This past weekend was a light one for the USPHL Premier League, but all four regions saw games played.
Each Division – Florida and Southeast, saw a single two-game meeting, but it brought together some longtime rivals.
In the Florida Division, the Florida Junior Blades and Florida Eels continued their early season battles – meeting for the fourth and fifth times this season.
The Eels added two more wins to their total but they didn’t come easy, with third period rallies lifting the team to a 4-2 win at the Hertz Arena in Estero Friday and then a 2-1 margin on home ice at the Fort Myers Skatium Saturday.
Gage Dill (‘01/Fort Myers, Fla.) scored both the tying and game winning goal Friday night for the Eels for a come from behind win and on Saturday, Cade Swygert (‘00/Summerville, S.C.) notched the game winner with 94 seconds to play, the second of two Eels goals in the final 4:13. Alexandre Caron (‘01/Ste-Victoir-de-Sorel, Que.) turned aside 27 of 28 shots he faced to pick up the win.
In Charlotte, the Richmond Generals snapped a season opening four-game winning streak for the Rush with a 4-2-win Saturday but the Rush rallied back with a 7-0 margin on Sunday.
Adam Krofchalk (‘00/Midlothian, Va.) scored two including the game-winner and set up another pair for the Gens while Dylan Sheets (‘00/Louisville, Colo.) stopped 46 shots to preserve the win.
The following day Shane Hemmer (‘00/Chicago, Ill.) scored three goals, Alex Davis (‘00/Broken Arrow, Okla.) notching the game winner and David Battisti (‘01/Victor, N.Y.) turned aside 36 shots for his third shutout in four starts while the team collected its fourth goose egg in six games.
The busiest of the four Regions, the Midwest saw all three divisions in play.
Great Lakes: In the Great Lakes Division, the three undefeated teams stayed unbeaten, The Toledo Cherokee winning both ends of a home and home set with the Lake Erie Bighorns, 4-2 Friday on the road and 6-1 Saturday at home; the Pittsburgh Vengeance also split a home and home, downing the Columbus Mavericks 7-4 at home Friday and 2-0 Saturday in Columbus. The Jets played just once, traveling to Wooster and grabbing a 3-2 edge against the host Oilers.
MHC also played once, falling 4-0 to MJDP at Fraser Hockeyland Thursday night.
Ondrej Dupal (‘01/Liberec, Czech Republic scored twice including the game-winner with 3:21 to play Friday. On Saturday Bailey Byrd (‘01/Wyandotte, Mich.) notched three to lead the Cherokee including the game winner in the second period.
The Vengeance got two from Nick Tessier (‘02/Beaver Falls, Penn.) Friday night and the game winner came from Tyler Howcraft (‘02/Imperial, Penn.), breaking a 4-4 deadlock with just under eight minutes to play.
Braydin Lewis (‘03/Fort Wayne, Ind.) scored the game-winner for the Jets while Luke Bell (‘01/Strongsville, Ohio) took the defeat despite 46 saves in goal for the Oilers.
In the Thursday night game, Patrick Hays (‘01/Centerville, Ohio) fired a pair and Daniel Miscavish (‘01/Macomb, Mich.) collected the shutout in goal for MJDP.
Other Midwest East Division action saw the Cougars taking a pair on the road against the Motor City Hockey Club.
Kevin Johnston (‘01/Mahwah, N.J.) paced the Cougars with four goals and a helper in Friday’s big win, Michael Lenhart (‘01/Chittenango, N.Y.) grabbing his second shutout win of the young season with 19 saves. The following night Brendan Miranda (‘03/Romeoville, Ill.) scored twice while Motor City goaltender, Ian Morton (‘01/Livonia, Mich.) turned in an awesome 65-save effort.
The Riverkings kicked off their home schedule with a 7-4 win against the Rochester Vipers on Friday night at added a more lopsided result the following night. On Friday, Logan Harris (‘00/Lafayette, Colo) paced the Riverkings with three goals and an assist, Grant Newcomer (‘01/McFarland, Wis.) firing the game winner in the middle period.
