Midwest West Division Gets Ready For Blaine Showcase

By Jim DenHollander/USPHL.com 10/22/2019, 12:15pm EDT

While teams from the USPHL Premier Great Lakes and Midwest-East Division returned from their first Showcase event of the season a couple weeks back, the Midwest-West Division squads have been preparing for their first event to be held at Fogerty Arena (home to the Minnesota Moose) in Blaine, Minn., this weekend.


Midwest-West – Riverkings take two in Hudson

Riverkings 3 @ Havoc 1 

Riverkings 5 @ Havoc 3 

Jered Stevenson (‘00/Stockton, Calif.) nailed the game-winner in the fourth minute of the second period in Game 1.

The following night both teams scored once in each of the first two periods before Riverkings scored three straight in the third, the host Havoc pulling one back late, but never able to get any closer. 

Zack Hartley (‘00/Fort Wayne, Ind.) scored twice and it was Patrick McCoy (‘99/Niantic, Conn.) notching the game-winner.


Ducks 4 @ Vipers 3 

Ducks 4 @ Vipers 6 

A 4-3 win Friday night pulled the Ducks even in the West Division standings with the Vipers, but it lasted just 24 hours before the Vipers pulled away once again with its second win in three games.

Jason Heard (‘01/Atlanta, Ga.) and defenseman Beckett Patten (‘99/Bozeman, Mont.) scored two apiece to lead the Ducks on Friday night, Patten’s second giving the Ducks a 4-0 lead early in the second period of Friday’s game.

Garrett Sawyer (‘01/Northfield, Minn.) notched his second of the contest in the final minute to secure the Saturday win and Caleb Harris (‘99/Fishers, Ind.) turned aside 57 shots to backstop the victory in goal for the Vipers.


Mullets 5 @ Blades 0 

Mullets 5 @ Mallards 4 (OT)

The season-opening road show for the Mullets continued as the squad played its 10thand 11thconsecutive road games and boosted its record to 7-4-0-0 with a shutout win in Owatonna against the host Steele County Blades and following it up with a 5-4 overtime edge against the Rum River Mallards in Isanti.

Cooper Hoheisel (‘00/Chisago City, Minn.) scored twice and Jack Bostedt (‘99/Janesville, Wis.) turned aside 29 shots to grab the shutout win.

The following night, Hoheisel played a big part again, his third goal of the game with 2:48 tying it up for the Mullets and setting the stage for Jake Lindblom (‘99/Pine City, Minn.) who fired the overtime game winner. Mallards got two from Peter Meyer (‘00/Waseca, Minn.).


Blue Ox 8 @ Mallards 4 

The Mallards started the weekend with a loss as well as the visiting Minnesota Blue Ox Carried a 2-0 lead out of the first and 4-1 into the third on its way to a big win.

Livari Pihlajaniemi (‘01/Pori, Finland) enjoyed a huge game scoring three and adding three helpers for the Blue Ox, Abay Mangisbayev (‘01/Nur-Sultan Kazakhstan) adding a goal and three assists.


Moose 4 @ Blades 0 

The Steele County Blades managed to stay with the visiting Moose into the final period at the Four Seasons Center, but the two-time defending division champs scored twice in the third to pull away before the Blades added one more in the final three minutes.

Lukas Brockman (’99/Elk River, Minn.) scored the game winner for the Moose early in the third.


Upcoming – Midwest-West Showcase: All nine Midwest-West teams will be in Blaine, Minn., this weekend to take part in the Midwest-West Division Showcase at Fogerty Arena. 

Action starts on Thursday and every team will play four league games over the weekend in front of a heavy contingent of college scouts.

While the focus is on shining in front of the scouts, the added incentive of a possible eight points will be a plum as well in this division that currently has several front-running contenders.

Among the battles that could draw attention: Riverkings vs. Moose on Thursday at 1 p.m. (CDT); Havoc vs. Blue Ox on Friday at 11:10 a.m.; Riverkings against Mallards on Saturday at 3:40 p.m.; and the tournament finale on Sunday afternoon, the Moose against the Havoc.

