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Rockhoppers Capture First EPHL Title

March 28, 2009 - Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL) News Release

Saturday night at the Aviator Arena in Brooklyn, NY the Jersey Rockhoppers captured the inaugural EPHL Championship with a 4-1 victory over the Brooklyn Aces in Game 3 of the Finals. Game 3 showed the best of what both teams had to offer. Goalies Nick Niedert and Eddie Neville renewed their rivalry for the third straight night and neither wanted to be the first to blink. The two traded glove saves in the first period, as both teams remained scoreless through the opening period. In the second, Finals MVP Chris Ferazzoli scored his 4th goal of the series after intercepting a pass in the offensive zone and beating Neville glove side for the game's first goal. Jersey took the 1-0 lead into the third period until Tony Resendes continued his late-game heroics from the regular season with a wrister past Niedert to tie the game at 1-1.

But for the second straight night, Jersey would answer quickly after giving up a third period goal. Tonight it was Drew Sanders taking an Alex Hager pass and giving the Rockhoppers a lead that they would not relenquish. As both teams peppered the net with shots throughout the third, Brooklyn found themselves with a face-off in the Jersey zone with 1:30 remaining in regulation. The Aces pulled the goalie to gain an extra skater advantage, but it was Jersey that took control of the face-off and Matt Puntureri flipped the puck from his own blue line into the net for the empty-netter to seal the win for the Rockhoppers. "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."

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