The New Jersey 87's had another successful weekend in Philadelphia by winning three out of four games. The EHL team swept the Little Flyers with 4-0 and 4-2 victories, while the Premier team settled for a split with a 6-3 win and 6-4 defeat.
On Friday, the EHL team kicked things off with another home game at Revolution Ice Gardens. Nick Swain opened the scoring in the first period, and Kei Yasuda doubled the lead in the second period. Things took an unusual turn before the third period, as a broken panel of glass forced the two teams to finish the game in the building's second rink. The 87's responded with one of their better periods of the season. George Weiner scored a power-play goal while Swain notched his second tally of the game, and the team outshot the Little Flyers 16-8 to help Jon Kopack earn his first shutout of the season.
Two days later, the 87's went to IceWorks Skating Complex for a rematch against the Little Flyers, and the 87's picked up where they left off on Friday by jumping to a 3-0 lead. Nick Swain started things off with a highlight reel play, toe dragging around a defenseman before setting up Cal Couell for his first goal as an 87. Just a minute and 43 seconds later, Yasuda buried a one-timer off a 2-on-1 rush, picking up his 6th goal in as many games. The Japan native tacked on another point during a 5-on-3 power play by ripping a cross-ice pass to Swain, who collected his 7th goal of the year.
Philadelphia spent the second period fighting back from a 3-0 deficit. The 87's took a pair of penalties within the final five minutes of the middle frame, and the Little Flyers converted on both power plays with goals from Jake Frankenfield and Robbie Seewagen. The Little Flyers continued to press in the third period, but Tim DeBord sealed the 4-2 win with an empty-net goal in the final minute. Jeremy Connor finished his EHL debut with 20 saves on 22 shots.
Head coach Adam Houli spoke about the EHL team's weekend sweep, and how they have managed to start the season with a 6-0-0 record.
“I think we’ve done a good job of holding each other accountable. There’s no doubt that offensively we have had some returners step up and play like they can," Houli said to EHL beat writer Kyle McKenna. "Our depth is a valuable asset, and our younger players have bought into our culture. We continually ask our veterans to lead and we are finding ways to grind out wins. We have to continue to work and get better.”
The Premier team also had a pair of games against the Little Flyers, playing a back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday at IceWorks Skating Complex. On Saturday, New Jersey jumped to a 3-0 lead with first period goals from Michael LoRicco and Chris Cicarello, and an early second period goal from Ivan Borisov. Philadelphia managed to storm back with two goals in the second and another one in the third period, tying the game at three. The 87's responded with another three goals of their own, including Borisov's second of the game and two from Luke Satkowski. Matt Corella finished the day with 24 saves on 27 shots in the 6-3 win.
Sunday's contest was a more back-and-forth affair, with the two teams trading goals throughout the first and second period. Michael LoRicco and Ivan Borisov scored in the opening 20 minutes to give the 87's a 2-1 lead. Philadelphia added three goals in the second, but Luke Satkowski and Damon Cassuci each scored for New Jersey to keep the game tied at four. The 87's offense ran out of gas in the third period, however, as the Little Flyers scored twice in the final period for a 6-4 victory. It was the first regulation loss for either 87's team, though the Premier teams still has an impressive 3-1-1 record in their first five games of the season.
-Tim DeBord's empty netter on Sunday was his 41st career goal with the 87's EHL team. He passes Zach Tarantino for the all-time lead in goals, and is one point shy from tying Tarantino in the points category with 97.
-Ivan Borisov and Nick Swain were named the EHLP and EHL forwards of the week. Both players are currently averaging at least two points per game.
-New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 187, which allows indoor sports to resume at limited capacity. This means the 87's can finally play in their new home at Jersey Shore Arena. The EHL team is slated for its first true home game on Oct 19.
Thursday Oct 15: at New York Apple Core - 11:30 a.m.
Monday Oct 19: vs. New York Apple Core - 1:00 p.m.
Friday Oct 16: at New Jersey Renegades - 7:55 p.m.
Photo credit: Richard O'Donnell
Tag(s): In the News