The JRFlyers had a busy weekend as they had three road games. First was a makeup game with the Brewster Bulldogs on Saturday. Sunday was a matchup with the top team in the league Vermont Lumberjacks and Monday was against the New Hampshire Monarchs.
Saturday vs Bulldogs
The JRFlyers got on the board first as they controlled an offensive zone draw. DiAngelo had the puck at the point and sent it to Thomas. Thomas set up a give and go with Thurston and he beat (G) Gargiulo for the 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs were looking for an answer as they had a power play chance. Thomas chipped the puck out of his defensive zone and raced to it and on the breakaway netted a shorthanded goal for the 2-0 lead and his second goal of the game. The third goal of the game was a nice back door pass to Radevich who buried the chance on the doorstep making it 3-0. The JRFlyers won a defensive zone draw to Thurston, he sent a rink wide pass to Stuart and he wheeled around the defense and beat (G) Gargiulo for the 4-0 lead. The final goal of the 1st period was setup by nice passing from Johnson and Carsello and cashing in was Rucci for the goal and the JRFlyers led 5-0 after the 1st period. The Bulldogs never recovered or had an answer and the JRFlyers blew them away. Thomas would finish off his hat trick as the JRFlyers would score five more goals and the Bulldogs would only get one on the day. Net minder John Kelly didn't have a busy day as he made 18 saves in the win.
Sunday vs Lumberjacks
This was a highly anticipated matchup as the Lumberjacks are the top team in the EHL. It wasn’t an ideal start for the JRFlyers as a shot from the point and a rebound chance down low went past (G) Lakatos as the JRFlyers trailed 2-0 after the 1st period. Early in the 2nd period the JRFlyers were threatening in the offensive zone. It was Carsello taking a pass from the slot and going top shelf on (G) Roy to cut the lead and make it a 2-1 game. Teams exchanged scoring chances after that but neither could get on the board so we headed to the 3rd period with the same score. The JRFlyers had two big power play chances in the 3rd period but were unable to capitalize on them and the Lumberjacks we able to hang on for the 2-1 win.
Monday vs Monarchs
This was another challenging game for the JRFlyers as they faced another top opponent in the EHL. Within the first ten minutes of the game the Monarchs were able to beat (G) Kelly twice getting out to a 2-0 lead. The JRFlyers answered late in the 1st period with a power play goal from Seibel making it a 2-1 game. In the 2nd period the teams traded goals as the JRFlyers tally came from Kirby who came in from the point and from the angle beat (G) Overby but the Monarchs still held a 3-2 lead to end the period. Also in the 2nd period net minder John Kelly came up big stopping a penalty shot as the Monarchs were threatening. In the 3rd period the Monarchs were able to add another goal making it a 4-2 game. The JRFlyers were headed to the power play in the final minutes of the game. They had their chances but weren’t able to put one to the back of the net and the Monarchs were able to hang on for the win.
It wasn’t an ideal weekend for the team winning one out of three, but the JRFlyers are still a force to be reckoned with in the EHL. Even though winning was on the minds for the team Coach Skalski was happy with the efforts of the boys: “Both games definitely were very tight, with not much separation between teams. I think on Saturday we started out a little slow and fell behind, we made some adjustments in between periods, and were able to dictate much of the rest of the game. We were just unable to find that second goal. I was very happy with the commitment to the game plan from the boys. I thought in particular Dom DiAngelo and Brian Henry were two guys that stood out in a very positive way for us. Sunday we also started very slowly, and again found ourselves having to fight back into the game. I thought the boys worked hard, but we were not sharp with our decision making or our puck skills. Against good teams, a wrong decision or bad turnover can be the difference between a win and a loss.”
In tough losses like this, there are still positives to take away from it. This gives the team a chance to reflect on their game and see what they can improve for the future and that is exactly the view from Coach Skalski: “We of course were hoping for wins on Saturday and Sunday. I think Sunday in particular stings because I thought we were the better team and deserved to win. We could have done a better job with our shot selection and hunger around the net .We put a lot of shots into the goalies glove or chest and were a one or two steps too slow to getting the loose pucks around the net. Sunday is a good game to spin into a positive. It gives us an opportunity to see the things that we need to get better at as a team before playoffs in a couple weeks.”
This weekend the JRFlyers will be on the road for another two games against Northern Conference opponents. Saturday they face off against the Boston Rangers who are 18-10-4 with 40 points. The Rangers came to the Ice Line back in October and skated away with a 4-2 victory over the JRFlyers. On Sunday the JRFlyers take on the Walpole Express. The Express are ranked 6th in the North Conference at 18-13-5 with 41 points. The teams squared off the next day after the JRFlyers loss to the Rangers and the Express only scored once as the JRFlyers came away with a big 9-1 victory. The Revolution are still at the top in the Southern Conference but they also lost to the Monarchs and Lumberjacks. The Revolution are ahead of the JRFlyers by one point (56-55), but they only have four games left to play and the JRFlyers have six. The JRFlyers face another trip up north and this time they're looking to be in the win column.
By: Joe Sindoni