The Philadelphia Little Flyers started with adversity right out of the playoff gate.
By Joshua Boyd
They took that adversity, gleaned everything they could from it, and brought it right to the Eastern Hockey League Premier championship series.
The Little Flyers are making their second straight appearance in the EHL Premier best-of-five series, and are certainly hungry for a title after falling to the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs last year.
The Connecticut Nighthawks beat the Little Flyers in their first playoff game, 3-1, but from there, the Little Flyers did not look back.
“We knew we were going to have tough competition every round,” said head coach Rocky Russo. “It started in Game 1 of the first series when we lost to the Nighthawks. All of a sudden, we have our backs against the wall in Game 2. We managed to rally in Games 2 and 3.”
Echoing their record 30-game winning streak during the regular season, the Little Flyers won their next six straight playoff games. They beat the Nighthawks 2-1, the New York Apple Core 2-0, and the New Jersey Rockets 2-0.
“We did a great job against the Rockets, and showed we were capable of winning the high-scoring games,” said Russo.
The Little Flyers won, 6-4, in Game 1, and then showed their mettle in a tighter contest, beating the Rockets in Game 2, 3-1.
“We got great performances in goal from Sam Kany and Joe Giacobbo, and we had a lot of good things going on offensively,” added Russo.
During the regular season, the Little Flyers saw their finals opponents the Junior Flyers five teams, winning three times, losing once in overtime and losing once in regulation. The losses for the Little Flyers were in the latter two games.
“They know how we play, we know how they play. It’s strictly about execution, and which guys are able to score and elevate their games in big moments,” Russo added. “Both teams are going to do a good job on special teams, and both teams are sound defensively.”
Kany and Giacobbo continue to be a dream duo in net, with save percentages, respectively, of .946 and .941.
“They’ve both handled not knowing when each is going to play like pros,” said Russo. “They’ve pushed each other throughout the year. Neither one has given the staff a reason to skip their start.”
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