BOSTON, MA -- We're heading down the home stretch towards the holiday break, as this past weekend featured nine total games across the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP). For many teams, this was their last game action in the 2018 calendar year.
The EHLP is pleased to announce that Nick Graziano (New Jersey Renegades), Ryan Clear (New Jersey 87s), and Dillon Whalen (Vermont Lumberjacks) have been named the TSR Hockey Stars of the Week.
Only four games remain before the holiday break, with six teams set to hit the ice this week. The next set of TSR Hockey Stars of the Week will be released on Monday, December 24th. Remember to catch the #Eshow all season long on HockeyTV.
Graziano and the Renegades split their home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers. The 2001-born forward tallied seven total points in the weekend series, including a hat-trick and two assists in the 8-3 victory on Saturday. Also included in Graziano's performance was the game-winning goal on Saturday, which was his 3rd of the season. After tallying 41 points in his first season in the EHLP (2017-18), Graziano has notched 29 points so far this year, and he's on a good pace to set new career highs.
The Renegades find themselves in a tight battle for the 5th and final playoff spot in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, and they will look to lean on their leading scorer again tomorrow night, as they host the New Jersey 87s at 8:10pm.
Speaking of the 87s, New Jersey also split their home-and-home series this past weekend, as they took on the Central Penn Panthers. Clear played a big role for his team in both ends of the ice, as he finished the weekend with a goal and four assists to his name. For the season, Clear now has seven goals and eleven assists in 18 games, and this is the second time he's been named the Defenseman of the Week in the EHLP (TSR Hockey Stars of the Week #3).
Looking ahead, the 87s will have the most games played (30) when the EHLP officially hits winter break. That means tomorrow night's showdown with the New Jersey Renegades is critical, along with the three straight matchups against the Philadelphia Revolution to kick-off the month of January.
Wrapping things up in the New England Conference, Whalen and the Lumberjacks swept their two-game series against the Connecticut Chiefs, with the '99 between the pipes for the victory on Sunday. Whalen turned aside 24 of the 26 shots he faced, en route to his first win since mid-October. After being the tough-luck loser for a few games, Whalen was able to get things back on track for his 6th win of the season. Vermont has now won four straight games, as they fight for home-ice advantage in the EHLP Playoffs.
While Clear held his own on the blue, Payton Jones helped provide the spark up front for the 87s. The 2001-born forward from Cedar Park, TX had a pair of goals in each game against the Panthers, along with a pair of assists in the victory on Saturday. With the six-point weekend, Jones now has 20 points in his first 26 junior hockey games.