By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com
The USPHL Florida College Showcase starts on Friday in Estero, Fla., and they will play in front of a packed and electric atmosphere. We’re going to take a look at where the top South Premier teams stand, those clicking at a .500 winning percentage or better in December, after last checking in on Nov. 28.
Richmond Generals (3-1-0-0)
The Generals head into the Florida showcase with a 21-5-1-0 record, good for 43 points, which is second overall in the league in points (43), behind only the Utah Outliers at 49 points.
The Gens started with a 4-3 victory over the rival Charlotte Rush, who then turned around to beat the Generals, 3-1. Next up was the Battle of Virginia, where the Generals won by 4-2 and 5-3 scores in Hampton Roads.
- Richmond has its best-ever record after 27 games in their six-year USPHL Premier history. Their previous best was 18-8-1-0 for 37 points, set back in 2018-19.
- The Generals have the league’s best record in 2022-23 when being outshot, standing at 7-1-0-0.
- Through the midseason, Richmond is averaging nearly a goal per game more than in all of 2021-22. They currently have a 4.52 goals per game average vs. their 44-game average of 3.61 from last year.
- The Generals are No. 1 in USPHL Premier penalty killing with a 92.5 percent success rate, giving up just nine goals on 120 times shorthanded.
- Jakub Hall has the best active points streak going for the Generals. He has posted 4-5-9 in his last six games, including assists in four straight.
- Goaltender Jadon Lee is on a four-game winning streak, comprising all of his games for November and December.
The Road Ahead: Richmond starts with two games on Friday vs. Tampa Bay and Columbia, followed by Nashville on Saturday and the Florida Eels on Sunday.
- The Generals are 4-1-1-0 all-time against the Juniors. They defeated Columbia in a shutout win at the 2022 USPHL Southeast Showcase in September. They will have their only meeting with Nashville at the Florida Showcase.
- As for the Eels vs. Generals all-time series, the Gens have a two-point lead, as they’ve gone 3-1-1-0 vs. the Eels 2-2-0-1 line.
Charlotte Rush (3-1-0-0)
The Rush immediately put their Dec. 3 4-3 loss to the rival Richmond Generals behind them by turning around and beating Richmond 3-1 a day later. Fast forward a little less than a week and they were able to earn their first two wins against the new Columbia Infantry in a Southeast vs. Florida Division preview of this week’s Florida Showcase, winning 9-2 and 7-1. Out of their nine games since the start of November, only Richmond has been able to defeat them twice for a 7-2-0-0 record in that time.
- At 20-4-1-1, the Rush’s 42 points are good for third overall, just one point behind Richmond and seven points behind the league-leading Utah Outliers. The Rush are 10th in winning percentage at .808, just ahead of Richmond’s .796. The two teams are on a collision course to keep battling it out for Southeast dominance this season.
- The Rush are a little ahead of their six-season average of points after 26 games, which is 40.6. They have posted point totals of 41 in both 2018-19 and 2019-20, 43 (in their 2020-21 championship season), 36 last year and 42 this year.
- The Rush may get down but are never out. In the two times they were down after one, they won both games, and they’re 2-1-0-0 when down after two periods. Also telling is that they’re 6-4-0-0 when being outshot by their opponents.
- Rhett Evjen’s six-game goal streak is the third longest active streak in the league. He’s scored seven goals in those six games and added two assists for a nine-point run in the same six games.
- Peter Keese is the leading scorer for Charlotte in December, with 1-6-7 scored over all four games. Also on a scoring streak in December along with Evjen and Keese is Matthew Esquerre (2-6-8 in five games).
The Road Ahead: The Rush will face the Tampa Bay Juniors, Atlanta MadHatters, Florida Eels and the Florida Jr. Blades.
- The Rush are 8-0-1-0 against the Juniors going into their 10th all-time meeting; they are 18-3-0-1 against the MadHatters; they are undefeated at 6-0 against the Rush; and they are 7-1-0-0 against the Eels. Florida’s sole victory came in the 2021 USPHL Southeast Showcase, a 3-0 victory.
Potomac Patriots (3-1-0-0)
The Patriots continue to put together their best season yet, putting up an 18-7-1-0 record for 37 points, more than their last two seasons combined at the 26-game mark.
Most recently, they put up two wins over Nashville Spartans, 3-1 and 4-3 in OT, and then they split with Carolina. The Jr. Canes won 4-3 in the first game, and the Patriots beat the Jr. Canes, 6-5.
