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87's teams split weekend before first showcase

By Anthony Di Paolo, 09/30/21, 5:30PM EDT


Jake Rock, Robert Calice lead respective teams to wins before showcase

The New Jersey 87's EHL and Premier Division teams both split their weekend matchups and will head into the Worcester showcase with a 3-1-0 record. 

On Saturday the EHL team traveled to Protec Ponds for their first matchup against the Protec Jr. Ducks this season. After a scoreless first period, Matt Zdanowicz opened the scoring by taking the puck away from goaltender Tristen Fattedad and stuffing it into the net from the goal line.  

The lead lasted until the 11:34 mark of the third period when Tyler Ebeling evened the score off an 87's turnover. Nick Newman scored the go-ahead goal with 1:16 left in regulation. New Jersey pulled Jeremy Connor for the extra attacker, and nearly tied the game when Ian Lindberg's shot hit the goal post right as time expired. 

Coming back home to Jersey Shore Arena, the 87's hosted the Connecticut RoughRiders on Tuesday afternoon. Once again, Zdanowicz struck first by pouncing on a rebound from a point shot by Hayden Watson. In the second period, Patrick Doyle doubled the lead by scoring his first goal as an 87. A neutral zone turnover led to a 3-on-0 rush, and Doyle buried a one-timer for a goal on his former team. 

Connecticut scored early in the third period, but the 87's bounced back with three goals of their own, coming from Jake Rock, Everest Schneider and Patrick DeMarinis. For Rock, it was his first goal as an 87, while DeMarinis got his first at the EHL level. Following the 5-1 win over the RoughRiders, head coach Adam Houli talked about his team's offense improving over the first few games of the season. 

"Offense is a big part of what we need to focus on. Anytime you have to replace over 200 points in your lineup, it is going to be difficult. We like where we are heading and I think we will start to see some more production," Houli said. 
The Premier team played both of their games on Sunday in a double header against the Connecticut Chiefs. While the Premier team has not shown any signs of trouble scoring, they did run into a hot goaltender in Logan Givens, who stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced. Evan Fassett and Michael Ceneri scored in the first and second periods, respectively, and Patrick Libutis scored two empty netters en route to a 4-1 win for Connecticut. 

During that first game, Jaxon Hook was stretchered off the ice after he was hit from behind near the boards at center ice. Tensions boiled over into the second game with several scraps and game misconducts. New Jersey had all of the momentum in the second game, as Robert Calice recorded two goals plus an assist, while Alex Haar, Will O'Brien and Anthony O'Brien also scored in the 5-0 win. 

Head coach Conall McNelis talked about the Premier team's bounce back win, and their response after Hook's injury. 

"They seem to be coming together which is nice to see. You've got to have a team that cares about each other, and the chemistry is starting to form with some guys. The fighting stuff is stupid and I told them that...but it was definitely good to see the response and they certainly have each others backs," McNelis said. 

This upcoming weekend, both 87's teams will travel up to Worcester, Massachusetts for the first EHL showcase of the 2021-2022 season. It will be the first league-wide showcase since January of 2020. 

"It’s a great feeling to be back at our showcases. Our league does a tremendous job with these events and it greatly benefits our players which means everything to our players," Houli said of the showcases. 
Additional Notes: 

-Saturday's loss to Protec marked the first time the 87's were defeated at Protec Ponds. They were 4-0-0 against the Jr. Ducks on the road last season. 

-After getting pulled in his first start of the season, Jason LoRicco bounced back with an 18-save shutout in the Premier team's 5-0 win over the Connecticut Chiefs. 

Upcoming games: 


Friday Oct 1: at East Coast Wizards - 4:10 p.m. 
Saturday Oct 2: at New England Wolves - 4:10 p.m. 
Sunday Oct 3: vs. Seahawks Hockey Club - 10:10 a.m. 


Friday Oct 1: vs. New England Wolves - 2:10 p.m. 
Saturday Oct 2: vs. Valley Jr Warriors - 10:10 a.m. 
Saturday Oct 2: vs. Walpole Express - 8:10 p.m. 
Sunday Oct 3: vs. Seahawks Hockey Club - 8:10 a.m.