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2017 Jr. Whalers: Playoff Preview- Round 1

02/13/2017, 10:00am EST
By Whaler Nation

#2 Whalers Elite

Coming off a trip to last season’s USPHL Elite Championship, the Whalers Elite team will look to defend their title.  The Whalers finished with a record of 37-4-3 on the season as they fought with Charlotte up until the final game of the regular season for the top spot, good enough for 77 points and the 2nd seed entering the 2017 USPHL playoffs.  The Whalers tallied 264 goals on the campaign, ranking best in both the Southern Conference at #1 in the entire 27 team Elite division.  The team surrendered 84, ranking fewest in the Southern Conference and 2nd fewest in the Elite division.  The Whalers power play has been a consistent force all season, as they finished with the 3rd best unit of the 27 teams in the league at 26.9%.  The Whalers penalty kill has also been among the league’s best, finishing 5th at 85.8%.

The Whalers offense produced 5 forwards who tallied 50 or more points, including 3 who produced 70 or more points led by Brandon Osmundson with a league leading 94 points followed by John Moncovich who notched 83 including a league leading 50 goals, and veteran Billy Brock with 77 points.  Veteran rear guards Brendon Zack and Vaden McManus paced the back end with 41 and 40 points apiece.  In goal, Sean Dickson paced both the team and the league with a record of 22-5-0 along with a 1.61 GAA, .921 save% and a league leading 8 shutouts.

#7 Atlanta Knights

The Atlanta Knights finished with a record of 21-21-2 on the season as 5 points separated them from 4th in the conference but was only good enough for 44 points and the 7th seed entering the 2017 USPHL playoffs.  The Knights tallied 183 goals on the campaign, ranking 4th most in the Southern Conference.  The team surrendered 154, ranking 6th in the Southern Conference. The Atlanta power play has been strong all season, as they finished with the 5th best unit of the 27 teams in the league at 24.6%.  The Knights penalty kill has been a middle of the pack unit, finishing 14th at 80.1%.

The Atlanta offense produced just 2 forwards who tallied 50 or more points, and only 1 with 60 or more points led by Russian forward Ivan Bukshevannyy with 64 points followed by team captain Daniel Luyten who notched an even 50 on the year.  Dominik Knapp finished 3rd on the team in scoring with 36 points.  Josh Weakland led all Knights defenseman in scoring with 30 points while former Potomac defender Ian Rush was 2nd best on the back end with 29.  In goal, Brendan Bishop is again the man between the pipes, as he started 31 of the teams 44 games, posting a record of 15-15-1 with a 3.76 GAA, .879 save% and 1 shutout on the campaign.

Season Series

The Whalers went 5-0-1-0 this season against the Knights, posting a 2-0 record at home and a 3-0-1-0 record on the road.  The Whalers secured wins of 7-2, 6-2, 2-1, 10-1, and 6-3 while suffering their lone defeat on December 18th by a score of 3-2 in overtime.

#5 Whalers USP3

Coming off a trip to last season’s finals in Boston, the Whalers USP3 team will look to return for another shot at the title this season.  The Whalers finished with a record of 25-15-4 on the season in the hotly contested USP3 Southern Conference, good enough for 54 points and the 5th seed entering the 2017 USPHL playoffs.  The Whalers tallied 184 goals on the campaign, good enough for 5th most in the conference, while surrendering 111, ranking 5th fewest in the conference.  The Whalers power play has been a consistent force all season, as they finished with the 3rd best unit of the 27 teams in the league at 26.5%.  The Whalers penalty kill on the other hand, has been good at times, but inconsistent at others, finishing at 82.6%, ranking 13th.

The Whalers offense produced 3 forwards who tallied 50 or more points, with veteran team captain Gary Eastlack leading the charge with 63 points followed closely behind by Matthew Hanchon with 57 points and rookie Max Loga with 56.  Veteran rear guard Jonah Lainesse paced the back end with 22 points while rookie Collin Markoski finished with 21.  In goal, veteran Everett Yasinski led the team with 15 wins on the campaign with a 2.53 GAA and .915 save% and 3 shutouts.

#4 Richmond Generals

The Richmond Generals finished with a record of 28-12-4 on the season, good enough for 60 points and the 4th seed entering the 2017 USPHL playoffs.  The Generals tallied 187 goals on the campaign, ranking 4th most in the Southern Conference.  The team surrendered 100, also ranking 4th fewest in the Southern Conference. The Richmond power play has been a top 10 unit all season, as they finished with the 9th best unit of the 27 teams in the league at 23.1%.  The Generals penalty kill has been one of the best units in the league, finishing 3rd at 87.3%.

The Richmond offense produced quality depth all year, as they have 6 players with 30 or more points and 2 with 50 or more led by local Richmond product Connor Green with 69 points followed by rookie Tomas Rocco who notched 58 on the year.  Trevor Brown finished 3rd on the team in points at a point per game pace, with 37 points in 37 games.  Team captain and veteran defender Aaron Szalankiewicz led all Richmond defenseman with 13 goals and 35 points followed by young 2000 birth year defenseman Michael Krupinski with 32 points.  In goal, Jordan Gilbert has been one of the best goal keepers in the league. Gilbert finished with a record of 17-6-0 with a 1.45 GAA, .928 save% and 6 shutouts.  Gilbert finished 5th in the league in wins, 3rd in GAA, 10th in save%, and 2nd in shutouts.

Season Series

The Whalers went 2-3-1-0 against the Generals this season, posting a 1-1 record at home and a 1-2-1-0 record on the road.  The Whalers secured wins of 4-3 and 5-2, while suffering defeats of 2-0, 4-1, 3-1, and 4-3 in OT.

USP3 Schedule

Game 1

Friday 2/17/17- 7pm

Game 2

Saturday 2/18/17- 5:30pm

Game 3*

Sunday 2/19/17- 10:30am

Location: Skate Nation Plus

Richmond, VA

USP3 Match-ups

#8 Florida Eels at #1 Florida Jr. Blades

#7 Palm Beach Hawks at #2 Charlotte Rush

#6 Atlanta Knights at #3 Carolina Eagles

#5 Hampton Roads at #4 Richmond Generals

Elite Schedule

Game 1

Friday 2/17/17- 7:00pm

Game 2

Saturday 2/18/17- 7:00pm

Game 3*

Sunday 2/19/17- 12:30pm

Location: Chilled Ponds

Chesapeake, VA

Elite Match-ups

#8 Palm Beach Hawks at #1 Charlotte Rush

#7 Atlanta Knights at #2 Hampton Roads

#6 Richmond Generals at #3 Carolina Eagles

#5 Tampa Bay Juniors at #4 Florida Eels

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