Eastern Hockey League – EHL Frozen Finals: Railers Roll In Game 4, Blank Little Flyers For First-Ever Championship Game Berth

Anthony DiPaolo
Anthony DiPaolo
Anthony Di Paolo has been working in various levels of hockey over the last five years, ranging from juniors to the pros. Di Paolo spent four seasons as the Communications Director and play-by-play announcer for the New Jersey Titans of the North American Hockey League (2016-2020), and is entering his fifth season in a similar role with the New Jersey 87’s of the Eastern Hockey League. Graduating from Seton Hall University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, the New Jersey native covered Division I athletics for his school’s radio station, WSOU, and spent two years writing for the Fischler Report, a newsletter run by U.S. Hockey Hall-of-Fame inductee Stan Fischler.

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The Worcester Railers JHC are headed to their first-ever EHL Championship game after 5-0 Game 3 win

The Railers Jr. Hockey Club advanced to the EHL championship game for the first time in franchise history with a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Little Flyers in the deciding Game 3 of their semifinal series.

Jack Wineman led the way with a goal and two assists while Railers goaltender Adam Casper pitched a 24-save shutout, but it was an all-around effort for the Railers as they bounced back from a 1-0 deficit in the best-of-three series, winning the next two games to set up a championship game against the Boston Jr. Rangers.

Wineman spoke about the series win and what it means for the team.

“It feels great, we’ve always faced adversity throughout the year, and to get this win and come back and win two straight games is just a testament to how hard we work, but we’ve got one more.,” he said.

For Railers head coach Sean Bertoni, he focused on some key terms that helped the team turn the series around in Game 2. He also credited Casper for his performance in net.

“We played with a lot more urgency. That was the key word today. ‘Energy’ and ‘urgency’ were the two words we really harped on today and yesterday after the first period,” Bertoni said. “I think another factor too is Adam Casper, it just speaks volumes. He knows it wasn’t his best effort in Game 1, and it just shows how determined of an individual he is to bounce back like that.”

Railers defenseman Matthew Shirm stickhandles away from a pair of Little Flyers. Railers won this deciding Game 3 to move on to the EHL Championship game on Saturday.

Marcus Chrisafideis gave the Railers an early 1-0 lead just 3:48 into the first. He collected a pass from Jack Wineman and snapped a shot that went off the glove of Ronnie Petrucci and into the net for his fourth goal of the postseason.

Wineman doubled the lead with a power-play goal late in the first. He won a puck battle from an offensive zone faceoff and quickly snapped a shot five-hole for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

From there it was full steam ahead for the Railers. Daniel Prazma extended the lead just 1:39 into the second as he snapped a shot from the right circle, glancing off the stick of Little Flyers’ defenseman Jack Costabile stick and fluttering over the blocker of Petrucci. Luke Kloss made it 4-0 by chipping a rebound up and over Flyers’ goaltender Ronnie Petrucci.

The Little Flyers had a chance to bring themselves back into the game when Corbin Melie received a five-minute major and game misconduct for butt-ending late in the second period. However, the Railers managed to kill off the major between strong defense and Philadelphia penalties that negated their man advantage.

Connor McAleer made it 5-0 early in the third period, as Dillon Lowe found McAleer wide open in front of the net where he slid a backhander in for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Adam Casper made 24 saves in the series-deciding game, and his best stop came midway through the first period. He stopped Trevor Kruczek on a wrister from the half-wall, then denied Logan Downs from point-blank range on the rebound.

Bertoni reflected on his team making the championship round for the first time, and the bonus of having their EHLP team in the Frozen Finals as well.

“It’s everything we work for, for the guys. It’s all about the players here, we certainly have a family here, our EHL team just went berserk as the EHLP came out the tunnel for their game, it’s just one big family in this organization and it’s special. We’re enjoying it, but it’s also business here,” Bertoni said.

The stage is set for championship Saturday as the Railers will square off against the Boston Jr. Rangers. The Railers, who were regular-season champions, will face a Boston team looking for its second straight title and third championship in four seasons.

“You want to beat the best, right? They’ve been the best in the league, they knocked us out last year so this is ideal,” Bertoni said. “Two well-coached, skilled teams, hard-nosed teams from the goalie out, there really isn’t a weakness, and we’re going to do what we’ve done all year.”

Puck drop is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday at Schneider Arena.

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