The five-day USPHL Premier Islanders Hockey Club Showcase brought 39 teams from seven of the eight USPHL Premier Divisions together for a weekend of big time crossover competition.
Of the 39, only three went home with four victories and it was a case of the rich getting richer as the undefeated host squad – Islanders Hockey Club boosted its season-opening winning streak to 16 straight contests and the Utica Jr. Comets widened their gap on the Northeast Division pack.
The other undefeated team, the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, needed those wins in a weekend that saw the Southeast Division flex its muscles once again. This division was so dominant on the weekend that the Charlotte Rush dropped just one of four games and ended up losing ground on the other four in their division.
Here’s a quick look at the 21 teams that posted at least a .500 record on the weekend, starting with the ones that found perfection.
Islanders HC (4-0)
Four of the seven teams in the New England Division posted winning records on the weekend, but they all lost ground to the Islanders.
On Thursday, the Islanders kicked off the tournament with a 6-2 win against the P.A.L Islanders. Brett Tibbs (‘99/Mt. Airy, Md.) scored twice for the Islanders Hockey Club and Dino Mukovoz (‘00/Vilnius, Lithuania) nailed the game winner.
The Islanders doubled up on the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings 4-2. Tibbs fired the game winner for the Isles with 4:58 to play in the contest.
The Isles earned a lopsided win against the Midwest Blackbirds later on Friday. Liam Lyons (‘99/Gloucester, Mass.) scored three times to pace the Isles including the game winner and Tibbs added two more to a great weekend total.
The Potomac Patriots gave the Isles a tough test in their final game on Sunday, before Lyons potted the winner 68 seconds into overtime for the Isles.
Utica Jr. Comets (4-0)
The Comets turned in an amazing weekend allowing just one goal in four contests while scoring 25.
In its opener, the Comets shutout the Connecticut Nighthawks 7-0 on Thursday with two goals from Anthony Morin (‘00/Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) including the game-winner and perfect goaltending from Henry Bradford (‘01/Arlington, Texas).
The Comets added two more on Friday, a decisive shutout against the Motor City Hockey Club and a 3-1 edge against Philadelphia HC.
Against Motor City, Mathew Peterson (‘00/Silver Spring, Md.) picked up the shutout win in goal while Dohnovan Jacobson (‘00/Riverton, Utah); Logan Sutton (‘00/Huntington Beach, Calif) and Tyler Morin (‘00/Charleston, S.C.) scored twice apiece, Morin with the game winner.
Tyler Knicley (‘99/Fairport, N.Y.) broke a 1-1 deadlock in the eighth minute of the third period, leading the Jr. Comets to its third win of the weekend while Philadelphia was playing its Showcase opening match.
The other two Utica goals came from Morin.
Finally, on Saturday, the Comets shutout Tampa Bay Juniors with a third goaltender; Clarke Tripp (‘01/Cazenovia, N.Y.) grabbing a shutout and Anthony Morin notching the game winning goal while John Gutt (‘01/Middletown, N.J.) scored a pair.
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes (4-0)
The Jr. Canes opened play with a pair of Friday shutouts, 6-0 against the Connecticut Nighthawks and 3-0 against the Northern Cyclones.
Against the Nighthawks Daniel Vecka (‘99/Karlov Vary, Czech Republic) picked up the shutout while Francis Young-Menard (‘99/St-Paul D’Abbotsford, Que.) fired a pair of goals, including the game-winner which was the lone first period tally.
Jack Perna (‘00/Sykesville, Md.) kept the clean crease against the Cyclones and Zac Horn (‘99/Morrisville, N.C.) scored the first and final goals for the Canes.
On Saturday, the Canes doubled up the Chicago Cougars 4-2, Parker Jones (‘99/Raleigh, N.C.) notching the game winner near the game’s halfway mark.
The Canes wrapped up the weekend sweep Sunday with another win against the Midwest-East opponent, defeating the Fort Wayne Spacemen 6-2. Jason Foltz (‘00/Alpharetta, Ga.) scored twice in that one and Jackson Collins (‘02/Wake Forest) snared the game winner.
Following is a Division by Division look at teams with records over .500.
Hampton Roads Whalers (3-0-1-0)
The Whalers came within an overtime goal of its second Showcase sweep of the season after winning its first three games.
On Saturday, the Whalers kicked it off with a 6-1 win against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers led by a three-goal game from Kyle Watson (‘00/Wakefield, England) including the game winner near the six-minute mark of the second period.
On Sunday, the Whalers grabbed a pair of shutout wins, 2-0 against the Jersey Hitmen as Greg Moon (99/Franklin, Mass.) stopped all 17 shots he faced.
