The Boston JR. Rangers and the New Jersey 87’s squared off to open their bids for an EHLP championship. The Jr. Rangers came to Providence with some tough series behind them, the 87s swept their way here.
When it was over, the two teams battled to a 1-1 standoff.
There was a very nice pace to start, with the Rangers seeing the better of the early chances. Drake Tomak and Charlie Mulligan were flying around Providence’s Schneider Arena.
Despite the hot start, the Rangers would find themselves trailing 1-0. Shay Keating, the NJ 87’s captain, lit the lamp after a Dominik Wiatrowski shot found him on the doorstep. After the first goal, the game would settle down, neither team giving an inch, and a plethora of neutral zone hockey.
Boston would draw the first penalty of the game late in the first period, building some momentum into the middle frame. Netminder AJ Golden was a perfect 12/12 in the first frame in the 87s crease.
New Jersey would kill off the remainder of the power play and try to get the momentum back on their side. New Jersey would get their first power-play of the night eight minutes into the second period. They failed to convert, mustering up just one shot on Nicholas Mutschler. The 87s would go back to the power-play late in the second, failing to convert on the first 1:54. The second period ended the same way it started it, a 1-0 lead for the 87s.
The remainder of the 87s power-play was killed off and the Rangers successfully killed off a second penalty, still in search of the equalizer.
With both teams grinding away, the game got chippier as it dwindled down. The push was on from the Rangers, and they drew a penalty with the extra attacker. Drake Tomak scored with 37 seconds left in regulation to tie the game off a beautiful feed from Charlie Mulligan. The Rangers would take a penalty right after scoring and go to overtime down a man.
New Jersey was unable to convert on their 4-on-3 power play and the teams were back to even strength. Over a minute of 4-on-4 was played before heading to 3-on-3 after the kill. The Rangers had two odd-man rushes in the extra frame but could not convert. New Jersey had a great look on Mutschler with under a minute to go, but the Jr. Rangers goalie was up to the task. Golden stopped 30 of 31 shots and Mutschler stopped 27 of 28 on the night.
New Jersey 87’s coach Conall McNelis of the 87s stated: “We were good at times and bad at times. We skated to the end and this was a good first test for us.”
Captain Shay Keating was proud of his team, “ We felt good and came out strong…. We stuck to the plan,” he said.
On the Rangers side, assistant coach Derick Paxton said, “We were resilient to get a point, I am proud of our guys, but it is right back to work. We control our own fate.”
Jr. Rangers captain Jack Lehman thought the effort level was there.
“We battled back and stole a point. We are going to take this momentum and move toward the championship,” he said.
The Jr. Rangers are back at it this afternoon at 4:00 PM to take on the Avalanche, and New Jersey will meet the Railers at 7:00 PM.