Wayne, NJ- On Wednesday night, the Hitmen and the Ice Vault arena welcomed the Philadelphia Revolution to town for an EJHL Southern Division clash. The Hitmen were coming off a 1-1 week, beating the Connecticut Oilers, 7-1, and then dropping a Sunday matinee to the Junior Bruins, 3-2, despite a late onslaught. Conversely, the Revolution were coming into town high off a 5-4 OT victory over Northern Division powerhouse Middlesex Islanders.
From the drop of the puck, the Hitmen showed that they were out for redemption. After rattling off four straight wins, the Bruins cooled the Hitmen jets, but the Revolution would now take the brunt of the Hitmen Sunday frustration. At the 5:01 mark of the first, Tim Clifton lit the lamp on the power play with a rocket of a wrist shot to put the Hitmen up 1-0. The play was set up on some nifty passing from Josh Henke and Brendan Bradley. Then, just two minutes later, Bradley would be the recipient of a tremendous 3 on 2 passing play, with John Furgele moving the puck to Clifton and Clifton hitting Bradley back door for an open net tap in. Bradley's first of the season would put the Hitmen up 2-0 heading into the second stanza.
The second period would see the Hitmen throw everything but the kitchen sink at Philadelphia goaltender Bob Palzer. In that period the Hitmen would fire 25 shots on Palzer but only, Jason Stephanik, would beat him on the power play on a wonderful breakaway move to put the Hitmen up 3-0. The Hitmen would then add two more late third period goals, one from Clifton (his second of the night) and the final tally would be notched by Josh Henke as he redirected home a great feed from Michael Barrett, and skate to a 5-0 victory. Backstopped by EJHL leading goaltender Chris Funkey (22 saves, first EJHL shut out), the Hitmen would end the night firing 64 shots on Palzer. That type of offensive bounce back made coach Harris happy.
"I was very happy with our compete level tonight. Anytime you can muster over 60 shots on net, that is quite an accomplishment, plus you don’t lose many of those games." Harris continued, "I thought our puck pursuit was excellent. I thought our team back pressure was very good, and we drove to the net with a purpose, unlike Sunday. I take a lot of positives out of this game, and we will continue to work tomorrow in practice on our short comings. All in all though, I cannot complain about our effort or the outcome. The boys came to play tonight!"
Harris and the Hitmen will travel to Manchester, NH, on Friday morning for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Classic. Follow all the action at www.fasthockey.com.
-Courtesy of Jersey Hitmen