(Records Indicate Games Played Dec. 2-11)
By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes (4-0-0-0)
The Jr. Hurricanes came away with a pair of wins against the Columbia Infantry, including a 4-0 road shutout win to start the month. This was a comeback for the Jr. Canes who had been swept by the Charlotte Rush over the Nov. 18-19 weekend. The losses to Charlotte were damaging enough that the Jr. Canes – formerly in first – fell to second in points to Potomac in both the Southeast and overall USPHL Elite standings. However, the Jr. Canes next faced Potomac and were able to get the sweep and pull back to first in both the division and the conference overall going into the USPHL Florida College Showcase this weekend.
- At the halfway mark (22 games, reached after the first game against Columbia), the Jr. Canes had their best first half in their USPHL Elite history dating back to the current conference’s formation in 2017-18.
- After 15 games as the home team, no Elite team has more victories than the Jr. Canes with the last change. They are 13-1-1-0 overall. Two of those wins were registered as the home team during the USPHL Southeast Showcase in Hampton Roads. Their next four “home” games are in Florida at the USPHL Florida College Showcase (Dec. 16-19) and the USPHL Tampa Showcase (Jan. 6-9).
- The Jr. Canes are a strike first kind of team, as they have more first goals than any other team, putting up 20 through 25 games. They are 18-1-1-0 when drawing first blood.
- Carolina is No. 1 in goal differential with a +77 mark.
- Jacob Gifford is on a four-game scoring streak, with a 5-2-7 line going back to Nov. 19. Gifford put up 28 points in 20 games this season, his second with the Jr. Canes. He is tied for the team lead in scoring with Brayden Strong.
- Strong has pulled up to a tie for the team lead in scoring with 28 points. He has a 3-8-11 line in the four December games so far.
- Goalies Pavel Matiunin and Jacob Sanders are both 2-0 in December and they have a combined .943 save percentage.
The Road Ahead: Their USPHL Florida College Showcase schedule includes meetings with the Palm Beach Typhoon, the Columbia Infantry and two against the Atlanta MadHatters.
- The league-leading Jr. Canes are 3-0 in all their meetings so far with the Typhoon; they are 14-6-0-0 against Atlanta all-time, and 7-1-0-1 all-time against the Jr. Blades.
Charlotte Rush (3-1-0-0)
The Rush improved to 19-7-0-1, giving them fourth place overall in the league with 39 points. The Rush started December with a 5-2 loss to Richmond, but came right back a day later with a 4-1 over the rival Generals. Then, in their second home-and-home weekend of the season against the Florida Division’s Columbia Infantry, they earned their second sweep over the first-year organization.
- It’s a testament to how powerful the Rush have been in the USPHL Elite (including winning the 2021 National Championship), when you consider that they are fourth overall in the league with 39 points, and it’s actually their lowest point total after 27 games going back to 2018-19. Powerhouses do their thing.
- The Rush have always been a strong offensive team, but it’s defense where they rank highest this year. They are third overall with a 2.33 team goals against average. They’re also fifth in fewest shots against with 29.52. Offense-wise, they fire the fourth most shots on goal at 42.63 per game.
- The Rush cannot be beaten so far with a lead at any break. They are 12-0 when leading after the first and a league-leading 18-0 (95 percent of their 19 wins) when leading after two periods.
- Jack Lamothe equaled each of his October and November points output when he scored four points in their Dec. 5 win against Richmond – and then he blew that out of the water with a five-goal game against Columbia on Dec. 12. It was the first five-goal game for an Elite player since Dec. 2, 2021, when former Florida Jr. Blade Thomas Filoramo (now with the Premier Columbia Infantry) put in five against the Florida Eels, the second five-goal game of the season.
- Lamothe’s five goals was a season-high for any Elite player. Six other players have scored four goals, including Elmira’s Ethan George and Nashville’s Nathan Fishman – on the same day, Dec. 10. The 13 goals scored in one day was the most by three players in Elite history. The previous record was 12 by three players on Jan. 12, 2021.
- Perry Jacobs’ 1.00 goals against average is second best for any Elite goalie playing at least 120 minutes so far in December.
The Road Ahead: The Rush start the USPHL Florida College Showcase against Tampa. They’ve defeated the Juniors in all but one Dec. 17, 2018, matchup (also at that year’s Florida showcase) for a 9-1-0-0 all-time record.
- From there, it’s back-to-back games against the Florida Jr. Blades. The Rush are 6-1-0-0 all-time against the Jr. Blades, who won their first matchup in the current USPHL Elite on Oct. 13, 2017.
