The New Jersey 87's EHL and Premier teams are coming off successful weekends in Philadelphia. Each squad picked up at least one win over the Little Flyers at the IceWorks Skating Complex, while Trent Shanley and Dalton Jerzak earned EHL Stars of the Week for their efforts.
EHL sweeps the weekend with victories over Applecore, Little Flyers
Last Friday, the EHL team went up to Brewster, N.Y. to face their North Division foe New York Applecore. The 87's jumped to a 2-1 lead in the first period with goals from Jake Ondrejko and Tim DeBord, and Justin Vickers added a goal at 5:40 of the second period. Applecore managed to cut the deficit in half at 11:57 of the third period, but DeBord picked up his second goal with an empty-netter in the final seconds of the game.
Two days later, the 87's went to Philadelphia to play the Little Flyers in the EHL game of the week. In a highly-anticipated battle between the two best teams in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, the teams delivered in a fast and up-tempo game that went down to the wire. Jack McDonough opened the scoring at 13:27 of the first period, only to have the Little Flyers tie it up three minutes later.
Jack Keryluk gave the 87's a 2-1 lead early in the second period when he finished a 3-on-1 rush with a tap-in. The Flyers scored two unanswered goals to take the lead, but McDonough scored his second of the night to knot the score at 15:01. Trent Shanley gave the 87's a 4-3 lead with 2:05 remaining in the third period. He picked up a rebound off a wraparound attempt by Alex Borowiec, and slammed home his 10th goal of the season. Dalton Jerzak finished the game with 29 saves and secured the 87's seventh consecutive win.
The win over the Little Flyers capped off an impressive stretch of 10 consecutive road games for the 87's. They won nine out of those 10, including their last seven games. Head coach Adam Houli spoke about the tough stretch and what it meant for the team.
"Being on the road for 10 in a row is never easy, we're a new club with a lot of inexperience, but I thought in that span we brought on a lot of experience. With the on-ice product, I'm happy to take nine out of 10," Houli said. "Looking at it from the off-ice perspective, it's good to be on the road with the guys for 10 games, and hopefully that bonding and coming together will make us a stronger team as we continue to move forward."
He also spoke about Jerzak, who made 51 saves out of 56 shots over both games, and Shanley, who notched three points in the win over the Little Flyers. Both players were named EHL Stars of the Week for their efforts.
"Dalton was great, he gave us a chance to win, and that's his job as our stopper. He did just that when he came through with some timely saves, and did what he needed to do for us to get two points," Houli said. "Trent was very opportunistic. On his game-winner, he found himself in the right position, the puck came out to him and he buried it, and that's what he does. He's a goal scorer who knows how to put the puck in the net, and he's been rewarded for his efforts."
Premier team splits two games with the Little Flyers
Not only did the Premier team play its last two games against the Little Flyers over the weekend; four out of their last five games were against the Mid-Atlantic Conference rival. Out of those four games, the 87's won two of them--one at home and one on the road--while salvaging a shootout loss on Sunday. In between those four games, the 87's also defeated the New Jersey Renegades by a score of 5-4.
"I thought it was really good hockey for the Premier Division. The pace was really good and I thought our guys really turned a corner, which I'm excited for," Houli said. "In the beginning of the year, we didn't exactly play the game we wanted to, but in these last four games against the Little Flyers, we dictated the pace and really played the way I want them to play so they can move forward and join our EHL team in the near future."
In Sunday's 4-3 win at IceWorks Skating Complex, Brad Heuer scored two goals while Kurt Kroeper and Tom Swartwout also found the score sheet. Jeremy Connor started in goal for the 87's, but was pulled after the Little Flyers took a 2-1 lead at 14:22 of the first period. Grayson Garrity came in for relief and made 23 saves out of the 24 shots he faced. Houli said that decision was made early in the game to send a wake-up call to the rest of the team.
"It's a tough Tuesday night game that they're not accustomed to playing. When they got up 2-1, we decided to inject some new blood and give our team a jolt, and that's exactly what happened," Houli said. "Grayson made some saves that he needed to make, including a breakaway save late in the game and kept it where it needed to be. He did an excellent job stepping in when he probably didn't know he was going to step in."
Friday Dec. 7: vs. Applecore 12:15 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 9: @ WBS Knights 1:30 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 8: @ New England Wolves 7:00 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 9: @ Valley Jr. Warriors 12:05 p.m.
It was a tale of two showcases in Massachusetts for the New Jersey 87's last weekend. The EHL team won a pair of tight games including a shootout win over the Vermont Lumberjacks while the Premier team dropped two close games to the New England Wolves and Connecticut Chiefs. Here's a breakdown of the two showcases.
EHL team sweeps showcase with late-game heroics
The 87's EHL team started its showcase on Sunday at Paul T. Gilmartin Memorial Arena when they faced the Vermont Lumberjacks. Zach Tarantino scored the lone goal in the first 25-minute half, giving his team a 1-0 lead. The score remained that way for most of the second half until Cam Lindsay added a power-play goal at 22:43. It appeared that New Jersey put the game out of reach with 2:17 to go in regulation, but Vermont managed to come back with two goals in a span of 49 seconds. Nobody scored in the five-minute session of the three-on-three overtime, so a shootout followed. None of the shooters broke through until the eighth round, where Jack Keryluk made a nifty move to the forehand and beat Lumberjacks' goaltender Connor Carbo. Dalton Jerzak then made one final stop to cap off his 29-save performance, giving the 87's a 3-2 win.
