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USPHL Elite Semifinal: Tampa Bay Juniors win in OT to reach championship final

03/11/2019, 1:30pm EDT
By Joshua Boyd

Jonny Scheer could make a good contractor or handyman some day - he has a real “do it yourself,” “get ‘er done” type of attitude. He wants himself and his Tampa Bay Juniors teammates to do their jobs and do them well, regardless of the opponent.

He certainly did his job on Sunday night, scoring at 3:43 of the overtime period against the Northern Cyclones, to earn a 5-4 win and send his team to the USPHL Elite Championship Game on Monday.

Whether it was going to Richmond or Hampton Roads facing Tampa the next morning was not on his mind at all.

“We just have to take it one game at a time,” said Scheer, a ‘00 from Fanwood, N.J. “Richmond is also a strong team that made it to the finals, so it will be a good battle.”

Scheer does his job right, even if it means doing it twice. Just seconds before the game-winner, he skated in on the Cyclones’ Miles Corrigan, but Corrigan turned the bid away. Tampa Bay just simply regrouped, Scheer came around again and threw it on net and it found the goldmine.

“Through the first two periods, me and my linemate [Matthew] Menkhaus had a set play where we were pushing through and going back door,” said Scheer. “They were expecting that, so I just threw it on net and it went in.”

He was surprisingly calm at the end of the game, given the roller coaster ride Tampa was sent on. Before a massive Cyclones third period comeback, the Juniors were sitting pretty at 4-1 early in that period.

The scoring started just 3:19 into the game, as Menkhaus popped home a sweet pass from Scheer along just above the goal line through the crease.

Brendan Stoufer made it 2-0 late in the first off a laser from the left point, and that 2-0 score stood for a while. Menkhaus struck again, taking that low-to-the-goal dish pass from Scheer to score his second and send it to the second intermission with the Juniors up 3-1.

Zachary Parker took a textbook pass from behind the net and sent it home early in the third to give them that aforementioned 4-1 lead.

The Cyclones were not going quietly into the night. They were going to scream like the winds of their namesake. At 6:59, they descended on Tampa goalie Shaun Hatton, and defenseman Ryan Sheridan sent it over to Matt Irwin, the regular season’s second leading scorer behind leader and teammate Danny Woods. That made it 4-2, and it was 4-3 just seven minutes later.

Kenan Waters backhanded a pass to Irwin coming off the boards and Irwin made no mistake to pull his team within one.

Irwin tied the game by taking a pass from Woods into the Juniors’ zone, crossing to create a 2-on-1, and sending it top shelf with 5:26 remaining, leaving that 4-4 score to linger until Scheer made it clear which team was going forward.

“It’s a great feeling. I wouldn’t have done it without my teammates,” said Scheer. “The whole team just bought in and just kept working through the whole season and now we’re here.”

Monday is “here,” and Monday means it’s time to play championship hockey. Tune in at and hear The Dan K Show’s call of the action between the Tampa Bay Juniors and Richmond Generals.


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