino and George Boos have each scored seven points in their last two games.
• Michael Lenhart is on a 3-0 winning streak in net.
• The Blaze’s Jonathan Gurgul is on a five-game, 10-point scoring streak, and John Paul Weber has 2-5-7 in his last five contests.
The Blackbirds get on the road this weekend to the Detroit area, where they will face the Motor City Hockey Club and Detroit Fighting Irish.
• The Blackbirds have an overtime win and regulation win against each of the MCHC and Fighting Irish so far this year.
• The Blackbirds are 14-7 in their all-time series against Motor City Hockey Club.
• Midwest is 4-0 if they hold a lead after the second period.
• Two Jasons - LaBoy and Romer - are on hot streaks for the Blackbirds. LaBoy has a 2-6-8 run going back to Nov. 6, their last win over the Fighting Irish, including an active five-game assist streak. Romer has a 3-6-9 run in his last nine games.
Who’s Hot: The Utah Outliers continue to dominate the division on a 7-0 run right now, while the Northern Colorado Eagles get back to action after closing the IHC Showcase with a 1-0 shutout victory over the Hudson Havoc for a positive from an otherwise tough 1-3 first-ever visit to the East Coast.
The Outliers are idle until next weekend after raining on their longtime rivals the Ogden Mustangs’ parade. The Mustangs had gone 4-0 at the IHC Showcase, but came home to back-to-back 5-1 and 4-1 losses to the Outliers on the Mustangs’ home Ice Sheet right after Thanksgiving.
• The Outliers are currently second in points in the league with 39.
• Goaltender Marco Felicetti is second in league wins with 10.
• Utah has not been beaten in any of the 14 games in which they’ve scored the first goal. Do not get behind against this team, period.
The Eagles get to stay home this weekend after the long trip East a couple weeks back. They bring in Provo for three games Friday-Saturday-Sunday.
• The Eagles are 11-3 all-time, including winning all four of their meetings this season. That includes a three-game set in Utah Oct. 15-17, and Sept. 26.
• Brayden Fryfogle and Xavier Fortin both have nine points in their four games against Provo this year.
Who’s Hot: The Las Vegas Thunderbirds own this honor, as they are on a 4-0 run, while each of the Long Beach Shredders and Fresno Monsters have won their most recent games.
The Thunderbirds started their three-game series against the Lake Tahoe Lakers with an 8-2 win on Thursday, and that continues Friday and Saturday.
• The Thunderbirds and Lakers are the only teams with two players apiece in the top five of league scoring. Heath Mensch is second for the T-Birds at 60 points and Caleb Strong is fifth at 48 points. The Lakers’ Jett Arminen is third at 50 points and Ari Rossi is one point back.
• Mensch is the leader in power play goals (17) and Strong is the league leader in power play assists (12). Mensch also leads in power play points with 26.
• When the Lakers last won on Nov. 13, Rihards Mertens scored the GWG, putting him in a four-way tie for the league lead with six.
• Lake Tahoe’s Luke Stevens leads all Premier defensemen with 41 points and 22 goals. The T-Birds’ Loic Gosselin is third at 29 points..
• The Dec. 2 win was the T-Birds’ first in the all-time and season series, which the Lakers currently lead 3-1.
• Gosselin is on a 2-13-15 scoring streak for Las Vegas, and Mensch has 10-12-22 in his last six games.
The Shredders have just four games this month. After facing the San Diego Sabers on Friday night, they are off until a Dec. 16-18 series against Fresno.
• The Shredders and San Diego Sabers each have two wins in their all-time and season series so far.
• The Shredders are undefeated in regulation when leading after two periods (5-0-1-0)
• The Shredders’ Blake Anderson has 18 goals and 12 assists for 30 points in his last 16 games, the second most games and points to the Metro Jets’ Alex Schaumburger (40 points in 19 games).
• San Diego defenseman Ludvig Nilsson, with six points, has the most offensive output in the season series so far.
• Adam Wedberg, who just joined San Diego in November, has nine points in his last four games.
Fresno, which last played in a decisive victory over San Diego on Nov. 21, doesn’t get back to action until their only three December games Dec. 16-18 against the Shredders.
• Fresno’s Leon Biller is tied with the Aviators’ Oliver Munck for the league lead in shorthanded goals with four apiece.
• The last game put Fresno over 1,000 shots on goal for the season, ranking them second in the league at 50.10. They’re also third in goals for at 6.25, one of only three teams to have crossed the 125-goal mark so far this season, joining Metro and Toledo in that respect.
Who’s Hot: Richmond and Potomac, at first and fifth respectively in winning percentage, have each won their last two games. The Charlotte Rush went 2-2 at the IHC Showcase, winning their most recent game to end that event.
Conveniently, the Generals and Patriots will face each other this Saturday and Sunday in a home-and-home series.
• The Patriots won their last meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 5-3, but the Gens won two prior meetings this year, 7-6 in a shootout and 4-2.
• The Generals are actually the shootout kings of the Premier Division, standing at 3-0 beyond 65 minutes. They have given up zero shootout goals on nine opposition shooter attempts.
• Both Richmond and Potomac only outscore their opponents in the second period of games, 26-11 and 28-26, respectively, while being outscored in the other two periods.
• The Generals are 6-0 when leading after one period, and the Pats are 4-0.
• The Gens’ Carter Jordan has 3-4-7 in his last three games, and Lebanon Valley College recruit Brenden Yingling has the same in his last five.
• Potomac went 3-1 at the IHC Showcase and they are 5-4-1-0 in their last 10 as they near the .500 mark.
• Troy Andrews has 2-6-8 in his last five games for Potomac.
Charlotte started with wins against the Islanders Hockey Club and a Metro Jets team that came in at 20-0, but then fell to the Ogden Mustangs (4-0 at the showcase) and rebounded with a 5-1 win over the Pueblo Bulls.
• They play the rival Hampton Roads Whalers this weekend in an always exciting matchup. After this weekend, they break for a week before moving on to the USPHL Florida College Showcase.
• Making 231 saves on 245 shots this year, Nick Anderson has a save percentage of .943, good for fourth in the league.
• With a 4-1 record in overtimes and an 0-1 record in shootouts, the Rush’s 10 points earned beyond regulation is tied with - you guessed it - Hampton Roads. The Whalers are 2-2 in overtimes and 1-2 in shootouts.
• Charlotte goaltender and recent SUNY-Canton commit David Battisti is 3-0 in his last three starts.
• Third-year Rush Jenson Lopez posted a 1-2-3 line against Pueblo, for a three-year career high in points in a game. He has 3-2-5 in his last three games.