A full schedule can be found online at USPHL.com


Midwest-East – Three-game sweep for Spacemen

Spacemen 9 @ Blaze 7

Spacemen 4 @ Blaze 3 

Spacemen 10 @ Blaze 5

The Spacemen shook off a six-game losing skid and grabbed six points on the road this past weekend against the Blaze who were playing on home ice for the first time at Decatur Civic Center.

Keven Lapointe (‘01/Trois Rivieres, Que.) and Caden Shwetz (‘00/Smiths Falls, Ont.) both scored three times for the Spacemen Friday with Toms Barens (‘02/Riga Latvia) adding a pair. Caden Neeley (‘00/Centennial, Colo.) scored a pair for the Blaze.

On Saturday, Shwetz fired the game winner. On Sunday, Jared Fisher (‘00/Fort Wayne, Ind.) scored four and Trey Huffman (‘00/Fort Wayne added three for the Spacemen, Austin Floyd (‘01/Centennial, Colo) scoring twice for the Blaze.

Upcoming– The Spacemen have another three-game weekend coming up as they entertain MJDP on Friday, then travel to Columbus for a pair against the Mavericks. The Blaze will be in Detroit for three against the Fighting Irish


MJDP 3 @ Blackbirds 4 

MJDP 6 @ Blackbirds 4

A pair of teams scratching for wins this season both managed to grab one at the Midwest Training & Ice Center in Dyer, Ind.

In the first game, Richard Greene (‘99/Crown Point, Ind.) scored three, including the game winner for the Blackbirds and it was Garret Benoit (‘01/Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) with two goals, including the game winner to lead the MJDP team.

Upcoming: MJDP has just one game on the weekend, hitting the road to play the Fort Wayne Spacemen on Saturday. The Blackbirds will get a couple weeks off, not scheduled to play until Nov. 8-10 when they play three on the road against the Motor City Hockey Club.


Cougars @ Motor City HC 

The Cougars have not lost a game in eight contests inside of its own division this season and these two road games against the division runner up from 2018-19 were not close.

Seven players on the Cougars collected five points or more on the weekend, led by Danny Mannarino (‘02/Huntley, Ill.) with four goals and four assists and Alec Mahoney (‘99/Elgin, Ill.) with eight assists. Alex Shaults (‘02/Villa Park, Ill.) collected a shutout in the first game for the Cougars.

Upcoming: The Cougars will enjoy its first weekend off, preparing for some key matches at Wisconsin Rapids against the Riverkings Nov. 1-2.

The Motor City squad will be off this coming weekend and prepare for a three-game homestand against the Decatur Blaze Nov. 1-3.



Great Lakes – Jets dominate first meeting with Cherokee

Both the Metro Jets and Toledo Cherokee had earlier wins on the weekend, but the key game was the first head-to-head meeting between two of the top three in the Division.

Cherokee 2 @ Jets 8 

The host Jets settled this one quickly with four unanswered first period tallies. By the time Toledo hit the board with 3:28 to go, the Jets had already piled up eight.

Zachary Rais (‘99/Livonia, Mich.) and Justin Reni (‘99/Canton, Mich.) both scored twice for the Jets.

Upcoming: The Jets pushed its current winning streak to six games and will pay a visit to Lansing for two against the Wolves this weekend. The Cherokee saw an eight-game win streak snapped and will be on the road to face the Pittsburgh Vengeance this weekend.


Bighorns 3 @ Wolves 2 (SO)

Bighorns 4 @ Wolves 3 (OT)

Sixty minutes wasn’t enough time to solve either of these two hard-fought contests and it was the Bighorns coming up big in both, perhaps due to experience – the team has gone to extra time a half dozen times in 14 regular season contests and won four of them.

In the first game, Cameron Strykowski (‘03/Pine City, N.Y.) contributed the lone goal in the shootout for the win and goaltender Elias Lindvall (‘99/Pietarsaari, Finland) stopped all three shootout attempts along with 23 of 25 in the game.