Thomas McGuire (‘99/Massapequa, N.Y.) fired the game winner in a 5-0 winagainst the Junior Bruins thanks to another 17-save goose egg, this time by Dominic Rodrigue (‘00/Quebec City, Que.) and the winner fired by Hunter Pappas (‘00/Peyton, Colo.).
On Monday, Brady Mistler (‘99/Lake Stevens, Wash.) fired the team’s lone goal, tying it up in the middle period but the Cyclones spoiled perfection with an overtime game winner.
Richmond Generals (3-0-1-0)
The Generals started out with a 4-2 win against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings as Matt Wood (‘00/Garnet Valley, Penn.) tied things up at 2-2 in the second and followed that with the game winner 4:23 from the final buzzer.
The Generals played twice on Sunday, downing the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 4-1 as Ian Hoffman (‘99/Vancouver, Wash.) snapped a 1-1 draw and put the Gens in front to stay early in the middle period; then getting by the Jersey Hitmen 4-1, with the game winner provided by Brendan Meyer (‘99/Greeley, Colo.).
Like the Whalers, it was an overtime loss Monday that spoiled the weekend for the Generals as they fell 7-6 to the New York Aviators despite a three-goal game for Wood and a pair from Meyer.
Potomac Patriots (3-0-1-0)
The Patriots sit fifth in the Southeast Division but refuse to let the other four get too far away from them. The only thing that kept them from a 4-0 weekend was an overtime loss Sunday to the host and perfect Islanders (see above).
In its other games: the Patriots got by the Twin City Thunder 4-1 Saturday with two goals each for Daniils Berzins (‘01/Liepovja, Latvia) and Michael Kramer (‘01/Woodbridge, Va.), then downed the South Shore Kings 5-1 Sunday with five different goal scorers including Brian Kerrigan (‘00/Warrenton, Va.) with the game winner.
On Monday, the Patriots wrapped up its weekend with a 5-4 edge against the Junior Bruins thanks to an overtime goal from Dominykas Motiejunas (‘00/Vilnius, Lithuania).
Charlotte Rush (3-1)
The Rush started with a 5-1 win Thursday against the Boston Bandits. Matt Minerva (‘99/Commack, N.Y.) scored twice for the Rush in the second period, his first goal ultimately the game winner. Artem Mikhaylov (‘99/Moscow, Russia) added a goal and three assists.
On Friday, the Rush played twice, starting with a 6-1 win against the South Shore Kings, but then fell 1-0 to the Chicago Cougars later in the day.
Against the Kings, Ilya Grekovs (‘99/Lietaga, Latvia) and Jimmy O’Kane (‘99/Chicago, Ill.) scored twice each to pace the Rush, O’Kane firing the game winner late in the first period as the Rush jumped into a 3-0 cushion in the opening 20 minutes.
The Rush bounced back from its loss to the Cougars with a big win against the Connecticut Nighthawks, led by a pair of goals from Caden Halverson (‘99/Lewisville, Texas) and the game winner fired by Luke Dobles (‘00/Rochester, N.Y.).
New England Division
Along with the Islanders, the New England Division had four other teams posting at least two wins on the weekend.
New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (3-1)
The Monarchs went to extra time twice in its first three games but came away with victories both times.
On Thursday against the Florida Eels, Frank Anastasio (’99/North Babylon, N.Y.) scored all three regulation goals for the Monarchs and it was Balint Pakozdi (’99/Budapest, Hungary) with the lone goal of the shootout lifting them to the 4-3 win.
On Friday, they didn’t need overtime, but it was still close as Bobby Gram (‘01/Raleigh, N.C.) gave the Monarchs a 4-1 lead late in the middle period but the goal ultimately stood up as the game winner after a Tampa rally in the final period fell just a goal short.
On Saturday, the Monarchs went to overtime again, this time Frank Anastasio (99/North Babylon, N.Y.) stepping up with the game winner.
The Generals denied the Monarchs a perfect weekend though with its 4-1 win on Sunday.
Twin City Thunder (3-1)
The Thunder also started with three wins, starting with a 4-3 win against the Rochester Monarchs Thursday.
Josh Kego broke a 3-3 draw with the game winner for the Thunder 2:38 from the final buzzer in this one.
On Friday, an all-Thunder contest saw Twin City getting by Buffalo 5-3, Cam Grant (‘00/Topsham, Maine) scoring the game winner
Later in the day, Brendan Gasaway (‘01/Gardiner, Maine) stopped all 45 shots he faced in goal for the Thunder and Doug Wakelyn (‘00/Colorado Springs, Colo.) was matching him shot for shot in the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders’ cage until late in the second when Matt Poirier (‘01/Gardiner, Maine) finally opening the scoring a few minutes from the end of the second period as the Thunder went on to a 3-0 shutout win.
The Potomac Patriots stopped the Thunder with a 4-1 decision on Sunday.
