The USPHL Premier Midwest-West Showcase tournament brought all nine division teams together at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine, Minn., and showed that again this season, these teams are for the most part closely matched.
The Minnesota Moose, host team for the event, was the single team to wrap up a perfect 4-0 record on the weekend.
Six of the nine teams were closely bunched, including the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings and Hudson Havoc who wrapped up with seven points apiece and Minnesota Blue Ox with six.
Rochester Vipers and Minnesota Mullets both split (2-2) and the Steele County Blades picked up three points on the weekend.
The Moose started play with a 4-3 overtime edge against the Riverkings Thursday. James Curran (‘00/West Des Moines, Iowa) fired the overtime game winner for the Moose who rallied all the way back from a 3-1 deficit after two periods.
The Moose collected another overtime edge on Friday, this time 3-2 against the Steele County Blades with Tyler Braccini (‘01/Hanover, Minn.) capping off another come from behind win with his overtime game winner. On Saturday, the Moose collected a lopsided win against the Ducks thanks to a three-goal, three-assist game for Chase Solberg (‘01/Anchorage, Alaska). The Moose wrapped it up with an 8-1 win against the Minnesota Mullets in the Showcase finale Sunday, Braccini firing two more goals to pace the squad.
After the overtime loss to the Moose, the Riverkings hit the win column with a 7-2 edge against the Mullets and a 3-1 edge against the Blue Ox Friday, then captured a 3-1 win against the Vipers Saturday.
Grant Newcomer (‘01/McFarland, Wis.) paced the attack with three goals and two assists against the Mullets. Luke Hartge (‘00/Winfield, Ill.) scored twice, including the game winner against the Blue Ox while Riley Allen (‘01/Lakewood, Colo.) stopped all but one of 28 shots in goal. Sander Willard (‘01/Lakewood, Colo.) notched a pair, including the game winner against the Vipers.
The Havoc opened with a 3-2 edge against the Mallards on Thursday, Drake Barnish (‘01/Reynoldsburg, Ohio) scoring two, including the game winner.
Barnish fired two more against the Blue Ox, but shootout goals by Jake McAlpine (‘02/Shoreview, Minn.) and Michael Clough (‘01/Andover, Minn.) lifted the Blue Ox to the win in this one.
The Havoc struck back with a 5-3 win against the Blades on Saturday, Caleb Dusek (‘00/Dallas, Texas) notching the game winner and a 7-1 win against the Vipers Sunday, Harvey Dove (‘02/Hudson, Wis.) providing two goals, including the game winner.
The Blue Ox started with a lopsided win against the Ducks, Alec Skradski (‘00/Omaha, Neb.) firing three goals, then the shootout win against the Havoc and the narrow loss to Riverkings on Friday, then wrapped up with a 5-2 win against the Mallards Saturday night. Clough fired two more for the Blue Ox in the win, the game winner coming from Blake Glaser (‘01/Kearney, Neb.).
The Vipers started strong with a couple wins on Friday. Ben Haas (‘00/Rochester, Minn.) scored three in an 8-4 win against the Ducks, Collin Driscoll (‘02/Warwick, R.I.) responding with a pair for the Ducks. The other win was a 5-4 edge against the Mallards with Markus Dempewolf (‘03/Albert Lea, Minn.) counting a hat trick and Vince Palade (‘01/Homer Glen, Ill.) notching the game winner. Carter Robinson (‘02/Inner Grove Heights, Minn.) fired two for the Mallards.
The Vipers finished with the losses to Riverkings and Havoc.
The Mullets started out Thursday with a 2-0 shutout against the Blades, David Kraaz Jr. (‘01/Belvidere, Ill.) scoring the game winner and Alexander Falkenhagen (‘02/Thornhill, Ont.) earning the shutout. Following its loss to Riverkings earlier Friday, the Mullets grabbed a 5-3 win against the Ducks Friday, Butch Mohler (‘00/Phoenix, Ariz.) scoring twice, including the game winner. The Mullets enjoyed a day off Saturday, then dropped the finale to the Moose.
The Blades dropped its first three, but picked up the overtime point against the Moose, a game the Blades led 2-0 with a period to go. On Sunday, six different shooters stepped up, including Noah Murphy (‘01/Fairbault, Minn.) with the game winner.
Elsewhere in the USPHL Premier
Southeast Division: Southeast Division play saw both the Hampton Roads Whalers and Carolina Jr. Hurricanes adding decisive wins as both swept home and home series.
