The Lightning High School Hockey League was in business last week before the Thanksgiving Holiday, as there were a combined 14 games played between Monday and Tuesday night. So, Week Eleven’s recap is a special edition – LHSHL Double Overtime.
One of the few LHSHL teams to only play one game last week would be that of the Wiregrass Ice Hawks. Though, the Hawks would like to forget the matchup that they had, as Wiregrass fell to the Mitchell Mustangs on Tuesday night by a final score of 12-1. Senior forward, Josey Davis, and company will look to get back on track when Wiregrass has a date with the Newsome Wolves at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum (ISF) for a 9:45pm start-time.
Wiregrass is currently in third place for the Andreychuk Division with 13 points (5-7-3), but is now just two points ahead of the Freedom Patriots (5-9-1).
After losing four games in a row, West Manatee earned a winning-streak last week. The Orange and Black defeated the Palm Harbor Hurricanes 5-3 on Monday night, and then took down another Lecavalier team in the Berkeley Buccaneers on Tuesday night (6-3). The recent winning-streak has put Mate Imre and company in a three-way tie for third place in the Modin Division.
Yet, West Manatee has been getting offensive contributions from skaters other than just Imre, lately. Against Palm Harbor, five different skaters found the back of the net in the team’s 5-3 victory (Francesca Cappello, Jarett Boehm, Imre, Zachary Meinczinger and James Schukraft). Additionally, David Josephson earned his fourth win on the year, while stopping 21 of Palm Harbor’s 24 shots.
On Tuesday night, West Manatee continued to ride the wave in the right direction and in large thanks to Imre. The sophomore forward had a six-point night, while finding the back of the net twice and chipping in four helpers. Also, Josephson earned another win and his steady play in net shut down Berkeley’s Anuj Bhatia and company.
How do you do, from Timbuktu. The Steinbrenner Warriors have officially turned around their season and are now in the hunt for the LHSHL Playoffs in the Eastern Conference’s Bradley Division. The Warriors won both of their games last week and outscored opponents 12-2 during that time frame. Steinbrenner first got rolling after the Warriors shutout Berkeley 8-0 on Monday night.
Kevin Holman led the way for the Warriors vs. Berkeley, as Holman recorded a hat trick and collected two helpers along the way (3G-2A – 5pts). Additionally, Max Weinstock posted a multi-goal night (2G-1A – 3pts), and Warriors’ netminder Tyler Likus earned his second win of his LHSHL career (freshman).
One night later, the Warriors earned their fourth win in the team’s last five games (4-0-1), when Steinbrenner defeated Palm Harbor by a final score of 4-2. Though, Jackson Barton started between the pipes this time around, and recorded his third win on the year. More impressively, four different Warriors found the back of the net against the Hurricanes (Kevin Holman, Patrick Libutis, Max Weinstock and Sam Snow). Let’s not forget, that Head Coach Dan Bubley and his Warriors entered the month of November with just two wins, but now find themselves four points out of third place for the final playoff spot in the division.
The first place Seminole Sharks of the Lecavalier Division continued to build on the team’s first-half success, as the Teal defeated the River Ridge Knights on Monday night (4-3), and then fell just short to the East Manatee Admirals on Tuesday night (5-3).
Senior Forward, Zach Katz, earned another hat trick to lead the way for the Sharks over the Knights on Monday. Kent Davis assisted Katz on Seminole’s first two goals, and Maxx Mitchell had a beauty of goal (third goal) to chip in, too. Mitchell also had two assists, as the Sharks improved their record to 8-5-2 on the year. Additionally, netminder Hunter Neal’s strong play in net can’t go unnoted either; the Teal’s masked man made over 20 saves against an offensive threat in Anthony Lioacano and his Knights.
Following the team’s eighth win, the Sharks came close to knocking off the LHSHL’s top team in East Manatee. The Sharks led 2-1 after two periods of play, but were unable to collect four points on the week as the Admirals won the contest 5-3.
River Ridge has dropped its last two outings and to Lecavalier Division opponents in the Plant Panthers and Seminole Sharks. As noted above, River Ridge lost a close one to Seminole on Monday night, but then also lost 3-0 to the streaking Plant Panthers on Tuesday night (3-0). The Knights are still currently in a playoff position for the Bradley Division (8-7-1 –17pts) and will look to rebound against Durant this Friday night at Florida Hospital Center Ice (9:30pm).
One of the hottest teams in the LHSHL would be that of the Plant Panthers, as Plant is now 6-1-0 in its last seven games. Plant has received contributions throughout its’ lineup, but the legend of Troy Burkhart has been turning heads around the league and ever since the team essentially turned around its season heading into the month of November. Burkhart, has helped backstop Plant into second place for the Lecavalier Division and the Panthers now find themselves just two points behind Seminole for first place.
Yes, Plant lost to East Manatee on Monday night, but it was only 1-0 (East Manatee) heading into the third period…though, on Tuesday, Hamilton “Reeses Pieces” Reese and company pitched a shutout against River Ridge (3-0). Jake Atkinson had two goals vs the Knights, Reeses Pieces chipped in a goal and Burkhart earned his third shutout on the year; while stopping all 26 shots the Knights threw his way. Plant will face-off with West Manatee come Friday night down in Ellenton for an 8:30pm puck-drop.
After breaking its long losing streak in Week Ten, the Palm Harbor Hurricanes have now lost two games in a row. The Hurricanes were defeated by West Manatee on Monday night (5-3) and then Steinbrenner by a final score of 4-2 on Tuesday. Garret “Toe Jam” Toenjes and company will look to rebound when the ‘Canes take on Bloomingdale come Friday night at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy (TBSA) for an 8:30-m puck-drop.
