Friday, June 02, 2023

RYNJ hockey had come into this season with high expectations. With a core group of players who had played together for the last two years, and having gone from 2-8 to 7-3 and a semifinal playoff appearance, RYNJ was looking forward to having a strong season. They were not disappointed.

The season opened up with a 3-1 home win against a very tough, physical Ramaz Rams team. After a comfortable 8-0 win on the road at JEC, the Jaguars had their first big test: a road game at the defending champion SAR Sting, a place where they had lost 11-0 in the semifinals last year.

The Jaguars came out with a lot of intensity and took an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Avraham Gellman. SAR tied it up early in the 2nd period and scored two quick goals in the first minute of the 3rd period to take a 3-1 lead. The Jaguars scored two goals, by Ari Rosenberg and Eli Schiff with under 4 minutes to play, to send the game into overtime. After a hard fought overtime period which included RYNJ having to kill off a power play, and thanks to some stellar goaltending by Isaac Markovitz, the game ended in a well-deserved 3-3 tie.

The next test came vs. Yavneh at home. RYNJ was cruising with a 3-0 lead but gave up three goals in the last four minutes to send the game to OT. In OT, as he had done all year, Avraham Gellman scored on a breakaway to secure the win. Whenever the Jaguars needed a big goal, Avraham Gellman, Eli Schiff, Elli Spinowitz or Shlomo Gellman were always there to provide a scoring boost.

The next major test came at home against their rivals, the Noam Knights. This game was a hard fought game and RYNJ entered the third period up 2-1 on goals by Daniel Landa and Avraham Gellman. After some hard fought, physical work by the Jaguars’ emotional and physical defensive leader, Daniel Landa, RYNJ held on for a 3-1 win.

After defeating Moriah, ASHAR, and Kushner, RYNJ traveled to RPRY with a record of 8-0-1 trying to complete the undefeated season. Behind stellar goaltending from Yoel Jacobson and Isaac Markovitz, the Jaguars won 5-3 to cap off the regular season.

They enter the playoffs as the number one seed and are looking forward to a deep run.

By Ephraim Landa

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