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The Breakdown: USPHL Premier

By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com, 10/22/21, 11:30AM EDT

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Week of Oct. 22, 2021

The USPHL Detroit Showcase kicks off Friday, with a ton of great matchups upcoming between Great Lakes Division and Midwest East Division teams from Friday through Sunday. Of course, with 10 divisions from Maine to California, there’s plenty more action beyond Mount Clemens, Michigan, and we’re here to give you a handy user’s guide to this new week up at bat in the USPHL Premier. 

 

Great Lakes Division 

Who’s Hot: The Detroit Showcase host Metro Jets stand at 8-0, their best start in their four-year USPHL history. They are one of four teams with at least an 8-0 record in the USPHL Premier, all fighting for No. 1 overall. 

  • The Jets start with a busy day of two contests Friday, first against the Fort Wayne Spacemen and later against cross-town opponents the Detroit Fighting Irish. They later have the Chicago Cougars and the Midwest Blackbirds.

  • They’ve faced the Spacemen twice and won both via shutouts. They’ve only faced the Fighting Irish once, despite both calling Detroit home, and that was a decisive Jets win on Oct. 11, 2019. Their only meeting with the Blackbirds was also a decisive Jets win at the same event in 2019. 

  • The Jets won two close games against the Cougars during the 2020-21 season, their only matchups in history. 

  • The Jets’ Alex Schaumberger (‘02) is tied for fifth-most points in an active scoring streak, posting 17 in his last eight (8-9-17). 

  • The Jets’ goaltending trio of Daniel Miscavish, Will Augustine and Louis-Pierre Fortier - all 2001-born - each have a GAA of 2.00 or better. 

  • The Jets’ Braydin Lewis (‘03) is second in scoring among Premier defensemen with 15 points (behind Luke Stevens’ 26).

 

The Pittsburgh Vengeance are 3-0 over their last few, and they have the MJDP, Chicago Cougars, Motor City Hockey Club and Fort Wayne at the Detroit Showcase. 

  • Forwards Jason Kavulic and Nick Tessier tied for the team lead in scoring with identical 6-5-11 runs in six games.

  • MJDP won the season series 3-1 last year, including the last three straight. 

  • At the same event last year, Pittsburgh won a razor-tight 2-1 game against Chicago. 

  • It was even tighter in 2020-21, when the Vengeance eked out a 4-3 shootout win against Fort Wayne. 

 

The Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones’ Drake Barnish (‘01) is tied for the longest USPHL Premier scoring streak, posting a 13-13-26 line in 11 games this year. He is now ninth all-time in Premier scoring with 156 Premier points, tied with current Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings defenseman Jordan Stear.

 

Midwest East Division

Who’s Hot: The Fort Wayne Spacemen are on a 3-0 run and the Chicago Cougars are undefeated in regulation in all of their seven games thus far (5-0-2).

As already mentioned, the Cougars have had close brushes with the Jets and Vengeance, and their Detroit schedule also includes their first-ever meeting with the Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones and their third against the Cherokee, who are 2-0 all-time against the Cougars. 

  • The Cougars have three players carrying active seven-game scoring streaks so far, in ‘01 Mike Sliwinski (8-5-13), ‘03 Joe Gulino (2-11-13) and ‘02 Andreas Zorn (5-6-11).

 

Along with the Spacemen’s games versus the Vengeance and Jets, they also face Lake Erie and Wooster. 

  • They are 1-1 against Lake Erie, and Fort Wayne fell to Wooster 4-2 in last year’s Chicago Showcase in December 2020. 

  • Fort Wayne’s Antoine Robidoux-Hutubise has given up just one goal in his first two starts for a GAA of 0.53 and save percentage of .983.

 

Also hot are the Detroit Fighting Irish, who have started out 2-1, and have won their last two games. They face the Jets, Toledo Cherokee, Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones and Columbus Mavericks.

