The New Jersey 87’s will face the Philadelphia Revolution tonight in its first ever playoff game at 8 p.m. at Middletown Sports Complex.
Having clinched the second seed late in the season, New Jersey won its final four games as they get set for the EHL Premier Division playoffs. They will face the number-three seed Philadelphia Revolution in a one-game series, with the winner advancing to the South Conference final.
The team practiced on Sunday afternoon, and some of the players spoke about what it means to be a part of an expansion franchise’s first ever playoff game.
“No one expected us to be here,” said 87’s defenseman and captain Trevor Cear. “Maybe some of the guys in the locker room did, but now that we got here, we proved everyone wrong and now we have something else to prove.”
Jack Lane finished the season as the team’s scoring leader, racking up 21 goals and 39 assists for 60 points in 42 games. In the last four games—with two wins over New York Applecore and victories against the Jersey Wildcats and Central Penn Panthers—Lane notched three goals and six assists. On Sunday, he spoke about what the team needs to do when they face the Revolution.
“We’ll definitely have to have the energy up in the building,” he said. “Guys just have to do their roles, and hopefully we can make a statement to the league that we’re ready to be here and we’ll stay here for a while.”
The 87’s were a perfect 4-0-0 against the Revolution in the regular season, and outscored them by a combined 20-8 in those contests. However, as assistant coach Matt Kiernan points out, there is a reason why the playoffs are often referred to as ‘the second season.’
“You could throw all those things out the window, and in the end it comes down to who wants it more in the playoffs,” he said. “We’re going to have to execute and play the game the right way to win a hockey game. It’s one game and you’re done, so you better bring your best.”
Puck drop is slated for 8 p.m. at Middletown Ice World. For those that cannot make the game, you can catch all of the action on hockeytv.com.
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