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Frozen Finals Preview | Episode 64

By The #ECrew, 03/23/21, 9:00AM EDT


Champions Set to Be Crowned on Sunday in the EHL and EHLP

WEST CHESTER, PA -- We've made it down to Pennsylvania, the site of this year's 2021 EHL Frozen Finals. On Sunday, we will be officially crowning a champion in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP).

On this week's episode of the #EShow we preview the final event of the year. Starting tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 pm, a full week of action will begin at Ice Line Quad Rinks. The #ECrew takes a look back at each team's journey to get here, and what it will take to leave with a trophy on Sunday. At the end of the episode we also put a bow on the Fantasy Challenge, and crown Neil as this year's champion.

Be sure to scroll down for a preview of all four EHL teams that are set to hit the ice tomorrow.

A preview for the EHLP teams will be coming later this week.

#1 New Jersey 87’s

The EHL’s regular-season champions advanced to the finals after sweeping both Team Maryland and Philadelphia Little Flyers. There is no question that head coach Adam Houli and company are ready to tackle teams from the north and finish the job – but only time will tell.

New Jersey is set for a 7:15 p.m. puck drop on Wednesday and hits the ice against the defending EHL champions in the Avs. The contest marks New Jersey’s first appearance at the league’s Frozen Finals and the Garden State received depth scoring on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck throughout the postseason.

While forward Dante Terramani leads the 87’s with seven points (3g-4a), skaters Matthew Bielinski (1g-4a—5PTS) and Dylan Gutierrez (1g-3a—4PTS) also weren’t strangers to the scoresheet.

Perhaps the backend for the gold and blue is the difference maker at the finals, or is it between the pipes?

Yet, let’s not forget about the EHL’s leading point-scorer from this season in Kei Yasuda. Yes, teams will target and attempt to take away No. 9’s time and space – but the Japan native knows a thing or two about performing and experiencing the big stage.

MARCH 23RD, 2021
Frozen Finals Preview
Episode #064 -- The #ECrew

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#2 Boston Jr. Rangers

After sweeping the Walpole Express in the Central Division Final, the Jr. Rangers aim for their first-ever EHL championship. Boston enters the Frozen Finals with the best goal-differential for the postseason (+12) and allowed the fewest number of goals (6) for the 2020-21 EHL playoffs.

The red, white, and blue are led by forward Connor Bizal, who netted two goals and chipped in three helpers for five points in four games. Let’s not forget that the Jr. Rangers’ x-factor in Johnny Malandruccolo, who also recorded five points this postseason (1g-4a).

Yet, between the pipes, it’s been Nathan Mueller standing tall. The Rogers, MN native has turned away 91 of 97 total shots in four contests, while posting a 1.60 goals-against-average (GAA).

#3 Lumberjacks Hockey Club

The Lumberjacks were arguably this year’s Cinderella story for the league’s recent version of March Madness. Head coach Jim Mosso and company swept the New England Wolves in Round 2 and then took down the Seacoast Spartans in the North Division Final.

The Lumberjacks face-off with the Boston Jr. Rangers for a 4:30 p.m. puck drop on Wednesday, which also marks the first time this season the two foes meet. Jimmy and the ‘Jacks offense surely wasn’t frozen this postseason, either. The Lumberjacks enter the finals leading all four teams with 23 goals-for and join both the Jr. Rangers and 87’s with 4-0 records this postseason. Forwards Paul Fine-Lease (3g-8a) and Egan Schmitt (6g-5a) lead the Lumberjacks with 11 points.

#4 New Hampshire Avalanche

Let’s get the elephant out of the room…

Yes, the Avalanche were swept by the Spartans and eliminated from playoff contention in Round 2, but the reality is – New Hampshire still alive. It’s arguably a whole new season for head coach Chris Cerrella and his Avs down south in Philadelphia.

This hockey enthusiast [Kyle McKenna] said endlessly throughout the 2020-21 campaign – ‘expect the unexpected’ – just ask the ECrew.

The Avalanche earned the league’s “at-large bid” after winning the North Division for the regular season and are the lone Frozen Finals team that enters the event not having won a game for the postseason. Captain Chris Aarons and his Avs entailed depth scoring and a defensive-styled game all season in addition to their biggest strength in net – why count them out?

Keep in mind that Aarons won the 2018-19 title with New Hampshire and, well, exposure and experience are of the essence at this time of the year.

The old saying that “defense wins championships” could portray itself again in front of the EHL family at Ice Line. It’s possible that a goaltender can carry teams in the postseason and look no further than George McMicheal for the Avs. The Goldens Bridge, NY native not only posted 16 wins this season, but recorded a .930 save % and three shutouts on the year.

Either way, see you at Ice line…

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