FPHL Power Rankings: Nov. 27th-30th

FPHL Power Rankings: Nov. 27th-30th

By Shawn Johnson

December 5, 2019

The time has come for weekly power rankings! Every week I will analyze the FPHL and determine which teams earned their right to be at the top of the board and which ones belong at the bottom. I decide power rankings based on multiple factors including but not limited to overall record, strength of schedule, overall play, team stats and roster adjustments. Every week I will release the new rankings. With that being said, here are this week’s FPHL power rankings!

10: Battle Creek Rumble Bees (0-15, 5th place Western Division)

What can I say about Battle Creek that hasn’t been said already? An expansion franchise is tough. They only had three months to create a team name, gain sponsors, sign players and start the season. Considering the circumstances, I think GM Adam Stio was given a tough plane to pilot but has been doing a tremendous job. Battle Creek has been signing players, releasing players and trading players constantly as of late. They are desperate for that first win, but moving players around that much will not make much of a difference. A coaching change has already been made 15 games into the season. Their power play is at 9 percent. Yes, you read that correctly. 9 percent. Once they get that first win, I believe more will come but it's not going to be easy.

9: Delaware Thunder (2-10, 5th place Eastern Division)

Before the season started, I had high hopes for Delaware. They signed Aaron Taylor and Ryan Marker, two huge additions. Then Basey and Cutting, two big bodies that aren’t going to let you just enter the zone. Recently adding Kalinin and Kostyukov from Watertown brings more diversity to the club. Yesterday they signed 2018 FHL Champion goaltender Cody Karpinski.  Delaware now has speed, agility, toughness and two solid goaltenders. Until Coach Pens strengthens up that defense don’t expect Delaware to go very far. Contratto and Marker can’t do it all by themselves but the pieces are slowly coming together.

8: Port Huron Prowlers (4-6-0-2, 4th place Western Division)

The Prowlers main issue has been inconsistency. On paper, their team truly is not that bad! They have one of the best top lines in the FPHL. Robertson and Jay are unstoppable. Unfortunately hockey is a team sport and in order to start climbing the ladder, they are going to need everyone to start contributing a bit more. 

7: Elmira Enforcers (5-6-1-1, 4th place Eastern Division

It seems like Elmira is still hungover from the loss at home in last year’s championship game. They have a great coach as well as one of the top forwards in Mafouz and goaltenders in Passingham. The enforcers have made a lot of roster changes as of late, so clearly they are not throwing in the towel. They lead the league in attendance averaging 3,245 as well as PIMS with 368(second place is Columbus with 291). 

6: Columbus River Dragons (5-6-1-1, 3rd place Western Division)

Although the River Dragons are a new team, the have a lot of talent that can really help boost them in the standings. They have been hot and cold early in the season. The River Dragons added some power on offense with Yianni Liarakos, CJ Hayes and MJ Graham not to mention Jay Croop has been stellar with 16 points in 13 games. After signing tough guy Nick Wright, this team is on the rise. I don't see Columbus staying in sixth for long, I would expect them to move up the rankings. 

5: Danville Dashers (7-7, 2nd place Western Division)

The Dashers are another team that has had high expectations, but are somewhat mediocre. The team plays extremely physical but fails to make plays. They have one of the best forwards in the league with Fred Hein who sits in third place for most goals (13). Expect Danville to build around Hein if they want to make a run at a championship with new head coach Ray Tremblay. 

4: Mentor Ice Breakers (9-5, 2nd place Eastern Division)

Mentor started the year strong, but has since become inconsistent. They have (arguably) the best forward in the league with Jon Buttitta. Buttitta leads the league in points (31) goals (17) points per game (2.2) and shorthanded goals (3). Austyn Roudebush has been phenomenal between the pipes as well, leading the league with 9 wins and posting a save percentage of .916. If Coach Duncan can make a few key changes, expect Mentor to make a run for the top spot in the east. 

3: Danbury Hat Tricks (7-4-0-2, 3rd place Eastern Division)

The Hat Tricks had a heartbreaking weekend to start their inaugural season losing their first two games at home in overtime. Since then, the new franchise has heated up. Danbury is on a five game win streak. Nicola Levesque and Johnny Ruiz have powered the offense. Hat tricks have the best power play in the league with a power play percentage of 26. 

2: Watertown Wolves (11-2, 1st place Eastern Divison)

The Wolves are in the top spot in the east and rightfully so. Pominville has been spectacular between the pipes, leading the league in save percentage (.952) and goals against average (1.80). Watertown’s top line (Gjurich, King,  Boudreau) has proved to be lethal with each player on the line averaging nearly or over 2 points per game. Watertown is winning games with a strong power play and a great defense as the Wolves are the least penalized team in the league. 

1: Carolina Thunderbirds (12-1, 1st place Western Division)

The Thunderbirds have been on an absolute tear this year. They are at the top of this list because they are making statements.  Consistent goaltending by Henry Dill, Patrick Polivka and Frankie McClendon, the best penalty kill in the league and solid top 3 lines have made Carolina fire on all 3 cylinders. Petr Panacek, Jan Salak and Michael Bunn have lead the Thunderbirds in points and are key factors in Carolina's offense. Currently on an eight game win streak, they show no signs of slowing down. Coach Niec has put a solid product on the ice.