(Records Indicate Games Played Dec. 1-8)
(By Patrick Ramsdale and Joshua Boyd)
New York Aviators (3-0)
The New York Aviators were one of the most dominant teams in November and appear to be carrying that into December, continuing a current 13-game winning streak.
In just three games so far this month, the Aviators have outscored their opponents 23-6. The Aviators sit at the top of the Mid-Atlantic standings in winning percentage at .868, posting a 16-2-1-0 record so far this season.
- At 13-0-1-0 in their last 14, the Aviators have the league’s second best regulation unbeaten streak that includes at least one loss (an OT loss on Oct. 31, 9-8 to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton). The Fresno Monsters are first in that category with a current 15-0-1-0 streak. They are six points better this year than last year after 19 games (27 points, 13-5-1-0).
- The Aviators are fifth in penalty killing, canceling 53 of 59 opponent man-advantages.
- Mathias Rakell has been a standout for New York all season long, with 48 points in 19 games. Rakell has already amassed an incredible 10 points in just three games this December. He is tied for eighth in league scoring with 48 points.
- Max Granlund Wennerberg is another Aviators finding success this winter with seven points so far this month, including a hat trick against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers on Dec. 3.
The Road Ahead: New York looks to keep its 13-game winning streak alive as they play another three-game weekend, with the Rockets Hockey Club on Friday and the Buffalo Stampede on Saturday and Sunday.
- The defending National Champion Rockets are one of the few Mid-Atlantic teams the Aviators have struggled against in recent years. From the time the Aviators knocked off the top-seeded Rockets in the 2021 playoffs to advance to that year’s Nationals, they have not defeated the Rockets in the regular season (0-4 since 2021-22). The Rockets most recently won 5-4 on Oct. 16, two games before the OT loss to the WBS Knights started the regulation unbeaten streak.
- Conversely, the Aviators have defeated the Buffalo Stampede in all three of their meetings. Typically in different divisions in the past, they met only once before this season, in 2019-20.
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights (4-0)
Wilkes-Barre opened the month with two wins over the Rockets Hockey Club. The Knights nearly saw their winning streak come to an end at eight games before they edged out the Rockets, 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday. Tyler Ribera was the only player to score in the shootout, winning it for the Knights in the sixth round. Wilkes-Barre would then go on to beat RHC 6-1 the following day in the game that saw dominant performances from Justin Ryan and Hunter Parker. Parker would tie his career-high in assists in a game with four. Ryan netted two goals while also registering an assist.
From there, the Knights defeated the Utica Jr. Comets in their first trip to Utica’s brand new Nexus Center, host site of the 2023 USPHL National Championships. They won 6-2 and 5-2 on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, pushing them into first place, three points ahead of the New York Aviators.
- With four wins in December so far, the Knights tied with the 19-0 undefeated Vernal Oilers as the only two teams at 4-0 through the first stages of the final month of 2022.
- The Knights’ 12-game winning streak is fourth best in the league, one game shy of division mates the New York Aviators’ 13, at third.
- The Knights have an impressive offense (5.00 goals per game), but their defense is in top 10 in two categories – team goals against average (2.32, ninth) and shots against per game average (26.55, seventh).
- Parker has a 2-9-12, five-game scoring streak going back to the Knights’ only November game on Nov. 6. During the streak, Parker became the Knights’ all-time leading scorer with 79 points in 52 games for the second-year Knights organization. He passed Teague Porter (now with the NCDC Knights), who had 72 career Premier points, all in 2021-22.
- Aidan Darlington’s active 11-game point streak, featuring 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 points, is 20th in the league for the whole season and eighth-longest active streak in the USPHL Premier. He has 26 points in 20 games overall.
- Goaltender Tade Carman is on a five-game winning streak going back to Oct. 16. He has a 1.94 goals against average and a .936 save percentage during the streak.
The Road Ahead: The Knights will next face the Jersey Hitmen in a home-and-home on Saturday and Sunday. WBS has won all five of their meetings, including the Knights’ 7-2 season-opening victory this year.
