The Chiefs came into yesterday’s game 0-3-1, but the Jokers knew better than to expect to cruise to an easy win. Despite missing leading scorer (and former Joker) Mark Torre, they always seem to battle and with the Jokers sitting atop the division, they were surely going to bring their best.
The Jokers came out strong and controlled possession for most of the first period, peppering Chiefs goalie Chris Rounds with shots and increasing pressure. Time and again, Rounds denied the Jokers scoring chances and kept his team in the game. Mid-way through the second period however, scoring leader Graig Romberg rushed in and fired a shot hard that Rounds got in the way of. Luckily, line mate Jimmy Dowd kept in the play and stuffed home the rebound for a 1-0 lead. When playing with a lead this season, the Jokers have generally been able to pile on, scoring four or more goals in every game this season. As of the last few seasons though, the Jokers have been known to go on desert-like dry runs in the scoring department.
The offense seemed to lack quality opportunities after that and the score remained 1-0 well into the third period. Goalie Tim Fisher did a tremendous drop minimizing second chances for the chiefs and controlling the clock throughout the game. Team defense is generally where the team excels and it appeared that this game would be no different. “The D had a few great plays where they were right there in the crease to help clear out a loose ball or rebound,” said Fisher. In a last-ditch attempt to tie the game, the Chiefs pulled their goalie with 1:29 to play and a faceoff to the left of Fisher deep in the Jokers’ zone. Center Frank Melillo won the draw cleanly back to defenseman Mike Bradigo. Bradigo bounced a pass off the boards to Romberg who quickly cashed in on the empty net opportunity. The Chiefs left their net vacant and Romberg would again capitalize to secure the win for the Jokers 3-0. “Going forward,” Fisher added, “one goal isn’t going to cut it.” “We have a target on our backs and have to keep grinding.”
Fisher stopped all 26 of the shots he faced for his second shutout of the season, and has only allowed one goal on the last 63 shots he’s faced over three games.