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The Breakdown: USPHL Premier

By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com, 10/15/21, 4:15PM EDT

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Oct. 15, 2021 Edition

We’re all ready for a very full weekend of USPHL Premier hockey, so let’s take a look at some of the big matchups going on this weekend and some of the intriguing storylines. 

 

Atlantic East Division

Who’s Hot: Rockets Hockey Club stands at 7-0 on the season thus far.

  • Rockets play P.A.L. Jr. Islanders Friday, with the Rockets holding a record of 7-0 in the matchup. 

  • The Jr. Islanders only had one regulation loss at the Mid-Atlantic Showcase, that being to Wilkes-Barre. Two days later, behind a 64-save performance by Kyle Marchionna, they pushed WBS to overtime, but fell there. 

 

Rematch!: Philadelphia Hockey Club has until next Wednesday off from games, when they face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, the only team to defeat them so far. 

 

New York Aviators finished 2-0-1 in their last three, including a 3-0 shutout against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers on Wednesday. They face the Rangers again on Sunday. 

  • Oliver Munck has scored points in his last three straight, putting up a 3-1-4 line over that time. 

  • Michael Marino had his first shutout of the season and second career SO vs. the Rangers. 

 

The Jersey Whalers went 3-1 at the Mid-Atlantic Showcase, and are ready to take on the Atlantic West’s Hershey Cubs for the first time Friday and again Saturday both at Hershey Park Arena. The first-year Cubs are seeking their first-ever home win(s).

 

Great Lakes Division

Who’s Hot: Metro Jets are currently 6-0, one win away from tying their best start, which was last year’s 7-0. 

  • The Jets take on the Columbus Mavericks and Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones this weekend. The Jets beat the Mavericks 5-2 on Sept. 24 and have never taken a defeat in their three-year history. 

  • The Jets’ Alex Schaumberger is on the third longest active goal-scoring streak, at 8-6-14 through five games. 

  • The Jr. Cyclones, having swept Lake Erie last weekend, are the only other Great Lakes squad to have won at least their last two. Sunday will see the first-ever Jets vs. Jr. Cyclones game. 

 

  • The Jr. Cyclones’ Drake Barnish is on one of the USPHL Premier’s best scoring streaks of the season, posting an 11-6-17 line in all seven games this year. He is close to breaking into the all-time Top 10. Joey Mattevi has 2-6-8 totals in his last three games. 

  • The Jr. Cyclones face Wooster for two games before facing the Jets. The teams have never met before. 

 

Florida Division

Who’s Hot: Florida Eels are undefeated in regulation through six - 5-0-0-1. 

Who’s also hot: The Tampa Bay Juniors are on a five-game winning streak. 

  • The Florida Eels and Palm Beach Typhoon meet for a pair this weekend for the first time ever. The Eels have not played since Sept. 26, their final game at the Southeast Showcase, a 3-1 win over Potomac. 

  • Alexandre Caron is 3-0 in net so far this year for the Eels. 

  • Vesse Lampen is on the league’s longest scoring streak, posting 8-4-12 in nine games. 

 

Tampa and the Florida Jr. Blades have the home-and-home weekend series as well. The Dan K Show will be calling all four games this weekend, as an added bonus!

  • Tampa has a 21-7 record against Florida over the last five years, with a 14-1 mark at home. In Estero, the Jr. Blades are 6-4-2-1 the last five years.

  • This includes Tampa wins on Sept. 11, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2, all in regulation.

  • Connor Nelson and Jon Heller already have six points for Tampa against the Jr. Blades this year.  

  • Connor Crawford has a 1-4-5 line against the Tampa Bay Juniors this year. 

  • Cole Ketola for the Blades starts the series on a 3-5-8 run in his last three games.

  • Tampa’s Beau Courneya has a run of 3-8-11 in five contests ahead of Friday’s game. 

 

Midwest East Division

Who’s Hot: The Metro Jets Development Program (MJDP) leads the way at 4-0 on the season, while the Fort Wayne Spacemen - off until Oct. 22 - are on a 3-0 run and the Chicago Cougars are undefeated in regulation in their four games thus far (2-0-2).

  • The Cougars face the Decatur Blaze against whom they have won 16 of their last 17 contests. 

  • Mike Sliwinski has been dominating for Chicago with a run of 5-4-9 in his first four games of the year. 

