1. Freddy's HC
So far, Freddy's HC looks like the polar opposite of their summer team. Their first three wins over the Vudoos and Flames may not have convinced the skeptics, but they recently took down the highly-touted Phantoms to prove they are for real this season. They have given up a league-lowest 17 goals against as Paul Kulbida leads the league in GAA, and Marcin Nieroda is having a breakout season as he currently sits second in the league's goal-scoring column.
The Phantoms have enough scoring depth to be 3-1, with the one loss being to undefeated Freddy's HC, despite a slow start by Kyle Krannich. James Whalen is tied for fourth in goals and the supporting cast of Paul Doran, Jimmy Rotan, et. al. have chipped in as well. With perhaps the most skilled roster they have ever had, the Phantoms have their sights set on a championship this March.
It is too early to tell if the Stingrays are a contender or mid-range team this season, as their three wins have come against the bottom three teams in the standings, and they needed a late tying goal and a shootout to take care of the Flames. However, they did not have star goaltender Kyle Daloisio for their one loss, but they are tied for last in the league in goals scored. With Daloisio getting up there in age, perhaps they will no longer be able to rely on him to keep the scores low enough to win consistently anymore.
The Pterodactyls are off to a disappointing start. Despite their forward depth, they are tied with the Stingrays for fewest goals scored, and their only wins were a forfeit and the game against the Daloisio-less Stingrays. They have a chance to prove their worth soon though with games coming up against Freddy's and the Phantoms.
The Vudoos have averaged eight goals a game, as rookie Chris Potts has been a great acquisition to take some attention of Wes "Side" Dorey, who is first in the league in points and has a huge gap ahead of everyone else in assists, but their defense has struggled. However, two of their losses were to first place Freddy's HC, and the other was to the Stingrays, so they had a rough schedule early on, and won their next two games so perhaps they are better than their record shows.
6. Ice Men
The Ice Men have performed similarly to the Vudoos--scoring a ton of goals but giving up a lot as well. This resulted in the synergistic explosion of 31 goals in their recent meeting with each other. Matt Torstrup is leading the league in goals while Jon Bokser is second in assists. If they can sustain this level of offense and address their issues on defense, the Ice Men could still be a dangerous team this season.
The Flames have struggled so far as they are trying to figure out how to compensate for the loss of star scorer Nick Benedetto while playing against better defenses now that they are in the North Division. They will be looking for Bob Cresci and Chris Pallante to carry the offense if they are to be more competitive as the season progresses.
The Pterodactyls remain in first place, but it is a close race as longtime rival Green Brook Berets are just one point behind them. Goaltender Jeff Leidner is third in GAA, and Justin Waldron leads the league in points while the Galligano brothers are tied at the top of the assists column. Expect another back-and-forth, old-school, season-long dogfight with the Berets for first place as this season continues.
2. Green Brook Berets
The Berets' only loss so far was a nailbiter with the Pterodactyls. Nuno Costa is tied for the league lead in GAA at 2.00, which has been helpful because their offense has yet to reach mid-season form with only 17 goals so far. However, they anticipate their scoring to pick up with Pat Perez, Christian Solis, and Calder candidate Zach Ulloa on the team.
The Biohazards promptly showed that they mean business and are planning on competing in the Central bracket come playoff time when they recently beat the Muskrats in thrilling fashion. Thanks largely to Larry "The Canadian Guy" St. Denis, the Biohazards currently lead the league in goals and team executives are beginning to look like geniuses after making the controversial decision to cut Dave Hutchins despite his breakout season this summer.
Despite Adam Grare currently sitting tied for first in GAA at just 2.00, the Muskrats are in fourth place with a forfeit loss and a demoralizing loss to the Biohazards in which they blew a lead in the third and gave up the deciding goal in the final minute. They have enough skill to contend for the Central championship, but if Jon Khanimov keeps trying to do the same thing on faceoffs, the Muskrats may end up in the South bracket for the postseason.
5. SHI Spitfires
Right now, the Spitfires are just one point out of the final Central playoff spot. They have five players averaging a goal per game or close to it, but they lead the league in penalty minutes, and if the standings remain this tight, that could end up being the difference between playing in the Central or South bracket.
The Archers are still figuring out who is going to score goals for them now that Kyle Turner has left the team. They'll need somebody to step up soon though because they are on a four-game losing streak since Turner's departure, otherwise they will be looking at a South bracket postseason, assuming they will be around to finish the season considering their frequently-misinterpreted secondary logo probably has them on various government watch-lists.
Pat Mack leads the league in goals, but the Vudoos have struggled defensively, and as a result have not yet beaten a team other than the Motley Crew. However, this is only their first season in the PTAHL, and even the Berets and Pterodactyls fared worse in their inaugural season than the Vudoos have so far.
8. Motley Crew
Despite adding some skill in the form of Mark Gordin and Jackson Brassieur, the Motley Crew have only mustered six goals in five games and have given up 49. Gordin and Brassieur both missed their recent game against Green Brook, and they will need them both to show up consistently if they are to be more competitive this season. They will also need to stay out of the penalty box as they currently have the top two in penalty minutes in Alex Smondyrev and Joe Marchica.
Next power rankings: 10/29/14