The Hurricanes started with a lopsided win on home ice Friday night against the visiting Potomac Patriots before wrapping up the sweep Sunday win a 7-1 decision at Prince William Ice Arena.
On Friday Daniel Nau (‘02/Wake Forest, N.C.) fired two goals, including the game winner and also set up three others for the Canes while Jacob Schnapp (‘’00/Tampa, Fla) scored twice Sunday, Duke Cherpeski (‘’01/Billings, Mont.) adding the game winner.
The Whalers grabbed a 10-3 win against the Richmond Generals at Chilled Ponds Sentara Healthcare Arena Friday then traveled to Skatenation Plus Saturday to collect a 5-1 road win against the Generals.
Kyle Watson (‘00/Wakefield, England) fired three including the game winner Friday, Noah Henry (‘01/Alpharetta, Ga.) and Pietro Baccarin (‘01/Padova, Italy) adding two each. On Saturday, Nolan Cavanagh (‘00/Currituck, N.C.) paced the Whalers attack, scoring twice, including the game winner.
Florida Division: In the Florida Division, the Charleston Colonials dropped a 7-3 decision at Fort Myers Skatium to the Florida Eels Saturday night but rallied with a 4-2 win the following day.
Meanwhile the Tampa Bay Juniors collected four more points with a pair of 3-2 wins against the improved Florida Jr. Blades in a home and home series.
Rocco Esposito-Selivanov (‘02/St. Petersburg, Fla.) scored the overtime game winner Saturday for the Juniors, Britt Courneya (‘01/Mound, Minn.) collecting the clincher on Sunday.
For the Eels, seven different goal scorers stepped up after the Eels fell behind 3-0, including Cade Swygert (‘00/Summerville, S.C.) with the game winner.
The following day, Aaron Hamel (‘01/Okemos, Mich.) countered with the game winner for the Colonials.
Mountain Division play this past weekend saw the Ogden Mustangs collect a couple road wins, taking two of three from the host Pueblo Bulls while the Northern Colorado Eagles played stingy hosts, keeping all six points on home ice against the Provo Riverblades.
The Eagles dominated play in the Friday night contest but were hard pressed before capturing a 3-2 edge in the middle contest and finally, a 5-1 decision on Sunday.
Case Kantgias (‘00/Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) collected two goals and two assists in the win Friday, John Campbell (‘00/San Antonio, Texas) collecting the game winner. On Saturday, Provo led 2-0 before the Eagles stormed back, the tying and game winning goals both potted by Brennan McFarland (‘00/Greeley, Colo.) in the third period.
On Sunday Kantgias fired two more, including the game winner.
Cade Herrera (‘02/Brentwood, Calif.) scored the game winners on both Friday and Sunday for the Mustangs, scoring twice in the opener. Tucker Thorstad (‘03/Maysa Ariz.) scored three in the big win on Sunday.
For the Bulls, Ethan Knutsen (‘00/Edmonton, Alta.) fired a pair, including the game winner on Saturday night.
The Great Lakes Division got an early start on the weekend, with MHC hosting and defeating the Wooster Oilers 6-5 in a shootout.
Brandon Plummer (‘00/White Lake, Mich.) and Ethan Smith (‘’02/Port Huron, Mich.) paced MHC with two goals apiece and Plummer added a fourth-round game winner – the only goal of the shootout. Nick Peters (‘02/Macedonia, Ohio countered with two Oilers’ goals.
Thursday’s shootout defeat was the only point picked up on a three-game weekend for the Oilers who stayed on home ice at the Alice Noble Ice Arena, but dropped a 6-2 decision Saturday to the Columbus Mavericks and 8-4 Sunday against the undefeated Toledo Cherokee.
Jordan Winrod (‘02/Cincinnati, Ohio) provided the game winner for the Mavs and Devin Stroia (‘00/Grosse Ile, Mich. scored twice, including the game winner on Sunday. Nathan Kniesteadt (‘01/Dexter, Mich.) countered with a pair of the Oilers.
The Cherokee remain undefeated after Sunday’s win and added an emotional victory Friday, 3-2 against the visiting Metro Jets. Both teams entered the game undefeated and the Cherokee had not defeated the Jets in many games. Jarrett Henson (‘01/Trenton, Mich.) stepped up as the overtime hero in this one – the first USPHL victory for the Cherokee against the Jets.
Also undefeated is the Pittsburgh Vengeance who took both ends of a Regional cross-over at Alpha Ice Arena against the visiting Buffalo Thunder from the Mid-Atlantic Division.
