The Whalers Elite team started off the 2019-2020 season with a sloppy and undisciplined effort. Just 5:30 into the opening frame, the Whalers found themselves in an early 2-0 hole on a weak goal and then broken coverage on the penalty kill. The Whalers were able to grind back into the game, tying things up 2-2 after 20 minutes. The middle frame was a closely contested period until just :12 seconds left when the Rush capitalized on an offensive zone face-off to take a 3-2 lead after 40. In the 3rd, the team started flat, allowing 2 goals in just under 8 minutes to fall behind 5-2. The Whalers were able to connect with the goalie pulled late to draw to 5-3, but time ran off and the Rush took the opening game of the USPHL season.
Tyler Dienna notched a hat-trick, Nate McNamara, Shane Ziegler, Joe Polcaro, and Nolan Murphy notched 1 assist apiece. Kenny Vought allowed 5 goals on 25 shots for the loss in goal.
The Whalers held a 33-25 edge in shots. Charlotte finished 1 for 8 on the power play while the Whalers went 0 for 7.
The back to back defending USPHL Premier Champions took a tough loss to their division rival in the opening game of the 2019-2020 USPHL season in a tightly contested game. The Whalers struck for the lone goal in period #1 to take the lead after 20 minutes. In the 2nd frame Charlotte found the equalizer to head into the 3rd tied 1-1. The Whalers used a power play with 12:31 left in the game to take a 2-1 lead before things unraveled in short order. Charlotte used a 2-man advantage with under 7 minutes to play to tally 2 power play goals within a span of :43 seconds to take a 3-2 lead and flip the momentum. Just under 2:30 minutes later they connected on an odd man rush and a 2-1 lead quickly turned into a 4-2 loss on opening night in front of a stunned crowd of over 500 Whalers fans, families, and friends.
Kyle Watson and Thomas McGuire scored for the Whalers. Bobby Brouwer picked up the lone assist. Dominic Rodrigue stopped 38 of 42 shots in goal in a losing effort.
The Rush held a 42-28 edge in shots. Charlotte finished 2 for 5 on the power play while the Whalers went 1 for 8.
Another slow start and undisciplined effort doomed the Whalers Elite team in game 2 on Sunday morning. Charlotte connected just :29 seconds into the game, and added two 1st period power play goals to take a 3-1 lead into the break. Despite a 12-5 edge in shots in period 2, the Whalers were unable to find the net. In the 3rd, the Whalers again failed to convert and the Rush tacked on an empty netter with 1:44 left to seal the weekend sweep.
Arun Cibrario tallied the Whalers lone goal on the power play unassisted. Ty Morton allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the loss in goal. Tyler Dienna, Kyle Ball, and Graham Wood were ejected for the Whalers, while Rush goalie Jac Lymn was also ejected.
The Whalers held a 33-31 edge in shots. Charlotte finished 2 for 11 on the power play while the Whalers went 1 for 7.
Stunned the night before, the Whalers Premier team came out on Sunday afternoon looking for the weekend split. Despite 12 shots in the opening period for the Whalers, the two teams went through 20 minutes scoreless. In period #2, the Whalers found some traction, scoring twice within the opening 5 minutes of the period. In the 3rd, Charlotte made a big offensive push, but the Whalers goaltending and defense stood the test and the offense added some insurance to take the 3-0 shutout victory for the Whalers 1st win of the season and a weekend split.
Joe DiGiulio, Kohl Hedquist, and Mark Strazisar scored for the Whalers. Hedquist, Jacob Kaplan, and Jack Schwartz each notched one assist apiece. Dominic Rodrigue stopped all 35 Rush shots he faced for his 1st win and shutout in the blue and green.
The Rush held a 35-34 edge in shots. Charlotte finished 2 for 5 on the power play while the Whalers went 1 for 8.
The Whalers will take a week off to re-group and prepare to host the 2019 USPHL South Hampton Roads Whalers Showcase presented by Ice Industries September 26th-30th. The weekend will consist of 52 junior games over 5 days at the Chilled Ponds, featuring Elite and Premier teams from the Southeast, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes Divisions.
Sat Sept 28th vs Atlanta Mad Hatters- 8pm
Sun Sept 29th vs Charleston Colonials- Noon
Sun Sept 29th vs Tampa Bay Juniors- 8pm
Mon Sept 30th vs Florida Jr. Blades- 12:30pm
Sat Sept 28th vs Metro Jets- 4pm
Sun Sept 29th vs Tampa Bay Juniors- 10am
Sun Sept 29th vs Charleston Colonials- 6pm
Mon Sept 30th vs Florida Jr. Blades- Noon
Check out www.usphl.com to find the schedule for the whole weekend. All games will be broadcast live online on HockeyTV and feature broadcasters DanK and Lucas Jones, Weston DeWitt of the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL, Morris Murphy of the Richmond Generals, and Alvin Washington of the Charleston Colonials.