November is the third month of a long haul for the USPHL Premier, and teams are starting to establish themselves in particular standings positions as the season creeps towards the halfway mark - some will hit it much sooner than others, and those very same teams will cross it in this very month. Without further ado, let’s explore which teams go into this weekend’s games with the hot hands and which are the key matchups to watch from Maine to California.
Atlantic East & West Divisions
Who’s Hot: The Friday Premier action kicks off with an Atlantic East vs. Atlantic West showdown between the East Division-leading Rockets Hockey Club, who are undefeated in regulation for all their 12 games at 11-0-0-1 this year, and the Utica Jr. Comets, coming off a 3-1 run at the Beantown Classic in Massachusetts. The Rockets and Jr. Comets meet again on Saturday, both times at the Rockets’ home Bridgewater Sports Arena.
The Rockets are off to their best start in their five-year USPHL Premier history, doubling their previous best points streak, six games in which they went 4-0-1-1 in 2017-18. Last year, they started 4-0 before taking a regulation loss. Their 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons began with a regulation loss.
Utica won all three of its final Beantown Classic games to attain that 3-1 record, and their 3-0 run is their best of the 2021-22 season so far. They are also the only Atlantic West team to have won their most recent game.
The Rockets’ Michael Stevens is on a hot streak with eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in 10 games, the third longest active points streak in the Premier.
The Rockets hold an all-time record of 8-2-1-0 against the Jr. Comets.
Brendan Vettraino put together two goals and one assist for a three-game streak amidst the Jr. Comets’ winning run.
Also hot in the Mid-Atlantic East team are the surging Jersey Whalers, who are enjoying a 6-0 run. Their winning streak goes back to their final game at the Mid-Atlantic Showcase in Bridgewater on Oct. 10. This weekend, they face the Hershey Cubs in a cross-divisional home game on Friday, and then they’re at the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders’ home Rinx in Hauppauge, N.Y., on Saturday.
The teams have met twice, but only completed one game, a 6-2 Whalers win on Oct. 16. Their game of Oct. 15 still has to be completed as it was suspended as a 2-2 tie due to fog at Hersheypark Arena.
The Whalers’ Alex Ceselka is on a red-hot streak with six goals and five assists for 11 points in five straight games.
Jersey goalie Dimitrii Kapranov carries a 5-0 winning streak into Friday’s game.
On Oct. 30, the Hershey Cubs earned their second win, against the Boston Junior Bruins. With that win and a previous victory over the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, both their victories have come from teams outside their Atlantic West Division - and also both at showcases, the win over the Islanders coming at the Mid-Atlantic Showcase.
The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders broke an 0-3-1 streak when they defeated Utica on the road on Oct. 23, their most recent game.
After the Jr. Islanders face the Whalers, they’ll move on to face the Jersey Hitmen in Atlantic East action on Sunday.
The two teams played each other just twice last year, splitting the final regular season weekend at the Hitmen’s Ice Vault.
The New York Aviators have won their last two games in a row, sweeping the Hitmen last weekend in Wayne, N.J. The Aviators take on the Philadelphia Hockey Club on Saturday and they move on to face the Whalers in a midweek game on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
The Aviators crossed the double-digit mark with 11 goals on Oct. 30, their first time doing so since Feb. 11, when they scored 11 against the Detroit Fighting Irish in Hub City Tampa - two days before giving up double digits (13) their very next game.
Philadelphia won the first two 2020-21 meetings of their season series with the Aviators last year, and New York came away with the third.
The Whalers earlier defeated the Aviators, 4-3, in overtime in that aforementioned Oct. 10 game at the Mid-Atlantic Showcase.
Aviators goalie Michael Marino is in the midst of a 3-0 winning streak, in which he has made progressively more saves each contest (24 to 31 to 36).
New England Division
Who’s Hot: The South Shore Kings hold the third-best current points streak with 22 in its last 11 games, all wins. The Kings swept their way through four Beantown Classic games, getting a chance to face some non-divisional competition for the first time since a single game against the Jersey Hitmen on Oct. 4, a 4-2 win that was their second of their 11 straight W’s.
The Kings face the Northern Cyclones, who are on the division’s second best points streak of 4-0-0-1 in their last five. The Cyclones went 3-0-0-1 in the Beantown Classic.
Kings goalie Max Macchioni is on an eight-game winning streak and a three-game shutout streak!
