BEDFORD, MA -- The Wizards fell in overtime against the Vermont Lumberjacks this afternoon in a playoff preview of next week's First Round matchup. The First Round of the EHL Playoffs will start on Wednesday, March 7th in Bedford against these same Lumberjacks and will consist of a best-of-three series. With the loss the Wizards dropped to 27-18-3 for the season.
"You hear coaches say that sometimes it's good to lose," said Wizards head coach and general manager Freddy Meyer. "That's exactly the way Kory [Falite] and I look at today. We had been perfect against the Lumberjacks so far this season, but this loss sends a great message to our team. We are feeling confident going up against them in the playoffs, but we have to remained focus. We're not going to just show up and win, we have to execute."
Matt Fuller started off the scoring for the Wizards with an assist from Dylan Schuett to give the Wizards a one-goal lead just over 1:30 into the game. The Lumberjacks responded with a goal of their own just before the end of the first 1st to knot the game up at one apiece at the break. After the intermission, Jermey Vasquez gave the Wizards back the lead with a goal just over two minutes into the period. However, the Lumberjacks tied up the game at 2-2 on the power-play a couple minutes after. Elliot Fletcher gave the Wizards the lead again just past the 11-minute mark of the 2nd frame, but the Lumberjacks fought back to tie the game yet again in the final minutes of the period.
Fletcher recorded his 10th goal for the Wizards this season and 2nd goal of the game near the 10-minute mark of the third period to give the Wizards back the lead, but the Lumberjacks came back once more to force overtime. The Wizards were outshot 5-0 in overtime and lost the extra point to the Lumberjacks, but still hold home ice advantage for this first round of the playoffs. The newest member of the Wizards, Stephen Friedland stopped 33 shots in the losing effort. With the assist in the 1st period, Schuett extended his point streak to 20 games while his linemate Devin Panzeca saw his streak come to an end after a stellar 19 games.
The Wizards will play their final two games of the season this upcoming weekend with a home-and-home series with the New England Wolves starting on Friday in Bedford.