(Summaries by Joshua Boyd)
Zarand Varga, Potomac Patriots
The ‘04 out of Hungary has taken the USPHL Elite by storm, leading the division through October for a Patriots team that stands second in the Elite points race with a 13-4-0-0 record. Varga has helped the Patriots to some big statement wins en route to posting a league-best 35 points through 14 games. He scored in all but one game, finishing October with his best performance of three goals and two assists for five points on Oct. 30.
He has hit the four-point mark four times in addition to that five-point game. He had a point in each game when the Patriots split against Charlotte and then defeated the defending National Champion Richmond Generals in late October as well. Varga has posted 5-6-11 in his last five games coming into November, and he’s also made his USPHL Premier debut (on Oct. 29).
Brayden Taylor, Hampton Roads Whalers
The Whalers stand at fifth place with a points total that would have them tied for first in a different division, and tied for second in another. Such is life for the Whalers in the knock-down dragout battle that is the Southeast Division. With such tight games throughout the division, it helps to have a veteran like Brayden Taylor around.
A 2003-born native of nearby Virginia Beach, Taylor has been a Whaler since his youth hockey days and has recently passed his 100th USPHL junior game in the Green, Blue and White. His experience helped him to post six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in his first 16 Elite games. He hasn’t suited up for the Elite squad since Oct. 16, after which he was called up for his first four Premier games, in which he has already posted one assist.
Trae Schanberger, Richmond Generals
Back from the Generals team that won the 2022 USPHL Elite National Championship, Schanberger (‘03/Dallastown, Pa.) has been clicking at a goal-per-game pace, putting up 11 tallies through 11 games. This is in addition to six assists for a total of 17 points to tie for the team lead in scoring and post a 1.55 points per game average so far.
Schanberger ran through a string of three games between Sept. 23-24, all at the USPHL Southeast Showcase, where he scored two goals in each.
Colby Markham, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
The lifelong Jr. Cane and local product born in 2005 leads all Southeast defensemen with 18 points off a 4-14-18 line through 14 games. Markham is the No. 1 man on the ice for the Jr. Canes in all situations, leading the team by 40 minutes over any of his teammates in total ice time (of which he has 352:23).
In addition to his offense, Markham is also second in plus-minus on the team (+17) and in blocked shots (21), helping to lift the Jr. Hurricanes to a league-leading 13-1-1-0 record.
Ben Pearson, Charlotte Rush
Pearson (‘03/Rochester, N.Y.) is another of those players whose days in the Elite Division may be numbered – for the very positive reason he has recently skated four games for the Premier Rush.
Through 12 games this year so far, the second-year Elite blueliner has put up a 5-8-13 line, keeping his career points per game average above 1.00, as he halso posted 38 points in 35 games to stand with a 1.09 average over two seasons.
Evan Crawford, Charlotte Rush
Crawford leads the whole South (Southeast and Florida Divisions) with some pretty outstanding numbers early on in the season. The ‘04 out of Greenwich, Conn., stands at 5-1-0-1, with a 1.27 goals against average and a .948 save percentage. All of these numbers are second, only to the 6-0 Max Pierce of the Northern Cyclones. Both goalies, however, are even in shutouts, both sporting two.
It is Crawford’s perhaps unlucky fortune to have his best performance of the year result in his only regulation loss. On Oct. 22, he stopped 42 of 43 shots against the fast-rising Potomac Patriots. He “bounced back” the next week to stop 34 of 35 shots against the rival Hampton Roads Whalers in a sweep, including an 18-save shutout on Oct. 29. He earlier also had a 21-save shutout against the Nashville Spartans on Oct. 1.
Note: October Players Of The Month includes stats from games of September 2022 as well.