The first USPHL Showcase Series event featuring USPHL junior teams hit the ice at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass. (as well as other nearby rinks.
Every day provided fast, exciting hockey featuring teams from 15U all the way up to the NCDC.
It was, of course, the Boston Junior Bruins Shootout.
The annual event is often a first look for many college scouts at the amazing array of junior and Midget talent that the USPHL has to offer. The Junior Bruins also invite high-level non-league teams to test their mettle against the USPHL's best.
Out of the EHF Selects, it was the Cape Cod Whalers 16U squad defeating the Selects Academy at South Kent School's 15U team in the Sunday afternoon final.
"This tournament's a real high-end tournament, and all the best teams are here," said Whalers forward Brendan Dumas. He scored the game-and tournament-winner in the 2-1 final, and talked about his team's win on the EHF Selects Facebook page. "We just come here, work hard, have fun and we ended up with the win."
The Whalers defeated the USPHL's Skipjacks Hockey Club and Springfield Pics, and the EHF Selects' Mid-Fairfield Rangers. That 3-0 run put them into the playoffs, where they beat the Eastern Mass. Senators (EHF Selects) and Selects Academy 16U (USPHL 16U Affiliate members) to reach the 30-minute final against the Selects Academy 15U squad.
Speaking of Selects Academy, their 18U team defeated fellow 18U Affiliate members Newbridge Academy to start their showcase run. After a defeat against the USPHL's full-season P.A.L. Jr. Islanders 18U team, they went back to winning ways against the EHF Selects Boston Jr. Eagles to reach the playoffs.
In the playoffs, they first defeated the USPHL 18U's Jersey Shore Whalers and the EHF Selects' Mid-Fairfield Rangers. In the final, they picked up the title win over the Boston Junior Bruins' full-season 18U squad.
The National Collegiate Development Conference's first weekend started out with 10 teams going 1-1. That early parity fell away a little bit to reveal some early power brokers - the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, New Jersey Rockets and Junior Bruins all went 3-0 overall. They joined the Hitmen, who went 2-0 the first weekend and 2-1 at the showcase, to set four teams tied for first in the league at 4-1 apiece.
The South Shore Kings emerged as the top team in the Premier Division, going 4-0 for the weekend. With that, they stood shoulder to shoulder as one of nine Premier Division teams that haven't lost a game yet after multiple contests.
The Elite Division only featured a handful of teams, but the Boston Bandits had the best performance there. They went 3-0-1 and were one of just three Elite teams without a regulation loss this season after multiple games.
The Premier and Elite teams out of the Southeast and Florida Divisions take the showcase spotlight next. The Southeast Showcase runs from Sept. 27-30 at the Xtreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, N.C., just outside of Charlotte.
The next Showcase Series event for the NCDC and Midget divisions is the New Jersey Hitmen Classic, with games running Oct. 4-8. and featuring USPHL teams from the NCDC, 18U and 16U Divisions. The majority of games take place at the Ice Vault in Wayne, N.J., with additional games being played in Little Falls, N.J.