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NCDC This Week: P.A.L., Hitmen Join Kings, Advantage As Teams On The Rise

By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com, 10/26/21, 12:00PM EDT

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The Utica Jr. Comets are now beginning to feel some serious heat from behind as the Jersey Hitmen and P.A.L. Jr. Islanders have both crept to within a point of their once healthy South Division lead. The Jr. Islanders did so by winning their head-to-head series this weekend with the Comets, while the Hitmen earned the sweep against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers in a home-and-home series. 

Up North, the South Shore Kings are enjoying a four-game point streak, staying in the hunt in an equally crowded North Division. The Boston Junior Bruins hold a four-point lead on the Kings in the North Division. Another team to keep an eye on are the Boston Advantage, who jumped above .500 with four wins in a row to keep pace in a division where only three points separates third from seventh, and five points separates second from seventh.  

The upcoming Fall Beantown Classic provides some intriguing matchups that we will dig into further down, as 10 of the 13 NCDC teams will participate in that five-day event in Marlborough, Mass. So, without further ado, let’s dig into the meat and potatoes of another incredible past week in the National Collegiate Development Conference. 

 

P.A.L. Powering Up As They Near Quarter Pole, Captain Korona Passes 100-Point Mark

The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, as aforementioned, took matters into their own hands to improve their standing in the South Division by picking up wins of 2-1 in overtime and 3-2 in regulation. At 4-0, they have the longest current active winning streak in the NCDC, their last loss coming Oct. 9 to the Boston Advantage, which wrapped up a 2-1 stand at the Hitmen Classic. The 4-0 run is just two short of their record, which is 6-0, attained twice - once last year at Hub City Tampa and also during the 2019-20 season. 

• The Jr. Islanders have now won their last four games against Utica, after a 2-1-0-1 record against them in last year’s season series. The Jr. Islanders hold a slim 9-7-2-2 record in the all-time series. 

• With his assist on ‘01 Tyler Crist’s OT game-winner on Saturday, Captain Spencer Korona (‘01) passed the 100-point mark in his NCDC career and remains second all-time in P.A.L. Jr. Islanders points at 103. He is six points behind Ryan Willett (2018-21) on the leaderboard. 

• Korona is the 10th player to pass the NCDC 100-point mark, and is the only active player to do so. New Hampshire’s Aidan Curran ('01) is next on the 100-point watch list, as he is 12 points away. 

• Netminder Cam Smith (‘02) has won his last four games in a row, facing no less than 28 shots in any one of those matches. 

 

Advantage Set Team Record For Most Consecutive NCDC Wins

The Boston Advantage are already in the midst of their best NCDC winning streak in this, their second season in the league. They did have a longer point streak than their current 4-0 streak, as they went 2-0-2-1 during a busy stretch of five games in eight days between Oct. 16 and 23, 2020, but their current eight straight points earned does beat the amount of points earned in that stretch last year. Most recently, they have beaten the Junior Bruins (3-2) and New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (4-1). 

• The Advantage have had to adapt to a different opponent in each one of their games so far, never seeing the same opponent twice in a row. In fact, it won’t be until the Connecticut Jr. Rangers come to the Raynham (Mass.) Iceplex Jan. 15-16 that they’ll get a chance to play the same opponent twice in a row. After that, it happens three more times for the Advantage. 

Manny Sanchez (‘01) is on the NCDC’s second most productive active point streak, with 10 points (off two goals and eight assists) in his last seven games. That is also the longest and most productive points streak for any Advantage NCDC player in their two years in the league. 

• The fourth-year USPHL veteran Sanchez has had at least one assist in each of those seven games, the second longest assist streak overall in the league (Joe Solimine had 13 assists from Oct. 2-22), and the longest active assist streak. Overall, he has 12 points in 10 contests to lead the Advantage. 

