skip navigation

Premier team to face Huntsmen in second round of EHLP Playoffs

By Anthony DiPaolo, 03/17/23, 2:00PM EDT


EHL team knocked out by Little Flyers in three games

The New Jersey 87’s EHL Premier team will take on the Pennsylvania Huntsmen in the second round of the playoffs, looking for their second Frozen Finals appearance in three seasons.

Both 87’s teams faced the Philadelphia Little Flyers in the opening round of the playoffs. The Premier team swept Philadelphia with 6-1 and 5-0 victories while the EHL team was eliminated in three games; winning the first game 5-0 and then losing the next two games by scores of 3-1 and 4-3 in overtime.

Premier team sweeps Flyers, on to Round Two

Last Friday, the 87’s hosted the Little Flyers for Game 1 of the Mid-Atlantic semifinals. After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, Ivan Borisov evened the score with a tap-in goal mid-way through the second. New Jersey then turned the tide in their favor with two shorthanded goals in the first 1:08 of the third period. Nik Shoats set up Tyler Chafe for the go-ahead goal, then Jack Foote wired a wrist upstairs 20 seconds later on the same penalty kill. The 87’s poured it on the rest of the period with two goals from Zach Gruber and one from Dylan Cornatzer.

The following night, the 87’s kept up the momentum as Nik Shoats opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal 7:03 into the first period. Robert Calice went on to score two goals while Zach Gruber and Vasily Vasin added goals with the 5-0 victory. Jason LoRicco stopped all 18 shots in Game 2 and became the all-time leader in the EHLP with seven career shutouts.

Tonight, the 87’s Premier team will take on the Pennsylvania Huntsmen in the Mid-Atlantic Final. New Jersey was 5-2-1 against the Huntsmen in the regular season and won the final four meetings.

EHL team ends season with OT loss

Game 1 between the 87’s EHL team and Little Flyers was a one-sided affair, as New Jersey shut out Philadelphia 5-0. Landon Adams scored in the first period while Keaton Richards doubled the lead in the second period. Similar to the Premier team, the 87’s run away in the third period by scoring three goals; two from Aleks Gamzatov and one from Peter Vallebuona.

Philadelphia responded with a 3-1 victory on home ice, forcing the series back to Jersey Shore Arena. The Little Flyers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period, though Patrick DeMarinis scored in the middle frame to cut the deficit in half. The 87’s were forced to kill a 5-on-3 at the end of the second, and the Little Flyers scored shortly after the 87’s had killed it off. To make matters worse, New Jersey was assessed a five-minute major for butt-ending at the very end of the period.

With a combination of shot-blocking and timely saves from goaltender Kyle Spann, the 87’s managed to kill off the penalty to start the third period. Peter Vallebuona scored his second goal of the series on a backhander, cutting the deficit in half with 11:28 left in regulation. Later, on a net-mouth scramble, Gamzatov put away a rebound to make it a 3-3 game with 4:01 remaining in the third period. Ultimately, the Little Flyers came away with the victory and the series as Tristan D’Elia scored 2:08 into the first overtime.

Extra Notes:

  • Monday’s contest was the second Game 3 for the 87’s EHL team, and first at Jersey Shore Arena.
  • The EHLP team has won at least one playoff round in each of the three seasons since playing out of Jersey Shore.

Photo Credit: Pauls Pics NJ (Twitter: @PaulsPicsNJ)