The temperatures may be dropping as we progress through Fall, but things are heating up in the Eastern Hockey League following its latest showcase in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Numerous teams managed to sweep the weekend at Paul T. Gilmartin Arena, home of the Valley Jr. Warriors, while some players thrived in the showcase spotlight. Here’s a look at some of the more notable performances from Haverhill.
The North Division was, by far, the most impressive division in the Haverhill showcase. The New Hampshire Avalanche, Seacoast Spartans, New England Wolves and Vermont Lumberjacks combined for an 11-1 record. The Lumberjacks had the only loss this weekend while the other teams each went 3-0.
Aden Hotchkiss led the Avalanche with eight points (5g, 3a) in three games. He picked up a hat trick with an assist in the Avs’ 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Little Flyers, and recorded a goal and an assist in New Hampshire’s 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Protec Jr. Ducks on Sunday. Protec had a 3-1 lead going into the second half, and the Avs scored twice in regulation while Aaron Racino completed the comeback with the OT winner.
New England won its first two games by a score of 4-2, defeating the Connecticut RoughRiders and New York Apple Core, then closed their showcase stint with a 5-2 win over the Express Hockey Club. Matyas Budina recorded seven points (3g, 4a), and notched a pair of goals along with an assist in the Wolves’ victory over the Express.
Carson Whitman led the Spartans to their weekend sweep with two goals and two assists. He scored the overtime-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey 87’s on Friday. He assisted on Drew Olivieri’s goal in the Spartans’ 1-0 win over the Connecticut Chiefs, then recorded a goal plus an assist in Seacoast’s 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Hockey Club on Sunday.
Vermont had an early setback with a loss against the Seahawks Hockey Club, but they bounced back with a 4-2 win over the Boston Jr. Rangers on Saturday and a 4-3 overtime win against the Philadelphia Little Flyers on Sunday. Easton Robitaille assisted on the game-winning goal against Boston, then scored the overtime-winning goal against Philadelphia as the Lumberjacks took four of six points over the weekend.
Rising in the East
The Seahawks and East Coast Wizards both went 3-0 in Haverhill, and are both within two points of the first-place Jr. Rangers in the East Division standings.
Cade Herrera has been a revelation for the Seahawks’ offense as he now has 11 goals and 12 points in his first nine games with the team. He scored in the teams’ first two wins of the showcase, a 4-3 victory over the Lumberjacks and 2-1 win over the RoughRiders, and picked up an assist in the Seahawks’ 3-1 win against New York Apple Core. Collectively, the Seahawks lead the East Division with 62 goals scored and are riding out of Haverhill with a four-game winning streak.
The Wizards had a combination of timely scoring and great goaltending in their three wins. Owen Atkinson scored twice in the team’s 4-2 victory over Maryland on Friday. Casey Raffone, Tyler Walsh and Tyler Sitnikov scored three unanswered goals in the second half of Saturday’s 3-1 win against the New Jersey 87’s. Matt Gover won both of those starts, making a combined 59 saves on the 62 shots he faced. Jacob Jaslow earned the win on Sunday as the Wizards defeated the Connecticut Chiefs by a score of 4-2.
Railers shutting the door
The Railers may have played the best hockey of any team throughout the showcase, outscoring their opponents 10-1 through three games. Charlie Addesa picked up the hat trick in the very first game of the showcase on Friday as the Railers defeated the hosting Jr. Warriors 5-1.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Railers shut out a pair of South Division teams with a 2-0 win over the Jr. Ducks and a 3-0 victory against Maryland. Xavier Lapierre made 26 saves in his shutout against the Ducks while Stefan Kulhanek posted a 25-save shutout against Maryland. After a slow start to the season, the Railers have now won six consecutive games and are tied with the Connecticut Chiefs for the top spot of the Central Division.
No place like home
The Valley Jr. Warriors EHLP team took advantage of their home ice by winning all three of their games, including a 5-0 win over the Union Jr. Thunder, a 4-3 overtime victory over the Adirondack Jr. Thunder and a 4-3 win against the Pennsylvania Huntsmen. Sean Lane led the way for Valley with six points (3g, 3a) including the overtime goal against Adirondack and a three-point game (1g, 2a) against the Huntsmen.
While Adirondack lost to the host team on Saturday, the Jr. Thunder had a strong showcase by taking five out of six points over the weekend. On Friday they defeated the Express Hockey Club by a score of 5-2, and they closed out the weekend with a statement 4-1 win over the Boston Jr. Rangers. Damon Warren and William Comrie each had two-goal games, and the Jr. Thunder have now picked up points in nine consecutive games.