In the other game, Newcomer exploded for two more goals and six set ups with Luke Hartge (‘00/Winfield, Ill.) adding a hat trick.
Other Saturday night games for the Midwest-West saw the Hudson Havoc doubling the Minnesota Mullets in its first home test while the Minnesota Blue Ox downed the Rum River Mallards 6-1 on home ice.
Brendan Walk (‘01/Clarkston, Mich.) fired three goals including the game winner in the second period and Cam Milewski (‘02/Mission Viejo, Calif.) turned aside 40 shots to grab the win in goal.
The Blue Ox were led by Jake McAlpine (‘02/Shoreview, Minn.) with a pair of goals and Mike Clough (‘01/Andover, Minn.) fired the game winner in the second period while Vinny Castelletti (‘02/Atlanta, Ga.) picked up a 32-save win in goal.
The Islanders Hockey Club grabbed an 8-2 win against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs at Tri-Town Ice Arena.
The Islanders had eight different goal scorers and Den Hahn (‘01/Lancaster, N.Y.) stopped 24 shots to pick up the win in goal.
The Rockets Hockey Club went 2-1 overall over the weekend, starting with a decisive win over the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders. Former Rockets 18U player Tucker Forte (‘01/Pipersville, Pa.) led offensively with a 1-4-5 line.
The Elmira Jr. Enforcers came up with a 3-3 tie in their first ever game, with the Jersey Hitmen. Pavel Serhiayenka (‘03/Furlong, Pa.) scored the first-ever Jr. Enforcers goal. In another meeting a few days later with the Hitmen, Jersey won 4-1. Third-year Hitman Johnny LaMacchia (‘00/Glen Rock, N.J.) led the way with a goal and an assist.
Devante Dixon (‘00/Denver, Colo.) led the Philadelphia Hockey Club in a 6-2 victory over the Buffalo Thunder. He posted two goals and an assist.
Joe Hughes (‘01/Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.) posted a 4-0 shutout against Connecticut in his first USPHL Premier game of this year, helping the Rockets go 3-1 overall so far.
Second-year Rocket Frankie Fragomeni (‘00/Staten Island, N.Y.) scored two goals for the Rockets in their 4-1 win against the New York Aviators.
The Boston Junior Bruins started their run in New Jersey with a 4-0 win over the Aviators, the shutout being picked up by Max Macchioni (‘01/North Kingstown, R.I.). They also earned a 5-0 shutout of the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, with Layne Browning (‘03/North Dartmouth, Mass.) making 17 saves for the blanking there. The Junior Bruins defeated the Rockets, 4-2, with Joey Wandrisco (‘02/Bethel Park, Pa.) scored a goal and assisted on the game-winner by Michael Bievenue (‘02/Slingerlands, N.Y.)
The Connecticut Jr. Rangers got two goals from Loke Beckman (‘01/Sweden) to defeat the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, 4-2. The Skipjacks Hockey Club got a game-winner from Tim Rooney (‘01/Whitefish Bay, Wis.) to defeat the Buffalo Thunder. The New York Aviators’ win in New Jersey came in large part due to a four-point game from Ross Jaldung (‘01/Sweden), helping them defeat Connecticut, 5-3.
The Mountain Division wrapped up another weekend as the Pueblo Bulls gave the rough introduction to the Utah Outliers to league play, taking all three in a weekend set at Pueblo Ice Arena.
The only other game in the Division saw the Ogden Mustangs capturing a 5-2 win at Peaks Ice Arena in the home and season opener for the Provo Riverblades.
Wyatt Andres (‘00/Brainerd, MInn.) notched the overtime game winner in a 3-2 win Friday for the Bulls and Brigham Neuhold (‘00/Edmond, Okla.) gave the Bulls its first and only lead 3-2 in the middle period of a 5-3 win Saturday.
