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87’s Dominate Aston Showcase Heading into Playoffs

By Anthony DiPaolo, 03/10/24, 8:45PM EDT


Both teams thrived in season finale, getting ready for 2024 postseason

The New Jersey 87’s EHL and EHLP teams went a combined 6-1-0 during the Aston showcase to close out the 2023-2024 regular season, including the Premier team sweeping their weekend to earn the number one seed in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

Heading into the showcase with a narrow lead over Team Maryland and the Philadelphia Little Flyers for second place in the South Division, the 87’s EHL team managed to win two of its three games to maintain the number two seed.

Their first game on Saturday was against the Seahawks Hockey Club, and the 87’s came out flying with three goals in the first half. Blake Dustin, Peter Vallebuona and Tyler Branish all found the back of the net in the first half. While the Seahawks responded with goals in the second half, Eddie Kienzle netted his first EHL goal and Lucas Salas iced the game with an empty netter for the 5-2 win.

On Sunday against Providence Hockey Club, New Jersey managed to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the second half as Landon Adams scored his 20th goal of the season, then Eric Vivinetto picked up his ninth goal of the season to even the score at three. In overtime, John Foote walked into the offensive zone and snapped a shot high-blocker side to secure the 4-3 victory. The win on Sunday locked the 87’s into the two-seed for the South Division playoffs.

The Premier team opened things up with a game against the New England Wolves, and Thomas Pearsall opened the scoring with his first goal as an 87. Logan Behrje found the back of the net and Ayden Georgiano scored a first-half hat trick to jump up to a 5-1 lead. Though New England found a way to even the score in the second half, Ivan Borisov buried the OT goal to cap off an eventful 7-6 win.

Later that night, they faced the Seahawks as Robert Calice and Nik Shoats both scored in the opening half. With the game tied at two late in the second, Chris Erasmus roofed a one-timer from the slot that held as the game-winning goal in 3-2 victory.

With the doubleheader out of the way, the 87’s EHLP team won its last two games; a 5-4 win over the Valley Jr. Warriors on Sunday as Gabriel Santamaria and Behrje each had a goal and an assist. Then on Monday, Calice and Erasmus scored power-play goals in a 2-1 win over the Boston Jr. Rangers to close out the regular season.

The team ended the regular season on a 13-game winning streak, and while they finished the season with 41 games (canceled game against the Connecticut Chiefs), they had a higher points percentage than the Pennsylvania Huntsmen to earn the number one seed in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

Playoff Preview

For the first round of the EHL playoffs, the number-two seed 87’s will take on the number three seed Team Maryland in a best-of-three series.

The EHLP team is awaiting the results of the play-in round between the Connecticut Chiefs and the New Jersey Renegades. At the conclusion of that series, the four remaining teams in the Mid-Atlantic Division will be re-seeded and the first-round schedule will be released.

87’s EHL First-Round Schedule:

Game 1: Maryland @ 87’s – Tuesday March 12 at 12:30pm

Game 2: 87’s @ Maryland – Thursday March 14 at 2:30pm

Game 3*: Maryland @ 87’s – Friday March 15 at 1:30pm

*If necessary