While the Power Rankings on Nexlevel saw no change in both the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP), there were still teams accumulating points and progressing in the standings.
Hockey Night in Boston repeats week 3 for a new edition of Keeping Up with Kyle.
The first place New Jersey 87s not only improved to 6-0-0 in the past year, but also beat the Philadelphia Little Flyers in back-to-back games during week 3.
Goalkeeper Jon Kopack and the 87s started the week with a 4-0 shutout-victory over Philadelphia. The win marked the squad’s first shutout for the 2020-21 campaign, in which Kopack saw a record 25 saves on the day.
Younger Nick Swain led New Jersey with a four-run attempt (2g-2a), and Kei Yasuda extended his points run to five games after scoring one goal and bringing in three helpers. Two days later, it appeared that the first-place MAC team was about to destroy the City of Brotherly Love again. New Jersey scored three goals in the first period against the Little Flyers in large part thanks to Cal Couell, Yasuda and Swain who all scored the goals in the frame.
Still, Philadelphia and its power play hit back and were converted twice in the second frame, creating momentum swing for the Flyers entering the third period. The 87s masked man in Jeremy Connor closed the Flyers door and showed several important plus timely rescues. The 19-year-old and former EHLP product registered 20 saves on 22 shots and took his first EHL win of his career. New Jersey later scored a goal with an empty goal to seal the deal after a 4-2 win. The win also marked New Jersey’s third win against the Little Flyers this season.
Let’s not forget that the Connecticut RoughRiders also skated in two games during week 3. After taking its first win in week 2, Connecticut suffered an 8-4 defeat to rivals in the Protec Ducks. The Ducks handed Connecticut its third loss, after the Orange and Black managed to score four goals in the second period in addition to three more in the final frame of the game. Nick Newman signed his name on the scoring sheet with two goals, while Brody Seiman and Jordan Guigui both posted one goal and two helpers for three-point efforts.
The ducks, however, were outshot 55-27. Connecticut bumped into the hot goaltender – Dylan Knighton who averted 51 of 55 RoughRider shots on target.
The EHL’s rising star in Tyler Buonopane and his RoughRiders got back to their winning streak when the RoughRiders beat the New York Apple Core 9-6. Buonopane was, of course, no stranger to the scoresheet. He scored one goal and called in two helpers and Buonopane now leads the league with 19 points (8g-11a) in the year.
Additionally, attacker Colin Bella also posted a three-point (2g-1a) match against Apple Core. Bella finished third in the competition with 16 points (8g-8a) for week 5.
The RoughRiders are 3-3-1 and sit in the middle of the pack for the conference, but own a minus-eight goal difference after allowing 40 counts in seven games so far.
New England Conference
On the way north, it was the expansion Maine Eclipse who stole the headlines for the NEC in week 3. Maine took its first win in team history when the Eclipse stunned the Seacoast Spartans in first place. After dropping to 0-3-1 to kick off the year, the Eclipse defeated Seacoast with an impressive 4-1 win.
The Eclipse sent Seacoast the message early on, after the expansion squad scored three goals in the first period. Justin Gusso, Mattingly Wierl and Justin Turse all found the back of the net for Maine, but the team’s goalkeeper was arguably the game’s first star. Maines Nikita Pryymak finished the game with 48 saves, while 41 of those stops were ejected during the first two periods of the game, impressive, isn’t it? The memorable win also marked Pryymak’s first EHL win of his career.
Prior to the loss, Seacoast did collect two points in the standings and in a dramatic way. The Spartans skated to a 1-0 victory over the Walpole Express. Both goalkeepers in Walpoles Eric Buchholz and Seacoasts Rhett Wesolek were efficient during the match, but it was Spartans Michael OBrien who took the winner of the shootout.
The Spartans are at the top of the NEC standings with a 4-1-1 record and are currently led by Bjorn Schuepbach (3g-4a).
There is no argument that the New Hampshire Avalanche were eager to get back into the win column after losing their first game to kick off the Octobers schedule. New Hampshire fell to the Valley Jr. Warriors, 3-2, but answered back with a 4-1 win over an NEC rival. Artem Mateichenko (2g-5a) and the Avs defeated the Seahawks Hockey Club 4-1 in their last game, going into week 5 to beat the opponents 21-9. It’s no secret that New Hampshire also brings depth in all parts of the ice.
Don’t believe us? Just check the score sheet of the teams that won the Seahawks. Four different skaters found the back of the net, while 10 Avs scored a point overall against their conference enemies. George McMichael carried the torch for New Hampshire in between the pipes. No. 31 has had three wins on the year and his 1.50 goals-against-average in addition to his .945 save% should not be overlooked. Keep in mind that opponents have only scored more than two goals against the Avalanche this season.
Eastern Hockey League Premier
The New Jersey 87s and Philadelphia Little Flyers not only at EHL level for two games, but each made headlines in the EHLP. The two organizations started Week 3 at IceWorks Skating Complex in the City of Brotherly Love, but it was the Garden State that walked away victorious. The 87’s scored six goals in the game for victory (6-3) on Saturday, but ironically it was the Flyers who responded one game later with a six-spot.
Philadelphia responded with a 6-4 win, and remember that the youngsters have scored three or more goals in all four games this season.
Roll Avs, Roll
New HampshireThe EHLP squad didn’t miss a beat either. The Avs had two wins in Week 4, outperforming the opponents 11-6. Graham Hassan and his company first won the Valley Jr. Warriors 6-2 and later defeated the Boston Jr. Rangers on Sunday with a 5-4 final. New Hampshire kicks off week 5, well, with a 5-0-0 record and a power play run at over 30%.
That power-play% is above average for the record.
If there was one team busy over the holiday weekend for the EHLPit, it was Connecticut Chiefs. Connecticut and top scorer Scott Bradley skated in three games, while registering two wins. Did we mention Connecticut had a double-header against the New Jersey Renegades on Monday?
After defeating the Worcester Jr. Railers on Sunday 3-2, the Chiefs followed their second win of the season with a 2-0 shutout win against New Jersey on Monday-morning. That win also meant Chiefs masked man Alex Herman earned the EHLP’s Top Performing Goaltender of the Week. The 19-year-old recorded his first win of the year and in just two games, Herman has taken more than 60 shots.
Believe it or not, the resilient Renegades replicated a Connecticut shutout just hours later. New Jerseys ‘Joey Jamison took his third win of the year, stopping all 26 of the Chiefs’ shots, which also improved his save rate to .941 for 2020-21.
See you on the ice rink
Kyle McKenna covers the EHL for HNIB and can be followed on Twitter @KMcKenna_EHL
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