The Eastern Hockey League has returned to full action following the extended holiday break. League teams gather this weekend for the MLK Day Showcase, which starts tomorrow and continues through Monday at Rodman Arena in Walpole, MA. It is the last of the league’s in-season Showcases.
Three of the four divisional races remain hotly-contested as a single point separates last year’s playoff finalists New Hampshire Monarchs and Northern Cyclones in the North Division; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton owns a four-point edge on the Connecticut Oilers and an eight-point bulge on the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack in the Central; and the Walpole Express are three points ahead of the Boston Bandits and four points up on the Boston Junior Rangers in the Boston Division with five games in hand on both
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Little Flyers continue to blitz through the South Division with a 21-point lead on the second-place Philadelphia Junior Flyers. The Little Flyers are the league leaders in most goals scored (149) and fewest goals allowed (56) and are also the second least-penalized teams (11.6 minutes per game). Contrast that to the league-leading Connecticut Oilers (21.5 mpg).
In some of the key games from the past week:
– The Little Flyers overpowered Hartford, 8-3, putting the game away with four goals in the third period. Cam Berry went for a hat trick and five points while Zach Felser had a goal and three assists.
– Five players had a goal apiece as the Jr. Ranger dumped the Bandits, 5-1. Joe Berardi, Derek Mecrones, Brett Mecrones (two assists), Andrew Amick and Davis Algra found the net while Evan Morelli had 35 saves.
– The Junior Flyers shut out Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in crossover action, 3-0, behind 33 saves from Johan Blomquist. Bill Huber, Charles Freshman and Steve Beck netted the Flyers’ goals.
– The Jr. Monarchs secured a one-point divisional lead with a 5-4 decision of the Cyclones. The Monarchs opened a 5-2 lead through two periods with Joey Lindberg’s power play strike at 17:54 of the second period the game-winner. Simon Leiva (37 saves) excelled in the New Hampshire net while Jimmy Poreda and Drennen Atherton combined for 35 saves for the Cyclones.
IN THE NEWS
– The 1994 Prospects Game will be held this coming Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Rodman Arena. Forty-five players are participating.
– The EHL Spring Showcase for U16, U18 and U20 squads will be held May 15-17 at two sites, the Haverhill Valley Forum and Cyclones Arena in Hudson, NH. All EHL programs will be entering a minimum of two teams in the event.
Dylan Sobczyk, D, N.J. Titans – University of Southern New Hampshire (2015)
Luke Formica, D, Northern Cyclones – Utica College (2015)
Ben Mariano, F, Hartford Jr. Wolfpack – SUNY-Pottsdam
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offense – Cam Berry, F, Little Flyers
Defense – Trey Decker, F, Jr. Flyers
Goalie – Evan Morelli, Jr. Rangers
Goals – Pontus Okerlad, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 28
Assists – John Nugent, Little Flyers, 33
Points – Luke Babcock, NH Junior Monarchs, 44
Goaltender – Simon Leiva, NH Junior Monarchs, .955 save pct.