NA3EHL Showcase: Day 2
January 18, 2015
Photos and story by Scott Leffler, East Niagara Post
Two of the NA3EHL 2K15 Showcase Tournament games Saturday night were decided by only a goal — one of those in a shootout. A third was a one-goal game until a last-second empty netter. Even the game pitting the undefeated Jersey Shore Wildcats against the winless East Coast Minutemen was closer than most would have imagined.
Fans in the Cornerstone Arena stands rooting for specific teams seemed pleased with how their own team did — even those in losing efforts. And locals there simply to watch hockey were pleased with the level of talent the 18- to 20-year-olds in the Junior A league displayed on the ice.
Jersey Shore 4 vs. East Coast 2 - Watching from the upper hallway in between the two rinks, a handful of people who follow the league closely were surprised to see that after the first 25-minute period, the Jersey Shore Wildcats were only up by two goals over the East Coast Minutemen. Afterall, Jersey Shore hadn't lost a game yet this season ... and East Coast hadn't won one. At that point, Travis Valvo and Frederic Ampleman (who scored the overtime winner Friday night against New Hampshire) had goals for the Wildcats. The Minutemen had yet to get on the board, but given some of their previous lopsided scores, it would have been reasonable to expect them to be down by a dozen. In the second period, Jersey Shore made it 3-0 in a goal by William Villeneuve ... and then 4-0 on a goal by Alexandre Racicot. This was closer to what people had in mind, but still not quite. Then the Minutemen made it interesting. With just over 5 minutes to go in regulation, Matt Bauchman scored a power play goal for East Coast. And with just under 2 minutes to go, Riley Hennessey made it 4-2. East Coast's coach, Keith Wallace, was cheering from the stands, relegated to the role of a fan due to a suspension from the league. Wallace told his team they still had time. While the underdogs didn't have a miracle up their sleeve, they made for an interesting game. After the game Wallace said he was pleased with his team's effort: "They just took the number one team and for the most part of the game, I thought we outplayed them." Wallace said his team's improvement is due to the hard work of his core players and an influx of new players in the middle of the season. Jersey Shore, now 33-0, will host the Lockport Express next weekend for a pair of games.
Cape Cod 1 vs. Roc City 0 - In a game with over 100 recorded shots, there was only one goal scored. Casey Zawojski scored the only goal the Cape Cod Islanders needed to beat Roc City on the Heinrich rink. Official league stats say that Cape Cod's netminder, Brent Petrowski, stopped 52 of 52 shots, while former Express goalie Ian Stahl stopped 55 of 56 for Roc City. Cape Cod now improves to 13-12-3, while Roc City falls to 9-18-2. Roc City will return to Lockport in two weeks to play the Express at 7 p.m. Jan. 31.
New England 3 vs. Syracuse 1 - Barring an empty-netter as time expired, the game between the New England Stars and the Syracuse Stampede would have ended as a one-goal game. New England went up 2-0 on goals by Justin Carchia and Ryan Gauvin before Syracuse pulled within one on a Felix Landry goal. The two teams battled back and forth in the second period with Syracuse trying hard to tie the game. Instead, Justin Carchia scored as time expired, making it 3-1 New England. The Stars will be right back on the ice at 10 a.m. to play the Express. Syracuse doesn't get much rest either, playing New Hampshire at 11.
Maine 5 vs. Wilkes-Barre 4 (SO) - The Maine Wild needed more than 50 minutes to win over the Wilkes-Barre Miners. They needed more than 55 minutes, even. They needed a shootout. In another game that featured over 100 shots, of course it would come down to the goalies. And in the end, Justin Broy made one more save than Andrew Sharkus. The game started with a 3-0 lead for Wilkes-Barre on goals by Guillaume St. Germain, Daniel Leisser and Arturs Bush (short handed). Then a Drew Lupardo goal for Maine on the power play made it 3-1. Michael Tugo put the Miners back up by three just a minute and a half later before Maine scored three unanswered goals in the second period to force an overtime. Those goals were scored by Ben Henderson, Matt Henderson, and Chris King. Following a scoreless overtime, Jake Dickson put it away for Maine, scoring in the shootout against Sharkus. Maine was 1-2 on the weekend while Wilkes-Barre was 2-1.