Newsome has dropped its last three games, but netminder Jacob Weaver and company will look to rebound, and make a statement, when the Wolves take on East Manatee at FHCI on Friday night (8:15pm). The Wolves had a lead over Bloomingdale in the team’s last contest on Tuesday, but still Newsome suffered a 7-5 loss. Tanis Bell continues to shine for the Wolves, as the junior leads the team with 11 points on the year (6G-5A – 11pts). In the team’s last outing alone, Bell found the back of the net twice and chipped in two helpers to record a four-point night.
That’s the Mitchell Mustangs current win-streak number. The Mustangs have quickly separated themselves from River Ridge in the Bradley Division standings and are inching closer and closer to the first place, East Lake Eagles. Mitchell has received strong play throughout its’ lineup, and it seems that more than a handful of different skaters make their way onto the score each night-in and night-out.
Speaking of East Lake and the Bradley Division, the Eagles and Mustangs will face-off for a back-to-back set of divisional rival games, and starting this Friday night at TBSA (9:30pm). Perhaps that will serve as this week’s LHSHL Game of the Week….but that’s yet to be determined.
The Jesuit Tigers still sit atop of the Andreychuk Division (9-2-2 – 18pts), but the team did suffer its second loss to East Lake on Tuesday night. Even with stud goaltender, Paul “Winter” Coats, the Tigers were unable to shutdown East Lake and collect the two points that were on the table. Jesuit has been strong and consistent all season, and the last time the Tigers suffered a loss they followed it up by defeating East Manatee by a score of 7-4…watch out Jenkins (Jesuit vs. Jenkins – Friday, December 1st; 6:45pm at FHCI).
Speaking of George-Jenkins and Jesuit, the Andreychuk Division foes have an important matchup this Friday night, as the Eagles will look to separate themselves from Wiregrass and Freedom in the division standings. After going on a four-game winning-streak, the Eagles are winless in their last four contests. Still, don’t count Jenkins out, as the squad has proven to be resilient in the past.
It’s been a tough past two weeks for Owen “Bardown” Barno and the Freedom Patriots. The Pats have dropped three straight and have struggled to find the back of the net, lately. Freedom will host Seminole this Friday night at FHCI. The game should be an entertaining and close match, as the Pats are in need of the “W,” and Seminole will want to collect two points and stay atop of the Lecavalier Division. Perhaps goaltender Jacob Saunders can help Freedom shake this funk the team has been in as of late?
The East Manatee Admirals extended their winning streak to a league best nine games, after the Admirals defeated both Plant and Seminole last week. East Manatee ended up shutting the door on Pant and in large thanks to netminder, Tyler Moschella; who posted his second shutout on the year. Additionally, Joshua Helwein had a three point effort vs. Plant (2G-1A), and junior now has 24 points on the season (14G-10A –24pts).
It was close, and the Sharks gave East Manatee a scare, but the Admirals held onto a 5-3 victory over Seminole on Tuesday night in Clearwater. For the first time all season, East Manatee hadn’t scored more than two goals heading into the third period. But, Jackson Bennett (2G-1A – 3pts) and company answered the given adversity, and the team combined for four goals in the third period vs. the Sharks. Additioanlly, Alex Workman earned the “W” between the pipes for Head Coach Eric Wessel and his Admirals.
There’s no doubting that East Lake is a top contender this season in the LHSHL, but the Eagles did have two impressive wins last week. Back-to-back, East Lake defeated Durant on Monday and then Jesuit on Tuesday night. The Eagles combined for 12 goals last week, while only allowing six (three in each game). Senior forward, Justin Garr, collected the hat trick on Tuesday vs. Jesuit, and James Belczyk collected both wins last week for the soaring Eagles. Also, freshman Matthew Raleigh earned his third career LHSHL goal; which served as a turning point in the team’s game against Durant, too.
The Durant Cougars split their series of games last week by dropping their first contest to East Lake (6-3), and then defeating the Freedom Patriots 7-3 on Tuesday night. In Durant’s victory over Freedom, the Cougars had three different skaters record two goals (C.J. “Cool Cat” Comunale, Dylan Southern and Eric Bowles). While the offense did its’ part for Durant, the team’s defense made a statement as well; the Cougars accomplished something that can be considered rare in the LHSHL this season, as the team’s blue line held Owen Barno to just one goal on the night. So, with that being said, goaltender “Bob” Dillon Garasz earned his seventh victory on the year to keep Durant in second place for the Andreychuk Division.
Close, but no cigar.
The Berkeley Buccaneers dropped both of their games last weekend, but did find themselves tied with West Manatee (3-3) and during the game’s third period of play. Still, West Manatee found a way to prevail and take down Berkeley 6-3. Freshman James Horan had two goals and added in a helper on the night vs. West Manatee (2G-1A – 3pts), and Heath Chancey recorded 42 saves in the losing effort.
Are the Bloomingdale Ice Bulls, back?
Bloomingdale won both of its games last week, as the team took down Jenkins (13-4) on Monday night and then had a comeback victory over Newsome the following night (7-5). Bulls’ goaltender, Alexandre Higginbotham earned both victories last week; plus Andrew Miranda and Brennan Cyhaniuk combined for 11 goals. Additionally, Evan Hoffberg collected six points (three in each game) to help lead the Bulls to the team’s first winning streak on the season.