The New Jersey 87's EHL team played three games over the past week to close out the 2020 portion of the regular season. Now the team will head into the holiday break riding a three-game winning streak after picking up wins over Team Maryland, New York Apple Core and the Philadelphia Little Flyers.
Following its first regulation loss of the season, the 87's EHL team traveled to Maryland on Tuesday for a matinee contest. Neither team scored in the first 40 minutes of play, thanks to solid goaltending from Jon Kopack and Oliver Quinn. New Jersey finally broke things open at 3:51 of the third period when Tim DeBord slammed home a rebound on the power play for his ninth goal of the season. Dante Terramani doubled the lead at 10:12 when he wired a shot to the high-glove side on a two-on-one rush, and Matt Belinski capped the scoring at 16:41 with the team's second power-play goal. Kopack finished the game with a 23-save shutout.
Two days later, the 87's traveled to Hatfield Ice Arena for a neutral site game against Apple Core. New Jersey wasted no time as they jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first period, with goals from Kei Yasuda, George Weiner, Jonathan Gabriel, Cal Couell (power play) and Michael Hertzberg (shorthanded). Eight seconds into the middle period, Gabriel scored his second of the game to extend the 87's lead to 6-0. Apple Core responded with three unanswered goals on the power play, but Jason Santoriello slowed down New York's momentum by scoring his second goal of the season. Kopack made 16 saves as the 87's eventually cruised to a 7-4 victory.
On Friday, the 87's played another neutral site game against the Little Flyers, a team who had won seven of their last eight games going into the contest. Yasuda scored the lone first period goal on a nice setup by Tim DeBord at 12:08. Jake Frankenfield evened the score at 1:34 into the second period, lifting a shot over the shoulder of 87's goaltender Jeremy Connor. New Jersey managed to respond with three unanswered goals, including two from Matt Bielinski and a second goal by Yasuda. Connor finished the afternoon with 18 saves while the team improved to 18-1-2 to close out the calendar year.
Head coach Adam Houli spoke about Friday's game, and how important it was for his team to enter the holiday break on a good note. "Friday’s game was a really good way to end the first part of the season," Houli said. "Our scouting and adjustments came to fruition and as coaches it’s the one area you can control so it was nice that it worked. The players responded so well, they fought through three games in four days and went into the break the right way. Hopefully this sets up for a great 21."
Houli also discussed how the two teams have fared in the first half of this season. Not only did both teams pick up where they left off at the abrupt end of the 2019-20 season, but they've done it while the sports world is navigating through uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am very happy with our play, our development, and our game count," Houli said. "Both our teams showed some great resiliency and we will work extremely hard to make sure the EHL season continues."
-In eight of his last 11 games, Matt Bielinski has recorded at least two points. He now has 21 points (10g, 11a) in 14 contests since returning to the 87's.
-The EHL team improved to 6-0-0 against the Philadelphia Little Flyers. Dating back to last season, New Jersey has now won seven straight against the Little Flyers.
Wednesday Jan 13: vs. Connecticut RoughRiders - 1:00 p.m.
Saturday Jan 9: vs. New Jersey Renegades - 7:15 p.m.
Sunday Jan 10: vs. New Hampshire Avalanche - 10:20 a.m.
Photo credit: Tom Smith
Tag(s): In the News