Wayne, NJ - After dropping three of their last four games, and reeling from injuries, it looks as if the Hitmen have begun to right the ship. Sitting in a tie for the final home playoff spot with the CT Jr Rangers the Hitmen went out this past week and made some personnel adjustments to bolster their line up.
On Tuesday, the Hitmen added skilled, Rochester left wing, Austin Tonkovich, Syracuse second leading scorer, right wing, Anthony Tzveyn, along with Syracuse shut down defender, Austen Halpin, and CT Jr Rangers smooth skating, power play defenseman, Matt Cousino. These changes were sparked due in part to lackluster play, but more in part to the injury bug hitting Jersey. The Hitmen lost Niagara commit and assistant captain, Luke Edgerton, and roommate, forward, Logan Stork, both to season ending shoulder labrum surgeries. Couple that with NCDC all-star defenseman, Brett Callahan on IR due to a shoulder separation and 97 forward, Tyler Carangelo also on the shelf with a shoulder injury, the Hitmen not only needed healthy bodies, they needed a spark.
Preparing for a two game set at home versus the third place, South Shore Kings, the Hitmen spent the week speaking to the roster about culture, about getting back to the team's roots, playing blue collar hockey and competing for every loose puck. The 'new look' Hitmen did just that in sweeping the South Shore Kings taking another step closer to securing playoff home ice while creeping closer to the Kings in the standings.
On Saturday night, the Hitmen cruised to a 8-1 victory over the Kings behind four power play goals and a Herculean effort from the newly acquired, Anthony Tzveyn. Tzveyn, scored a power play goal and added 3 assists in his debut. His linemate, and another new face, Austin Tonkovich, also had a big night, scoring once and adding a helper. In the end, it was a true team effort as 15 Hitmen hit the scoresheet and Kris Carlson made 22 saves for his first Hitmen victory.
On Sunday afternoon, the Hitmen would start strong scoring the first three goals in the game (Quinn, Losurdo, Tonkovich (GWG)) going up 3-0, but the Kings would storm back scoring two shorthanded goals, only to fall short, 3-2. Again, Kris Carlson stood tall in goal making 23 saves in route to his second straight win in goal.
The Hitmen now take a week off, but set their sights on in state rival, the NJ Rockets in their next NCDC contest. The Hitmen will face off versus the Rockets Tuesday, February 6th at 7pm at the Ice Vault. Follow all the Hitmen NCDC games at www.HockeyTV.com with the voice of the Hitmen, Mike Sheehan.