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.
The New Jersey 87's Premier team swept the Vermont Lumberjacks this past weekend and extended its winning streak to seven games.
Four different players had multiple-point games between Saturday's 4-3 overtime win and a 5-3 win on Sunday. Sean Carver picked up the hat trick and overtime winning goal on Saturday, landing him a TSR star of the week honor from the Premier Division.
"It was a good test for us. It was on the road, and we haven't been on the road for an overnight this year yet, and to play against an organization like Vermont and to get four points out of that, we're pretty ecstatic," said 87's head coach Adam Houli.
Brad Heuer opened the scoring on Saturday at 6:31 of the first period. Vermont evened the score 56 seconds later to make it 1-1 at the end of the first period. The Lumberjacks scored again with a power-play goal midway through the second, but Carver responded with two power-play goals of his own to give New Jersey the lead back.
Vermont forced overtime with a third-period goal, but Carver capped off the victory with his third power-play goal of the game with 35 seconds remaining in overtime. Heuer finished with three points (1g, 2a) while Jeremy Connor made 32 saves in the win.
The following day, New Jersey jumped to a 3-1 lead in the first period with goals from Luke Satkowski, Joe Minio and Tom Swartwout. Early in the second period, Swartwout scored again to make it 4-1 in the 87's favor.
Vermont did not go down without a fight, as Ryan Mosher and Grant Rosenberger struck twice within the final ten minutes of the second, cutting their deficit to one goal. The comeback effort fell short, however, as Simon Fitzgerald scored at 16:42 in the third period to cap off the 5-2 win.
Houli said the weekend was not perfect, but also noted that the 87's ultimately came away with the weekend sweep.
"There's things we still need to work on. We had the lead in both games and kind of relinquished that through the game, and then we were able to fight back and get it," Houli said. "It's another growing spot for this team that seems to find ways to win whether we play well or don't play well. Ultimately they continue to grow and that's all we can ask for."
Friday Oct. 26: vs. Lehigh Valley Jr. Rebels - 12:15 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 27: @ Lehigh Valley Jr. Rebels - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 27: @ Central Penn Panthers - 12:15 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 28: vs. Central Penn Panthers - 7:30 p.m.