The last USPHL Premier goalie to pull off three straight shutouts was the Cyclones’ own Kyle Myer, who did so between Feb. 11 and 24 last winter. With Myer still on board with the Cyclones, there exists the very real possibility of Myer facing Macchioni on Saturday.
Myer, of course, is also on a winning streak, winning all five of his starts so far this year - including two straight shutouts for good measure.
With 18 points on the season, Kings defenseman Zach Bell is the only USPHL Premier blueliner leading his team outright in points. For the Minnesota Moose, defenseman Logan Lake is tied with forward Chase Solberg for the team lead.
After the Kings face the Cyclones in that Saturday night thriller, they are back on the ice Wednesday for their first 2021-22 game against the Springfield Pics. The Pics won last season’s series 4-2.
The Springfield Pics are on a two-game winning streak of their own, beating Twin City twice in a two-weekend home-and-home series. Prior to their midweek meeting with the Kings, they will face the Boston Advantage, another team on a 2-0 run, on Saturday.
The Advantage recently defeated the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and prior to that, the Elmira Jr. Enforcers, the latter game ending a 2-2 weekend at the Beantown Classic.
Despite being in the same division in 2020-21, the Nov. 3 game was the first-ever meeting between the Monarchs and Advantage, who could generally not play each other in 2020-21 due to COVID regulations that restricted cross-border play.
The Advantage and Pics played to a 4-3 Pics overtime win on Oct. 9. The teams played eight times in 2020-21, necessary when most of the Premier New England Division teams moved down to play at Hub City Tampa. The Pics took a close 5-3 season series victory.
With a four-assist game against the Monarchs, Cameron Martin now has five points in his last two contests, all assists.
The Islanders Hockey Club are enjoying a 4-0 winning streak, having gone 3-1 at the Beantown Classic last weekend (their only loss being to the Kings), and then beating the Bandits on Nov. 3.
The Islanders travel to face the Boston Advantage Friday in a rematch of an Oct. 20 game that saw a close 3-2 Islanders victory. That was the closest the second-year Advantage have come to beating the Islanders, as all four IHC victories last year were decided by three or more goals.
On Sunday, the Islanders face the Northern Cyclones for the first time this season on the road, their final trip before a seven-game Gallant Arena home stand that will encapsulate the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase. The Islanders hold an all-time 9-4-0-1 series record going back to 2017-18.
Shane Prifrel’s 2-2-4 performance on Wednesday against the Bandits gives him five points in his last two games and six points overall for the IHC team scoring lead.
Returning goalie Dean Hahn is enjoying a three-game winning streak as well.
After defeating the Junior Bruins, 6-5, on Nov. 4, the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs are off from games this weekend before facing the Twin City Thunder in Maine next Wednesday.
Twin City took a decisive seven-goal victory the last time the teams played on Oct. 16.
New Hampshire’s Matt Horan has the hot hand with a goal and eight assists for nine points in his last six games.
Who’s Hot: The Atlanta MadHatters are winners of three straight for the first time this year, while the Florida Eels are the only other Florida Division team to have won their last game.
And how convenient - the MadHatters take on the Eels for a three-game set this weekend, all at the “Madhouse” (i.e. the Atlanta Ice House), kicking off at 9 p.m. Friday night.
The Eels won their first two games of the season over Atlanta on Sept. 18-19.
The Eels’ Oct. 29 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay was their first regulation defeat of the 2021-22 season. Their 8-0-0-1 run to start the season was their best season-opening point streak ever, beating out their 5-0 run to kick off the first season of the current USPHL Premier Division in 2017-18.
The Eels hold a 15-4-0-0 all-time series lead against the MadHatters.
Eels goaltender Alexandre Caron (6-0) comes into the weekend series not having lost a game of any kind since the National Championship game last March against the Charlotte Rush. To say he has a chip on his shoulder would be an understatement.
Collin Patterson scored a hat trick in the Eels’ win over Tampa Bay, and he has four goals and one assist in his last three games.
Ben Baker has two goals and four assists in his last three games for the MadHatters.
Great Lakes Division
Who’s Hot: Deja vu, it’s the Metro Jets. So far, the No. 1 USPHL Premier team has been indestructible, standing at 13-0 overall, the only team remaining to have not suffered a defeat of any kind.
The Jets face the Pittsburgh Vengeance for a pair in Pittsburgh this weekend. The Jets hold the all-time USPHL series lead at 14-4 overall with two OT and two SO wins.
