Under Review

FPHL Power Rankings: Dec. 20th-21st

By Shawn Johnson

December 26, 2019

FPHL teams faced off against each other for the final time before the holiday break last weekend. It was an eventful weekend to say the least with the Battle Creek Rumble Bees almost shocking the Elmira Enforcers. There were winners and losers and now, we take a look at our weekly FPHL power rankings.

10) Battle Creek Rumble Bees (0-22), 5th place Western Division

Rank Last Week: 10 (no change)

The Elmira Enforcers nearly fell victim to Battle Creek on Friday! We were SO CLOSE to seeing a victory from the Rumble Bees. Battle Creek led Elmira 5-2 after the second period. 5 unanswered goals by the Enforcers sealed the deal. Kyle Stevens scored the game winner short handed with under 4 minutes to play. The losing streak continues for the Rumble Bees, as well as their streak for being at the bottom of our weekly power rankings. Four straight weeks at the #10 spot for the bees. 

9) Columbus River Dragons (6-10-1-1), 4th place Western Division

Rank Last Week: 9 (No Change)

Columbus split the weekend with Delaware. First winning 6-3, then losing  5-3. The River Dragons made a splash with roster changes as well. First Columbus traded for Cameron Dimmitt. Watertown receives financial considerations as well as a player to be named later.  Columbus then added veteran players Brandon Billie and Anton Lennartsson to the mix. The River Dragons released Seth Gustin on waivers and suspended Jagger Williamson for leaving the team. This weekend Columbus hosts Danville for a three game series. For now the River Dragons stay idle at #9, but a couple wins against Danville could help them rise in next week’s rankings. 

8) Delaware Thunder (4-14), 5th place Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 8 (No Change)

As mentioned above, the Delaware thunder split the weekend with Columbus. Losing on Friday 6-3, then winning 5-3 on Saturday. Ryan Marker continues to lead the way for the Thunder. He is currently sitting in third in the league for most points with 36. Anton Kalinin is finally coming into his own since being traded from Watertown to Delaware.  He now has 9 points in his first 12 games with Delaware. Slowly but surely, Delaware is improving week to week. For now, they stay steady at #8 in our weekly power rankings. 

7) Watertown Wolves (11-7-0-1) 2nd place, Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 6 (Down 1)

Somehow, someway the Wolves are still in second place in the Eastern Division. Their hot start has fizzled.  Watertown is currently on a six game losing streak with two straight sweeps by the Danbury Hat Tricks. Watertown’s most recent loss came in overtime against Danbury. Danbury led 3-2 in the third period, but with 35 seconds remaining in regulation, Kyle Powell sent the puck past Thomas McGuckin to tie the game and go to overtime. However, Carter Shinkaruk ended overtime with a goal at 3:39.  The Wolves stay in second place in the Eastern Division, but continue to fall in our weekly power rankings. 

6) Mentor Ice Breakers (11-7), 4th place Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 5 (Down 1)

Mentor was swept at home by the defending champion, Carolina Thunderbirds.  Friday night, the birds controlled Mentor. Brody Duncan scored the lone goal for the Ice Breakers, after that, Carolina scored 5 unanswered goals to win 5-1. Saturday was a whole other story. Mentor kept Carolina in check, but the birds sealed the victory 2-1. Mentor hosts Danbury tonight at 7:35 EST looking to end the Hat Tricks winning streak.

5) Danville Dashers (10-9-0-1) 3rd place, Western Division

Rank Last Week: 3 (Down 2)

Over the weekend, Danville hosted Port Huron for a two game set.  On Friday, Danville had a 3-2 lead after the second period, but In the third period, Matt Robertson tied it up and sent the game to overtime where Austin Fetterly put the game away. Saturday was fight night in Danville. Armstrong and Gregorich went toe to toe, not once, but twice. It was Port Huron that had the last laugh, sweeping Danville and dropping the Dashers 2 spots in this week’s power rankings. 

4) Port Huron Prowlers (9-6-3-0), 2nd place, Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 7 (Up 3)

Here come the Prowlers! They have moved up our power rankings drastically jumping from as low as 8 to now 4. They are the biggest movers we've had in our power rankings so far! They have won 6 straight and they show no signs of slowing down.  Although Port Huron has only had 2 quality wins in the past six games, a win is a win. Sweeping Danville put the league on notice. Port Huron IS a contender, whether we want to believe it or not. Cory Simons has been phenomenal between the pipes, posting a 1.81 GAA (third best in the league) and it seems like nobody has an answer for Matt Robertson or his linemates. That gritty style of play and wins will send anyone up in our power rankings, this week that would be the Port Huron Prowlers. 

3) Elmira Enforcers (9-7-2-1), 3rd place, Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 4 (Up 1)

I know what you all think; I’m CRAZY for putting Elmira so high on this list. Yes I know, they almost lost to BATTLE CREEK.  That’s exactly why I moved them up a spot. Yes, they almost lost to the Rumble Bees. Keyword: ALMOST. Elmira’s resiliency is exactly why they moved up in my power rankings. They scored 4 unanswered goals in the third period to steal the game from Battle Creek. Not only did they score four goals, but the fourth goal was shorthanded by Kyle Stevens. Elmira was short staffed so Head Coach Brent Clarke suited up and led his team to an outstanding comeback. He tallied four points. If that doesn’t show you the kind of leader he is, then I don’t know what will. Elmira is and belongs in the top three for this week’s power rankings. 

2) Carolina Thunderbirds (17-1-0-1) 1st place, Western Division

Rank Last Week: 2 (No Change)

Carolina traveled north to take on Mentor over the weekend. They took care of the Ice Breakers both nights.  The Thunderbirds defeated the Ice Breakers 5-1 on Friday, then 2-1 on Saturday. The biggest news coming from the Thunderbirds organization would be the two game suspensions coming for Head Coach Andre Niec. Though that has nothing to do with this week’s power rankings, it will be interesting to see how the team responds with his absence next week, potentially affecting the week 5 power rankings.  The birds stay put at number two in our weekly power rankings. 

1) Danbury Hat Tricks (12-4-1-2) 1st place, Eastern Division **

Rank Last Week: 1 (No Change)

The Danbury Hat Tricks are once again the hottest team in the league this week. They played another home and away series with their Eastern Division rival, the Watertown Wolves. Danbury defeated Watertown easily 5-2 on Friday night in Connecticut. Danbury scored 2 even strength goals, 2 shorthanded goals as well as a power play goal. The Hat tricks then traveled to Watertown for a Saturday night match-up. The game went back and forth, but in the end, the game went to overtime where Carter Shinkaruk buried the game winner past Watertown goaltender Jeremy Pominville. I was personally there to witness this game, and let me tell you, if it comes down to Watertown and Danbury in the Eastern Conference Finals; we are in for a treat. Both teams played physical hockey, but Danbury bested Watertown this time and remain the best team in the East as well as in our weekly power rankings. 

(*) - How many weeks a team has been in first place in the power rankings

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