Jackals Weekly Release 1/5-1/11




ELMIRA, N.Y. - January 5, 2015 - The Elmira Jackals, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and AHL's Rochester Americans, return home to face Brampton on Friday and travel to Wheeling on Saturday. The Jackals are coming off of a four-game road trip, which took them to Pennsylvania, Georgia and South Carolina.

Last Week's Record: 2-1-1
Overall Record: 17-13-4; fourth place in East Division, sixth place in Eastern Conference

Goals: Matt Tassone (14)
Assists: Steven Shamanski (15)
Points: Matt Tassone (24)
+/-: Matt Tassone (+14)
PIMs: Matt Tassone (76)
PPG: Matt Tassone, Steven Shamanski &Taylor Stefishen (4)
SHG: Matt Tassone, Taylor Stefishen & Mike Seidel (1)
Wins: Travis Fullerton (10)
GAA: Sam Marotta (2.54)
SVP: Sam Marotta (.914)

Previewing the Upcoming Week:

1/9 vs. Brampton Beast - 7:05 p.m. EST
Home vs. BRM 2-0-0, Away vs. BRM
The Jackals return home to face the Brampton Beast for the third of six meetings this season, including the third of three at First Arena. Elmira first ever meeting against Brampton resulted in a 3-2 overtime Jackals victory. Matt Tassone scored a goal-of-the-year candidate, Kevin Hart notched his first professional goal and Brayden Irwin buried the game-winner. The next night the the line of Stefishen-Tassone-Irwin combined for 12 points, with each player recording four-point nights. Sam Marotta made 29 saves in his professional debut to earn his first win. Since the last time these two teams met, the Donati twins were reunited as Justin returned to North America to skate alongside his twin brother, Tyler. The Donati brothers combined to lead the Jackals during the 2009-10 season as Tyler tallied 114 points and was named the ECHL MVP as Justin recorded 104 points and was named the ECHL rookie of the year. Tyler's 76 assists and 114 points that season are still Jackals' single-season records.

1/10 at Wheeling Nailers - 7:35 p.m. EST
Home vs. WHL 1-1-0, Away vs. WHL 0-0-1
 On Saturday, the Jackals visit WesBanco Arena to face the Nailers for the fourth of 13 meetings this season, including the second of seven in Wheeling. The last time these two rivals met the Nailers snuck by the Jackals 2-0, including an empty-net goal. The hatred between the Jackals and Nailers has intensified in each game this season. The last meeting resulted in 42 penalty minutes, 10 power-plays and a near line brawl. That was the second time this season that a line brawl almost broke out between the two former Atlantic Division rivals. The night before, the Jackals stormed past the Nailers 6-3, behind Mike Seidel's hat-trick and four-point nights from Seidel, Steven Shamanski and Allan McPherson. The game also included two fights and 52 combined penalty minutes. In the first meeting this season, Todd Orlando was injured during a fight with Chaz Johnson and has not returned to the lineup since. Nick Tuzzolino also dropped the gloves during the feisty contest. Taylor Stefishen and Seidel scored in the first period but the Jackals fell 3-2 in the shootout.


Recapping Last Week:

12/31 at Reading: W 4-0
Box Score, Recap

The Jackals and Royals dropped the puck for the third consecutive meeting to round out 2014, but before either team could score the game's first goal, the gloves were dropped at Santander Arena. Justin Daniels, who opened the season with Reading and skated in five games for the Royals, challenged Adam Hughesman to a fight and rained rights down on his combatant. Justin Daniels drew a double-minor for high sticking against Brandon Alderson with six seconds remaining in the second period, which would turn the tide in the third frame. The Jackals quickly broke the scoreless tie in the third period with a power-play marker from captain Matt Tassone 1:54 into the frame. Colin Jacobs and Lucas Bloodoff earned the assists on Tassone's team-leading 13th goal of the season. Less than two minutes later Steven Shamanski snuck a shot through the five-hole of Martin Ouellette and doubled the Jackals' advantage. Jacobs and Kevin Hart assisted Shamanski's seventh goal of the season at 3:36 of the period. Jacobs' generosity would pay off at 7:02 of the third period when he benefited from a two-on-one feed from Keith Buehler. Jacobs received the saucer pass in the slot and made a silky deke to the backhand and beat Ouellette for his third of the season. One minute and twenty four seconds later Phil Bronner would redirect a point shot past Ouellette for his first ECHL goal. Tassone and Zach Tolkinen earned the helpers on Bronner's first marker. The stifling Jackals defense shutdown the Royals in the final 11 minutes of the third period and helped Marotta record his first pro shutout.

1/2 at Gwinnett: L 0-4
Box Score, Recap

The Jackals opened the 2015 calendar year with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Louis Domingue and the Gwinnett Gladiators. The Jackals opened the game on the attack and pressured the Gladiators throughout the early portion of the first period. However, the first strike of the night belonged to Gwinnett's captain, Sean Berkstresser, who picked up a loose puck in the Jackals' zone, drove down the left circle and cut to the backhand for his fifth goal of the season. In the second period, Elmira turned up the intensity and continued to press offensively, but each time Domingue was up to the task. The Jackals out-shot the Gladiators 10-3 in the second period but the score remained 1-0 following 40 minutes of action. The Jackals opened the third period with the man advantage and a chance to tie the game. However, just as Gwinnett's penalty was expiring Nick Tuzzolino was whistled for slashing and gave the Gladiators an opportunity to extend their lead. Just 23 seconds into the power-play Joe Stejskal's shot from the point was blocked in front of the net but the loose puck wasn't cleared and ended up on the stick of Will MacDonald, who deposited it for his third goal of the season. Gwinnett would strike again with the man advantage just over four minutes later. Tristin Llewellyn blasted a shot from the point purposely wide of the net, in an attempt to create a rebound opportunity for Casey Pierro-Zabotel along the goal-line. Pierro-Zabotel handled the hard bounce off of the backboards and scored his 10th goal of the season. Garry Nunn would add the Gladiators' fourth marker at 12:45 of the frame. Sam Marotta turned aside 19 of 23 shots but was handed the loss.

