Another fine USPHL Showcase Series event is in the books, and what a five-day thriller it was at the Fall Beantown Classic in Marlborough, Mass. Ten of the 13 NCDC teams took part and three of those 10 came out clean with 3-0 records at the event. For the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, that meant a jump from sixth place in the North Division as of Oct. 25 to third place today.
The South Division lead is now tied between the Utica Jr. Comets (2-0-1 at the Beantown Classic) and the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, who made team history with their current 7-0 run. The Jr. Islanders’ 7-0 run is also the longest winning streak of the 2021-22 season so far for any NCDC team.
The Rockets Hockey Club (3-0 at the Beantown Classic) remains one point behind the P.A.L. and Jr. Comets.
Any team can beat any team this year, and the standings show that. There are three points separating the top three spots in the North Division, and two points separate the top four in the South Division.
After a couple weeks of more local divisional games, we’ll have eight NCDC teams clashing in another big event - the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase - kicking off Nov. 18 in Tyngsboro and North Andover, Mass.
P.A.L. Jr. Islanders Set Team Record With 7-0 Streak
The Islanders have had the distinction of winning six games in a row twice in their five-year NCDC existence, but never before Monday had they gone 7-0. Indeed, with their 4-1 win against the Islanders Hockey Club, the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders set their NCDC team record winning streak at seven games.
This beats their insane run between Feb. 3 and 12 in Tampa last year of winning six games in just 10 days. They actually did it even faster in 2019, winning six in a row in just eight days between Oct. 19 and 26 of that year.
In addition to defeating the Islanders Hockey Club, they also defeated the Boston Advantage 5-0 and the Northern Cyclones, 5-2. Fourteen goals was their most in three games since scoring 13 between their first three post-Florida contests (Feb. 24-27).
• With his eight-point weekend, all part of a six-game 2-12-14 streak, Spencer Korona passed Ryan Willet as the Jr. Islanders’ all-time leading scorer in the NCDC - one of two current NCDC players to set their team scoring records at the Beantown Classic (see below). Korona, who also pushed himself into the current NCDC scoring lead, now has 111 points off a 22-89 line in 148 games played. He already entered the season as the Jr. Islanders’ all-time games played and assists leader.
• Korona’s 12 assists (in five games) is the most for any NCDC player on an assist streak this year.
• Tyler Crist has matched Korona game for game in terms of scoring streaks. In six games, the veteran Crist has a 7-7-14 line since Oct. 17, the second game of the Jr. Islanders’ current 7-0 run. Crist is now tied for third in the league in scoring with 21 points in 15 games. His five goals in the last three games is the best active goal streak in the NCDC right now.
• P.A.L. goaltender Cam Smith is currently first - or tied for first - in the four biggest goaltending categories - wins (eight), goals against average (1.85) and save percentage (.947) and tied in shutouts (two). He hasn’t had an easy time putting together any of these marks, since he’s also faced the second-most shots in the league (377), averaging 34.3 shots against per game.
• Seven of Smith’s wins are consecutive going back to Oct. 16, the longest winning streak - active (as it is) or otherwise - this season for any NCDC goalie.
New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Move Up Three Spots With Beantown Sweep
The Monarchs’ recent 3-0 streak, all attained at the Fall Beantown Classic, came not a minute too soon. The Monarchs had gone 1-6-1 in their prior eight games going back to the Hitmen Classic.
The Monarchs started with a shootout win over the Islanders Hockey Club (3-2), a 5-2 win over the South Shore Kings and a 5-2 win over the Connecticut Jr. Rangers on Oct. 31.
• The Monarchs and South Shore Kings were the only NCDC teams to play three showcases entirely in the month of October 2021 - Junior Bruins Shootout Oct. 1-3; Hitmen Classic Oct. 7-9; Beantown Classic Oct. 28-31. The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Rockets Hockey Club and Junior Bruins also played in all three showcases, with their last games happening just outside of October on Nov. 1.
• The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs are tied with the Rockets and Utica Jr. Comets for most games going beyond 60 minutes this year, but they lead in shootouts with three (with a 2-1 record in said shootouts).
