2018-19 ECEL CUP PLAYOFFS TOP PERFORMERS
Forward – Cam Ellis, New Jersey Titans
Ellis saved his best ECEL performance of the season for the Cup playoffs, helping the Titans storm into the semifinals with 11 points in three games, as New Jersey outscored their preliminary-round opponents, 20-4. He posted 2 goals and 2 assists in a 9-3 rout of the East Coast Spartans followed by another 4-point (1 goal, 3 assists) effort in a 11-0 blanking of the Seacoast Spartans. Ellis added a goal and 2 assists in 8-1 thrashing of the Colorado Rampage but was held off the scoresheet in a 4-3 semifinal loss to the 95 Giants.
Defenseman – Jack Gatto, Hill Academy
Gatto paced Hill Academy’s defensive unit throughout the ECEL Cup playoffs, which allowed just 3 goals against in four games. He chipped in offensively as well with assists in victories over the New Hampshire Avalanche (4-1) and East Coast Spartans (4-0). Despite posting two preliminary-round shutouts thanks to Gatto’s stingy play, Hill was denied a berth in the championship after falling 2-1 in overtime to Boston Advantage in the semifinal.
Goaltender – Austin Kofluk, Boston Advantage
Kofluk was dominant between the pipes in his three ECEL Cup starts, posting a perfect 3-0 record without allowing a single goal against. He opened the playoffs by turning aside 20 shots in a 3-0 blanking of the Colorado Rampage. He followed that up with a 21-save effort in a 2-0 shutout of the 95 Giants, who he again stymied with 15 saves in the 5-0 championship game victory. Kofluk finished the season with a 1.57 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 10 starts.
Forward – Kevin McGuire, Seacoast Spartans
McGuire played a key role in the Seacoast’s surprising run to the 16U championship game, registering at least a point in all five contests. He opened the playoffs by posting a hat trick and assist in a 9-1 rout of the West Coast Renegades before earning an assist in a 4-1 win over the Boston Advantage. McGuire then strung together three straight games with a goal and assist, including in Seacoast’s 3-1 semifinal nail-biter victory over Elite. He also netted the tying goal that forced overtime in the championship game loss to Hill Academy.
Defenseman – Joseph Messina, Hill Academy
Messina proved himself as vital offensively as he was on the blue line for Hill during the ECEL Cup playoffs. He scored twice in a 5-1 opening win over New Jersey before adding single tallies in victories over West Coast and the Titans again in the semifinal round. In the championship game, Messina’s presence in the defensive zone helped lead Hill to a comeback in the second half and eventual overtime win over the Seacoast Spartans to claim the title.
Goaltender – Ethan Kavanagh, Seacoast Spartans
Kavanagh backboned the Spartans all the way to the 16U ECEL Cup final, giving up just 6 goals in four starts while posting three victories. He stopped 34 of 35 shots in a dominating opening win over West Coast before posting a 13-save shutout in a rout of Mount Academy. Kavanagh then was outstanding in frustrating Elite with 41-save performance during a 3-1 upset semifinal victory and was key in Seacoast forcing favored Hill Academy to overtime in the championship game with 29 saves.
Forward – Will Kelleher, Boston Advantage
Kelleher’s scoring touch helped the Advantage earn the second seed entering the 15U semifinals and even gave Boston the early lead in the championship game. After the Advantage was shut out by Elite to start the ECEL Cup playoffs, he lit the lamp three times for a hat trick in a hard-fought 4-3 overtime win over West Coast. Kelleher then notched a goal and assist in a 4-2 win over New Jersey to close the preliminary round. He sat out the semifinal round against West Coast, but gave Boston the lead over New Jersey in the final with a first-half goal for the Advantage’s lone tally.
Defenseman – Sawyer Paul, Elite Hockey Program
Paul proved himself the definition of a shutdown defenseman during the ECEL Cup playoffs. Thanks to his stellar play, Elite surrendered just 5 goals to four opponents, which included a shutout of Boston Advantage to begin the playoffs. Paul also assisted on Elite’s lone goal in a 2-1 semifinal loss to the eventual champion New Jersey Titans.
Goaltender – Dmitrii Kapranov, New Jersey Titans
Kapranov stopped 86 of the 93 shots he faced during the ECEL Cup playoffs, including 17 in the championship game victory over the Boston Advantage. He twice surrendered just a single goals in identical 2-1 victories over the Elite Hockey Program, the latter coming in the semifinal round. Posting a 3-1 record for the playoffs, Kapranov raised his season totals to 6 victories in nine appearances with a 1.56 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.