Standings above taken from USPHLElite.com/stats/standings and are official only as of the end of Day 1.
By Joshua Boyd / USPHLElite.com
Jersey Hitmen 4, Florida Eels 3
About the best first game of a National Championship tournament you could ever ask or hope for, the teams were tied after one period and the Hitmen held a close 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Lorenzo Marchetta tied the game and Grady Duden gave the Eels their first – and in the end, only – lead of the game. Francis Zaklukiewicz scored his second of the game to tie it and eventually send it to OT. Neither team found paydirt there, and Zaklukiewicz and Chris Donnelly both scored in the shootout.
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes 6, Tampa Bay Juniors 4
The Juniors were the team that went up early, 2-1. But Carter Radosta’s goal to get in between two Tampa goals was a harbinger of what was to come. Radosta scored to tie the game just over 6 minutes into the second, and then it was a 4-2 Carolina lead after two periods. Tampa would not go easy, though, as they pulled to a 4-4 tie with Brenden Sickles scoring 30 seconds in, and Joshua Skipper following. Nathan Rhodes broke the tie at 16:08, and Colby Markham took out insurance on three points in the standings.
Northern Cyclones 4, Charlotte Rush 2
Spencer Barrow got the Rush started with a goal in the first, but the Cyclones were just a team on a mission Thursday. They scored two in the second and one more from Corey Girouard to start the third for a 3-1 lead. The Rush worked their way back into contention with a goal by Jack Lamothe, but Josh Bruno’s insurance marker put the “W” firmly in the ‘Clones’ corner.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights 1, Islanders Hockey Club 0
A defensive tug-of-war ensued and went on for all of two periods and most of the third. Jonathan Morgan tucked one home on a cut across the front of the net at 12:40 of the third. Dylan Boughen, the only Elite goalie undefeated in regulation during the regular season, kept up the beat with a 20-save shutout. Anthony LaCroix was valiant in the IHC net despite the loss, giving up just one out of 27 shots against.