Solid Start Has Philadelphia Revolution Optimistic
The Revolution have made the most of a heavy early schedule, blending youth and veteran leadership while getting off to a solid start under former NHL standout Keith Primeau. The Revs have recorded the program’s first-ever weekend sweep of the rival Junior Flyers along with a first weekend shutout of the Connecticut Oilers (2-0 and 3-0).
The offense is driven by forwards Chayse Primeau (10-6-16), Aaron Maguyon (6-9-16), Bryce Witman (6-6-12), assistant captains Dean Zerby and Nick Keck, Guy Roby and Richie McCarthy. Captain Brandon Spognardi, assistant captain Josh Soboyu and Dave Melaragni form the core of the defense in front of goalies Mike Cosentino (2.21 gaa, .935 save pct., 1 SO) and Cayden Primeau (0.33/.991/1 SO).
“Defensively (we’re) playing much better but must continue to bring down shots against totals in order to have second-half success. (We have) strong offensive ability with three solid scoring lines with a fourth line capable of contributing. Once firing on all cylinders, we will be tough to beat,” coach Primeau said.
Stout Defensive Play Keys Jr. Wolfpack
HARTFORD JR. WOLFPACK
Sound defense has been the key for the Wolfpack, who allowed just 30 goals while winning eight of their first 10 games. With four games in hand on the Revolution, they are in great shape to make a major pre-holiday move as their schedule picks up.
The deep and well-balanced forward unit features Connor Bechtel (7-9-16), Machlan Sawden (7-8-13), Doc Gentzler (3-9-12), Shane Visnick (7 goals), Thomas DeFelice (8 points), Colin Valentine (4 goals) and Nicholas Gray (3 goals).
Primary goalie Kyle Carducci has a solid 2.93/.913/1 SO slash line while Michael Dion provides relief. Native Swede Klas Tegnemyr, Max Blitz and Kevin McDonald form the core of the defense.
NJ Rockets Have High-Powered Offense
NEW JERSEY ROCKETS
The high-powered Rockets are the league’s highest-scoring team, averaging a tick more than 5.5 goals per game through their first 11 games. They have also allowed 36 goals, including 11 in recent back-to-back losses to the Oilers and NY Applecore.
Donny Flynn (8-18-26) is the league’s scoring leader while Anthony DelGaizo leads the league in goals (12) to form the a top one-two punch. Douglas Elgstam (7-12-19), Michael Lindberg (8-4-12) and Phillip Elgstam (4-5-9) add to the abundant firepower.
Timothy Huxen (1 SO) and Cam Newman (3.22/.921) split time in goal. Top defensemen include Alec Mono, Haytham Oeid, Marc DelGaizo and Jeremy Briscoe, instrumental during a four-game winning streak that saw the Rockets outscore opponents by a 22-5 count.
NY Bobcats Have Been Pretty Consistent
NEW YORK BOBCATS
The Bobcats have yet to lose two straight and own a solid plus-19 differential through 11 games and are another team that could make an early move. The Bobcats had a three-game winning streak heading into late October before falling to the Oilers. They rank among the league’s better defensive clubs.
Goalie Patrick Cavanaugh (1.22/.954/1SO) has allowed just seven goals in an otherworldly start to his season. He shares time with Brandon Rathwell. Defenseman Charles Barber (4-6-10) plays a strong two-way game and is joined in the back by Randy Wolf, Sean Leonard and William Thorpe.
Corey Kennedy (16 points) and Kenneth McLean (5-7-12) drive the forward unit, assisted by Thomas Dunn (5-5-10), Glenn Florczak, Nicolas Yzaguirre (5 goals), Jackson Shanely and Rob Delury.
Connecticut Oilers Are Rounding Into Shape
Under the guidance of coach Eric Lind, the Oilers have moved beyond the disappointing end to last season and are focused on what lies ahead, which includes incorporating an infusion of players from both their USHL affiliate the Cedar Rapid RoughRiders and Cedar Rapids’ affiliated teams in Colorado into the framework of the Oilers’ organization.
