The Boston Bandits headed home for the holidays secure in the knowledge they will return to action with a solid four-point lead in the North Conference.
The Bandits have climbed to the top largely on the back of the league’s best defense, allowing a meager 55 goals through 26 games. Featured goalie Kenny Graham (2.14, 929, 2 SO) has been outstanding and gets relief from equally stingy Vinny Evans (2.01, .947, 1 SO).
Native Latvian Eduards Tralmarks has emerged as the Bandits’ unquestioned leader on offense. He is tied for the league lead with six GWGs and leads the team with 16 goals and 36 points.
Nate Chase (11-16-27), who hails from Illinois; Scott Donahue (9-16-25), who is from New York; and former B.C. High standout Tim Larocque (12-6-18) have produced consistently.
The Bandits return to action Jan. 8-9 with home games against the East Coast Wizards and the Valley Jr. Warriors.
The Monarchs are among the league’s highest-scoring squads (111 goals). Seven players have already eclipsed 20 points, including Connor Powell (13-22-35), Hunter Laslo (13-15-28) and Luke Bennett. Laslo hails from Irvine, CA while Powell and Bennett are native Granite Staters.
Walpole has hit the skids, dropping 7-of-10, a drop somewhat cushioned by their solid start to the year. Three of those losses came in OT as offensive production has dipped to 2.4 gpg during the slump. Eric Lipa (9-21-30), Dan Eruzione (11-17-28) and Joe Hall (10-17-27) are top producers.
The Northern Cyclones own the conference’s best differential (plus-42). Primary goalie Drennen Atherton (1.64, .925) of Winter Haven, FL has been rock solid. Former Winchester (MA) HS standout Nolan Redler (18-22-40) and Jarrod Fitzpatrick (12-23-35) of Wakefield, MA have been dynamic up front.
The next tier of teams – Boston Jr. Rangers, Valley Jr. Warriors and Vermont Lumberjacks – have fallen off the pace set by the top four but continue to jockey for playoff positioning.
There is certainly no lack of drama – or offense – on this side. Four points separate the top four teams and the first-place Connecticut Oilers, second-place Hartford Jr. Wolfpack and third-place Philadelphia Little Flyers have all surpassed 100 goals scored.
The Oilers won 9-of-10 to head into the break with a two-point lead. Balance has been the key with Walker Harris (15-20-35), Todd Jackson (16-18-34), Marc Happy (32 points) and Christian LaCroix (10-20-30) leading the way. Michael Tilford (.921 save pct.) sees the majority of work in goal with Mac Vail (2.76, .915, 1 SO) providing a solid option.
The Jr. Wolfpack lurks two points off the pace. Twelve players have already achieved double-digit points with Connor Bechtel (11-22-33), Machlan Sawden (14-17-31), who recently committed to Tufts University, Nicholas Gray (12 goals) and Thomas DeFelice (26 points) leading the way. Kyle Carducci (.907, 1 SO) has seen the vast majority of work in goal, supported by Michael Dion (2.82, .907).
The Little Flyers – second in goals scored (111), first in goals allowed (57), first in differential (plus-54) – hold multiple games in hand on every divisional foe. Primary goalies Brock Thompson and Sam Kany share time and have a shutout apiece. Offense comes from Pavel Mikhasenok (12-23-35), Austin Kelly (13-21-34), Tyler Pietrowski (12-14-26) and Mitch Ossowski (15 goals).
The Primeau brothers drive the Revolution. Chayse Primeau (15-18-33), older by two years, leads the team in scoring while 16-year-old Cayden Primeau has been spectacular in goal with five shutouts to go along with a 1.98 gaa and a league-best .947 save pct. Aaron Maguyon (11-17-28), Dave Melaragni (24 points) and Richie McCartney (12 goals) add to the offense.
The fifth-place New York Bobcats (73 goals allowed) and the sixth-place Philadelphia Junior Flyers (74 goals allowed) have both shown themselves to be defensively sound. On the other hand, the seventh-place New Jersey Rockets lead the league with 116 goals scored but are a bottom five team on defense.