• Newcomer Michael Reed scored his first hat trick in the same game.
• Aaron Hamel has 4-4-8 in his last five games for Charlotte. Recent Arcadia commit Drew Iannucci has 2-6-8 in his last five.
• Hampton Roads’ Matthew Esquerre was the only Whaler to score in each of their recent losses to Richmond.
Drop the Pucks!
The Utica Jr. Comets and Army (West Point) are proud to announce the commitment of Owen Carlile to play his NCAA college hockey with the Black Knights. In 22 games this year, he has put up 4 goals and 18 assists for 22 points.
“When I went on my visit to Army, I loved everything about it. It’s such an historic school and everything about it just fits me as a person,” Carlile said. “When the coaches were talking about how their team usually likes to play, everything with what they said I believed in. I also feel that I’m making my parents proud as both of them served in the military. All those factors made it a very easy decision for me!”
“Owen has been a great player for us this year," added Head Coach Louis Educate. "Showing maturity beyond his years will serve him very well at West Point. Owen is a 200-foot center who gets up and down the ice with ease. He isn’t afraid to get dirty, either, as he is constantly first on pucks.
"His ability to see the ice is next level and is why you see him with almost an assist a game. Owen will continue to grow this year in Utica not only on the ice but off it as well. I am very excited for Owen, and West Point will be getting a very well-rounded and disciplined player.”
Carlile mentions his time with the Jr. Comets as a major factor in his progression.
“My time here in Utica has been very beneficial not only as a player but as a person as well. I wouldn’t be where I am today with out the support of Coach Educate and Coach [Shawn] Lynch.”
Cade Helmer, Boston Advantage
Few players in the North Division came close to the performance Helmer put up in the 11th month of the year. He went from being the third leading scorer on the Advantage to being a Top 15 scorer in the league in just 30 days - and yes, leading his team in scoring as well. During the month, the 2001-born native of Hershey, Pa., posted nine goals and five assists for 14 points in eight games, an average of 1.75 points per game.
After missing the scoresheet at the Fall Beantown Classic, he stormed out by posting all 14 of his points actually in six straight games. In fact, all nine of his goals were consecutive, including three straight two-goal efforts from Nov. 12-19. He is tied for second in goals in the league with 14 total. Two of his nine goals in November were game-winners as well, giving him three on the season for a tie for second in the league in that category.
Tanner Hartman, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs
Not very far back of Helmer’s points per game average for the month was Hartman, who posted 11 points in seven games over the course of the month, for a 1.57 average.
Hartman (‘01/Chicago, Ill.) is a living, breathing example of just how well the USPHL Development Model can work. He was a USPHL Premier New England Division All-Star in 2020-21 scoring 39 points, and now he’s already a Player Of The Month in the NCDC. With five goals and six assists on the month, he moved from 15th in league scoring to ninth overall.
Hartman led the way as an ice time eater at the forward ranks, getting on the ice for 139 minutes in the month of November. He paid back this trust with performances such as that on Nov. 18, when he posted two goals and two assists for four points on the four goals scored against the defending Dineen Cup Champion Jersey Hitmen in a 4-2 win.
Ikki Kogawa, Boston Junior Bruins
Even with the success of many of their North Division neighbors - this team making a great run, then another, then another - the Junior Bruins still held tight to their division lead earned for the first time way back in early October.
Kogawa (‘03/Chiba, Japan) is emerging as one of the league’s foremost playmakers, especially after putting up six assists (and one goal) in just seven November games. With 14 assists on the season, he is giving teammate Joe Solimine (19 assists) a run for his money. Kogawa is 13th in the league and third in the North Division for helpers. He was also a plus-2 in a tough month for the squad and he blocked four shots.
Jared Lambright, Boston Advantage
The 2001-born native of Clifton Park, N.Y., had himself a strong month by posting three two-assist performances and adding one more for seven helpers in seven games for November. Lambright jumped right into the month with assists on the first two Advantage goals to start what eventually became a 4-3 overtime loss to the Rockets Hockey Club at the end of the Beantown Classic. He also had a pair of assists in their next game on Nov. 4, and another two - including on the GWG - in a 4-3 win over the Northern Cyclones on Nov. 12.
Defensively, he was able to remain even plus-minus-wise in a month where the team’s leader in the category was a +5. He also made two shot-blocks during the month.
Brennan Dickey, Northern Cyclones
Dickey (‘01/Parma, Ohio) was outstanding for the Cyclones throughout the month, in which the Cyclones went 4-2-0-1 to remain in a crowded hunt for first place in the North. On the purely offensive side, the second-year Cyclone posted six points in seven games, including the GWG in a 4-1 win over the Utica Jr. Comets on Nov. 21 at the IHC Showcase. He finished that game with a 1-2-3 line.
On the back end, Dickey was a +3 for the month, tied for second on the Cyclones’ D corps and he posted four blocked shots.
Mitchell Day, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs
The workhorse of the month, only one other goaltender saw more than 200 shots in November alone (Utica’s Sebastian Woods), but no one handled the workload as well as the 2002-born native of St. Louis, Mo. He faced down 264 shots and stopped 248 of these in seven appearances, giving him a shiny .940 save percentage for the month.
During the month, he posted a 4-2-0-0 record, and that fourth on Nov. 20 against the Philadelphia Hockey Club was his league-leading 10th victory, making him also the first goalie in the league to hit double digits this year.
Dylan Lugris, Jersey Hitmen
There were few forwards as effective in November as the second-year Hitman out of Tampa, Fla., ‘01 Dylan Lugris. Building on an already strong 39-point season in 2020-21, Lugris improved his points from 17 to 31 in the month, for 14 points through seven games (2.00 points per game).
Lugris enjoyed a 13-point run in just four games through the middle of the month, including consecutive four-point performances on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, the latter including a hat trick and assist in a 5-4 OT win over the Rockets Hockey Club, a rematch of the 2021 Dineen Cup Final. Lugris remains third in the league with 31 points in 21 games, and he shares the league lead in power play assists (11) in a three-way tie.
Dominiks Marcinkevics, Jersey Hitmen
Joining his twin brother and NCDC leading scorer Patriks Marcinkevics, Dominiks is also a former NCDC player (Islanders Hockey Club, 2019-20) who absolutely tore his way back into the NCDC fold. He scored six goals and nine assists for 15 points in just six games, joining up just before the Hitmen’s Nov. 5 game, where he scored two goals.
His season best was a 1-4-5 performance in the aforementioned 5-4 OT win over the Rockets. Twelve of his points were scored in his first three games of the month. After missing the scoresheet on Nov. 19, he came back the next day with three assists in a 7-1 win to close the team’s IHC Showcase stand.
