Eastern Hockey League – Worcester Showcase Review: Host Railers Impressive At Both Levels: HC Rhode Island, Philadelphia HC Pick Up Two Wins

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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The first leg of the EHL Showcase Series wrapped up on Sunday, with a league-record 50 games taking place over four days at the Worcester Ice Center.

All 34 teams across the EHL and Premier Division have now played at least one game, so one can say the 2022-23 season is officially underway. The action did not disappoint, and here are some of the highlights from the opening showcase.

Putting the W in Worcester

The Railers Jr. Hockey Club took full advantage of home ice in this showcase, going a combined 6-0 between their EHL and Premier teams. At the EHL level, the Railers picked up a 3-2 win over the East Coast Wizards, a 4-1 victory against the Philadelphia Hockey Club and a 7-2 win over New York Apple Core. Jack Wineman had one of the more impressive performances over the weekend, picking up four goals plus an assist over three games.

There was no shortage of offense for the Railers Premier team as they earned 5-1 victories over the New Jersey Renegades and Union Thunder as well as a 6-0 win against the Philadelphia Little Flyers. Forwards Jaymin Rolfe and Michael O’Malley scored four goals each over the weekend.

Ethan Byrne
Philadelphia Hockey Club

New kids on the block

Four out of the five expansion teams picked up at least one win during the Worcester Showcase, and both EHL teams went 2-1 over the weekend. Philadelphia Hockey Club defeated the Vermont Lumberjacks and Seahawks Hockey Club both by scores of 3-2. Ethan Byrne picked up the hat trick in Philadelphia’s win over the Seahawks while Brogan Shea scored twice in the team’s win over Vermont.

HC Rhode Island started its showcase against the Boston Jr. Rangers and found themselves in a 2-0 hole, and responded by scoring four unanswered goals in the second half to secure the 4-2 victory. They followed up that performance with a 3-2 win over the Seahawks and extended its winning streak to four games.

Kian Hodgins
Adirondack Jr. Thunder

The Adirondack Jr. Thunder and Pennsylvania Huntsmen earned their first wins in the EHLP on Saturday with both games going to a shootout. Frank Klaus opened the scoring for Adirondack in their game against the Seahawks, but Edward Bossler knotted the score later in the second. In the shootout, Thunder goaltender Kian Hodgins stopped all four shots he faced as Mack Ryan put away the shootout winner.

Ty Jones
Philadelphia Huntsmen

Pennsylvania found themselves down 3-0 against the New England Wolves after the first half. They rallied with three goals in the opening 14 minutes of the second half. The Wolves responded quickly to regain the lead, but the Huntsmen got their momentum right back as they tied the game just 30 seconds later. Huntsmen netminder Ty Jones denied all four shootout attempts his way, and Chase Canestra scored the lone shootout goal as the Huntsmen won 5-4.

Graham Broadfoot
Protec Jr. Ducks

North vs. South

Coming out of the gate, the North and South Divisions seemed to pack the biggest punch in Worcester. In the South, the Protec Jr. Ducks, Team Maryland and Philadelphia Hockey Club all won two of its three games while the 87’s and Little Flyers earned a win as well. Maryland’s best win came in a 6-2 conquest of the Boston Jr. Rangers, as they ran away with the score by getting four of the five goals in the second half. Protec managed to knock down the red-hot New England Wolves with a 3-2 victory on Friday as Graham Broadfoot scored twice and Nick Hebert notched a goal and two assists.

William Pray
Seacoast Spartans

In the North Division, the Seacoast Spartans won all three of their games with an 8-4 win over the Little Flyers, a 5-3 win against the Connecticut RoughRiders and 4-2 victory over the Jr. Ducks. Spartans forward William Pray had a monster weekend with four goals and four assists over those three games. The Avalanche and Wolves each picked up a pair of wins in Worcester, including an Avalanche 4-2 victory over the Jr. Rangers and a Wolves 4-3 win against the 87’s in a semifinal rematch from last year.

Undefeated

Three teams in the EHLP remain undefeated coming out of the Worcester Showcase. Those teams are the Vermont Lumberjacks (5-0-0), the Express Hockey Club (4-0-0) and the Boston Jr. Rangers (3-0-0). Vermont has looked particularly dominant in the opening stretch of the season, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 32-9.

Coming up in early October, there will be a pair of mini showcases with one at Hollydell Ice Arena in Sewell, New Jersey (Oct 7-8) and the other at Ice Den Arena in Hooksett, New Hampshire (Oct 9-10).

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