Tommaso Alvera, South Shore Kings
The Kings have been on an absolute tear, going 5-0 from the start of 2020, including wins over the top two teams in the league, the Jersey Hitmen and, most recently (Jan. 15), the Junior Bruins.
Alvera, an NCDC All-Star set for Monday’s All-Star Game, posted three goals and three assists in three games, including the game-winning goal in a 3-1 victory over Rochester on Jan. 11.
The ‘99 from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy (and a two-time Team Italy competitor in international competition) scored more points between Jan. 11 and 15 than he had between Nov. 24 and Jan. 6. It’s the same story for many of the other Kings, who have found another gear with the new year and decade.
Mickey Burns, Jersey Hitmen
A year-round resident of these parts, and the current heavy favorite for Player Of The Year, posted three goals and three assists in two wins over the Utica Jr. Comets. He has three points in each of his last three games, and he is on a - wait for it - 19-game point streak. The 2000-born Wayne, N.J. product and University of Vermont recruit has exactly 38 points during that active streak. That helped propel him into the scoring lead in December, where he has 54 points in 34 games.
Defense: Troy Daniels, Connecticut Jr. Rangers
Daniels (‘99/Suffern, N.Y.) has made a successful return to the USPHL after playing in 2015-16 with the Hitmen 16U team. Now with the Rangers’ NCDC team, Daniels has played in 32 of the Rangers’ 33 games, and he’s posted seven points. Three of those came not just in one game against the Twin City Thunder on Sunday (a 6-4 road win), but all in the first period.
The Rangers built a strong first period lead and then had to fight off a furious comeback attempt by the Thunder to gain the W, important for a team trying to gain a home ice berth in the playoffs.
Daniels has moved up the Rangers’ depth chart, playing more than 20 minutes per game in each of his 2020 games so far. He is second on the team in plus/minus (+7). He is third in shorthanded time on ice (75:37 total) and he is second in puck challenges won (316).
Goaltender: Evan Szary, South Shore Kings
For a Kings team trying to get into the playoff conversation, they need a goaltender that can put them on their back. Szary, a former Hitmen goalie, has been there, done that and is doing it again.
In the three games between the Monarchs and Junior Bruins, Szary stopped a total of 67 out of 72 shots against for a .931 mark, including 32 of 33 against Rochester. The 2000-born product of Nashville, Tenn., is on a four-game winning streak, including the wins against the Junior Bruins and Hitmen.
Overall, Szary has improved to 7-6-0-1 record and he holds a .924 save percentage on the season, and a two-year NCDC mark of .919.