The following day Joona Kokko (‘00/Oulu, Finland) scored with 3:53 to go sending the game to overtime, then added another in the extra session to bring the game to a sudden end.

Upcoming– The Bighorns have just one contest this weekend, heading to a crossover game with the Buffalo Thunder from the Northeast Division on Saturday.

The Wolves will get the tough assignment, playing host to the Metro Jets on both Friday and Saturday nights.


Vengeance 4 @ Buffalo Thunder 3 

Buffalo Thunder @ Vengeance

After winning a nailbiter in Buffalo Saturday, the Vengeance returned home for a much more comfortable win against the same team Sunday to remain unbeaten in regulation time now 13-games into the season – the last eight all wins.

Tyson Springer (‘02/East Palestine, Ohio) scored twice to lead the charge in Buffalo and Nicolas Coppola (‘01/Glendale, Ariz.) sank three on home ice Sunday.

Upcoming: The Vengeance will entertain the Toledo Cherokee in a pair of key matches this weekend.


Mavericks @ Cherokee

On Friday night, the Cherokee picked up a lopsided shutout win against the visiting Columbus Mavericks.

Bailey Byrd (‘01/Wyandotte, Mich.) scored three in the win while Paavo Sammalisto (‘01/Virrat, Finland) and Matt Gilbert (‘99/Wyandotte, Mich.) added two each. 

Chad Simmerman (‘99/Sinking Spring, Penn.) collected the shutout win in goal.

Upcoming: (See above for Toledo). The Mavericks will look to snap out of its four-game skid when it hosts the Fort Wayne Spacemen for games on Saturday and Sunday.

Junior Bruins Premier Standout King Commits To Endicott College

By Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com 10/22/2019, 12:00pm EDT

The Boston Junior Bruins are happy to announce the first NCAA commitment from their USPHL Premier team for this season. 

Forward Jacob King, a 2000-born defenseman from Sheffield, Mass., has committed to Endicott College - of Beverly, Mass. - for the 2020-21 season. 

“It’s a great feeling. I’m really pumped for next year. That school has a really good program. I’m excited about what’s to come in the future,” said King, who was a member of the 2018-19 Dineen Cup champion Junior Bruins. 

Through nine Premier games, King scored a pair of goals and added four assists for six points. King has also played in two non-consecutive games for the Junior Bruins NCDC team. Through all of his time on ice for the Junior Bruins organization, NCDC Head Coach Mike Anderson has been extremely proud of King’s accomplishments. 

“I’m very happy for Jacob. He’s put a lot of time and effort into his game during his two years with us and Endicott is a tremendous opportunity for him to play at top end of NCAA Division 3 collegiate hockey at a great school and program,” said Anderson. 

“Jacob is a terrific teammate and has a high compete level which will serve him well in college,” Anderson added. “We’re all proud of this accomplishment for Jacob and look forward to helping him to continue his development through the rest of this season”.   

Endicott followed King throughout his 2018-19 season and began talking heavily with him this season. Looking at Endicott’s accomplishments an educational institution, it didn’t take long for King to make his decision. 

“They are the No. 1 school in Massachusetts for job placement, so that is cool in my opinion,” said King. “It has a beautiful view, the campus is sweet, and it has new facilities.”

He added that he would never have gotten this opportunity without the help of Coach Anderson and the Junior Bruins. 

“I have to give it all to Mike. He pushes kids to where they need to go,” said King. “It’s hard just to get a spot on that team, so if you’re playing there, it’s good for you. They’ll put you in a good spot to go somewhere.” 

Five EHF Selects teams make top 15 in latest Tier-1 18U rankings

By James Murphy/USPHL.com 10/18/2019, 5:15pm EDT

AnotherMyHockeyRankingspolls release and another week with EHF Selects teams being well represented in the latest rankings! Eight teams were in the latest rankings released Wednesday and here’s a look at where they slotted in and what is upcoming:


U18 Tier 1 Elite


3.) Boston Jr Eagles (14-3-3 overall, 0-0-0-1 EHF Selects)

The Jr. Eagles take on the Top Gun/New England Fall Prep League 18U squad in a Saturday-Sunday home-and-home series beginning at the Top Gun’s home ICEnter in Salem, N.H., Saturday at 5:15 p.m. 


