The Jokers of Doom faced the Tomahawks with most of the division separated by only a point in the standings. The Tomahawks got on the board early on a goal by former Joker Ricky Clemente only 1:43 into the first period. The Jokers, again operating with a short bench, did not want to get in a deep hole early. For the next two periods though, the game stayed 1-0 with both teams looking for their opportunity. Solid Joker defense and passing helped to ease the difficulty of the lack of extra players. The Tomahawks would add a goal in the third period. Defenseman John Deluca’s errant pass wound up on the opponent’s stick and made the score 2-0.
Forward Jimmy Dowd scored with five minutes to go to bring the jokers to within one. Late in the third period Tomahawks player Paul Norton took a roughing penalty to give the Jokers a power play. The Jokers would capitalize and score with just :45 left in the third period. Phil Mrazik made a nice play to keep the ball deep and found Romberg for a wide open shot to the short side. Play continued through overtime with but neither team would score. The Jokers outshot the tomahawks 26-24. Goalie Tim fisher was outstanding between the pipes to keep the Jokers in the game.
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 Chapmanfilled 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 Beausoleilwas 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.
Despite having the largest roster in team history, the Jokers struggled to field a bench deep enough to keep up with the Charleston Chiefs on Sunday, losing 2-1. Goalie Matt Chapman was signed to a one-game contract before the game, as was longtime Joker Rich Harris who made his first appearance for the team in nearly six years. Chapman kept the Chiefs at bay for most of the game, stopping all 16 shots he faced through the first two periods.
The Jokers offense struggled however with their star scorer Graig Romberg playing defense most of the game. The scoreless tie would be broken at the start of the third period when former Joker Mark Torre flicked a wrister passed Chapman. Just 1:30 later speedster Shaun Frobey tapped in pass from the corner to take a 2-0 lead. The Jokers would be granted a power play with only 1:23 left in the game and called a timeout. Chapman was pulled for the 6-on-4 advantage shortly thereafter but the Jokers failed to convert the opportunity.
The Joker net remained empty though as defenseman Rich Orsini blasted a slapshot through traffic passed the Chiefs goalie to break up the shutout with only 12 seconds left in the game. Center Frank Melillo won the final draw and LW John DeLuca threw a shot on net that was kicked to the corner and time expired. “Well, we battled. We faced a really solid team and just came up short. I thought we might have been able to get one at the very end but just couldn’t get it done,” said DeLuca. The Jokers will have a 12-day layoff in between games and nextface Big Fish on Friday, June 24 at 7pm.
The Jokers of Doom faced the Yellow Jackets Wednesday night in what turned out to be a close, hard fought, 2-0 win. Not surprisingly, the Yellow Jackets, who have improved their roster at most positions over the course of the season, showed up ready for a victory against The Jokers.
The Jokers were outshot 32-23 but goaltender Josh Berelli denied each one, making incredible saves to secure the shutout victory. Defensemen Devon Sylvester got the Jokers on the board at 6:11 of the first period. Sylvester attempted to clear the zone and hit a Yellow Jackets player and found its way through the rafters and over the head of the opposing goalie. The odd goal would stand through the end of the first frame.
The next two periods were just as tightly contested though. The Yellow Jackets kept coming hard but the solid team defense and amazing goaltending by Berrelli held them off. Center Ray Glowicki scored late in the third on an empty net to seal the game. Winger John DeLuca was credited with an assist on the play. The win secured a third place finish for the Jokers who will have a tough test in the first round against Big Fish.
Goalie Tim Fisher collected his franchise best eight Top Goalie award, the league announced. Fisher posted a 94.06% save percentage and 1.40 goals against average as well as two shutouts. In his four wins he allowed only two goals on 91 shots.
Graig Romberg ended the season as the leading scorer with 15 goals and 9 assists (24 points) in eight games played. This is Romberg’s third such award in his short tenure with the Jokers. In addition to his scoring prowess, Romberg chips in on defense when needed and also led the team in penalty minutes.
Despite being tied in points heading into the final game of the season, the Jokers held the first place edge over ElephanTitus thanks to team goals against average. All four playoff spots in the division had been all but officially settled. The final regular season game against Brittany’s Boys would serve as a playoff tune up as the teams were set to face each other in the semi-finals on Saturday, March 5.
Things would start nicely for the Jokers with center Phil Mrazik hammering home a pass from the corner and taking the lead only 54 seconds into the game. The Boys’ offense though would rebound to tie the game a mere six seconds later. The two teams traded goals three times and the Jokers fell behind 5-3 after the first period in what would turn out to be a wild game. Winger Jimmy Dowd would give the Jokers the 7-6 lead two minutes into the third period as the teams battled back and forth. The Boys refused to let up though and would tie the game at seven with 1:07 left in the game. Defenseman Devon Sylvester just missed out on stealing the game with the clock winding down after making a spectacular deke into the high slot. The game would head to overtime with both teams applying pressure and hoping to gain an edge before the playoffs. Only 40 seconds from the game ending in a tie, defenseman Rich Orsini had other plans. Orsini wound up and fired a slapshot through traffic that found the back of the net to secure the 8-7 win.