Another week has passed and one major factor in this 2020-21 NCDC season has not changed - the Jersey Hitmen are still completely undefeated, and the Rockets Hockey Club cannot be beaten in 60 minutes. The two teams are dominating not only their South Division, but are far and away the top teams overall. In terms of winning percentage, there are no teams within 10 percent of these top two squads, and they are only about eight percent apart from each other (1.000 to .917).
The two teams met for their first of currently seven scheduled matchups for this season. The next is coming up quickly, on Nov. 21, when the Rockets make their second of four visits to the Ice Vault. While the Rockets of 2020-21 are enjoying their best start yet, the Hitmen still hold a 16-0 mark in the all-time series. Friday’s 2-1 Hitmen overtime win, however, was actually a step in the right direction for the Rockets - they had never even gone to overtime against the Hitmen until that contest.
Luke Aquaro started the scoring in the second period on a shorthanded goal, before former Hitman Connor Tait evened it 58 seconds into the third period. In the end, the Quinnipiac commit and one of three NCDC Forwards Of The Month, Liam McLinskey, scored at 3:28 to give the Hitmen the win. This was McLinskey’s first overtime goal in the NCDC. It was also his second career game-winner.
Jersey also defeated the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, 3-2, one night prior to the showdown with the Rockets.
• The Hitmen became the only team with two shorthanded goals this year, as McLinskey had also scored man-down back on Oct. 31 against the Jr. Rangers.
• Friday marked the first time since a Feb. 14 2-0 shutout loss against New Hampshire that Jersey had not scored an even strength or power play goal in regulation, a span of 14 games. It is the first and only time in four years that their only regulation goal was scored shorthanded.
• The Rockets put 45 shots on Jersey Hitmen goaltender Chase Clark, the first time a Hitmen goaltender has seen more than 40 shots since a Jan. 19 6-4 loss to New Hampshire, when the Monarchs threw 48 shots on net, tended by former Hitman Benjamin Allard-Robitaille.
• UMass-Lowell commit and Forward Of The Month Clark Kerner has extended his point streak to eight games, posting 5-7-12 in that time, and giving himself the sole hold on the league’s scoring lead with 18 points.
Cyclones Put Together Five-Game Points Streak, Challenge North Leaders
The standings may simply show four teams ahead of the Northern Cyclones, but it’s a three-point race from 1-5 north of Connecticut. The Cyclones are charging their way upwards thanks to a recent 4-0-1 run. At 4-1-1 overall, their .750 winning percentage actually stands second in the North Division.
Most recently, the Cyclones picked up consecutive W’s against the Boston Advantage (4-1) and Boston Junior Bruins (5-1). It was their second win over both teams this season.
The Cyclones have narrowly passed last year’s 4-2 start for best mark after six games. They had their last five-game points streak between Dec. 8 and Jan. 4 last year, going 3-0-2, and their best all-time points streak came from Oct. 18 through Nov. 22, 2019, during which they went 10-0-1-1. The Cyclones are off now from games until Nov. 19.
• The Advantage are new opponents this year, but the Cyclones and Junior Bruins have a four-year history, including a three-game semifinal series in the 2019 Dineen Cup Playoffs. The Junior Bruins may hold a 9-5-1-0 record in the all-time series, but the Cyclones were able to win back-to-back against the Junior Bruins for the first time since the tail end of the 2017-18 season (Feb. 25, 4-2; March 11, 5-2).
• Cyclones goaltender Alex Contey’s current streak of being undefeated in regulation marks that of the Cyclones as a team, at 4-0-1. The all-time Cyclones NCDC record for regulation undefeated streak is held by Will Oliver, who went 9-0-1 for a stretch in 2018-19. He is slated to play for the Wentworth Institute of Technology when they resume hockey.
• ‘03 rookie Rylan Yates racked up assists in each of his first two games on Nov. 4-5. Yates was selected this past June in the NCDC Entry Draft.
• Third-year NCDC Cyclone Mikey MacKenzie scored his first two career power play goals vs. the Advantage, and his second shorthanded goal vs. the Junior Bruins. His first goal against the Advantage was also his second career game-winner.
• The game between the Cyclones and Junior Bruins marked the NCDC debut of Shane Lachance, a player listed on the NHL Central Scouting Players To Watch List. Lachance, the grandson of Boston University coaching legend Jack Parker, is a BU recruit.
Monarchs Win Two More, Before Taking First Regulation Loss
The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs’ season-opening point streak extended to 5-0-1 with a pair of wins against the Twin City Thunder (5-4 on Nov. 3) and the Islanders Hockey Club (4-3 on Nov. 4). The Thunder avenged their Tuesday loss on Saturday, winning 4-2 on Nov. 7.
The 5-0-1 streak was the Monarchs’ best in their first six games of any NCDC season, bypassing last year’s 4-1-1. Their longest point streak remains at eight games, 7-0-1 (Jan. 26-Feb. 16, 2020).
Jr. Rangers Split Weekend, Get On Board With First Win
Welcome to the “W” club, Connecticut. The Jr. Rangers registered their first win of the season on Friday, when they defeated the Philadelphia Hockey Club 3-1. The joy didn’t last very long, as they fell the next night to the Rockets Hockey Club by a 7-2 score.
Andrey Lyovushkin popped in the first two goals including the game-winner in the first period against Philadelphia, and he also scored one more against the Rockets to take a tie for the scoring lead at three points.
Jake Lanyi (2-1-3) and Jake Hughes (1-2-3) are up there with Lyovushkin.
Junior Bruins Rebound With Victory Over Advantage
After falling in regulation in two straight for the first time since March 1-6, 2019, the Junior Bruins shrugged those off and picked up the 4-1 win over the Boston Advantage in the first meeting of the two teams. Ryan Rosborough scored a goal and two assists for his second three-point game in seven games. That put the 2000-born two-year OJHL veteran at the top of the Junior Bruins scoring leaderboard with a 6-4-10 line.
Additionally, Union commit Collin Graf posted three goals over the course of the weekend.
Thunder Celebrate Win Over Rival Monarchs To Break Skid
The Twin City Thunder, four days after a loss to New Hampshire, turned around and beat the same Jr. Monarchs with a 4-2 victory, their first “W” after three straight losses. The all-time series is 5-2 in favor of New Hampshire. The two teams will meet again very soon, on Nov. 20.
• Noah Furman, who split last season between the Thunder and Utica Jr. Comets, is back this year and on a scoring tear. He now has a 3-7-10 line through six straight games.