  • The Cougars then face the Midwest Blackbirds for Saturday and Sunday games, and the Cougars are defending a similarly long record of series dominance. 

 

MJDP takes on the Decatur Blaze on Saturday and Sunday. 

  • MJDP went 3-1 against the Blaze last year, with the Blaze winning their second-to-last showdown on the final weekend of the regular season.

  • Austin Combs has posted a 3-3-6 line during an active three-game point streak for MJDP.

 

Motor City (1-1-2-0) is enjoying a two-game points streak of 1-0-1, and they take on crosstown rivals the Detroit Fighting Irish on Friday..

  • The last time Motor City had points in three of their first four games was in their Nationals season of 2018-19. 

  • Detroit has a 10-3-2-0 record against Motor City over the last five years. 

  • Both teams have a high point of seven goals in a game so far this year. 

  • Ethan Iida comes in for MCHC on a two-game scoring streak of 3-4-7.

  • Detroit’s Bryce Iott has a 2-2-4 line through his first two games. 

 

Atlantic West Division

Who’s Hot: That’s an easy one - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 9-0 after going 4-0 at the Mid-Atlantic Showcase. Utica, however, enjoyed a 2-0 sweep of Connecticut last weekend. 

  • After playing five games in seven days, the WBS Knights are off until next Wednesday, when they face Philadelphia. As aforementioned, it’s the undefeated Knights against the PHC team with just one loss. 

  • Hunter Parker’s 14 points in eight games is tied for the league’s second-longest scoring streak. 

  • Utica crosses divisional lines once more, against the Jersey Hitmen on Saturday and Sunday. 

  • Utica’s Andrew Martino is tied for the league’s fourth-longest goal-scoring streak, of four games, in which he has posted a 7-3-10. 

  • The Hitmen took the 2020-21 season series, 3-1. 

 

Midwest West Division

Who’s Hot: The Minnesota Blue Ox and Minnesota Moose are both on 3-0 runs, the only teams in the eight-team Midwest West Division to have at least two wins in a row. 

 

The Minnesota Blue Ox take on the Dells Ducks on Saturday and Sunday.

  • The Ducks are hoping to halt a seven-game win streak for the Blue Ox in the season series. Dells last won on Jan. 19, 2019, 5-4 in overtime. 

  • Cale Goenner is on a three-game goal streak, scoring six in that stretch. 

 

The Minnesota Moose take on Steele County on Sunday in their only action this weekend. 

  • The Moose have not lost to the Blades in the current incarnation of the USPHL Premier going back to 2017. 

  • Recently, Ike Frankel crossed the 100-point career mark for the Moose, and he is currently tied for fourth all-time on the Moose points list. 

  • Chase Solberg’s 16 points is tied for fourth-most in an active scoring streak, as he posted those points through six straight games. 

 

On Friday, the Minnesota Mullets and Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings meet for the second day in a row. The Riverkings won 3-1 on Thursday, Oct. 14. 

  • The Riverkings are 8-2-1-0 in the last five years against the Mullets. 

 

Pacific Division

Who’s Hot: The first-year Lakers are 6-0 out of the gate in their inaugural season, while Fresno is 4-0 and Las Vegas and Ontario are both on 2-0 runs. Las Vegas is idle until a three-game set begins against Ontario on Oct. 21. 

 

Ontario and Lake Tahoe clash for the first time on Friday night, with Ontario playing host for three games through Sunday. 

  • The Lakers’ Jett Arminen remains the leading scorer in the USPHL Premier with 24 points in just six games. 

  • Luke Stevens has an active game-winning goals streak of three straight wins for Lake Tahoe. Stevens and fellow teammate Ari Rossi each have 16 points on an active scoring streak - Stevens in six games and Rossi in five.

  • Sam Ryan is on an active four-game scoring streak for Ontario, posting 3-4-7 in that time. He’s posted his 10 total points in all but one game.

 

Fresno takes on San Diego for three games as well. Fresno won all eight of their meetings in their inaugural USPHL season last year. 

  • Fresno has been off for two weeks since a 6-4 win against Ontario. San Diego fell in a pair at home against Las Vegas last weekend. 

  • Matthew Jung, of the Monsters, is in a tie for third-longest active scoring streak at 2-6-8 in seven games. 

  • Leon Biller and Stepan Skvirskii each have four goal games under their belt already this season. 

