Eastern Hockey League regular-season division champions Philadelphia Little Flyers (South Division), the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (North Division) and the Connecticut Oilers (Central Division), along with North Division runner-up Northern Cyclones have advanced to the Eastern Hockey League semifinals.
The defending playoff champion Cyclones and the Monarchs will reprise last year’s memorable title series in an all-North semifinal this weekend. Regular-season overall champion Philadelphia hosts the Oilers in the other series. Both series get under way Friday night with Game Two set for Saturday. Third games, if needed, will be played Sunday.
No. 1 Philadelphia sweeps No. 8 Hartford
The high-octane Little Flyers overwhelmed the Jr. Wolfpack in a two-game sweep by scores of 9-2 and 10-1.
Game One saw the Flyers get two goals each from Jesse MacIntyre (assist), Oleg Potemkin (two assists) and Cam Berry, both on the power play. Colin Woods, Blake Delisle and John Nugent also scored while Todd Schauss and Conner Bechtel connected for the Wolfpack.
It was more of the same in Game Two. Amazingly 10 different Flyers had a goal apiece with MacIntyre and Gabe Chuckran also adding a pair of apples each. Jamie Lukas netted the Wolfpack’s lone goal.
No. 2 New Hampshire outlasts No. 7 New York
The Bobcats extended the Monarchs to overtime in Game Three before bowing out. New York held a 1-0 lead on Tyler Peters’ first-period goal and Brandon Rathwell (42 saves) made that stand until the Monarchs’ James Davis tied it early in the third period. The Monarchs’ Hunter Laslo then ended the series at 3:48 of OT.
The Monarchs won a tightly-played Game One, 2-0, behind third-period goals from Laslo and Brent Beaudoin, the latter a short-handed empty-netter. Simon Leiva (25 saves) had the shutout.
Game Two went to the Bobcats, 4-3, with Charles Barber’s empty-netter with 30 seconds left proving to be the game-winner as the Monarchs’ Brendan McDonough scored with nine seconds to play. Sean Gargin, Tyler Peters and Ian Harris also scored for New York while C.J. Valerian and Matt Steeves had the other New Hampshire goals.
No. 3 Cyclones knock out No. 6 Wilkes-Barre /Scranton
The Cyclones prevailed in OT in the series opener, 4-3, then closed it out convincingly with a 3-0 shutout.
In Game One, the Monarchs’ Nolan Redler tied it with 6:46 left in regulation and Dylan Bengston buried his second of the game 22 seconds into overtime to win it. Bengston’s first made it 1-0 and Jarrod Fitzpatrick gave the Monarchs’ a 2-1 lead in the second period. Pontus Okerblad netted a pair for WBS and David MacGregor gave the Knights a 3-2 lead early in the third period.
The Cyclones’ Jimmy Poreda had the 27-save shutout in Game Two. The Cyclones scored once in each period with goals from Luke Formica, Aaron Bland and Bengston. Knights’ keeper Tyler Huberty had 37 saves.
No. 5 Connecticut upends No. 4 Walpole
The EHL’s system of re-seeding teams by their regular-season point totals following the opening round pitted a pair of divisional champions against each other and the Oilers swept the Boston Division champion Express, 3-2 and 2-1.
Connecticut keeper Chris Bastone (45 saves) and Express goalie Evan McCarthy (41 stops) put on a Game One show, settled by third-period goals by the Oilers’ Lucas Bombardier and Spence Manchuck. Frankie Cefalu and Eric Lipa gave Wapole a 2-1 lead with their second-period goals offsetting Todd Jackson’s first-period tally for Connecticut.
The goalies were at it again in Game Two as the Oilers’ Michael Tilford had 42 stops and McCarthy sent back 40 shots. Marc Happy and Sebastian Fowler connected for Connecticut. Frankie Cefalu scored for Walpole.