 

South Shore Strings Three Wins Together, Hanzawa Ties Kings’ Career Points Record

The Kings’ recent forays to New Hampshire proved productive, as they defeated the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 3-1 on Oct. 19 and the Northern Cyclones 2-1 on Oct. 22. Due to the elaborate nature of COVID-19 restrictions last year, the Kings played north of Massachusetts only once last year - Game 1 of the 2020-21 season against the Junior Bruins at Cyclones Arena, a 3-2 Kings win. They are currently on a 3-0-1 run

In defeating the Cyclones, they evened up their season series at one apiece, as the Cyclones beat the Kings, 6-3, in one of just two Kings true home games at Foxboro Sports Center so far. The Cyclones hold a clear 12-5-0-1 all-time series lead. 

• Sacred Heart University recruit Chikara Hanzawa (‘01) is currently tied for first overall in points by a Kings player in the NCDC, knotted up with former King Derek Osik, who is in his second season with NCAA Division I Long Island University. Both have (and had) 56 points in their Kings career. 

• Hanzawa is the hands-down points per game all-time for the NCDC Kings, with 1.273, among players with at least 20 games played in their career.  

• Hanzawa scored the game-winning goal in the 2-1 win over the Cyclones. It was his first clincher of the season, and his ninth overall - he has a distant lead on all fellow active NCDC players in that category. 

• Exciting newcomer Timothy Heinke (‘01) has the NCDC’s longest active point streak with nine goals and five assists for 14 points in nine games. 

 

Hitmen Getting Back Into Hitmen Form With Three Straight W’s 

The Jersey Hitmen have been used to, in the past, counting win streaks by the teens. So it’s a whole new world for the defending Dineen Cup Champion and three-time Founders Cup (Regular Season) Champions to have their current three-game winning streak be their longest of 2021-22 so far. However, they have to start somewhere, and they hope they’ve found the right recipe and mix to get back to that old Hitmen magic that anyone familiar with the NCDC is so used to. 

Most recently, they got the sweep of the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, winning 4-0 at home and 5-1 at Chelsea Piers. The Hitmen are on a 10-game winning streak in the all-time series going back to 2019-20. 

• Oct. 23 is the latest the Hitmen have had to wait in their NCDC history to get their first shutout win of a season. Peyton Grainer (‘02) got the 23-save blanking and stands on a 3-0 run. 

• Defensemen Brandon Cimino (‘01) and Sean Melso (‘02) have each scored five points in their last three games and both remain tied for the points lead among NCDC defensemen with 14 points in 12 games. 

Dylan Lugris (‘01) is on a hot streak with six points (3-3-6) in his last three contests, helping the Hitmen to their own current winning streak.

 

Around The Boards In The NCDC

• On Friday, the Islanders ended a four-game losing streak by defeating the Twin City Thunder, 3-2, evening out their record at 4-4. Former Pittsburgh Vengeance player Will Laychur (‘02) is on a three-game scoring streak with two goals and an assist in their last three games, and he has eight points in eight games. 

• The Philadelphia Hockey Club and Rockets Hockey Club defeated each other by the same score (4-1) over the weekend. PHC’s Saturday win was their first NCDC victory over the Rockets in seven meetings - RHC owns a 7-1 all-time series lead. The Rockets earlier split 4-2 scores with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs in their two meetings this year, and the Northern Cyclones and Twin City Thunder each have 3-1 wins against each other this season. 

• Philadelphia’s Cody Blight (‘02) has the NCDC’s longest current active goal streak, with four lamplighters through three games. Along with two assists, he has six points in three consecutive contests. He has a 6-4-10 line overall through 12 games. 

• Niagara University recruit Johnny Wescoe (‘01) has been feeling generous for the Rockets Hockey Club, passing out five assists in his last three games. 

• The Junior Bruins split their past weekend, winning a 7-2 victory over the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, just before a 3-2 loss to the Boston Advantage. Their seven goals for was a season high, coming five days after their previous season high of six on Oct. 17 against the Islanders Hockey Club. Their last game of seven goals or more was an 8-6 win over New Hampshire on Feb. 16, their final game at Hub City Tampa. 

