The NJ Grizzlies, PIHA’s 2009-2010 Eastern Conference Champions opened the 2010-2011 campaign on the road and it was a tough start. The Grizzlies traveled to Pottstown to face 422 Team Blue for a four game night. After many changes in the off season, the Grizzlies line up features younger players like Timmie Fulton, Nick Allison and Jon Lucente, while adding scoring forwards such as JJ Fichter and Jim Redstreake and defenseman like Mike Keating and Matt Grossi. The only remaining players from last years team are James Manganaro, Chris Wolf, Robbie Fulton, Phil Cocozzo and goaltender Andrew Goworek. With that in mind and in the absence of a defenseman and goaltender, the Grizzlies dressed Joe Cestaro in goal and try out basis defenseman Ray Katinsky. “We have a brand new line up from last season, so it was good to see how would respond to many situations” says General Manager Denis Jelcic.
Team Blue would come out fired up for their first season in the PIHA Pro Division and give the Grizzlies alot of trouble. In Game one Chris Wolf would take a pass from Phil Cocozzo and Robbie Fulton to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead which would stand for quite some time until Team Blue tied it at 1-1 in the second half, and the first game would go to overtime. In overtime a 2 on 1 would lead to 422 Team Blue’s first win of the season 2-1, the Grizzlies would get one point for the overtime loss. In Game 2 it would be a 2-0 Grizzlies win with goaltender Andrew Goworek pitching a shut out in goal, goals from Robbie Fulton on a terrific backhand assisted by James Manganaro would give them a 1-0 lead and before halftime they would add to the lead with a power play goal from Jim Redstreake assisted by Manganaro, the Grizzlies got their first win of the season to improve to 1-1-0.
Game 3 would be all Team Blue with a 4-1 win, with the lone goal coming from Ray Katinsky, assisted by Matt Grossi and Phil Cocozzo. Joe Cestaro would see his first action of the season coming to finish out Game 3 for Goworek who needed the rest. Game 4 would be a battle to finish out the night. The Grizzlies would go up 2-0 on two goals from Jim Redstreake, one assisted by Nick Allison and the other by Robbie Fulton and JJ Fichter. Team Blue would make it a 2-1 game, before the Grizzlies added a power play goal from Robbie Fulton on a pass from Phil Cocozzo and Nick Allison. Team Blue would make it 3-2 with a little over 6 minutes to go in the game, before Nick Allison sealed it with an empty net goal with :22 seconds left in Game 4. Although Jon Lucente and Timmie Fulton didn’t get to see their name on the scoresheet, they had many chances to make an impact and did just that.”We need some young legs to get in there and help us out. Over the long haul, they will be much more involved” added Jelcic.
The Grizzlies opened up the season on the road with a 2-1-1 record, with the star of the show being goaltender Andrew Goworek who opened the season in top form, facing 64 shots and stopping 56 only allowing 8 goals in 4 games. The Grizzlies next travel to Long Island to face the LI Sting on Saturday October 23 at 4:00pm, before returning home on Sunday October 24 for the Home Opener. Please come join us at ISCA when we honor the PIHA 2009-2010 Eastern Conference Champions.