USPHL Premier South Region All-Stars: Forwards
By USPHL Staff/USPHL.com, 03/16/20, 6:30PM EDT
Congratulations to all of our USPHL Premier South Region All-Stars, representing the Florida and Southeast Divisions, and looking strictly at regular season performances.
Best of luck to all of these players as they move forward in their hockey careers, either to collegiate hockey, to higher levels of junior hockey or returning to their teams for further development in 2020-21.
Stat line format (GP-G-A-PTS-Points Per Game)
Matthew Wood, Richmond Generals
2000/Garnet Valley, Pa. – 44-35-31-66-1.50
Wood got off to a great start with four points in his opening weekend on Sept. 14-15. The highlight of his season, offensively, was a 14-game scoring streak that saw him post 37 points from Oct. 19 to Dec. 8. It all started with a seven-point weekend against Charlotte. He was the Generals’ faceoff ace, as well, winning 53.6 percent of his draws, including 9.41 per game.
Matt Dougherty, Richmond Generals
1999/Philadelphia, Pa. – 44-24-27-51-1.16
A classic Elite-to-Premier success story, the top scorer with the 2019 Elite Championship team transitioned seamlessly into a leadership position with the Premier Generals. He turned it to second gear around the same time as his teammate Matthew Wood, beginning with a pair of points with Hampton Roads, and continued through Nov. 24. The scoring streak gave him 23 points in 14 games. Dougherty finished as the Generals’ shots on goal per game leader with 3.14 per contest.
Jacob Kaplan, Hampton Roads Whalers
1999/Bowie, Md. – 41-29-42-71-1.73
Like Dougherty, Kaplan was an Elite champion (in 2017-18) who immediately became a productive Premier player the next season, helping the Whalers to a 2018-19 Premier championship. With some of the architects of that title off to college to start this past season, the veteran Kaplan immediately put the Whalers on his back and scored 26 points in his first 12 games – and it wasn’t even Halloween yet.
Brady Mistler, Hampton Roads Whalers
1999/Lake Stevens, Wash. – 44-18-36-54-1.23
Mistler took all of the experience from being part of the 2018-19 championship team and used that to push himself even further for the 2019-20 campaign. Exhibit A? His season-over-season increase in points from 11 to 54. Mistler was completely on fire from the end of September right into December, scoring 33 points in 22 games between Sept. 28 and Dec. 8. Mistler was among the Whalers’ best two-way players, as evidenced by his +39 rating on the season.
Kyle Watson, Hampton Roads Whalers
2000/Sheffield, UK – 44-36-34-70-1.59
While his teammates Mistler and Kaplan came back from the dream season of 2018-19, Watson found the Whalers as a program that simply created winners from the ground up. He made the jump from the Salisbury School and became a scoring dynamo for Hampton Roads. He became first-year Head Coach Greg Gatto’s first choice as forward to send over the boards, leading the team’s forwards in total ice time (1029:49). Not surprisingly, he also led his team in scoring chances (175).
Stanley Lucas, Tampa Bay Juniors
2000/Edwardsville, Ill. – 42-31-34-65-1.55
A longtime standout with his hometown high school squad, Lucas shifted his gaze south and joined up with the Tampa Bay Juniors for 2019-20. It was an instant win for the franchise, as Lucas enjoyed a rookie year for the ages, scoring 31 goals and 65 points, and leading his team in a multitude of categories (plus/minus – +43; scoring chances – 147; takeaways in the offensive zone – 56).
Blake Tosto – Florida Jr. Blades
1999/Bloomfield Hills, Mich. – 44-41-15-56-1.27
The Jr. Blades got a little preview of what Tosto could do in 2018-19, when he scored 11 goals in 10 games after spending most of that season with the NCDC’s Syracuse Jr. Stars (now Utica Jr. Comets). Tosto scored 11 goals before September was even over, scoring goals in his first seven consecutive games. He also scored 17 goals over 11 straight contests between Oct. 6 and Nov. 17. No less than 69.7 percent of his 235 shots on goal found paydirt.