• Holy Cross recruit Joe Solimine (‘02) had his first NCDC career four-point game against the Monarchs, the most since Feb. 16 last year when former Junior Bruin Frankie Ireland and current Union College forward Colin Graf had matching six-point games. Solimine leads the NCDC in scoring with a 7-14-21 line in 12 contests. 

• As aforementioned, the Twin City Thunder turned around a prior 3-1 loss to the Northern Cyclones by beating them by the same score on Sunday in Auburn, Maine. 

• Twin City defenseman Ryan Hintz (‘03) has registered three straight two-point games for a line of 2-4-6 in his last three games, giving him the most consecutive multi-point games for any defenseman so far this season, and also in Thunder history. 

 

Upcoming Action

Islanders Hockey Club vs. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Oct. 28 - The Kings and Islanders kick off NCDC action at the Fall Beantown Classic on Thursday morning. The Islanders won 4-3 in overtime on Sept. 26, the Monarchs’ home opener and unveiling of the Ryan Frew Memorial Rink, in honor of the former Monarchs Head Coach who passed away in 2020. 

Northern Cyclones vs. South Shore Kings, Oct. 28 - Old friends already this season, they have split their season series 1-1, and this is their second straight game against each other.

New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs. South Shore Kings, Oct. 29 - Another Fall Beantown throwdown. The Kings won their last meeting, 3-1, on Oct. 19. 

Philadelphia Hockey Club vs. Jersey Hitmen, Oct. 29-30 - The Hitmen and Philadelphia remain south for their second home-and-home weekend. The Hitmen won both of their Sept. 24-25 weekend games, the first in OT. 

Connecticut Jr. Rangers vs. Northern Cyclones, Oct. 29 - The first meeting for this season between the Rangers and Cyclones - the Cyclones have a slim 9-7-0-0 all-time series record, with two games being decided in OT and one in shootout. 

• Junior Bruins vs. Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Oct. 30 - The Junior Bruins’ first game at the Fall Beantown Classic, it will give the Rangers a chance to avenge a 5-3 loss at the BJB Shootout on Oct. 4. 

South Shore Kings vs. Utica Jr. Comets, Oct. 30 - The South Division-leading Jr. Comets start their first showcase of the season with the Kings. The Jr. Comets (and their predecessors the Syracuse Jr. Stars) hold the slim series lead of 8-5-2-2. 

Boston Advantage vs. P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Oct. 30 - Two teams that last faced each other at the Hitmen Classic hit the ice once again, after a 4-2 Advantage win on Oct. 9. 

Rockets Hockey Club vs. Islanders Hockey Club, Oct. 30 - Also at the Beantown Classic, the Islanders and Rockets hit the ice for their first 2021-22 matchup. They split their two games in 2020-21. 

Connecticut Jr. Rangers vs. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Oct. 31 - The Rangers have a close 5-4-1-0 all-time series lead, with one shootout victory last year.

Utica Jr. Comets vs. Boston Advantage, Oct. 31 - The Jr. Comets won two of the three meetings last year, with the Advantage winning once in OT. 

• Rockets Hockey Club vs. Junior Bruins, Oct. 31 - The Rockets won the rematch of last year’s Dineen Cup semifinal by a 5-3 score on Oct. 7. 

• Northern Cyclones vs. P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Oct. 31 - The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders hold an all-time series lead of 9-5-2-0 with one overtime win. 

Boston Advantage vs. Rockets Hockey Club, Nov. 1 - The Rockets won all three of their meetings last year, twice by shootout. 

P.A.L. Jr. Islanders vs. Islanders Hockey Club, Nov. 1 - The Islanders Hockey Club hold an 11-4-1-0 all-time record, with five of those wins coming in 2017-18 when the IHC went 47-3. After that, it’s been a close 6-4-1-0 series, with one OT win, in IHC’s favor.

Junior Bruins vs. Utica Jr. Comets, Nov. 1 - The NCDC action at the Beantown Classic ends with a showdown between the two current North and South Division leaders. Both are in close races with their divisional rivals and are pushing to remain at the top. The Junior Bruins lead the all-time series 10-4-0-1 with two overtime wins. 

 

Drop the pucks!