The New Jersey 87's suffered a setback in Connecticut when the EHL team fell to the RoughRiders by a score of 5-2. Since then, the team has won three straight including a 2-1 victory over the two-time defending EHL Champion New Hampshire Avalanche. They went on to defeat the Seacoast Spartans 6-1 and the RoughRiders 5-1, improving to a record of 4-1-0.
Last Sunday marked the 87's first showcase game of the season, playing against the Avalanche in Walpole, Mass. New Hampshire struck first on the power play at 6:03 of the first half, but Daniels Leja responded by scoring on a 5-on-3 power play. The Latvian native controlled the puck in the low slot, and waited for a lane to open before firing in his second goal of the season and tying game at one with 4:32 left in the second half.
New Jersey took the lead with 12:28 left in the 2nd half when Andrew Maynard scored the go-ahead goal. A loose puck slipped right to the front of the net where Maynard chipped it with his backhand past Avalanche goaltender Matt Lane. It stood as the game-winner, and Tanner Beals finished the game with 26 saves.
On Monday, the 87's had no difficulty finding the back of the net as they scored six times in a win over the expansion-team Seacost Spartans. George Weiner opened things up with a power-play goal at 4:56. Michael Hertzberg made it a 2-0 game, then Andrew Maynard scored a pair of goals in under four minutes, capping off a four-goal first half. Justin Vickers and Bryan Van Ness added tallies in the second half while Beals finished the game with 18 saves.
The team returned home for a rematch against the RoughRiders on Wednesday afternoon. Tim DeBord opened the scoring at 17:58 of the first period for his second goal of the year. Andrew Maynard scored at 7:49 of the second, recording his fourth goal in three games. Zach Tarantino and Johnny Jackson each scored power-play goals in the third, and Francis Kienzele converted on a two-on-one for his first goal with the 87's. Beals, playing in his fifth consecutive start, stopped 30 of 31 shots to help New Jersey improve to a 4-1-0 record.
"It was a great (week) for the guys," said 87's head coach Adam Houli. "After a tough loss in the division, we had the showcase, and it's really about the players. We played well and I'm happy for the wins, and that's all going to go to their credit. With Wednesday's win we bounce back in the division, and overall taking six points in three games is never easy, so to get six under our belt is good."
Beals, who has a record of 4-1-0 with a .933 save percentage and 1.71 goals against average, spoke about the confidence he and his team has after stringing together three consecutive wins.
"The boys are buzzing and we're playing really well, we're playing our game and we're just looking forward to what's in store next for the team," Beals said.
Maynard, who has four goals plus an assist in his last three games, discussed some of the factors leading to his stellar week while crediting his linemates.
"I just try to follow the systems and keep my feet moving when I'm out there. I'm at the right place at the right time and manage to get a few garbage goals," Maynard said. "We're really bonding as a group with (Tim) DeBord and (Zach) Tarantino, and we just need to stick to the basics which is where we found our success."
Seven of the next nine games for the EHL team will be played at Middletown Sports Complex. Meanwhile the Premier team will return from a lengthy hiatus with another home game against the New York Bridgemen, and will then head to Ice Line Quad Rinks in West Chester, PA for a showcase event. Here are the upcoming games for both teams:
Monday Oct 7: vs. RoughRiders - 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday Oct 9: vs. New York Apple Core - 12:30 p.m.
Friday Oct 11: vs. New York Bridgemen - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday Oct 13: vs. Walpole Express - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday Oct 13: vs. New England Wolves - 8:45 p.m.
Monday Oct 14: vs. Valley Jr. Warriors - 2:15 p.m.
Photo Credit: Richard O'Donnell
Tag(s): In the News