Jimmy O’Kane – Charlotte Rush
1999/Chicago, Ill. – 40-20-28-48-1.20
O’Kane simply just loves what the Charlotte Rush do on the ice, and they loved him right back – after all, he was on board with the squad for three years. He goes back to the 2017-18 Elite team that was the runner-up that season, and he’s made an indelible mark on the last two Rush teams, scoring a total of 69 points in 79 games. O’Kane was Mr. Power Play for the Southeast Champions Charlotte, leading in ice time with the man-advantage (135:58) and power play points (7-10-17).
Dante Bagnasco, Charleston Colonials
2000/Mesa, Ariz. – 44-20-30-50-1.14
The Charleston Colonials pulled off some impressive performances this season, starting with Game 3 of their existence, defeating the perennial Florida Division champions the Florida Eels on Sept. 21. That was only one of many headline wins this year, including a Dec. 14 victory over an Islanders Hockey Club team that was leading the way at the time. Bagnasco was in on the scoring for more than 60 percent of their games, a strong leading light for an expansion team that showed they’ll be a force for years to come.
Jason Foltz, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
2000/Alpharetta, Ga. – 42-24-23-47-1.12
After two full seasons working with Coach Kevin St. Jacques in Atlanta, Foltz moved north to Wake Forest, N.C., with his coach for another go-round in a new home and in a new uniform. The team-up has worked every season, as he posted a third straight 40-plus-point season – once in the Elite Division and now two straight in the Premier. His 47 points this season were a career-high.
Alex Nilsson, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
2000/Munkfors, Sweden – 41-10-31-41-1.00
Nilsson was a first-year U.S. junior player after spending his entire prior career with the Mora IK organization in his native country. He showed his playmaking abilities from the start, posting eight assists in his first 11 games played. He was also not shy when it came to performing on big stages, posting seven points in three of his USPHL Winter Showcase games, along with 11 points in two other in-season showcases.
Jared Figueroa, Florida Eels
1999/Scotch Plains, N.J. – 44-21-29-50-1.14
There’s hardly a more ringing endorsement of a program than when someone spends four junior seasons with the same organization. Figueroa certainly benefited from the Eels’ comprehensive development system since 2016, culminating in this final season of his in which he’s been named a USPHL Premier All-Star. Figueroa spent a year and a half with the Eels Elite team, and he’s been with the Premier side since 2017-18. He’s increased his points output each season from 20 to 40 to 50. He ended his career in the top 40 all-time for the USPHL Premier in scoring and games played.
Demeed Podrezov, Florida Eels
2000/Muskegon, Mich. – 30-15-31-46-1.53
A midseason injury that caused Podrezov to miss all of December merely paused his season – it certainly didn’t slow the second-year Premier Eels player down. Upon his early January return, he torched the USPHL Winter Showcase for seven points in the three games he played. He finished the season on fire as well, posting 18 points in eight straight games from Jan. 16 to Feb. 21.
Michael Kramer, Potomac Patriots
2000/Lorton, Va. – 40-21-14-35-0.88
The Patriots frustrated a lot of opponents this year, including the defending champion Hampton Roads Whalers and 2019-20 division champions the Charlotte Rush each multiple times. They always proved to be a tough outing for squads, and Kramer was a big reason for this. A three-year Patriots player, he rose through the ranks from 16U to Elite to Premier and enjoyed his best offensive season of his career.
Dylan Florit, Atlanta Mad Hatters
2001/Hermosa Beach, Calif. – 43-16-20-36-0.84
One of two new teams not only to the Florida Division but to the USPHL as a whole, the MadHatters learned the ropes throughout the season, and had some bright moments. Their Dec. 15 win over Charlotte at the USPHL Florida Showcase was an instant classic of a game. Florit was one of many leaders for the young Mad Hatters, who featured three players with 30 points or more – Florit was joined in that respect by Mitchell Koss and late season acquisition Trevor Stokes.