The Vengeance took the first game 7-1 on Saturday with two goals each from Jason Kavulic (‘02/Pittsburgh, Penn.) and Tyler Howcroft (‘02/Imperial, Penn.), Howcroft notching the game winner.
Sunday’s contest was a little closer, Chase Evans (‘02/Finlayville, Penn.) collecting the game winner in a 4-2 Vengeance win.
Midwest-East: The Chicago Cougars wrapped up a pair of home ice wins on the weekend, rallying back from a 3-0 deficit for a 5-3 win against the Decatur Blaze Friday night, then wrapping it up Saturday night with a 4-2 win.
The league’s leading scorer, Jozef Martancik (‘00/Burbank, Ill) scored the final three goals, including the game winner on Friday for the Cougars and Mike Silwinski (‘01/Franklin Park, Ill.) added the game-winner on Saturday.
Motor City Hockey Club broke into the win column Friday with a 4-1 win on the road against the Midwest Blackbirds.
Trey Peterson (‘02/Grand Blanc, Mich.) scored three for the winners, the game winner coming from Alexander Prange (‘03/Royal Oak, Mich.)
New England Division matches stretched back all the way to last Tuesday as Michael Bievenue (‘02/Slingerland, N.Y.) helped the Jr. Bruins to a pair of home wins, a 3-2 edge against Northern Cyclones Tuesday and a 5-2 decision against New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Wednesday
Bievenue notched the game winner in both games and totaled five goals and seven points.
On Thursday a pair of division games saw the Twin City Thunder collecting a 4-1 win against Boston Advantage while the Springfield Pics went to overtime to collect a 5-4 win from the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
Chip Strano (’02/Pittsburgh, Penn.) fired the game winner for the Thunder and the Pics, who trailed 4-2 early in the third period, capped a thrilling comeback with an overtime game winner from Nicholas Lopes (‘00/South Windsor, Conn.).
The Pics moved on to play a crossover match at Chelsea Piers Friday, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Connecticut Jr. Rangers.
Michael Rocco (‘01/Union, N.J.) scored twice for the Rangers, Joseph Cantelmo (‘01/Saratoga, Calif.) adding the game winner.
On Saturday, Danny Woods (‘00/Wilmington, Mass scored both goals in a 2-1 edge for the Cyclones on the road against the Twin City Thunder.
Mid-Atlantic Division: Several weekend sets were scheduled in the Mid-Atlantic Division.
The Rockets Hockey Club took two from the Jersey Hitmen, grabbing a 9-2 decision Friday at Ice Vault and a 7-1 win on home ice at Bridgewater Sports Arena.
Nicholas Jinks (’01/Annandale, N.J.) scored twice for the Rockets Friday, Harris Blackwood (‘01/Hagerstown, Md.) adding the game winner. On Saturday, Tyler Inlow (‘00/Wichita, Kan.) fired a hat trick in the win, the game winner coming off the stick of Chris McGuaran, River Hills, Wis.).
The Philadelphia Hockey Club added a pair of wins against the Jr. Comets at Hollydell Ice Arena near Philly. In the opening game Friday, Mat Thurston (‘01/Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) and Chase Cochran (‘01/Colorado Springs, Colo.) both scored twice, Cochran with the game winner in a 5-2 win and Saturday it was Cochran, Markus Odermatt (‘00/Sapporo, Japan) and Thomas Odermatt (‘01/Sapporo, Japan) with two each, Thomas Odermatt sinking the game winner.
The Skipjacks enjoyed a six-point long weekend, beginning with a 3-1 win on home ice against the New York Aviators on Friday. Sam Libetti (‘01/Marlton, N.J.) scored twice in the win, Adrian Franco (’01 Grosse Pointe, Mich.) triggering the game winner. From there, the Skips picked up home wins against the P.A.L. Islanders with a 6-4 decision Sunday and a 6-1-win Monday.
Franco scored twice and Carson Stickley (Woodbine, Md.) added the game winner as the Jacks rallied back from a 4-1 deficit on Sunday. On Monday, Franco picked up the game winner and Dario Benchcich (‘01/Dover, Penn.) scored twice for the Skipjacks.
The Elmira Enforcers and Jr. Rangers split a pair at Chelsea Piers Saturday and Sunday, Ben Saurbaugh (‘03/Painted Post, N.Y.) scored a pair, including the game winner in a 6-2 win for the Enforcers Saturday and the Rangers rebounded Sunday, led by a pair off the stick of Dario Mancari (‘01/Chicago, Ill) and the game winner fired by Mika Petersen (‘03/Stamford, Conn.) on Sunday.
