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Eastern Hockey League Frozen Finals: Jr. Rangers Rally, Grab Title With 3-2 OT Win

With an exciting overtime win, the Boston Jr. Rangers took the 2021 Eastern Hockey League championship, a 3-2 decision over defending champion New Hampshire Avalanche.

The New Hampshire Avalanche and the Boston Jr. Rangers faced-off in the Eastern Hockey League Frozen final, and both teams did not disappoint. Boston officially won the 2020-21 EHL Frozen Final after defeating the New Hampshire Avalanche by a score of 3-2 in overtime.

How We Got There

After the Avs established an offensive presence and applied pressure in Boston’s end during the first period, a shot from the point was deflected in by Avalanche forward Andrew Clifford at the 11:29 mark. While New Hampshire goaltender George McMichael was stellar between the pipes, team captain Chris Aarons helped the Avs earn another tally.

The Clifton Park, NY native skated into the Jr. Rangers zone on the near-side boards and threw a puck towards the direction of Boston’s net which was then deflected in by Sami Hakkarainen. For Hakkarainen, it marked his 10th point of the postseason (4g-6a).

The Comeback

Yet, the Jr. Rangers’ non-stop pressure on the offensive of the puck was just too much for New Hampshire to handle. The Jr. Rangers not only outshot New Hampshire (11-6) in the third period but netted two goals.

Connor Bizal of the Boston Jr. Rangers fires home the tying goal in the third period of EHL final against the NH Avalanche. Jr Rangers went on to clinch title with a 3-2 OT win. (Photo by Dan Hickling)

Boston’s Nathan Young scored on the power play after he took a shot from the point while the Jr. Rangers screened McMichael at the 12:00 mark of the period. Less than eight minutes later, team captain Connor Bizal also netted a power-play goal after receiving a cross-ice pass just in side the left hash mark.

The Winner

At first, it seemed that  the Avs might take home a third consecutive championship – but Boston goaltender Nathan Mueller had other ideas. The masked man recorded a few key saves after New Hampshire controlled most of the play for the first half of the 20:00 overtime frame.

With 7:00 left in overtime, Jr. Rangers forward Johnny Malandruccolo beat McMichael five-hole on a breakaway. Malandruccolo received a stretch pass at the opposing blue line and the rest was history.

The title marks the Jr. Rangers first-ever EHL championship, and second occasion that the final was decided in overtime. Additionally, Bizal was awarded the Frozen Finals Most Valuable Player.

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Kyle McKenna

Kyle McKenna

Kyle McKenna spent four seasons working in various communications roles at the professional hockey level from 2015-2019. McKenna served as the New Jersey Devils Communications Assistant for the 2015-16 season and Community Hockey Assistant and Lightning High School Hockey League Beat Writer from 2016-2018 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Additionally, the New Jersey native worked at the 2018 World Junior Championship at Buffalo in as a Media Relations Assistant and was also the Communications Assistant for the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder in 2018-19. Since graduating Monmouth University with a bachelor’s degree in communications (2015), the former Junior Hockey player also covered the NHL for various blogs in freelance roles. McKenna’s familiarity with the EHL dates to last season (2019-20) when he was an organization’s communications manager, while creating written and digital content on a daily basis.
Kyle McKenna