The ECHL season is still fairly young, but the Elmira Jackals are off to a good start, going 4-0 in the team’s first four games – all at home – and leading the league with eight points.
The Jackals have combined to score 19 goals in those four games and will play twice more at home before hitting the road for a six-game away stand. The team’s 4.75 goals-per-game average and total of just five goals against are top statistics in the league.
Alternate captain Dustin Gazley leads the team with three goals and five assists. Forwards Artem Demkov (4-2) and Andrew Rowe (2-4) have six points each, including two power play goals each, while rookie defenseman Danny New has tallied five points so far this season.
New, along with Chris Wideman and Brad Peltz, are all plus-five to lead the team.
The team kicked off its season with a 3-2 win over the Reading Royals on October 12. Pietrus, Demkov and Gazley all scored for Elmira, while goaltender Marc Cheverie stopped 34 of 36 shots against for the victory.
Greenville visited Elmira the next day, and the Jackals’ offense was on point, scoring seven goals on 38 shots and winning 7-1 in the process. Twelve Jackals skaters had at least a point, and thirteen had a plus-1 or better rating.
Defenseman Brad Peltz led the team with a plus-5, a goal and an assist. Gazley, Pietrus Kyle Bushee and Rob Bellamy had a goal and an assist each.
Additionally, Brandon Blandina and Jean Bourbeau also scored their first goals of the season. Cheverie had 26 saves in the win.
A six-day break provided a bit of rest for the team before they returned to action against the Wheeling Nailers.
It was more of the same for Elmira, as Artem Demkov notched his second goal of the season, while Gazley notched an assist. After Wheeling tied it early in the second, the Jackals fired back near the end of the period, when defenseman Jimmy Martin scored his first of the season and Gazley tallied his third just about two minutes later.
Jordon Southorn made it 4-1 Elmira just over two minutes into the third period, and while a goal by Wheeling’s Tom Kuhnhackl closed the game to a two-goal lead, the Nailers couldn’t complete the comeback as the Jackals moved once again to victory.
Finally, the two teams faced off again the next day. Things weren’t quite as even this time, however, as Elmira notched two goals in the first period and added three more in the second period to win the game 5-0.
Andrew Rowe and Artem Demkov had a pair of goals each, with Louie Caporusso adding the other. Marc Cheverie stopped all 30 shots against and was named first star of the game. (Rowe and Demkov were given the second and third honors, respectively.)
The Jackals will remain undefeated at least until Friday, when they face off against Cincinnati in the first of two consecutive home games against the Cyclones before embarking on their road trip that will see the team face South Carolina, Gwinett, Florida (twice), Orlando and Reading.