BOSTON, MA -- We're down to just the final four teams in the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP), as only two will advance to face-off in the title game on March 24th at Schneider Arena.
In the New England Conference, postseason play got started with the play-in matchup this past Wednesday between the Vermont Lumberjacks and the Walpole Express.
Vermont jumped out in front in the 1st period, and despite the Express fighting their way back to within a goal in the middle frame, the Lumberjacks cruised their way to a 5-1 victory. The win was due in large part to a three-goal 3rd period for Vermont, with tallies from Ryan Mosher and Jackson Clayton (2).
Move along to the next day, and Second Round began with the New England Wolves and the Connecticut Chiefs. Despite the Chiefs coming back to tie the score at 1-1 early on, the Wolves never trailed in game #1, as they went on to win by the final score of 4-2. Jack Johansen had a pair of power-play goals for the Wolves, and Garth Wickham added a goal and two assists up front.
As the Wolves-Chiefs series hit pause on Friday, the matchup between the Lumberjacks and the defending champion Boston Jr. Rangers got underway. This was another game where the home team jumped out in front and never trailed throughout the contest. The Rangers led 2-0 at the end of the first 20 minutes, and Vermont got on the board early in the 2nd period, but that would be it in a 5-1 victory for the Rangers. In total, 10 different players tallied at least a point for the Rangers, and Levi Hensley led the way with a goal and two assists.
Fast forward to Saturday, and both series were in action. The Rangers and Lumberjacks got underway just before the Wolves and Chiefs, and game #2 played out in a similar way to game #1. The Rangers once again led 2-0 at the end of the 1st period, and after neither team found the back of the net in the 2nd period, the Rangers exploded for five more goals in the 3rd. Another eight players tallied at least a point in the contest, with five Rangers players tallying three points or more. Between the pipes, Bobby McCloskey grabbed his 2nd victory of the series, with a 21-save shutout.
Shortly after the Rangers had completed their business, the Wolves followed suit, with another 4-2 victory over the Chiefs. In game #2, the Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on from there. Ryan Fueg got the nod in goal once again, as he made 18 saves apiece in back-to-back victories.
The best-of-three series between the Rangers and the Wolves will start on Friday night at 7:30pm.
The Mid-Atlantic Conference featured some similarities and differences in the First and Second Rounds of the playoffs.
Kicking things off, Adam Marvin and the New Jersey Renegades rolled through the play-in matchup with the Central Penn Panthers, this past Wednesday night. The skilled forward tallied five points in the game, as the Renegades skated their way to a 9-2 victory.
Moving forward to Friday night, and both Mid-Atlantic conference series got underway at 7:00pm. In the #2-#3 matchup, the New Jersey 87s fell behind and then scored five unanswered goals, en route to a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Revolution. Despite the loss, Zach Janis played well for Philadelphia between the pipes, as he made 54 total saves. As for New Jersey, the 87s saw 10 different players tally at least a point, including a pair of goals for Tom Swartwout.
As for the Philadelphia Little Flyers, after falling behind 1-0 early, they stormed back tie game #1 in the 1st period, took the lead in the 2nd period, and add some insurance in the final frame. Graham Burke was the difference in goal, making 34 saves on the 35 total shots that he faced.
Flipping over to Saturday, and the 87s and Little Flyers each took care of business once again. After coming back to tie things up twice, another string of unanswered goals was the difference for New Jersey. Ultimately the Revolution did claw their way back into the game, but it was to little to late in a 5-4 victory for the 87s. Swartout had a hat-trick in game #2, giving him five total goals in the two games. In goal, Jeremy Connor got his 2nd win of the series, and was tested more often, as he made 30 saves on 34 total shots.
While the 87s and Revolution played back-to-back high-scoring games, the Little Flyers and Renegades did just the opposite. Burke made another 39 saves in game #2, as Philadelphia once again gave up the first goal, and then came all the way back to win. Saturday's contest was a 2-1 affair, with Johnny Scarduzio assisting on the first tally for the Little Flyers, and then scoring the game-winner. Not to be overlooked in the series, was the play of Jon Santoro in goal for New Jersey, who made 61 total saves in the two games.
The Little Flyers and the 87s will get their series started tomorrow night at 7:45pm.
Tag(s): News EHLP New England Conference Boston Jr. Rangers New England Wolves Vermont Lumberjacks Walpole Express Mid-Atlantic Conference Central Penn Panthers New Jersey 87s New Jersey Renegades Philadelphia Little Flyers Philadelphia Revolution Connecticut Chiefs PLAYOFFS New England Conference Mid-Atlantic Conference