By Patrick Ramsdale and Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com
Week of Sept. 28, 2022
The USPHL Premier season is in full swing, and the Mid-Atlantic division has seen plenty of action. With the exception for the New York Aviators, every team in the division took to the ice this past weekend.
Here is a look at the teams who came out of the weekend with a tally in the win column.
The Knights were crowned the regular season champions last season after posting a 39-3-2 record last season. If this weekend was a preview for this upcoming season, then they have established themselves yet again as a serious contender for the USPHL Championship.
Wilkes-Barre started off the season with a 7-2 victory against the Jersey Hitmen. The Knights continued their weekend by sweeping the Elmira Jr. Enforcers, outscoring them by a significant amount while not giving up any goals.
- Hunter Parker sits tied for third in points in the USPHL after posting a 4-8-12 line through the Knights three games.
- The goalie tandem of Tade Carman and Luke Remenyi posted a combined 73 saves in their two shutouts.
- A 3-0 start is great, but the Knights have a long way to go before hoping to match their 13-game unbeaten streak out of the gate from their inaugural 2021-22 season.
The Stampede are 3-1 on the season and entered the weekend 1-1 after splitting a series against the Columbus Mavericks.
Buffalo took home two wins in close matchups against the Cincinnati Cyclones on Thursday and Friday. Brendan Bastian scored the game-winner in overtime in a 3-2 contest on Thursday. Lex Roldan and Caden Cavalieri found the back of the net in the first period on Friday in the Stampede’s 2-1 win.
- Blake Micucci and Lucas Thurmond made a combined 69 saves during the weekend.
Utica Jr. Comets
Utica opened the season with a three-game series against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers. The Jr. Comets took the first two games of the series with scores of 4-1 and 8-5, before falling to Connecticut on Sunday
- Sean Tyrie had four goals and 2 assists on the weekend, including a 3-2-5 line in Saturday’s 8-5 win.
- The Jr. Comets swept all four meetings with Connecticut in 2021-22, while the two teams split a two-game series in 2020-21.
Rockets Hockey Club
The defending National Champion Rockets only played one game this past weekend but showed that they’re a force to be reckoned on. The Rockets beat the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders significantly in a contest that saw all but two Rockets skaters getting points. Liam Gross stopped all 21 shots he faced for the shutout.
Connecticut Jr. Rangers
The Jr. Rangers shut out the Utica Comets in the Sunday game of the aforementioned 3-game series. Joseph Lomtevas posted a 2-3-5 line on the weekend while Jack Berges potted two in the net and was credited with two helpers. Jacob Tinson made 48 saves in his first shutout at the Premier level in the 4-0 victory.
- This was the Jr. Rangers’ first shutout victory since Feb. 15, 2021, while the team was competing in the Hub City Tampa six-week event that marked most of the end of the 2020-21 season. They defeated the former Detroit Fighting Irish, 4-0, in that 2021 matchup.
NEW ENGLAND DIVISION
The furthest North and East division of the USPHL has also jumped into the action over the last week. The big winners for the first weekend were the Twin City Thunder, with their first two W’s, but also the Islanders Hockey Club and Northern Cyclones took midweek victories to kick off their campaigns.
Twin City Thunder
The Thunder brought the Bandits up to their barn in Auburn, Maine, and celebrated two victories, 2-0 and 5-2. Alexis Mongrain made 26 saves in the 2-0 shutout victory, while Gavin Delfosse and Jack O’Rourke each had 1-2-3 lines in the two games.
- Twin City avenged an opening sweep by the Bridgewater Bandits to open the 2021-22 season, in Bridgewater.
- In the last three of their four total seasons, the Thunder have opened up against the Bandits, going 2-1 in those games, both wins happening at home.
Islanders Hockey Club
The Islanders started their season with a shutout much like the Thunder did, also winning 2-0 on Sept. 28, but against the Boston Advantage. Ean Badgett made 31 saves to start the Islanders new season.
- This is the first time since the 2017 inception of the modern USPHL Premier that the Islanders have opened up with a shutout.
The Thunder took their first loss of the season when they visited Hudson, N.H., where the host Northern Cyclones won by a 5-2 score. Connor Crawford led the way with two goals for the Cyclones.
- The Cyclones are 2-0 in season openers against Twin City, having also defeated the Thunder in that organization’s inaugural Premier game by a 6-4 score.