Forward: Adam Wedberg, San Diego Sabers
The Sabers only recently added the 2001-born Swede, who had started the year in the Division II league in his home country. He posted three goals in each of the Sabers’ recent wins against the Fresno Monsters, and he also added an assist in the Nov. 20 game. Wedberg also registered an assist on Nov. 21 as the Monsters won decisively in the third game.
Defense: Loic Gosselin, Las Vegas Thunderbirds
Gosselin (‘04/Kingsey Falls, Que.) posted a 2-3-5 mark in the first of three wins against the Mountain Division’s Provo Riverblades, and then he went on to add to that already impressive first game with three assists over the next two victories. Gosselin improved his points total to 25 through 20 games.
Goaltender: Filip Plars, San Diego Sabers
Plars continued to look like a world-beater in his first weekend coming off two wins against the Ontario Jr. Reign, as he picked up two more victories by stopping a combined 53 of 58 shots by the powerful Fresno Monsters. The Monsters did solve the puzzle in their Nov. 21 win, but even then, Plars still managed to stop 35 shots.
Forward: Parker Williams, Utah Outliers
Williams (‘01/West Bloomfield, Mich.) was an essential ingredient to the Outliers’ three-game sweep of the Pacific Division’s Lake Tahoe Lakers. Williams posted one assist in the first game, a goal and an assist in the second game, and then pulled off the hat trick and added an assist in a decisive third win on Sunday. All told, it was a seven-point weekend for Williams.
Defense: Luke Faas, Ogden Mustangs
Faas (‘03/Eagle, Idaho) helped the Mustangs rip through the IHC Showcase with a 4-0 record, including wins over the defending National Champion Charlotte Rush, host Islanders Hockey Club and the Midwest West Division-leading (at the time) Minnesota Blue Ox). Over his weekend, he helped the team offensively with a goal and five assists for six points, and he was a +4 defensively. He had two assists against each of Charlotte and Minnesota.
Goaltender: Marco Duronio, Ogden Mustangs
Duronio is brand new to the Mustangs, joining them for the first time at the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase. He comes in with eight Tier II games under his belt already in his career, and picked up his first two Premier wins against the Rush and Blue Ox, stopping 39 of 43 shots in the two games.
The Mountain Division saw three teams - Ogden, Northern Colorado and Pueblo - make their first trip to an Eastern U.S. showcase, and all three put up impressive performances to a degree, but none greater than the Ogden Mustangs.
The Mustangs’ 4-0 weekend closed the gap with the first place Utah Outliers from six to four points. The weekend included, as aforementioned, wins over the defending National Champion Rush (5-4) and the Midwest West-leading Blue Ox (4-1), along with Philadelphia Hockey Club (4-3) and the host Islanders Hockey Club (4-0). The Mustangs have three games over Thanksgiving weekend against Provo and the Outliers between Friday and Sunday.
The Outliers held onto first place with a 3-0 run against the visiting Lake Tahoe Lakers, the scores starting out close (4-3 in the first game, 6-2 in the second) and closing with a decisive victory to extend their winning streak to 4-0.
The Bulls and Eagles each won a single game in the east. After falling to the Minnesota Moose, Pittsburgh Vengeance and Metro Jets, the Eagles finished off with a 1-0 shutout win over a tough Hudson Havoc team. The Bulls took a win when they started Saturday against the Utica Jr. Comets, but then took losses to the Charlotte Rush and Northern Cyclones.
Provo made the trip west to Las Vegas and were unable to pick up any victories in their three games in the desert.
A busy weekend saw just one bit of movement in the standings as the San Diego Sabers used a 2-of-3 weekend against Fresno to move out of fifth and into fourth, switching places with the Ontario Jr. Reign.
The leading Lake Tahoe Lakers saw their division lead slip from seven to five points as they were unable to walk away with a point from their three-game visit to Utah against the Outliers.
Second-place Fresno fell in their first two to the rising San Diego Sabers (4-2 and 5-3) before the Monsters put up a monstrous and decisive victory in Game 3 of the weekend.
The Las Vegas Thunderbirds shrunk their point deficit behind the leading Lakers from 13 to seven with three big wins against the Mountain’s Provo Riverblades (8-3, 2-1, 7-4).
The Long Beach Shredders and Ontario Jr. Reign each took two points from each other in a split weekend. Ontario won the first game, 6-3, and Long Beach took Game 2, 5-3.
Check back next week for a more in-depth look at the USPHL Premier in our next edition of “The Breakdown: USPHL Premier.”