The New Jersey 87's recently finished its second showcase event in West Chester, Penn. The EHL team fell in both games, now dropping three of their last four contests, while the Premier team won two of its three games in the showcase as part of a five-game point streak.
EHL squad stumbles in showcase
Five days after defeating the Connecticut RoughRiders, the 87's faced their Mid-Atlantic Conference foe. The Monday matinee marked the third time the two teams have faced each other in the young season. The RoughRiders scored a minute and 40 seconds into the contest, and the 87's fought an uphill battle the rest of the way. They were able to overcome a 4-2 deficit when Johnny Jackson scored the tying goal at 3:01 into the third period, but Tao Ishizuka completed a hat trick to pull Connecticut ahead one final time. Things fell apart as the 87's gave up two more goals late in the game, en route to a 7-5 defeat.
Two days later, New Jersey rebounded with a strong home game against New York Apple Core. Zach Tarantino and Andrew Maynard each recorded a goal and two assists while Daniels Leja scored twice. Near the end of the game, Leja threw a hit on Apple Core forward Toivo Kramer that caused tempers to flare. Leja, who reluctantly dropped the gloves when Kramer was already engaged in the scrap, was given a four-minute double minor for roughing as opposed to Kramer's major penalty for fighting. The next day, the league assessed the Latvian forward with a two-game suspension, forcing him to miss the West Chester showcase.
On Sunday, the 87's faced the Boston Jr. Rangers in the first day of the EHL West Chester showcase. The Jr. Rangers opened the scoring at 3:28 of the first half, but Matt Bielinski responded 44 seconds later with his fourth goal of the year. Boston stormed back with four unanswered goals, however, and walked away with a 5-2 victory.
The 87's played the New England Wolves the following day, and this time it was Johnny Jackson who opened the scoring, slamming in a one-timer off a three-on-two rush. The Wolves gained momentum when they started the second half on the power play, scoring just 41 seconds into the man-advantage. It was the first of three-unanswered goals, and the 87's found themselves down by two goals with 14 minutes remaining in regulation. Dante Terramani cut the deficit to one with 1:56 left in the game, but New Jersey was unable to score the tying goal.
Premier team surges after long hiatus
The 87's Premier team played the New York Bridgemen on Sept. 15, and would not play another regular season game until Oct. 11. That Friday, they also hosted the Bridgemen and were able to cruise to an 8-3 victory. Anthony Mule recorded a hat trick while Dante Balsamo notched a goal and three assists in the win.
Unlike their EHL counterparts, the Premier team played three games in the West Chester showcase that included a double-header on Sunday. The first game was a 3 p.m. contest against Walpole Express, and the 87's managed to overcome a 2-1 deficit in the second half. Zach Goldenberg picked up a pair of power-play goals, including the game-winner with 24 seconds remaining in regulation to cap off the 3-2 win. At 8:45 p.m., they kicked off their second game against the New England Wolves, which proved to be a back-and-forth affair. The Wolves took a 4-3 lead at 10:19 of the second half, but Ivan Borisov tied the game with 3:55 remaining by scoring his second goal of the night. New England would ultimately prevail as Richards Jelenskis scored the overtime winner on the power play. Despite the 5-4 loss, the 87's managed to earn five out of six points in the double header.
The next day, New Jersey played the Valley Jr. Warriors and jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first 15 minutes. Ivan Borisov recorded four points (3g, 1a) and scored the team's third hat trick of the season, while Anthony Mule, Dante Balsamo and Brendan Reed scored two goals each in the 11-4 victory. Cameron Carmen made 20 saves as the 87's improved to 4-1-1.
One of the more remarkable aspects of the 87's five-game point streak is that they're doing it without Thomas Swartwout, a veteran who led the team with 32 goals and 53 points in the 2018-19 season. He was sidelined with a lower-body injury before their game against the Bridgemen, and his timetable to return is unclear.
Friday Oct 18: vs. Philadelphia Revolution - 12:30 p.m.
Saturday Oct 19: at New York Bridgemen - 5:00 p.m.
Tag(s): In the News