The USPHL Elite league is off to a fantastic start, and has also seen amazing parity as just one single team - the Islanders Hockey Club - remain undefeated as of late October. Read below as we break down what the hot teams in the Elite Division are up to between now and the middle of next week.
Who’s Hot: See above. It’s the Islanders Hockey Club, standing now at 9-0. They were the only team to go 4-0 at the Mid-Atlantic Showcase over Columbus Day Weekend, ending what had been a 13-game winning streak for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton along the way. Additionally, the Springfield Pics are on a 3-0 run.
The Islanders face the Northern Cyclones on Saturday, for the second time this season. The Islanders won 5-2 in their second game on Sept. 29. Next Wednesday, they go up against the Bridgewater Jr. Bandits, against whom the Islanders won 7-0 on Oct. 13, the Islanders’ last game.
Neither of a pair of ‘03’s, Ryan Pappalardo and Thomas Radillo, have been held off the scoresheet the last eight games, and add one for Radillo. Pappalardo has a league-leading points total of 25 points, earned over his last eight contests. Radillo has scored in each of his nine games and stands third in league scoring at 22 points.
Aleksei Maitre (‘03) has won his three games, and Cam Steinocher (‘02) is 2-0 on the season, and neither has a goals against average of any worse than 2.00. Their save percentages are almost identical at .936 and .940, respectively.
The Pics face the Bandits on Saturday and the Junior Bruins on Sunday.
The Pics and Bandits faced each other 14 times in 2020-21. The Pics won the back-and-forth season series 8-4-2. A total of six games between the two went to overtime last year.
The Pics started their 2021-22 season with a 5-2 win against the Junior Bruins.
Chris Foster (‘04) has nine points (1-8-9) over his last four games.
Ray Picard (‘04) stands at 3-0, and he is one of nine Elite goalies who remain undefeated after at least three contests.
Who’s Hot: The Florida Eels are on a 4-0 run, while the Florida Jr. Blades are the only other team to have won at least their last game.
The Eels are out of action until next Friday, when they begin a home-and-home Friday-Sunday set with Tampa Bay, paralleling their Premier teams’ schedule in that respect.
Defenseman Braeden Bzovey (‘03) has 10 points in his last six games, and ‘04 forward Andrew Ward has the same amount of points in just his last four, with an even 5-5-10 line.
Ward’s five goals in his last four games is the league’s longest active goal-scoring streak.
Jacob Mork (‘02) is among those undefeated goalies, standing 4-0 in the league with a .957 save percentage, good for third overall in that category.
Tampa’s Bryson Uhrig (‘02) has the Florida Division’s longest active scoring streak. He has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in his last six games. His 21 points rank fifth in the entire Elite Division.
The Junior Blades are coming off a split weekend with the Tampa Bay Juniors, getting the close 3-2 win to end the weekend on a good note against a team they are already 2-3 against for the 2021-22 season.
The Blades go up against the visiting Atlanta MadHatters this Saturday and Sunday, and the Blades will then go to Atlanta the following weekend.
Last year, the Blades and MadHatters faced each other nine times (niiine times) with the MadHatters winning the season series 6-3.
With 12 points in 10 games, Thomas Filoramo (‘02) has missed the scoresheet only twice this season.
Who’s Hot: No one is absolutely dominating, with three teams separated by two points, but each of those three teams is on a mini-streak of 2-0. These include the first place Charlotte Rush followed closely by the Richmond Generals and Carolina Jr. Hurricanes.
The defending National Champion Rush are idle this weekend until they face the Hampton Roads Whalers next weekend. They are 2-0 after a weekend sweep of Potomac.
The Jr. Hurricanes and Richmond Generals, however, face each other, both with a chance to pull into first overall with the Rush off for another week.
This is their first meeting this season, while last season the Generals went 4-2-1. Neither team won two in a row the last five meetings last year, after the Generals won two in a row last November.
Richmond’s Aidan Urie (‘04) has the third-most points in an active streak with 14 through nine contests (an even 7-7 line), behind only the two Islanders Pappalardo and Radillo.
The Jr. Hurricanes have used four different goaltenders already this season. Two of those - the veteran Jaxson Verska (‘03) and Malik Johnston (‘04) - are undefeated at 3-0 and 2-0, respectively.
Verska is seventh all-time in Jr. Hurricanes Elite goaltender games played with 27.
The Hampton Roads Whalers’ Nathan Fisher (‘02) is tied with Urie and the IHC’s Radillo for longest active scoring streak, at nine games. He has 6-7-13 in that stretch.
Who’s Hot: The Jersey Hitmen are on a 3-0 run, while the 14-1 Wilkes-Barre, as well as the Rockets Hockey Club and New York Aviators have all won their most recent games.
The Rockets and Hitmen have a home-and-home series this weekend, renewing their I-287 rivalry. They did the same Sept. 25-26, with the Hitmen winning both of those games, and are on a 4-0 overall streak in the all-time series.
Second-year ‘04 Hitmen defenseman Austin Bailey has 12 points through 12 games, with four points in his last three games.
Bailey and veteran Rockets ‘04 defenseman Max Toomey are two of the four defensemen leading their team in scoring (Toomey is tied with forward Marco Taffo, with 10 points apiece).
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights have been off from game action since they went 3-1 at the Mid-Atlantic Showcase, and the 20-day break continues to next Saturday, when they face the Rockets.
Ryan Cunningham, who joins Toomey, Bailey and the Junior Bruins’ Eoin Reager as leading their team in scoring as defensemen, is back to the Elite after he scored a goal in his first of two games up with the Premier Knights.
Likewise, the Aviators are in an off-week, until they face the Hitmen on Halloween afternoon.
Veteran ‘05 Eddie Kienzle has an active streak of six goals in his last two games.
Let the games begin!