Jokers Fall 5-1 in Division Leader Showdown
The Jokers of Doom received some terrible news prior to their Saturday matinee against co-division leaders Springfield Chiefs. Captain/GM Jim Brunetti announced that goalie Andy Pettola was lost for the season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon while playing basketball. To make matters worse, primary backup Matt Dutily was unavailable for the key division battle. Luckily the Jokers had another player with goalie experience on the roster in Josh Berrelli, whose last known appearance in net for the Jokers was during the summer 2016 season.
Early on Berrelli was up to the task with a solid first period that saw a handful of good scoring chances for each side. The period also featured a few scuffles as both teams tried to get on top early. In the end the period would result in a 0-0 tie headed into the second.
In the second, the Chiefs continued to press and found pay dirt with a goal about 1/2 way through the period during a scramble in front of the net after an initial save on a close shot. The Chiefs would add another goal later in the period and no further scoring would occur resulting in a 2-0 deficit.
Finally, in the third period the Jokers still couldn’t find their offensive mojo, which again was made worse by top winger Garrett Salkins not playing the entire period due to illness. The Chiefs would add a 3rd goal before the Jokers finally found the score sheet as Kevin LaPrade blasted home a feed between the circles from Ken Herren to make it 3-1. The momentum would be very brief as the Chiefs quickly responded with another goal approximately 7 seconds later, ending any thoughts of a comeback. Later they would add a 5th goal to close it out. The loss leaves the Jokers at 4-2 and in second place, 2 points behind the Springfield Chiefs and 1 point ahead of Chaos (3-2-1).
Notes: The Jokers were out-shot 23-20, with Berrelli making 18 saves… Also missing the game were stalwart defensemen Jim Salkins, Paul Bellantuono, and Tom Condit… Defenseman Mike Bradigo made his second appearance of the season and logged 28 minutes played alongside line-mate Rich Orsini… “No Comment”, was the reply from GM Brunetti when asked if Pettola had a “no basketball” clause in his contact…. next game Wednesday 1/24 vs Hockey Balboa (2-4), whom the Jokers defeated 4-3 in the first game this season.