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By Dan Henningson, 03/01/18, 6:00PM EST


Wayne, NJ - The Jersey Hitmen Premier advance to Round 2 of the USPHL playoffs after sweeping the Connecticut Nighthawks.  

The Hitmen came out flying in game one and took an early lead on Andrew Dreher's redirection from defenseman Jack Keryluk's point shot. The Nighthawks weathered the storm and responded with 3 unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead midway through the 2nd period.   Austin Master found Trevor Veneklase for a backdoor tap in goal to cut the Nighthawk lead to 3-2.  The Hitmen kept the pressure on with Abel Christians feeding Matt Paiotti in the slot for a shorthanded goal, tying the game at 3 a piece heading into the 3rd period.  Josh Mead gave the Hitmen a 4-3 off another redirection but the resilient Nighthawks tied the game to force overtime despite being out shot 68-20 in regulation time.  Tristian Waechter was the overtime hero connecting on a pass from defenseman Coltin Craigo that beat the Nighthawk goalie short side.  Starter Cole Mulholland earned the victory making 18 saves.

The Hitmen sealed the series with a 3-2 win with goal scorers from Abel Christians, Zach Wilson and Trevor Veneklase.  Specialty teams were the difference maker in game two as all three Hitmen goals were scored on the power play. The Hitmen went 3/5 on the power play and killed off 6/7 penalties.  Starter Trevor Osborne was steady in net making 31 saves for the win.

Head Coach Dan Henningson on the weekend, "I was pleased with how we applied pressure throughout the series.  Our defensemen did a great job getting shots through and not allowing any odd man rushes.  The forwards were relentless on the forecheck and were consistently swarming the net redirecting pucks and hunting down rebounds.  The Nighthawks are a pesky team who are well coached and we are fortunate to come out of the series with an extra days' rest.  We are excited for the next challenge!"