Jersey Hitmen (1-0-0-0)
The Jersey Hitmen have played just one game to start the month as they took on the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders on Saturday. The Hitmen saw three different players post multi-point performances, including a one goal, two assist night from Jake Murphy. Francis Zaklukiewicz also recorded a goal and an assist. Though it was Noah Smits two goal night, that included the game-winner with under four minutes to play, that helped carry Jersey to victory. It was a great relief for a team that had struggled since their last win on Oct. 9 at the Rockets Hockey Club Showcase. • The Hitmen have fared well if they can get on the board early and hold a lead after 20 or 40 minutes. They are 3-2-0-0 when up after one period, and 4-0 when up after 40 minutes. Another healthy situation for the Hitmen is outshooting their opponent. They are 4-2-0-0 in the six times they’ve put the puck on net more than their opponents.
- Francis Zaklukiewicz and Alexander Snellman are tied for the team lead in scoring with 17 points through 23 and 20 games, respectively.
The Road Ahead: Don’t envy the Hitmen. Their remaining schedule in December is not kind. They have two this weekend against the first-place WBS Knights, who are on a 12-game winning streak. Next Thursday, they have a single game against the defending National Champion Rockets Hockey Club, before two against the New York Aviators, who are currently on a 13-game winning streak.
Elmira Jr. Enforcers (1-0-1-0)
Elmira has been neck and neck with Hershey all season long in the standings, as they trail the
Cubs by just two points with two games in hand. The teams met on Saturday in a contest the
Jr. Enforcers took 6-2. Nathan Garau continued his incredible rookie campaign by netting four goals in the Jr. Enforcers’ Saturday night victory. Elmira picked up an additional point in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Cubs on Sunday.
- The Enforcers are enjoying a four-game point streak (1-0-2-1), including a shootout loss and overtime loss to the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders on Nov. 26-27. They did not earn points in that many consecutive games at any point last season. Their last streak of note was a 7-0 run to end their inaugural 2020-21 season, just ahead of their trip to the 2021 National Championships.
- Elmira is certainly an improved team from a year ago. At 5-12-3-1 for 14 points, they have more than double the points they had at the same 21-game mark last year.
- Four of their five wins have come when scoring the first goal (4-3-1-0).
- Garau, who leads the way with 40 points in 21 games, has a 6-2-8 line over the four-game point streak.
The Road Ahead: Elmira travels to Nashville this weekend for a three-game series against the Spartans. Nashville won all three when Elmira hosted the Spartans between Oct. 14-16.
Rockets Hockey Club (1-1-0-1)
The Rockets have seen their results go all over the map since the start of the month. They fell 4-3 to the WBS Knights in a shootout. They went six rounds before the Knights’ Tyler Ribera scored the only shootout goal. After the next game was not nearly as close, a 6-1 Knights win, the Rockets rebounded on Dec. 6 with a 4-1 victory against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers.
- The Rockets improved to 10-5-2-1. They are one of seven teams to have played 18 or fewer games to this point of the season (the Minnesota Blue Ox “lead” that category with 16 games played so far).
- Outshooting their opponents is key for the Rockets, as nine of their 10 wins have come with an advantage in shots (9-0-2-0).
- Yakov Yakzhin’s 11-game point streak is tied for eighth-longest active streak in the USPHL Premier. He has 9-9-18 over that run, keeping it going even as the Rockets scored just one goal in two of their last four games.
- The Rockets only have a few more games with their National Championship-winning goalie Liam Gross, who committed this week to Buffalo State College (NCAA Division III). He’ll join the Bengals in January. He has a 7-2-1-0 record this year with a 2.68 goals against average. He went 9-0 for the Rockets over the course of the entire 2022 postseason.
The Road Ahead: The Rockets are on the road for three in a row coming up. They’ll take on the New York Aviators tonight at 9 p.m., before facing the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders on Tuesday and the Jersey Hitmen next Thursday.
- RHC is 14-6-2-1 against the Aviators all time, and they have not yielded to the Brooklyn squad since the 2021 playoffs.
- The Rockets are undefeated in their 12 all-time meetings with the Jr. Islanders.
- RHC is 18-5-0-0 all-time against the Hitmen, who last won a match-up between the I-287 rivals on Jan. 27, 2019.
Hershey Cubs (1-1-0-0)
After dropping the first game of the weekend series to Elmira, the Cubs bounced back with an
exciting win on Sunday. Geoffrey Bokor netted his third goal of the season while also recording an assist. Tyler Czukoski registered two assists in the game as well. However, it was defensemen Ty Burket who emerged as the overtime hero for the Cubs as they took the 3-2 victory and remain perfect in overtime this season with a 3-0 record.
- The Cubs are one of just five teams league-wide with at least three OT wins this year. The Boston Junior Bruins are first with a 4-0 record in extra time.
