Congratulations to our USPHL Midwest East Division All-Stars, with these six players representing the best of the division.
Jared Fisher, Fort Wayne Spacemen
2000/Fort Wayne, Ind. - 43-57-47-104-2.42
It may not have been the biggest point of the game, but when Jared Fisher grabbed the second assist on the first goal of the third period against the Midwest Blackbirds on Feb. 16, it was a huge personal moment.
Fisher, who hit the 100-point plateau with the assist and surpassed it with a goal for number 101 later in the period gave much of the credit for the amazing accomplishment to others around him.
“I have great teammates to be honest, and a great coaching staff,” said Fisher, who scored 104 total points on the season. “I had a good summer with my advisor, Anthony Matarazo out of New Jersey, a trainer. I give that a lot of credit for my production this year.”
Fisher became the all-time leader for single-season goal-and point-scoring with 57 goals and 104 points now standing as the record.
Jozef Martancik, Chicago Cougars
2000/Burbank, Ill. - 36-33-53-86-2.39
Martancik has blown past the Premier Division ever hoping to contain him. With a career average of 2.4 points per game in his last two seasons, Martancik continues to be on top of his game for a team that is consistently one of the top organizations in the 51-team league.
Any doubts about Martancik’s skill were erased when he jumped out to a 10-game point scoring streak from Sept. 14 to Nov. 1, where he racked up 25 points, keeping to the 24 points he posted in 10 games in 2018-19. Just to put a bow on the season, he scored 24 points in his last eight straight. There has never been an answer for Jozef Martancik in his two seasons.
In the end, Martancik worked his way - along with Fisher - into the top 10 all-time list for single season scoring. He just always gets into the right places - he led the Cougars with 151 scoring chances and 177 shots on goal - and he loves to go after the puck, as his team-leading 488 puck challenges will attest.
Breydon Hemminger, Chicago Cougars
1999/St. Charles, Mo. - 42-41-34-75-1.79
These Chicago Cougars sure are history buff. While there is of course plenty of history in and around the Midwestern hub, it’s the work that Hemminger has done on the ice in the last three years that’ll likely keep his name high up on the all-time Premier leaderboard for many years.
Hemminger first joined in 2017-18, and as he is now moving on, he stands third all-time in his career behind the Decatur Blaze’s T.J. Dougan (184 points) and the New York Aviators’ Filimon Ledenkov (180 points).
Hemminger’s 165 points - alongside those other two who were also still playing this year - cement him as one of the USPHL’s all-time greatest, along with helping the Cougars win three straight Midwest East Division championships during his time there.
Hemminger seemed to live on the ice, leading his team by miles in ice time (837:17). He absolutely has defined what it means to be a Chicago Cougar - and a USPHL Premier institution.
Jake Aslanian, Metro Jets Development Program
2000/Trenton, Mich. - 39-3-18-21-0.54
The Metro Jets organization is strong enough that it can field not just one, but two teams that finished above .500 in a tough USPHL Premier Division. The MJDP program was able to manage a third-place finish in its first season in the Midwest East, just below longtime leaders the Chicago Cougars and the runner-up Decatur Blaze.
Aslanian actually led the way in shots on goal, with 135, and he also led the Development Program team in power play time on ice (127:25), so it comes as no surprise that he finished in a tie for the lead in power play points (seven).
Sam Mudd, Chicago Cougars
1999/St. Louis, Mo. - 12-4-23-27-2.25
It speaks volumes that Mudd was selected as an All-Star after playing only 12 games. Mudd finally seemed to find a home after working his way through other leagues that could not deliver on the developmental velocity of the USPHL Premier and one of its foremost organizations, the Chicago Cougars.
Mudd joined the Cougars in January, playing his first game on Jan. 10. He earned two assists in that first game, and then scored in every single one of his remaining 11 contests as well. He had seven multi-point outings, including a stretch of games between Jan. 24 and Feb. 1 where he scored four points in three out of four games. From the start, he became a leader in shifts per game at 21, along with his most frequent defensive partner, Spencer Harvey, and he also led in takeaways per game (12.9).
Alex Shaults, Chicago Cougars
2002/Villa Park, Ill. - 18-14-3-0-1-2.04-.929
Shaults made the daily trip about 28 miles from his home in Villa Park to the Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee, and every time he turned the key was worth it, both for him and his Cougars team.
A former Team Illinois player, Shaults was one of the youngest starting goalies in the USPHL coming out of 18U last season. After learning the ropes in the league, he would eventually put together a run of 9-1 from Nov. 22 to the end of the season. One of his early season challenges was shutting down a Fort Wayne Spacemen team that featured the USPHL Premier’s first 100-point scorer in the league’s history. Done and done, and his first shutout of 50 saves in his second career game. Shaults finished tied for sixth in save percentage and 10th in goals against average.