#USPHLPlayoffs: Fresno Monsters vs. Bakersfield Roughnecks 

By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com 


Fresno Monsters (1) vs. Bakersfield Roughnecks (4) 

All Games At Gateway Ice Center, Fresno, CA 

Thursday, Feb. 29, 7:45 p.m. PST 

Friday, March 1, 6 p.m. PST

Saturday, March 2, 5 p.m. PST (If Necessary) 


The Fresno Monsters were the Pacific Division’s first (and second) representatives at the USPHL Nationals, making it in 2021 and 2022. Las Vegas stole the show last year and made the trip to Utica, N.Y., but the Monsters are fully geared up and prepared to be the last Pacific team standing this time around. The Pacific’s No. 1 seed will face the No. 4 Bakersfield Roughnecks starting Thursday night. 

“This is what regular season play has been preparing us for. It’s going to be a battle, but we have been practicing hard and resting up because we know it is not going to be easy,” said Monsters Head Coach Daylon Mannon. “Coming out on top in both series against them earlier this season is definitely a confidence booster. However, Bakersfield is a really well-coached team with some very skilled players. We have not overlooked them, and are not overlooking them now. We are coming into this weekend ready to work.” 

The two teams have not faced each other since Dec. 9, when the Monsters closed a 5-1-0-0 season series against the Roughnecks. The Monsters went 39-5-2-2 and are actually tied in points with the Connecticut Jr. Rangers for the overall USPHL Premier points lead, but the Jr. Rangers have one more game in hand and also hold the winning percentage tiebreaker. Regardless, Fresno has set its place at the table with the best Premier organizations this season. 

On the Roughnecks side, they went 27-15-2-2 during the season and won 4-3 over the Monsters on Dec. 8 to make sure they didn’t leave the season series empty-handed. 

“The Roughnecks are as healthy as we have been since the Las Vegas Showcase and have added a few pieces to the puzzle at the deadline. We are very happy with our team heading into the Fresno series,” said Owner/Head Coach Christian Gregory. “As always, Fresno is a very tough opponent to play against. Staying disciplined and playing to our strengths will be the key for us this upcoming weekend. We are excited to make the playoffs this year and are looking forward to the challenge.”

Offense has driven the Monsters all season, and their 345 goals for are good for second in the USPHL Premier. Forward Noak Persson is heavily decorated in terms of USPHL Premier records. This year, he set the single season goals record (85) and single season points record (147); and in terms of career numbers, Persson is No. 1 all-time in goals (126), points (240) and points per game (3.75). If just having one guy in the 100-point range was what the Monsters brought to the table, they’d be a lot easier to stop. Unfortunately for opponents, fellow forward Emil Loov put up 103 point. Oliver Burlin-Sjostrom just barely missed the century mark, but still racked up 97 points in 39 games this year. 

For Bakersfield, Theo Faucher (64 points) and Francois-Xavier Marois (63 points) were always a good 1-2 punch, and Adrian Gomez delivered 57 points in 28 games, racked up on both sides of an 11-game NCDC call-up with the Utah Outliers. 

Both teams finished with a defenseman in the top 10 of league scoring – Fresno veteran Steven Blengino put up 84 points for third and Bakersfield’s Emile Rodrigue registered 49 points for eighth. Both also led their teams in blocked shots – Blengino with 56 and Rodrigue with 67. 

In net, Fresno had a 1-2 punch this season with Ethan Jourden (17-2-2-0) and Devin Degenstein (15-3-0-0). Bakersfield’s second-year goalie Connor Dumesnil – one of three Dumesnil triplets on the Roughnecks – put up a 15-9-0-1 mark, along with a .924 save percentage, which ranked him in the Top 20 in the Premier.