The L/A Fighting Spirit stopped the Cape Cod Islanders’ top offensive players in Game 1 of the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League Eastern Divisional Finals.

The Islanders’ secondary scoring stepped up and provided the offense to take a 3-2 victory at Falmouth Ice Arena in Falmouth, Mass.

Steven Matthews had two goals, while Anthony Giannelli had a goal and an assist. Fellow linemate Frank Oakley chipped in with two assists.

The Islanders’ top-three scorers from the regular season, Mike Jessman, Chuck Costello and Aaron Deady, were all held pointless.

It was the Fighting Spirit who jumped out to the 1-0 lead when Brett Bittner scored his second goal of the playoffs 2:12 into the opening period. Austin Siering notched the lone assist. It was one of two shots they had in a defensive played period.

Cape Cod only had three shots in the first period.


In the second period, Cape Cod struck early when Giannelli added his second of the postseason 2:19 into the stanza. He only had 10 goals in the regular season for a total of 23 points. Oakley and defenseman Dan Moore assisted on the play.

Matthews gave Cape Cod the lead just before the six-minute mark, with Giannelli and Oakley setting the goal up.

Walker Hamilton notched his first point of the playoffs to tie the game at the 9:24 mark of the second period. Dylan Vrees, the Fighting Spirit’s leading scorer in the playoffs with six points, added his fourth assist.

Matthews scored the eventual game-winner 4:45 into the third period, with Giannelli and Max Campbell engineering the goal. It was Matthew’s third goal of the postseason after scoring 19 times in the regular season. He had 30 points in 35 games, which placed the forward sixth in team scoring for the Islanders.

Steven Schmitt made 26 saves in the victory. It was his first time he faced the Fighting Spirit  after he joined the Islanders late in the year from the Wooster Oilers of the North American 3 Hockey League out in the Midwest.

Claes Endre made 27 saves in the loss.

To extend the season, the Fighting Spirit need to win Game 2, which is on Saturday afternoon at 12:20 p.m.

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