FPHL Power Rankings: Jan. 3rd-4th

FPHL Power Rankings: Jan. 3rd-4th

By Shawn Johnson

January 9, 2020

What a week in the FPHL! We have seen roster changes, weekday games, games at a neutral site that will be an expansion team next year and the two best teams in the league go head to head. Let’s get to it! 

10) Columbus River Dragons (6-14-3-1), 4th place Western Division

Rank Last Week: 9 (Down 1)

Another weekend at home for Columbus as they hosted the Watertown Wolves.  On Friday, the River Dragons put up a great fight the entire game. They entered the third period tied up 4-4. However, they ran out of gas and the Wolves took advantage scoring two goals in the final frame to steal game 1 by a score of 6-4. However, Columbus wasn’t going to just allow Watertown to sweep the weekend.  Chase Fallis tied the game 4-4 in the third period and forced the game to overtime. It was none other than Anton Lennartsson playing hero by scoring the overtime winner against his former team. Columbus has been lacking physical play, therefore they have traded for Watertown’s tough guy, Preston Kugler. I know you're probably wondering why Columbus is at number 10 this week, well we're getting to that.

9) Battle Creek Rumble Bees (1-25), 5th place Western Division

Rank Last Week: 10 (Up 1)

We BEELIEVED the Battle Creek Rumble Bees could win a game! And they finally did! Game number 25 was the magic number for Battle Creek. The eight other teams in the league took time to congratulate the Rumble Bees on their well deserved victory. The best part about Battle Creek winning is that they went on the road to Elmira and beat them at First Arena in front of a crowd just shy of 2700. Not only did Battle Creek beat Elmira, but they beat them on “Guaranteed Win Night”. That’s right, Robbie Nichols GUARANTEED a victory against Battle Creek. This did not go over well. Very similar to the corndog promotion in the movie Semi Pro.  Let’s leave the guarantees to Joe Namath. Battle Creeks first victory earned them an honorary spot promotion in the power rankings this week.

8) Mentor Ice Breakers (13-12-0-1), 3rd place Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 7 (Down 1)

Mentor has been inconsistent as of late. Ever since losing Jon Buttitta to Quad City (SPHL), the Ice Breakers offense has been lacking. Declan Conway has been stepping up big with the loss of Buttitta and Moskal. Conway leads the league in goals (25) and is in third for points with 44.  Mentor traveled to Danville on Friday and took care of business winning by a score of 4-2 with 2 goals from Conway, 1 from Farrington and 1 from Jirovec. Mentor then traveled back home to host Danville. The Dashers bested Mentor by a score of 2-1. The attendance is rising in Mentor, but the Ice Breakers are falling in the power rankings. 

7) Delaware Thunder (7-16), 5th place Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 8 (Up 1)

Here comes Delaware!  Ryan Marker has really sparked the offense. He is currently on a 23 game point streak. He is second in points with 47 (1 point behind league leader Tyler Gjurich) and second in goals with 24 (1 goal behind Declan Conways league leading 25). There is no player in the league playing better than Ryan Marker right now. The Thunder are rolling with 4 wins in their last six games. It’s very difficult for a new franchise to have immediate success. Delaware started slow, but Coach Charlie Pens is putting together a great product on the ice. The Thunder have scored at least two goals in the last eleven games. The offense is really picking up, having scored 11 goals against Port Huron over the weekend. Delaware hosts the Danbury Hat Tricks this weekend at the Thunderdome. 

6) Elmira Enforcers (10-12-2-1), 4th place, Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 4 (Down 2)

It has been a tough few weeks for Brent Clarke and his Elmira Enforcers. They have been playing with a short bench. Players have been away from the team for personal reasons, players have been battling injury and others have been sick. It got so bad to the point where Robbie Nichols, owner of the Enforcers suited up and played at 55 years old. ESPN got wind of this and covered the story. The Enforcers went on a five game losing streak, most recently losing at home to Battle Creek. Yes, you read that right. Battle Creek earned their first win of the season against Elmira at First Arena. Elmira bounced back on Saturday with a 6-3 victory against the Rumble Bees.  A five game losing streak plus a loss to a 0-24 team, which will cost you a few spots in the power rankings. Elmira drops to spots to #6.

