New teams have been introduced each weekend for the past month and this coming weekend will see the USPHL make its biggest weekend splash of the season so far.
The Midwest will lead the way into a long weekend that will see the three divisions combine to play 21 games. The North will also be active on a weekend that started Wednesday with the first of a dozen weekend contests.
Four teams will be involved in three-game weekend sets in the Mountain Division and the South will see four different two-game weekends while the Richmond Generals engage in three games, against a pair of teams.
Spacemen – Cougars reengage
Among several big games this weekend for the Midwest Region will be a rematch of last season’s Midwest East semi-final series between the Chicago Cougars and Fort Wayne Spacemen.
The Cougars ultimately got the National Championship berth, but the Spacemen did not go down easy and they will be back in West Dundee for a pair against the Cougs Friday and Saturday night.
Other Midwest East contests will see the Midwest Blackbirds paying a visit to Decatur for Friday and Saturday. The Detroit Fighting Irish visit Fraser Hockeyland for a game Saturday night against MJDP who opened the weekend early with a shutout win against MHC.
The Cougars and Blaze will tangle in the lone Sunday contest at Decatur.
In the Great Lakes Division, Metro Jets will play a home-and-home set at Columbus Friday, then host at home against the Mavericks on Sunday. Toledo Cherokee will put its eight-game season opening streak on the line when it travels to Wooster for a pair against the host Oilers Friday and Saturday and a rare cross-region matchup will see the Elmira Enforcers from the Mid-Atlantic Division in Erie, Pa., to take on the Lake Erie Bighorns in a Friday-Saturday pair.
After opening the weekend with a Thursday loss to MJDP, MHC will travel to Pittsburgh for games on Saturday and Sunday.
In the Midwest West, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings will be in Coon Rapids for a pair against the Minnesota Blue Ox Friday and Saturday, marking a rematch of teams that frequently meet in the postseason. Also, the Hudson Havoc have some big home matches, taking on the Rum River Mallards Friday and Minnesota Moose on Saturday.
The Rochester Vipers will entertain the Minnesota Mullets Saturday, then travel to Wisconsin Dells for a Sunday night contest.
The third-place Pueblo Bulls (6-3) bring in the first-year Provo Riverblades for three games. Additionally, Northern Colorado is back in action after a few weekends, hitting the road to play the host Utah Outliers for three.
South Shore Kings travelled to Hudson, N.H., to face the Northern Cyclones beginning a stretch of 12 straight days with at least one North Region contest. They fell by a 2-1 score.
The Kings stayed on the road to face the Boston Advantage Thursday (3-1 loss) and returned home Friday to face the Twin City Thunder.
The Skipjacks Hockey Club will travel to Philadelphia for games Friday and Saturday and the Connecticut Junior Rangers will do the same with a pair on the road against the Jersey Hitmen. The Elmira Jr. Enforcers will travel to Erie, Pa., for a pair with the Bighorns on the same days and on Sunday, the Thunder, who opened with a game at Springfield Thursday, will wrap up a three game weekend, hosting the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
Three for Gens
The Richmond Generals will be the busiest team in the South Region, playing a home and home set with the Hampton Roads Whalers, at Chesapeake on Friday and back home in Richmond Saturday, before hitting the road for a weekend finale in Potomac against the Patriots Sunday.
Other Southeast Division play will see the Charlotte Rush visiting Carolina Jr. Hurricanes for a pair.
Florida Division play has the Atlanta Mad Hatters visiting the Florida Jr. Blades and the Tampa Bay Juniors on the road to face the Charleston Colonials in Saturday-Sunday encounters.
The USPHL Elite League North Divisions will be as busy as they can get this weekend with eight of the nine teams from the Mid-Atlantic and North Divisions involved in weekend sets.
Play begins with a single game Friday afternoon, the Springfield Pics hitting the road to play the Bridgewater Jr. Bandits in the first game of a Friday/Saturday home-and-home pair.
Other action will all be Saturday/Sunday matchups as the Northern Cyclones visit the Junior Bruins for a pair; the Jersey Hitmen and Jersey Shore Whalers play home-and-home at Howell Ice Arena Saturday and back at the Ice Vault in Wayne, N.J. Sunday; and the Rockets Hockey Club will be in New York Saturday before returning home Sunday for a home-and-home-set with the Aviators.
In the South Region, there will also be just one Friday tilt, the Richmond Generals in Chesapeake, Va., For the first game of a Friday/Saturday home-and-home set with the Hampton Roads Whalers.
Other Southeast Division play will see the Charlotte Rush traveling to play the Carolina Junior Hurricanes for a pair Saturday and Sunday while the Florida Division has the Atlanta Mad Hatters visiting the Florida Junior Blades and Tampa Bay Juniors at Charleston Colonials for Saturday/Sunday encounters.