Jokers Return to Win Column, 7-3
The Jokers of Doom got back on track Wednesday evening with a rousing 7-3 win over Hockey Balboa, their 2nd win vs them this season after an opening game 4-3 victory. In this game the Jokers returned to a full squad and had Matt Dutily as the backstop, allowing Josh Berrelli to return to his forward position where offense was desperately needed after last game’s 5-1 loss to the Springfield Chiefs. It wouldn’t take long for the offense to get going as Ken Herren took a pass from Garrett Salkins behind the net and stuffed it in off the goalie’s glove just 29 seconds into the game. Herren would also nab a second goal (power play) on a quick slap shot from the left circle after a nice backhand feed from defenseman Paul Bellantuono. It was looking like the Jokers would carry a somewhat comfortable 2-0 lead into the second period until Glenn Diaz fired home a point slap shot with only 18.9 seconds left in the period. This is where the speedy Berrelli makes his offensive impact felt as he scooped up a loose ball in his own zone and raced down the rink and fired in a wicked wrist shot milliseconds before the buzzer ended the period. Hockey Balboa team members would argue the goal came after the buzzer, but the decision was finalized as a good goal and a 3-1 lead.
The Jokers would carry this momentum into the second by scoring the next three goals, two from G. Salkins including an unassisted beauty after a steal and the third goal of the game for Herren, snapping in a Berrelli rebound. After those goals created a 6-1 lead the Jokers went into cruise control a bit and defensive lapses led to two Balboa goals late in the period making it 6-3 heading to the third.
The third period featured a lot of back and forth action but only one goal as Berrelli would net his second of the game on a breakaway after a great pass from Jim Salkins, his first assist of the season. That goal would take the steam out of any thoughts of a comeback and the Jokers would hold on to the 7-3 victory.
Notes: Jokers (5-2) are 2-0 vs Hockey Balboa this season while outscoring them 11-6… Herren’s four-point night gives him the overall division lead in points with 13 (8 G, 5 A)… SOG were even at 22 per team… Dutily (2.50 GAA in his two starts) made 19 saves, including several key blocks during the first period… Jokers collected their second power play goal of the season… next game Wednesday evening vs Hurricanes (3-4).