ASTON, Pa. -- There's about 12 minutes worth of game footage that Mark Catron and the Philadelphia Little Flyers EHL team would probably like to bury out back.
Aside from that, there wasn’t much not to like about PLF’s effort in Monday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to the New Jersey 87s at IceWorks Skating Complex.
Catron’s group rallied back with a furious second-period push, finally started to click on the power play and limited mistakes as the game progressed.
Jake Frankenfield and Robbie Seewagen each scored and Jakub Kubik made 24 saves for the Little Flyers.
"I really liked the way our guys battled back," Catron said. "There were some positive things to come out of today's effort and I know our guys will continue to put the work in."
It was the first period, however, that did Philadelphia in. New Jersey got things rolling at 8:07 when Nick Swain deked to the middle of the ice on a 2-on-1 rush before finding Cal Couell in the slot for a 1-0 lead.
Another breakdown at the blue line proved costly for the Little Flyers just two minutes later. Swain collected a takeaway and fed Jon Gabriel on the wing before Kei Yasuda buried a quick one-timer to make it 2-0 on a second odd-man rush.
Kubik did his best to keep Philadelphia from unraveling, making glove and shoulder saves towards the end of the period. New Jersey wasn’t done its onslaught, though. Some good puck movement while on a 5-on-3 advantage gave the 87s a 3-0 lead going into the middle frame after Swain’s power-play tally from Couell and Yasuda at 17:45.
It took the Little Flyers until about halfway through the second to really dig deep. Kubik sparked the bench with a dazzling left pad save while doing a full split on an 87s breakaway.
Ryan Clear then gave PLF its best chance of the afternoon after powering through center ice and getting off an acrobatic shot while being dragged down by Ty Carter. The ensuing power play was unsuccessful but Philadelphia did manage to move the puck well and get a few shots on target.
The Little Flyers finally broke through during another opportunity on the man advantage. With Carter in the penalty box for slashing, the 87s sent a puck down towards Kubik. The netminder set up Frankenfield behind the net and Frankenfield took off. The 2000 birth year soared through the neutral zone, split two defenders at New Jersey’s blue line and faked a backhander before going top shelf on his strong hand to make it 3-1.
A Gabriel tripping minor put Philadelphia back on a power play at 17:52. Brett Turner corralled a pass at the blue line after a nice cycle behind the net. Turner moved the puck to Scott MeGraw at the opposite point. MeGraw took two strides towards the net and found Seewagen wide open at the top of the crease for a nice redirect goal.
With the game at 3-2 entering the third, both teams began to play more defensive-minded. Puck possession even out and the shot differential closed in.
Jimmy Bell was whistled for roughing four minutes and 45 seconds into the frame but that didn’t stop the Little Flyers from applying pressure. Josh Wilkins picked off a breakout attempt while shorthanded but was robbed on his breakaway shot.
87s goalie Jeremy Connor made arguably his best save of the game with 3:06 remaining. Kyle Patton sneaked past a defender and fired a heavy shot but Connor was able to get his glove up in time to deny him.
Catron pulled Kubik with just over a minute to go in a last-ditch effort to even the score. Unfortunately, New Jersey applied pressure at center ice and Francis Kienzle managed to put an empty-netter in to give his team a 4-2 victory.
MeGraw, who finished Monday with two helpers, has collected four of his five points this season on the power play (1G, 3A). … Seewagen is leading the Little Flyers in offense so far in 2020-21 with three goals and three assists in five games. … Philadelphia killed 4 out of 5 penalties against New Jersey and went 2 for 5 on the man advantage. … The Little Flyers are back in action Wednesday. They’ll travel to SoNo Ice House for an 11:30 matchup with the Connecticut RoughRiders.