Jokers Secure 2nd Place with 2-2 Tie
Two teams came into their Wednesday night’s matchup both needing wins for different reasons. The Jokers (6-3) needed a win or tie in order to secure second place in the division and a first round playoff bye. The Charlestown Chiefs (3-5-1) needed a win to secure the sixth and final playoff seed.
Early you could sense the pressure in the building and both teams were feeling each other out. A high sticking penalty at 5:55 would give the Jokers a power play and they would capitalize with a faceoff zone win by Kevin LaPrade back to Jim Salkins who slid the ball perfectly to Richie Orsini who blasted a slap shot into the top right corner and a 1-0 lead. The period would end with the same score and the Jokers has a surprising 13-10 edge in shots on goal.
In the second period the Chiefs would tie the game on a goal by their leading scorer Sean Miller at 2:39. However the Chiefs would take their third of four penalties in the game near the end of the period and would pay for it. Garrett Salkins scooped up a loose ball at the top of the zone and maneuvered his way across the circles dropping it to Ken Herren who slapped home a 2-1 lead with less than a minute left in the period.
In the third period the Chiefs would ultimately out-shoot the Jokers 12-7, but with time winding down inside of one minute and the Jokers nursing a 2-1 lead, John Morach would tap in a goal mouth pass which tied the game. However, the referees would come together to discuss and waive off the goal due to a Chiefs player standing in the crease while the goal was scored. The fireworks wouldn’t end there though… with time winding down and the Chiefs’ goalie pulled, Ray Nieves streaked into the right side of the zone and fired a long wrist shot stick side low past Jokers goalie Matt Dutily, tying the game again and this one would stand. The overtime didn’t produce many opportunities but the Jokers would win the OT shot battle 4-2 but were behind in the game overall 39-31.
Notes: Mike Bradigo was a late scratch and Josh Berrelli and John Condit would also miss the game… Herren ends the season with a precarious 3 point lead (18-15) for the division lead over perennial top score Nick LaChance who has 1 game remaining… Jokers will host a playoff game next Tuesday at 8:00pm.