4.) Little Bruins (10-4-1 overall, 5-2-0-1 EHF Selects)

11.) Cape Cod Whalers (12-6-1 overall, 4-2-0-0 EHF Selects)

14.) GBL Bruins (10-4-2 overall, 2-2-0-2 EHF Selects)

The Little Bruins face No. 14 GBL Jr. Bruins on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Devine Rink in Dorchester. GBL defeated the Little Bruins on Sept. 14, so this could be anyone’s game - and it could play a big part in next week’s rankings. 

GBL comes right off its tangle with the Little Bruins to face the Whalers on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Foxboro Sports Center. 


13.) EMass Senators (8-5-1 overall, 2-4-0-1 EHF Selects)

The Senators are idle in league play this weekend, but will have league games against the Whalers and the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers next weekend at the Fall Beantown Classic in Marlborough, Mass. 


U16 Tier 1 Elite

14.) Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers (13-7-1 overall, 2-0-0-0 EHF Selects)

The Rangers - idle in league play this weekend - haven’t ventured into EHF Selects league play since the Tier 1 Labor Day Faceoff, but they will have their hands full against Top Gun/NEFPL and the Eastern Mass. Senators at the Fall Beantown Classic for their league games. 


20.) Boston Jr. Eagles (11-7-3 overall, 1-0-0-0 EHF Selects)

The Boston Jr. Eagles take on the Top Gun/NEFPL team in league play on Saturday at the Salem ICEnter at 6:55 p.m. 


U15 Tier 1 Elite

16.) Cape Cod Whalers (17-4-3 overall, 4-0-0-0 EHF Selects)

The Whalers will remain idle from league play until Nov. 2-3, when they close their EHF Selects season against the Islanders Hockey Club, Minuteman Flames and Bay State Breakers. The Massachusetts Hockey National-Bound State Championships are one week later in Marlborough. 


Other Notable Rankings For USPHL Teams


Tier-2, Tier-3 Juniors 

The Jersey Hitmen are No. 3 in Tier-2 hockey across America, standing at 11-0. The Junior Bruins are No. 8. 

The Hampton Roads Whalers and Boston Bandits Premier teams stand at fifth and seventh, respectively. 


Tier-1 18U, 16U, 15U

The Skipjacks Hockey Club 18U team moved up one spot from last week to 25th overall in the Tier-1 rankings. 

The New Jersey Rockets Premier team is No. 12 in the nation, with an 18-8-4 overall record. They return to league play this weekend against the Jersey Hitmen. 

Twin City Thunder ‘Pink The Rink’ For Weekend Games

By Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com 10/18/2019, 11:30am EDT

The Twin City Thunder NCDC and Premier teams will skate on pink ice throughout their NCDC and USPHL Premier games tonight, Friday, Oct. 18. 

The Thunder’s “Pink The Rink” promotion will take place during the doubleheader featuring the 6 p.m. NCDC game against the Boston Junior Bruins and the 8:30 USPHL Premier game against the Islanders Hockey Club. 

The games will act in tandem as a double fundraiser for two causes near and dear to the Thunder’s hearts. 

Local youth hockey coach Jesse Robitaille, of the Maine Gladiators, is currently fighting cancer. He will be honored at the game along with local Emergency Medical Technician Robin Wooster, who is battling breast cancer. Wooster will drop the ceremonial first puck for the NCDC game. 

Additionally, the Thunder players will wear special pink jerseys that will be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to both the Robitaille and Wooster families, along with $1 of each ticket sold for the games. 

Dan Kmiechick, of The Dan K Show, will be on the headset calling play-by-play for the two games, which will be broadcast on HockeyTV (USPHL.HockeyTV.com). 

Watch The Dan K Show’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exclusive features, including a photo gallery of the event. 

