All but one Eastern Hockey League first-round playoff series resulted in a two-game sweep last weekend. The lone three-game set produced the post-season’s first major upset as the No. 14 Valley Jr. Warriors came from a game down to bounce the No. 3 Central Division champion Connecticut Oilers.
All other series played out according to form with the higher seeds winning.
No. 1 New Hampshire Monarchs vs. No. 16 New Jersey Titans
(Monarchs win series, 2-0)
Jake Theut pitched a 33-save shutout in the Monarchs’ 3-0 win in the series opener. Ryan Gandy, Jordan Mathieu and Kyle Lajeunesse had the goals.
The Monarchs’ depth was on display in the 6-2 series clincher with Gandy, Lajeunesse, Payton Baldillez, Hunter Laslo, Brent Beaudoin and Eric Berglund finding the net. Tony Jorgenson gave the Titans a short-lived 1-0 lead late in the first period. Jordan Dempster had the other New Jersey goal.
No. 2 Philadelphia Little Flyers vs. No. 15 Walpole Express
(Little Flyers win series, 2-0)
Goalie Alec Derks had a stellar series in the Flyers’ cage, turning back 39 of 41 shots sent his way in a pair of 4-1 wins. John Nugent popped in a pair of goals in the first win while Oleg Potemkin did the same in the second.
No. 14 Valley Jr. Warriors vs. No. 3 Connecticut Oilers
(Warriors win series, 2-1)
Let’s start at the ending as goalie Matt Penta’s 48-save performance highlighted the Warriors’ 5-2 Game Three series-clinching win. The Oilers grabbed a 2-0 lead but Mikkel Joehnk’s goals at 17:55 of the second period and 17:15 of the third gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead. Empty-netters by Brendan Heinze and Kris Holmes sealed it.
The Oilers won the opener, 3-1, behind goals from Nick Jermain, Alex Wilkinson and Tommy Nolan and Josh Sarlo’s 21 saves. The Warriors evened it with a 4-3 Game Two win, coming from behind on third-period goals from Charlie Widmar and Troy Sutherland. Emil Blomqvist’s pair of first-period goals got the Warriors off to a strong start.
No. 4 Northern Cyclones vs. No. 13 Philadelphia Revolution
(Cyclones win series, 2-0)
The Cyclones overcame a remarkable series by Revolution goaltender Daniil Gerasimov, who totaled 94 saves in 3-2 and 4-2 losses.
Riley Christensen and L.J. Fellows netted power play goals and Jack Jenkins notched the game-winner at 11:07 of the third period in the Cyclones’ Game One win. In Game Two, the Cyclones opened a 3-0 lead on a pair of goals from Grant Gallo and another from Connor Callow; withstood a Revolution surge on goals by Larry Adegoke and Kyle Jennings; and sealed it on Jenkins’ empty-netter.
No. 5 New York Bobcats vs. No. 12 Boston Jr. Rangers
(Bobcats win series, 2-0)
The Bobcats grabbed Game One, 3-1, behind a hat trick from Joseph Gilhooly. He was back it in Game Two, netting the OT game-winner and series-clincher with his second of the game. Lucas Brown, Corey Kennedy and Michael Consalto also scored for the ‘Cats while Andrew Standish, Greg Stoya, Alan Boozer and Austin Donaldson connected for the Rangers while Cole Burack piled up 54 saves in the loss.
No. 6 Boston Jr. Bandits vs. No. 11 New York Applecore
(Junior Bandits win series, 2-0)
The Bandits kicked off the playoffs with a 6-4 last Thursday, then closed out the series on Friday, 4-2, anchored by Ryan Hubbard’s 24-save performance. Jon Stickel had two goals, Eric Salzillo contributed a goal and an assist, and Matt Baldino connected on the power play.
No. 7 Hartford Jr. Wolfpack vs. No. 10 New Jersey Rockets
(Hartford wins series, 2-0)
The Wolfpack won a wild Game One, 5-4, then closed out the series with a 5-0 shutout as Spencer Landry made 26 saves.
In Game One, the Wolfpack got a pair of goals from Kurt Johnson and single tallies from Dominic Brenza, Ryan Kangas and Jack Murphy. Jonathan Lee and Troy Conzo both had a goal and an assist and Michael Gillespie had three assists for New Jersey. Game Two was all Hartford as Dylan Vander Esch scored the game-winner on the first of his two goals just 50 seconds into the game. Kangas, CJ Hoy and Ori Beyamini also scored.
No. 8 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. No. 9 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers
(Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wins series, 2-0)
WBS raced out to a 5-0 lead in Game One and held on for a 5-3 victory. Matt Cessna (2 goals), Chris Deming (goal, assist), Dan Perez and Sandy Gray supplied the offense. Jamie Lukas, Nick Idi and Jeff Beck had the Flyers’ goals.
In Game Two, WBS trailed, 3-1, with less than seven minutes to play but came all the way back to close out the series, 4-3. Perez had the game-winner with 1:32 left in regulation, following scores by Connor Ryan at 13:46 and Oskar Gerhardson at 16:43. Jonathan Ruiz had a pair for Philly.
(Teams re-seeded 1 through 8 based on regular-season records)
No. 1 New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs. No. 8 Valley Junior Warriors
No. 2 Northern Cyclones vs. No. 7 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
No. 3 Philadelphia Little Flyers vs. No. 6 Hartford Junior Wolfpack
No. 4 New York Bobcats vs. No. 5 Boston Bandits