The Whalers unveiled their 2017-18 championship banners on Saturday night and dropped the puck on a new USPHL season in a re-match of last season’s USPHL finals against their division rivals from Charlotte. In front of a crowd of over 500 people, the Whalers Elite team didn’t let the packed house down, taking it to the Rush and opening the year with a 6-2 win.
Rookie forward Arun Cibrario stole the show in front of the home fans with a hat-trick, while Cody Wilson, Tanner Davis, and James Rowe also notched goals for the Whalers. DJ Randle and Jorai Bart each posted 2 assists on the night, with Tyler Dienna, James Rowe, Cam Sylvester, Cody Wilson, Kyle Ball, and Nate McNamara each posted one. Rookie Ricardo Alravez was steady in night, securing his 1st junior win in net with 18 saves.
Hampton Roads held a 30-20 edge in shots. The Whalers ended the night 2 for 4 on the power play while the Rush went 0 for 7.
The Whalers Premier team celebrated the 2nd half of the Whalers Dual USPHL Championship in the nightcap on Saturday night and dropped the puck on a new USPHL season against their hated division rivals from Charlotte. In front of a ruckus crowd of family, fans, and supporters, the Whalers Premier team fought through a slow start and deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to battle back and claim a 5-4 win in a penalty filled affair with over 130 combined penalty minutes.
5 different Whalers found the back of the net, as Brandon Leitz, Jacob Kaplan, Jacob Bennett, John Moncovich, and Conner Hunt each tallied one goal. Brendan Borg posted a 2 assist game, with John Moncovich, Jaxon Rutkowski, Oliver Freden, and Jared Sanchez each posting 1. Veteran Alec Lindberg made 32 saves in goal for his 1st win of the season.
The Rush held a 35-23 shot on goal advantage. Hampton Roads went 3 for 9 on the power play while Charlotte went 1 for 5. After a post game brawl that broke out, the game on Sunday was postponed by the league. Jacob Kaplan, Jaxon Rutkowski, and Kohl Hedquist received fighting majors for the Whalers while Matthew Headland, Ryan Newman, and Phillip Shemyakin received fighting majors for the Rush.
On Sunday morning the Whalers came out looking to sweep the opening weekend. Charlotte had other plans, as they dominated the opening frame against a sluggish Whalers squad. Despite a 1-0 hole in the opening frame, the Whalers knotted things up in the middle frame, and found their skating legs in the 3rd, striking 3 times to squeak out a 4-3 win to complete the sweep.
Veteran Cody Wilson led the way with 2 goals including the game winner while rookies Michael Bachman and Nate McNamara posted their 1st career junior goals. Arun Cibrario notched 2 assists in the game while Jacob Bennett, Jorai Bart, and DJ Randle each had 1. Brandon Maio was strong in night, securing his 1st junior win with 26 saves.
The Whalers and Rush each tallied 29 shots apiece. Hampton Roads went 0 for 3 on the power play while Charlotte went 3 for 8.
The Whalers will hit the road for the next 14 games as they take the trek down I-64 for a meeting with the Richmond Generals this weekend at SkateNation Plus.
Hampton Roads Elite (2-0-0-0, 4 points, 1st)
Richmond Elite (0-0-0-0, 0 points, 4th)
Hampton Roads Premier (1-0-0-0, 2 points, 2nd)
Richmond Premier (0-0-0-0, 0 points, 4th)
Saturday September 15th
Sunday September 16th
Catch all the action live online on HockeyTV.