Week of Sept. 28-Oct. 5
The majority of the USPHL Premier teams from the Mid-Atlantic and New England Divisions congregated at the BJB Shootout, held from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. We take a look here at how the teams fared that earned at least a .500 record over the course of the last week.
Connecticut Jr. Rangers (3-1-0-0)
The Connecticut Jr. Rangers had an excellent showing at the Boston Junior Bruins Shootout, going 3-1 on the weekend. The Junior Rangers opened the weekend with a 3-0 shutout over the Springfield Pics, a great early accomplishment after not being able to shut out a team in 2021-22.
After dropping a close 3-2 contest to the Twin City Thunder, Connecticut followed that up with two wins over the South Shore Kings (7-2) and New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (5-1).
Golden, Colo., native Elias Holunga (’03) was a standout for the Jr. Rangers, putting up three
goals and four assists for seven points on the weekend. Not to be outdone was ’03 forward
Joona Juntunen, who posted a 2-4-6 line on the weekend. Goalie Ryuto Nakamoto won two of the three games and stopped 67 of 68 shots.
Currently on a 10-game break from game action, they return on Oct. 12 against the New York Aviators, in that Brooklyn-based squad’s first game of 2022-23.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (2-2-0-0)
Wilkes-Barre finished 2-2 on the weekend in New England opening with a 3-2 overtime win against the Twin City Thunder that saw Justin Ryan deliver the game-winner. Wilkes-Barre started Sunday with a 4-2 victory against the Bridgewater Jr. Bandits before the South Shore Kings handed the Knights Premier their first shutout loss in their two-year franchise history.
Justin Ryan (‘03/Endwell, NY) posted great number at the BJB Shootout, scoring four goals, and earning two assists. Hunter Parker (‘02/Granite City, Ill.) moved into a tie for fourth in scoring as he sits at 16 points on the season.
The Knights jump from one four-game showcase to another, as they journey to the Rockets Hockey Club Showcase playing games Friday through Sunday against the Buffalo Stampede, Potomac Patriots, the Richmond Generals and Hampton Roads Whalers.
New England Division
Islanders Hockey Club (3-0-0-0)
Not actually part of the BJB Shootout, the Islanders picked up a shutout victory over the Boston Advantage on Sept. 28, and then went on to also defeat the Twin City Thunder and once again the Advantage in OT, 4-3.
Ean Badgett’s 31-save shutout of the Advantage on Sept. 28 gave the Islanders their first-ever season-opening doughnut. From there, it was on to Maine, where they won a 5-3 game after leaving the first period down 2-1. Jesper Seeberg’s hat trick was behind the victory.
The Islanders then won 4-3 in overtime after being down not just after the first, but after the second. A three-goal third period to break a 3-0 Advantage lead led towards the OT goal scored by Brady Carpenter. The Islanders are 2-0-0-0 when trailing after one period, after going 6-9-1-1 in the same situation all of last year. They were 4-16-2-0 when trailing after two last season and are now 1-0-0-0 in that situation.
The Islanders face the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and then the Thunder again on Oct. 12, the third of five straight home games.
- Shout out by the way to the Twin City Thunder, who played in five games over the space of four days, between the IHC game and then four at the BJB Shootout. Add in a Sept. 28 game against the Northern Cyclones and now you’re up to six games in six days. No surprise they’re off until Oct. 12.
Northern Cyclones (1-0-0-0)
The Cyclones have gone 3-0 in their last three years of season openers. They played a single game on Sept. 28 against the Twin City Thunder to kick off the season and also a 10-day gap before their next game on Oct. 8 against the Springfield Pics. In the win over the Thunder, Connor Crawford scored a pair as the team came back from being down 1-0 early. On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the Cyclones bring in the South Shore Kings for an afternoon 1 p.m. game.
Boston Junior Bruins (1-0-0-0)
The Boston Junior Bruins have also kicked off their season, getting the first official “dub” before pushing on to the Rockets Hockey Club Showcase between Friday and Sunday. Against South Shore, they won 3-2, with a Jake Terra goal settling the deal as the only goal scored in the third.
The Junior Bruins draw the host Rockets – the defending Premier National Champions – on Friday, followed by the Jersey Hitmen and Hampton Roads Whalers on Saturday, and the Richmond Generals will close up their run on Sunday afternoon.
South Shore Kings (3-2-0-0)
The Kings enjoyed a 3-1-0-0 run through the BJB Shootout, before falling on Wednesday to the BJB themselves. The Kings opened with an 8-3 win at the Shootout against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, an all-time best for goals in a season opener by South Shore. The adrenaline didn’t help them so much in their next game, a 7-2 loss to Connecticut. It was clearly bounceback time, and the Kings did so on Sunday against the Utica Jr. Comets (2-1) and the defending regular season champion WBS Knights (2-0). Karim Gayfullin’s line of 5-4-9 in all five games represents the best point streak so far of any New England Division player.
Gayfullin scored his fifth goal in the 3-2 loss to the Junior Bruins. After taking seven days to recharge from five games in six days, the Kings will next face the Cyclones on Oct. 12.
Springfield Pics (3-1-0-0)
The Pics are off to a good start. While they dropped their opener to a surging Connecticut squad by a 3-0 score, they got right back to winning ways and took three in a row at the BJB Shootout. They are undefeated in October so far, defeating the Bridgewater Bandits 4-1, the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders 5-2 and the Utica Jr. Comets 4-3 on Oct. 1 and 2, all at the Shootout.
Boston Advantage (2-1-1-0)
The Advantage pulled through the BJB Shootout for two very successful games, and earned a point in their subsequent action after the event as well. Coming off an opening Sept. 28 2-0 loss to the Islanders Hockey Club, the Advantage kicked up the offense with a 5-3 win over the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, featuring a hat trick by Advantage veteran Reagan Lyon, the first in a year for the team since Max Eckstein did so on Sept. 26, 2021. Aatu Moisanen scored his first two North American goals in the Advantage’s 4-1 win over the WBS Knights. Gavin Connelly scored the team’s and his first two goals in the eventual 4-3 overtime loss to the Islanders on Oct. 5.
Eight days stand between that game and their next game action against the Twin City Thunder on Oct. 13.
Bridgewater Bandits (2-2-0-0)
It was a tale of two halves at the BJB Shootout for the Bandits, but they were able to break even in the end over their four games at the early season event. After losses of 4-1 to the Springfield Pics and 4-2 to the WBS Knights, the Bandits second half of Sunday went much better. They won by a 6-3 score over the Twin City Thunder, powered by Collin Driscoll’s two goals. In the Monday showcase finale, the Bandits defeated the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders by a 3-2 score. Shaun Caffrey scored the game-winner with just 22 seconds remaining in regulation.
Up ahead for the Bandits, after an eight-day break of their own between game action, is an Oct. 11 noon home game against the Boston Junior Bruins.