Deluca Shines in Jokers 4-3 Playoff Victory

Jokers backup goalie John Deluca was called upon to man the net after a late scratch of starter Matt Chapman. Deluca was up for the task as he stopped 20 of 23 shots en route to a hard fought 4-3 first round playoff win for the Jokers of Doom hockey club over the Tomahawks. Also scratched for this game was the Jokers top goal scorer Graig Romberg and center Frank Melillo. Jeremy Battye stepped in and paced the offense with with a goal and 3 assists. The first period ended with a 1-0 Jokers lead on a goal by Phil Elliott. In the second the Jokers would extend the lead to 3-0 on goals by Battye and Ken Herren before the Tomahawks would put in a floater shot from the point past Deluca who was screened by a lot of traffic in front of the net. In the 3rd period a delayed penalty was about to be called on the Tomahawks less than a minute into the period however Battye found a wide open Jim Brunetti in front of the left side of the net and he found pay dirt with a quick wrist shot past the keeper. The Jokers would then hold on for dear life as the Tomahawks would score a goal with 3 and a half minutes remaining and another late goal at the 1:32 mark but after that they could not get the tying goal and the Jokers would emerge victorious. The Jokers will next face Hockey Balboa on Saturday afternoon with a trip to the finals on the line.

Jokers Snag 3rd Straight Win, 8-7

The Jokers of Doom (3-4) won their third straight contest with a wild 8-7 win Monday night over the Vipers (4-2-1). The Jokers came into the game without leading goal Graig Romberg, who has 8 goals in 3 games played on the season. In his absence Alix Langlais and Jeremy Battye had big games to make up the deficit.

Amazingly, every period of the game would result in 3 goals for one team and two for the other. Luckily for the Jokers, they were on the plus side in the 2nd and 3rd periods. In the first period, the Vipers would strike first as Chad Huck would snap in his own rebound from between the circles. Langlais would then add a rebound tap in power play goal on a Huck tripping penalty and a minute later John Deluca would score an unassisted goal after a steal in the Vipers end and a deflected pass that went in off of a defenseman. Alas, the Vipers would add 2 more goals before the period would end to hold a 3-2 lead.

In the second the Jokers would score the first 3 goals of the period, Battye would nab 2 goals sandwiched around a goal by Ken Herren. The Vipers would fight back with 2 goals of their own by Stan Capp, tying the game at 5-5 heading to the 3rd.

In the 3rd period the Vipers would strike first with a goal before the Jokers would again erupt for 3 straight goals from Phil Elliott, John DeLuca, and Battye’s hat trick goal. The Jokers never like to have a 2 goal lead for long, so they quickly allowed a Viper goal with about 1:20 remaining to make it an 8-7 game, but hung on the rest of the way with several zone clearing shots to preserve the victory. The win puts the Jokers right in the thick of the playoff race with several teams vying for a few spots. They currently hold the final playoff spot in 6th place with 6 points with 3 games remaining.

Notes: Jokers were outshot 33-29… Goalie Matt Chapman evens his record at 2-2… Frank Melillo nets 3 assists in the game… Alix Langlais 1 goal and 2 assists… Battye also added an assist for a 4 point night… Herren/Elliott 1 goal 1 assist each… Jim Brunetti 2 assists… Rich Orsini 1 assist 1 penalty.

Jokers Back On W Train – Shutout Vipers 7-0

The Jokers of Doom came into Wednesday night’s tilt with the Vipers coming off of a bitter 2-1 loss to the Tomahawks which snapping a 3 game win streak. This game saw the return of the father/son Salkins duo and the impact was high. Richie Orsini started the festivities with his first goal of the season with a quick wrist shot that found pay dirt stick side low on ex-Joker goalie Fernando Gomez assisted by Garrett Salkins and Kevin LaPrade. Orsin’s goal would end up being the game-winner as Andy Pettola bounced back with a stellar 28-save shutout. The first period would also feature a G. Salkins goal after a Viper turnover and a couple of shifty moves in front of the net. Josh Berrelli  would add a score later in the period assisted by Ken Herren and Jim Brunetti. The second period featured only one goal, a backhanded flip in on a 2-1 breakout by Herren on a sweet feed from Berrelli past the lone defenseman. In the third period the Jokers would tack on three more goals from Brunetti, as well as Berrelli, and G. Salkins with their second each of the game.

Throughout the game, both teams questioned the officials’ judgement on penalties, icings, and face off locations.

Notes: Berrelli made his rare presence felt with two goals and two assists… Pettola is now 3-1 and leads the division with 1.75 GAA and 93.5% save percentage… Frank Mellilo and John Condit missed the game for undisclosed reasons… Herren (1g,1a) now tied for league lead in goals (5) and points (8)… Jokers tripled their season PIM with three penalties in the game… next contest: Saturday January 20 vs Springfield Chiefs.

Jokers win; Berrelli brilliant!!

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.

Fisher, Romberg grab regular-season hardware

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.

Jokers escape with win in regular season finale

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.

Jokers defeat Yellow Jackets, improve to 8-1

The Jokers of Doom faced a familiar opponent in the Yellow Jackets on Saturday night, prevailing 4-1.  Pressure came early from the Jokers’ offense and goals soon followed. Less than three minutes into the game right winger Josh Berrelli made a spectacular move, fooling the Jackets’ goalie and gave the Jokers the early lead. Just minutes later Graig Romberg, filling in on defense, carried the ball over the center line and led captain Jim Brunetti with a cross-rink pass. Brunetti flicked a wrist shot high on the glove side to take an early 2-0 lead. Mid-way through the second period, Romberg blasted a slapshot that quickly found the net. Now down 3-0, the Yellow Jackets offense kept hustling and trying to find a way to get on the scoreboard. Jokers goalie Tim Fisher continued to play big though, limiting rebounds and controlling the clock. Romberg would add another goal late in the third period just before the Yellow Jackets would snag their only goal of the game. Fisher did stop 27 of 28 shots though to take control of the top spot in the division with one game to play.

Jokers struggle in loss to Elephantitus

In a potential championship preview, the Jokers lost 4-1 to Elephantitus on Saturday.

The last time these two teams faced each other, the Jokers prevailed, overcoming injuries and having only one bench player. Goalie Tim Fisher stymied the offense leaving players on both sides shaking their heads. This time though, the Jokers offense struggled to find a rhythm. Shots came in bunches and second chances couldn’t be cashed in. Chris McMullen filled in admirably for Fisher, stopping 29 of 32 tough shots and the defense did their best to contain Elephantitus’ eager offense.

There was a little excitement to start the third period with the Jokers trailing 3-0, center Frank Melillo poked at a loose ball which the opposing goalie took exception to. Players from both teams came in shoving and six minor penalties were assessed. Later in the period, winger Josh Berrelli put his team on the board making the score 3-1. Seconds later, with a faceoff deep in the Elephantitus zone, the Jokers took their only timeout and pulled McMullen in a last ditch effort to tie the game. Despite the extra attacker though, Elephantitus would tack on an empty-net goal and seal the win. The teams are now separated by a mere two points with two games left in each of their seasons


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