Assistant captain Marc Happy and captain Alex Wilkinson rank among the league’s top defensemen. The highly regarded Happy already has 10 power play assists while Wilkinson, who led EHL defensemen with seven power play goals last year, had a hat trick and two PPGs in the season opener. Drew Lennon adds the depth on defense.
Goalie Michael Tilford won 17 games with 2.36/.924 numbers last year. Rookie Mac Vail has won all three of his starts. Forwards Christian LaCroix (6-11-17), Walker Harris (8-7-15), Todd Jackson (8 goals), Jeff Thompson (7 goals) and assistant captain Phil Kreuser lead the offense.
Little Flyers Ready To Make A Run
PHILADELPHIA LITTLE FLYERS
Last year’s regular-season champions are just getting started. With multiple games in hand on all but two teams in the conference – including four on the Revolution – the Little Flyers have a lot of room for upward mobility. Their lockdown defense allowed a conference low 14 goals through their first seven games, and 25 through their first 10 tilts.
Primary goalie Sam Kany (1.91/.911/1SO) has been rock solid for coach Rocky Russo’s club. Jonathan Waring (3-3-6), Daylan Lipanovich (2-2-4) and Evan Heidt have emerged as steady two-way defensemen.
Pavel Mikhasenok (4-12-16) of Ekaterinburg, Russia and Mitch Ossowski (10 goals) power the offensive attack. Austin Kelly (13 points), Tyler Pietrowski (3-6-9), St. Petersburg, Russia native Oleg Potemkin (5-4-9) and Tim Higginbotham (6 goals) complete a well-balanced top six forward group.
Junior Flyers Getting It Done On The Blue Line
PHILADELPHIA JR. FLYERS
The Junior Flyers also hold multiple games in hand. Coach Jerry Domish’s club overcame a tough opening weekend by taking five of six points at the Columbus Day Showcase before sweeping the Connecticut Nighthawks the following weekend.
Tyler Williams, Evan Williams, Jack O’Neil and Sean Castagna have been stalwarts on the back line. Aaron Gittings (2.24) gets the bulk of the work in goal with Ashton Opperman (.912) in a complementary role.
The offense has yet to find itself. Captains Joshua Larson (4 goals) and Justin Plumhoff, Nils Margren of Stockholm, Sweden (5 goals), Trey Decker and Chris Caldwell are the top options. Forward Keegan Richie and defenseman Jace Burton (currently inactive) are also captains.
“Our defensive core is by far the best group I have ever had,” Domish said. “We get plenty of [scoring] opportunities but need to work on finishing. I really like team and I feel they can finish as high as they want. They could make this a very special season.”
Expansion Nighthawks Looking To Compete
After surprising the Revolution in their season opener, 3-2, the Nighthawks endured a seven-game losing streak before besting the Jr. Rangers, 3-2. The Nighthawks have dropped their last five as they have yielded a league-high 68 goals.
Forwards Quinn Ryan (5-4-9), Ivan Yuryev (3-4-7), Alex Doyle (6 points) and Tristan Goodwin (4 goals) are enjoying productive campaigns. Blaine Minatra, Dominic De La Guardia and Alex Estoch lead the defense while Jonathan Bustard and Benjamin Auerbach get equal time in goal.
Applecore Will Gain Experience On The Fly
NEW YORK APPLECORE
Coach Lou Santini’s young club is off to a slow start. Santini said NYA will rely on its skating to remain competitive while gaining experience on the fly.
Captain Kevin Forsman and assistant captain Noah Wild, both forwards, and assistant captain Chris Pearson on defense return as the team’s leaders. Ethan Rist and Brian Birbrayer are key forwards while Oskar Stromberg and Jan Prokop add to the defense. Goalie Tim Sestak (.906) has seen most of the early work in goal.
“We are looking to improve our younger players and to [helping move] our veteran players off to college,” said Santini.