With the official USPHL Premier faceoff a week ago, most of the rest of the league will jump into the fray on a long and busy weekend.
Early start out East
Getting the weekend off to quick start were the Boston Junior Bruins who played host to the South Shore Kings Thursday at Tri-Town Ice Arena for a 3-1 victory in the New England Division opener. The only other division contest over the course of a week will be a Wednesday meeting between the Twin City Thunder and Bridgewater Jr. Bandits on Wednesday in Maine at 7 p.m.
Midwest drops the puck
Three Midwest Divisions will officially get their respective seasons underway Friday as well, in two time zones.
The Columbus Mavericks will kick off Great Lakes Division play against the Toledo Cherokee at OhioHealth Chiller North at 7:30 EST Friday, playing a return match at Team Toledo IceHouse Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
The Midwest East will start at 8 p.m. EST Friday with MJDP visiting Fort Wayne’s SportONE/Parkview Icehouse. That is the USPHL Premier Free Game Of The Week on HockeyTV.com.
The Dells Ducks from the Midwest West will begin a crossover weekend with games at 7 p.m. CST, both Friday and Saturday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. Other West Division matches on Friday will see the Rum River Mallards visiting Rochester’s Graham Arena Complex also at 7 p.m. to face the host Vipers. Five minutes later, the Minnesota Moose are scheduled to start their home season at Fogerty Ice House against the rival Minnesota Mullets.
Saturday, the Blue Ox will be in Rochester for a 7 p.m. start, the Mallards at Fogerty to play the Moose at 7:05.
The lone Sunday game will see a Great Lakes match-up, the Wooster Oilers returning to USPHL play for the first time in two years with a 3:30 p.m. EST game at Alice Noble Ice Arena against the Lake Erie Bighorns.
Juniors put it on the line
After sweeping a pair last weekend, the Tampa Bay Juniors will stay on home ice, entertaining the Charleston Colonials at 8:30 p.m. EST at Advent Health Center Ice, wrapping up a two-game weekend at 2:15 p.m. Saturday. Meanwhile, the Florida Eels will travel to Estero’s Hertz Arena for matches Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3:15 p.m.
After a pair of close wins against the Hampton Roads Whalers on their opening weekend, the Carolina Junior Hurricanes will cross division lines, traveling to Atlanta to face the host Mad Hatters at Atlanta Ice House Saturday at 7:45 p.m. and Sunday at 12:15 p.m.
Other Southeast Division action sees the Richmond Generals entering the fray with a pair of games against the already 2-0 Charlotte Rush at Xtreme Ice, Saturday at 7:40 p.m. and Sunday at noon.
A pair of teams looking to rebound from tough starts will see the Potomac Patriots hosting the Hampton Roads Whalers at 9:05 Saturday night with a second match at the same rink at 11:45 a.m. Sunday.
Can Eagles stay perfect?
After a three-game sweep on home ice the previous week, the Northern Colorado Eagles will make the trek to Pueblo Ice Arena for three more as a guest against the Pueblo Bulls, Friday, and Saturday at 7 p.m. MST, wrapping it up at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Northern half of the USPHL Elite League will take the ice for the first time this weekend while the South has a week under their bests.
Midweek games for Islanders
The North Division kicked things off early as the Islanders Hockey Club hosted the Bridgewater Bandits on Wednesday at Merrimack College Gallant Arena, winning 4-2, and they come back for another contest Friday at 2:30 p.m. EST, this time against the Junior Bruins with a return match between the two at New England Sports Center, hosted by the Bruins on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Mid-Atlantic Division will also kick off as the Rockets Hockey Club hosts the Jersey Shore Whalers in games Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Bridgewater Sports Arena.
Generals hit the ice
The defending league champion Richmond Generals will make their season debut in the Southeast Division with a pair of games against the 2-0 Charlotte Rush, starting at 5 p.m. Saturday and 9:20 a.m. Sunday.
Other Southeast Division play will see the Hampton Roads Whalers in Potomac for a pair against the host Patriots Saturday at 6:35 p.m. and Sunday at 9:15 a.m at Prince William Ice Center.
The weekend’s crossover battle will see a pair of 1-1 teams in action as the Carolina Junior Hurricanes visit the Atlanta Mad Hatters at Atlanta Ice House Saturday at 4:45 p.m. at Sunday at 9:15 p.m.
The Florida Division will kick off the weekend with a pair of Friday games, the Florida Eels visiting the Florida Junior Blades at the Hertz Arena in Estero at 5 p.m. while the Charleston Colonials visit the Tampa Bay Juniors at Advent Heath Center Ice at 5:45 p.m.
Both series wrap up Saturday with the Juniors hosting the Colonials at 11:30 a.m. and the Blades entertaining the Eels at 12:15 p.m.