Evan Brown, Rockets Hockey Club
Brown (‘03/Little Silver, N.J.) is a “homegrown” product for the Rockets, having also played for the program’s USPHL 15U and USPHL 16U teams in the past. In this, his first year with the NCDC team (and also with the Rockets’ USPHL 18U squad), Brown has taken off in a big way. He had 13 points in the seven games of November, all part of an eight-game point streak he started at the end of October.
All told, Brown posted five goals and eight assists to double his point production from his first 12 games of the year. He started the season with a three-assist performance against the Advantage at the Beantown Classic, and then posted the first two goals and an assist in a big win over Utica for straight three-point efforts. This was followed by three straight two-point outings.
Chip Hamlett, Philadelphia Hockey Club
Hamlett (‘01/Belle Mead, N.J.) is a third-year NCDC veteran and second-year PHC two-way defenseman. He has already passed his 2020-21 points total and it’s just December - he has 15 points on the season, one over the 14 points he had last year. During the month of November, Hamlett put up eight of his 15 points in just seven contests, rising from 11th in league defenseman scoring to third in the space of the month.
Defensively, Hamlett posted a +1 and he blocked eight shots in November as well, and he helped his team move from eighth in shots against per game (34.00) to second (32.38) in 30 days.
Luke French, Utica Jr. Comets
French helped keep the Utica Jr. Comets in the four-way tie for first place in the South that also included the Jersey Hitmen, Rockets Hockey Club and P.A.L. Jr. Islanders. Every point counts now in the South, and French was able to help the Jr. Comets hang in there even with a 5-5 record. The 2001-born native of Olathe, Kan., is in his second season with the Jr. Comets, and he showed his veteran leadership by posting seven of his 11 total points in the nine games of November.
He started the month on Nov. 1 with a goal and two assists, including on the OT GWG, as the Jr. Comets defeated the North-leading Junior Bruins 3-2 to close the Beantown Classic. He posted three more points in his next two games for a six-point, three-game scoring streak to start the month. He also scored a goal on Nov. 13 that helped push the Connecticut Jr. Rangers to a shootout, which the Jr. Comets won for a 5-4 victory.
Cam Smith, P.A.L. Jr. Islanders
Smith (‘02/Eastchester, N.Y.) finished November in the same position as he finished October - as the NCDC leader in goals against average (2.17) and save percentage (.938). As aforementioned, the Jr. Islanders were also able to maintain a handhold on the four-way tie for first place in the NCDC’s ultra-competitive South Division.
Smith went 2-2 during the month of November, but had the best save percentage in the South Division among goalies with at least four appearances in the month (.927). He stopped 140 of 151 shots, giving up 11 goals in his four appearances. His best two appearances were his first two of November, as he posted a 41-save 4-1 victory over the Islanders Hockey Club at the Beantown Classic, followed by a 36-save showing as the Jr. Islanders defeated the Jersey Hitmen, 3-1, on Nov. 3. These two wins formed the end of an eight-game winning streak for Smith.
The last turkey bone has long been picked clean and the soup has been made. The thermostats are going up ever so slowly in the northeast as the mercury falls and December gets ready to dawn. That means the NCDC must be nearing the halfway point - and that it will, on Friday, Dec. 10.
When teams hit the ice again on Thursday - with a New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs. Islanders Hockey Club showdown in the North Division - we’ll see a continued jumble of races in both divisions. Four points separate first from fourth - and six points separate first from sixth - up in the North Division, but the real crowding situation is in the South. Four teams are jockeying for first, all with 27 points coming off the break. And none of them are the hottest team in the South, which belongs to the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, 4-0-1-1 in their last five, and just one point out of the four-way tie. In terms of point streaks, no one else has better than a one-game winning “streak” going into December.
Where will we be after this first weekend back in action is anyone’s guess - but it’ll be outstanding fun watching whatever happens happen. Let’s get into what the teams are up to.
Connecticut Jr. Rangers Enjoying Season-Best Six-Game Point Streak
Going 3-0 at the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase was exactly what the Rangers needed. They had started the month at 7-7-0-0 and have improved to 12-8-1-1 after a 5-1-1-1 month of November.
As good as their present run is, it pales in comparison with their 13-game point streak from early in the 2019-20 season, when they went 9-0-4-0 between September and the start of November. At the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase, they started out with a 3-1 win over the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs that evened out the all-time series at 6-6. From there, they defeated the Northern Cyclones, 7-3, and wrapped up with a 5-1 win over the hosts on Nov. 21.
Next up, the Rangers bring their hot streak up against the Jersey Hitmen in a Saturday-Sunday home-and-home that starts in Connecticut. Their last weekend series on Oct. 23-24, both resulted in Hitmen wins.
• The Rangers are second-best in the league in getting shots on goal, with an average of 36.55. However, they are also 13th in shots against with 38.08 against them each game.
• When the Rangers get up after two periods, they are unbeatable so far - they are one of just three teams league-wide with a 5-0 record when holding a lead after 40 minutes.
• Rangers defenseman Andrew Mosley is currently tied for the goal-scoring lead among defensemen with five, the fifth coming on Nov. 14 in the third of three games in Utica.
• Andrei Levushkin has the league’s best active goal-scoring streak with six goals in his last five games going back to the 5-4 shootout loss on Nov. 13. Adding in nine assists over the last 11 games, he also has the best scoring streak with 15 points.
• The league’s second-best active point scoring streak is also held by a Ranger, that being Bobby Barrasso. He has a 5-4-9 line going back the last six games. He and fellow Ranger Dean Rocco are both on four-assist streaks in their last three and four games, respectively.
Junior Bruins Trying To Tie Wins Together To Hold Onto First In North
The Boston Junior Bruins have gone 3-2-1 over their last six games, and before that was a three-game losing streak. The Junior Bruins want to come back strong in December after they last strung together wins on Oct. 17-23, when they won three in a row. They enter December with the North lead, which they have never relinquished since first grabbing hold of first on Oct. 3 after a 3-0 start to the season.
Around them, they’ve seen hot streaks over the last month-plus from the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Northern Cyclones, Boston Advantage and South Shore Kings.
• At a 20.2 percent success rate, the Junior Bruins and Jersey Hitmen (27.2) are the only NCDC teams above a 1-in-5 rate for power plays.
• Holy Cross recruit Joe Solimine registered his 19th assist in the team’s most recent win, 6-0 over the Advantage, putting him at fourth in USPHL assists. His 1-1-2 game that day kept him in the top five of scoring overall as well with 28 through 21 games.