- The Rush end with the Florida Eels on Monday afternoon. In regular season games, the Rush are 9-1-0-0 all-time against the Eels, who picked up their first-ever win at the USPHL Southeast Showcase in Hampton Roads by a score of 4-3 in September.
Richmond Generals (3-1-0-0)
The Generals rebounded from their split weekend with Charlotte by putting up two straight shutout victories against the Hampton Roads Whalers, 3-0 and 6-0. The defending champion Gens are tied for seventh in Elite points and they are fourth in the Southeast Division, with a record of 13-10-1-2.
You can do the math by now, but suffice it to say the Southeast Division is the only one with four teams in the top 10 of the Elite Conference overall.
- The Generals earned back-to-back shutouts for the first time since the 2020-21 season, when two different goalies (Hogan Nelson and Chase Golden) earned them back to back on Feb. 9 and 19, 2021 against the Potomac Patriots. That is also the last time the Generals had consecutive shutouts against a common opponent.
- Ethan Carlone, who made 22 and 20 saves in the two shutouts, became the first Generals goaltender since Nelson to record individual back-to-back shutouts at the 2020 Florida Showcase on Dec. 18-19 of that year against the Florida Eels and Atlanta MadHatters. Nelson currently plays for NCAA Division III Salve Regina University.
- Carlone is the league’s best goaltender so far in December, among goalies with at least two games played so far. In three contests, he has a league-leading 0.67 goals against average, a .976 save percentage and two shutouts and three wins. He is tied in December wins with Luca Bruns of Bridgewater.
- Richmond is just behind Charlotte in best defense overall with a 2.58 goals against average (tied with Potomac at fourth in the league). They truly command possession in games, when looking at their shots for (42.88 per game, second) and shots against (29.00, fourth).
- While no players are on long scoring streaks, four Gens have averaged at least a point per game in playing all four games this month – Carlos De Leon (4-0-4), Nik Xidos (2-2-4), and Brady Kangas (1-4-5).
The Road Ahead: The Generals start the USPHL Florida College Showcase Friday against the Tampa Bay Juniors, against whom they are 5-1-0-1 all-time
- Next up are the Palm Beach Typhoon. The Gens only faced them once, when they earned a decisive win in 2021-22.
- The Generals face the Typhoon and the Atlanta MadHatters both on Saturday. They are 13-4-1-0 all-time against the MadHatters, who defeated Richmond 5-4 in OT at this year’s Southeast Showcase.
- They’ll finish up against the Nashville Spartans, for the two teams’ only meeting in 2022-23.
Nashville Spartans (2-2-0-0)
The Spartans played fellow Southeast Division-mates the Potomac Patriots over Dec. 3-4 and fell by scores of 7-1 and 4-3. From there, they ended a nine-game home stand at Gary Force Acura Ice Center with a decisive victory followed by a closer 9-6 win, both against the Mid-Atlantic’s Elmira Jr. Enforcers. The Spartans stand at 11-14-1-1 as they head into their first-ever USPHL Florida College Showcase.
- As seen above, the 9-6 win against Elmira featured matching 4-goal performances in the same game by Nashville’s Nathan Fisher and Elmira’s Ethan George, marking the first time two players from opposing teams had four goals in the same contest (going back to 2018-19).
- Fisher also set the record for most goals scored in one game by a player with a first-year Elite team – not including the inaugural season of 2017-18 when all teams were new.
- The Spartans are a very respectable 10-0 when leading after two periods, representing 91 percent of their 11 victories.
- Gino Indelicato is the only Spartan with points in each December game so far, putting together a 2-5-7 line over his four games, including three straight two-point efforts. He is tied in December points with teammates Nathan Fisher and Tobias Nevak.
The Road Ahead: The first-year Spartans will play their first-ever games against the Florida Jr. Blades and the Richmond Generals at the USPHL Florida College Showcase.
- They will also play the Tampa Bay Juniors for a second time, after beating them 3-2 at the Southeast Showcase. They will face the Columbia Infantry for the third time, after splitting with them over the Oct. 29-30 weekend.
Potomac Patriots (2-2-0-0)
The Patriots briefly held the top spot in the Elite Division this weekend, prior to a sweep by the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes who reclaimed the crown.
They started the month with wins of 7-1 and 4-3 against the Nashville Spartans the first weekend of December and then fell by 6-2 and 4-3 to jump from 39 (one behind the Pats’ 40 as of Friday) to 43 points. It was a tough pill to swallow, but in the grand scheme of the season Potomac is having, it’s all been unprecedented. Before last week, the Patriots never before led the Southeast Division, never mind the Elite as a whole.
