2009-04-03 / Sports

Jersey Hops Over Aces To Win EPHL Championship

By Elio Velez

The Brooklyn Aces give one last salute to the crowd. The Brooklyn Aces give one last salute to the crowd. The Brooklyn Aces had one major obstacle standing between them and winning the first ever Eastern Professional Hockey League Championship last Saturday night.

The obstacle's name was Nick Niedert. The Jersey Rockhoppers goalkeeper stonewalled the Aces with 43 saves as he helped give the visitors a 4-1 victory at the Aviator Arena in Floyd Bennett Field.

Niedert was dynamite tonight," Aces head coach Chis Firriolo said to acesoverbrooklyn.com. "He showed why he was MVP."

Jersey won the third and final game in the best of three series after losing the opener last Thursday in overtime. Chris Ferazzoli was named the EPHL championship MVP.

Niedert, named the EPHL Most Valuable Player in the regular season shutout the Aces once Tony Resendes scored in the third period to tie the game 1.

The goal, which happened at the 6:15 mark, was the last the Aces would score this season. Less than 30 seconds later, Drew Sanders wristed a goal past Aces goalkeeper Eddie Neville to take a 2-1 lead.

Aces goalkeeper Eddie Neville gets ready to pounce on the loose puck. Aces goalkeeper Eddie Neville gets ready to pounce on the loose puck. Brooklyn scrambled to get back the tying goal and with just under 2 minutes remaining, Aces coach Chris Firriolo removed Neville and placed a sixth attacker on the ice.

But Jersey took advantage of the empty net. Matt Puntureri and Chris Ferazzoli each tallied the gameclinching goals to make it 4-1.

"I cannot put into words how proud I am of this team," said Head Coach Brian Gratz. "To battle back from a 1-0 deficit in the series against a team as good as Brooklyn shows how much heart they have. And I have to tip my cap to the Aces for a great series and a great season."

The Aces had won the first game in overtime 3-2 on March 25. The Rockhoppers tied the series with a 5- 4 win the next night at Aviator on an overtime goal by Tom Boudreau.

"This is certainly a tough loss to swallow," said Aces Owner Alan Friedman. "But I have to say thank you to all of the great Aces fans for a spectacular season, and we will bring home the championship for them next year."

The Jersey Rockhoppers celebrate winning the EPHL title. All photos by Ryan Schwach. The Jersey Rockhoppers celebrate winning the EPHL title. All photos by Ryan Schwach.

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