By Joshua Boyd / USPHLElite.com
Three days of Round Robin are in the books, and so are the two USPHL Elite semifinals. Twenty teams started the season, but only two can play in the championship final, and those teams are the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes.
The WBS Knights went clean at 3-0 through the round robin, the only team to do so. The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes went 2-1, but won when it counted in the semifinals against the Northern Cyclones in a back-and-forth 1-0 battle, keyed by a 45-save effort from Tristan Falsetto in net. Jacob Gifford scored the only goal in the third period.
The WBS Knights, the regular season champion, defeated the Jersey Hitmen by a 3-2 score in the other semifinal on Sunday. Another game that saw a little bit of everything – including bursts of offense and great goaltending – featured all five goals being scored in the second period. Brody Bess and Jared Showen each scored a goal and an assist, and Sam Pfeiffer’s goal – which made it 3-0 – stood up as the GWG. Jersey’s Francis Zaklukiewicz and Kody Fitzgerald both had goals, while Zaklukiewicz (1-1-2) and Nicholas Cioce (0-2-2) had two point games.
The Knights faced the Jr. Canes in the round robin, winning 6-1 on Saturday, so Carolina will be looking for revenge. The Knights, founded in 2021, are hoping for a championship to cap off Year 2.