  • The Cherokee have taken all three of their match-ups so far, and the Mavericks are 2-0 against the Irish. Their game to start the 2020-21 season was a classic, with the Mavs just eking out an 8-6 victory. This is the first Fighting Irish vs. Cincinnati showdown. 

  • Veteran defenseman Shane Romback is back and back on the scoring horse as well, with 1-3-4 totals in three games. 

 

New England Division

Who’s Hot: The top two teams at the top are off to the best streaks - No. 1 Bridgewater Bandits (6-0), No. 2 South Shore Kings (5-0), along with the Islanders Hockey Club at 2-0. 

 

The Bandits have three coming up, with the Junior Bruins on tap Friday, followed by the Kings and next Thursday, the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs. 

  • The Junior Bruins were the Bandits’ most recent victims, as the Bandits won on Oct. 17. 

  • The Bandits won three of four from their geographically closest rivals, the Kings, in 2020-21. 

  • The Bandits won the only showdown with New Hampshire in 2019-20, and the Monarchs won three of their four match-ups in 2019-20. 

  • The Bandits’ Konrad Kausch (5-1) is third among goalies with at least three games played in save percentage (.957).

 

The Kings face New Hampshire on Friday, followed by the Bandits and the Islanders Hockey Club. The Kings are 5-2-1 against the Monarchs the last five years. They also gave the Islanders their only loss so far this year, a 2-1 victory for the Kings on Oct. 6. 

  • Zac Bell, of South Shore, has put together the division’s longest active scoring streak, with three goals and seven assists for 10 points in seven games. 


 

Atlantic West Division

Who’s Hot: Wilkes-Barre, just like every week since they started their USPHL existence. They remain undefeated at 9-0. Utica (3-3-1 overall) is the only team in the division that has won their last game.

 

Wilkes-Barre faces Elmira at the Jr. Enforcers’ home rink on Saturday, and are then off until they face Buffalo next Thursday. 

  • Saturday is the first meeting between Wilkes-Barre and Elmira, giving current Knights coach Cody Murphy a chance to face his former team, one that he brought to the Nationals in their inaugural season. 

  • Buffalo and Wilkes-Barre are already well-acquainted, and the Knights are (obviously) 2-0 in that series. 

  • Knights forward Hunter Parker (‘02)’s 14 points in eight games is tied for the league’s fifth-longest scoring streak. 

  • Tade Carman (‘03) and Joe Hughes (‘01) each sported goals against averages under 2.00 through three games.

 

The Utica Jr. Comets, in a split last weekend with the Jersey Hitmen, were the only other West team having won their last game. Utica continues to parallel the NCDC Jr. Comets’ schedule and, like their Tier II brethren, will host the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders this weekend. 

  • The Jr. Comets are 6-1-0-1 over the last five years against P.A.L.

  • Both the Jr. Comets and P.A.L. have scored a high of six goals in a game this season. 

  • J.D. Speer has five goals over his last four games.

 

Pacific Division

Who’s Hot: In this case, that’s the answer to the Jeopardy question “Lake Tahoe Lakers.” Like the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, this first-year USPHL Premier franchise has yet to suffer its first-ever loss. The Lakers have started out 9-0. 

 

Additionally, the Fresno Monsters are enjoying a 5-0 run to turn around what was a 1-4 start into a 6-4 record. 

  • Neither team will take a loss this weekend either, since neither will play again until they face each other in their first-ever three-game series beginning Oct. 29 in Lake Tahoe.

  • The Lakers’ Jett Arminen (‘01) remains the leading scorer in the USPHL Premier with 40 points in nine games, averaging an amazing 4.44 points per game. He has points in each game so far.

  • Lakers defenseman Luke Stevens (‘02) had a game-winning goals streak in three straight wins for Lake Tahoe. Stevens, with 26 points, and fellow teammate ‘02 Ari Rossi (23 points) are on active scoring streaks - with both posting these points in nine games.