- Four of the Patriots’ last five games have been of the one-goal persuasion. The Patriots have played in eight one-goal games this season and now stand with a relatively successful 5-2-1-0 mark in the tightest of results.
- The road warriors known as the Patriots are 11-4-0-0 when playing away from the Prince William Ice Center, including a 4-0 record as the away team in showcases.
- The Marshchanok twins continue to rack up the points for the Patriots. The two ‘05’s from Minsk, Belarus are both on scoring streaks. Matvei has points in all of his December games at 2-3-5 and Siamion has pushed his point streak to all eight games he’s played since joining in November, with a 4-6-10 line.
The Road Ahead: For the Patriots, the schedule gives them the Columbia Infantry, Tampa Bay Juniors, Atlanta MadHatters and Palm Beach Typhoon. The game against Columbia will be the two teams’ first-ever meeting.
- The Patriots are 3-1-1-0 against the Tampa Bay Juniors, whose own record in the matchup is 2-1-1-1. These two squads’ last three games have gone to either overtime or shootout, with Potomac winning in OT at last year’s USPHL Florida College Showcase.
- The Patriots are 11-5-1-0 against Atlanta, including three straight wins since the start of the 2021-22 season. The two squads were former division mates in the Southeast before Atlanta’s transfer to the Florida Division in 2019-20.
- Potomac and Palm Beach split last year’s games at the Southeast and Florida showcases in their only matchups to date.
Nashville Spartans (2-1-1-0)
The Spartans go into the USPHL Florida College Showcase with points in three straight, going 2-0-1-0 with two wins against the Elmira Jr. Enforcers and an overtime loss to Potomac the week prior.
- The Spartans’ 11 goals on Dec. 11 was a season high, but such is the company they keep in terms of being a first-year team that there are two teams with multiple double-digit goal games.
- Niko Schoner scored six goals in his four games of December, tied for the most goals in the division after four games.
- Goaltender D.J. Lyons is enjoying going unbeaten in regulation over his last six starts, at 5-0-1 back to Nov. 13. He is in a four-way tie for most wins by a USPHL Premier goalie in the last month since the streak began.
The Road Ahead: The Spartans will play their first-ever matchups against the Florida Jr. Blades, Richmond Generals, Hampton Roads Whalers and Palm Beach Typhoon.
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes (2-2-0-0)
The Jr. Hurricanes would like to get more than two points out of a two-game weekend, that’s for sure. They have split their last three weekends of multiple games against common opponents. Their last sweep came Nov. 5-6 against Nashville. Their next chance for a weekend sweep will be Jan. 14-15 against Potomac, who most recently defeated Carolina 6-5 after the Jr. Canes earned the win in the first game, 4-3. One weekend earlier, the Jr. Canes first defeated Columbia 7-4 before the Infantry turned the tables with a 3-2 win over the Jr. Canes.
- The Jr. Canes have more wins than losses when being outshot, going 6-4-0-0 in that situation. Carolina was outshot by Potomac 32-31 in their 4-3 victory on Dec. 10.
- Three of their December games and five of their last eight games have been one-goal games. Carolina is tied for second in most one-goal games with a number of teams who also have been in nine close outcomes, putting up a 6-3-0-0 record, giving them a tie for third-most wins in one-goal games.
- The Jr. Canes’ Ethyn Hopp recently became the first Carolina player to pass the 100-point mark for his career. He has 103 points in 100 regular season games going back to 2020. He is also the Jr. Canes’ all-time leading scorer, a feat he achieved earlier in the season.
- Hopp is also the only Junior Hurricane with points in each December game with a 2-5-7 line.
The Road Ahead: Carolina starts the showcase on Saturday against the Florida Eels, followed by two Sunday games against Tampa Bay and the Florida Jr. Blades, wrapping on Monday against Atlanta.
- The Jr. Canes and Eels are dead even at 4-4-0-0 each. Florida defeated Carolina 4-1 on Sept. 26 of this year at the Southeast Showcase.
- The Jr. Canes have a slight 6-4-0-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Juniors all-time, though the teams went 4-4-0-0 between 2018-19 and 2021-22. The Jr. Canes won their first matchup in Hampton Roads this year 4-1.
- Coming into their first and only meeting with the Florida Jr. Blades, the Jr. Canes stand 9-0 all-time against the hosts.
- Carolina is 10-6-1-1 all-time against the MadHatters, their former Southeast Division colleagues.