• Goaltender Colin Winn became the first goalie to pass 1,000 minutes played this season, standing at 1,045. He is also third in saves at 510.
• Army recruit Jude Brower’s feed to Aaron Catron at 5:17 of the second in the 6-0 win over Advantage made him the only NCDC defenseman with two shorthanded assists this year.
New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Pushing Junior Bruins In Close Race
The Monarchs kept the pressure on the Junior Bruins - whom they trail by just two points - with a 2-1 performance at the IHC Showcase. This began with a 4-2 win over the Jersey Hitmen on Nov. 18, avenging a 5-2 loss to the Hitmen from Oct. 4 at the BJB Shootout.
They fell to Connecticut, 3-1, but bounced right back to defeat the Philadelphia Hockey Club, 3-2, on Nov. 20.
• Mitchell Day was in net for all 180 minutes of the IHC Showcase and improved to a league-best 10 wins on the season, the first in the NCDC this year to cross double digit W’s.
• Day also leads in saves, 544, on 587 shots, which gives him a save percentage of .927, ranking third in the league in that category.
• Day set the new season high mark for saves in a game with 52 in the 3-1 loss to Nov. 19.
• Bekk McClaine’s shorthanded goal against Philadelphia, which stood up as the game-winner, gave the Monarchs a league-best six shorthanded goals as a team.
Hitmen, P.A.L. Tied In Points, Wins, Winning Percentage
Even with four teams tied in points in the South Division, you can’t find two more almost completely identical teams than the Jersey Hitmen and P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, who have 13 wins and seven regulation losses apiece. The Hitmen have an OT loss and P.A.L. has a shootout loss, about the only big difference between them. They both have a .643 save percentage, both won their most recent game and are both even 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games.
• Jersey’s special teams are aces - first in power play at 27.2 percent, and second in penalty killing (89.4)
• The Hitmen are also first in goals for per game (4.05, the only team averaging over four), shots for per game (40.95, only team averaging 40 or better) and fewest shots against per game (32.00). They are second in team goals against at 2.76.
• P.A.L. leads the league in team goals against at 2.38.
• The Hitmen have the best record in the league when leading after two periods - 10-0 - followed closely by P.A.L. at 9-0.
• P.A.L. is the only team in the NCDC with a winning record when being outshot in games, at 6-5-0-1.
• Tyler Crist leads the league in goals for the Jr. Islanders with 17, which sees a lead of three on his closest competition right now.
• Hitmen Patriks Marcinkevics (35 points) and Dylan Lugris (31) points are first and third in the league in scoring, respectively. Second - and the only other player with at least 30 points - is the Jr. Islanders’ Spencer Korona (34 points).
• Marcinkevics and Lugris, however, are tied without any other company in leading the league with 11 power play assists apiece, and Marcinkevics leads the league in points at 16.
• Hitmen defensemen Brandon Cimino (22 points), a Bentley recruit, and Sean Melso (21) are 1-2 in league defenseman scoring and the only two blueliners in the league with at least 20 points. They are also tied for the league lead in assists with 18 apiece.
Northern Cyclones Hope To Build On 2-1 IHC Showcase Performance
The Cyclones, like the Monarchs, came out of the IHC Showcase with a 2-1 mark. They could have done without the 7-3 loss to the red-hot Rangers, but they’ll definitely take the 3-2 win over the Hitmen, the Cyclones’ first-ever in their five NCDC years. Along the way, they also beat the Utica Jr. Comets, 4-1, to even up their all-time series at a dead-even 8-8.
• Goaltender Kristoffer Eberly has kept up his outstanding performance from the start of the season and now sits second in save percentage at .932.
• The Cyclones are almost outscoring their opponents 2:1 (31-16) in second periods of games - but then getting outscored 1:2 (13-26) in third periods.
• Michael Felsing, a 2003-born center, has not stopped scoring since joining the Cyclones ahead of their Nov. 12 game. He has an active five-game scoring streak of four goals and three assists for seven points, including 2-2-4 at the IHC Showcase.
• Veteran Cyclone Massimo Pietroniro also had two goals and two assists for four points in the three IHC Showcase games.
Around The Boards In The NCDC
The Rockets Hockey Club and P.A.L. Jr. Islanders split their pre-Thanksgiving series with rather decisive wins on both sides. The Rockets won the first game 5-1, followed by a 7-1 Jr. Islanders win.
• Just before a call-up to the USHL, the Rockets’ Barron Woodring scored his league-leading seventh power play goal in the 7-1 win.
• Along with the Jersey Hitmen’s leaders, the Rockets Hockey Club are the only other team to have two defensemen in the top five of D scoring - Evan Pahos and Penn State recruit Jason Gallucci (both with 15 points).
Prior to the Boston Advantage’s shutout loss to the Junior Bruins, they were able to pick up a 7-3 win over the South Shore Kings.
• Manny Sanchez’ assist on Cade Helmer’s shorthanded goal against the Kings put him into a four-way tie for shorthanded assists with two.
• Helmer’s first of two goals in that game was the game-winner his third on the season, good for a tie for second in the league. Only five players have at least three GWG’s, with P.A.L.’s Tyler Crist leading with four.
The host Islanders Hockey Club did not leave their showcase empty-handed, picking up three points with a 1-1-0-1 record there. They fell in a shootout to Philadelphia 5-4 in the opener, before defeating Utica 5-4. They ended with their 5-1 loss to Connecticut.
• Patrik Somerville drew the league’s first overtime penalty shot of the 2021-22 season on Nov. 19, but missed scoring on Philadelphia’s Ryan Keyes. In four total penalty shots this year, there’s only been one goal, back on Nov. 6, when the Rockets’ Cam Bergeman scored on Utica’s Sebastian Woods.
• Jake Bernadet has the second-best active goal streak in the league with six in his last four games. Jack Dolan has the second-best active assist streak with five helpers in his last five games.
The Philadelphia Hockey Club’s Liam Cox-Smith and Carter Newlin scored a shootout goal apiece to end the shootout with IHC after just two rounds, giving them a 5-4 win and their only two points of the showcase. They also had close games with the Twin City Thunder (4-3) and the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (3-2).
• Chip Hamlett’s two-point weekend outside of Boston gave him 15 points and put him up in the top five of defenseman scoring, tied for third with the Rockets’ Gallucci and Pahos.
• Ryan Mulholland scored a shorthanded goal vs. the Islanders to make him one of just four blueliners in the league with a shorty.
• PHC is dead even in shots with their opponents in the second period at 235-235. They are second only to the Hitmen in fewest shots against per game (32.38).
Twin City’s win over PHC was also its only two points at the IHC Showcase. They went on to fall 2-1 to Utica and 7-1 to Jersey.
