Last year, the Eastern Hockey League’s Mid-Atlantic Division was ironclad from top to bottom, from the Philadelphia Little Flyers (winners of 33 in a row) and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (eventual playoff champions) to the Philadelphia Revolution all giving no love to opponents from the City of Brotherly Love.
By Joshua Boyd
The New Jersey Rockets made the Mid-Atlantic the only division without a sub-.500 team in 2016-17.
Before even the first day of Fall here in 2017, signs were again pointing to the Mid-Atlantic being loaded with tough teams. The Philadelphia Revolution and Little Flyers each started out 4-0, as of Sept. 21.
Revolution general manager Chris Kanaly said it was his team’s captains, Bryce Witman and Austin Morgan, who were the main cogs in the machine.
“They are returning players, and from both a leadership and offense perspective, you can’t deny they’ve been prolific,” said Kanaly. “[That trio has] come back to us to get their NCAA commitments through us.
“They bring the whole package. It’s how they come to the rink, what they do in team meetings and video sessions. Their influence is a good 20-25 percent a factor into what’s going on right now,” said Kanaly.
Witman jumped out with six goals and 13 points in those first four games. That gave him a one-point lead over the Little Flyers’ Alex Ochterbeck through Sept. 21. Morgan had eight points in four games.
“Coach Jon Rogger has done a great job of getting everyone on the same page,” said Kanaly. “It usually takes a month or two to get guys to buy in.”
He added that the team’s early offensive edge (31-6 in goals for vs. goals against) was a bit surprising. After all, the Revolution built from the net out.
Travis Pelke, a ’97 returning Rev, started out 3-0 with a .951 save percentage.
The Revolution brought just six defensemen into training camp, and luckily for Kanaly and his team, all six made the EHL grade.
“We took a risk, and we’ve already been able to have some scoring from the six defensemen we’ve had,” said Kanaly.
Hayden Ford (’97) and Jackson Koblick (’98) have returned to the Revs’ top team. Colin Roberts (’99) and Alex Pelletier (’98) come to the top squad from last year’s 18U team.
Adding to this quartet from within the organization, the Revolution added ’98 newcomers Christian Dahl – “an absolute beast” standing 6-feet-3-inches and weighing 231 pounds – and Jake Faulkner.
“The big thing is the returning players and new blood have jelled really quickly,” Kanaly added.
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