All three of the Jets’ veteran goalies, of course, are undefeated - Daniel Miscavish (5-0), Louis-Pierre Fortier (4-0) and Will Augustine (3-0).
Alex Schaumburger has scored in all 13 of the Jets’ games so far, the second-longest scoring streak of the year and the longest active streak. He’s posted 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points in that time.
Braydin Lewis and Kam Hellman each have seven-game scoring streaks going with Lewis sporting a 3-13-16 line and Hellman putting up 7-8-15.
The next hottest Great Lakes team are the Toledo Cherokee, who defeated Pittsburgh twice last weekend for a current 7-0 winning streak. The Cherokee’s only two losses on the season are to the Metro Jets.
The Cherokee go up against the Wooster Oilers this weekend. The Cherokee hold a slim 8-5-0-0 record in their all-time series, including a decisive Cherokee victory on Oct. 1.
Their 7-0 winning streak is their best run of wins since starting the 2020-21 season on a 14-0 run.
Bailey Byrd has posted two goals and one assist for three points in three consecutive games, the first time in his four-year career that he has had three consecutive multi-point games with the exact same line in each. He also had an assist four games back to give him six goals and 10 assists for 14 points in four games.
When Byrd hit his current 163 points for his career, he joined two other active players in the top 10 all time for USPHL Premier scoring - Cincinnati’s Drake Barnish and Jordan Stear.
The Columbus Mavericks are enjoying a fine 4-0 run of their own right now, and they’ll step out of the division to face the Buffalo Stampede for two home games beginning Friday night.
The Stampede took over the franchise of the former Buffalo Thunder. The Mavericks won both of their 2020-21 meetings with the Thunder last year.
The Mavs’ Ethan Bishara has been averaging two points per game recently, with four goals and six assists for 10 points in his last five.
Along with the first hat trick in Stampede history on Oct. 23 against Hershey, Caden Cranston has added another goal and two assists in his last three games for a six-point run going into Friday night.
Midwest East Division
Who’s Hot: The MJDP are on a 4-0 run, and just behind that streak is the 3-0 run currently held by the Decatur Blaze. The Chicago Cougars are the only other team in the division to have won their most recent game.
The MJDP and Chicago Cougars begin a two-game set in Mount Clemens, Mich., on Friday night. The Cougars hold a 5-3-0-0 all-time series lead.
The 4-0 run by MJDP is its second longest already this season - they began the year with a 5-0 streak kicked off by an 8-7 OT win over the Motor City Hockey Club.
Freddy Soderberg enters the game with a two-game shutout streak, and his minutes without a goal are currently at 125:21, going back to the final goal of a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Vengeance on Oct. 22 at the USPHL Detroit Showcase - Soderberg’s only loss this year.
The Decatur Blaze cross divisional lines to take on the Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones this weekend in Cincinnati. This will be the first meeting for the two teams in their history.
Along with a weekend sweep of the Motor City Hockey Club last weekend (which included a shootout win), the Blaze also won their last USPHL Detroit Showcase game against the Wooster Oilers in a 6-0 shutout victory, their first since the third of three straight shutout victories between Jan. 24 and 27, 2021.
Jonathan Gurgul, the Blaze’s leading scorer with 11 points in 11 games, has collected four goals and three assists for seven points in these last three wins.
The Blaze are, of course, facing a scoring machine in the league’s second leading scorer Drake Barnish. The fourth-year Premier player is sixth all-time in USPHL scoring and has 40 points in just 17 games. First Toledo and then the Metro Jets last weekend were the first two teams to keep him scoreless this year.
Barnish is just five goals away from tying the all-time Premier goal-scoring record, held by former Fort Wayne Spacemen forward Jared Fisher.
Midwest West Division
Who’s Hot: The Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings were the only team to go 4-0 at the USPHL Midwest Showcase held last weekend in Blaine, Minn. The only other Midwest West teams to have won their most recent games were the Hudson Havoc (2-0-2 in their four Showcase games) and the Minnesota Blue Ox.
The Riverkings face the Dells Ducks on Friday, and then they move on to face Steele County on Saturday and Sunday.
The Riverkings hold a 12-2-0-0 all-time USPHL Premier record against the Ducks, and they are 14-2-0-0 all-time against the Blades.
Wisconsin’s Jordan Stear, who is No. 9 on the all-time list for USPHL Premier scoring, has 164 points and is one point away from tying for eighth and three points from tying for seventh.
Stear has posted two goals and five assists for seven points in his last four games.
