2018 ECEL Recap at the Holiday Classic
December 7, 2018
GUILFORD, Conn., – The 2018-19 East Coast Elite League (ECEL) dropped the puck again with the second of four ECEL Showcases, November 30-December 2, 2018, at the Northford Ice Pavilion in Connecticut. The players and fans enjoyed high-energy games as the 18U, 16U, and 15U division foes squared off in the midseason weekend showdown.
The ECEL Holiday Classic showcase featured teams from the following programs: Boston Advantage, Colorado Rampage, East Coast Spartans, Elite Hockey Program, Esmark Stars, Hill Academy, The Mount Academy, New Hampshire Avalanche, New Jersey Titans, Ontario Junior Reign, Seacoast Spartans, West Coast Renegades, and 95 Giants.
ECEL Commissioner Peter Alden commented, “The teams and players have really improved since our last showcase in October. The coaches in this league work hard to develop their players and it shows on the ice. Alden continued, “It is always great to see so many strong programs come together under one roof and compete against some of the best. We are looking forward to the next event in January with the All-Star Game at Northeastern and the teams making a playoff push into February.”
New Jersey Titans (7-0-0) remained undefeated at the top of the division behind a 4-0-0 Holiday Classic weekend that included a pair of convincing wins over the New Hampshire Avalanche and Boston Advantage as well as slim victories over the Colorado Rampage (National) and guest club Esmark Stars. Forward Connor McDonnell (3-1-4) registered 1 point in all four games for New Jersey, and defenseman Parker Rutledge contributed to the offense with 3 assists while helping the Titans limit their opponents to only 6 goals for the entire weekend.
The Ontario Junior Reign (7-1-0) of California remained a point behind the Titans in the standings with four nail-biting Holiday Classic wins thanks to the outstanding goaltending of Justin Larkin. The lone Junior Reign net minder allowed just 5 goals in four starts, posting his first league shutout of the season in a 2-0 victory over the invitee Walpole Express. Forward Nikita Golovnya powered Ontario’s offense with a 6-point showcase.
The top of 16U standings shows a tight cluster of clubs still very much in contention for the regular-season crown, no doubt setting up a fight to the finish for playoff seeding next month. After the Holiday Classic, Hill Academy (5-2-1-0) finds itself atop the division with a 1-point lead over both the Elite Hockey Program and Seacoast Spartans.
Hill fell to Elite, 4-0, in its Holiday Classic opener before ripping of three straight victories against Boston Advantage, Esmark, and New Jersey, the latter win avenging its only loss from October’s Fall Classic. Forward Cameron Snow accounted for 4 goals and 6 points in the Ontario, Canada, high school’s three victories.
Meanwhile, a shootout loss to Esmark to cap the weekend prevented Elite Hockey Program (4-1-1-1) from a perfect Holiday Classic performance. Elite Hockey Program surrendered a mere 4 goals in 205 minutes of play with victories over Hill, Colorado, and Seacoast before falling in the shootout (2-1) to the guest Stars. Elite Hockey Program’s stingy defense can be credited to the shutdown ability defenseman Jake Lammens with forward Owen Sweet (3-3-6) pacing the offense.
Seacoast (5-2-0-1) posted bookend victories around a pair of losses to remain in the second-place tie behind the slick scoring touch of brothers Cy and Chase LeClerc, who combined for 9 goals and 11 assists on the weekend.
After six straight victories, the New Jersey Titans (5-2-0-1) suffered their first two setbacks of the ECEL season at the Holiday Classic but still hold a 2-point lead for first place over Elite Hockey Program (5-3-0-0) despite being blanked by Elite Hockey Program, 3-0.
A balanced scoring attack and the customary standout goaltending of Dmitrii Kapranov and Marino Lupo led the Titans to back-to-back wins over the West Coast Renegades and Boston Advantage before Elite Hockey Program net minder D'Mar McCoy posted a 12-save shutout victory to snap New Jersey’s unbeaten streak. Both division leaders fell to the powerful 15U Esmark Stars, the visitors from western Pennsylvania.
Mark your calendars as the ECEL looks ahead to All-Star Weekend festivities at Northeastern University’s historic Matthews Arena. The three all-stars contests will take place Friday, January 11, 2019, as part of three-day ECEL Winter Classic, the third stop of the League’s 2018-19 showcase series taking place in Hingham and Dedham, MA.
The showcase series continues to offer League members and guest clubs high-quality, competitive play at top venues as well as ideal scouting locations for maximum exposure to college and professional scouts. All ECEL showcase games are available to be viewed live via the Live Barn app.
For more information on the East Coast Elite League, please contact Peter Alden at firstname.lastname@example.org.