The regular season concludes a week from Sunday and two races for division titles and top playoff seeds are getting sorted. The third may not be decided until closing day.
With two games in hand and time dwindling, the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs (31-6-1-0) maintain a five-point lead on the second-place Northern Cyclones (29-11-0-0).
The Monarchs won a crucial head-to-head weekend match-up, 5-3, behind Peyton Baldillez (2 goals, 2 assists) and goalie Jake Theut (42 saves). Hunter Laslo, Jordan Mathieu and Eric Berglund also scored for the Monarchs, who raced out to a 3-0 lead. Connor Callow scored two for the Cyclones, who closed to 4-3 in the final period until a Baldillez empty-netter ended it.
The effect of that win was blunted the following night when the Cyclones stopped the Boston Jr. Rangers, 5-2, and the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack ended the Monarchs’ 10-game winning streak, 2-1, behind the 44-save performance of Spencer Landry.
However, the Cyclones suffered the loss that may have killed their divisional title quest Tuesday afternoon, a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Boston Junior Bandits, who got a 27-save performance from goalie Ryan Hubbard. Freddy Gerard (2 goals) and Erik Anderson supplied the offense.
There’s all kinds of crazy going on with this race. The Connecticut Oilers (23-12-2-1) continue to lead the way but are being pressed by the New York Bobcats (20-12-4-1), the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack (19-14-3-3) and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (18-15-6-1). To make it even juicier, the Bobcats hold from one to three games in hand on everyone.
The Jr. Wolfpack followed up their upset of the Monarchs with a 4-1 decision of the Washington Jr. Nationals. Christian Thamert, Theo Tydingco, Luke Rivera and Kyle Wehmhoff supplied the offense.
After losing to New York Applecore on Friday, WBS salvaged a weekend split and stayed in contact with the leader by baking Applecore on Saturday, 5-3. Chris Deming scored two goals and Dan Perez contributed a goal and two assists. Kenny Orlando and Connor Ryan completed the scoring for the Knights.
The Philadelphia Little Flyers (23-9-2-3) are in complete control of this race, having a 10-point cushion with the regular season winding down. Most recently, they handled the New Jersey Titans, 5-3, in a game that was scoreless through two periods. Consecutive goals by Cameron Berry, Oleg Potemkin, Jude Warner, Hector Maiul and Drew Gannon in a span of 11:32 of the third period put that one away.
The Little Flyers also received a bit of help from the third-place Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (17-17-5-0), who knocked off the second-place New Jersey Rockets (19-17-2-1), 4-1, in
another game that had no scoring until the third period. A Jamie Lukas hat trick, well, did the trick.
And, in what qualifies as the silver lining to a long and dreary season, the Washington Jr. Nationals (4-31-1-1) scored back-to-back 4-2 wins against the New Jersey Rockets and Walpole Express. Gabriel Flood scored two goals against the Rockets then registered a hat trick against the Express.
The Connecticut Oilers’ EHL all-star forward Tommy Nolan is headed to SUNY-Cortland … Washington Jr. Nationals defenseman Brad
Anderson is taking his game to Assumption College in Worcester, MA … Hartford Jr. Wolfpack forward Ryan Kangas is bound for SUNY-Brockport … Valley Jr. Warriors’ forward Charlie Widmar will play for St. Olaf College of Minnesota … Northern Cyclones’ defenseman Will Norris has signed on with Western New England College.
All the commitments are for the upcoming 2014-15 academic year.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Defense: Spencer Keglovic, D, Philadephia Jr. Flyers
Goaltender: Spencer Landry, Hartford Jr. Wolfpack.
Offense: Gabriel Flood, F, Washington Jr. Nationals
Goals: Kevin Valenti, Northern Cyclones, 33
Assists: Frankie Cefalu, Walpole, 42
Points: Valenti, 70
Goaltending: Brendan Cain, NHJM, 1.85/.932