Eastern Hockey League Week 13 Recap: Wizards, Team Maryland Light Lamp; Express, Avalanche Win A Pair

Kyle McKenna
Kyle McKenna
Kyle McKenna spent four seasons working in various communications roles at the professional hockey level from 2015-2019. McKenna served as the New Jersey Devils Communications Assistant for the 2015-16 season and Community Hockey Assistant and Lightning High School Hockey League Beat Writer from 2016-2018 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Additionally, the New Jersey native worked at the 2018 World Junior Championship at Buffalo in as a Media Relations Assistant and was also the Communications Assistant for the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder in 2018-19. Since graduating Monmouth University with a bachelor’s degree in communications (2015), the former Junior Hockey player also covered the NHL for various blogs in freelance roles. McKenna’s familiarity with the EHL dates to last season (2019-20) when he was an organization’s communications manager, while creating written and digital content on a daily basis.

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After 179 total games, the buzzer officially sounded on Monday for the Eastern Hockey League’s (EHL) first half of the 2020-21 season.

The puck drops next for the EHL and Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP) levels once the calendar strikes 2021 in January. Before the Junior hockey community eyes down the second half of the season, let’s recap Week #13 for the final edition of Keeping Up With Kyle in 2020.

New England Conference

The Walpole Express and East Coast Wizards both skated in four contests for the week, while collecting key victories.

Walpole kicked off Week #13 with a win over the Railers Jr. Hockey Club, after head coach Cody Campbell and company defeated the Railers by a score of 5-1. The win extended the Express’ winning streak to three games and marked the fourth consecutive occasion that the squad recorded four-or-more goals in a contest.

Jared Shuter
Walpole Express

Romeo Torain and Jared Shuter both each recorded two assists in the win vs. the Railers, while Anthony Persi found the back of the net twice. Walpole masked man Mason Palmer also earned the win between the pipes and turned away 27 shots.

Yet, Palmer’s strong play in net was called upon more than once during the week. The Cumming, GA native later helped the Express defeat the Wizards, 2-1, on Saturday. Palmer recorded 34 saves against East Coast and his 10 wins rank third in the EHL this season.

While the Express also earned an additional win over the Railers (3-1), let’s not forget that the squad was spelled by the Wizards on Friday. East Coast recorded two wins over the frame, which witnessed the team’s first win vs. Walpole for 2020-21 and by a 5-1 final.

That win not only erased the Wizards’ three-game losing streak, but marked the first time since Nov. 18 that East Coast netted five goals in a contest. It seemed that the Wizards certainly brought the magic against Walpole on Friday, especially considering that they tallied three goals in the third period.

Jack Johansen
East Coast Wizards

Wizards goaltender Adam Yost recorded 25 saves against the Express, while East Coast displayed an offensive surge with 22 shots during the game’s final frame. Jack Johansen netted his second goal on the day which kicked off the scoring in the third period. Additionally, Johansen’s tally acted as his 11th power-play point on the year (2g-9a). Matt Fusco and Jules Donovan added insurance goals for the Wizards, which also witnessed Luke Khozozian collect two helpers.

East Coast earned its eighth win for the 2020-21 campaign, after the team recorded a season-high seven goals against the Railers on Monday. Keith Davenport and Ryan Webb posted multi-goal efforts in addition to Johansen who netted one goal and chipped in one assist.

Donnie Feldman
NE Wolves

One other NEC team that portrayed an offensive surge was the New England Wolves. New England fell to the New Hampshire Avalanche on Wednesday in its first contest for the frame, but the Wolves also recorded six goals (7-6 loss). Yet, Donnie Feldman and the Wolf Bite rebounded on Friday, after Feldman inked his first hat trick for the season.

The Wolves defeated the Seacoast Spartans 6-5, and earned multi-point outings from Sergei Anisimov (2a) and Denis Danilov (2g). New England enters the second half of the campaign having won three out of its last four contests and sits in fifth place for the NEC (11-9-0—22PTS).

Before heading south and reviewing the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC), the Avs were the third EHL squad that collected two victories for the week. As noted above, New Hampshire defeated the Wolves and later earned a 3-1 victory over Seacoast on Saturday. The win extended the Avalanche’s winning streak overall to seven games, and the contest witnessed three different goal scorers – Dylan Roebuck, Baxter Kimball and Matt Carlson.

Dylan Roebuck
NH Avalanche

Avalanche goaltender Ronan Mobley also picked up his fourth win on the year, and owns a .944 save% in addition to a 1.60 goals-against-average (GAA). Keep in mind that New Hampshire has allowed the fewest amount of goals-against (41, tied Boston Jr. Rangers) for teams that have played in 10 or more games this season for the EHL.

Mid-Atlantic Conference

Week #13 was brief for MAC, but witnessed one team get back on track.

Team Maryland broke its two-game skid after it defeated the Philadelphia Little Flyers, 7-4, on Tuesday. Maryland’s Conor Ball recorded one tally and two assists, and Bobby Geier netted his first hat trick on the year. While Maryland has only won three games in its last 10 contests, the win over Philadelphia regained second place in the MAC for head coach Josh Fusco’s group (10-9-2—22PTS).

Bobby Geier
Team Maryland

From Maryland’s perspective, the timely win can hopefully jumpstart the squad who struggled down the stretch of the first half, especially since the Little Flyers entered the contest with a 7-3 record over their last 10 contests.

Speaking of the Little Flyers

Since forward Mikey Giampapa rejoined the squad, the 2018-19 EHL Forward of the Year has totaled seven points in four games while netting five goals. Giampapa and forward Scott MeGraw have connected on a few occasions this season – as for MeGraw, the Philadelphia, PA native leads the Little Flyers with 28 points (7g-21a). It’s a fair argument that the City of Brotherly Love is a team on the rise and one to watch in the second half.

Eastern Hockey League Premier

Shifting gears to the EHLP level, New Hampshire, Walpole, New England and the Railers were the four teams in action for Week #13.

The Avalanche and Wolves squared-off in a two-game set, which also witnessed the North Division foes split the series.  The first-place Avs fell to the Wolves in the first meetings, after New England earned a 6-3 victory.

New England cashed in four times on the man-advantage (4/7) and also witnessed Mikus Krumpans record a five-point effort (1g-4a). Keep in mind that the Avs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, but Wolves’ netminder Ayden Kopec stopped all 23 shots faced after entering the contest in relief.

Yet, it was the Avalanche who rebounded in round two. New Hampshire took down the Wolves, 5-1, on Wednesday. Jettson Smutek led the way for the Avs on offense with two goals, while New Hampshire masked man Shane Peremba displayed an impressive performance between the pipes. Peremba recorded 36 saves on the day and improved to 5-0-0 for the season.

Moving over to the other side of the train tracks, the Express and Railers faced-off three times during the frame. On Friday, the Railers shutout Walpole, 2-0, and in large thanks to goaltender Stefan Kulhanek who stopped all 34 shots faced. Yet, the biggest story and game’s first star from the contest arguably shined from the Express.

Walpole goaltender Owen Swanbon recorded a season-high 60 saves while only allowing one goal against the Railers. It seemed that the Railers had the Express’ number this week, after the squad completed the three-game sweep over Walpole with 4-1 and 6-1 victories. The recent winning streak also marks a season high for the Railers.

Keep An Eye On

With the EHL’s holiday break beginning on Tuesday expect some teams to participate over social media with holiday-themed posts. For league updates and entertainment follow the EHL via Twitter, here.

Happy holidays & see you at the rink…

(Kyle McKenna covers the EHL for HNIB and can be followed on Twitter @KMcKenna_EHL)

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