BOSTON, MA -- The Eastern Hockey League (EHL) kicked back into full gear this past week with all 16 teams in action following the Thanksgiving holiday. With every organization hitting the ice, there were plenty of worthy candidates for our weekly honors.
The EHL is pleased to announce that Alex Ochterbeck (Philadelphia Little Flyers), Josh Grasso (Walpole Express), and Austin Smith (Walpole Express) have been named the TSR Hockey Stars of the Week.
As we turn the page for a new week, there's another huge slate of games on the horizon. The week ahead features 21 total games through Monday, as the teams get prepped for the December Showcase in Walpole, MA. The next set of TSR Hockey Stars of the Week will be released on Monday, December 11th at 4:00pm. Catch the #Eshow action all season long on HockeyTV.
Ochterbeck and the Little Flyers swept their weekend home-and-home series with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, improving their record up to 19-6-0 for the season. As Philadelphia sits at the exact midway point of their 2017-18 regular season schedule, Ochterbeck finds himself at the top of the EHL's scoring charts, as he leads the league with 52 points so far this year. The Texas native tallied seven of those points this past weekend, as he found the back of the net five times and dished out a pair of assists. Through 25 games, the '97 has only been held off the scoresheet just three times, and is currently riding a stretch that includes 19 points in his last eight games. Ochterbeck will look to stay hot as the Little Flyers travel to take on the Philadelphia Revolution on Wednesday, and then head North for matchups against the Connecticut Oilers on Saturday and Sunday.
Grasso and the Express returned to action after taking 16 days off following the November Showcase. The short break proved to be just what the Express needed, as they swept their set of games this past week, and added four wins to their overall record. The successful week boosts Walpole's record up to 17-5-3 for the season, and helped the Express move up to #2 in this week's #Eshow power rankings. Grasso was an anchor on the point this past week for the Express, dishing out six assists and running his season point total up to 15 for the year. As the league shifts for a new week ahead, the Express find themselves just one point back of the Boston Jr. Rangers for the top spot Boston Division and the New Hampshire Avalanche (Friday) and Total Athletics Seahawks (Sunday) coming to town this weekend.
While Grasso took care of business on the blue line, Smith stood tall between the pipes for a pair of Walpole's victories. The '97 netminder from Illinois stopped 49 of the 51 shots he faced against the New Hampshire Avalanche on Friday and then followed things up with a 35-save performance yesterday afternoon against the Valley Jr. Warriors. The pair of victories run Smith's record up to 3-1-0 for the season, as the big goaltender has been solid for Walpole since joining the team in the beginning of November. Since dropping his first start back on November 5th, Smith has won three straight decisions all while owning a steady 2.00 GAA. Smith will look to continue to anchor his team with their next five games all at Rodman Arena.
This week, the EHL is once again recognizing a handful of honorable mentions, as this group of players all turned in "star-worthy" performances.
Brandon Collett stood on his head in a pair of starts this past week for the Total Athletics Seahawks. The '98 netminder stopped 86 of the 89 shots he faced, as the Seahawks split their two games.
Sticking with the North Conference, Matt Needleman was an offensive catalyst this past week for the New England Wolves. The '98 forward ran his season total up to 23, with six points in three games this past week.
After recognizing Grasso and Smith, we would be remiss to not acknowledge the performance of Chris Peters on offense for the Walpole Express. The '97 tallied a least a point in all four of his team's games, as he finished the week two goals and six assists for Walpole.
Last, but not least, the defending champion Philadelphia Jr. Flyers bounced back their past weekend with three-game sweep of their set of games. Dennis Ruppe notched a five-point weekend, running his season total up to 19 for the year.