#USPHLNationals Elite Team Preview: Northern Cyclones

By Joshua Boyd / USPHLElite.com


With the exception of the league’s inaugural year (2017-18), the Northern Cyclones have been synonymous with the USPHL Nationals at the Elite level. The team is certainly excited about qualifying for the sixth straight Nationals, especially after being inspired by seeing their Premier brethren win it all in 2023. The Cyclones also reached the Elite National Championship game themselves in 2022.  

“It is a great feeling to be heading back to Nationals, obviously the goal on day 1 is to work towards getting there and the guys put a lot of work in to be able to make it happen,” said Head Coach Tim Plummer. 

At 33-6-4-1, the Cyclones finished second in the league overall with 71 points, just three points behind the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes. The Cyclones have always made the semifinals or better every time they’ve made it, including the aforementioned championship game on their own home ice in 2022.

The path to get to the Nationals went through the Boston Junior Bruins, the No. 4 seed in the New England Division. Having seen the Premier Junior Bruins oust the Premier Cyclones in a shocking 7-over-2 upset, the Elite Cyclones weren’t going to let that happen to two teams in Hudson, N.H.

“I thought we played solid in our series leading up to it. Obviously goaltending and defending was a factor as we didn’t let any in the back of the net,” said Plummer, whose team won 4-0, 4-0 against the Junior Bruins. “We stuck to our systems and did what we needed to for us to advance.”

Michael Anstey and Nick Cowles each got the shutout wins in net, but neither was greatly tested, stopping a total of 18 shots between them in the series. Offensively, the Cyclones were second in goals per game (4.84) and shots on goal per game (46.89) in the Elite during the regular season, as well as second in the main defensive measures of goals against (2.07) and shots on goal against (23.64). 

During the playoff series, the same leaders from the regular season were the leaders against the Junior Bruins. Josh Bruno led with five points, and both Noah Malcolm and defenseman Matthew Taylor scored three apiece. 

Plummer understands it is a long time, nearly three weeks between his team’s last game against the Junior Bruins and first in the Nationals, against the Rockets Hockey Club. 

“We have been skating every day, doing a lot of maintenance work in the gym, spending a bunch of time together to prepare,” said Plummer. “Working on fine tuning everything for what will be a large task at hand.”

The Cyclones have gone 8-4-2-0 against fellow Nationals teams, including a recent 6-0 victory on Feb. 8 against the Rockets Hockey Club, their Day 1 opponent.

That was followed shortly thereafter by an 0-1-1-0 weekend against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The Cyclones went 5-2-1-0 against the Islanders Hockey Club, their fellow New England Division foes. 

They also faced the Tampa Bay Juniors (5-4 loss) and Atlanta MadHatters (4-3 shootout win) at the USPHL Florida College Showcase in December. They face Atlanta on Day 2 at the Nationals.  

“Honestly I think every team attending is a threat, there are no layups this time of year,” said Plummer. “I took some time to watch all the teams play this past weekend and I think it’s anyone’s game. 

“We have to show up and be prepared to play at our best level and work to compete at the highest level,” he added. “We have to show up with the right mindset and attitude to be able to take it one game at a time and go from there.”