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Northern Cyclones, Springfield Pics Sweep Series, Advance To Elite National Championships

By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com, 02/29/20, 12:15AM EST

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The Northern Cyclones and Springfield Pics each closed out 2-0 series victories in the USPHL Elite Playoffs on Friday. Those wins qualify these two teams for the USPHL Elite National Championships to be held March 12-16 at Merrimack College in Andover, Mass. 

Full USPHL Elite Playoff Schedule With Summaries

The visiting New York Aviators also earned their first victory of the playoffs to put themselves in a position to also sweep and return - like the Cyclones - to the National Championships. 

The Cyclones needed a double-overtime goal in Thursday's Game 1 from John DiFilippo just to put themselves into a winning position on Friday.

The floodgates then burst open with a 9-2 victory on Friday to secure the win and the Nationals ticket for a Cyclones program that made the 2019 National Semifinals.  

The Pics, a nine-win team a year ago, improved more than three-fold to 30 regular season wins. On home ice, the Pics drew the Boston Bandits and let the offense run, as the team scored nine goals to the Bandits' two during the two-game sweep.

Connor O'Brien posted a 2-3-5 line and Aleksis Burkits had 3-1-4 for the two contests to lead the Pics. In net, Sam Zavelson stopped 75 of 77 shots in the series. 

The New York Aviators, powered by a two-goal game from Luke Zavov, held the host Rockets Hockey Club off the board until the 3:23 mark of the third. 

They get another shot at the Rockets on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.