BOSTON, MA -- The #Eshow kicked back into full gear this past week with 19 total games combined between the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP). For over half of the league, this past week featured their first game of the season, and the beginning step of the 2019-20 campaign. Below you will find the selections for our first set of Warrior Hockey Stars of the Week in the EHL and the EHLP.
To date, 13 of the 19 EHL teams have hit the ice for at least their first game of the 2019-20 season. By this time next week, every single team in the top division of the #Eshow will have at least one result on their overall record.
As for the opening week, the EHL is pleased to announce that Jay de Ruiter (Team Maryland), Christian Halbig (Philadelphia Revolution), and Matt Stephan (New England Wolves) have been named the Warrior Hockey Stars of the Week.
Starting with the forward for Team Maryland, it's very clear that the native of Holland will be the key cog on offense for his team. In his team's first two games of the season, de Ruiter found the back of the net five times and dished out a pair of assists, as Maryland split their two-game series with the Connecticut RoughRiders. The 2001-born forward then added in assist against the Philadelphia Revolution on Sunday. Coming up this week, Maryland hits the road for a pair of games against the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers.
We move back to the blue line with Christian Halbig, a 2001-born defenseman from Queenstown, MD. Halbig has helped his team to a 3-1-0 record in their first four games, and that includes a goal and an assist in three straight games. Halbig actually didn't play in the Revolution opener against Philadelphia Little Flyers, but he hasn't skipped a beat in the games where he has been on the ice, and his team is a perfect 3-0-0.
Last, but not least, Matt Stephan and the New England Wolves began their 2019-20 season with a home-and-home sweep of the Seacoast Spartans. The six-foot netminder was able to turn away 80 of the 82 shots he was faced with over the weekend, and posted a 37-save shutout in his first game with the Wolves. With these two wins under his belt, Stephan maintains a save percentage of .976 and an overall GAA of 1.00 to start the year. Stephan and the Wolves will now look to keep things rolling as they head to Hooksett, NH on Saturday, to take on defending EHL Champions, the New Hampshire Avalanche.
As the first full weekend of play comes to a close in the EHLP, 10 of the 13 teams have kicked off the new season. There were many division rivals that got together this past Saturday and/or Sunday, including rematches of last year's conference finals.
This past season it was a battle between the Boston Jr. Rangers and the New England Wolves for the New England Conference crown, while the Philadelphia Little Flyers and the New Jersey 87s faced-off for the Mid-Atlantic Conference.
As for the first set of Stars of the Week, the EHLP is pleased to announce that Johnny Malandruccolo (Boston Jr. Rangers), Ryan Crane (New Jersey 87s), and Ryan Warren (Railers Jr. Hockey Club) have been named the Warrior Hockey Stars of the Week.
Malandruccolo and the Rangers started their season off with a win over the Walpole Express on Saturday night, by a final score of 5-1. On Sunday, the Rangers then defeated the defending EHLP Champions, the New England Wolves, by a score of 5-4 in overtime. Malandruccolo started his season off hot with a hat-trick against the Express, followed up by a pair of goals against the Wolves, and accounted for both game-winning goals. The Rangers hope to keep their early win streak alive as they take on the New Hampshire Avalanche this upcoming Sunday.
Crane and the 87s bounced back from 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Little Flyers on Saturday, with a 6-4 win over the New York Bridgemen on Sunday. After being held off the scoresheet in his team's opener, the 2000-born native of New Jersey scored a pair of goals in the Sunday night victory. The 87s now have a short break on their schedule, as their next scheduled game is set for October 11th, once again against the New York Bridgemen.
Wrapping things up, Warren anchored the Railers to their first-ever junior hockey victory in franchise history this past Sunday. The 2001-netminder stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced, as the Railers knocked off the Vermont Lumberjacks by the final score of 4-3 in overtime. Worcester will hit the ice next this upcoming Sunday, once again on the road, but this time against the New England Wolves.