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Coyle, Labanc Lead List of Alums Headed for NHL Conference Finals

By Matthew LaRochelle / USPHL.com, 05/09/19, 6:00PM EDT

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The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, and over 20 alumni from the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), Eastern Hockey Federation (EHF), and their member organizations are battling it out for NHL supremacy. To see the full listing of alumni, CLICK HERE


And then there were four.

With the Stanley Cup Finals quickly approaching, the Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks, and St. Louis Blues are all looking to advance one more time for a shot at hockey's most coveted prize.

Among the four teams are seven alumni of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) and Eastern Hockey Federation (EHF), most of whom have made an impact this postseason.

For Boston, East Weymouth, MA native Charlie Coyle (South Shore Kings / Boston Jr. Terriers) has been, at times, the offensive spark that has pushed the Bruins past recent struggles. With eight points in 13 games, this has been Coyle's most productive postseason in his seven he has played in the NHL. Of his five goals, none were more important than the game-tying and game-winning tallies in Game 1 of the second round against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Another important piece for the Bruins has been their fourth line, featuring a pair of former South Shore Kings, Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner. Their combination of speed and toughness was critical throughout the Bruins' first-round series vs Toronto.

On Defense, former Jersey Hitmen Connor Clifton has proven to be a solid piece of the Bruins' secondary, maintaining a plus-1 rating throughout the postseason.  Now with one of their top d-men suspended for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, Clifton will get the nod for the top pair with Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.

Another Hitmen Alumni will be appearing in the Eastern Conference Final - Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce. The 24-year-old has become a pivotal player in a storm surge that has upset the Washington Capitals in the first round, and swept the New York Islanders in round two. His plus-eight rating is tied for the team lead in plus-minus, and ranks second in the league behind Chara (+9). Now, he looks to help Carolina advance to the Cup Final in their first playoff appearance in a decade.

Over in the Western Conference Final, the alum to watch will be San Jose forward, and former New Jersey Rocket, Kevin Labanc. The Brooklyn, NY native has seen his fair share of clutch moments throughout the playoffs, with none more important than his record-setting performance in Game 7 of the first round to help the Sharks knock off the Vegas Golden Knights. Now, after going the distance again to eliminate the Colorado Avalanche, Labanc and the Sharks vie for a return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in just four seasons (2016).


Eastern Conference Final - Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins
 

ALUMNI STATISTICS - CAROLINA

Brett Pesce (Jersey Hitmen) - 11 GP | 0G | 6A | 6P | 8 | 13 SOG
Trevor van Riemsdyk (NH Jr. Monarchs) - 9 GP | 0G | 0A | 0P | 0 | 11 SOG

 

ALUMNI STATISTICS - BOSTON

Noel Acciari (South Shore Kings) - 11 GP | 1G | 1A | 2P | +/- 0  | 10 SOG
Connor Clifton
(Jersey Hitmen) - 8 GP | 0G | 2A | 2P | 1 | 4 SOG
Charlie Coyle
(South Shore Kings/Boston Jr. Terriers) - 13 GP | 5G | 3A | 8P | 3 | 24 SOG
Chris Wagner
(South Shore Kings) - 9 GP | 0G | 0A | 0P | -4 | 10 SOG


Western Conference Final - St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks


ALUMNI STATISTICS - ST. LOUIS

Zach Sanford (Islanders H.C.) - 3 GP | 0G | 0A | 0P | -1 | 0 SOG
 

ALUMNI STATISTICS - SAN JOSE

Kevin Labanc (N.J. Rockets)- 14 GP | 3G | 3A | 6P | -3 | 24 SOG