A pair of weekend sets in the USPHL Elite Florida Division saw two double-winners.
The Charleston Colonials looked impressive in 5-2 and 5-3 wins against the Florida Eels at Fort Myers Skatium while the Tampa Bay Juniors earned a 4-3 win in shootout at Hertz Arena Saturday then returned home to Wesley Chapel for a more lopsided win Sunday.
On Saturday, Bradley Parrish (‘02/Charleston, S.C.) scored the game winner for the Colonials and Dillon Matthewson (‘01/Arlington Heights, Ill.) notched two with Ryan Lovelace (‘02/Charlotte, N.C.) adding the game winner Sunday.
Jake Carlson (‘02/Lewisberry, Mass) responded with both Eels goals Saturday, Kaleb Harrop (‘01/St. Louis, Mo.) adding a pair on Sunday.
In the other series, Ryan Bahula (‘03/St. Petersburg, Fla.) of the Juniors and Jeremy Pizzola (‘04/Cape Coral, Fla.) scored early shootout goals before Martin Raynov (‘03/Boca Raton) finally settled it in the eighth round for the Juniors
On Sunday, the Juniors were led by a Bahula hat trick and two each for Justin Walker (‘01/Tampa, Fla.) and Jake Duhaime (‘04/Ellenton, Fla.) and the game winner scored by Jack Fleer (‘02/Lutz, Fla.)
Southeast Division: The Hampton Roads Whalers and Richmond Generals were both too tough on home ice, splitting their weekend home-and-home set while the Jr. Hurricanes picked up road and home wins against the Potomac Patriots.
Derek Klein (‘00/Chesapeake, Va.) collected the game winner and Ty Morton (‘01/Germantown, Md.) stopped all but one of the 30 shots he faced in a 2-1 win for the Whalers Friday but it was Jonathan Beiber (’02/Pittsburgh, Penn.) with the game winner and Jadon Lee (‘02/Fulton, N.Y.) posting a 20-save shutout in a 2-0 win for the Generals on home ice the following night.
The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes grabbed an 8-1 win on home ice Friday then added a 9-3 decision at Prince William Ice Arena in Potomac on Sunday.
Chris Kennedy (‘02/Eagle River, Alaska) scored three on Friday for the Canes, Dylan Bauman (‘03/Wake Forest, N.C.) adding a pair and the game winner fired by Stephen Mushenko (‘01/Monson, Mass.)
The following night Kennedy added two more goals, Luke Havener (‘02/Garner, N.C.) notching the hat trick and Ethan Chapman (‘02/Wake Forest, N.C.) collecting the game winner.
Nicholas Sciavolino (‘02/Nokesville, Va.) scored twice for the Patriots.
The North Division started Wednesday as the Islanders collected a 5-4 win on the road against the Bridgewater Jr. Bandits before returning home Thursday for a 4-2 edge against the Northern Cyclones.
Jacob Mauro (‘01/Leominster, Mass.) scored a pair, including the game winner Wednesday, Marcus Glenn (‘03/Santaquin, Utah) connected twice for the Bandits.
On Thursday, the Islanders rallied back from a 2-0 deficit, Jeremy Olson (‘02/El Segundo, Calif.) providing the third period game winner.
On Friday, the Northern Cyclones captured a 4-3 win at home in shootout against the Springfield Pics. Dominick Balboni (‘03/West Springfield, Mass.) of the Pics and Marc Giordano (’01/Malden, Mass.) of the Cyclones both scored twice in regulation setting the stage for Cainan Stevenson (‘01/Denver, Colo.) who scored the lone goal of the shootout for the Cyclones.
Other Friday games in the New England Division saw the Jr. Bruins grabbing a 5-0 win on the road against the Islanders
Elias Holunga scored twice, including the game winner and Jake Romney (‘01/Winter Garden, Fla.) kicked out 36 shots to pick up the shutout.
Mid-Atlantic Division: The lone Mid-Atlantic Division series saw the Jersey Hitmen grabbing wins in a home-and-home set with the New York Aviators.
Jake Quinn (‘03/Rockaway, N.J.) scored twice, then added the game winner with the lone goal in shootout for a 4-3-win Saturday at Bridgewater.
The following day at Ice Vault Ice Arena, Trevor Carmen (‘03/Selden, N.Y.) scored twice including the game-winner in a lopsided win for the Hitmen.