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Creelman Steals The Show As Rockets Advance
Rockets Upend Cyclones and Panthers In Route To Securing Wild Card Seed

03/19/13

Newark, NJ - The New Jersey Rockets, on the strength of a 73 save performance from goaltender Joshua Creelman (’96 birth year/High Bridge, NJ) advanced to the Keegan Cup Championship Finals by defeating the Northern Cyclones and the Central Penn Panthers this past weekend at the AmeriHealth Pavilion.

On Friday night, the Central Penn Panthers opened used a four-goal third period to come from behind and defeat the Northern Cyclones 4-3.  Robert Zwigart (’95 birth year/Harrisburg, PA) scored two goals in the period, part of the Panthers three goals in a 2:14 span. 

The Panthers fell behind in the second period, after the two teams battled through a scoreless first.  Following an early third period goal by Devin Murray (’93 birth year/Saugus, MA), Panthers netminder Sam Peluso (’93 birth year/Farmington, CT) settled down in between the pipes and kept the Cyclones off the board in the remainder of the period until Jordan Klimovsky (’94 birth year/Harrisburg, PA) finally solved Tyler Fay (’94 birth year/Manchester, NH) with a power play goal at the 3:26 mark of the third.

On the brink of elimination, the Cyclones returned to ice on Saturday to face-off with the Rockets.  Getting on the board with a shorthanded goal from Jeremy Young (’93 birth year/Lynnfield, MA), the Cyclones tried to keep the pressure on the Rockets goaltender, but Creelman wouldn’t allow another goal, making 29 saves along the way, keeping the Rockets in the game, until Michael Gillespie (’96 birth year/New City, NY) gave the Rockets a lead with less than five minutes remaining, ending the Cyclones season.

In a rematch of their Columbus Day Weekend Showcase matchup, the Rockets and the Panthers took to the ice on Sunday, in a winner take all game and the loser would have their season come to an end.  Setting the tone from the opening face-off, the Panthers tried to sustain pressure on Creelman, but the High Bridge native was up to the task, making save after save.

The two teams remained scoreless until Rockets captain Chris Gambardella (’96 birth year/Staten Island, NY) scored with 3:42 remaining in the second period.  The Rockets would add an early third period goal to go up 2-0 and Creelman would make 23 saves in the third period to preserve the victory.  Troy Conzo (’97 birth year/Nesconset, NY) would add an empty net goal for the game’s final 3-0 margin.

Creelman allowed one goal on seventy-four shots over the two games in the round-robin weekend.  “Josh was outstanding all weekend,” said New Jersey Rockets Head Coach and Director of Player Development Bob Thornton.  “He made every key save and carried the team on his back.  We wouldn’t be in a position to defend our Keegan Cup Championship without Josh.  He was a difference maker this weekend.” 

The victory returns the Rockets to the Keegan Cup Championships with a chance to defend their 2012 title.  The Rockets will join the Richmond Generals, the Long Island Royals and the Boston Junior Rangers in the round robin finals, being held at Ice Line Quad Rinks in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  All games are available on Fast Hockey.

Founded by former New York Rangers General Manager Emile Francis and now celebrating its 46th year of existence, making it the oldest USA Hockey-sanctioned Junior hockey league in the United States, the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League (MET League or MJHL) has a membership of 18 teams across 9 state and prides itself on player development for athletes ages 16-20 who aspire to reach higher levels of junior, collegiate and professional hockey.

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