#USPHLPlayoffs – The Watch List: February 18, 2023

Updating yesterday’s Watch List:
Game Count for Saturday, Feb. 18:
23 USPHL Premier
7 USPHL Elite
Teams that have clinched playoff berths since Friday morning:
NCDC: Jersey Hitmen
Premier: Tampa Bay Juniors
Premier: Atlanta MadHatters
Seven NCDC games mean that every team is in inter Divisional action again today.
At Foxboro in the South Shore Kings Presidents Day Showcase:
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (seventh/South) vs. South Shore Kings (third/North)
Mercer Chiefs (third/South) vs. the Cyclones (T-second/North)
• The Cyclones and South Shore are tied in points. The Cyclones have two games in hand. Mercer and Wilkes-Barre won’t move in the standings regardless of their outcomes.
Rockets Hockey Club (T-fourth/South) host the Boston Junior Bruins (seventh/North) in New Jersey.
Islanders Hockey Club (sixth/North) vs. Connecticut Jr. Rangers (T-fourth/South)
• The Rockets and Connecticut are tied with 49 points. The Rockets have two games in hand.
Twin City Thunder (fifth/North) vs. Utica Jr. Comets (sixth/South).
• Twin City cannot move in the standings today. A Utica regulation loss plus either a Rangers or Rockets win will eliminate the Jr. Comets.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday.

USPHL Premier Conference

It’s an inter Divisional game day with 12 of the 23 games being crossover games. A lot of good match-ups, but here are the games with immediate implications.

Southeast Division 

Richmond (third) hosts Carolina (fifth).

Both teams are in contention for third, but a Richmond win would guarantee them at least third and leave Carolina and Nashville contending for the fourth and final spot. Nashville is done playing regular season games. They have to hope that Carolina drops three of their last five games, starting today, to remain in playoff contention while idle.

Richmond and idle Potomac (2) are in contention for 2nd place  and anything other than a Richmond win will see Potomac no worse the 2nd.

Pacific Division

Fresno (first) hosts Seattle (second/Northwest) on a rare West Coast inter-divisional weekend.

• Fresno needs one point in two games to secure home ice for the playoffs. A Las Vegas (fourth) loss to Long Beach (sixth) would also help Fresno, but don’t expect their rival Las Vegas to be in a giving mood.

• A Las Vegas win against Long Beach will put them in a tie for third with idle San Diego.

Northwest Division

Vernal (first) hosts Rogue Valley (fourth)

• Rogue Valley can use some points to put distance between itself and Bellingham (fifth).


Midwest East Division

Today’s games: Three teams are within three points of each other in the quest for second, though first is only six points ahead and not yet clinched by current leader Fort Wayne, who will next play tomorrow against Cincinnati.

MJDP are in Foxboro. They defeated New Hampshire 7-3 and will later play Utica.
Cincinnati hosts Motor City
Decatur hosts the Chicago Cougars


Mountain Division 

All six teams are in action. The standings won’t change, but a Pueblo (fourth) win over Utah (first) or a Provo (fifth) loss to the Spud Kings (sixth) would give Pueblo home ice in the first round.


Midwest West Division

A win by the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings (fourth) over the Minnesota Mullets (ninth) would see them lock in the fourth and the final home ice slot for the first round.


South Shore Kings Presidents Day Showcase

We have three teams playing two games each today.

Wilkes-Barre (second/Mid-Atlantic) defeated the Islanders Hockey Club (second/New England) in overtime. WBS also faces the Northern Cyclones (first/New England). Winning both, with an Aviator (first/Mid-Atlantic) loss to the Junior Bruins (third/New England) would see WBS move into first in the Mid-Atlantic.

No other team in the Mid Atlantic can advance today.

Buffalo (ninth/Mid-Atlantic) need a win over Bridgewater (fifth/New England) to keep the race for eighth place interesting. P.A.L. Jr. Islanders and the Jersey Hitmen are both idle today.

In the New England Division, no one will advance or drop their standings position as a result of today’s games.

There are four games at Foxboro, and three games elsewhere.
Florida Division
Tampa (second) vs. Florida Eels (first).
Mid-Atlantic Division
Elmira (sixth) at Jersey Hitmen (second)
• Neither of these games will change their teams’ standings positions.
Southeast Division
Carolina (first) at Richmond (fourth).
• A Carolina win will clinch first place in the Southeast. A Richmond regulation loss will clinch fourth for the Generals.
South Shore Kings Presidents Day Showcase
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defeated Bridgewater, 5-2.
Rockets (fourth/Mid-Atlantic) vs. Junior Bruins (fifth/North)
Springfield (fourth/New England) vs. New York (fifth/Mid-Atlantic)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (first/Mid-Atlantic) vs. Northern Cyclones (first/North)
• The Aviators could flip positions with the Rockets, should they win and the Rockets lose. Aviators have three games in hand.
• Springfield and the Junior Bruins are fighting for the last playoff spot. The Bruins are eight points behind and each team has six games left.
Check back Sunday morning for the next update.