FHL Weekly Wrap-Up: Fight Night! Mentor heats up, Watertown sweeps

What a weekend in the FHL, we saw upset city down in Carolina, while Watertown got itself back into the chase for the top spot in the league, and every team apparently got tired of spending time with their family on Thanksgiving, and took out their frustrations by throwing hands at their opponent.

Three Stars of the Weekend

NOTE: This isn’t just for players, yes, if a player has a huge weekend we’ll give them some love, but this could be anything from a great promotion, to a hilarious incident that happened on the ice, to a great performance. Really just whatever caught our eye in the FHL this weekend.

THIRD STAR: FIGHT NIGHT IN THE FHL!

I don’t know if there was something in the water or what, but Saturday night was full of fights across the FHL. Carolina and Mentor went wild with each time down to single digit players by the end, Elmira and Port Huron had at least three fights in Saturday’s 6-2 win for Elmira, and there were a whole host of fighting majors handed out in the Watertown-Danville weekend capper.

Now, let me clarify that I’m not advocating for brawls every night, or that each game should at least three fights or something (more on that in a later post this week), but what it means to me is that games in the FHL so far this season have been physical, tough, but most of all, competitive. If you’re seeing this type of intensity 10 games in, imagine what might happen if it’s game 54 and teams are close in the standings. We could be shaping up for some good rivalries in the FHL this year.

SECOND STAR: Derek Moser, Mentor Ice Breakers

We chronicled how the Ice Breakers were off to a rough start, getting out of the gate to the tune of no points in six games, but the Breakers have began to heat up over the last two weekends, winning 3 of 4, and it’s in large thanks to newly acquired goalie Derek Moser.

Moser started the year with a relief appearance for Elmira, was released, and picked up by the Breakers who desperately needed help in goal.

Moser has been Mana from heaven for Mentor, going 3-0-0 for the Breakers with a 2.33 GAA and glistening .936 Sv%. Two of those wins were against first-place Carolina, including a 3-0 shutout in Saturday’s weekend finale. For a team that has given up 44 goals in its other seven games (6.28 goals against per game), having Moser come in and keep the Breakers in every game, and steal a couple against Carolina, is a big boost and could be the difference in the hunt for the last playoff spot.

FIRST STAR: Watertown hunts down league leaders

Last week we said it was shaping up to be a two-team race between Carolina and Danville for the top spot in the league. Well, Watertown delivered a big message this past week by going 3-0 on home ice with a win over Elmira on Thanksgiving eve, then sweeping Danville with a pair of third period rallies.

The wins helped pull the Wolves within three points of second-place Danville, and just four back of Carolina, with a game in-hand on each of those teams. The Wolves offense has started to click and suddenly is tied for the most goals in the FHL.

Brandon Wahlin and Tyler Gjurich combined for 15 points over the three games, giving the Wolves a top-duo that can hang with any team in the league.

Playoff races heating up already

The season may only be about 20 percent of the way done, but it’s never too early to start looking at the playoff races, and with good reason so far in the FHL.

STANDINGS

As Yogi Berra said, “It gets late awfully early around here,” and while you aren’t winning the Commissioner’s Cup in November, you sure can lose it by getting off to an awful start and putting yourself in an uphill climb for a playoff spot.

As we noted early, the top three teams in the league are neck-and-neck for the top spot, which could be doubly important this year, because finishing with the best record nets you a showdown with Elmira, Mentor, or Port Huron in the 1 vs. 4 matchup, while the team finishing second would be in a heck of a battle with the third-place team, which, regardless of who it ends up being this year, appears to be a strong team.

And then there’s the bottom of the league! Elmira, Mentor and Port Huron are fighting it out for that last spot and are separated by a pair of points thanks to Elmira’s two OT losses. Honestly, when was the last time there was truly a battle for the last playoff spot in the FHL? Usually there’s a couple of teams who lag so far behind that the playoffs are set by the end of December. Hopefully that’s not the case this year, and so far it looks like we’ll have a race for that final spot.

League Leaders

Points

Ryan Marker, Danville – 27
Brandon Wahlin, Watertown – 21
Tyler Gjurich, Watertown – 19
Gavin Yates, Watertown – 18
Two Tied with 16

Goals

Ryan Marker, Danville – 12
Tyler Gjurich, Watertown – 12
Gavin Yates, Watertown – 11
Justin Brausen, Danville – 8
Stephen Gaul, Danville – 8

Assists

Brandon Wahlin, Watertown – 18
Ryan Marker, Danville – 15
Christian Whitcomb, Watertown – 13
Matt Graham, Port Huron – 13
Dustin Henning, Danville – 12

Wins

Cody Karpinski, Watertown – 5
Henry Dill, Carolina – 5
Matt Kaludis, Danville – 4
Aaron Taylor, Danville – 4
Derk Moser, Mentor – 3

GAA (Note: Goalies must play 45% of games to qualify under FHL rules)

Henry Dill, Carolina – 1.58
Matt Kaludis, Danville – 1.99
Aaron Taylor, Danville – 3.01
Cory Simons, Port Huron – 3.15
Cody Karpinski, Watertown – 3.58

Save % (Note: Goalies must play 45% of games to qualify under FHL rules)

Matt Kaludis, Danville – .957
Henry Dill, Carolina – .936
Aaron Taylor, Danville – .932
Cory Simons, Port Huron – .922
Cody Karpinski, Watertown – .918

This Week’s Schedule

Friday, November 30

  • Watertown at Mentor, 7:35pm
  • Port Huron at Carolina, 7:35pm
  • Elmira at Danville, 7:05pm CST

Saturday, December 1

  • Port Huron at Carolina, 6:05pm
  • Watertown at Mentor, 7:35pm
  • Elmira at Danville, 7:05pm CST

 

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