Walpole, MA - This past weekend, the Walpole Express Elite wrapped up their regular season with a 4-2 win over the Northern Cyclones, a 5-2 win against the Vermont Lumberjacks, and a 6-1 loss to the Boston Bandits. The team closed out its regular-season campaign with an impressive 29-12-1 record, good enough for third place in the Eastern Hockey League Elite Division.
“These guys work so hard all year it’s not surprising to find ourselves in the top half of the league,” Coach Cos Polino said. “The team looks to continue their strong play into the playoffs, taking place next weekend.”
The game itself was a battle as the score stalled at 0-0 through two periods of play. Fortunately, the third held much more excitement. Jared Balzarini opened the scoring on the power play in the first minute of the frame. The Lumberjacks struck back to tie the game at 1 but as time wore on the Express took control. Connor Forbes scored back-to-back goals to increase the Express lead to 3-1. Xander Mavrogiannis extended the lead to 4-1. The period ended 5-2 with and empty net goal from Eric Wright. Brad Arvanitis stopped 34 of 36 shots in the victory.
Despite the loss, the Express hold the third seed entering the playoffs. This year the playoffs will follow a round-robin format with the team owning the best record in each bracket advancing to the finals. The Express faceoff against the New England Wolves at 4:40 pm on Friday, the Boston Jr. Rangers at 4:20 pm on Saturday, and the Valley Jr. Warriors at 4:45 pm on Sunday at the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury.