ASTON, Pa. -- You know Trey Mattern was feeling it when he was doing more than just stopping the puck on Saturday night.
Sure, 24 saves look great on the box score. First career junior shutout? Even better.
But the 2003 birth year even managed to pick up a rare goalie assist in the Philadelphia Little Flyers EHL Premier team’s 7-0 blowout win over the New Jersey 87s at IceWorks Skating Complex.
“It felt awesome,” Mattern said. “My defense was great in front of me. We scored when we had to. We got pucks out when we had to and that’s all that counts.”
The Little Flyers set the tone early. Angelo Carboni was robbed on the first shift of the game when 87s netminder Cole Moore made a huge glove save.
Jack Ellis, working with Steven Griffin, Ryan Kertis, Thomas Yocum and Carboni, was stopped point blank twice about 13 minutes into the opening period. The five-man unit had New Jersey pinned for a good minute and 15 seconds before a whistle put a halt to play.
Mattern inserted himself into the action with a glove save of his own at 11:30. PLF upped the aggression shortly after and shots were at a premium.
Back-to-back penalty calls on Brock Forrest (elbowing) at 10:00 and Ben Peiffer at 10:26 (high-sticking) led to a 5-on-3 advantage for Philadelphia. Ellis wasted no time on the PP, deflecting an Anthony Conti point shot for a 1-0 lead. Nicholas Bouchard picked up the secondary assist after a nice cycle back to Conti.
Patrick Price put the Little Flyers up 2-0 with just over four minutes remaining in the first. Jon Rineer made it all happen when he crashed the boards hard on the forecheck. Kelly Stroik was there to support Rineer and fed Price in the slot for his fourth goal of 2020-21.
Bouchard and Price were whistled for boarding and cross-checking, respectively, at 17:17 and 18:26 but Mattern came up big with three saves on the 5-on-3 to help PLF maintain a two-goal lead.
Then it was Mattern's turn to get in on the offense. After an 87s dump-in early in the second period, Mattern banked a pass off the boards to Ellis in the neutral zone. Ellis mimicked his goalie to get the puck up to a streaking Johnny Lee, who snuck behind a defender and beat Moore five-hole to make it 3-0.
Bouchard connected with Conti again at 9:31 on a cycle that mirrored Philadelphia’s first marker. Bouchard danced around two defenders and dropped the puck up high to Conti, who sent a shot on target that deflected off a New Jersey player past Moore.
The Little Flyers kept their foot on the gas entering the third period. Logan Downs made a breakout pass to Jake Findley, who deked around an 87s defenseman, cut to the middle of the ice and made a backhanded drop pass. Bouchard finished the play off to give the home team a 5-0 lead.
Philadelphia found themselves down two men again after Stroik and Downs were called for hooking and holding infractions. That was no problem for Mattern, who turned aside another four shots on the kill.
Fresh off the PK, Stroik had a spectacular individual effort to give PLF a 6-0 lead. The 2002 birth year intercepted a pass at center ice, chipped the puck deep and outmuscled a defender in the corner before cutting to the middle of the ice and firing a quick wrister over Moore's glove.
Griffin added a power-play goal with 28 seconds remaining to make it 7-0. Kertis' initial offering was deflected in front. Ellis attempted to cash-in on a bouncing puck but it landed on Griffin's stick for his fourth tally of the season.
It was a total team effort for the Little Flyers, who received goals from seven different skaters after a disappointing 6-0 loss to the New Jersey Renegades in their last contest.
"It was huge," Mattern said. "The game last week was a tough loss but to come in our own building and win by seven was a great feeling."
With a goal and two assists, Bouchard moved into a tie for first place in the EHL Premier in points. He has four goals and 12 assists in nine games. … Mattern improved to 4-1-0 and raised his save percentage to .908 after going a perfect 24 for 24 in shots on Saturday. … Ellis (3G, 3A) and Stroik (2G, 4A) each have six points in their last five games. … Philadelphia has seven players with at least four goals so far this season. Downs leads the team with five and Bouchard, Stroik, Ellis, Price, Griffin and Lee each have four. … The Little Flyers will travel to Jersey Shore Arena for a 12:30 p.m. matchup with the 87s on Sunday to complete the home-and-home set.