#USPHLNationals Premier Team Preview: Potomac Patriots

By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com 


The Potomac Patriots get their chance to show they are part of the Nationals crowd now. Two years into a major rebuilding phase and they’re already part of the top 16 teams playing for the championship trophy. 

While the pre-Premier Patriots made playoffs a few times in the former USPHL Elite (2013-17), since that time it’s been a tough road. They came close in 2019-20 with a 20-22-2-0 mark, but the new “golden age” for Potomac began last year with a 32-10-1-1 mark. Their .893 winning percentage this year, from a 36-3-3-0 record, was third best in the USPHL Premier.

“It’s an exciting time for our program. We are not taking anything for granted,” said Head Coach Josh Gratton, who joined in 2020. “It’s been a goal we have been working towards since Day 1 of training camp with this group. As a program we have been striving for the opportunity and the challenge to compete with the best programs in the country and don’t take it lightly. We are ready.” 

The Patriots drew the No. 4 seed Hampton Roads Whalers, 7-1 in the first game and 5-4 in overtime in the second game. Defenseman William Olund scored the OT goal for the game and series win. 

The Patriots’ wonder twins Matsvei Marshchanok (nine points) and Siamion Marshchanok (six points) were among the team’s leaders against the Whalers, while Max Nystrom put up seven points in two games. Josh Kirton (28 saves on 29 shots) and Samuel Couture (26 saves on 30 shots) split the series victories. 

“The series vs. Hampton was a good test and we learned a lot from those games,” said Gratton. “They gave us all we could handle. We played good but understand we need to be better and will be.”

So, how do they get even better, as they had just about 10 days between their games? 

“Nothing changes with our preparation. We come to work day in and day out only difference is we are preparing for six games in six days so we will focus on conditioning and the mental aspect of what lies ahead,” added Gratton. 

The Patriots went 3-2-1-0 against the Rush. They’ve also earned some victories against the Florida Eels, whom they will face on Thursday, as well as Bold City and Nashville. The Islanders Hockey Club defeated Potomac, 2-1, in overtime well back in September at the BJB Shootout. 

“There is no easy opponent and don’t expect things to be different from our game to game challenge we face every weekend in our division,” said Gratton. “We know Charlotte well and expect them to be as good as any team we face. All the teams at Nationals have proven they can win so are coming in with the mindset whoever we play is gonna be a challenge that excites us.”