  • Fresno’s Leon Biller (‘02) and Stepan Skvirskii (‘01) each have four-goal games under their belt already this season.

 

The other four teams in the division are all facing each other. The Ontario Jr. Reign and Las Vegas Thunderbirds started their series Thursday, with Ontario sealing up an 8-4 win. After this weekend, the Jr. Reign are off until November. Las Vegas plays Long Beach next week, after the first-year Shredders close out this weekend’s two-game set at San Diego. 

 

Florida Division

Who’s Hot: The Florida Eels are off to an 8-0-0-1 start, winning their last five games since the Richmond Generals nabbed the extra point in a Sept. 25 shootout at the Southeast Showcase. They are the only team in the division to have won at least their last game. The Eels are off until Friday, Oct. 29, when they start a Friday-Sunday home-and-home with the Tampa Bay Juniors. 

  • Alexandre Caron (‘01) is 5-0 in net so far this year for the Eels, with Duncan Rollerman (‘02) right behind at 3-0. They both have save percentages of better than .930 and neither has a goals against averages worse than the very impressive 1.60.

  • Caron, with his win over the Florida Jr. Blades on Wednesday, tied the Eels’ record for regular season wins in the USPHL Premier (since 2017). Jakub Kostelny held the record of 21, all picked up during the 2019-20 season, the year in which Caron played his first two Premier matches and earned his first “W.” Caron has the chance, with his next win, to become the Eels’ all-time winningest goaltender in the Premier Division. 

 

Vesse Lampen (‘02), of the Palm Beach Typhoon, is tied with Cincinnati’s Drake Barnish for the league’s longest active scoring streak, posting 9-6-15 in 11 games.

 

Atlantic East Division

Who’s Hot: The Rockets are in that rare company of being completely undefeated through at least eight games, standing at exactly 8-0. Additionally, the Jersey Whalers are on a 3-0 run, and the New York Aviators have lost just once in regulation and are on a 4-0-1 points streak. 

 

The Rockets get back to action with a home-and-home Saturday-Sunday series against the Jersey Hitmen.  

  • The Rockets have won all the matchups in the series going back to the 2019-20 season, while the Hitmen took the 2018-19 season series 4-2 (with one OT win). 

  • All three of the Rockets’ goaltenders are undefeated, and all three - ‘03 Rodney Hanson, ‘02 Matthew Morrison and ‘01 Hunter Thomas - have better than .920 save percentages.

 

The Aviators have a single Friday night game against the Philadelphia Hockey Club in Sewell, N.J. 

  • The Aviators are 7-3-1 in their all-time USPHL Premier series against Philadelphia. 

  • The Aviators are riding the efforts of goaltender Levi Preugschas (‘03), who is 3-0 with a .933 save percentage. 

  • Oliver Munck (‘02) has moved into the team scoring lead on the strength of a four-game point streak with a 6-3-9 line.

The Whalers, fresh off a 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Thursday, are off until Wednesday and Thursday of next week, when they too will make the trip to Sewell for two games. 

  • With three goals and an assist in his last two games, Alex Ceselka (‘02) has pulled even to a point per game average through 13 contests. 

 

Midwest West Division

Who’s Hot: Many. Five teams have won at least their last two games, but the leaders of the hot streaks are the No. 2 Minnesota Blue Ox (5-0), No. 1 Minnesota Moose (4-0), followed by a pair of teams with 2-0-0-1 runs (Steele County and Hudson), and currently on a 2-0 run are the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings. 

 

The Blue Ox are at Steele County Saturday night, and then Hudson on Sunday and they face the Rum River Mallards next Thursday, the start of four games in four days that are part of the Midwest Showcase.

  • This will be the Ox and Blades’ third meeting this season and will break a tie in the season series. The two teams beat each other, giving up just one goal in each of their wins, over the Oct. 1-2 weekend. 

  • In seven meetings last year, the Havoc won the 2020-21 season series 5-1-0-1. 

