USPHL Premier: South teams continue playoff push

Teams from the Premier South and Midwest Regions are heading into the final weekend of the regular season and there are still many positions up for grabs. Here’s a division by division look, with some big weekend matchups highlighted.


Florida Division

They won’t meet up for head-to-head games this weekend, but every game played by the Florida Eels and DME Swamp Rabbits will go toward settling the Florida Division title.

The Eels and Rabbits are even with 57 points, but the Eels have just two games to play while the Rabbits will play three times.

Both are in action Friday night as the Swamp Rabbits host the Tampa Bay Juniors at the Daytona International Skateway and the Eels travel to the Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida to take on the Florida Jr. Blades.

The Swamp Rabbits will play a return game at the Florida Hospital Center Ice near Tampa on Saturday while the Eels will wrap up its regular season on Sunday at the Fort Myers Skatium against the Blades.

It could all come down to a Monday afternoon game back in Daytona as the Jr. Blades roll into the Skatium to wrap up the season against the Eels.


Junior Blades 4 @ Swamp Rabbits 5

Junior Blades 2 @ Swamp Rabbits 11

On Saturday at the Daytona International Skateway, the Rabbits carried a 2-0 lead into the second period but the Blades tied it early in the middle period, before DME was able to come away with the win.

Brendan Johns (‘98/Greensburg, Penn.) led the Rabbits with two goals while Josh Grund (‘01/Naples, Fla.) also scored twice for the Blades. Blake Tosto (‘99/Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) contributed a goal and two assists for the Blades.

The following day, the Rabbits took care of business quickly, storming to a 5-0 first period lead and adding another five in the second. Johns fired three more goals and set up a pair. Parker York (‘98/Milford, Ohio) added a goal and four assists. Cody Colegrove (‘00/Davisburg, Mich.) added two goals and two assists, William Markstedt (‘99/Skelleftea, Sweden) also scored a pair.


Juniors 2 @ Eels 6

The Eels pulled away in this one after coming out of the opening period even at 1-1. The Eels widened the gap to 3-2 in the second and settled it with three unanswered goals in the third.

Lukas Aaw (‘99/Stockholm, Sweden) led the Eels with two goals and a helper, and Jace Lis-D’Alessandro (‘98/Montreal, Que.) scored the game winner 13:37 into the middle frame.



Southeast Division

The positions are finalized here as the first place, defending league champion Hampton Roads Whalers will finish the season in Atlanta before hosting the Carolina Eagles in its playoff round. The Charlotte Rush will host the Eagles at Xtreme Ice and stay at home for a playoff round against the Richmond Generals who will close out their own regular season with a home and home against the sixth place Potomac Patriots.

For the Atlanta Jr. Kings and Potomac Patriots this weekend will wrap up their respective 2018-19 seasons.

The Atlanta Jr. Kings saw its road to the Premier Southeast Division playoffs blocked for good with a tough 4-1 loss at Wake Forest’s Polar Ice House against the host Carolina Eagles on Saturday night.

The following day, the Kings gains some consolation wrapping up the weekend with a 2-1 win against the same Eagles, who claimed the fourth and final playoff spot the previous night in the lone weekend series for the Southeast Division.

In the first game, the Eagles led 1-0 after a period, adding another in the second and out-scoring its guest 2-1 down the stretch for the playoff celebration.

Martin Jursa (‘98/Liberic, Czech Republic) scored a pair in the Carolina win, including the game winner 2:49 into the final period.

The following day teams were scoreless after a period and Jacob Schnapp (‘00/Port Richey, Fla.) scored the lone second period goal for the Kings before setting up Nicholas Garzon (‘01/Alpharetta, Ga.) with the game-winner 2:49 into the third.

James Grasinger (‘00/Pittsburgh, Penn.) stopped 36 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Kings.

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