WALPOLE, MA -- It's not even Halloween, and the Eastern Hockey League just completed its second showcase with 28 games taking place at Rodman Arena in Walpole, Massachusetts last weekend.
Amidst all of the great hockey that took place over the three-day event, let's take a look at how each division fared and which teams came out on top.
Three of the four teams in the South Division ended the showcase on a win, and two of them had a perfect weekend. The New Jersey 87's defeated the hosting Walpole Express 5-1 on Saturday followed by a 3-2 win against the Vermont Lumberjacks on Sunday, and are riding a four-game winning streak. Their offense is coming alive, and all eight of their showcase goals were scored by different players.
The Philadelphia Little Flyers also had a perfect weekend, defeating the Seahawks Hockey Club with a 4-3 overtime win on Saturday, followed by a 2-0 win over the Express Sunday. Tyler Hissong picked up the OT winner against the Seahawks for his first EHL goal, while Joseph Henson earned a 28-save shutout against the host team.
While Team Maryland lost their first game against the Jr. Rangers, they bounced back with a 5-2 win over the New England Wolves, and became the first team in the league to reach 10 wins.
Out in the Central Division, the Railers Junior Hockey Club continues to lead the pack with a pair of wins. They won 4-1 in each of their games against the Connecticut RoughRiders and Protec Jr. Ducks. Damon Dulac scored twice in Sunday's win over Connecticut, while Mike Martignetti had two goals in the win vs. Protec.
The Nutmeg State combined for two wins in the final two days of the showcase, as the Connecticut Chiefs took down the Seahawks in a 4-3 battle. Jack Devine finished the game with a goal and two assists. The RoughRiders bounced back from their loss to the Railers with a 4-3 overtime victory against the Valley Jr. Warriors. Colin Bella scored two goals, including the overtime winner.
The battle for 'toughest division' between the East and South may still be up for debate, but something that's not up for debate is the dominance of the Boston Jr. Rangers. The defending EHL champions are on a six-game winning streak after defeating Maryland 3-0 and the New Hampshire Avalanche 3-2 in a shootout. Jake Murphy had a goal, plus the shootout clincher in Monday's marquee matchup.
Also on that final day, the East Coast Wizards prevailed in overtime with a 4-3 win over the New York Apple Core. Will Jennings scored the tying goal with under 10 minutes left in the second half, and Jake DiNapoli potted the OT-winning goal.
Though second in the standings, the Seacoast Spartans are heating up with a four-game winning streak. In the showcase, they defeated the Vermont Lumberjacks 5-2 and the Apple Core 6-3, as forward Cooper Board racked up five points (3g, 2a) in the two contests.
The Avalanche and Wolves each were victorious over the weekend, as New Hampshire picked up back-to-back 2-0 shutouts over the Wizards and Ducks on Saturday and Sunday. As for New England, the Wolves defeated the Chiefs 5-2 with a two-point performance from Kristian Malec.
There were 11 games for the EHLP over the last two days of the showcase, and the Seahawks had the best performance of the bunch by going 2-0. They defeated the Renegades 8-3 on Saturday night and followed up with a 2-1 overtime win against the 87's. Seahawks goaltender Liams Chasse made 38 saves in the goaltenders' duel while Atticus Beane scored the game-winning goal to defeat the 87's.
New Jersey did not have a bad weekend themselves, picking up points in all three of their games. Prior to the OT loss against the Seahawks, they defeated Vermont Lumberjacks 2-0 and the Valley Jr. Warriors 3-2. 87's rookie Brooks Hradek had the game-winner against Vermont and picked up another goal in the win over Valley.
Philadelphia also won two of its three games, defeating the Walpole Express 3-0 and the Railers 2-1. Ronan Marley made 37 saves on Sunday as the Flyers handed the Railers its first loss of the season.
This weekend will mark the fourth time an EHL All-Star team will face an NCAA opponent. Shortly after the Walpole showcase, the roster was announced as the team will face Curry College on Friday at 7 p.m. and UMass Boston Saturday at 4 p.m.
Egan Schmitt of the Lumberjacks will serve as captain while Colin Bella (RoughRiders), Bobby Geier (Maryland) and Josh Grund (Express) were named the alternates. Every team will have at least one player representing the All-Star team, and the full roster can be viewed here.
The coaching staff will be led by Rich DeCaprio of the Boston Jr. Rangers, and the assistants are Bill Zaniboni (Seahawks), Adam Houli (87's) and Chris Cerrella (Avalanche).
The EHL previously went up against college teams in 2019, going 1-1-1 with a 1-1 tie against Fitchburg State, a 5-1 victory over Salem State, and a 8-1 loss to UMass Boston.
Both games this weekend will be available for streaming on Hockey TV.
Anthony Di Paolo covers the EHL for HNIB and can be followed on Twitter @DiPaolo_016
Anthony Di Paolo has spent the last four seasons with the New Jersey 87's organization. Anthony's familiarity with the junior hockey landscape at the Tier II and Tier III levels will help him dive right into covering the EHL.
Anthony will cover our league showcases and events, as well as write weekly features and player spotlights throughout the 2021-22 season.