Eastern Hockey League: College Series Recap – EHL All Star Teams Fare Well Against College Foes

Anthony DiPaolo
Anthony DiPaolo
Anthony Di Paolo has been working in various levels of hockey over the last five years, ranging from juniors to the pros. Di Paolo spent four seasons as the Communications Director and play-by-play announcer for the New Jersey Titans of the North American Hockey League (2016-2020), and is entering his fifth season in a similar role with the New Jersey 87’s of the Eastern Hockey League. Graduating from Seton Hall University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, the New Jersey native covered Division I athletics for his school’s radio station, WSOU, and spent two years writing for the Fischler Report, a newsletter run by U.S. Hockey Hall-of-Fame inductee Stan Fischler.

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For the third time in Eastern Hockey League history, and for the second straight year, an EHL All-Star team defeated an NCAA program in the annual EHL College Series.

The North/East Division team defeated Southern New Hampshire University by a score of 3-2 in Hooksett, NH. In addition to the upset, the main EHL All-Star team took SUNY Fredonia into overtime in a 3-2 loss.

In addition to those games, the North/East team fell to Rivier University 4-0, and the main All-Star team lost to SUNY Brockport by a score of 3-1. The South/Central All-Star team lost both of its games to Stevenson University and Lebanon Valley College.

Here’s a recap of some of the highlights of last week in the college series.

The upset

The North/East Division faced Southern New Hampshire University, the day after their 4-0 loss to Rivier. Midway through the first period, the two Boston Jr. Rangers forwards connected for the opening goal, as Denis Valenta slid a backhand saucer pass to Bret Beale for an easy tap-in. 

Later in the period, the All-Stars doubled the lead with a power-play goal, as Seacoast Spartans forward Jonathan Groth found New Hampshire Avalanche forward Rory Andriole on a cross-ice pass, as Andriole spun a backhander into a wide-open net.

Ryan Dann
NH Avalanche

Southern New Hampshire evened things up with two goals in the second period, but the All-Stars re-took the lead with another power-play goal. New England Wolves’ defenseman Nick Theodos flung a wrist shot from the blue line that hit off the post and in. That goal stood as the game-winner, leading to the EHL’s third win over an NCAA team in league history.

Ryan Dann, PK shined for Main All-Stars

AJ Lackas
New England Wolves

The main All-Stars played their first game on Friday night at SUNY Fredonia, and it proved to be a back-and-forth affair. The Blue Devils jumped to a 1-0 lead midway through the first period on a goal by former Avs’ forward Baxter Kimball. However, New England Wolves’ forward AJ Lackas tied the game early in the second. New Jersey Bears’ forward Corbin Schiebel took a wrist shot from the blue line that hit off the post, and Lackas buried the rebound to make it 1-1.

Penalty killing proved to be a strength for the All-Stars, as they killed off all five of their penalties in regulation. Their fifth penalty kill started with about two minutes remaining in regulation while trailing Fredonia, 2-1. About midway through the kill, Seahawks Hockey Club forward Mike Caparco dangled around a defenseman to get a shot on goal, and Avalanche defenseman Ryan Dann buried the rebound for a shorthanded goal. While the Blue Devils scored in overtime for the 3-2 victory, it was the third time an EHL All-Star team had taken a college team beyond regulation.

The following afternoon, the Main All-Stars closed out the college series with a game against SUNY Brockport. Dann found the scoresheet again, as a fluttering shot from the right faceoff circle went off the post and in. It was the only goal for the EHL All-Stars, as Brockport scored three unanswered goals for the victory.

Luke Holyfield nets two for South/Central team

The South/Central team was the only All-Star squad to not win or take a game into overtime, but nonetheless competed well against Stevenson University and Lebanon Valley College. 

Vadim Frolov of Team Maryland and Luke Holyfield of the Connecticut Chiefs scored in their 5-2 loss against Stevenson on Tuesday. The following day, Holyfield scored again as he corralled a drop pass from New Jersey 87’s forward Blake Dustin, and snapped a wrist shot low-glove side. It was the lone goal in a 6-1 loss to the Lebanon Valley Flying Dutchmen.

Additional thoughts from Coach DeCaprio

Boston Jr. Rangers head coach Rich DeCaprio led the main All-Star team in their games against SUNY Fredonia and Brockport. He praised the team’s compete level by going up against collegiate players.

“You’re playing some really good college teams with 25, 26-year-old guys. You can’t take a shift off or else you’re going to get embarrassed,” he said.

DeCaprio also spoke about some of the aspects off the ice. The main All-Star team toured the campuses of Brockport and Fredonia, and the Brockport tour was led by the hockey team’s head coach, Brian Dickinson.

“They get to do a tour with Coach Dickinson as a group, and Fredonia and Brockport both have a lot of EHL alumni on their teams. When they’re going on tour, seeing the campuses and locker rooms and seeing that all these players once played in the EHL, there’s kind of an aura about it,” DeCaprio said. 

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