- At 20-7-0-0 and 40 points, the Patriots have officially matched their three-year standings point total from 2019-20 through 2021-22. For the Pats, these days are the “good ‘ol days,” as they set the standard for future Patriots teams in the USPHL Elite.
- The Patriots are the most successful in terms of wins when tied after one period at 7-1-0-0 in that situation, and they also put together great third periods, judging by their league-best 5-1-0-0 record when tied after two.
- David Csemi is tied for the team lead in scoring for December with five points along with Cole Whelan. Csemi is the only player on the team, however, to hold a four-game scoring streak of 1-4-5.
The Road Ahead: The Patriots start the USPHL Florida College Showcase with a Friday game against the Columbia Infantry, whom the Patriots defeated 7-1 in their only meeting so far.
- Saturday morning features the Patriots facing the Florida Eels, and their game later the same day is against the host Florida Jr. Blades. Their all-time series against the Eels is fairly close, with Florida holding a 5-3-0-0 lead. Against the Jr. Blades, the Estero side holds the 6-2-1-1 all-time score going into this 10th all-time meeting between the two.
- The Patriots only faced their Sunday opponents the Palm Beach Typhoon twice in 2021-22, the Typhoon’s first year, and won both games.
Florida Eels (2-1-1-0)
The Eels stand in the middle with a 14-4-1-1 record for 30 points after 18 games, though their winning percentage of .750 actually sees them tied for fourth in the USPHL Elite and at the top of the Southeast Division (which Tampa Bay leads in points).
The Eels and Typhoon have been all over the map with their results against each other. Four weeks after the Typhoon won 7-4 on Nov. 13, the Eels got them back with a 9-5 victory on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Four days later, the Typhoon again came out on top with a 5-4 overtime win. The Eels had earlier seen a split against Tampa Bay, countering a 6-5 regulation loss with a 4-1 win.
- The Eels actually are exactly where they were at the same 20-game mark last year, points-wise, with 30 points – though with a slightly different record than their 15-5-0-0 last year.
- The Eels have the league’s fifth-best offense at 4.65 goals per game.
- Lorenzo Marchetta is on fire – he scores in bunches every time he steps out to the ice. He has a seven-game point streak of not just the minimum one point per game, but all seven games have seen either two or three points from Marchetta. His total line shows 8-7-15 for the seven games, He had 12 points in his first 12 games of the season, but has truly taken his game to a new, higher gear.
- Jachym Cermak stands third in league defenseman scoring at 21 points and first overall in goals scored with 11.
- Adamo Di Re is enjoying a December points streak of 1-5-6 in his first four games this month.
The Road Ahead: The Eels will start the showcase Friday with their first-ever meeting (and first of five this year) against the Columbia Infantry.
- Saturday morning pits the Eels against the Potomac Patriots, against whom they are 5-3-0-0 all-time. This game will be played at Fort Myers Skatium, though will still be considered part of the Florida College Showcase
- Sunday finds the Eels playing an afternoon tilt against the Hampton Roads Whalers. The Eels have met eight times before and it’s almost completely even but the Whalers have one more point with a 4-3-0-1 record vs. the Eels’ 4-4-0-0.
- The showcase wraps Monday and the Eels will play the Charlotte Rush, who hold a 9-1-0-0 all-time record after 10 meetings.
Atlanta MadHatters (2-1-0-0)
The MadHatters opened December with a three-game set with the Florida Jr. Blades, but took last weekend off from game action before heading to Florida for the showcase. Against the Jr. Blades, Atlanta won the first two 8-3 and 8-1, but lost the final of the trio at the Madhouse in Atlanta by a 5-3 score.
At the midseason mark here, we keep one eye on the now and one eye towards potential playoff spots. With a record of 9-10-2-2, the MadHatters stood at third place in the Elite after the weekend against Florida. Even while idle this past weekend, they still held on to that spot in the Florida points race with 22 points. They are two points ahead of the Palm Beach Typhoon. They have a “tentatively safe” lead over the fifth place Columbia Infantry, who are at 14 points.
- The MadHatters are 10 points ahead of where they were after 23 games last year, and they’ve matched their points total from 2020-21.
- Atlanta has gone past regulation more than any other team, for six times total. They’ve unfortunately only picked up a pair of wins – one in OT, one in the shootout – from these opportunities.
- The MadHatters hold the league lead in shootout goals, with five. They are 5-for-11 for a .455 success rate, second best in the league for teams who have had multiple shootouts (the Eels are first at 4-for-7 at .571).
