The New Jersey 87's combined to win four out of their five games over the weekend. The EHL team won a pair of games by a score of 3-2, beating the Little Flyers on Friday and the Protec Jr. Ducks in overtime on Monday. The Premier team won a pair of games over the New Jersey Renegades while falling to the Philadelphia Little Flyers in overtime.
While it was the home opener for the 87's EHL team on Friday afternoon, they played against the Little Flyers at Revolution Ice Gardens in Philadelphia. Nick Swain opened the scoring at 8:42, picking up his fourth goal of the season. Shortly after the Little Flyers tied the game, Ty Carter scored his first goal in the EHL off a perfect backhanded feed from Jonathan Gabriel. Hunter McGee extended the league with a rocket from the top of the left circle 32 seconds into the third period. Philadelphia scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal late in the third period, but goaltender Jon Kopack and the rest of the 87's team managed to hang on for a 3-2 win.
Monday afternoon, the EHL team played against another New Jersey squad for the first time in the Protec Jr. Ducks (formerly the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers). The 87's jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals from Owen Newhouse and Kei Yasuda. The Jr. Ducks evened the score with a pair of goals in the third period, but Yasuda pulled through in overtime with the game-winning goal, also his second of the contest. Matt Sayles made 19 saves on 21 shots to win his second consecutive start.
The 87's EHL team is off to a 4-0-0 start, their best since joining the league in 2018-19. Head coach Adam Houli talks about his team's recent stretch, as their last three games were decided by one goal including a pair of overtime victories.
"I think it's a good attribute of our team to play in tight games and remain balanced and focused. We have to continue to work on burying our grade-a chances so that we can give ourselves some room, when you average close to 50 shots a game you have to find different ways to score. I’m excited to see how our growth continues," Houli said.
The Premier team's season opened up with three games in as many days. The 2020-21 campaign started on Friday night against the New Jersey Renegades at Revolution Ice Gardens, and the first period was a back-and-forth affair with each side scoring three times. During the second and third periods, the 87's scored six of the next seven goals, cruising to a 9-4 victory. Brock Forrest marked his 87's debut with a hat trick plus an assist, while Ryan Miller, Ivan Borisov and Michael LoRicco also had four-point nights. Matt Corrella made 24 saves to earn his first victory of the season.
Not long after their Friday night victory, the 87's were back on the ice for a 1 p.m. contest against the Philadelphia Little Flyers. That game also saw a first period with three goals on each side, where the 87's would pull ahead, only to have the Little Flyers quickly respond with a goal each time. Philadelphia made it a 4-3 game late in the second period, but second-year veteran Lucas Kline tied the game in the third period, picking up his first goal as an 87. The Little Flyers closed out the game in overtime however, as Kelly Stroik pounced on a loose puck at the side of the goal and slipped a shot past 87's goaltender Cole Moore.
Closing out the three-game stretch, the 87's once again found themselves up against the Renegades. It proved to be a more consistent performance from the team, leading 3-1 after 20 minutes with a pair of goals from Brock Forrest and a goal from Luke Satkowski. Forrest scored again in the second period, and Patrick DeMarinis extended the lead in the third period with his first goal with the team. Tyler Roesel made 31 saves in his 87's debut, leading the team to a 5-2 victory.
Houli spoke about the line of Brock Forrest, Ivan Borisov and Michael LoRicco, as the trio combined for 12 points in Friday's win and collected another five points on Sunday.
"I thought the Forrest-LoRicco-Borisov line was very good. The chemistry is really good, they know exactly where each other is. They need to continue to work hard on loose pucks so that they can continue to find success but when they are in sync they are fun to watch," Houli said.
Borisov spoke about his line bouncing back after being held off the score sheet against the Little Flyers. "In our first game against the Renegades we did pretty good. The next game we weren't as good, we didn't follow the instructions and we got on a phone call (after the game) and talked it over. We realized we just had to keep talking on the ice and maintain that chemistry," he said. "Talk more, pass the puck, shoot the puck on net and do the simple things."
-Jon Kopack was named EHL goalie of the week. The third-year veteran is 2-0-0 with 1.50 goals against average and .939 save percentage. Ben Peiffer was named the EHLP defenseman of the week, picking up three assists in his first three games.
-The Premier team went 8-0-0 against the Renegades last year, and have added two more victories in their opening weekend this season.
-The EHL team finished the 2019-20 regular season with seven straight wins before the league cancelled the playoffs. With their 4-0-0 start to kick off the new year, the 87's are riding an 11-game winning streak.
Friday Oct. 9: vs. Philadelphia Little Flyers - 1:00 p.m.
Monday Oct. 12: at Philadelphia Little Flyers - 11:30 a.m.
Saturday Oct. 10: at Philadelphia Little Flyers - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 11: at Philadelphia Little Flyers - 5:45 p.m.
Photo credit: Nina Weiss
Tag(s): In the News