While the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) welcomed one change to its weekly power rankings, there were also fresh faces that earned honors for Top Performers of the Week at the EHL and Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP) levels.
Tis the season…let’s recap Week #11 around the EHL for the latest edition of Keeping Up with Kyle.
Let’s begin in the south with the MAC, which arguably entails a pair of teams on the rise and for the long run.
The New Jersey 87’s finally lost a regulation contest, after the squad fell to New York Apple Core, 5-2, on Friday. The Core earned a commanding four-goal lead and never looked back.
In fact, New York earned tallies from five different goal-scorers thanks to Joe Lachase, Zach Goldenberg, John Myers, Sam Mitchell and Michael Leva. While Leva finished the road victory with four points (1g-3a), goaltender Aiden Boote stole the show with 55 saves against a top-tier team in New Jersey.
“The win today was super exciting for all the guys,” said Boote. “It’s what we needed as a team and to see that when we come together and play like we can, we’re capable of beating any team in the league.”
It was no coincidence that Boote earned top performer of the week between the pipes.
Still, Apple Core bumped into a hot Philadelphia Little Flyers squad.
While Philadelphia kicked off the frame with a 2-1 loss to the Protec Jr. Ducks on Monday, it didn’t hold back from collecting a pair of statement wins. Head coach Mark Catron and company swept New York Apple Core on Monday and Tuesday.
The Little Flyers defeated New York, 4-2, in the first matchup and after forward Mikey Giampapa’s return. The EHL’s 2018-19 Forward of the Year reunited with Philadelphia in dramatic fashion, when Giampapa netted the contest’s first goal.
Forward Scott Megraw built off the grand re-entrance and recorded a three-point effort (1g-2a), in addition to Dante Gattone’s multi-point day (1g-1a).
Philadelphia followed up the victory with a 3-0 victory against Apple Core, which saw goaltender Joseph Henson earn his first shutout victory for the 2020-21 campaign. The Troy, MI native recorded 22 saves on the day, while forward Kyle Patton netted one goal and chipped in two helpers. Entering Week #12, the Little Flyers sit in fourth place for the MAC (9-9-1) and sit one point behind Team Maryland (tied Connecticut RoughRiders) for second place.
Let’s not forget about the 87’s, though. New Jersey rebounded in commendable fashion and blanked Team Maryland, 3-0. Yet, the contest was scoreless until the final frame when Tim Debord, Dante Terramani and Matthew Bielinski all found the back of the net. As for Debord and Bielinski, the two veterans both recorded power-play goals.
Between the pipes for the Garden State, it was Jon Kopack who recorded his second shutout on the year. The 87’s enter Week #11 with a 16-1-2 record and are 14 points ahead of Maryland for the MAC standings. Head coach Adam Houli and his squad haven’t lost back-to-back regulation losses since Dec. 14-15 of 2019.
New England Conference
The Boston Jr. Rangers wasted no time regaining the top seed for the league’s power rankings. The red, white and blue defeated the Seahawks Hockey Club 3-2 on Tuesday, and then took down the East Coast Wizards by a score of 6-3 on Friday.
Boston sits atop the NEC standings (16-1-1) and enters the new week riding a five-game winning streak. Additionally, Jr. Rangers’ Jack Schaefer (2 assists), Nathan Young (2 goals), Jack Moore (1g-1a) and Connor Bizal (2 assists) all netted multi-point efforts during the team’s win vs. East Coast.
Bizal, 20, addressed the team’s recent success and hinted at 2021.
“We continue to find ways to win in different aspects and always find our game when we need it most,” said Bizal. “The scariest part is that we’re not even close to being the as good as we can be. There’s still an untapped potential with this team.”
Yet, the second place New Hampshire Avalanche continued their hunt towards first place. New Hampshire extended its winning streak to four-consecutive games after collecting wins against the Seacoast Spartans and New England Wolves during Week #11.
The Avs kicked off the frame and defeated the Spartans in convincing fashion on Friday, 6-2. While the squad surrendered the first goal of the contest, forward Parker Sondag responded with back-to-back tallies to close out the opening frame. Keep in mind that Sondag finished the day with a hat trick and was also this past week’s top forward. No. 26 followed the three-goal performance with two helpers against the Wolves on Monday.
Forward Corey Tumenas also played a key role in New Hampshire’s win over the hungry Wolves. The Leominster, MA native not only netted two goals vs. the NEC rivals, but earned the game-winner. While the Avalanche defeated the Wolves in the foes’ last three matchups, New England is the lone EHL pack this season that’s defeated the Avs on multiple occasions.
Perhaps that’s something to keep an eye on in the north when the calendar officially strikes 2021.
Eastern Hockey League Premier
It seems that the 87’s have established quite the pipeline for Junior hockey. The organization’s EHLP team extended its winning streak to seven games, after defeating the New Jersey Renegades and Philadelphia Little Flyers.
Forward Ivan Borisov and company outscored their divisional rivals 10-3, while defense Damion Williams also took home Top Performers of the Week honors on the blue line. The youngster in Williams notched three points to his belt during the frame, after he earned two assists against the Renegades and then the game-winner vs. Philadelphia.
The 87’s sit atop the EHLP’s South Division with a 13-3-1 record, overall.
Heading north, it was the Boston Jr. Rangers who stole the remainder of the headlines for the Premier level. Keep in mind that the Rangers also rank one spot ahead of the 87’s for the power rankings at No. 2.
The Jr. Rangers earned consecutive wins against the Walpole Express, after defeating Walpole by scores of 4-1 and 4-2. The victories also witnessed Boston’s Kyle Sintiris and goaltender Matt Morrison earn Top Performers of the Week honors.
Sintiris recorded a three-point effort after netting one goal and chipping in two helpers during the first contest and ranks second on the Jr. Rangers with 17 points (7g-10a). Between the pipes, Morrison not only displayed highlight-reel saves vs. Walpole, but improved to 5-1-1 on the year and owns a .937 save% entering the new week.
See you at the rink…
(Kyle McKenna covers the EHL for HNIB and can be followed on Twitter @KMcKenna_EHL)