Venue: The Z Rink (Glastonbury,CT )
Minor Start: 4:30pm / 5:15pm
Elite Start: 6:00pm / 7:00pm
The Rhode Island Mulissha earned their first two victories last weekend in Boston as they defeated their rivals the Beantown Bees. Josh Melo and Joshua Antunes lead the scoring attack against the Bees and they look to continue a quick start with another road series this weekend.
The Fire Ants have struggled in the minors since the loss of some of their younger talent to the elite team two years ago. This season they should have some added help from players formerly of the now defunct Boston Swamp Donkeys organization.
The Mulissha are the expected favorites in this series, but don’t underestimate a hungry and always hard working Fire Ants program. The Fire Ants are always deep in goaltending and are usually well coached and very disciplined. The Z Rink is one of the east coast’s nicest surfaces, as it is both large and quick. Christian Iacobellis and his running mates Melo and Antunes will have a lot of room to work with this weekend.
The Mulissha were overwhelmed by a very impressive Beantown Athletics in their first series of the season last week. Even in the loss John Pinheiro didn’t disappoint. His nine point evening was good for the top spot in the early scoring race in the AIHL Elite league. Many of the Mulissha players, including Pinheiro have spent years skating at the Z Rink, so don’t expect the size of rink to hurt the visiting team.
The Fire Ants come off back to back years in which they have earned playoff spots, only to see early exits at the hands of the same 495ers team both years. This year they will have to make do without Tyler Dasilva and Nick Tomczyk who have been a large part of their offensive the past two seasons. Although as young players usually are they could be defensive liabilities, which while it may leave the Ants looking for offense from other areas, it will only make them even more defensively sound as a unit. The Ants are an extremely deliberate group who take advantage of mistakes and do most of their damage on the man advantage. Goalie Jason Kalish once again back stops the Fire Ant net. A good portion of their success will likely be placed upon his shoulders in 2010-11.
Again the edge in this series may have to go to the Mulissha. John Pinheiro is simply a different class of player than anyone else on the floor. His attendance could once again make or break this series. The Mulissha will also need to stay out of the penalty box to be successful. The Fire Ant power play is usually lethal and they will find a way to win a tight game, especially with their solid defense and goaltending. The Fire Ants had a tough outting in the preseason festival and may have a statement to make.