• Ryan Hintz’ goal against Utica was his fifth of the season, putting him into a four-way tie for the league lead in goals by defensemen.
Utica also picked up just two points at the IHC Showcase, from that 2-1 win over Utica. Their other results were a 5-4 loss to Utica and a 4-1 loss to the Cyclones.
• Dhillon Wilde’s second hat trick of the season came against the Islanders, and also gave him 14 on the season, tying him for second in goals with the Advantage’s Cade Helmer.
• John Gutt is on a five-game, seven-assist streak (best in the league) and eight-point scoring streak in six games (third in the league). His three assists at the IHC Showcase put him third in the league at 21 helpers.
• Sebastian Woods is second in both goaltender minutes (984) and saves (534).
• New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs at Islanders Hockey Club, Dec. 2 - The Monarchs own an all-time edge of 7-4-1-3 in this all-time series. New Hampshire has won 3-2 in a shootout and 4-1, and the Islanders won on Sept. 26, 4-3 in a shootout.
• South Shore Kings at Boston Advantage, Dec. 3 - The Advantage beat the Kings twice in November, 4-3 (Nov. 9) and 7-3 (Nov. 19).
• Boston Junior Bruins at Twin City Thunder, Dec. 3 - The Junior Bruins have scored points in each of their first four games, going 3-0-0-1 - the three wins were shutouts.
• Rockets Hockey Club vs. Philadelphia Hockey Club, Dec. 3-4 - The Rockets are 6-1 all-time against the PHC, who won their first game in the all-time series on Oct. 22.
• Twin City Thunder at Northern Cyclones, Dec. 4 - The Cyclones and Thunder have each won one game in their season series by a 3-1 score.
• Utica Jr. Comets at P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Dec. 4-6 - It’s been a close all-time series, but Utica (and their predecessors the Syracuse Jr. Stars) leads 11-8-1-0, with two OT wins and two shootout victories.
• Jersey Hitmen vs. Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Dec. 4-5 - The Hitmen have dominated the all-time series 18-2-1-0, winning once in OT and twice in a shootout. The Hitmen won both of their 2021-22 meetings on Oct. 23-24.
• Boston Advantage at New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Dec. 4 - The Boston Advantage are 2-0-0-2 all-time against the Monarchs. They won 4-1 on Oct. 24, the only game that hasn’t gone to OT or shootout between the two.
• Boston Junior Bruins vs. Northern Cyclones, Dec. 4 - The Junior Bruins hold a very slim 10-8-1-0 record with one overtime win in the all-time series.
Drop The Pucks!
The United States Premier Hockey League congratulates former Elmira Jr. Enforcer Jack Rogers, as he has made his NCAA commitment to St. Cloud State University. Rogers played last season with the Jr. Enforcers, scoring 47 points in 39 USPHL Premier regular season games last season. He also added seven goals and 10 points in seven playoff games, including the Jr. Enforcers’ appearance at the USPHL Premier Nationals in their first year of existence.
Rogers, who currently plays Tier II hockey in Manitoba, said he started talking to the St. Cloud State Huskies staff in October.
“The coaching staff really like my speed and the way I play with pace,” said Rogers, a 2002-born native of East Northport, N.Y. “They also love the edge I play with and compete level I bring to practice and games.”
St. Cloud State University has become a powerful player in the NCAA ranks, making it all the way to the Frozen Four final last year, where the Huskies fell to the University of Massachusetts. Overall, the Huskies have reached the National Tournament 14 times in the 22 years from the 1999-2000 season to 2020-21.
“St. Cloud is a first class hockey program from top to bottom. In my opinion what really puts them ahead of the pack are the staff members in all areas and what they do for their players,” said Rogers. “I was able to visit the school and see not only the hockey side of things but also life as a student. Everything was top-tier.”
Prior to his jump this year to Canadian Tier-II hockey, Rogers was thrilled with his single season in Elmira and paid tribute to all of the coaches and the organization overall.
“Last season was definitely a strange one because of all the different leagues shutting down and all of the restrictions. However we definitely made the most of it in Elmira,” said Rogers. “We had a great group of guys with a great coaching staff and turned it into a pretty successful year for a first year organization.”
The Jr. Enforcers’ entry into the National Championships kicked off with a win over the No. 1 overall seed, the Metro Jets, illustrating just how powerful the inaugural Elmira squad was, and how much Rogers benefited from being part of the team - and the team benefited from Rogers’ contributions as well.
“I don’t think there was a part of my game that didn’t improve last year. Coaches Cody Murphy, Jamie Hill and Glen Patterson ran amazing practices throughout the entire year,” Rogers added. “They put together a perfect mix of player development and team structure into each practice. They definitely helped prepare me to have a successful season this year and in the future.”
To help craft that future, Rogers expects to continue working towards his ultimate goal of being a regular in Huskies lineups for four years.
“I am excited to continue to get stronger and improve my game as I move forward in my junior career,” said Rogers. “Nothing changes for me. I will continue to take it day by day and stay on my development path.”
David Battisti takes what his friends and former teammates say very seriously. So, when former Charlotte Rush teammate Sam Martin, now playing for the State University of New York at Canton, began talking with Battisti about potentially joining the Canton Roos in 2022, Battisti listened closely to the sales pitch.
“I stayed with Sam when I went on my visit,” said Battisti. “He’s been trying to convince me for a while, and he did a good job of it.”
Of course, the SUNY-Canton coaching staff also had something to do with this whole process. They began talking with the 2001-born Victor, N.Y., resident last year just before the USPHL Premier Nationals in Chesapeake, Va. The talks continued and on Wednesday, Nov. 24, it was announced that Battisti had committed to SUNY-Canton.
The Canton staff then watched as Battisti and his Rush teammates pushed their way past nearly every team they faced (taking just one round robin tie along the way) to win the Championship.
“I began talking with them last year just before Nationals, and then just a little bit throughout the summer, and it started back up again before I went back to Charlotte this year,” said Battisti, who currently stands at 5-4-1 on the season for the Rush. His fourth win was a 4-3 victory against the Metro Jets, which came into the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase at 20-0.
“They said they like how quick I am on my feet,” said Battisti. “I’m a smaller guy, so I have to be a quick goalie, and they like how I play the puck a lot and I’m aggressive.”
Battisti said there was a lot that he liked about SUNY-Canton as well, so the interest remained strong on both sides.
“I love the great hockey facilities they have, and it’s a very good culture there that I’m excited about to be a part of,” said Battisti. “Everything’s clean and modern on campus, the way it looks. That played a big part in where I wanted.”
