But in the blink of an eye, it all changed.
With just over four minutes to play in the second, Marcus Gurega blasted a missile over Syre’s shoulder to give the Hitmen life. Only a minute later, Brock Bowers snapped a wrist shot past Syre to draw the Hitmen to within one. The onslaught continued as Thomas Foschini found a loose puck in front just forty seconds later and stuffed it home to tie the game.
The Whalers called their timeout and replaced Syre in net but it did not matter.
Immediately off the next faceoff, Frank Steffe found Danny Cangelosi wide open in front who slammed it home to give the Hitmen a 5-4 lead. A lead they would not relinquish.
The third period was all Hitmen as they controlled play and kept the Whalers at bay. Braden Ploehn struck on the power play to give the boys in blue a 6-4 lead with just under nine minutes to play. An empty net goal by Evan Hoey sealed it with 1:18 to play and the victory gave the Hitmen the series win as they went 5-3 against their in-state rivals.
The Jersey Hitmen are now in sole possession of the entire USP3 division.