WORCESTER, MA -- The first leg of the EHL Showcase Series wrapped up on Sunday, with a league-record 50 games taking place over four days at the Worcester Ice Center.
All 34 teams across the EHL and EHLP Divisions have now played at least one game, so one can say the 2022-23 season is officially underway. The action did not disappoint, and here are some of the highlights from the opening showcase.
The Railers Jr. Hockey Club took full advantage of home ice in this showcase, going a combined 6-0 between the EHL and Premier teams. At the EHL level, the Railers picked up a 3-2 win over the East Coast Wizards, a 4-1 victory against the Philadelphia Hockey Club and a 7-2 win over New York Apple Core. Jack Wineman had one of the more impressive performances over the weekend, picking up four goals plus an assist over three games.
There was no shortage of offense for the Railers' Premier team as they earned 5-1 victories over the New Jersey Renegades and Union Thunder as well as a 6-0 win against the Philadelphia Little Flyers. Forwards Jaymin Rolfe and Michael O’Malley scored four goals each over the weekend.
Four out of the five expansion teams picked up at least one win during the Worcester Showcase, and both EHL teams went 2-1 over the weekend. Philadelphia Hockey Club defeated the Vermont Lumberjacks and Seahawks Hockey Club both by scores of 3-2. Ethan Byrne picked up the hat-trick in Philadelphia’s win over the Seahawks, while Brogan Shea scored twice in the team’s win over Vermont.
HC Rhode Island started its showcase against the Boston Jr. Rangers and found themselves in a 2-0 hole, but responded by scoring four unanswered goals in the second half to secure the 4-2 victory. They followed up that performance with a 3-2 win over the Seahawks and extended its winning streak to four games.
The Adirondack Jr. Thunder and Pennsylvania Huntsmen earned their first wins in the EHLP on Saturday with both games going to a shootout. Frank Klaus opened the scoring for Adirondack in their game against the Seahawks, but Edward Bossler knotted the score later in the second. In the shootout, Thunder goaltender Kian Hodgins stopped all four shots he faced as Mack Ryan put away the shootout winner.
Pennsylvania found themselves down 3-0 against the New England Wolves after the first half. They rallied with three goals in the opening 14 minutes of the second half. The Wolves responded quickly to regain the lead, but the Huntsmen got their momentum right back as they tied the game just 30 seconds later. Huntsmen netminder Ty Jones denied all four shootout attempts that came his way, and Chase Canestra scored the lone shootout goal as the Huntsmen won 5-4.
Coming out of the gate, the North and South Divisions seemed to pack the biggest punch in Worcester. In the South, the Protec Jr. Ducks, Team Maryland and Philadelphia Hockey Club all won two of its three games, while the 87’s and Little Flyers each earned a win as well. Maryland’s best win came in a 6-2 victory over the Boston Jr. Rangers, as they ran away with the score by getting four of the five goals in the second half. Protec managed to knock down the red-hot New England Wolves with a 3-2 victory on Friday as Graham Broadfoot scored twice and Nick Hebert notched a goal and two assists.
In the North Division, the Seacoast Spartans won all three of its games with an 8-4 win over the Little Flyers, a 5-3 win against the Connecticut RoughRiders and 4-2 victory over the Jr. Ducks. Spartans forward William Pray had a monster weekend with four goals and four assists over those three games. The Avalanche and Wolves each picked up a pair of wins in Worcester, including an Avalanche 4-2 victory over the Jr. Rangers and a Wolves 4-3 win against the 87’s in a semi-final rematch from last year. Finally, last but not least, the Lumberjacks grabbed a win as well at the showcase, knocking off the 87's this past Saturday.
Three teams in the EHLP remain undefeated coming out of the Worcester showcase. Those teams are the Vermont Lumberjacks (5-0-0), the Express Hockey Club (4-0-0) and the Boston Jr. Rangers (3-0-0). Vermont has looked particularly dominant in the opening stretch of the season, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 32-9.
As for the EHL, just one team remains with an undefeated record, as the New Hampshire Avalanche own a mark of 3-0-0 through their first trio of games to start the year.
Coming up in early October, there will be a pair of mini-showcases in the EHL, with one at Hollydell Ice Arena in Sewell, New Jersey (Oct 7-8) and the other at the Ice Den Arena in Hooksett, New Hampshire (Oct 9-10).
Anthony Di Paolo covers the EHL for HNIB and can be followed on Twitter @DiPaolo_016
Anthony Di Paolo has spent the last five 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 2022-23 season.
Tag(s): News EHL News EHLP News Jr Rangers Wizards Jr Warriors Express Seahawks Wolves Avalanche Spartans Lumberjacks Chiefs RoughRiders Rhode Island Apple Core Railers 87s Philadelphia HC Little Flyers Jr Ducks Maryland Jr Rangers Jr Warriors Express Seahawks Wolves Avalanche Lumberjacks Chiefs Railers 87s Little Flyers ADK Thunder Renegades Huntsmen Union Thunder