The Railers Junior Hockey Club battled it out with the New Jersey 87s in the final game Friday night and left with a 2-1 win to clinch a spot in Sunday’s EHLP championship game.
Worcester was the lone team to get a win Thursday, while the 87s were able to secure a point. Chances were coming early for the Railers Junior Hockey Club as Myles Kidd and Mike O’Malley were creating. At the 7:00 minute mark, Zack Warner-Senee rang a shot off iron. On the other side, Ivan Borisov beat Railers netminder Aidan Healey far side but also hit the post. Later, it looked as if the Railers struck first on a shot from Max Beaulac. The play went to review and it was determined that the puck never completely crossed the goal line.
The goalies were perfect in the first period… the 87s’ Jason Loricco stopped all 12 shots that came his way and while Healey stopped the eight he saw. The Railers dominated the faceoff dot winning 15 of the 19 draws.
Gavin Berntsen would head to the box just 51 seconds into the second period. The best look of the power play came short-handed. Collin Berube forced a turnover and found Will Celli on a two-and-one. Loricco came up huge with a big pad save to keep it scoreless.
The first goal would be found about halfway through the middle period. Zack Warner-Seenee forced a turnover and scored low glove side.
It did not take long for New Jersey to tie the game. Ethan Paligo scored his second of the playoffs popping the water bottle behind Healey. A Railers power play late in the second was extinguished by the 87s. The second period ended even at one.
Neither team wanted to make a mistake early in the third. The neutral zone was. clogged.
Mike O’Malley didn’t like the pace of the period, so he decided to give the Railers the lead. He ripped a shot far side at the 5:15 mark of the third. For O’Malley that was his eighth goal in his last seven games.
Down 2-1, the 87s were battling for the equalizer… Zone time was tough to come by as the Railers were giving them trouble in the offensive zone.
With about five minutes to go nervous times came for the Railers. Healey bailed them out with two saves right on the doorstep. Healey was not done there, he robbed Borisov point-blank with less than two minutes to play.
The Railers would hang on to win 2-1 and advance to Championship Sunday!
Coach John Fine-Lease was happy to see all the hard work pay off.
“I am so proud of this team, all our hard work is coming to fruition. I am so happy for them,” he said.
Finally, Railers captain Collin Berube thought it was a team win tonight.
“We got our defense up in the rush, forced them to turn around and get in hard on the forecheck. Everyone on the bench contributed,” he said.
Both teams play their final round-robin games Saturday.
** Story by Mike Basile