In the finale, Connor Williams (‘01/South Lyons, Mich.) broke a 2-2 draw with the game winner with 8:54 to play in the contest.
Michael Heller (‘01/Mohrsville, Penn.) scored a pair, including the second period game winner for the Mustangs in its win at Provo Saturday.
The USPHL Elite League saw just a pair of two-game sets this past weekend in the South Region.
At Xtreme Ice near Charlotte, the visiting Richmond Generals and host Charlotte Rush traded one-goal decisions, the Rush capturing a 5-4 win on Saturday before the Gens returned the favor with a 6-5 margin in shootout Sunday.
On Saturday, James Tilley (‘01/Victor, N.Y.) scored the game winner in a back and forth contest with just under nine minutes to play for the Rush.
On Sunday, Jackson Good (‘02/Rockville, Md.) pulled the Gens even and forced overtime with his goal 5:37 from the buzzer and teams ultimately went to shootout, the visitors taking the win with a 3-2 edge in goals when Kameron Williams (‘02/Clarks Summit, Penn.) scored in the seventh round. Good and Rob Simmons (‘01/Richmond, Va.) had the other Generals’ markers, Ivan Korcak (‘00/Zilina, Slovakia) and Jenson Lopez (‘02/Franklin, Tenn.) responding for the Rush.
Meanwhile, in the Florida Division, the Florida Eels continued its string of wins against the Florida Junior Blades, taking both ends of a home-and-home set, 7-2 at Estero on Thursday night and 4-2 on home ice at the Fort Myers Skatium Saturday.
Kaleb Harrop (‘01/St. Louis, Mo.) scored four and set up another to lead the way on Thursday, Matthew Clift (‘01/Broomfield, Colo.) fired the game winner in the second period.
In the Saturday, the Eels grabbed control with three unanswered second period markers, including the game winner, one of two in the game for Vincent Cartier (‘04/St-Germain-de-Graham, Que.)
The Rockets Hockey Club came out of the weekend with a 2-1 record, winning against the Jersey Shore Whalers (8-2) and taking a 5-3 loss to the Junior Bruins. The Rockets’ Marco Taffo (‘03/Staten Island, N.Y.) posted a 2-2-4 line to lead the charge against the Whalers.
The Rockets shutout the Aviators, 4-0, with Aidan Schaefer (‘02/Montgomery, N.J.) and Nate Joglekar (‘03/Warren, N.J.) splitting the 13-save shutout. Jason Lastra (‘00/Rutherford, N.J.) scored two goals.
The Junior Bruins left with a 3-0-1 record, including that win over the Rockets, keyed by a hat trick from Charles Yang (‘03/Brookline, Mass.). They also defeated the New York Aviators, with Caleb Amidon (‘02/Pepperell, Mass.) scoring four goals in the 8-1 win. The Junior Bruins’ ‘02 forward Charlie Chinian posted two goals including the GWG in a 3-1 defeat of the Jersey Hitmen.
Their only defeat was at the hands of the Jersey Shore Whalers in a 4-3 overtime game.
The Whalers’ third-year USPHL veteran Ralph Triboletti (‘01/Somers Point, N.J.) scored the OT game-winner and also had one assist. Gage Grist (‘00/Linwood, N.J.) scored the first goal and assisted on Triboletti’s regulation game-winner in the Whalers’ earlier 4-2 win over the Aviators.
The Hitmen and Aviators tied 3-3, with former Hitmen 15U player Oscar Rosen (‘04/Montclair, N.J.) scoring a temporary go-ahead goal, less than a minute before the Aviators’ former 16U player Bryan Kovyazin (‘01/Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored the game-tying goal.
The Hitmen’s Salvatore Benvenuto (‘02/Toms River, N.J.) shut out the Jersey Shore Whalers, 5-0, making 24 saves. He had offensive help from Angelo DePinto (‘03/Florham Park, N.J.) with two goals and Rosen had three helpers.