The Phantoms have won their last three games and are now just a point out of first place with a game in hand as James Whalen sits tied for the most goals in the league and Tony Bucci, with a perfect 5-0 record, is just 0.07 behind Paul Kulbida for lowest GAA. With Bucci on top of his game, Paul Doran patrolling the blue line, and Whalen, Jimmy Rotan, and Kyle Krannich racking up the points, the Phantoms are a definite championship contender this season.
The Pterodactyls have bounced back after a slow start with wins over the Stingrays, Freddy's HC, and Vudoos. Steve "The Wizard of Oz" Osvold is tied for second in goals and Brian Rappleyea, despite playing defense, is tied for third in assists. They lost their last game to the Phantoms, but if they continue to improve, they could be back to playing at the level they are accustomed to before the season's midpoint.
Perhaps taking the summer off has reinvigorated the Vudoos as they came in fresh for this season and are playing much better than they did in the spring. The addition of Chris Potts has helped tremendously as it takes some pressure off of Wes "Side" Dorey, who is leading the league in points with teammate Brent McCain, who is having a breakout season, behind him in second. They continue to surrender a lot of goals, but they have scored the most in the league with their dominant offense.
4. Freddy's HC
Freddy's has taken a step back over the past two weeks with losses to the Vudoos and Pterodactyls. However, Alex Gorden and Vinny Bird are just getting into their groove, and Marcin Nieroda remains in the top five in goals while Paul Kulbida leads the league in GAA, so don't write Freddy's off just yet. They are neck and neck with the Phantoms for first place and I expect this battle to continue throughout the season.
5. Ice Men
The Ice Men have won two of their last three games, with W's over the Pterodactyls and Flames. They have scored the second most goals in the league as Matt Torstrup is tied for the league lead in goals and Jon Bokser is tied for second in assists. They are not very high in the standings, but they have the talent to string together some wins and move up as the season progresses.
The Stingrays rise and fall with the play of Kyle Daloisio, and lately Daloisio has weighed them down like an anvil on top of a paper plane. Self-proclaimed sport psychologist Rob Cacioppo has determined that the overwhelming stress of still owing the league fee has prevented him from focusing on stopping the puck, and has prescribed one dose of paying the balance at his next game. Meanwhile, the rest of the team will need to score more goals, as their league-fewest 23 goals has not been enough.
The Flames are still looking for their first win since returning to the North Division, and will need to improve offensively if they are to turn this season around. They currently only have three players with more than two goals and with superstar Nick Benedetto out of the lineup this time around, they will need everyone to step up to fill that void.
1. SHI Spitfires
SHI has won their last four games, most recently over the highly-regarded defending champion Muskrats. Sean Carlin is second league-wide in assists while Greg Owens and Brian Kelly are also in the top ten in points. They are just two points out of first, and if they could slow down the rate at which they take penalties, they could take first place very soon.
The Pterodactyls remain in first place and are yet to be defeated in regulation as Jeff Leidner leads the league in GAA at 2.33, Justin Waldron leads in goals and points, and the Galligano brothers are first and second in the league in assists. The Pterodactyls are expected to be in the hunt for first place throughout the season, and if their players remain near the top of the stats columns, they should be a serious contender for the Central bracket playoffs.
The Biohazards are currently in a South bracket playoff spot, but the standings are so tight that the playoff picture changes after almost every game and there is plenty of the season remaining. Larry "The Canadian Guy" St. Denis is having a great season, but they will need Joe Whalen and Sean "Mr." Feeney to step up if they are to ensure a top four spot to compete in the Central bracket.
The Muskrats came into their title-defense season as heavy favorites, but they have not lived up to expectations so far. Adam Grare is still rock solid with the season's only shutout, but Rob Hackett is now out indefinitely with a knee injury, Mark Gordin takes too many penalties, Jon Khanimov loses too many faceoffs, Glen Friedman's cage is weird, and James Nobilio has been unable to play so far because of daylight savings time. Despite this, they are in third place, but only two points away from being pushed into a South bracket spot.
5. Green Brook Berets
The Berets have dropped their last two games and are clinging to the fourth and final Central bracket spot by just one point. Nuno Costa has been on his game as the Berets have given up the fewest goals in the league, but only Milton Solis, Zach Ulloa, and George Aller have scored more than two goals so far this season. If the Berets are to remain in the Central bracket, they will need Pat Perez to stop being busy getting married so that he can improve the team's anemic offense.
The Archers are still looking for goals after leading scorer Kyle Turner left them hanging. They recently snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over the Motley Crew, but they will need everyone to step up to make up for that lack of production. Val Fuchs has done his part as he is currently third on the team in goals, but Jason Fischbach only has three points on the season and will need to put up better numbers than that if the Archers are to contend for a spot in the Central bracket.
The Vudoos are 3-5, but have yet to beat anyone other than the Motley Crew. Pat Mack is second in the league in goals, but he will need some help if the Vudoos are to improve. Brian MacLean, Tom Godon, and Kurt Seidel have started to step up lately as they now have 7, 6, and 5 goals respectively. If they can continue to improve, the Vudoos may be able to put forth a competitive season.
8. Motley Crew
Still looking for their first win, the Motley Crew continues to look for answers. They have struggled to score goals and have been unable to limit their opponents' scoring chances enough to give themselves a chance to win. A major factor is the sparse attendance of top players Mark Gordin and Jackson Brassieur. At least Jon Khanimov has shown enough dedication to lace 'em up despite needing to study for a pre-calc exam, because unlike Gordin and Brassier, he understand that the team needs him and he refuses to let them down.
Next power rankings: 11/12/14