Florida Eels (5-0-0-0)
The Eels enter the USPHL Florida College Showcase on their best run of the season, winning all their games between Nov. 17 and Dec. 13. They have won all five December contests, including two each against Tampa Bay (9-3 and 9-2) and Palm Beach (3-2 and 10-4) and once against the Florida Jr. Blades (7-1).
- The Eels continue to win big – they’ve won five out of their last six victories by six goals or more. That has given them a goal differential of +53, 48 closer than their closest competition in the Florida Division. That run came after a run of five closer games, four decided by one goal and one decided by two.
- It should come as no surprise that the Eels are a top 10 team in terms of offense – their 5.38 goals per game is eighth in the league.
- With a 9-0 record as the home team, the Eels are one of just six teams undefeated in their barn or as the home team at the USPHL Southeast Showcase (2-0).
- Collin Patterson and Easton Moore both are in the top six for longest active point streaks. At 18 games, Patterson is one game behind the leader Christopher Miraldo (Fresno), with the chance to pass him in games at the USPHL Florida College Showcase. Patterson has a line of 13-15-28 going back to his fourth game on Sept. 24, at the Southeast Showcase.
- Moore is sixth at 16 games, with 6-14-20 dating back to Oct. 23.
- No less than 12 Eels skaters were averaging a point per game or better after playing five games in December.
- Duncan Rolleman is one of only two goalies to rack up at least 10 wins without a regulation loss this season. He is 10-0-1-0, just behind Vernal’s Antonio Tarantino (12-0).
The Road Ahead: For the Eels, the lineup is Carolina, Richmond, Hampton Roads and Charlotte.
- The Eels and Jr. Canes are 4-4 all-time, with the Eels evening the series back in September with a 4-1 win.
- The Eels are 2-2-0-1 against the Richmond Generals, who defeated the Eels in a shootout last December.
- The Whalers stand at 5-2-0-0 all-time against the Eels, including a split in 2021-22 at the two showcases.
- Charlotte is 7-1-0-0 all-time against the Eels, though two of those wins were in overtime and shootout.
Florida Jr. Blades (3-2-0-0)
The Jr. Blades started a busy month of December with three games against Atlanta from Dec. 2-4, starting with a 5-4 overtime win, a 6-3 win and a 4-1 loss to the MadHatters. After defeating the Tampa Bay Juniors Dec. 9, their final game before hosting the USPHL Florida College Showcase was a 7-1 loss to the Florida Eels on Dec. 13.
- At 11-8-1-0 with 23 points, the Jr. Blades are in a three-way points race for second with Atlanta and Tampa Bay. This is also, it must be known, the Jr. Blades’ best record after 20 games in the current USPHL Premier (since 2017-18). Their previous best was 16 points (7-11-2-0) at the same point last year, which ended with the Jr. Blades’ second trip to Nationals.
- Matt Mongeau’s 10 points in five December games has put him at the top of the Jr. Blades scoring leaderboard with 30 points in 20 games.
The Road Ahead: The Jr. Blades will face the Nashville Spartans and Isanti Outlaws both for the first time to kick off their showcase run. They will also face the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes and Charlotte Rush.
- The Jr. Blades are seeking their first wins against both the Jr. Canes and Rush.
Atlanta MadHatters (1-1-1-0)
Atlanta came out of their opening weekend with Florida with three points, falling 5-4 in overtime, losing 6-3 and winning by a score of 4-1 in the weekend finale. It was their third different record off a three-game weekend against a common opponent. They went 2-1 against Tampa Bay Nov. 18-20, and 2-0-0-1 against the Florida Eels Nov. 4-6.
- Seven of the top 10 all-time Madhatters scorers – including the leader Owen Larson (103 points in 145 games) – are active this season.
- Four of these all-time top 10 scorers have active scoring streaks heading into the Florida showcase: Larson (1-5-6 in six games); Gallagher (6-1-7 in six games, including five goals over his last four games); Ben Baker (4-3-7 in four games) and Beau Depencier (3-5-8 in four games).
The Road Ahead: Atlanta is facing Isanti, Potomac, Carolina and Charlotte over the next few days.
- In the Outlaws’ previous incarnation as the Rum River Mallards, they defeated Atlanta 5-4 in a shootout at the 2020 USPHL Winter Showcase in Massachusetts.
- Potomac is 11-5-1-0 against Atlanta, including a 4-2 win at the 2022 Southeast Showcase.
- Carolina is 10-6-1-1 all-time against Atlanta, and the MadHatters have just four wins against Charlotte in their history.
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