By Jim DenHollander/USPHL.com, 02/06/19, 7:00PM EST
After six months of action, the battle for the USPHL Elite Southeast Elite Division title will likely come down to the final day of the season.
The Hampton Roads Whalers are clinging to a one-point edge against the Richmond Generals as both teams earned weekend sweeps as all six teams went at it on Saturday and Sunday.
The Whalers stayed in control, hitting the road for 4-2 and 6-3 wins against the Carolina Eagles, but the Generals made sure it was kept at a single point after the weekend with 3-1 and 5-4 wins on home ice against the visiting Atlanta Jr. Kings.
Despite the losses, the Jr. Kings stay in front of the Eagles by two points in the battle for the fourth and final playoff spot.
The Charlotte Rush now destined to finish third in the division also grabbed a weekend sweep with a pair of lopsided wins on the road against the sixth place Potomac Patriots.
Whalers 4 @ Eagles 2
Whalers 6 @ Eagles 3
On Saturday the Whalers carried a 1-0 lead out of the first period and both teams wrapped up the rest of the scoring in the middle frame.
Cody Wilson (‘98/Virginia Beach, Va.) paced the Whalers’ attack with two goals and two assists, Greg Moon (‘99/Franklin, Mass.) collecting the win in goal with a 39-save effort.
Mike Beck (‘01/Apex, N.C.) stopped 45 shots in goal for the Eagles.
The following day it was 1-0 Eagles after a period and teams were even at 2-2 heading to the third.
Teams were even at 3-3 late, but three goals in the final 3:53 wrapped up the win for the Whale.
D.J. Randle (‘00/Boca Raton, Fla.) paced the Whalers with two goals and an assist and Shane Ziegler (‘00/Virginia Beach, Va.) picked up three assists.
Jr. Kings 1 @ Generals 3
Jr. Kings 4 @ Generals 5
The Generals needed a rally in the final 20 in the first game as teams were scoreless after a period and the Kings carried a 1-0 cushion into the third.
Zachary Boulet (‘01/Ste-Catharine, Que.) fired two first period goals including the game winner for the Generals at the 12:48 mark.
The other game was also close, again scoreless after a period and the Generals up 3-2 after two.
Boulet added another three goals in this one while Aaron Eddington (‘98/Springfield, Ill.) had two goals and a set up for the Kings.
Rush at Patriots
The Rush wrapped up a pair of wins, led in the first game by Sky Swavely (‘99/Wilkes Barre, Penn.) with four goals and three each from Luke Dobles (‘00/Rochester, N.Y.) and Shane Hemmer (‘00/Chicago, Ill.). Phillip Shemyakin (‘99/Chino Hills, Calif.) collected five assists.
In the other game, Christian Roble (‘99/Aberdeen, N.C.) scored four times, Shemyakin adding a goal and two assists while Andrew Nogowksi (‘99/Cinnaminson, N.J.) stopped all 23 shots faced to earn the shutout.
Florida Division: Tampa Bay clinches Division title
In USPHL Elite Florida Division play this past weekend, the Florida Eels earned a two game sweep to apply pressure, but the Tampa Bay Juniors also earned two wins to earn at least a share of the division’s regular season title.
Eels played home and home with the fourth place DME Swamp Rabbits, taking the first 3-2 in Daytona Friday and wrapping it up Sunday on home ice with a 5-1 win.
The Juniors kept its strong grip on the lead with a 5-3 win on home ice Friday against the Jr. Blades and hitting the road for a 5-2 win the following day.
Eels 3 @ Swamp Rabbits 2
Swamp Rabbits 1 @ Eels 5
In the first game Friday night, teams battled even through two periods, tied at 1-1 at the end of both frames.
Anthony Sozio (‘99/Cape Coral, Fla.) scored with 4:13 to go to put the Eels up 3-1 but Jack Wess (‘00/St. Louis, Mo.) notched his second of the game a little over a minute later to make things more exciting down the stretch.
Two days later, on home ice, the Eels owned a 1-0 lead after a period and 3-0 after two on its way to a more convincing win.
Jake Court (‘00/Fort Myers, Fla) led the offense with two goals and an assist for the Eels, Gage Dill (‘01/Estero, Fla.) adding three assists.
Jr. Blades 3 @ Juniors 5
Juniors 5 @ Jr. Blades 2
On home ice Friday, the Juniors grabbed a 3-0 lead against the visiting Blades, both teams adding a goal in the second.
Jonny Scheer (‘00/Fan Wood, N.J.) scored twice to lead the Juniors.
The following day in Estero, it was the Blades up 1-0 after a period and teams were even at 2-2 heading to the third before a trio of unanswered goals clinched it for the Juniors.
Jake Mazur (‘00/Trinity, Fla.) paced the Juniors attack with two goals and an assist.