Fighting Spirit win to force third and final game
March 28, 2015
By Nathan Fournier, Sun Journal
Alex Peddle scored one of the easiest goals he will ever score and he scored one of the most important goals he will ever score.
His two goals led the New Hampshire Fighting Spirit to a 3-1 victory in Game 2 in the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League Championship Series over the Jersey Shore Wildcats on Saturday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee to force a Game 3 slated for Sunday at 3 p.m.
"The second one was pretty big because they just had scored and to be able to kill their momentum was important," Peddle said of his goal to give the Fighting Spirit the lead.
The Fighting Spirit came out firing in the first period as they spent most of the first period in the Jersey Shore zone. They out-shot the Wildcats 15-5 with Wildcats goalie Marc Schlaeger making several outstanding saves.
After the Fighting Spirit's second power play opportunity, they finally solved the 19-year-old as Brett Bittner found the back of the net with 1:52 remaining in the period. The play was set up by Peddle and Mike Callaghan.
Peddle was the payer of the game for the Fighting Spirit.
"Alex Peddle played very well; he got the hard hat award for us tonight," New Hampshire Fighting Spirit coach Rod Simmons said. "He has been steady for us all year. We look for big things for him in the future. Claes Endre was the No. 1 goaltender in the league. There's a reason why: He played pretty well tonight."
Endre made 26 saves in the victory.
New Hampshire's struggles on the man advantage continued in the middle frame as they as they went scoreless on their two chances. For the game, they were scoreless on seven chances.
They were able to capitalize when they were skating down a man.
As the Wildcats were in the offensive zone, the Fighting Spirit harmlessly cleared the puck out of the zone all the way to Jersey Shore's end. Schlaeger went out to the left circle dot to play the puck. He tried to play the puck behind his net, but threw in front of the net as the puck went through the goal crease. Peddle chased the puck down in the right circle, and with nearly no angle to shoot at, he fired the puck into the empty net to give the Fighting Spirit the 2-0 lead.
"I know there were two guys on their team on both sides, so I tried to play to the guy closest to us," Peddle said. "I guess I got real lucky and he fanned on the puck and passed it kind of to me."
The unassisted shorthanded tally came with 3:33 remaining in the period and the Fighting Spirit were able to kill off the remaining time on the penalty. It was Jersey Shore's lone power play in the contest.
"The bottom line is we are always talk in hockey if you are in a slump and you're not scoring, you shoot the puck as hard as you can, it goes off somebody – the slump is over," Simmons said.
Jersey Shore finally found the back of the net 12 minutes into the third period off an offensive zone face-off in which Adam Person won the puck back to Kevin Gruber who slapped it past New Hampshire goalie Endre.
Peddle answered back 23 seconds later as he fired the puck past Jersey Shore's backup, Tyler Howat.
Schlaeger made 27 saves in two periods of action for the Wildcats and Tyler Howat stopped six shots in the third period.