Photo Credit: Bri Sotera
It’s a busy week for the Huntsmen EHL Team, so that’s where the focus is for this article. The Huntsmen were on a 7-game losing streak after a road loss at Philadelphia Hockey Club last Saturday. They finished the home and home with them on Tuesday, and then went right into action on Wednesday against Team Maryland.
Tuesday vs Philadelphia Hockey Club
Damon Warren set up Landon Cole with the one timer in the slot to give the Huntsmen the 1-0 lead. Early in the 2nd period, Bartlett had the nice feed from behind the net to Alex Erlain in front for the 2-0 lead. Philadelphia fought back in the period with an even strength goal, and they tied the game on the power play. Shifting to the final minutes of the 3rd period, it was a wild finish. PHC was on the power play and after a stoppage, the faceoff was in the neutral zone. The puck went into the Philadelphia end, and Landon Cole stole the puck and centered it to a wide-open John Manzi. Manzi went top shelf, and the shorthanded goal gave the Huntsmen a 3-2 lead. Philadelphia was still on the power play and seven seconds later they scored on the rush tying the game 3-3. With twenty-four seconds remaining, Erlain scored his second of the day to spring the Huntsmen to a 4-3 win. Cade Chapman made 21 saves in the net for the win. The win snapped the dreaded seven game losing streak.
“It felt like a playoff game to me. Everyone fought till the end of the game as a team and nobody gave up, and that’s all you can ask for.” Alex Erlain
“Everyone is working hard and trying to stay positive day in and day out. It was an emotional roller coaster out there today with all the back and forth. We continued to battle back and came through with the victory.” Hunter Hoffman
Wednesday vs Maryland
This game had a great pace through the entire game. Near the midway point of the 1st, Ryan Arendes scored on the power play giving the Huntsmen a 1-0 lead. Maryland answered back less than two minutes into the 2nd period with their own power play goal tying the game 1-1. Late in the 2nd, Maryland was called for a major and the Huntsmen had a huge chance to take the lead. PA had a ton of pressure and Alex Erlain was on the doorstep for the rebound goal giving the Huntsmen a 2-1 lead. Just under four minutes to go in regulation Maryland tied the game 2-2. In overtime, both teams exchanged chances, but the game went to the shootout. Aidan Hellyer scored for Pennsylvania to give them a 3-2 win. Cade Chapman turned in another phenomenal performance making 28 saves. Throughout the course of the game, he turned away multiple break away chances and didn't give up a goal in the shootout.
“Despite what the scoreboard has been saying in recent weeks, this team is working hard, and now it’s starting to show. It was a great game today,” says Chapman. “Having so many shots blocked in front of you tells half the story, and I owe that to the guys playing in front of me.
After losing 7 games in a row, the Huntsmen picked up a big four points, but the week isn’t over. The Huntsmen now hit the road against the Philadelphia Little Flyers and the New Jersey Bears. The Huntsmen haven’t won a game against the Little Flyers since September. PA defeated them in the first two meetings of the year but since then Philadelphia has won four straight against the Huntsmen. The Little Flyers dropped their first game back from break but since then, they have caught fire. They head into Friday on a 5-game win streak, including two wins vs the Huntsmen 5-2 and 3-1. Their latest victory came against the New Jersey Bears, who continue to struggle, 4-3. The next day the Huntsmen head to New Jersey to take on the Bears. The Huntsmen are 1-2 this season vs the Bears. The Bears seemed to be running away with the South Division and then the losses started to pile up. The Bears lost eight in a row, then split a series with Maryland. In the second game vs Maryland, the Bears lost in OT so they gained a point, but then they lost their next game to the Little Flyers. The Bears are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games and because of that, the South Division is in a frenzy. The division is only separated by 11 points. The Huntsmen have 11 games remaining, and every point matters.
South Division Standings
NJB GP 33 20-10-3 43pts
87s GP 32 17-11-4 38pts
TMD GP 34 17-14-3 37pts
PLF GP 33 17-14-2 36pts
*PAH GP 35 15-17-3 33pts
PHC GP 35 14-7-4 32pts
The Premier Team is on a 10-game winning streak after sweeping the Union Jr. Thunder last weekend. Coming up, they’ll have a home and home with the New Jersey Renegades. The Renegades are in 3rd place in the division at 12-14-3 with 27 points. This will be the 5th and 6th time these teams meet this season. The Huntsmen won 3-4 matchups so far and the lone loss was in a shootout, so they still gained a point. The last head-to-head was at the beginning of December, a 4-3 win for PA. The Renegades faced the New Jersey 87s three times last week. Last Monday they won 5-1, but then lost over the weekend 7-2 and 15-3. Despite the win streak, the New Jersey 87s are right on their heels in the division. The Huntsmen have won four in a row against the 87s and only one more head-to-head remains this season which is a little bit later down the line in late February. Of course, anything can happen in the game of hockey, but right now the Huntsmen and 87s seem to be on a collision course for a rematch of the Mid Atlantic Division Finals. Only time will tell.
Mid Atlantic Division Standings
*PAH GP 29 22-6-1 45pts
87s GP 30 20-10 40pts
NJR GP 29 12-14-3 27pts
PLF GP 28 10-14-4 24pts
UJT GP 29 5-22-2 12pts
CTC GP 30 5-23-2 12pts
EHL at Little Flyers Fri. 12pm
EHL at NJ Bears Sat. 7:15pm
Premier at Renegades Sat. 7:45pm
Premier vs Renegades Sun. 2:55pm
By: Joe Sindoni
Play by Play Announcer