The EHL Frozen Finals got underway Wednesday night and the Walpole Express and Railers Junior Hockey Club each posted shutout wins.
Walpole Express: 2 – New Hampshire Avalanche: 0
The Walpole Express shut out the New Hampshire Avalanche by a score of 2-0, as Jerrett Overland scored two goals in a span of 58 seconds while Jack Boschert notched a 36-save shutout.
It was a special night for Overland; on top of scoring the only two goals in the game, his father was in attendance after suffering a heart attack three weeks ago.
“It’s just good to have him out here, finally get to have him watch some games,” Overland said.
His first goal came at 6:21 of the third period during four-on-four play, taking a cross-ice pass off his skate and tucking a shot just under the crossbar. Later in his shift, Asher Connolly set him up with a back-door pass where he buried the tap-in, giving the Express a 2-0 lead.
Express head coach Josh Holstrom spoke about Overland’s performance and the importance of generating offense from the blue line.
“Any time you can get some contributions from your blue line that definitely helps. Jerrett’s been awesome for us since joining the team right before Christmas. He’s been great defensively but he’s also brought an offensive touch to that back end and its helped ups tremendously.”
Boschert earned his first shutout of the postseason and made some big saves along the way. In the second period, Avalanche defenseman Jimmy Minnig took a bouncing shot from the point, and Boschert made a toe save as the shot changed direction at the last second. His best save came later in the period as he made a save from point-blank range on Avs defenseman Hunter Wilson on a two-on-one rush.
Holmstrom praised Boschert’s efforts, as well as the Express’ defensive corps for minimizing scoring chances from an Avalanche offense that’s known for scoring in bunches.
“I thought our d-zone structure was really good tonight. Obviously, we gave up 36 shots, but I thought we did a good job in front of (Jack Boschert) to limit those Grade-A right on top of him and let him see a lot of pucks,” Holmstrom said.
Railers Jr. Hockey Club: 4 – Philadelphia Little Flyers: 0
Jonathan Heise scored a pair of goals for the Railers Jr. Hockey Club in a commanding 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Little Flyers.
Colin Roe and Ben McGlashing also found the back of the net while Railers goaltender Stefan Kulhanek picked up a 38–save shutout.
Railers head coach Sean Bertoni spoke about Heise and how he stepped up after forward Damon Dulac left the game with an injury early in the first period.
“Our coaching staff has been talking about how to get him more ice. Unfortunately, we had an injury second shift of the game, and Heisey was right there, and he can do many things. We were very pleased with his effort and him being rewarded today,” Bertoni said.
Heise’s first goal opened the scoring at 10:37 of the first period, when Matt Pimental fed him the puck on a two-on-one rush, and Heise fired a quick wrist shot under the blocker of Flyers goaltender Joseph Henson.
Colin Roe doubled their lead about five minutes later as Drew Olivieri won the faceoff back to Roe, who ripped a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle and beat Henson blocker side.
The Railers struck two more times in the third period, as Jack Lee slid a pass to the left faceoff circle for Ben McGlashing, who ripped a one-timer into an open net.
Just 12 seconds later, Heise potted his second goal of the game, as he cut to the middle of the ice and fired home a shot low-blocker side.
Stefan Kulhanek, who earned his third shutout of the postseason, made some big saves in the second period as the Little Flyers outshot Railers 16-7 in the middle frame. Jordan Comilla and Tony Andrews generated multiple quality scoring chances, including some shots from point-blank range, but Kulhanek was up to the task.
“We always want to take care of our d-zone first, we protect our goalie and take care of our defensive end and have clean zone exits, and as a result we play more in their end,” Bertoni said. “I also thought Stefan (Kulhanek) was very good today, he bailed us out at times and made some key timely saves. They had some good opportunities and he shut the door on them.”
For a complete schedule of the EHL Frozen Finals, you can check out the official Frozen Finals hub on the league website