- Owen Dell is enjoying a six-game point streak going back to producing points in each of the Cubs’ four games at the USPHL Detroit Showcase (Nov. 19-21). He has goals in six straight games, and three assists for a 6-3-9 point streak. His six-game goal streak is in a four-way tie for fourth longest active streak in the league. The WBS Knights’ Aidan Darlington (9-1-10) is also within that tied group.
The Road Ahead: The Cubs currently sit in sixth place in the Mid-Atlantic and hope to pick up some point this weekend as they host the Buffalo Stampede for a two-game series. The Cubs are undefeated in six all-time matchups, with one going to overtime.
New England Division
(By Britt Hart and Joshua Boyd)
Bridgewater Bandits (3-0-0-0)
After going 2-4-0 in November, the Bridgewater Bandits have started December off right, winning their first three games of the month over the Boston Advantage, Junior Bruins and South Shore Kings. This has been the best monthly start for the team this year, and they hope to keep things moving in the right direction as they currently sit in a tie for fifth place in the division. They’re two points back of the fourth-place Springfield Pics, who happen to be their next opponent on Saturday.
- The Junior Bandits held the lead after two periods against the Kings on Wednesday, putting them at 6-0-0-0 on the season with a lead after two periods.
- The Bandits are now 2-0-0 against the Boston Advantage so far this season and 1-0-1 with the Junior Bruins and will face off with these two teams come the new year in January.
- Luke Merian started in net for the first two games, tallying 55 saves through 120 minutes of play. He has improved to 7-5-0-1 on the year.
- Leading scorer Wyatt Fischer led the way on offense with four goals between the three games. He now has six goals in five straight games, one short of the longest active goal streak.
The road ahead: The Bandits will be tested heavily in divisional play as they will face off twice with the South Shore Kings and once against the Springfield Pics, New Hampshire Monarchs, and Northern Cyclones to wrap up the calendar year. The Bandits currently hold a seasonal record of 2-5-0 against their future opponents for the remainder of the month.
- The Pics and Bandits have split their match-ups this season so far. The Bandits hold an all-time match-up lead of 16-7-1-1.
Twin City Thunder (2-0-0)
The first two games of December for the Twin City Thunder have been quite a turnaround as they were able to snap a seven-game losing streak and begin the month by going 2-0-0. With two wins over the South Shore Kings and the New Hampshire Monarchs, the Thunder sit in a tie for fifth place overall in the Division with 22 points, tied with Bridgewater.
- The Thunder are the third-cleanest team in the league with 8.71 penalty minutes per game. The three least-penalized teams are all in the New England Division, led by the South Shore Kings’ 6.48 minutes per game.
- Netminder Alexis Mongrain stood tall between the pipes, registering both wins in net. He registered a season-high of 39 saves in the win against the Monarchs.
- First-year Premier forward William Serverian totaled four points between the two contests with one goal and three assists. He is on an active four-game point streak, with 2-4-6 going back to Nov. 19 at the IHC Showcase.
- Four additional players registered three points apiece over the first two December games: Michael Belleau, Damon Bossie, Filip Tjarnhell and Pierce Blaeser. Bossie’s six points tie Serverian for the most since Nov. 19, and he’s enjoying a six-game point streak of 2-4-6.
The road ahead: The Thunder will continue the month with the next 4 games at Norway Savings Bank Arena, two of which will be against the South Shore Kings on Friday and Saturday. After falling to the Kings during Game 1 in a Nov. 4 shootout, the Thunder hope to sweep the month against their cross divisional rivals after taking game 2 with a score of 5-2.
- Going into Friday’s 10th all-time meeting between the two Green and Black teams, the Kings hold the all-time series lead at 6-3-0-0.
- The Cyclones hold an all-time series lead of 7-2-0-0 over Twin City, and this will also be their 10th showdown on Sunday.
- The Thunder will face the Boston Advantage on Tuesday, and Twin City holds a 5-1-1-0 all-time series lead there.
Northern Cyclones (2-0-0)
The Cyclones started off the month with a huge 4-2 win against their toughest rivals in the New England Division, the Islanders Hockey Club. These two teams continue to be strongest in the division after coming off last year’s mutual appearances at the USPHL Nationals event. The two teams are tied with 34 points in the standings but it is important to note that IHC has four games in hand on the Cyclones.