  • The Blue Ox won all four games against Rum River last year, with the last being a close 6-5 battle. 

  • The Blue Ox’s ‘02 defenseman Cale Goenner is on a three-game goal streak, scoring six in that stretch. 

  • Blue Ox goalie Joe Moen (‘01) is 3-0 on the season so far.

 

The Minnesota Moose have three in a row against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, including their Midwest Showcase opener next Thursday. 

  • The Riverkings hold a 6-3-1-0 all-time series lead in their USPHL Premier lifetimes. 

  • The Moose’s Hunter Barto (‘01) has picked up assists (eight total) in each of his last seven games.

  • Captain Chase Solberg (‘01) has scored in all of his seven games this year, posting a 10-7-17 line over that stretch. 

 

The Blades have a three-game weekend just ahead of their four games at next week’s showcase. They start tonight (Friday) with Rum River, followed by the Blue Ox and then on Sunday against the Dells Ducks. 

  • The Blades and Mallards walk a razor-sharp line in their all-time series. The Blades hold a slim 9-8 lead all-time. The Blades tipped the scales in their favor this year with wins on Sept. 25 and Oct. 8. 

  • The Blades have won their last seven games against the Ducks. The Ducks last won in the opening weekend of 2019-20, falling first in overtime then beating the Blades 5-1 on Sept. 21, 2019. 

  • Young Connor Movalli (‘04) leads the Steele County Blades with a 4-4-8 line in six games.

 

The Havoc have just that one game this weekend against the Blue Ox, before jumping into their four games at the Midwest Showcase starting next Thursday against the Blades. 

  • Hudson’s Harvey Dove (‘02) is on a three-game goal-scoring streak, posting a 4-1-5 line.

 

As aforementioned, the Riverkings are getting ready for three straight against the Moose. 

  • Riverkings fourth-year defenseman Jordan Stear (‘01) and Cincinnati’s Drake Barnish are tied for ninth all-time in USPHL Premier scoring, with 156 points apiece. 

  • Jeffrey Rebmann (‘01) leads the Riverkings with eight points in six games. 

 

Mountain Division

Who’s Hot: The Northern Colorado Eagles have seen other top opponents around them defeating each other, but have put together a 4-0 run of their own. The Eagles jumped over the .500 mark thanks to the streak

 

The Eagles are off until Oct. 29, when they start a three-game set with the visiting Utah Outliers. 

  • Eagles leading scorers Ethan Pitzman (‘01) and Brayden Fryfogle (‘03) have both put up 12 points through eight contests.

 

In Mountain action this weekend, the Pueblo Bulls face the Outliers in Pueblo, before they become the only non-Midwest West team to take part in the Midwest Showcase Oct. 28-31. The Ogden Mustangs face Provo on Saturday and again in one week, starting a two-game set. 

 

Southeast Division

Who’s Hot: The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes are 7-0-2-1 in their last 10, and have pulled up to within one point of defending National Champions the Charlotte Rush (9-2-1-0 overall). The Hampton Roads Whalers are also strong at 5-0-2 in their last seven, which puts them into the four-way conversation for the division lead. 

 

The Jr. Canes travel to Richmond for a Saturday-Sunday set, and the Generals then go to Carolina a week later for a pair. 

  • The tight series last year saw Richmond just eke out a 4-3 season series victory, with an overtime win for each team as well. 

  • Career Jr. Hurricane Daniel Nau (‘02) leads the way for his team with 19 points in 12 contests.

 

Hampton Roads plays host this weekend to a Potomac Patriots riding high after a 7-1 win over Charlotte, the Patriots’ first “W” against the defending National Champions in two years. 

  • The two teams played each other 11 times last year, and the Whalers won 10 of those, all except a Dec. 13 7-4 Potomac victory. 

  • Hampton Roads’ Mark Padgett (‘03) has posted five assists over his last three assists and is on a 2-5-7 run in that time.

 

Let the games begin!