 

Mountain Division

Who’s Hot: How convenient this is - the Ogden Mustangs and Pueblo Bulls are both on 4-0 streaks, and they kick off a two-game set Friday night. Utah is undefeated in regulation in its last pair of games (1-0-1). 

 

The series between Ogden and Pueblo went the Mustangs’ way, with an 8-3 record in favor of the Mustangs, with one OT win in there. The two teams will play against each other 11 times again this year. 

  • Both teams have hit the nine-goal mark in a game this year, Pueblo on  Oct. 10 and Ogden on Sept. 17. 

  • Benjamin St-Onge came into this season already the Bulls’ all-time leading scorer, and he keeps building on that with his current 7-7-14 mark in six contests. His goal streak of six games is second in the league. 

  • Ogden’s Daniel Pfalzer and Tucker Thorstad each have seven points in active four-game point streaks. 

 

The Utah Outliers host the Bulls Sunday after their two-game trip to Ogden. 

  • The two teams last met on Oct. 2 and the Outliers were 3-1 winners. 

 

New England Division

Who’s Hot: Bridgewater Bandits are currently on a 4-0 run, while the South Shore Kings’ earlier Friday 3-0 shutout against the Junior Bruins have them on a 3-0 run. Additionally, the Northern Cyclones remain undefeated in their first three games. 

 

The Cyclones take on the Springfield Pics on Saturday afternoon. The Pics, at 4-3, are third in points in the New England division but smarting after two recent losses. 

  • The 3-0 start is the Cyclones’ all-time best, as they have never won all three out of the gate. 

  • The two teams have faced each other in the regular season just nine times (and oddly enough, never in 2019-20). Springfield’s last win was on Feb. 4, 2018, a 2-1 overtime victory. 

  • Kyle Myers is the Premier’s best goalie early on. He is 3-0, with one goal against (for a 0.33 goals against average) and he has two shutouts, tied with the Eels’ Caron for the lead in that category.

  • The Pics’ Andrii Ievtukhov is one of five defensemen league-wide who are leading their team in scoring. He has eight points (all assists) in six games. 

 

The Bandits only have a Sunday game this weekend against the Boston Junior Bruins. 

  • In three 2020-21 matchups, the Junior Bruins earned points in each. The Bandits won a 1-0 overtime game. 

  • The Bandits’ Konrad Kausch, currently on a three-game winning streak, is in a six-way tie for second place in USPHL Premier wins with three. He is one of four goalies in the league with at least four wins in five games. 

 

The Kings’ shutout against the Junior Bruins on Friday was their earliest shutout in four seasons. Their earliest shutout was on Sept. 23, 2018, against the Jersey Shore Whalers, in their third game. They didn’t earn a shutout until Feb. 16 of last season. 

  • The Kings are now off for a week until they face the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs. 

 

Southeast Division

Don’t expect to see Southeast teams playing on Fridays - with the exception of showcase games, they won’t in 2021-22. When they’re in straight head-to-head competition within their division, it’s almost strictly Saturday-Sunday series. 

Who’s Hot: The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes are 7-0-1 in their last eight, while the defending champion Charlotte Rush are on a 6-0-1 tear. Not to be left out, the Hampton Roads Whalers have points in their last five. 

 

The Jr. Hurricanes and Hampton Roads Whalers put their streaks on the line against each other at Chilled Ponds in Chesapeake, Va. (site of the 2021 National Championships).

  • Over the Sept. 18-19 weekend, the Jr. Canes won a pair of shootout games, 6-5 and 5-4. 

  • The Jr. Canes went 5-2 against the Whalers last year, with one OT win. 

  • Carolina’s Ethyn Hopp enters as just one of four players to have at least an active eight-game point streak. He’s posted a 6-11-17 line in that span. 

  • Hampton Roads’ Evan Miles has a 2-3-5 line in each of his last five games. 

 

The Rush bring the Potomac Patriots to their home XTreme Ice Center this weekend. 

  • While the Rush won all seven meetings last year, their 2019-20 series was split. Potomac last won on Feb. 1, 2020 in the first of a two-game series. They also won in a shootout earlier in the year. 

  • The Rush have two players in the top 20 for longest point streaks. Drew Iannucci’s is at seven games (4-4-8) and Jacob Wilson is at six games (5-3-8). 

  • Potomac’s leading scorer Troy Andrews (10 points in eight games) has a three-game point streak going on with a 2-2-4 mark. 

 

Tune in to HockeyTV for all of these games and so much more!