At 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 17, the Norway Savings Bank Arena staff began their work to “Pink The Rink.” It took roughly 90 minutes of painting, but overall, the process that included flooding and putting down new sheets took roughly 4-5 total hours. 

“We used 160 gallons of paint, but really that’s 160 gallons of water with about 16 total ounces of pink. It is a clear powder resin that gets added, and allows it to freeze nice and clear so all the lines and logos show through,” said Rory Mushlin, the Operations Manager and Certified Ice Technician for the City of Auburn, Maine. “The whole process was about 4-5 hours, and it will take another 4-5 hours on the back end after this weekend to put it back to a white sheet.”

USPHL Premier: North Region Players Of The Week

By USPHL Staff/USPHL.com 10/18/2019, 9:45am EDT

Congratulations to the Players Of The Week representing the USPHL Premier North Region, comprised of the New England, North East and Mid-Atlantic Divisions. 


Forward: Julien Rudolph, Skipjacks Hockey Club 

Rudolph (‘00/Alexandria, Va.) has begun his fourth USPHL season with a bang, posting four goals and four assists in his first two games this past weekend. Rudolph is a former Potomac Patriots and Skipjacks Midget player, and he made his Premier debut on Oct. 11, posting a goal and four assists. He had a hat trick on Sunday, and with his two shorthanded goals scored this weekend, he leads the league as just one of six players to score a pair of SHG’s so far. 


Defense: Shane Miller, Rockets Hockey Club 

Miller (‘00/Succasunna, N.J.) more than tripled his prior points output from earlier in the season. He carried two September points into October, and then broke out at the Cyclones Columbus Day Showcase, scoring a goal and four assists in four games to give him seven points. Miller, a former Rockets 18U player, leads the Rockets in overall ice time, and also in blocked shots (13). 


Goaltender: Aaron Mercer, Boston Bandits

Mercer (‘01/Corner Brook, Nfld.) is now in his third season as a Bandit going back to a 16U season in 2017-18. This past weekend, he registered his first shutout of the season, making 29 saves on a high-powered New York Aviators offense during the Cyclones Columbus Day Showcase. He also stopped 36 of 37 shots against the Rockets Hockey Club for a 2-0 weekend.

The weekend performance lifted Mercer to a 3-1 record, and a third-ranking .956 save percentage. He’s also ninth in goals against average at 1.50. 

USPHL Premier Midwest Region: Players Of The Week

By USPHL Staff/USPHL.com 10/17/2019, 9:30pm EDT

Forward: Tie

Jake Freise, Steele County Blades

Freise (‘99/Evanston, Ill.) put together a five point game (three goals, two assists) against Wisconsin Rapids on Sunday. That game, he scored the game-winner on a power play and he also had a short-handed goal. With his ninth point on the season on his fifth point, he already eclipsed his 2018-19 points total (eight). 


Breydon Hemminger, Chicago Cougars

The third-year Cougar and returning All-Star forward has long since passed the 100-point career mark and currently stands with 22 points on the season through 12 games. Overall, Hemminger (‘99/St. Charles, Ill.) has 112 career points in 96 regular season games, good for a career 1.17 points per game average. 

At the USPHL Midwest Showcase in Fraser, Mich., Hemminger was on fire all weekend, scoring six goals and five assists against strong Great Lakes Division teams. 


Defense: Nick Librizzi, Rum River Mallards

The Mallards currently stand with a 1.000 winning percentage at 5-0, falling just one game behind the 6-0 Islanders Hockey Club for the best start to the season in the USPHL Premier. 

Librizzi (‘00/Raleigh, N.C.) - a three-year USPHL veteran - picked up one goal and three assists in the Mallards’ Friday game against the Dells Ducks, and then added two more assists on Saturday in a weekend sweep. 

“Along with his six points, he was key on our penalty kill, blocking shots on our many kills,” said Head Coach Jimmy Jensen. 


Goaltender: Mason Snyder, Toledo Cherokee 

Snyder (‘00/Sylvania, Ohio) made two appearances at the USPHL Midwest Showcase in Detroit, earning one 32-save shutout against the Metro Jets Development Program (MJDP), and he also stopped 17 of 18 in a Saturday win against the Decatur Blaze. That equals one goal against on 50 shots. 