1/3 at Gwinnett: W 2-1
Box Score, Recap

The Jackals finished their two-game season series against the Gwinnett Gladiators with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Travis Fullerton and Louis Domingue traded save for save throughout the first 20 minutes, turning aside each shot on goal. In the second period, the Jackals upped their pressure and continued to grind in the Gwinnett end in search for their first goal of the two-game set. The first marker would come at 7:00 of the middle frame when Kevin Hart blasted a slapshot from the point through traffic which deflected off of Keith Buehler in front for his first professional goal. Justin Sawyer also added an assist on Buehler's first goal. Only 75 seconds later the Jackals would strike again. The individual effort of Phil Bronner in the offensive zone forced a defensive turnover by the Gladiators, allowing him to spin and fire the puck past a surprised Domingue. Bronner's marker was his second ECHL goal and would prove to be the game-winner. Later in the second period Justin Sawyer dropped the gloves with Dyson Stevenson and hammered rights down on his counterpart. The Gladiators would cut into the Jackals lead nearing the end of the second period when Brenden Walker snuck a low wrist shot through traffic and past Fullerton. The Jackals entered the third period with a 2-1 lead and a 10-0-1 record when leading after two periods. The Jackals would improve their mark to 11-0-1 with a tremendous team effort in the final 20 minutes. Zach Tolkinen earned his first professional fight early in the period off of a faceoff against Patrick MacGregor. Elmira spent much of the final frame in the Gwinnett end, stifling the Gladiators' breakouts and bogging down their speed. Fullerton turned aside 31 of 32 shots faced for his 10th win of the season.

1/4 at Greenville: SOL 2-3
Box Score, Recap

Elmira embarked on the final leg of its four-game road trip and earned a point in a 3-2 shootout loss at Greenville. In the first period, the Jackals out-shot the Road Warriors 10-9 despite taking three penalties to Greenville's zero. Elmira's penalty kill was stellar, especially during an early 5-on-3, which lasted for 1:06 in the opening frame. The Jackals were rewarded for strong penalty killing at 13:28 when the captain Matt Tassone found the loose puck off of Nick Tuzzolino's point shot and deposited it for his team-leading 14th goal of the season. The Jackals opened the second period on the power-play, but could not take advantage of the opportunity with the man advantage. Seconds after killing another penalty, the Jackals were adjusting their unit on the ice and gave up two breakaways to the Road Warriors. Emerson Clark scored on Greenville's second breakaway and tied the game 1-1 4:52 into the middle frame. Samuel Noreau and Scott Arnold earned assists on Clark's 11th goal of the year. As the game remained tied past the halfway mark of the final regulation frame, Mitch Holmberg and Colin Jacobs would rise to the occasion. Holmberg picked up the puck with space in the Jackals' end due to a delayed offsides call against Greenville. He weaved out of his own zone, through the neutral zone and into the Road Warriors' end on the left wing side where he made a nifty move to the backhand and dropped a pass in the slot for Jacobs, who was streaking into the zone. Jacobs slammed the puck past Greenville goaltender Garrett Bartus to put the Jackals ahead 2-1 11:42 into the third period. With less than three minutes remaining in regulation the Road Warriors turned up the pressure and desperately battled for the tying goal. As a scrum ensued in front of the Jackals net Tyler Brown poked the puck past Fullerton and a host of Jackals to tie the game 2-2 with 2:53 remaining. After 65 minutes, the game would go to the shootout. Colin Jacobs scored in the first round for the Jackals and Nick Tuzzolino would score in the sixth round to keep the shootout going, but in the eighth round Michael St. Croix would score, giving Greenville the 3-2 win. Fullerton turned aside 32 of 34 shots faced and five more in the shootout but was handed the hard-fought shootout loss.  


Quick Hits:


* Sam Marotta leads all rookie goaltenders with a 2.54 goals-against-average and ranks second with a .914 save percentage. 


* Steven Shamanski leads all rookie defensemen with seven goals and 11 power-play points. He is tied for the league lead among rookie defensemen with 22 points.   


* Elmira is 11-0-1 when leading after two periods.


*Elmira is 13-2-3 when scoring first.


* Elmira ranks second in the league with 715 penalty minutes.


* Nick Tuzzolino ranks second among ECHL defensemen with 94 shots on goal.


* Matt Tassone leads the league with seven first goals.


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Upcoming Events:


Friday, January 9: Elmira Jackals vs. Brampton Beast, 7:05 p.m. EST. All Elmira Jackals broadcasts are carried on WNGZ 104.9 FM and 93.5 FM in Elmira. Neulion provides pay-per-view internet TV broadcasts of all Jackals games as well. Check out how you can watch the Jackals on Neulion by clicking here. All Jackals broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to faceoff with the Pregame Show. Visit jackalshockey.com for tickets.

Saturday, January 10: Elmira Jackals at Wheeling Nailers, 7:35 p.m. EST. All Elmira Jackals broadcasts are carried on WNGZ 104.9 FM and 93.5 FM in Elmira. Neulion provides pay-per-view internet TV broadcasts of all Jackals games as well. Check out how you can watch the Jackals on Neulion by clicking here. All Jackals broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to faceoff with the Pregame Show. Visit jackalshockey.com for tickets.