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#USPHLPlayoffs: Northern Cyclones vs. Boston Junior Bruins 

Boston Junior Bruins (4) at Northern Cyclones (1)

All Games To Be Played At Cyclones Arena, Hudson, NH

Friday, March 1, 4 p.m. 

Saturday, March 2, 4 p.m. 

Sunday, March 3, 1 p.m. (If Necessary) 

 

By Joshua Boyd / USPHLElite.com 

 

The Northern Cyclones cannot fathom a world in which they don’t make a trip to the USPHL Nationals. The Cyclones missed making the mark for the first Elite Nationals in 2018, but they’ve qualified every year since, earning five berths in a row between 2019 and 2023. They know they have to win at least two games to get there every year, so they go into the divisional playoffs focused on the now, but knowing anything less than a Nationals berth is not acceptable in Hudson, N.H. 

“I think simply put we have one team standing in the way of us and the National Tournament,” said Head Coach Tim Plummer. “The guys are taking each day of practice to prepare and make sure we are ready to do whatever it takes to move on. We understand nothing comes easy this time of year, so we are ready to face whatever sort of adversity is thrown our way to complete the task and move on to the National Tournament.”

The Boston Junior Bruins would obviously love to pull off a huge upset. The Cyclones have won the division twice in a row, and that’s coming off a trip to the 2022 national final, where they fell to the former Richmond Generals. In their season series, the Cyclones went 7-0-1-0. The sole blip was a 2-1 OT win for the Junior Bruins on Nov. 12. Their other games were all decided by four goals or more, so Junior Bruins head coach Dan Pelletier knows they will have their hands full. 

“Obviously, our work is cut out for us. We know how good the Cyclones are. I can’t promise that we’ll beat them, but we’re going to do our best to make it interesting,” said Pelletier. 

The Cyclones’ Noah Malcolm finished in the top 10 of scoring this season, with a 34-36-69 line, and Josh Bruno was right outside the Top 10 with 63 points. Third in scoring for the Cyclones was defenseman Matthew Taylor, who put up a 54-point total in 42 games, which ranked him second overall in the league. Also defensively, the Cyclones were No. 2 among full-time Elite members in goals against per game (2.07) and shots against per game (23.64). They were also offensively potent in putting up the second most shots on their opponents’ goals with 46.89, almost exactly twice the amount of shots they surrender on average. Later arrival Austin Larson (14 points) and Adam Kulick (47 points) also topped a point-per-game this year. 

On the Junior Bruins side, forward Hunter Couture and defenseman Andrew Chandler lead the team with 13 points apiece. In goal, Jason Conlan set the USPHL Elite single season record for saves with 1,229, an average of 37.2 per game over his 33 games this year. 

The Cyclones utilized a three-goalie approach that worked wonders. Nick Cowles, Vincent Arata and Michael Anstey each played a minimum of 12 games this year. Cowles and Arata each made the top five league-wide in goals against average, with Cowles leading at 1.48 and Arata at 1.73. Cowles finished seventh in save percentage at .931.

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