This week in Kleiner’s Seven Things to Know, Mike Klein fills you in on what happened at the South Shore Kings and takes a look at the battles going on around the league. Check back every week for what you need to know about the USPHL.
The Islanders Hockey Club still lead the Premier Division by one point, but the Hitmen picked up a valuable win over the leaders on Sunday to jump into second place. The Islanders will hope to lock up the Founders Cup in their series against PAL this weekend, while the Hitmen travel to Philadelphia for a pair with the Flyers. The South Shore Kings are still in it, and they host Rochester twice this weekend.
Syracuse Stars alum Alex Tuch, a sophomore at Boston College, scored the only goal of the championship game of the Beanpot Tournament to give the Eagles a 1-0 win over archrival Boston University. In 66 games at Boston College, Tuch has amassed 26 goals and 26 assists (52 points). He was chosen with the 18th pick of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild.
The Potomac Patriots defeated the Jersey Hitmen 4-3 in overtime on Sunday to win the 16U Futures Division. The win caps off a 16-2 season that included five shutouts and only three games, two of which were in the playoffs, where the team gave up two or more goals. The championship game also gave Potomac a bit of revenge on the Hitmen, who defeated them 2-1 to close out the regular season.
The Islanders Hockey Club have clinched the Elite Northern Division title with only two games to spare to add some clarity to the division’s playoff picture. The battle for second, however, rages on as the South Shore Kings, Junior Bruins, and Jr. Pirates Hockey Club all remain in the hunt.
The USPHL Tournament of Champions will begin on February 20, with the 18U and 16U North teams convening at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, and the South teams meeting at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne, NJ. The 18U bracket is set, while the 16U South bracket still has games remaining with the top five seeds still up for grabs.
After dispatching the Frederick Freeze on Sunday at the South Shore Kings Showcase, the Jersey Hitmen clinched the USP3 North Division and overall regular season titles. The team left Foxboro with a 3-1 record on the weekend. The Jersey Shore Whalers and Junior Bruins will fight it out for the second seed in the USP3 North.
The Eastern Conference has been settled, as the Tri City Icehawks have clinched the top seed in the playoffs and the Traverse City Hounds have the second spot. Over in the Western Conference, the battle between the Chicago Cougars, Dells Ducks, and Forest Lake Lakers still rages on, but the Cougars need to win just one of their remaining games to clinch.