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EHL team rebounds after first loss of the season vs. RoughRiders

By Anthony Di Paolo, 10/28/20, 8:45PM EDT


The 87's returned home with a 6-2 win over Maryland, while Premier squad splits doubleheader vs. Connecticut

It took nine games, but the New Jersey 87's finally lost a game last Wednesday with a 4-3 shootout defeat against the Connecticut RoughRiders. The EHL team bounced back with a 6-2 home win over Team Maryland, while the Premier team defeated the Philadelphia Little Flyers 4-3 before splitting a double header against the Connecticut Chiefs.

Barring any schedule changes, the 87's EHL team made its final trip to SoNo Ice House this season for another road contest against the RoughRiders. Francis Kienzle, Tim DeBord and Kei Yasuda all lit the lamp for New Jersey as they took a 3-2 lead into the third period. Tyler Buonopane evened the score at 13:26 of the third period when a wrist shot snuck past Jon Kopack and barely trickled over the goal line. The game required a shootout to break the 3-3 tie, though it lasted just two rounds. Nick Swain and Kei Yasuda were both stopped by Connecticut netminder Adam Faust while Roberts Viguls and Patrick Doyle converted on their shots to clinch the 4-3 victory.

Two days later, the 87's took on Team Maryland in their second game at Jersey Shore Arena. Payton Jones and Ben Gibbons both scored their first goals with the EHL team in the opening period, and the lead was extended in the second period with a coast-to-coast goal from Cal Couell and a pair of goals from Nick Swain in a span of 19 seconds. Matt Bielinski finished the scoring in the final period, picking up his fourth point in just three games since returning to New Jersey. Matt Sayles had his best start of the season by stopping 37 of the 39 shots he faced, including a number of saves on high-quality chances from Maryland. Head coach Adam Houli spoke about his team's bounce-back effort on Friday.

"Bouncing back with a win is always crucial in this league and for the team. It was a very strong, solid win and players stepped up and excelled in their roles," he said. "We are continuing to get better and a lot of that has to do with our practices leading up to the game. We need to always be consistent as the outcome will always be good if we are."

The Premier team started a busy weekend with a road game against the Philadelphia Little Flyers on Friday. New Jersey managed to turn 1-0 and 2-1 deficits into a 4-2 lead with a pair of goals each from Brock Forrest and Ivan Borisov. Steven Griffin cut the Little Flyers' deficit to one with a shorthanded goal late in the third period, but the 87's were able to hang on as Cole Moore finished the night with 21 saves.

On Sunday, the 87's traveled up to Connecticut for a doubleheader against the Chiefs, with each game going by the EHL showcase format with two 25-minute halves. In the first game, New Jersey jumped to a 3-1 lead in the first half with goals from Brock Forrest, Ivan Borisov and Patrick DeMarinis. The Chiefs managed to even the score with a pair of goals in the second half, but Luke Satkowski scored on a breakaway with 7:58 left in regulation, leading the team to a 4-3 victory. In the second game, Hugh McGuigan scored the lone goal in the first half, but the Chiefs scored four unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 win, sending the 87's back to the Garden State with a split series. Houli assessed the Premier team's eventful Sunday.

"I think we frankly ran out of gas. It was a long day with an early bus ride and it showed for us in that final half. We have to continue to build our legs and find ways to finish the right way. As a young team it was to be expected but we want to break that expectation and keep building up."


Extra notes

-The loss against the RoughRiders ended the EHL team's 15-game win streak spanning back to last season. It also ended a five-game winning streak at SoNo Ice House, including a neutral site game against New York Apple Core.

-In the EHL team's 6-2 win over Maryland, the 87's took 12 minor penalties and went 9-for-11 on the PK. They have taken 49 penalties in 10 games, only trailing the RoughRiders for most penalties in the league (50).

-The Premier team is scheduled to have a back-to-back against the Philadelphia Little Flyers. Sunday Nov 1 will be the Premier team's first true home game at Jersey Shore Arena.


Upcoming games


Friday Oct 30: vs. Philadelphia Little Flyers - 1:00 p.m.



Saturday Oct 31: at Philadelphia Little Flyers - 7:00 p.m.

Sunday Nov 1: vs. Philadelphia Little Flyers - 1:00 p.m.


Photo credit: Richard O'Donnell