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87's head into showcase on winning streak

By Anthony Di Paolo, 12/11/19, 9:00AM EST


EHL team heads to Newington with five-game win streak

The New Jersey 87's EHL team is getting ready for their Connecticut showcase with a five-game winning streak, following a two-game sweep over the North Carolina Golden Bears. Meanwhile the Premier team is coming off its best offensive performance of the season with a 15-3 victory over the New Jersey Renegades.


EHL team sweeps North Carolina prior to showcase

The 87's EHL squad took the trip down to North Carolina for a two-game set against the Golden Bears at Garner Ice House. Both contests were one-sided affairs, with New Jersey's offense dominating the opposition. The dynamic duo between Andrew Maynard and Daniels Leja proved to be the difference maker in both games. On Saturday, Maynard (3g, 1a) and Leja (4a) combined for eight points in a 9-0 victory, then combined for two goals and five points in Sunday's 7-1 win. Jon Kopack won both starts, and head coach Adam Houli spoke about the team's trip to the Tar Heel state.

"We knew what our job was, we had to take care of business down in North Carolina. It's wasn't an easy trip, any time you're on the bus for that extended period and have to play two games at the junior level is difficult," Houli said. "But we were ready, we knew what was coming and the veterans led the way."


Jack Lane returns, along with addition of Nick Swain

In the EHL team's weekend series against Carolina, a familiar face made his season debut. Jack Lane returned from the 87's after a stint with the Fort Frances Lakers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League. Lane has been with the 87's organization since day one, and recorded 49 points (15g, 34a) in 40 games last season. In his first two games back, Lane recorded two assists.

"Having Jack return to us is a huge boost. He was an EHL All Star last year. The beginning of this season he was elsewhere, but he decided to come back home and put the 87's uniform back on and play for us," Houli said of Lane's return. "We welcomed him back, the boys welcomed him back with open arms and hopefully he understands that he can lead us both off the ice and on the ice and get back to where he left off."

Lane is not the only player to come over to the 87's from the Fort Frances Lakers. The team also added Nick Swain, an 18-year-old forward from Jackson, NJ. He scored the opening goal in Saturday's 9-0 victory and finished the weekend with one goal and three assists. Houli spoke about Swain and how his arrival rounds out a lethal offensive lineup for the 87's.

"Swain, we know what type of player he is, he's a local kid who is able to bury the puck, and how fitting he got the first goal on Saturday to get us going. He's a big kid who can skate, and I think he's got a real future here to continue to get better and get stronger and faster," Houli said of Swain.  


Premier team routs the Renegades

On Sunday, the Premier team faced the New Jersey Renegades, who came into Middletown winning three of their last five games. The 87's dashed away any momentum they had with a lopsided 15-3 victory. Ty Carter picked up the hat trick while Joe Minio, Ivan Borisov and Luke Satkowski recorded four points each. Overall, 13 of the team's 17 skaters picked up at least a point in the win.

"This is a fun group. We've been hard and aggressive on them in practice, and they've responded when they need to respond. We didn't know what to expect for a Sunday night game, you never know what you're going to get, our practice week was so-so but they answered the bell," Houli said of the Premier team. "They're getting better each game, it's starting to show and they're starting to believe in themselves even more. This weekend will be another good test to see where we are and what we need to work on."


Upcoming games (Newington, CT showcase)



Wednesday Dec 11: vs. Valley Jr. Warriors - 2:40 p.m.

Thursday Dec 12: vs. East Coast Wizards - 8:00 a.m.