- Cooper Lundberg is tied for fifth in league scoring with 36 points, and he had seven of those points in the opening December weekend against Florida. He also leads all Florida Division players in points. Lundberg is also tied for fourth in goals league-wide at 17.
The Road Ahead: Atlanta starts their showcase run against the Hampton Roads Whalers. The Whalers hold an all-time record of 12-2-1-0 over their 15 meetings since 2017-18, and the Whalers have won each of their single meetings the last four seasons.
Tampa Bay Juniors (2-1-0-0)
The Juniors started the month of December with a split against the Eels (a 6-5 win and a 4-1 loss), and then played a single game this past Friday, Dec. 9, against the Florida Jr. Blades, winning 7-3.
On all but one occasion this season, the Juniors were able to rebound from a loss. The last time they did not rebound with a win after a loss was a three-game stretch at the USPHL Southeast Showcase. They’re certainly hoping that Estero will see a better outcome than they had in their 1-3 stand in Hampton Roads. Besides that one little dip, the Juniors have been largely successful. They took over the Florida Division lead around Thanksgiving and haven’t given it up, though Florida is just one point back going into the USPHL Florida Division Showcase.
- Similar to the Eels, the Juniors are right about where they were at this time last year. Tampa Bay, whose 2021-22 Elite team joined the Eels at the 2022 Nationals, were 16-7 for 32 points last year versus 15-7-0-1 this year. Additionally, one year ago at the same point, the Juniors were two points behind the Eels, who put together a strong finish to win the Division.
- The Juniors remain the least-penalized team in the Elite Division, averaging just 6.43 minutes per game. They are the only Elite team without a major, misconduct, game misconduct or disqualification.
- They are fine letting the opposition take the penalties, as they are second in power play percentage at 26.8 (19 goals scored on 71 advantages).
- The Juniors have only been outshot six times in 23 games, but they have fared well at 3-3 when being outshot.
- The Juniors only played three games, but got points from 16 different skaters already in December. Leading the way has been Ari Blatt with a 2-4-6 line to start December. Blatt is tied for the league’s longest overall assist streak with nine helpers in eight games straight, tied with the WBS Knights’ Eric McHale in both length and number of assists. That is also the longest active streak in the Elite.
- Blatt has 5-9-14 in his overall eight-game point streak, which is the second longest active streak in the league. He’s pulled up to 22 points in 22 games after starting the season with eight points his first 14 games.
- Brenden Sickles leads the team in scoring with 25 points in 20 games.
- Goalie Jonathan Jensen is enjoying a seven-game win streak going back to Oct. 8.
The Road Ahead: Tampa Bay jumps right into it with two games on Friday against the defending National Champion Richmond Generals and then the Nashville Spartans. Richmond is 5-1-0-1 all-time against the Juniors, and the Spartans won their first-ever meeting 3-2 at the Southeast Showcase.
- Saturday sees the Juniors facing the Charlotte Rush, who are 9-1-0-0 all-time against Tampa Bay.
- The Juniors finish on Sunday against the Hampton Roads Whalers. The Whalers are 6-1-1-0 all-time against Tampa Bay, though the Juniors have gone 2-1 against the Whalers the last two seasons.
Palm Beach Typhoon (1-1-0-0)
The Typhoon have pulled above the .500 mark a few times this season, and they maintained that pace with a 10-9-0-0 record nearing the halfway mark, which they will hit in their third Florida showcase game. It’s a huge step forward for the sophomore team, who had just one win after 19 games a year ago.
The Typhoon have had a light month going into the showcase, playing just the home and home against the Eels, a 9-5 loss at home and a 5-4 OT win in Fort Myers. The Typhoon improved to 2-2 against the Eels this season.
- The Typhoon and the Florida Jr. Blades will have the most games remaining after the USPHL Florida College Showcase, with 21 apiece. The games in hand could help the Typhoon in their playoff push as they are two points behind Atlanta with four games in hand going into the showcase.
- The Typhoon have only scored the first goal eight times in their 19 games, but have fared well going 7-1-0-0 when they take the first lead.
- Leading scorer Sean Boltin has a five-game scoring streak all with multiple points in each game going back to Nov. 6, putting up a 9-5-14 line in that small stretch. This included two straight hat tricks in mid-November.
- Brayden Curry returned to the Elite lineup in mid-November and he has a five-game scoring streak as well, at 5-8-13 in his five games so far.
The Road Ahead: The Typhoon will face, in order, the Richmond Generals, the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, the Potomac Patriots and the Hampton Roads Whalers.
- Their only win against any of their showcase opponents was on Dec. 17, 2021, at last year’s Florida Showcase when they beat the Whalers, 4-3.
Drop The Pucks!