Midgets What we Learned
Skipjacks take competition to school
The Skipjacks Hockey Club is officially a force to be reckoned with. They picked up three more wins to add to their National Division-leading 7-1 record.
When they got to the Hitmen Classic last week, the Skipjacks hadn’t played against USPHL competition in two weeks, since the Boston Junior Bruins Shootout. There, they had gone an almost unnoticeable 1-1-1, but at the Hitmen Classic, they showed their dominance. There, they took down the Newbridge Academy, the CP Dynamo and the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs. In all of their games, their win margin was no less than three goals.
At the BJB Shootout, the CP Dynamo absolutely blew the Skipjacks out of the water. This time around, at the Hitmen Classic, the Skipjacks got the W by a 4-1 score.
“In our first game, we might have underestimated them,” said Caden Freer, after that win. “We thought maybe they weren’t going to be as good as they were in the past. They came out [at the BJB Shootout] much better team than expected and really gave it to us that first game. This game, we had a little anger, an edge to us, and we brought it back to them on the way we can play.”
Freer played a huge part in the big weekend for the Skipjacks, scoring two hat tricks. UMass-Lowell recruit Aidan Harper went 3-0, giving up just one goal in each proceeding.
Pic your poison
The Springfield Pics came into the Hitmen Classic undefeated, and they left the same way. The Pics (of the Northeast Division) are now 6-0, and they started out the Hitmen Classic by taking apart the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, a 4-4 team in the National Division, by a 5-1 score.
From there, they picked up a pair of one-goal wins against division rival the South Shore Kings.
A Whale of a time
The Jersey Shore Whalers improved to 5-0 overall in USPHL games, thanks to a 3-0 run at the Hitmen Classic. They defeated a shorthanded Pittsburgh Vengeance team between a sound win over the Maine Moose and a close showdown with the Syracuse Jr. Stars.
Other points of interest
The Vengeance started their USPHL 18U existence at the Hitmen Classic, and aside of the tough loss to the Whalers, they finished a respectable 3-1.
The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs had entered the Hitmen Classic at 3-0-1-0, and were only able to pick up one win alongside a regulation loss and a shootout loss.
CP Dynamo was one of the toughest teams going into the Hitmen Classic, standing at 5-1 overall. In the showcase, however, they ran into trouble almost everywhere and limped out at 1-3 for the weekend.
On the bill
For the 18U Division, most eyes will have to be on the two-game set between the Vengeance and the Jersey Shore Whalers, hosted by the Whalers in Howell, N.J. Puck drop for Saturday is at 5:50 p.m., and for Sunday, it’s 1 p.m.
The first place Skipjacks will host the 2-1-1 New Jersey Rockets at the York City Ice Arena this weekend, as well. They start at 8:15 on Saturday and have a quick turnaround for a 10:30 a.m. game on Sunday morning.
Rockets hit Mach 4
Before they hit the ice at the Hitmen Classic, there wasn’t much of a sampling of what the New Jersey Rockets could do, at least not in USPHL play. Coach Noel Rubin’s team had gone 1-1 in their first pair of games against the New Jersey Hitmen and Palmyra Black Knights.
At the Hitmen Classic, they proved their mettle and also why they are considered a top 30 16U team nationally on MYHockeyRankings.com. That is the highest ranking for any full-season 16U USPHL team.
The Rockets gave themselves a wide swath on the scoreboard between them and their opponents in three of their four games at the Hitmen Classic. Ironically, their closest game came against a Boston Bandits team still trying to get in the wins column after six games.
Hosts with the hot hand
The New Jersey Hitmen went 3-1 at their own showcase, using the weekend to leapfrog over the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (6-0) in points, standing with a 7-2-0-1 record after the Classic.
Monarchs still mighty
A single ‘1’ showed up in the loss column for the first time this year for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, who went 1-1 in league play at the showcase (and they also had one additional non-league loss).
The Skipjacks Hockey Club were the first to defeat the Monarchs this year, en route to their own 3-1 weekend at the Hitmen Classic.
With a 6-1 overall record, the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs are still to be considered a 16U powerhouse.
P.A.L. asserts itself
The P.A.L. Junior Islanders entered the Hitmen Classic with only a couple USPHL games under their belt, both losses. They ended up going 3-0, and now stand at a more respectable 3-2-0-0 record.
Cyclones, for certain
The Northern Cyclones 16U squad went a very healthy 3-0, and that doubled their record to 6-0 overall. They eked out two one-goal victories before running away with their final contest in New Jersey.
Other Hitmen Classic highlights
The Palmyra Black Knights entered the showcase with a pedestrian 1-3-0-1 record, but they flipped that in one weekend to pull up to. 500 with a 3-1 weekend. They now stand at 4-4-0-1 and the middle of a very tough National Division.
The Islanders Hockey Club played the role of upsetter, twice. They defeated both the Hitmen (3-2) and the Palmyra Black Knights (2-1), but lost their only non-league game of the weekend. The two league wins, however, did place the Islanders north of .500 at 3-2-1-0.
Monarchs rule remains
The Rochester Jr. Monarchs went 3-0 and now stand at 14-0 overall in the Mid-American Division. Over the weekend, Rory Fitzpatrick’s team outscored their opponents 25-3. Their overall goal differential in the league is 73-7.
Watch the Wolfpack
The Monarchs’ only non-win this season was a tie against the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack, who by the way went 3-0. That run lifted the Wolfpack’s record to 9-2 overall.
On the bill
The Hitmen and Rockets will face each other this weekend, putting their respective 7-2-0-0 and 5-1-0-0 records against each other. They drop the puck against each other on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Rockets’ home Bridgewater Ice Arena.
From there, the Rockets have a pair against the other 5-1-0-0 team in the National Division, the Skipjacks Hockey Club. The Rockets travel for the pair at York City Ice Arena on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 8:15 a.m.
In the 15U world, the Philadelphia Hockey Club still rules the roost at 7-2-0. The Rockets 15U squad is 5-0 and creeping up, while the New Jersey Hitmen have played nine games like the PHC and are 5-4.