The following day, the 87's went up against New England Wolves, and fell behind 1-0 at 4:26 of the first half. Lindsay and Jack McDonough responded with two unanswered goals, sending the 87's into the locker room with a 2-1 lead. The second half proved to be more of a tug-of-war battle. The Wolves tied it up, only for Jack Lane to give the 87's a 3-2 lead. New England then responded with two unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead. Geoff LaMorre evened it back up with a power-play goal at 20:20, and Trent Shanley buried a rebound with 1:50 left on the clock that would prove to be the game-winner. McDonough added an empty-netter for his second of the game, sealing the 87's 6-4 victory.
87's head coach Adam Houli spoke about the EHL team's performance as well as the looks his players are getting from collegiate recruiters.
"It was a strong performance, we walked out having four points, but more importantly I think guys walked out having talked to a lot of schools. They are interested in a bunch of our players and that's the biggest goal for these showcase weekends," Houli said. "The Vermont game we gave up a lead but showed we were diligent and were able to stay in the game mentally and win it in a shootout. On Monday it was similar case, we were able to battle back and win the game in regulation, so I was very happy with the overall performance and I'm excited for the future of this team."
He also spoke about two new forwards for the EHL team. Zack Egber is a Furlong, Penn. native who played in the showcase and picked up an assist. Joe Collins, who was in training camp with the New Jersey Titans, will look to make his debut this coming weekend.
"Zack has been fantastic over the weekend. He asks a lot of good questions, he plays with a chip on his shoulder and that's why we like him. Joe started the year with the Titans, and now he's back in Middletown with something to prove. He works hard and we believe he can help take our team to the next level," Houli said.
Premier team swept in showcase, have now lost three straight
The Premier team started its showcase at the Chelmsford Forum on Sunday against the New England Wolves, and jumped to a 1-0 lead with a goal from Griffin Dublois. New England responded with a pair of goals to take a 2-1 lead, but Ryan Clear fired a shot through traffic to knot the score with 48 seconds left in the first half. Mike Clougherty scored the lone 87's goal in the second half, but New England managed to put three behind 87's goaltender Cameron Carmen for a 5-3 victory.
On Monday, the 87's looked to bounce back against the Connecticut Chiefs. Sean Carver and Owen Stacy scored within a span of two minutes in the first half as both teams went into the intermission in a 1-1 tie. Joe Minio scored at 2:20 of the second half, but Max Tapia scored twice to give Connecticut a 3-2 lead. The 87's could not get the tying goal and were saddled with its third consecutive loss.
Despite the two losses, Houli was not discouraged by his team's performance and said it was a step in the right direction after losing to the New Jersey Renegades 7-2 in the prior week.
"This weekend I thought was a good response from a poor performance on Friday, something that was unacceptable to us," Houli said. "We didn't get the wins, but our team played well. That happens some times, we spoke to our team and said that you can play well and not win, and we've pretty much experienced everything at that Premier level this year. This team is tight and we experienced a lot, so hopefully down the stretch it'll benefit us, and we have a heck of a weekend coming up."
Saturday Nov. 17: @ Connecticut Chiefs - 3:05 p.m.
Sunday Nov 18: @ Lehigh Valley Jr. Rebels - 11:00 a.m.
Friday Nov. 16: vs. Central Penn Panthers - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday Nov. 17: vs. Philadelphia Little Flyers - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Nov. 18: @ Philadelphis Little Flyers - 2:45 p.m.
Tuesday Nov. 20: vs. New Jersey Renegades - 8:35 p.m.
The New Jersey 87's are proud to announce that Kyle DePalma has committed to play Division III hockey at Albertus Magnus College.
DePalma, a Point Pleasant, NJ native, is the first player in 87's history to make a college commitment. Playing in the Premier Division last season, DePalma recorded 19 goals and 18 assists in 40 games. This year in the EHL, he has four goals and five assists in 11 games.
"It's nice to get the burden off the back and just focus on playing some hockey, develop to get ready for college in September," DePalma said of his commitment. "For being the first commit in 87's history is remarkable because I've been here for a couple of years and it's nice to see that hard work come out and be able to commit early this season."
Albertus Magnus is a Division III school located in New Haven, Conn and competes in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. The 2019-20 season will be the program's inaugural campaign, and the Falcons will be lead by head coach Kyle Wallack.
87's head coach Adam Houli had nothing but praise for the 20-year-old forward. He spoke about DePalma's commitment and the path he took that led to his achievement.
"This one is special. He's a local kid who believed in our vision two years ago, and I'm sure he heard some flak about playing in the Premier Division first. He probably could have been playing higher, but he trusted us. He trusted the process, he knew the vision we had, and now two months into playing in the EHL he has a commitment," Houli said.
DePalma also spoke about his growth as a player within the 87's organization and how it helped him land his commitment.
"On the ice I think I've become a lot more skilled because I've had so many opportunities to excel, I've had a lot of time to work on things i've been wanting to work on that I haven't been able to work on two years prior to this. They have developed me into a good hockey player on the ice and a good person off the ice, so they've really laid a good foundation for me to go to college."
The 87's organization would like to congratulate Kyle and his family as he prepares to advance his hockey career to the Division III collegiate level.
After one period, the Flyers lead 2-1. Heuer has the 87's goal.
Also worth mentioning, Grayson Garrity is now in goal.
The Flyers get one back, and they lead 2-1 with 5:39 left in the 1st period.
Little Flyers strike first at 1:10 of the 1st period.