Marlboro, MA- Conor O’Neil scored twice and added two assists to lead the Jersey Hitmen to a 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the first game of the USPHL Premier Division Dineen Cup Championship Series.
Jake O’Borsky gave the Hitmen an early lead when Jared Dedenbach sent him skating down the right wing. He broke toward the net and beat Flyers goaltender Joe Young down low 2:38 into the game. Ben Israel also assisted on the play.
Just 22 seconds later, Mike Laffin won a faceoff in the Flyers zone and sent the puck back to Connor Brassard, who ripped a shot past Young from the point.
Chase Hatcher put the Flyers on the board with 4:55 to play in the period when he exited the penalty box, picked up a loose puck, and skated in down the left wing. He shifted the puck to his backhand as he cut in toward the net and backhanded it over Hitmen goaltender Chris Funkey.
The Flyers tied the game 3:36 into the second period when Hatcher sent the puck to Ryan Badger in the left circle. Badger then passed to Gregg Burmaster in the slot and Burmaster tipped it past Funkey.
The Hitmen broke the tie three minutes later when Laffin set up Patrick Schule, whose shot was saved by Young, but Conor O’Neil banged the puck home.
Dedenbach made it 4-2 when he buried Santino Ragone’s rebound at 11:43. O’Borsky was also credited with an assist.
Burmaster pulled the Flyers within one when he scored from Tyler Wyatt after a faceoff at 14:30.
Schule restored the two-goal lead with 2:53 remaining when lit the lamp with assists from Luke Rodgers and Santino Ragone.
Josh Henke put the Hitmen up 6-3 early in the third when he took a pass from Bryan Yim across the slot and roofed it over Young.
Bryce Eviston netted an unassisted power play goal for the Flyers with 5:43 to play, but the Hitmen responded with a goal by O’Neil from Schule and Laffin twelve seconds later.
Young made 43 saves for the Flyers while Funkey stopped 21 shots.
The teams will rematch tomorrow at 5:10 PM.