Brayden Strong, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
You have to love the story of the local boy done good. That is Strong to his core. The ‘04 from Wake Forest, N.C., came up through the Jr. Hurricanes youth system. After a season with their 16U AAA squad, it was on to junior hockey in 2021-22. This year, he took what he built with 21 points last season and used that as a jumping-off point for 36 points this year. Half of those 36 points were scored in just the month of December, when he posted a 4-14-18 line. And voila, Carolina leads all Elite teams in points with their 24-4-1-0 record and 49 points.
Jack Lamothe, Charlotte Rush
Lamothe (‘03/Attleboro, Mass.) went south from the hockey-heavy New England market to join one of the country’s most successful junior organizations, and boy, did it work out for both. After 30 games as a junior rookie, he has posted 22 points, with half of that coming in his seven December games. He scored seven goals and added four assists for 11 points this past month, including a 2-2-4 line against the rival Richmond Generals and five goals against the Columbia Infantry.
Gino Indelicato, Nashville Spartans
The ‘05 product from Palm Springs, Fla., is picking up steam every time he steps on the ice. He put up eight assists and three goals for 11 points in eight games over the month of December, pushing himself to a point per game average through 30 games. Indelicato registered points in seven of the eight games he played in December. He was a point-per-game performer on the big stage of the USPHL Florida College Showcase.
Colby Markham, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
Tops in just so many categories across the board, it’s almost hard to keep up. The Jr. Canes’ plus-minus leader (+34), blocked shots leader (34) and he’s second in takeaways (46). And oh, yeah, he’s the top-scoring defenseman in all of the Elite Division with 29 points. He put up a goal and eight assists for nine points in eight games. The ‘05 from Raleigh, N.C., is another homegrown talent like Brayden Strong, moving up from the Jr. Canes youth system into the affiliated USPHL junior program.
Benjamin Pearson, Charlotte Rush
The ‘03 out of Rochester, N.Y., remains one of the top defensemen in the USPHL Elite – which also means you’re seeing less of him. Pearson has played in eight Premier games this season along with his 21 Elite contests, including multiple games in each of October, November and December. With the Elite team, he put up a 3-6-9 line and a +6 through the month of December, giving him 27 points in 21 games – and 65 points in 56 career regular season games.
Ethan Carlone, Richmond Generals
A fine goaltender from the start, Carlone started out with a 3-2-0-0 record this year, up through Nov. 5. Since coming back to the crease in December, he has been unbeatable – and we don’t just mean going 5-0, which he certainly did. He also posted all three of his shutouts – consecutively – in December. In one weekend, he put up a combined 42 saves to double-blank their Viriginal rivals the Hampton Roads Whalers. Next up was a trip to the USPHL Florida College Showcase, where he stopped all 30 shots faced against the Tampa Bay Juniors. All told, the damage was 151 saves on 157 shots for a .962 save percentage and a 1.19 goals against average in December.