5) Danville Dashers (13-10-1-2) 3rd place, Western Division

Rank Last Week: 5 (No Change)

Danville continues to be an average team. They are not terrible, but they aren’t too good either. Inconsistent is the best way to describe them. One night their offense is on fire, the next; nonexistent. Fred Hein seems to be the only bright spot for Danville as of late. He has 33 points in 24 games played, averaging 1.4 points a game. Danville sits in third in the FPHL standings with a win percentage of .551 and fifth in our weekly power rankings. 

4) Watertown Wolves (14-8-0-2), 2nd place, Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 6 (Up 2)

Watertown jumps up two spots in this week’s rankings. The Wolves traveled over twenty hours to get to Columbus and they made the most of their trip. They left Georgia after the game on Saturday with 4 out of a possible 6 points. On Friday, the game was tied 4-4 going into the third period. Two third period goals by Jamie Lukas sealed the deal for Watertown on Friday. On Saturday, the Wolves and River Dragons went to overtime, but ultimately it was Columbus skating away with the win. Despite the overtime loss, I moved Watertown up two slots because of the long travel and taking care of business in another team’s barn. 

3) Port Huron Prowlers (12-7-3-0), 2nd place, Western Division

Rank Last Week: 3 (No Change)

Port Huron is playing phenomenal hockey and I don’t believe anyone is giving them enough credit. Matt Robertson’s play has earned him FPHL player of the month of December as well as a call up to Fayetteville (SPHL). Port Huron was on an 8 game win streak coming into the weekend. They took on the visiting Delaware Thunder. After a game full of goals, Port Huron’s win streak extended to 9 after an 8-5 win. Saturday the offense sputtered.  Their win streak came to its end after losing 6-2. One loss to an improving team is not going to derail this team. I would expect Port Huron to bounce back this weekend. They will be hitting the road to Columbus for a three game set against their divisional rivals. 

2) Carolina Thunderbirds (20-3-0-1) 1st place, Western Division

Rank Last Week: 2 (No Change)

To be honest, Carolina had a disappointing weekend. They headed to Bloomington, Illinois to take on the best team in the east, the Danbury Hat Tricks in front of a new crowd on neutral ice. Phil Bronner led Danbury to victory with 2 goals and 1 assist. Danbury dominated Carolina 5-1 on Friday night in front of just over 400 fans. Carolina struggled again on Saturday. Carolina outshot Danbury 54-18 and still lost 3-0. Yes, you read that right. 54 shots on goal with zero goals. Carolina also made roster moves by trading for Battle Creek’s goaltender Jacob Mullen.  Carolina has impressive depth in the net with the addition of Jake Mullen, Frankie McClendon and the FPHL Goaltender of the Month Patrick Polivka. I would expect to see the Thunderbirds win a lot more games in the future. 

1) Danbury Hat Tricks (16-5-1-2) 1st place, Eastern Division

Rank Last Week: 1 (No Change)

The Danbury Hat Tricks traveled west to take on the Carolina Thunderbirds in Bloomington and boy did they take care of business. Danbury swept the weekend winning in dominating fashion on Friday 5-1, then shut out the Thunderbirds 3-0.  Carolina is currently the best team in the league with only 3 regulation losses. However, all three of those losses came from the Danbury Hat Tricks. Johnny Ruiz and Cory Anderson were called up to the SPHL, but have since returned to Danbury. Let me take a moment to highlight goaltender THOMAS MCGUCKIN. If you don’t know who he is, you better learn. Carolina has a scary offense. Over the weekend the birds put 119 shots on goal. McGuckin only allowed ONE. This guy is an absolute STUD between the pipes. No change this week as Danbury remains at #1 in our weekly power rankings for the fourth consecutive week.