The New Jersey 87's EHL and EHLP teams had a strong showing in the second league-wide showcase in Walpole, Massachusetts, as the EHL team won both of its games while the Premier team went 2-0-1 in their three games.
Coming out of the showcase, the Premier team has a six-point lead for first place in the South Division while the EHL squad pulled itself to within three points of first-place Team Maryland.
Both teams arrived at Rodman Arena on Saturday afternoon, and the EHL team kicked things off with a matchup against the Walpole Express. New Jersey went right to work as they jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first half with goals from Ben Gibbons, Everest Schneider, Matt Zdanowicz and Todd Branish. The Express got on the board in the second half, but Robbie Seewagen iced the game with an empty net tally to make it 5-1. Jeremy Connor finished the game with 25 saves.
The following morning, the 87's faced the Vermont Lumberjacks hoping to extend its winning streak. AJ Mule opened the scoring with his first goal in the EHL, finishing a beautifully executed 3-on-2 rush with Schneider and Zdanowicz. Hayden Watson scored later in the half with a power-play goal, as he flung a wrist shot from the point that made its way through traffic.
Damion Williams extended the lead to 3-0 as he scored on a wrister from the top of the left circle, getting his first goal at the EHL level. Though the Lumberjacks responded with two goals late, the 87's were able to hang on as Owen Hains stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced.
The Premier team opened their showcase Saturday night with a matchup against the Vermont Lumberjacks, a rematch of a round robin game in last year's Frozen Finals. After a scoreless first half, Brooks Hradek opened the scoring 11 minutes in by slipping a shot five-hole for his first goal as an 87. Michael Botti tacked on an empty-netter, and Jason LoRicco earned his second shutout of the season by making 18 saves in the 2-0 win.
It was a quick turnaround for the Premier team as they started a doubleheader the next day at 8 a.m. In their first matchup against the Valley Jr. Warriors, Hradek scored to give the 87's a 1-0 lead, but gave up two unanswered goals before the end of the half. In the second stanza, Geoffery Bokor and Michael Botti struck four minutes and four seconds apart to take the lead, and the 87's won that game 3-2.
A few hours later, the 87's went up against the Seahawks Hockey Club, which proved to be a goaltenders' duel. Bokor and Seahawks' forward Jacob Greenholz scored in the first half, but New Jersey goaltender John Fox and Seahawks netminder Liams Chasse were dominant, making 28 and 38 saves respectively. The Seahawks prevailed in overtime, however, as Atticus Beane slipped a backhander five-hole to hand the 87's a 2-1 loss.
-Matthew Zdanowicz will represent the 87's by playing on the EHL All-Star team, as they face Curry College this Friday at 7:00 p.m. and UMass Boston Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Both games will be available on Hockey TV.
-The EHL team's offense is heating up. In their first seven games, they only managed to score three or more goals just three times. They have now scored at least three goals in five straight games.
-The Premier team has rebounded nicely after the Worcester showcase. After dropping their final two games by scores of 5-1, they now have points in four straight.
Sunday Oct 24: vs. Team Maryland - 3:40 p.m.
Wednesday Oct 27: at Connecticut RoughRiders - 11:30 a.m.
Friday Oct 29: at Philadelphia Little Flyers - 12:00 p.m.
Saturday Oct 23: vs. Vermont Lumberjacks - 5:20 p.m.
Sunday Oct 24: vs. Vermont Lumberjacks - 12:30 p.m.
Tag(s): In the News