Battisti plans to major in Business, in order to help with the family business, Tambe Electric Inc., an electrician services company based in Victor.
“Going into business will help in getting into the family company, which my Grandpa owns, and everyone in my family works there,” he added.
Battisti started out playing locally in the Rochester area, skating in the USPHL 16U Division for two seasons with the former Rochester Jr. Monarchs, and then he continued with the Jr. Monarchs into his 18U year, while splitting with McQuaid Jesuit High School. From McQuaid, he joined the Rush last year and put together an outstanding 25-6-1 record during the regular season, along with sparkling a 1.84 goals against average and .938 save percentage.
“I can’t say enough good things about Charlotte, not even just the hockey aspect of it, but Charlotte prepares you for the real world,and becoming a man,” said Battisti. “There’s a lot of success and a lot of pressure there. A loss on a weekend is not acceptable, but no one really gets nervous when we lose a couple because we know we’ll come right back with wins.”
Most of the time, Battisti just works with the coaching staff led by Troy Schwab, which also includes General Manager Ryan Cruthers and Trevor Jewell, the former head coach now Director of Hockey Operations and Player Development. New this year, the Rush also brought in NHL alum Jean-Sebastian Aubin as a goaltending coach.
“I’ve met with him a couple times, and he comes down from Pittsburgh once a month to work with the goaltenders,” said Battisti.
This year, Battisti is still working to improve to become an even better goaltender for the Roos of the future.
“For me, it’s really just the consistency aspect,” said Battisti. “I think I was very good last year, every game, I felt like I gave the same. It’s different a little bit this year, so I just want to make sure I’m giving the team the same guy in net every game that they want. I’m trying to get my shoulders over the puck a little more, just to find any way to make myself bigger.”
The Rush are certainly pushing for a repeat National Championship this year, as they certainly enjoyed the experience of winning (along with their Elite brethren) this past March.
“Obviously, that was our goal all year. It was a marathon for us. We kept winning and winning and we let that roll into Nationals. We had that feeling that we were going to do it, then after we won, it was the best feeling ever,” said Battisti. “We didn’t do it just for us, but for our alumni. That 2019-20 team felt like they were going to win [before the 2020 Nationals were canceled], and a lot of them came down to watch us. We were really playing to win for two years worth of Rush teams.”
The USPHL congratulates David Battisti, his family, the Charlotte Rush and SUNY-Canton for his commitment.
All of us here at the United States Premier Hockey League wish all of our players, families and everyone beyond a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Forward: Alex Dameski, Jersey Hitmen
Dameski (‘01/Oakville, Ont.) set up both goals that the Hitmen scored in a close loss against the Northern Cyclones, and then posted two goals - one on the power play - and one more assist for five points in two games against the Twin City Thunder to leave New England with a 7-1 victory.
Defense: Mika Petersen, Connecticut Jr. Rangers
Local Stamford product Petersen (‘03) racked up a couple of assists - one in each of the Rangers’ wins against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and the Northern Cyclones. Petersen, a veteran of the 2020-21 Rangers who rejoined this month, has four assists already in five games.
Goaltender: Devin Stephens, Connecticut Jr. Rangers
Stephens (‘03/Trenton, Mich.) is a first-year NCDC player who had an outstanding weekend at the IHC Showcase, going 3-0, with a 1.66 goals against average and a .957 save percentage. All told, he made 113 saves on 118 shots. He started with a 47-save performance in their 3-1 win against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs. From there, he went up against the Cyclones and helped them get a decisive 7-3 victory with 30 saves on 33 shots. In the end, against the host Islanders on Sunday, he made 36 saves on 37 shots - all but six of those coming in the second and third of an eventual 5-1 victory.
Forward: Jake Bernadet, Islanders Hockey Club
Bernadet (‘03/Burlington, Vt.) was burning hot for the IHC as they played four games in six days between Nov. 16 and Nov. 21. He scored six goals 2-1-2-1 in that order of the four games, and added an assist in the Nov. 16 5-3 win against the Boston Advantage. He has an active five-game, eight-point streak going into December.
Defense: Charlie Killian, Boston Advantage
Killian (‘02/Mendota Heights, Minn.) helped the Advantage to a big win over the South Shore Kings on Nov. 19, and over the course of three games, he posted three of his eight total assists on the season. He also led the Advantage in ice time with an average of over 30 minutes in each game.
Goaltender: Mitchell Day, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs
Day (‘02/Kirkwood, Mo.) was the big man in net during the IHC Showcase recently, picking up two wins and was outstanding making 52 saves (on 55 shots) in his only loss to the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, who went 3-0 at the event. In the first of three games, he stopped 29 of 31 to defeat the defending Dineen Cup Champion Jersey Hitmen. Then, after the big show against Connecticut, he made 25 stops on 27 shots for the win against the Philadelphia Hockey Club.
Islanders Hockey Club Showcase Recap
With some teams playing three games, some two (including away from the showcase), the month of November ended just with the same situation in the South as existed a week earlier on Jan. 16 - with four teams tied for first in points, all with 27.
The Jersey Hitmen picked up a pair of points in winning their final game of the showcase, 7-1, after earlier losses to the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and Northern Cyclones..
The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders and Rockets Hockey Club split their weekend - so there's that. Those two teams also earned just two points apiece to rise to 27 apiece.
The fourth team in the four-way tie - the Utica Jr. Comets - won their IHC Showcase opener - a 2-1 win against the Twin City Thunder. They were unable to earn any further points in losses to the Islanders Hockey Club and Northern Cyclones. Two points over the 25 they came in with equals, you guessed it, 27.
The Connecticut Jr. Rangers - as aforementioned above - are the current hottest team in the South winning three in a row to stand now one point back of the four-way tie.
The Philadelphia Hockey Club sandwiched a 5-4 shootout win over the host Islanders Hockey Club between one-goal losses to the Twin City Thunder and New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
The Boston Junior Bruins had one chance (i.e., one scheduled game) to prove their ability to hold onto first place, and they did just that with a 6-0 shutout of the Boston Advantage.
Meantime, there's a new second place team in the form of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, who leapfrogged the South Shore Kings into the second spot. Coming off two losses the prior weekend, the Monarchs only looked forward and defeated the Jersey Hitmen, 4-2, in Game 1 of the entire IHC Showcase on Thursday. They fell in Game 2 to the red-hot Rangers, 3-1, but then rebounded to end November against the Philadelphia Hockey Club with a 3-2 win.
The Boston Advantage came back from a 5-3 loss to the Islanders Hockey Club to defeat the South Shore Kings, 7-3, but then came up empty-handed with their loss to the Junior Bruins. With the two points in three games, they were at least able to hold onto third place heading into the break.
