The Week In Review: USPHL Premier/South Divisions
By Jim DenHollander/USPHL.com, 12/11/18, 10:30AM EST
Taking on the USPHL Premier Southeast Division Hampton Roads Whalers is never a fun assignment, especially in their own building
The Carolina Eagles already knew that fact before dropping a pair of decisions at the Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex, but it took a late first period goal Sunday from Verners Fricbergs (‘98/Riga, Latvia) to reveal the Whalers are indeed human.
A 3-0 victory by the Whalers the previous day was not only the team’s sixth straight win and 24th in 25 games, it was also the third consecutive shutout for the home team, the goal by Fricbergs Sunday ending a stretch of 2:14:43 without surrendering a goal.
That briefly tied the game at 1-1 but the hosts fired three in the second before Zac Horn (‘99/Greensboro, N.C.) added one more for the Eagles late in the second.
For the Whalers, the league’s leading scorer Brandon Osmundson (‘98/Chesapeake, Va.) added three more goals over the weekend, with others added by Chris Ciolek (‘98/Orchard Park, N.Y.); Thomas McGuire (‘99/Massapequa Park, N.Y.); Joe DiGiulio (‘99/San Jose, Calif.); John Moncovich (‘98/Wilmington, N.C.) and Jacob Kaplan (‘99/Bowie, Md.).
Alec Lindberg (‘98/Bedford, N.H.) collected the goose egg on Saturday with 21 saves in goal for the Whalers.
Richmond and Atlanta work overtime
The other Southeast Division matches on the weekend saw the Richmond Generals vault to within four points of second place in the division with back to back overtime wins at Atlanta.
Both games saw the Gens snatch 3-2 wins in the fourth period and both followed a similar script.
In the first game at Marietta Ice Center the Generals scored the lone first period goal before the Jr. Kings struck back for a pair in the second.
Max Bourque (‘99/Sherbrooke, Que.) pulled the visitors even just 99 seconds from the final buzzer and the game-winner came from Ian Hofmann (‘99/Vancouver, Wash.) just past the halfway mark of the five-minute overtime session.
Gideon Cooper (‘98/Ridgefield, Conn.) fired the earlier Richmond goal and Cullen Rush (‘00/Alexandria, Va.) scored both for the Jr. Kings.
The following day, the Generals scored the lone first period goal and the host squad responded with the next two again. Hofmann replied with the tying goal this time late in the second and Austin Mourar (‘99/Spring City, Penn.) scored the first goal and the overtime game winner.
Joey Onorato (‘98/John’s Creek, Ga.) and Owen Thomas (‘00/Scituate, Mass.) had the Atlanta goals.
The Potomac Patriots and Charlotte Rush both had a rare weekend off.
As a result of weekend games, the Generals have taken at least a point in their last seven games and have an 8-1-1-0 record through their past 10. The team’s 17-8-1-0 record overall has the Gens within four points of the Charlotte Rush.
The Whalers (24-1-0-0) now sit nine points in front of the Rush.
All six Southeast Division teams will take part in the USPHL Florida Showcase this coming weekend.
Florida Division: Tampa Juniors making a move
Friday night saw the Florida Eels and Florida Jr. Blades renewed their longstanding rivalry with the Eels pulling out a 3-0 shutout win.
Both went on to play the Tampa Bay Juniors in matches Saturday and Sunday and the Tampa crew enjoyed the best weekend in the division with back-to-back wins against the rivals.
First, the Juniors used home ice to full advantage, taking a 7-3 win at Florida Hospital Center Ice, Wesley Chapel on Saturday before wrapping up the weekend with a 4-2 doubling of the Eels of Fort Myers Skatium on Sunday.
The DME Swamp Rabbits were not in action on the weekend.
Eels vs. Blades
The Eels opened the weekend, snapping a brief two-game skid with a 3-0 shutout on the road against the Blades at Hertz Arena in Estero but both teams lost to the Tampa crew later.
Demed Podrezov (’00/Moskva, Russia); Jacob Handfast (‘99/Stockholm, Sweden) and Cade Swygert (‘00/Summerville, S.C.) fired the Eels goals on Friday night while Viktor Paulsson (‘00/Stockholm, Sweden) turned aside all 20 Blades’ shots to grab the shutout win in goal for the Eels.
Christian Sanzoterra (‘99/St. Louis, Mo.) was the busiest man on the ice, handling 51 of 54 shots in goal for the Blades.
Tampa Bay vs. Eels
In the finale, the Juniors grabbed a 3-1 opening period cushion and both teams added one in the opening minute of the middle frame for an eventual 4-2 victory.
Goaltenders – Connor Green (‘99/New Port Richey, Fla.) of the Juniors and Danick Francoeur (‘99/Laval, Que.) from the Eels – took over from there. The two keepers both played 39 minutes of shutout hockey in a game that saw teams combine for over 100 shots. Green turned in a 56-save effort to nail the win while Francoeur made 42 saves for the Eels.
Zachary Puterbaugh (‘00/Prior Lake, Minn.) scored twice for the Juniors with others added by Green and Mark Louria (‘99/Sarasota, Fla.).
Handfast and Yan Kalinovskiy (‘99/Astana, Kazakhstan) fired the goals for the Eels.
The Eels (16-9-2-0) managed to pull two points closer to the Swamp Rabbits (18-7-1-0) with their win Friday to get within three, but after the weekend split, the Eels have now played one more game than their rival.
Hayden Haldane suffered a frightening injury and was sent to the hospital immediately from the rink, but was released the next day and left under his own power. He has follow-up examinations this week.
The Juniors boosted its record to 11-15-2-1 with the weekend wins and despite an impressive 6-2-1-1 record through its past 10, the Juniors remain nine points away from the Eels.
The Juniors will play host to the Florida Showcase this weekend as the Southern Region rivals get another chance to play each other as well as the Islanders Hockey Club from the New England Division who will be making the southern trip. This Showcase will send the Southern teams into their respective Christmas Breaks with no games scheduled until January.
Blades vs. Tampa Bay
Playing on home ice, the Juniors trailed early but exited the first period even at 1-1 before grabbing control of the contest with a pair of unanswered goals in the middle frame.
The Blades battled back to tie the contest with a pair in the opening 3:04 of the third, by Paul Flidr (‘00/Wesley Chapel, Fla.) fired his second of the game exactly a minute later to put the home side in front to stay.
Saxon Greene (‘98/Keller, Texas) led the Tampa charge with a three goal game with others added by Spencer Geer (‘98/Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and Mateusz Wawrkiewicz (‘’01/Bytom, Poland).
Blades goals came from Tristan Roost (‘00/Fort Myers, Fla.); Holden Hertog (‘01/Fort Myers, Fla.) and Alex Brown (‘01/Naples, Fla.).