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EHL Central Division Update: Oilers in the driver’s seat

With the regular-season finish line (Feb. 23) in sght, the final month is all about maximizing point totals and improving playoff seeding.


All 17 teams will participate in the post-season. The three division winners will be awarded the top three sees with remaining teams ranked 4-17 according to point totals. A 16 vs. 17 play-in game on Feb. 26 will determine the final team to take part in the best-of-three first round set for Feb. 28-March 2.


Best-of-three quarterfinals are scheduled for March 7-9, best-of-three semifinals are set for March 14-16 and the best-of-five Championship Series will be held March 19-24. The expanded championship format is geared to prepare teams for Nationals, where they will play five games in five day.



Manny Manns Connecticut Oilers

Manny Manns
Connecticut Oilers

William Campion NY Bobcats

William Campion
NY Bobcats

Chris Deming Wilkes Barre/Scranton

Chris Deming
Wilkes Barre/Scranton

Spencer Landry Hartford Wolfpack

Spencer Landry
Hartford Wolfpack

The regular-season crown is there for the taking for the Connecticut Oilers (22-11-2-1), who held second-place New York Bobcats at bay with a split this past weekend. A split of their remaining eight games – including one more vs. the Bobcats – should just about do it for the Oilers. The forward quartet of Joe Widmar, Jay Heinle, Tommy Nolan and Ryan Fitzgerald has accounted for 64 goal and 148 points while Drazen Zack (6-23-29) and Manny Manns (9-19-28) are the highest-scoring pair of defensemen. Josh Sarlo and Chris Bastone will handled the goaltending duties the rest of the way.


While the New York Bobcats (18-12-4-1) still have designs on the division title and top three seed, they must also be wary of the three teams bearing down on them from behind. Goalies Gabe Grunwald (2.83, .918) and Justin Kapelmaster have been a stout pair all season. Forward Steven Esposito (9-15-24) and defensemen William Campion (8-16-24) share the team scoring lead while forward Lucas Brown (11-12-23) and defenseman Sean Kacerosky (10-10-20) are the lone double-digit goal-scorers.


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (16-14-6-1) likely don’t want home ice advantage for the playoffs thanks to sub-par 5-8-4-1 results in their own barn. Forwards Dan Perez (17-14-31), Matt Cessna (12-17-29), Chris Deming (11-9-20) and Gaven LaValley (20 points) pace the offense. Oskar Gerhardson and Quinton Neville have become the top defensemen in front of a trio of goaltenders, Matt MacInnis, Daniel Ernandes and Patrick Kerney, who have combined for four shutouts.


The Hartford Junior Woflpack (16-13-3-2) have enough remaining games (10) to make one final push. The offense, though, will have to kick it up a notch behind top forwards Dylan Vander Esch (8-21-29), Ori Benyami (7-19-26) and Dave Horan (8-13-21) and defenseman Theo Tydingco (7-14-21). League Top 10 goalie Spencer Landry (2.59, .928) has excellent numbers.


Frank Sherding NY Applecore

Frank Sherding
NY Applecore

New York Applecore (17-17-1-2) epitomizes a .500 team at minus-5 differential and home/away records that are essentially reversed. Forward Rikard Keussen (14-29-43) has been a going concern all season, supplemented nicely by forwards Cale Schoenberg (21-10-31) and John Ganss (29 points) and defenseman Frank Sherding (29 points). Goalies Luke Andriuk and Blake Wojtala are likely continue to sharing time in the post-season.

Frankie Cefalu Walpole Express

Frankie Cefalu
Walpole Express


The Walpole Express (11-16-6-2) have been driven all season by assist machine Frankie Cefalu, the league leader with 37 dimes. Forwards Garrett Reilley, Matt Gaetz and Max Bartell have added 42 goals and 75 points. Cam Hainey is the top defenseman and goalies Kyle Shapiro (.916) and Evan McCarthy (.917) continue to share equal cage time.


Coming Next: South Division

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40
Kevin Doyle
- 2 days ago
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