Kalder Varga has seven goals for Coyote through 10 games.
With just one more weekend on the horizon for the United States Elite League, the Orbit Ice Arena in Palatine, Illinois, will host the league’s inaugural playoff rounds. After an action-packed weekend in Detroit, let’s check in with our six USEL squads.
Perched at the top of the league standings, as they have been since the jump, are the gentlemen of Little Caesars. Little Caesars maintains the top spot in the rankings with a 7-2-1 record, taking both of its losses in Detroit. Myhro Hockey handed Little Caesars its first loss by a score of 4-1, and SDP set the scoreboard on fire in a 7-1 win over LC. In addition to the losses, Little Caesars picked up wins over Windy City (5-0), Yeti Tape (5-2), and Coyote (4-0).
Little Caesars features the league’s leading scorer in forward Ethan Garden (9 goals, 8 assists, 17 points), but has depth throughout the lineup. Brooks Rogowski, Grandon Echols, and Jacob Monks follow Garden in the scoring order with 10 points apiece.
Tied atop the standings is Coyote, which started last weekend with three consecutive victories before tying 2-2 with Yeti Tape and being shut out by Little Caesars 4-0. Despite allowing three goals in the third period of game one, Coyote held on for a thrilling 5-4 win over SDP, followed by a 4-0 victory over its Chicagoland brethren Windy City and a 2-1 triumph over Mhyro Hockey.
Crafty forward Lukas Zajic leads Coyote in scoring with eight goals and 11 points, followed by Kalder Varga (7-1-8) and Shaeffer Gordon-Carroll (4-4-8). The goaltender duo of Donovan Dunlay and Jake Windbiel has held opponents to 25 goals in 10 games, tied with Little Caesars for the lowest amount of goals allowed.
Jacob Monks has totaled 10 points in 10 games for Little Caesars.
Rounding out the top three teams heading into the final weekend of play is SDP at 7-3, which has yet to be held to less than three goals in a game and leads the league in scoring with 54 total goals in 10 games.
SDP shook off a 5-4 opening loss against Coyote with four straight wins to close out Detroit, thumping Yeti Tape 8-4, Windy City 6-1, Little Caesars 7-1, and eking out a 5-4 win over Myhro Hockey.
Pacing SDP in scoring is Osseo-Maple Grove youth product Dylan Dean (8-8-16), with Dallas Stars Elite skater JP Hurlbert (8-7-15) and Minnetonka native Mikey Berchild (8-6-14) in hot pursuit behind him. Sammy Nelson (10-3-13) and Nate Pederson (9-3-12) give SDP five of the league’s six leading scorers behind Little Caesars’ Ethan Garden.
Myhro Hockey was just two goals away from an undefeated weekend in Detroit after going 1-3-1 during Weekend One. Myhro suffered heartbreaking losses against Coyote 2-1 and SDP 5-4, which tempered a bit of the excitement after starting with a tie against Yeti Tape and a big win over Little Caesars. A 5-0 shutout of Windy City upped Myhro Hockey’s win total to three heading into the final set of games.
The duo of Lucien Haskus and Emilio Bedoya have been getting it done during the USEL season for Myhro Hockey, with Haskus totaling seven goals and 11 points and Bedoya recording seven goals and 10 points.
SDP's Dylan Dean is second among all skaters with 16 total points.
While Yeti Tape has gone 2-5-3 through two weekends, the key to turning the record around may lie in the third period. Yeti Tape has allowed just eight goals in the third period of games so far, which could mean a faster start in the opening stanzas could help some of those losses turn into wins.
In any case, Yeti Tape tied Myhro Hockey 3-3, then suffered back-to-back losses against SDP (8-4) and Little Caesars (5-2) before scraping a tie with Coyote and a win over Windy City to close out the weekend.
Michael Mahoney (5-2-7) and Mark Schaefer (6-1-7) lead Yeti Tape in scoring, with fellow forward Cody Sokol trailing just behind with six assists.
Windy City has lost six consecutive games dating back to Minneapolis, and the playoff hosts head into their weekend, coming off a five-loss weekend in Detroit. Windy City managed just three total goals in the five games played during Weekend Two, a far cry from the team that racked up 17 goals during Weekend One.
With talented players like Keegan Gregory (4-2-6), Nathan Hauad (5-1-6), and Easton Walos (2-4-6), this lack of scoring feels like an anomaly, and Windy City should not be underestimated as the league enters its postseason.
With six points, Easton Walos is in a three-way tie for the Windy City scoring lead.