• It was sweet paydirt for Aidan Curran, whose shootout game-winner on Thursday was his first shootout goal in six attempts going back to 2018-19. With a four-point weekend at the Classic, Curran has pulled to within eight points of the 100-point career mark in the NCDC. He entered this season as the Monarchs’ all-time leading scorer in the NCDC.
• Tanner Hartman continued his points streak that has now reached five games, in which he’s scored two goals and four assists for six points. Hartman has enjoyed a fantastic transition from being the leading scorer for the Monarchs in the USPHL Premier last year to being an NCDC team leader this year, currently leading the way for the Monarchs with 14 points in 15 contests.
Rockets Hockey Club Keep Pace In South Division With 4-0 Run
As the Jersey Hitmen have put together a 5-0 run, their last two wins coming in the only other action outside of the Beantown Classic, the heat was on the Rockets to keep pushing forward as well. The Rockets won all three of their Beantown Classic games and are on a 4-0 run to stand with the second-most points in the South Division, and the NCDC overall at 20 points.
The Rockets started out with a 3-1 win over the Islanders Hockey Club, 4-1 over the Junior Bruins and 4-3 against the Boston Advantage in OT.
• The Rockets remain undefeated at 4-0 in their all-time series with the Boston Advantage, though the Advantage have collected three points along the way from two shootout losses and Monday’s overtime loss.
• Niagara University recruit Johnny Wescoe’s first GWG of the season was his fifth in total for the Rockets, putting him one behind former Rockets Johnny Johnson and Luke House, who each had six in their Rockets careers.
• Evan Brown has posted five points in each of these last four Rockets wins (2-3-5).
Jersey Hitmen Picking Up Steam With Five Straight W’s
The Jersey Hitmen earned their third and fourth wins of the season against the Philadelphia Hockey Club, against whom they opened the 2021-22 season. This past weekend, they posted a 4-3 overtime win and a 5-4 regulation victory against PHC. The 5-0 run the Hitmen currently find themselves on is their best so far in this 2021-22 season and it keeps them within two points of the South Division (and NCDC) lead in points - always a team goal for the three-time defending Founders Cup Champions and defending Dineen Cup champs.
• Forward Dylan Lugris and defenseman Sean Melso have points in each of these last five victories. Lugris has a 3-6-9 line and Melso has posted 3-5-8 totals in the same space.
• This is Melso’s second point streak in which he’s posted at least eight points, having put up nine (all assists) in six games between Sept. 25 and Oct. 8. Both of these streaks are bests among defensemen in the NCDC this season.
• The all-time longest point streak by a Hitmen defenseman is nine games set by Collin Heinold between Nov. 4 and Dec. 12, 2018, when he posted 3-8-11. The most points in a scoring streak by a defenseman is 15, however, set by current Hitman and reigning NCDC Defenseman of the Year Brandon Cimino between Feb. 13 and 27, 2021, when he posted 2-13-15 in four games, including three consecutive four-point outings.
• Goalie Peyton Grainer is enjoying a four-game winning streak currently and has pulled up to second in wins in the NCDC with seven total.
Utica Jr. Comets Earn Points In Three Straight
It wasn’t 100 percent what the Jr. Comets were looking for from the Beantown Classic in terms of points, but they came away with seven after a 2-0-1 run there, ending with a thrilling 3-2 OT victory against the Junior Bruins. That helped them remain with at least a share of the South Division and overall NCDC lead at 21 points apiece, shared with the red-hot P.A.L. Jr. Islanders.
• They scored a season-high six goals in a game for the fourth time this season, but it wasn’t enough to earn more than one point as they fell to the South Shore Kings, 7-6, in overtime.
• The Jr. Comets then turned around and picked up a 4-0 shutout victory against the Boston Advantage, their very first shutout this season and first since Feb. 4 in Tampa (3-0 over New Hampshire).
• Owen Carlile, a second-year ‘03 for the Jr. Comets, scored his first game-winning goal on his seventh career marker when his OT GWG beat the Junior Bruins.
