The Fireants, all three teams, opened up their season in December, all playing 6-game opening weekends. The first of the three to play were the Hartford Fireant Elites on the weekend of December 3rd at the Inline Skating Center of America in New Jersey.
Going into the weekend, the Elites knew they were short handed in net, with goaltender Steve Brandi being the only goalie to play all six games. The Canadian crew made the drive down Friday evening, making sure they stopped by their usual spot, Texas Roadhouse. “Pas de chevres sur le menu”, Plouffe said with a frowny face. The team had their meat, and were ready to rock. The Fireants were also missing their newly signed defenseman, John Pinhiero, who had to satisfy millions of families with quality Christmas trees. “Machete the branches, saw the base, make a smile” JP said of his absence.
The Fireants opened up at 10:40am versus the defending AIHL national champions Delco Demons. “We wanted to open the season up against a great team to set the bar high for the rest of the weekend”, coach Jim Miller said in a pre-game interview. The game would turn out to be one of the better games of the weekend. The Demons struck first, with a goal from Joe O’Neil. The Canadians would bring the team back and eventually take the lead, with two goals from Alexandre Grenier and a goal from Maxime St-Michel. The goal from St-Michel was his first as a Fireant. “J’adore les lamas, mais les fourmis sont mieux!!!!” St-Michel was very excited. The Demons would come back, scoring the next 3 goals, two by Shane Fox. The Fireants would end the first period, tying the game with a goal from Kevin L’Heureux. The second period would be another back and forth game. Shane Fox would score his third goal of the game for the Demons, followed by Grenier scoring his third goal of the game, locking the game up 5-5. With less than 2 minutes left, a suspect call would put the team on a power-play. The Demons took advantage, scoring the power-play goal to take the lead. “Tough call in a tough time of the game” Centore said of the call. Fox would score his 4th goal of the game, an empty netter with about 0:15 left in the game, ending the Fireants chances of winning. Demons took game one 7-5.
The team would then play a tough and gritty New Jersey Grizzly team. Jeff Whitley would open things up with his first goal of his Fireants Career, and the Fireants would not look back. Whitley would have 2 goals, Steve Conti would have two goals, and the team would go on to win game 2 of the weekend 6-4. “We needed some green, I mean momentum” goaltender Brandi said of the win. The Fireants would not finish the night too well, losing the last 2 games. The first being against the Philadelphia Liberty, losing 8-5 and to the New Jersey Alliance 7-5. “We were in every game, just could not close the games out!” Coach Miller said.
The Fireants would go on to celebrate John Pinhiero’s birthday Saturday night into Sunday, and learn many life lessons. They would open up Sunday morning, playing extremely flat against a short-handed Empire State Legends team, losing 5-2, going 1-4 for the weekend to that point. They would play game six against the struggling Long Island Bulldogs. After going up 6-1, the team would struggle at the end of the game to hold the lead, but would eventually win 9-8 to capture their second win of the weekend, going 2-4 on the weekend, currently sitting in 6th place in a tight east coast division.
The next Fireants Elite games are February 11th at ISCA, where they will go on and play another 6 game series, hoping for a much better result.