By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com
The Islanders Hockey Club Showcase is in the books for the 14 NCDC teams that took part. As most teams head right into break, we take a look at how the top teams performed, those who came up with at least a .500 record. A more in-depth NCDC This Week will follow after Tuesday’s pair of games, the last action before Dec. 1.
Rockets Hockey Club (3-0-0-0)
The Rockets came out of the showcase with the very best record, but unfortunately for them several of their division rivals pulled in four points, including the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders – one spot ahead of them at fourth place – and the Utica Jr. Comets, who are four points behind the Rockets.
The Rockets started with a 6-5 OT win over the Boston Advantage, with Jack Barbro’s second goal of the game counting for the winner. They kept that offense up with a 6-1 victory against the South Shore Kings on Wednesday, and then closed with a slightly more modest but just as productive 2-1 victory against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
Islanders Hockey Club (2-1-0-0)
The Islanders had the surprise result of their own showcase, defeating the first place Jersey Hitmen by a 6-1 score in their finale to wrap up four points. They saw their opportunity to bypass the rival Boston Junior Bruins and climb into sixth, but it was not to be as the Junior Bruins came up with three points to remain two points ahead.
The Islanders opened with a 5-1 win against the Utica Jr. Comets, but then took a 7-3 loss to Connecticut on Wednesday – for the Jr. Rangers’ only victory of the showcase – ahead of their breakout game against the Hitmen.
Jersey Hitmen (2-1-0-0)
The first two days of the showcase went well enough for the two-time defending Dineen Cup champions. They started out with a 4-1 win over the Twin City Thunder, then followed that up with a 6-2 win over the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs. In that second game, defenseman Sean Melso registered two assists to stand as the NCDC’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen, with 90 points all time. He bypassed former Hitman and current Dartmouth College Captain Tanner Palocsik (88 points). The Islanders ended the run with the aforementioned 6-1 IHC victory on Thursday.
Mercer Chiefs (2-1-0-0)
Mercer’s second trip to New England resulted in a 4-2 loss to the Northern Cyclones to start on Tuesday, but then they won a track meet on Wednesday in a 7-6 victory against South Shore. They closed the NCDC portion of the event with a 4-1 victory against the Boston Junior Bruins. They remain right where they were coming in – in second place in the entire NCDC, and two points back of the first place Jersey Hitmen.
Northern Cyclones (2-1-0-0)
The Cyclones got the extra bonus of playing two of the IHC Showcase games at their own barn, Cyclones Arena in Hudson, N.H. They defeated the Chiefs 4-2 out of the gate on Tuesday, then went to Gallant Arena not far down I-93 from Hudson, and won a 4-3 contest against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. They concluded the event after a 6-4 defeat against the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders.
P.A.L. Jr. Islanders (2-1-0-0)
The Jr. Islanders jumped off on the wrong foot, but righted their ship quickly. After an opening 6-4 loss to the South Shore Kings, they came back on Wednesday and won 2-1 in overtime against the Boston Junior Bruins, the winner coming from Shane Zarcone. They closed with the aforementioned 6-4 win against the South Shore Kings. With so many other teams winning a pair of games, the Jr. Islanders didn’t see any standings movement and remain in fourth place.
South Shore Kings (2-1-0-0)
The Kings put together a good week, taking wins in their first and third games, dropping just the middle one-goal outing against the Mercer Chiefs. They started out with the 6-4 win over the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders on Tuesday and finished Thursday with a 3-2 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. They closed the gap on the fourth-place Twin City Thunder by a single point from three back to two back.
Utica Jr. Comets (2-1-0-0)
The Jr. Comets dropped their opener against the host Islanders Hockey Club, 5-1, but then put up that same score as a victory on Wednesday against the Boston Advantage. They closed Thursday morning with a 4-1 win against the Twin City Thunder, but like so many other teams, they were unable to climb any ladders and stand in sixth in the South, one point ahead of the WBS Knights.
Boston Junior Bruins (1-1-1-0)
It wasn’t all a walk in the park for the Junior Bruins, but they did come away with three points for their efforts. They started the right way, with a 5-1 victory over the Connecticut Jr. Rangers. On Wednesday at Skate 3, they went to overtime with the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders but lost that outing, 2-1. They closed with a 4-1 defeat to the league’s surprise second place first-year team, the Mercer Chiefs.
Boston Advantage (1-1-1-0)
Like the Junior Bruins, the Advantage had a mixed bag of results from the IHC Showcase. And like so many other teams, their spot didn’t change one iota – they were third in the North coming in and third in the North going out. They started on Tuesday with a back-and-forth exchange with the Rockets Hockey Club that ended with a 6-5 Rockets OT victory. They lost Game 2 to Utica by a 5-1 score, but then came out with the W to close on Thursday with a 4-1 victory against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers.
Two games remain in November for the NCDC, and both are on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The South Shore Kings will travel back up to Tyngsboro to face the Islanders Hockey Club; and the Boston Advantage will go north to Hooksett, N.H., to face the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs. Both games begin at noon and only on HockeyTV.