Boston Bandits (2-1-1-0)
After dropping its first game to the Rush on Thursday, the Bandits bounced back with a 7-0 win against the Midwest Blackbirds Friday.
Austin Strom (‘01/Burlington, Ont.) provided the shutout goaltending and Ian Burgin (‘02/Mt. Stirling, Ohio) scored twice to pace the offense and Blake Bracco (‘01/Waterford, Va.) notched the game-winner in the game’s fourth minute.
On Sunday morning, the Bandits got shutout goaltending from Jared Labadie (‘00/Huntington Beach, Calif) and the game winner from Bracco halfway through the opening period in a 2-0 win against the Florida Jr. Blades.
Bandits got more shutout goaltending from Aaron Mercer (‘01/Cornerbrook, Nfld.) through regulation and three minutes of overtime before Charleston notched the only goal of the contest.
Junior Bruins (2-2)
The Junior Bruins won their first two, a 3-0 shutout win against the Atlanta MadHatters Thursday and a 6-2 decision against the Decatur Blaze Friday.
On Thursday, Scott Barnikow (‘00/Rockledge, Fla.) grabbed the shutout win in goal and Mike Macchioni (‘00/North Kingston, R.I.) scored the game winner in the fourth minute of the contest.
Five unanswered middle period goals made the difference Friday as a 1-1 tie turned into a 6-1 margin.
Gleb Kurichev (‘02/Magnitigorsk, Russia) scored twice for the Bruins and it was Artem Korolev (‘00/Moscow, Russia) with the game winner halfway through the second period.
The Bruins were shut out 5-0 by Hampton Roads Sunday and fell 5-4 to Potomac on Monday.
Four of the Mid-Atlantic teams finished with winning records, led by three wins each for the Skipjacks HC, New York Aviators and Rockets HC.
Skipjacks HC (3-1)
After dropping their first of two Friday games 5-2 to the Florida Eels, the Skipjacks picked up a 3-2 edge against the Fort Wayne Spacemen.
Christos Caminis (‘00/Morris Plains, N.J.) scored twice in just over two minutes turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead for the Skipjacks near the end of the second period against the Spacemen and that’s the way it ended.
There was a bigger comeback on Saturday as the Skips trailed the New York Aviators 4-1 halfway through the second and responded with four unanswered goals, including two more from Caminis and the game winner from Tibor Setteducati with 70 seconds to play.
Not as much drama was required in the finale Sunday as the Skipjacks grabbed a 5-1 win against the Buffalo Thunder with five different goal scorers including Jeff Gross (‘00/Hummelstown, Pa.).
New York Aviators (3-1)
After dropping the come from behind loss to the Skipjacks, the Aviators also responded with three straight wins.
On Sunday, the Aviators played twice, downing the Charleston Colonials 6-2 and the Northern Cyclones 4-3 in overtime.
Against the Colonials, the Aviators got goals from a half-dozen players including Josh Tomasi (‘02/Middleburg Heights, Ohio) who had them up 3-0 early in the second period.
Against the Cyclones, Noah Gold (‘99/Brooklyn, N.Y.) fired his third of the contest 95 seconds into overtime.
The Avs went to overtime again Monday,with Michael Mania (‘99/Bayville, N.J.) notching the winner in a 7-6 decision against the Richmond Generals as seven different players hit the mesh.
Rockets Hockey Club (3-1)
Defense was key for a Rockets team that allowed just four goals on the weekend, starting out with a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Juniors Friday.
Dave Tremblay (‘00/Sherbrooke, Que.) fired the game winner against the Juniors while Gabriel Pigeon (‘00/Montreal, Que.) stopped all but one of the 32 shots he faced in goal.
On Saturday, the Rockets suffered their only setback, a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Charleston Colonials, but rallied later in the day for a big shutout win against the Midwest Blackbirds.
Drake Voell (‘00/Leesburg, Va.) picked up the shutout in goal and the offense was led by Dillion Manchester (‘99/Naples, Fla.) and David Cicak (‘99/Cranford, N.J.) with two goals each.
Another decisive win on Saturday against the Motor City Hockey Club wrapped up the Showcase for the Rockets.
Manchester added another three goals and was matched by teammate Riley Johnson (‘00/Mechanicsburg, Penn.)
Philadelphia Hockey Club (2-2)
The Philly squad dropped its first two, 3-1 against the Jr. Comets Friday and 4-3 against the Florida Eels on Saturday morning before hitting the win column later Saturday with a 4-3 edge against the Florida Blades.
Gage Garcher (‘00/Colorado Springs, Colo.) put his team up 4-2 with 9:15 to play and that goal stood up as the game winner.
On Sunday, Philadelphia grabbed another 4-3 win, this time against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers. Kristers Klavins (‘01/Riga, Latvia) had Philly up 4-1 with his second of the contest late in the second period and that was the game winner.
