BOSTON, MA -- We began the season with 32 total teams striving to finish the year as EHL Champions. Now, on March 14th, only 10 teams remain between the Premier Division and the 19U Elite Division.
There are no games on the schedule today, but the next matchups are set for each round of their respective division. In the Premier Division, just eight teams are left standing in the Quarterfinals, while we're down to the final two teams in the 19U Elite Division.
Below you'll find the schedule so far for Week 2 of the #EHLplayoffs, along with recaps on the Week 1 action.
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The First Round of the Premier Division playoffs brought with it a number of compelling matchups.
Northern Cyclones vs. Walpole Express -- We begin our recap with a First Round sweep that was finished before some series had even begun. Austin Smith was solid between the pipes while helping to lead the Cyclones over the Express. Smith stopped 51 of the 54 shots he faced in the series.
New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs. Boston Bandits - Staying in the Granite State, we continue the recap with another First Round sweep. The Monarchs knocked off the Bandits in two consecutive games, and didn't give up a goal in the series. Joey Abel scored each GWG for the Monarchs, as New Hampshire won by scores of 1-0 (OT) and 5-0.
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers vs. Hartford Jr. Wolfpack - Flipping over to the South Conference, and the Jr. Flyers picked up right where they left off when regular season ended. Philadelphia continue to roll, as they swept their way through the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack. Josh Hinderliter was the team's leading scorer in the series with three assists in the two games.
East Coast WIzards vs. Valley Jr. Warriors - Jumping back over to the North Conference, and the Wizards got by the Warriors in arguably the best series of the First Round. Hunter Chaisson made 72 saves in the series, including 36 in Game 3 as he led the Wizards to series-clinching victory on the road.
Philadelphia Little Flyers vs. Connecticut Nighthawks - The EHL's Regular Season Champions survived somewhat of a scare against the Nighthawks. After the Little Flyers fell in Game 1, Alex Peterson tallied four points in the final two games while leading his team to a pair of 4-1 victories, and the a trip to the Quarterfinals.
New York Applecore vs. Connecticut Oilers - Another young leader by example was the Premier Division's youngest goaltender, Doug Connor. Connor stood tall between the pipes for the New York Applecore, while leading the team to a two-game sweep of the Oilers.
Boston Jr. Rangers vs. Vermont Lumberjacks - Sticking with the goalie theme, it took Nolan Egbert and the Rangers all three games to get by the Lumberjacks. The Rangers netminder anchored his team well throughout the series, with 149 saves in the three games.
New Jersey Rockets vs. Philadelphia Revolution - Last, but not least, Matt Brown's six-point weekend proved to be the difference as the Rockets swept the Revolution and advanced to the Quarterfinals. The '99 forward shined brightly with the pressure on.
Each Round Robin was different and unique in it's own way.
South Conference - Starting down South, a Hartford Jr. Wolfpack upset of the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, stirred things up on Day 1. The result put the pressure on the Jr. Flyers heading into the final day, but it was the Philadelphia Revolution that squashed that pressure rather quickly. Led by Chad Simmerman and Trevor Babin between the pipes, the Revolution took care of business against all three opponents, sweeping their way through the Round Robin.
North Conference - The North Conference Round Robin followed a much different script, starting with a game being delayed in the middle of the 2nd period. In the North, all four teams each had a turn at controlling their own destiny, starting with the New England Wolves
The Wolves knocked off the Vermont Lumberjacks to kick-off Round Robin play, and in doing so, gave themselves an edge over the Regular Season Champions and the rest of the field.
After the Wolves lost to the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and Boston Jr. Rangers, they lose the edge, and the Lumberjacks regained control of the momentum with a 4-3 win of their own over the Rangers. As the story continued to unfold, the Monarchs beat the Lumberjacks in an epic overtime match, and seized control heading into the completion of their delayed game with the Rangers.
Up 3-1 in the 2nd period, the Monarchs just had to win or get the game to overtime, and the North Conference was all theirs. For the Rangers, the team had to eliminate the deficit and pull away with a win a regulation.
Can you guess what happened?
The Rangers stormed all the way back to tie the score, and then Zach Norby gave his team the lead with just over a minute to go in the 3rd period. The '98 forward tallied eight points in his first four playoff games, while leading his team to the 19U Elite Finals.
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