It’s the end of February, which means the SPHL’s 2022-2023 season only has a month left before the playoffs. Competition is heating up between the leading teams while the lower-ranked ones are fighting to raise themselves up before the end. Let’s take a look at who is currently at the top of the pack!
The Peoria Rivermen from Illinois are currently dominating the league, with 30 wins to their name. Being last year’s champions, the Rivermen are determined to defend their title from all challengers. Peoria also has four players ranked in the top 20, including the only defensive player in the top 20, Zack Wilkie (pictured below).
Photo Cred: Wikipedia Photo Cred: Peoria Journal Star
Knoxville Ice Bears
Barely edging into second place is the Knoxville Ice Bears. While there are three teams that have 25 victories, the Bears beat out the competition with their players’ strength. Knoxville’s Justin MacDonald (pictured below) is the number one player in the league currently, with 73 points scored. The Bears also have the fourth-ranked player in the league (Dean Balsamo) to clean up where MacDonald misses.
Photo Cred: knoxvilleicebears.com Photo Cred: Knoxville Ice Bears
Third place belongs to the Birmingham Bulls, who also have 25 wins under their belt. Birmingham’s Michael Gillespie (pictured below) leads the team forward to victory, having scored 52 points. Meanwhile, Ben Churchfield defends their net, ranking sixth out of the top 20 goalies in the league.
Photo Cred: http://www.bullshockey.net Photo Cred: SPHL
In fourth place, we have the Huntsville Havoc. They also have 25 victories but have played one less game than the above two, which leads to a lower ranking. The Havoc is the only team in the SPHL other than the Rivermen to have four skaters ranked in the top 20. Additionally, the best goalie in the league, Max Milosek, (pictured below) has returned to Huntsville after an absence this season.
Photo Cred: http://www.huntsvillehavoc.com Photo Cred: Huntsville Havoc
Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs
The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs conclude our list with fifth place. Despite their top skaters only being ranked 17th and 18th in the league, the cohesive teamwork of the Dawgs has led them to 23 victories. Roanoke is also lagging one game behind several others, giving them a chance to pull ahead with an additional victory.
Photo Cred: Wikipedia Photo Cred: Roanoke Rail Yard Dogs