USPHL Premier All-Stars: South Region Defensemen and Goalies
By Jim den Hollander/USPHL.com, 03/21/19, 3:30PM EDT
The USPHL Premier South Region, consisting of the Southeast and Florida Divisions, is pleased to announce its 2018-19 season All-Star Selections, voted on by the coaches of the two divisions. Coaches could not vote for their own players on the ballots.
The South Region named one Premier All-Star team of 12 forwards, seven defensemen and three goalies.
Earlier today, we announced the USPHL Elite South Region All-Stars, and now we begin the USPHL Premier South Region announcements with the Defensemen and Goalie selections, followed in about one hour (4:30 p.m. EST) by the USPHL Premier South Region All-Star Forwards.
Friday, March 22, will see the release of the North Region All-Stars from both the USPHL Premier and Elite. Yesterday saw the release of all USPHL Premier Midwest Region All-Stars.
Austin Mourar (‘99/Spring City, Penn.) – Richmond Generals
Mourar led South Region defensemen in scoring with his 15 goals and 35 assists and he appeared in all 44 games for the Generals. Mourar contributed five goals on the power play. The defenseman added one goal in the two playoff games played by the Generals.
Ethan Prout (‘99/Boulder, Colo.) – Richmond Generals
Prout was another solid defender in Richmond, contributing 32 points with five goals and 27 assists in his rookie junior season. Prout scored a pair of his goals on a power play and one of them was a game winner.
Jaxon Rutkowski (‘98/Rome, N.Y.) – Hampton Roads Whalers
An anchor on defense, Rutkowski made his presence felt on the score sheet as well, contributing 11 goals and 27 assists in his second season with the Whalers. Six of his goals came on the power play and one was a game winner. Destined for Utica College this fall, Rutkowski wrapped up a second straight Premier League Championship, contributing two goals and two assists in six postseason contests.
Yan Kalinovsky (‘98/Astana, Kazakhstan.) – Florida Eels
In his final year of junior eligibility, Kalinovsky tested the North American waters and the Florida Eels couldn’t be happier. He played all 44 games with the Eels, contributing 16 goals and 26 assists. The lanky, smooth skating d-man fired a pair of power play goals and two of his markers were game winners.
Cullen Rush (‘00/Alexandria, Va.) – Atlanta Kings
Rush was a key part of the Kings defense and contributed at the other end, collecting 11 goals and 23 assists in 42 games. He sat just 16 minutes in penalties and made others pay for their miscues with six powerplay tallies. One of his goals stood up as a game winner Rush already had three seasons of junior experience and the 18-year-old defender could be back for more this fall.
Ilja Grekovs (‘99/Leipaja, Latvia.) – DME Swamp Rabbits
In his second year of North American Junior, Grekovs moved from the Midwest to Daytona where he was a leader on the blue line for the Swamp Rabbits, contributing 11 goals and 37 assists in 42 games. The defenseman contributed five power play goals and three of his 11 markers stood up as game winners. He also scored on his only shootout attempt.
Georg Landro (‘98/Riverside, Calif.) – Potomac Patriots
Landro was a two-year member of the Potomac Patriots, and he was a real power play artist this year. Out of his eight goals and nine assists for 17 points, eight of those points came with the man advantage. He placed in the top 10 league-wide among defensemen with those five power play goals.
Alec Lindberg (‘98/Bedford, N.H.) – Hampton Roads Whalers
The Whalers had a ton of offensive weapons and Lindberg made sure that offense stood up with an All Star season in goal. In his third season with the Whalers, Lindberg appeared in 22 games, winning 19 of them with a 1.76 regular season Goals Against Average and a .941 Save Percentage with four shutouts. He added four more postseason wins, allowing nine goals on 147 shots and adding one more shutout.
Sebastian Nilsson (‘99/Skelleftea, Sweden) – DME Swamp Rabbits
Like Lindberg, Nilsson was the backstop on an offensively powerful team. He made sure the leads stood up, making his North American debut a great one with 13 wins in 16 regular season starts with one of his losses coming in overtime. He posted a 2.00 Goals Against Average and .947 Save Percentage with three shutouts.
Patrik Lietava (‘00/Svolen, Slovakia) – Florida Jr. Blades
Lietava made 22 regular season appearances for the Blades and collected eight of the team’s 10 wins. Despite a .951 Save Percentage and a 2.39 Goals Against Average, Lietava couldn’t stem the bleeding on an underachieving team, but he became the story of the 2019 post season with his heroics.
The team reached Nationals following a three-game upset of the Tampa Bay Juniors and proved it was no fluke, adding two wins and a tie against the Metro Jets to get within the goal differential tiebreaker of reaching the Championship semis. Lietava was the primary reason for the playoff uprising, stopping 233 of 248 shots for a .940 Save Percentage and four more wins.