Around The Boards In The NCDC
• The Connecticut Jr. Rangers rebounded from a pair of losses to the Jersey Hitmen before the Beantown Classic by earning wins against the Northern Cyclones (5-4) and Junior Bruins (4-3), before falling to the Monarchs on Oct. 31, 5-2.
• With three goals and an assist in his last three games, Andrei Levushkin’s goal streak helped him to break into the top five all-time for Connecticut Jr. Rangers NCDC scoring. He currently has 55 points. There’s a long way to go before he could threaten all-time leader and Ranger alum Takato Cox’s 93 points. Levushkin had already passed former Ranger Colin Slyne a week earlier as the Rangers' all-time goal-scoring leader and remains in first with 37 in his career.
• The Rangers have a four-way tie in scoring with four players holding 11 points - Levushkin, Michael Bencivengo, Ben Jenkinson and Schuyler Flansburg. They lead that category (if it can even be considered one) by two - Philadelphia Hockey Club and Northern Cyclones each have two players tied for their scoring lead.
• The game-winning goal for the South Shore Kings’ Oct. 28 2-1 win over the Northern Cyclones was scored by Chikara Hanzawa, setting him as the all-time leading scorer for the Kings in their NCDC history. That was his record 57th point, and he added another point (a goal) when the Kings fell to the Monarchs, 5-2 on Oct. 29.
• The Kings’ second overtime win of the season, a 7-6 win over Utica on Oct. 30, put the Kings into second place in the North Division, one point behind the Junior Bruins, who suffered an 0-2-1 run at the Classic.
• The Kings’ Timothy Heinke is on the league’s longest and most productive scoring streak of the season. Since Oct. 2 (a span of 12 games), Heinke has 10 goals and seven assists for 17 points. His 10 goals are the most of any scoring streak, as well.
• Jersey Hitmen vs. P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Nov. 3 and 5 - The very next NCDC game - at 3 p.m. Wednesday - sees the two hottest teams in the league facing each other - the Hitmen (on a 5-0 run) will go up against the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders (7-0 run).
• Boston Advantage at Islanders Hockey Club, Nov. 4 - First meeting between these teams for 2021-22. Islanders won the 2020-21 season series 6-1-0-0, including their last five games.
• Junior Bruins at Northern Cyclones, Nov. 4 - After a decisive win for the Cyclones earlier this season, the Junior Bruins are hungry for vengeance.
• Northern Cyclones at New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Nov. 5 - The Cyclones won a 2-1 shootout to start both teams’ seasons on Sept. 24.
• South Shore Kings at Twin City Thunder, Nov. 5 - The Thunder, idle this past weekend, gets back into the action with the all-time series lead held by Twin City at 6-2-0-1. The Kings won their only meeting so far this year, 3-0, on Oct. 15.
• Utica Jr. Comets at Rockets Hockey Club, Nov. 5-6 - The Jr. Comets travel to New Jersey after they opened the season with the Rockets in Utica for three, all Jr. Comets victories.
• Philadelphia Hockey Club vs. Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Nov. 6-7 - A home-and-home features the first two meetings of these teams this season. Connecticut went 3-0 against PHC last year, including a shootout win.
• Islanders Hockey Club at Junior Bruins, Nov. 6 - A 6-4 Junior Bruins win on Oct. 17 has the all-time series lead in their favor at 15-7-0-0 with one OT win.
• Twin City Thunder at Boston Advantage, Nov. 6 - The Thunder won their first 2021-22 matchup 7-3 on Oct. 13 to tie their all-time series at 2-2-0-0.
• Twin City Thunder at Junior Bruins, Nov. 7 - The Junior Bruins won their first meeting 2-0 on Sept. 25. This Nov. 7 will be the first end of a home-and-home that sees the Junior Bruins going to Maine on Nov. 12.
• New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs at Islanders Hockey Club, Nov. 8 - This will be the third meeting this season, and each team has won as the away squad once, both beyond 60 minutes. The Islanders won 4-3 in OT on Sept. 26, and the Monarchs won 3-2 in the Oct. 28 shootout at the Beantown Classic.
Drop the pucks!