PROVIDENCE, RI -- The Boston Jr. Rangers and the New Jersey 87’s squared off to open their bids for a championship.
Boston came to Providence with some tough series behind them, the 87s swept their way here. There was a very nice pace to start, with the Rangers seeing the better of the early chances. Drake Tomak and Charlie Mulligan were flying around Providence. Despite the hot start, the Rangers would find themselves trailing 1-0. Shay Keating, the captain lit the lamp after a Dominik Wiatrowski shot found him on the doorstep. After the first goal, the game would settle down. Neither team giving an inch, and a plethora of neutral zone hockey. Boston would draw the first penalty of the game late in the first period, building some momentum into the middle frame. AJ Golden was a perfect 12/12 in the first frame in the 87s crease.
New Jersey would kill off the remainder of the power play and try to get the momentum back on their side. New Jersey would get their first power-play of the day eight minutes into the second period. They failed to convert, mustering up just one shot on Nicholas Mutschler. The 87s would go back to the power-play late in the second, failing to convert on the first 1:54. We left the second the same way we started it 1-0 87s.
The remainder of the 87s power-play was killed off and the Rangers were looking to tie the game. The Rangers would find themselves killing another penalty just two minutes after killing off the previous. Boston was able to kill the penalty, but they were still down a goal as the third grew older. With both teams grinding away, the game got chippier as it dwindled down. The push was on from the Rangers, and they drew a penalty with the extra attacker. Drake Tomak scored with 37 seconds left to tie the game off a beautiful feed from Charlie Mulligan. The Rangers would take a penalty right after scoring and go to overtime down a man.
New Jersey was unable to convert on their 4 on-3 power play and the teams were back to even strength. We played over a minute of 4 on 4 before heading to 3 on 3 after the kill. The Rangers had two odd-man rushes in the extra frame but could not convert. New Jersey had a great look on Mutschler with under a minute to go. Golden stopped 30/31 and Mutschler stopped 27/28. The teams skated to a 1-1 tie.
After a hard-fought game, we spoke with each team. Coach Conall McNelis of the 87s stated, “We were good at times and bad at times. We skated to the end and this was a good first test for us.” The Captain Shay Keating was proud of his team, “ We felt good and came out strong…. We stuck to the plan.” On the Rangers side, Assistant Coach Derick Paxton told us, “We were resilient to get a point, I am proud of our guys, but it is right back to work. We control our own fate.” Captain Jack Lehman thought the battle level was there, “We battled back and stole a point. We are going to take this momentum and move toward the championship.” Boston is back tomorrow at 4:00 PM to take on the Avalanche, and New Jersey will meet the Railers at 7:00 PM.