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EHL Premier Update: Battle raging for control in North

The regular season concludes in less than three weeks when the South Conference leading Philadelphia Little Flyers visit the eighth-place Connecticut Nighthawks, a game that could still have post-season implications for the Nighthawks.

However, the overall playoff picture figures to be clear before then with resolution a possibility as early as the conclusion of play next weekend. While the Top Four/Bottom Four breakdown in each conference seems all but set, the final ordering is not quite so certain.

North Conference

Six points separate the first-place Boston Bandits (24-7-3), second-place New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (22-7-5) and third-place Northern Cyclones (22-11-1).

Eduards Tralmaks Bandits

Eduards Tralmaks

Each has seven remaining games and, as luck would have it, they all play each other down the stretch, beginning with the Bandits’ visit to the Monarchs on Saturday. The Bandits return to the Granite State to take on the Cyclones on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The Monarchs and Cyclones then square off at Cyclones Arena on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Connor Powell Monarchs

Connor Powell

The fourth-place Walpole Express (17-11-7) could play a major role in settling the division with two remaining games against both the Bandits (Feb. 11 and 21) and Cyclones (Feb. 6 and 17). The Monarchs, aside from their games against the Bandits and Cyclones, have five games against sub-.500 opponents.

Jarrod Fitzpatrick Northern Cyclones

Jarrod Fitzpatrick
Northern Cyclones

Eduards Tralmaks (24-25-49), Scott Donahue (14-23-37) and Chaise Howard (14 goals) drive a Bandits’ attack that boasts seven players with 11 or more goals. Goalie Kenny Graham (16 wins, .922, 2 SO) anchors the defense. Tralmaks is third in the league in scoring and leads with eight game-winning goals. Defenseman Ryan Barnes earned EHL Defenseman of the Month accolades for January.

The Monarchs feature Connor Powell (19-28-47), the league’s No. 5 scorer, Luke Bennett (15-23-38) and Hunter Laslo (18-18-36, nine PPGs) on the conference’s highest-scoring offense.

Four Cyclones – Jarrod Fitzpatrick (16-28-44), Nolan Redler (18-22-40), Joey Meehan (19-20-39) and Tyler Bullard (11-21-32) – have eclipsed 30 points. Goalies Drennan Atherton and Joe Lissak continue to split time.

South Conference

At this point, it’s the Philadelphia Little Flyers (28-6-0) division to lose. They are six points clear of the second-place Connecticut Oilers (24-9-2) with seven games to play and can all but lock up the top seed when the teams square off this weekend for a two-game set at The Ice Works.

Austin Kelly Little Flyers

Austin Kelly
Little Flyers

A sweep would essentially solidify the Little Flyers’ as the top seed although a dangerous rivalry series with the Jr. Flyers looms next weekend. A weekend split would maintain the status quo, leaving the Oilers with little chance to close the gap. Connecticut clearly needs four points this weekend.

With only four games remaining, the third-place Philadelphia Revolution (23-11-3) could still vault past Connecticut. Fourth-place Hartford Jr. Wolfpack (22-7-4) still has ample opportunity (eight games) for late movement.

Marc Happy Connecticut Oilers

Marc Happy
Connecticut Oilers

The Little Flyers remain the team best built for the long run into March. They lead the league in goals scored (170) and fewest goals allowed (72).

League Forward of the Month Tyler Pietrowski (26-21-47) exploded for 14 goals and 21 points in January and is but one cog in the Flyers’ offensive arsenal that features eight players with 30 points or more. Austin Kelly (16-38-54) and Pavel Mikhasenok (18-35-53) rank one-two in league scoring. Goalie Brock Thompson earned League Goalie of the Month accolades with five wins and a 2.00 GAA in January.

The Oilers take their best shot this weekend driven by Walker Harris (22-24-46), Todd Jackson (18-24-42), Marc Happy (11-26-37), Christian LaCroix (11-20-31) and Alexander Wilkinson (15 goals) and ironman goalie Michael Tilford.

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
- 5 days ago
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