Three Florida Division squads wrapped up winning weekends.
Atlanta Mad Hatters (3-1)
After dropping a 3-0 decision to the Junior Bruins on Thursday, the MadHatters wrapped up the weekend with three wins.
Two of them came Friday, starting with a 3-2 overtime decision against the Buffalo Thunder, Mitchell Koss (‘01/Acworth, Ga.) firing the overtime game winner.
The MadHatters grabbed their second win of the day with a big win against the Motor City Hockey Club and boosted their Showcase mark to 2-1 with a number of two-goal scorers, including Jakob Holley (‘02/Tulsa, Okla.) who notched the game winner.
On Saturday, the MadHatters wrapped it up, doubling the Fort Wayne Spacemen 4-2 with two goals from Dylan Florit (‘01/Orange County, Calif.), including the game winner.
Florida Eels (2-0-1-1)
The Eels wrapped up a six-point weekend without a regulation defeat.
The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs grabbed a 4-3 shootout win on Thursday, Jared Figueroa (‘99/Scotch Plains, N.J.) scoring twice in a losing effort.
The Eels bounced back with a 5-2 win against the Skipjacks Friday, led by Maksim Tereschenko (‘01/Russia) who scored twice, including the game winner in the second period.
Later Friday, the Connecticut Jr. Rangers got by the Eels 4-3 in overtime, but the Eels bounced back again on Saturday with a 4-3 win against Philadelphia Hockey Club.
Ilya Senik (‘00/Zaporozhye, Ukraine) scored twice for the Eels, including the game winner with exactly one minute to play.
Charleston Colonials (2-2)
The Colonials kicked off the weekend with a 2-1 edge against the Rockets Hockey Club with Nigel Morris (‘02/Charlottetown, P.E.I.) counting the game winner in the middle period on Saturday.
After falling 6-2 to the Aviators in its first of two on Sunday, the Colonials bounced back with a 1-0 overtime win against the Boston Bandits, Luke Macleod (‘00/Orchard Park, N.Y.) scoring the game’s only goal with two minutes to go in overtime and Peyton Tritz (‘00/Steamboat Springs, Colo.) stopping all 27 shots he faced in goal.
The Springfield Pics earned a 4-3 win against the Colonials on Monday.
Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings (2-2)
The Riverkings was the lone rep from the Midwest West Division at this event. The other eight will head east in early January for their Showcase event.
The Riverkings opened with a 3-2 edge against the Northern Cyclones on Thursday.
All but one goal, including the game winner from Haralds Jirgens (‘00/Riga, Latvia), came in the opening period.
On Friday, the Riverkings came up short in a 4-2 loss to the Islanders but rebounded with a 7-1 edge against the South Shore Kings.
The Riverkings trailed early but responded to take a 2-1 first period lead before piling on another five unanswered in the middle frame. Jered Stevenson (‘99/Stockton, Calif.) scored twice for the Riverkings and Cole Creger (‘00/Lafayette, Colo.) potted the game winner for the Riverkings.
On Saturday, the Richmond Generals doubled the Riverkings 4-2.
Chicago Cougars (2-2)
The Cougars were the lone squad from the Midwest East to post at least an even record, staring on Thursday with a 3-1 win against the South Shore Kings.
Jozef Martincik (‘00/Burbank, Ill.) opened and closed the scoring for the Cougars and Breydon Hemminger (‘99/Geneva, Ill.) added the game winner late in the first period giving the Midwest-East leaders a solid start to the weekend.
After a 4-2 setback against the P.A.L. Islanders early Friday, the Cougars came up with a huge 1-0 win against the Charlotte Rush.
Jozef Martincik (‘00/Burbank, Il.) scored the game’s only goal 7:42 into the contest and Ethan St. Pierre (‘00/Detroit, Mich.) collected the shutout win in goal for the Cougars in a defensive battle.
The Cougars ran into the Carolina Jr. Canes on Saturday, dropping a 4-2 decision to one of the weekend’s undefeateds.
Springfield Pics (3-1)
The Pics won three of four to post the only other winning record for the division aside of Utica, starting out with a 4-1 win against the Jersey Hitmen Saturday.
Julian Perino (00/Prospect, Conn.) scored three times for the Pics, including the game winner which as the lone goal of the middle period.
The Pics played twice on Sunday, starting with a 7-1 win against the Decatur Blaze, with two goals, including the game winner from Lukas Radina (‘99/Horazdovice, Czech Republic).
Later Sunday, the Pics fell 4-3 to the Florida Jr. Blades, but then rallied back Monday, wrapping up the weekend with a 4-3 edge against the Charleston Colonials.
Perino scored two more and it was Josh Bliss (‘99/West Charlton, N.Y.) with the game winner 3:22 into overtime.