The loss to the Advantage was the Kings' only action over the last week and for the month of November, in which they played five contests.
On the strength of their 3-2 win over the Hitmen and a 4-1 closer against Utica, the Northern Cyclones were able to jump up into fifth place in the North.
As the Cyclones jumped up, the Twin City Thunder fell to sixth with just a 4-3 win over Philadelphia on Thursday to take away from their IHC Showcase efforts.
The Islanders Hockey Club earned five points in three straight games going back to a 5-3 win over the Advantage on Nov. 16. At their showcase, they took a point from the 5-4 shootout loss to Philadelphia, then earned a 5-4 win over Utica before the Connecticut Jr. Rangers ended their points streak.
We'll have a new, full NCDC This Week coming back next Tuesday! Happy Thanksgiving to all.
The Florida Eels Premier and Elite teams went out and collected canned goods and other non-perishable food items to help those families not so fortunate in the Fort Myers community with their Thanksgiving dinners.
The Eels organization also solicited patrons from their Junior games to donate food items in lieu of admission fees to watch games.
The Tampa Bay Juniors parents also contributed to the Eels' food drive.
"We are very proud of our players who took this endeavor very seriously, recognizing that they are very fortunate in being able to pursue their dreams and goals while there are many in our community not so fortunate," said General Manager Frank Scarpaci. " We estimate the drive accumulated food for approximately 100 families."
The NCDC will get into its final games of the month of November this weekend. Eight teams will play at the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase, and others will have traditional home ice games against local opponents. In any event, the NCDC is already fast approaching the halfway mark of the regular season, which will occur on Dec. 10, the second weekend back after the Thanksgiving break. The good thing for those who love watching the NCDC is every game is competitive, players are putting up outstanding individual performances and there’s oh so much more still to come!
Jersey Hitmen Win Three In A Row, Sweep Rockets
A sweep of the Interstate 287 rival Rockets Hockey Club over the Nov. 12-13 weekend helped the Hitmen jump into a tie for first place in the South Division, not just with the Rockets, but also with the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders and the Utica Jr. Comets.
• The Hitmen have the league’s best offense (4.11 goals per game) and second best defense (2.78 goals against per game). That lines up well with putting the most shots on net (41.33) and giving up the second fewest shots per game (31.56).
• Jersey blueline duo Sean Melso and Bentley recruit Brandon Cimino continue to lead the NCDC in defenseman scoring with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Cimino enters the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase on a three-game, four-assist streak.
• On Nov. 12, Hitmen newcomer Dominiks Marcinkevics had a goal and four assists for a league season-high five points, in just his second game since returning to the NCDC after originally playing for the Islanders Hockey Club in 2019-20. In three games, Marcinkevics - twin brother of the team’s leading scorer Patriks Marcinkevics (28 points) - already has 10 points.
• Since joining the Hitmen just before Halloween, goalie J.J. Cataldo is 3-0.
• Rockets Hockey Club forward Evan Brown has the most points in a currently active point streak, at 15 (6-9-15) in his last eight games. He is also on a five-game multi-point streak, scoring three in a pair and then two points in his last three.
South Shore Kings Pushing Junior Bruins Atop North Division With Two Straight W’s
Just as great as the four-way battle for first in the South is the four-way fight for first in the North, with four teams separated by four points. The South Shore Kings’ two-game sweep of their Nov. 12 and 14 games included a 4-1 win over the leading Boston Junior Bruins. The Kings are now just two points out of first in the North, held by the same Junior Bruins.
• The Kings give up the third-fewest shots against per game (32.56).
• Daniel Cavanaugh is heating up for the Kings. After posting four points in his first 12 games, Cavanaugh has an active six-game scoring streak with a line of 4-3-7.
• Jakub Teply, who now has 5-2-7 in his last three games, had the game-winning goals against each of the Monarchs and Junior Bruins. He became the second King this season to register back-to-back GWG’s, after Chikara Hanzawa did so on Oct. 22 and Oct. 28, the latter being the goal that broke the Kings’ all-time NCDC scoring record.
• The South Shore Kings’ USPHL Premier goalie Max Macchioni, one of the leaders in wins in the Tier III league, is already 2-0 in the start of his NCDC career. He defeated the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 5-1, stopping 29 of 30, and then came back this past Sunday against the Junior Bruins and stopped 28 of 31 in the 4-3 victory.
• The Junior Bruins’ leading scorer and Holy Cross recruit Joe Solimine made his league-leading 11th power play assist on Easton Ryan’s third period goal that made it 3-3, prior to Teply’s GWG.
Philadelphia Hockey Club Picks Up Points In Three Straight
Fourteen of the PHC’s 18 total games have been decided by one goal, including overtimes and shootouts, and the most recent three came against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers and in a home-and-home against the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders (2-0-1).
• With four assists on Nov. 7, Chip Hamlett moved into second place on the PHC scoring leaderboard since their 2020-21 inaugural season. He is tied at 27 points with teammate Frank Konopasek, who had two goals during the recent 2-0-1 stretch. Last year’s leading scorer Jaxon Mase is the all-time leader with 30 points in 38 games in 2020-21.
• Hamlett’s four assists on Nov. 7 put him in a three-way tie with Dominiks Marcinkevics and Jersey’s Will Traeger for the league season-high in that category. It also gave Hamlett the all-time lead for PHC assists in the NCDC with 27. He entered this season already as the PHC’s all-time top-scoring defenseman after last year’s inaugural season and remains in the lead by a healthy amount.
• Swedish import goaltender Jacob Torgner is tied for second in minutes played in the NCDC with 854, and he is fourth overall in save percentage at .921.
Connecticut Jr. Rangers Jump Back Above .500 With Points In Three Straight
The last thing the four teams tied for first in the South need right now is for the Connecticut Jr. Rangers to get hot. They’re not 100 percent on fire, with just a 1-0-1-1 record in their last trio of games against Utica, but that three-game point streak has them certainly within striking distance of the top group.
• After 19 games played, the Jr. Rangers remain the only NCDC team to have not allowed a single shorthanded goal against them this season.
• Second-year Jr. Rangers goalie Derek Manzella stopped a league season-high 50 shots (of 54 total) before falling 5-4 in a shootout to Utica on Nov. 13.
• Andrei Levushkin earlier this season set the Jr. Rangers NCDC mark for goals and now leads with 40. He is on a current eight-game point streak, with a 6-5-11 line. That was capped off by a season-best two goals and one assist in a Nov. 14 6-4 win against Utica.