“Mason has been very good in goal for us this season,” said Head Coach Kenny Miller. “As a second-year player, he is really finding his game and it shows in his win-loss record [5-1-0-0].”

Snyder is third in the USPHL Premier with a .945 save percentage, among goalies who have played at least four games this season.

USPHL Premier South Region: Players Of The Week

By USPHL Staff/USPHL.com 10/17/2019, 7:00pm EDT

Week of Oct. 17


Congratulations to this week’s USPHL Premier South Region Players Of The Week, representing the Florida and Southeast Divisions. 


Forward: Kyle Watson, Hampton Roads Whalers 

Watson’s four-goal, two-assist effort on Sunday against Richmond - including a natural hat trick in the third period - puts him at the top of the South Region for scoring. He currently has nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points through 10 games. 

Watson (‘00/Sheffield, UK) has scored all of his goals from the high-traffic areas below the tops of the faceoff circles. He has a 21.4 shooting percentage and leads all Whalers forwards in total time on ice (241:53).


Defenseman: Egor Nosov, Florida Eels 

Nosov (‘99/St. Petersburg, Russia) is in his second season in the USPHL Premier and continues to progress, helping the Eels to a 10-2-0-0 record and only a 2.34 goals against average as a team. 

Nosov registered a goal and three assists during the Eels’ weekend sweep of the Jr. Blades. He now has four goals and 12 points through 12 games. Nosov is on a run of nine points through his last five games.

Defensively, he averages just over 14 takeaways per game, with more than 10 per game occurring in the Eels’ defensive zone. Nosov also leads his team in overall, shorthanded and power play time on ice.


Goaltender: Nathan Gauthier, Atlanta MadHatters

Gauthier, who only recently joined the MadHatters after playing for the former Atlanta Jr. Kings last season, won his first two games of the season over the Oct. 12-13 weekend. The MadHatters swept the Tampa Bay Juniors, and Gauthier (‘00/Laval, Que.) was at the helm of that effort, stopping 83 of 86 shots. He currently has a goals against average of 2.44 and a save percentage of .945. 

USPHL Elite: South Region Players Of The Week

By USPHL Staff/USPHL.com 10/17/2019, 4:45pm EDT

Congratulations to this trio of Players Of The Week from the Florida and Southeast Divisions of the USPHL Elite. 

Forward: Connor Fields, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes

It’s less than 10 days from now when the weekend series between the undefeated, 12-0 Jr. Hurricanes go up against the undefeated, 10-0 Charlotte Rush over Oct. 26-27. Both teams have gotten all of their wins in regulation, but that cannot be the case over that upcoming weekend.  

Fields (‘00/Raleigh, N.C.) was a big help to the Jr. Hurricanes when they defeated the Potomac Patriots this past weekend in a pair of games. After scoring a goal and an assist in Saturday’s big win, Fields was in on three of the five goals on Sunday, scoring a hat trick. The weekend performance gave him six of his current nine points on the season. 


Defense: Mikhail Melikov, Florida Eels

This ‘02 from Russia may be a defenseman, but one with an increasingly offensive edge. Melikov has scored eight goals this season, including three this past weekend. And that doesn’t count the shootout-winning goal he scored on Saturday against the Florida Jr. Blades. 

Overall, Melikov has registered 10 points through his first 10 games of the season, over which the Eels have gone 10-1-0-1. Thanks to the efforts of Melikov and his fellow blueliners, Eels goalies see a healthy average of 25 shots per game. 


Goaltender: Nick Bernstein, Richmond Generals 

The Generals enter this middle weekend of October on an eight-game winning streak, and Bernstein (‘01/Valley View, Ohio) gets credit for four of those, including two this past weekend against the Hampton Roads Whalers. He stopped 52 of 55 shots he faced over the weekend, and reigns as the Elite Division’s goaltending leader (with a minimum of four games played) in both goals against average (1.18) and save percentage (.958).