USPHL Elite Players Of The Week: North Region

(Games of Dec. 1-6)


North Division 

(Submitted by Joshua Boyd)

Forward: Liam Norton, Bridgewater Bandits 

A pair of wins against the Junior Bruins over the week helped the Bandits stand in a tie for second place overall in points for the entire Elite conference. Norton (‘04/Newark, N.J.) was huge in the wins with two goals on Dec. 10. He also had an assist in the Bandits’ loss to the Islanders Hockey Club on Dec. 8. Norton stands 10th in league scoring with 32 points in 30 games. 


Defense: Riley Klas, Boston Junior Bruins

The veteran leading scorer of the Junior Bruins, Klas (‘03/Moscow, Idaho) registered points in each of the Junior Bruins three games over the past week, which included a win and a shootout loss for three points. He scored a goal and an assist in the two games against the Bandits, and added two more assists in the Junior Bruins’ win over the Springfield Pics on Dec. 11. Klas has 10 points in 19 games this season, and 35 points in 61 career games.  


Goaltender: Matt D’Ortona, Boston Junior Bruins

A fourth-year USPHL veteran, D’Ortona (‘04/Nashua, N.H.) had his best game of the season with 45 saves on 48 shots against the Springfield Pics. The Junior Bruins picked up the victory, also D’Ortona’s first of the season. D’Ortona has previously played in the USPHL 16U and USPHL 18U Conferences. 


Mid-Atlantic Division

(Summaries by Marlee Bulman)

Forward: Jace Lombardo, Rockets Hockey Club, 

Lombardo (‘04/Staten Island, N.Y.) had five goals and two assists this weekend for seven points. Lombardo helped secure the win on Sunday against the Jersey Hitmen 4-1. He now has eight points in his first five games since joining the team in November.


Defense: Arthur Mervyak, P.A.L. Jr. Islanders

The longtime Jr. Islander helped the Elite team come back to winning territory after taking losses over the weekend against the WBS Knights. Mervyak (‘05/Babylon, N.Y.) had two assists in the Monday win, handing the Knights a 4-3 OT loss. Mervyak has played in two prior USPHL 16U seasons before joining the Elite team this year, and also played youth hockey with the P.A.L. organization. 


Goaltender: Bryan Hirtzel, P.A.L. Jr. Islanders 

Hirtzel put up a big fight against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights powerhouse, making 31 of 34 saves, taking the P.A.L. to an OT Win. The ‘05 from Bethpage, N.Y., is 7-2-0-0 with a 2.50 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. A third-year teammate of Mervyak and five other Elite teammates, Hirtzel spent the prior two seasons with the Jr. Isles’ USPHL 16U squad.