• Bobby Barrasso had an impressive weekend in Utica, scoring four goals - one in two of the games, and two in the middle game on Saturday, and one shorthanded. Barrasso, who has 10 goals and 14 points this season, scored four goals in 26 games in his first year with the Rangers in 2020-21.
• Utica’s Walter Baumann is on a six-game scoring streak having put up 3-5-8 over that stretch. Teammate John Gutt, second in NCDC assists with 19, posted five helpers and one goal over the weekend against Connecticut.
Around The Boards In The NCDC
Prior to their loss to Philly, the P.A.L. had defeated the PHC by a score of 3-2 on Saturday.
• For the P.A.L., the most recent goal scored by Tyler Crist was both the league leader as his 15th, and also his league-leading fourth game-winning goal of the season. It was the sixth for his career, one back of the Islanders’ all-time leader Ryan Willett, who had seven.
• Crist’s P.A.L. teammate Spencer Korona shares the distinction of being both the league’s leading scorer with 30 points in 19 games, and also having broken the Jr. Islanders’ all-time scoring record, currently at 116 points in 152 career games.
After falling to the Boston Junior Bruins 1-0 on Nov. 12, the Twin City Thunder came back Saturday to beat the Monarchs in New Hampshire, 6-4.
• Devon Mastay, a defenseman for the USPHL Premier’s top team, the 17-0 Metro Jets out of Detroit made his NCDC debut with Twin City against the Monarchs and earned his first point, assisting on Sam Stitz’ game-winning goal. #USPHLAdvancement In Action!
• New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs forward Tanner Hartman has picked up five goals and eight assists for 13 points in a league-leading nine straight games. His teammate Aidan Curran - the Monarchs’ all-time-leading scorer - hit his 100th point with his most recent, his third of three assists against Twin City on Nov. 13. Curran has 12 points in his last seven straight games.
After falling to the Advantage, 4-3, on Friday, the Northern Cyclones rebounded with a 6-3 win over the Islanders Hockey Club on Saturday.
• Michael Felsing, a 2003-born Pittsburgh native, made a great debut by posting three points in his first two Cyclones games last weekend.
• Charlie Ross, picked up in trade with the Monarchs in late October, earned his fourth straight assist on Graham Broadfoot’s Saturday game-winner.
Bouncing back from the 6-3 defeat against the Northern Cyclones, the Islanders scored their second 4-3 win against the Boston Advantage in the month of November on Tuesday. They had earlier won 4-3 against their North Division foes in OT on November 4.
• The Islanders’ Andrew Carmody leads the NCDC in game-winning goals by a defenseman with three and he added a game-winning assist on Johan Rosenquist’s goal on Tuesday. He had scored the OT GWG in the Nov. 4 win against the Advantage.
• Dylan Kruss made 28 saves on 31 shots for his first IHC win after being acquired recently from the Jersey Hitmen, with whom he started the season.
• The Islanders snapped what had been a tie for the Advantage’s longest points streak in their first season and almost a half in the NCDC. They had gone 3-0-2-0 heading into the game against the Isles.
• The Advantage’s Manny Sanchez registered two straight three-point games with a goal and two assists in back-to-back games on Nov. 9 and 12. With three 3-point games on the season, Sanchez’ 19 points in his first 17 games equaled his total 2020-21 output of 19 points in 41 games.
• Cade Helmer is enjoying a league-leading active five-game goal and point streak, posting seven goals and four assists for 11 points.
• Rockets Hockey Club at P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Nov. 18 and 20 - The first meeting of the season between these South Division foes sees the Rockets hold a slim lead of 12-7-1-0 in the all-time series.
• New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs. Jersey Hitmen, Nov. 18 - The first NCDC game at the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase, beginning at 3:45 p.m. Hitmen defeated the Monarchs 5-2 on Oct. 4 in the BJB Shootout.
• Twin City Thunder vs. Philadelphia Hockey Club, Nov. 18 - Meeting at the IHC Showcase, these two teams split their two Hub City Tampa games in 2020-21, their only prior meetings so far.
• New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs. Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Nov. 19 - The Monarchs won 5-2 on Halloween Day to put the all-time series in their favor at 6-4-0-1.
• Philadelphia Hockey Club vs. Islanders Hockey Club, Nov. 19 - The Islanders went 2-1 in their three 2020-21 meetings, including PHC’s first-ever NCDC game on Oct. 8, 2020, a 6-3 Islanders win.
• Boston Advantage at South Shore Kings, Nov. 19 - Outside of the IHC Showcase, these two teams hit the ice for the second time after a 4-3 Advantage victory on Nov. 9. Kings lead the all-time series 4-2-0-0.
• Twin City Thunder vs. Utica Jr. Comets, Nov. 19 - The first meeting between these two teams for the 2021-22 season sees a current Thunder 5-1-0-0 lead in the all-time series.
• Jersey Hitmen vs. Northern Cyclones, Nov. 19 - The Hitmen are undefeated in 15 meetings all-time against the Cyclones (with two overtime wins), including their two Hub City Tampa matchups last year.
• Jersey Hitmen vs. Twin City Thunder, Nov. 20 - The Thunder won the first meeting of the season, 5-3, at the BJB Shootout. The Hitmen narrowly lead the all-time series 4-3-0-0 with a shootout victory.
• Philadelphia Hockey Club vs. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Nov. 20 - The Monarchs have a slight 2-1 all-time series lead, as they won earlier this season 4-1 at the Hitmen Classic.
• Northern Cyclones vs. Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Nov. 20 - Although the Cyclones have more overall wins in the all-time series at 9-8-0-0, the Rangers’ record of 8-6-2-1 gives them one more point overall in this insanely close matchup.
• Boston Advantage vs. Boston Junior Bruins, Nov. 20 - Operating outside the Islanders Showcase, these two teams have split their season series so far, both winning one in regulation.
• Utica Jr. Comets vs. Islanders Hockey Club, Nov. 20 - The first meeting between these foes sees the IHC holding the all-time series lead at 9-5-0-1, going back to the Jr. Comets’ days as the Syracuse Stars.
• Northern Cyclones vs. Utica Jr. Comets, Nov. 21 - Utica (and their Stars predecessors) have a one-point edge in the all-time series at 8-7-0-0 all-time.
• Islanders Hockey Club vs. Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Nov. 21 - The final game of the IHC Showcase is also the final game of November in the NCDC ahead of a two-week Thanksgiving break.
Reader Notice: The next NCDC This Week will be published on Tuesday, Nov. 30, previewing the return to play after the Thanksgiving break, and will at that time recap action from the Islanders Hockey Club showcase and other games this weekend. The next NCDC Players Of The Week will be published as normal on Tuesday, Nov. 23.