Electrifying from beginning to end - that is the only way to describe the play of Patriks Marcinkevics. He led the league in scoring almost from the moment he walked into the Ice Vault for the first time.
In the end, the 2001-born native of Riga, Latvia, stood at 96 points in 49 games. This not only led the NCDC offensively, but was the best points total in the five-year history of the NCDC by 19 points. With all of this game-breaking ability in one Long Island University-bound package, it’s no surprise that the NCDC Coaches voted Marcinkevics as the 2021-22 NCDC Player Of The Year.
“I’m honored to be named Player of The Year of the NCDC, it feels like a reward for the hard work I put in this season since the first day of joining Hitmen,” Marcinkevics said. “I want to say thank you to all the coaches of the league who voted for me.”
Marcinkevics, who had played a full season with the Islanders Hockey Club in 2019-20, returned to the NCDC and worked his way through his first six games putting a respectable four points. It was the Hitmen Classic in early October that seemed to be his first foray into the spotlight. He registered eight points in the three games there, and then just kept up the beat. By November, he had situated himself well at the top of the league’s scoring race - and then shoved the gear shift into turbo, scoring 34 points in 16 contests from Nov. 20 through Feb. 8.
Marcinkevics had a handle on the NCDC almost from the start - he just needed a refresher course out of the gate in September.
“The style of the game in this league didn’t change since two years ago when I first played here.
So it wasn’t hard to adapt my game to have success on the ice,” said Marcinkevics. “In my opinion, the best parts of my game are speed, vision and ability to create scoring chances. And also a great chemistry on the ice with my teammates helped me along the way.”
He’s had chemistry with one particular teammate since the moment light first shone in his - er, their - eyes on May 6, 2001 in a Latvian hospital. His twin brother Dominiks joined the Hitmen in November, and finished third in league scoring despite playing 15 games fewer than Patriks or second-leading scorer Johnny Wescoe. Dominiks’ 2.09 points per game average was the league’s best - ahead of only Patriks’ 1.96.
“As we all know, a small spark can cause a huge fire and I think that’s exactly what happened since my brother joined the Hitmen and we started playing together again,” said Patriks. They combined for 91 points with the Islanders and then blew that up with a match and unlabeled stuff stolen from Dad’s workshop by combining for 167 this year in the regular season, and 24 points in 10 playoff games, all this year.
The brothers have certainly drawn a lot from playing for the statistically best NCDC team ever, as the Hitmen have won four of the five regular season championships to practically own the Founders Cup. And they added their first Dineen Cup in NCDC play last year to match. Working with Hitmen Head Coach Toby Harris and Associate Head Coach Jim Hunt has definitely pushed his game to stratospheric levels.
“Overall, the coaching has been amazing, really enjoyed working with them all season long.
Both of them are great coaches, leaders and winners!” said Marcinkevics. “Since the season started, we worked on my defense game to get myself ready to step into the next level. I can say that Jersey Hitmen has been the best organization I’ve played for in North America.”
And now, beginning the first weekend of April, he and his brother get the chance to get their own names on the Dineen Cup.
“All of the players and coaching staff have been working very hard to get to the finals. I think everyone is ready to go, just gotta go out there and take care of the business,” Marcinkevics added.
The USPHL congratulates Patriks Marcinkevics on being named Player Of The Year and Top Scorer for 2021-22 in the NCDC.