USPHL Elite Players Of The Month – February 2023: Southeast Division

Summaries by Joshua Boyd / 



Jacob Gifford, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes

Improving your points total by six times over the prior season is certainly an eye-opener. Gifford (‘04/Cary, N.C.) put up an 8-8-16 line in just six games, putting his season total to 56 in 39 games. As a bonus, Gifford got his first four-game call-up to the Premier Division, and he scored his first goal at that level. 


Brayden Strong, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes 

Strong (‘04/Wake Forest, N.C.) is as dedicated a Jr. Cane as you’ll find, playing from the youth level and now up to the Elite. He more than tripled his 2021-22 output, from 21 to 66 this year. Strong led the team in points and finished eighth in scoring, and put up a 5-11-16 line in six games. Strong scored two or more points in every one of his February games and his overall scoring streak is eight games with a 5-17-22 line. 


Wesley Wilding, Richmond Generals

Wilding (‘04/London, Ont.) is certainly dedicated to getting his team where it was last year – the USPHL Nationals. He will be leaned on heavily to try to get the defending National Champions past the Southeast top-seeded Carolina Jr. Hurricanes. Down the stretch, Wilding put up a 5-3-8 line in six games to finish with an even 23-23-46 line in 33 games. 



Ian Dracoulis, Richmond Generals

The Gens’ veteran leader on the blue line, Dracoulis (‘04/Chester, Va.) was a defensive dynamo through the month of February. He put up 11 blocked shots, 22 hits and a +2 rating, while also putting in a 1-2-3 scoring line. In 103 career Elite games, Dracoulis has 37 points, 25 of which have come this year. He hopes to repeat as an Elite Division champion. 


Daniel Garcia Ortiz, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes

Garcia Ortiz (‘03/Raleigh, N.C.) is another career Jr. Cane like Strong and he helped the division champions go 6-0 through February (plus a win at the end of January for a 7-0 winning streak going into the playoffs). In his six games, he put up a 2-4-6 line, blocked six shots and registered 11 hits in addition to going +3. 



Tristan Falsetto, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes

Falsetto (‘02/W. Palm Beach, Fla.) stopped all but three goals in three games played during February, as he also went 3-0. Falsetto kicked off last month with a 24-save shutout of the Nashville Spartans, and went on to stop 35 saves in each of his next two games against Richmond and Charlotte. All told, he stopped 94 of 97 for a .969 save percentage. His regular season ended with a 10-2-0-0 record, 1.73 goals against average and a .940 save percentage.