The 2004-born Caden Glamkowski leads the Ducks in scoring, and picked up three goals and two assists for five points in his four USPHL Midwest Showcase games.
Another ‘04 rising star, the Blades’ Connor Movalli, has points in his last eight games, working out to a 5-3-8 line. With 13 points in 11 games, he’s only missed the scoresheet once this season.
The Hudson Havoc get the Ducks after their one-game Friday night action against the Riverkings. The Havoc themselves are hosting the Rum River Kings on Friday to try to extend their points streak to a season-high five games.
The Havoc are 12-1-1-1 all-time against the Mallards, and 11-7-0-0 all-time against the Ducks. The Dells won the first seven meetings and the Havoc have won the 11 since then including one OT victory.
The Havoc’s Harvey Dove set a season-high 1-3-4 performance for the Havoc in their most recent game, a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Blue Ox.
The Blue Ox face the Minnesota Moose on Friday night and again on Saturday.
The Moose hold a slim 9-7 series lead, with two of those wins being OT victories (the Blue Ox’s line in the series reads an even 7-7-2-0).
The Moose won their last meeting, the first game of the year, on Sept. 26, 6-3.
After the Blue Ox beat the Minnesota Mullets on Nov. 4, goalie Marcello De Antunano’s winning streak reached five, just a few days after Joe Moen took his first loss after a similar 5-0 run to kick off the season.
Blue Ox leading scorer Michael Clough has five goals and one assist in his last three games for a six-point streak.
Clough is three points away from 100 points for his career with the Blue Ox, and five goals away from holding the all-time goal scoring lead (86, owned by Oliver de Croock and Kyle Kester).
The Moose’s Jack Kazmierczak is on a hot point streak of six games, in which he’s posted four goals and five assists.
Who’s Hot: The Utah Outliers indeed. They are on their own, an island of victories, as they have moved into the top spot with a nine-game 8-0-1 points streak. They hold a two-point lead over the Ogden Mustangs (2-0-1 in their last three). The Pueblo Bulls jumped above .500 on the season by winning their last two of their four USPHL Midwest Showcase games.
Conveniently, the Outliers and Mustangs kick off a Friday-Saturday home-and-home, a series which continues the following Friday as well.
The Outliers hold a 6-5-2-1 record between them in the USPHL, but the Mustangs inched closer to evening the all-time by winning their first two games of this year, a 6-0 win on Oct. 1 and a 3-2 OT victory on Oct. 9.
Utah’s Garrett Alderman brings his season-long 5-0 record into the weekend series. Savva Serdiuk is unbeaten in his last five games.
The Pueblo Bulls started the USPHL Midwest Showcase by falling in one-goal decisions to the Hudson Havoc and Minnesota Blue Ox. They changed course and beat the Steele County Blades and, in one of their best wins ever, the Minnesota Moose by an 8-4 score.
The Bulls pull into Greely, Colo., for three straight against the Northern Colorado Eagles Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is the first meeting this season between the two Colorado teams. The Bulls hold a very slim 6-4-0-1 record in the all-time series.
Benjamin St-Onge has scored in every one of his 16 games this year - and he is on a 16-19-35 streak from the start of the season. St-Onge is the Bulls’ all-time leading scorer.
Who’s Hot: After they handed the Lake Tahoe Lakers their first loss, the hottest team now are the Fresno Monsters, undefeated in regulation through nine (8-0-1).
The Monsters are idle this weekend, and they face the Thunderbirds next weekend, with the three-game set starting at 7:30 PST on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11.
The Lakers won the first game last weekend in overtime, but Fresno then turned the tide with a shootout victory and then a 10-5 win to cap the weekend.
The Monsters’ Narek Aleksanyan improved his scoring streak to five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in his last five games.
Who’s Hot: The Hampton Roads Whalers are undefeated in regulation in their last 11 games at 9-0-2. The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes are the only other team to win at least their last game.
- The Whalers are off this weekend until they face the Potomac Patriots next weekend.
The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes visit the Potomac Patriots this weekend. This is the rematch of an Oct. 9-10 series in which the Patriots won in OT and Carolina won in regulation.
- The Jr. Canes - and their predecessors the Carolina Eagles - are 17-1-1-0 all-time against the Patriots.
- Marcus Jallow has points in five straight games for Potomac, standing with a 3-2-5 line.
Charlotte is at Richmond this weekend, the renewal of a classic Southeast Division rivalry. On Oct. 9-10, Charlotte won a pair of games 3-1 and 2-1 in regulation.