The New Jersey 87's EHL and Premier teams are coming off successful weekends in Philadelphia. Each squad picked up at least one win over the Little Flyers at the IceWorks Skating Complex, while Trent Shanley and Dalton Jerzak earned EHL Stars of the Week for their efforts.
EHL sweeps the weekend with victories over Applecore, Little Flyers
Last Friday, the EHL team went up to Brewster, N.Y. to face their North Division foe New York Applecore. The 87's jumped to a 2-1 lead in the first period with goals from Jake Ondrejko and Tim DeBord, and Justin Vickers added a goal at 5:40 of the second period. Applecore managed to cut the deficit in half at 11:57 of the third period, but DeBord picked up his second goal with an empty-netter in the final seconds of the game.
Two days later, the 87's went to Philadelphia to play the Little Flyers in the EHL game of the week. In a highly-anticipated battle between the two best teams in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, the teams delivered in a fast and up-tempo game that went down to the wire. Jack McDonough opened the scoring at 13:27 of the first period, only to have the Little Flyers tie it up three minutes later.
Jack Keryluk gave the 87's a 2-1 lead early in the second period when he finished a 3-on-1 rush with a tap-in. The Flyers scored two unanswered goals to take the lead, but McDonough scored his second of the night to knot the score at 15:01. Trent Shanley gave the 87's a 4-3 lead with 2:05 remaining in the third period. He picked up a rebound off a wraparound attempt by Alex Borowiec, and slammed home his 10th goal of the season. Dalton Jerzak finished the game with 29 saves and secured the 87's seventh consecutive win.
The win over the Little Flyers capped off an impressive stretch of 10 consecutive road games for the 87's. They won nine out of those 10, including their last seven games. Head coach Adam Houli spoke about the tough stretch and what it meant for the team.
"Being on the road for 10 in a row is never easy, we're a new club with a lot of inexperience, but I thought in that span we brought on a lot of experience. With the on-ice product, I'm happy to take nine out of 10," Houli said. "Looking at it from the off-ice perspective, it's good to be on the road with the guys for 10 games, and hopefully that bonding and coming together will make us a stronger team as we continue to move forward."
He also spoke about Jerzak, who made 51 saves out of 56 shots over both games, and Shanley, who notched three points in the win over the Little Flyers. Both players were named EHL Stars of the Week for their efforts.
"Dalton was great, he gave us a chance to win, and that's his job as our stopper. He did just that when he came through with some timely saves, and did what he needed to do for us to get two points," Houli said. "Trent was very opportunistic. On his game-winner, he found himself in the right position, the puck came out to him and he buried it, and that's what he does. He's a goal scorer who knows how to put the puck in the net, and he's been rewarded for his efforts."
Premier team splits two games with the Little Flyers
Not only did the Premier team play its last two games against the Little Flyers over the weekend; four out of their last five games were against the Mid-Atlantic Conference rival. Out of those four games, the 87's won two of them--one at home and one on the road--while salvaging a shootout loss on Sunday. In between those four games, the 87's also defeated the New Jersey Renegades by a score of 5-4.
"I thought it was really good hockey for the Premier Division. The pace was really good and I thought our guys really turned a corner, which I'm excited for," Houli said. "In the beginning of the year, we didn't exactly play the game we wanted to, but in these last four games against the Little Flyers, we dictated the pace and really played the way I want them to play so they can move forward and join our EHL team in the near future."
In Sunday's 4-3 win at IceWorks Skating Complex, Brad Heuer scored two goals while Kurt Kroeper and Tom Swartwout also found the score sheet. Jeremy Connor started in goal for the 87's, but was pulled after the Little Flyers took a 2-1 lead at 14:22 of the first period. Grayson Garrity came in for relief and made 23 saves out of the 24 shots he faced. Houli said that decision was made early in the game to send a wake-up call to the rest of the team.
"It's a tough Tuesday night game that they're not accustomed to playing. When they got up 2-1, we decided to inject some new blood and give our team a jolt, and that's exactly what happened," Houli said. "Grayson made some saves that he needed to make, including a breakaway save late in the game and kept it where it needed to be. He did an excellent job stepping in when he probably didn't know he was going to step in."
Friday Dec. 7: vs. Applecore 12:15 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 9: @ WBS Knights 1:30 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 8: @ New England Wolves 7:00 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 9: @ Valley Jr. Warriors 12:05 p.m.
Tag(s): In the News