- The Cyclones have extended their winning streak to 14 with their only loss of the season coming on October 16 to the Junior Bruins. Their 14-game winning streak is second only to the undefeated 19-0 Vernal Oilers. This is their longest winning streak in the current format of the USPHL Premier (going back to 2017-18). Their previous best was a 12-game winning streak in 2019-20.
- The Cyclones are tied for the sixth-best defense, giving up just 2.00 goals per game on average. This is a team success story, as they give up just 24.94 shots per game, fifth best in the league.
- Jeffrey Fillion has been in net for the Cyclones for both wins against the Islanders, this season his highest save count of the year coming on Dec. 4 with 35 total saves. Fillion is 9-1 this year and 23-7-0-0 since last season. Those 23 wins are tied for third best among still active goalies since 2021-22.
- Benjamin Orgil recorded 1 goal and 1 assist during this contest and also netted 1 goal during the last meeting with IHC in late October.
- Justin scored three points apiece in each of the two December games and he has nine points in his last six contests.
- Left wing Max Abramson is coming on strong with a 1-8-9 scoring streak in seven games.
The Road Ahead: The Cyclones will wrap up the calendar year with fve divisional games, the two most notable being against the Islanders and theJunior Bruins. The 16-1-0 team hopes to seek revenge against the Junior Bruins and continue their winning streak to finish out 2022.
- The Cyclones first take on the Twin City Thunder on Sunday, before facing the Islanders on Wednesday. The Cyclones are dead even all-time against the Islanders Hockey Club at 9-9-0-0 (though the Islanders have three more points off a 9-6-3-0 record).
Islanders Hockey Club (2-1-0-0)
The Islanders continue the battle for first place in the New England Division and the road back to USPHL National’s splitting their first two games of the month. December has been the first month this season where IHC has not swept their first two contests but they remain tied in the division lead with 34 total points.
- The Islanders trail only the South Shore Kings in terms of fewest penalty minutes per game (8.05). They’re more than happy to let their opponents take the penalties, as they trail only Ogden in terms of best power play percentage, with a 35.6 percent success rate (26-for-73).
- Third-year Premier forward Christopher Gallagher is the only IHC player to record a point in both contests against the Northern Cyclones.
- Netminder Jared Treat (‘04) picked up his second win in net over the Monarchs this season with 36 saves in the most recent game with the cross-state rivals.
- Trystan Swiger leads the Islanders with 27 points in 21 games, while Jesper Seeberg has 26 points in 18 games to lead in points per game average (1.44).
The Road Ahead: The Islanders have a relatively quiet month with only two games left to play in the calendar year as they will play the Northern Cyclones and South Shore Kings.
- It’s a big showdown next Wednesday between the two division leaders. Islanders vs. Cyclones. About 15 miles separate them as the crow flies, but right at this moment, there are no points between.
Boston Advantage (1-1-0-0)
The Advantage began the month splitting their games with a 4-2 loss to the Bandits before having a bounceback 5-3 win against the Springfield Pics. With this win, the Advantage currently have a record of 2-1-0 against the Pics but have yet to find success over the Bandits and hold a record of 0-2-0 against the rivals just down the road. With 20 games played, the Advantage sit in seventh place in the Division with a total of 18 points. They are four points out of fifth, held in a tie between the Bandits and Twin City Thunder.
- The Advantage’s win at the Olympia was their fifth away win this season, making them 5-4-2-0 for 12 points, double the points they’ve earned as the home team.
- Yahor Ramanau leads the Advantage in scoring for defensemen with 12 points in 17 games. During the contest with the Pics, the Belarus native tallied one goal and two assists.
- Drew Depuydt and Owen Lapworth each tallied 1 goal and 1 assists during the two games, their first two points of the season with the Boston Advantage.
- Aatu Moisanen has 17 points to lead the Advantage in 16 games, while Colin Norton’s 14 points in 12 games gives him a team-leading 1.17 points per game average.
The Road Ahead: The Advantage will round out 2022 with four games – two against the Junior Bruins, and one each against the New Hampshire Monarchs and Twin City Thunder. With their record against these teams being 2-2-0, it is crucial for the Advantage to come out victorious as they hope to hit the .500 mark before the first half of the season comes to a close.
- Saturday’s opponent, the Junior Bruins, are 7-0 all-time against the Advantage, though one game went to OT last year.
- Tuesday’s opponent the Twin City Thunder are 5-1-1-0 against the Advantage in their three-year history, and against the Monarchs (up next Thursday), the Advantage are 3-2-0-0 all-time.
Drop The Pucks!