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LHSHL Overtime: Week Sixteen

01/22/2018, 6:45pm EST
By Kyle McKenna

Freedom stays alive in the LHSHL Playoff hunt

The Lightning High School Hockey League (LHSHL) Overtime recaps all six of the league’s matchups from Week 16.


The Tampa Bay Skating Academy (TBSA) played the role of host for just one LHSHL matchup on Friday night, but the contest did not disappoint and arguably exceeded expectations.  The River Ridge Knights and East Lake Eagles closed out their 2018 season series, and it was the Eagles who left the rink victorious on both team’s Senior Night (3-2).


Special teams were the ultimate difference maker for this Bradley Division showdown, as East Lake executed three times on the power play (3/4). East Lake’s blue liners were on their “A-game” all night, but the Eagles received plenty of scoring help from their defensemen on this night. In fact, East Lake’s D’men recorded all three goals and combined for five points total. Senior Eric Thompson opened up the scoring for the Eagles late in the first, and Demitri Samarkos chipped in the team’s next two goals. For Samarkos, it marked the second time this season he recorded a game-winning goal for his fellow Eagles. Additionally, East Lake goaltender, Marcus Alfaro rose to the occasion with a number of timely saves; especially when facing the offensive threat in River Ridge’s Jacob Schnapp.

River Ridge received scoring help from Schnapp and also the dynamic, Anthony Lioacano. Let’s not forget that the Knights’ goaltender in Dylan McCarthy had over 40 saves on the night, either.


With LHSHL Playoff implications on the line Friday night for a number of teams, the George-Jenkins Eagles were unable to clinch a playoff berth after the team lost its second game this year to the Bloomingdale Ice Bulls. Bloomingdale defeated Jenkins by a final score of 9-1 at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum (ISF), as the Bulls earned their ninth win on the year. The outing marked the eighth time this season that Bloomingdale recorded seven or more goals in a contest.

The Bulls received scoring help from seven different skaters, too. Cade Cox, Aiden Polly, Dimon Sans Souci, Chase Morin, Brennan Cyhaniuk, Liam LoCicero and Andrew Miranda all found the back of the net in the key victory for Bloomingdale. The Bulls are in a win now mode, especially with the Newsome Wolves winning games lately and still in the hunt to leap frog the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the Modin Division.


With the Plant Panthers 12th win on the season, the Panthers have officially jumped ahead of the Seminole Sharks for first place in the Lecavalier Division. Plant defeated Seminole by a score of 5-4 on Friday night at Florida Hospital Center Ice (FHCI), and also improved its in-division record to 6-2-0. Plant’s Lucas Scharf, Alex Vela, Devon Martinez, Blaise Mooney and Hamilton Reese all found the back of the net in route to the team’s first win against the Teal this season. Martinez earned the game-winning goal, which also marks his second game-winner on the year.

Though, at one point in the contest, the Sharks trailed by three-goals. Yet, the Teal showed resilience and battled back to score three of the four goals scored during the game’s second period. Seminole’s Maxx Mitchell led the way for the Sharks, as the senior netted his second hat trick on the season. Nathan Norris had the other goal for Seminole, plus role players Luis Valdes and Sebastian Middleton made their way onto the score sheet by each chipping in assists.

Both teams have two games left to play, and only one point separates the two in the standings.


The Newsome Wolves are alive and well, to say at the least. While the Wolves only have one game remaining, Newsome is still in contention for the 2018 LHSHL Playoffs. Newsome currently sits one point behind Bloomingdale for the third and final playoff spot in the Modin Division, and man-oh-man are goaltender Jacob Weaver and company making things interesting. For the second time this season the Wolves defeated the Durant Cougars and in convincing fashion;  as Newsome shutout the Cougars by a final score of 4-0.

Newsome received scoring help from four different skaters, which included Matthew Harrity, Tanis Bell, Justin Walker and Evan Nitzschke. Additionally, Jacob Weaver earned his second shutout on the season, and the youngster is proving that he belongs in the conversation with some of the top LHSHL netminders. Newsome has now won four of its last five games, and the Wolves must win on Friday night when they take on West Manatee in order to keep the hope alive for the LHSHL Playoffs.


In the words of this hockey enthusiast, the Jesuit Tigers had a statement victory against the Mitchell Mustangs on Friday night at FHCI. The victory marked the second time this season that the Tigers took down the Mustangs, and Jesuit wins the season series by outscoring Mitchell 15-4 on the year.

Though, the headline from this contest had to be the Forrest brothers…Nolan Forrest recorded a hat trick and chipped in two helpers totaling five points one night. Owen Forrest, found the back of the net twice to help seal the deal for Jesuit. Let’s also not forget that Kyle Repar recorded two goals on the night, too. Just when you think the offensive fire power stopped there for the Tigers, Joshua Burke had a four point night; while scoring one goal  and adding in three helpers. Jesuit netminder Paul Coats had another strong outing for head coach Jassen Cullimore and company, as well.

As for the Mustangs, the team has now lost two games in a row and for the third time this season. Though, goaltender Jacob Serpe will look to get his Mustangs back on track this Friday night when the team takes on the East Manatee Admirals – potential LHSHL Game of the Week, no?


Game of the Week

The New England Patriots weren’t the only Pats celebrating over the weekend and after a must win situation…

It appeared that the Freedom Patriots don’t mind having their backs against the wall, either. In a must win situation, the Patriots defeated the Wiregrass Ice Hawks by a score of 8-2 on Friday night. Freedom must win its remaining two games in order to have a chance at the 2018 LHSHL Playoffs, and also hope that Jenkins loses its final game on the year.

While Freedom trailed 2-0 after the first period, the Pats rallied back to net four goals in the second period and then two in the game’s final frame. Freedom freshman, Jacob Karch, had himself a career night – number 13 for the Red, White and Blue recorded his first hat trick on the season and also chipped in one helper totaling a five point effort. Dylan O’Connor posted a three point night with his three helpers, and both Matthew Speciale and Danny Finely found the back of the net as well.

Freedom masked man Jacob Sanders embraced the must win situation and earned his fifth victory on the season. It will be interesting to see if the Freedom coaching staff goes back to Sanders when the Pats take on Wiregrass later this week for an intriguing back-to-back matchup between the two Andreychuk Division rivals. In fact, if Freedom were to win out its’ schedule – there’s still a chance that the team could finish in second place for the division, as Wiregrass only has one game remaining…

(The Lightning High School Hockey League can be followed on Twitter @TBLHSHL)

Tag(s): Home  LHSHL  Western Conference  Lecavalier Division  Bradley Division  Eastern Conference  Andreychuk Division  Modin Division