Jokers hold off Big Fish despite roster woes
The Jokers of Doom beleaguered roster battled against the Big Fish on Friday night and came away with a narrow 3-2 win. Goalie Matt Chapman filled in admirably for the second straight game, stopping 18 of 20 shots faced and helped his new teammates by controlling the clock as much as possible.
Luckily for the Jokers, they would start strong. Joker alumnus Brian Beausoleil was signed prior to the game – adding to the franchise’s largest roster – and contributed from start to finish. Beausoleil cashed in a nifty pass from line-mate Graig Romberg for a 1-0 lead less than 2:30 into the game. Only eight seconds later Romberg would make a Big Fish turnover costly when he intercepted a pass only a few feet from the opposing goalie and put a quick wrist shot over his glove to double the Jokers lead. The period would end with the Jokers up 2-1 after the Big Fish scored on a slapshot resulting from a lost defensive-zone face off.
Almost halfway through the middle period, Romberg would hit a streaking Josh Berrelli with a cross-rink pass just over the center line. Berrelli carried the ball to the top of the face off circle and threw a wrist shot high to the opposite side to extend the lead to 3-1. As much as the Jokers hoped that would be enough, they knew better. Although both teams had a short bench, the Jokers had only one player on their bench and knew the key would be to play tough, smart defense. That’s where veterans Rich Orsini and Devon Sylvester came in. Not surprisingly, the pair played most of the game with Romberg filling in when necessary – blocking shots, clearing the crease, and making things difficult for the opposing offense.
The Big Fish had some fight left in them though, and scored to trim the lead to 3-2 with only 2:40 left in the game. Both teams labored as they counted down the final minutes. With just over a minute to go, the Big Fish goalie would race to the bench in favor of the extra attacker. Beausoleil and Sylvester would each block a shot in the final seconds and the Jokers would hold on for the win.