Jokers fall short in season-opener

Despite having the largest roster in team history, the Jokers struggled to field a bench deep enough to keep up with the Charleston Chiefs on Sunday, losing 2-1. Goalie Matt Chapman was signed to a one-game contract before the game, as was longtime Joker Rich Harris who made his first appearance for the team in nearly six years. Chapman kept the Chiefs at bay for most of the game, stopping all 16 shots he faced through the first two periods.

The Jokers offense struggled however with their star scorer Graig Romberg playing defense most of the game. The scoreless tie would be broken at the start of the third period when former Joker Mark Torre flicked a wrister passed Chapman. Just 1:30 later speedster Shaun Frobey tapped in pass from the corner to take a 2-0 lead. The Jokers would be granted a power play with only 1:23 left in the game and called a timeout. Chapman was pulled for the 6-on-4 advantage shortly thereafter but the Jokers failed to convert the opportunity.

The Joker net remained empty though as defenseman Rich Orsini blasted a slapshot through traffic passed the Chiefs goalie to break up the shutout with only 12 seconds left in the game. Center Frank Melillo won the final draw and LW John DeLuca threw a shot on net that was kicked to the corner and time expired. “Well, we battled. We faced a really solid team and just came up short. I thought we might have been able to get one at the very end but just couldn’t get it done,” said DeLuca. The Jokers will have a 12-day layoff in between games and next face Big Fish on Friday, June 24 at 7pm.

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