It’s back to school for the Eastern Hockey League, as a pair of All-Star teams will play exhibition games against three different NCAA Division III colleges over the weekend.
The main All-Star team will have at least one player from each of the 19 EHL teams, and will face Nazareth College on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Bill Gray’s Iceplex in Rochester, NY, and SUNY Brockport on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Wegmans Arena in Brockport, NY. The coaching staff will be led by Adam Houli (New Jersey 87’s), while Sean Bertoni (Railers Jr. Hockey Club) and Tim Kunes (New England Wolves) will serve as the assistants.
Another team will consist solely of players from the South Division—including the New Jersey 87’s, Protec Junior Ducks, Philadelphia Little Flyers, Philadelphia Hockey Club and Team Maryland—and will face Lebanon Valley College on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, PA. Terry Watt (Protec Jr. Ducks) and Josh Fusco (Team Maryland) will serve as the coaches for the South Division All Stars.
This is the fifth time the league has put together an All-Star team to face an NCAA program. As the EHL All Stars get ready for the collegiate showcase, here are some key points to keep an eye on this weekend.
Three goaltenders will suit up for each All-Star team; Jack Boschert (Express Hockey Club), Trevor Joule (New England Wolves) and Stefan Kulhanek (Railers) are in for the main team. All three goaltenders are returning veterans in the EHL, and Kulhanek played in last year’s college showcase against UMass Boston. Meanwhile the South All Stars will have Lincoln Crosby (Team Maryland), Louis Finnegan (Little Flyers) and Alexis Giroux (Jr. Ducks) share the net on Saturday against Lebanon Valley.
Going up against more experienced skaters and shooters, it would not be a surprise to see the goaltenders get a heavier workload than usual. Though it could work in their favor, as the ability to make highlight reel saves or potentially stealing a game could make a good impression on the opposing collegiate coaches. Kulhanek rose to the task against UMass Boston in last year’s college series, and it will be exciting to see what he can do in his second go-round.
The main All-Star team will feature several linemates from their respective teams. Most notably, Seacoast Spartans forward and EHL leading scorer William Pray (12g, 10a, 22p) will play alongside his linemate Kenny Maxwell (6g, 8a, 14p). Aleks Gamzatov has five points in his last three games for the 87’s, and he will be joined by his linemate Charles Lavoie. Connectiut Chiefs forward Ethan Lim has a point in each of the eight games he has played in this season (7g, 8a, 15p) and he will get to play alongside Hunter Rossi.
Line chemistry could provide a bit of a boost for the All-Stars’ offense, and it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff will utilize the aforementioned duos.
Speaking of chemistry…
This is the first time a single division in the EHL will face a college team, and all five teams will send at least five players to represent the EHL against Lebanon Valley. In addition to having more teammates on the All-Star team, there is plenty of familiarity between the different teams within the South Division which could play to their favor this weekend. Team Maryland will also send two players—Tyler Hissong and TJ Avellino—who are former Philadelphia Little Flyers. Perhaps they will rekindle chemistry with current Little Flyers such as Caleb Cathcart and Koby Howat.
All three games will be streamed on Hockey TV, and below is a schedule for the weekend:
Friday Oct 21: EHL All Stars vs. Nazareth College at Bill Gray’s Iceplex (Rochester, NY) – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday Oct 22: EHL All Stars vs. SUNY Brockport at Wegmans Ice Arena (Brockport, NY) – 2:00 p.m.
Saturday Oct 22: EHL South Division vs. Lebanon Valley College at Hersheypark Arena (Hershey, PA) – 7:00 p.m.