Before one of the biggest weekends on the New Jersey Fanatics schedule, PIHA Media asked a few questions of the team’s captain, TJ Plaugher. TJ has been a part of the inline hockey community for several years on the east coast and continues to produce at every level.
PIHA: Mr. Plaugher, we’d like thank you for your time and good luck this season. First, after a few games in PIHA what do the Fanatics think of the caliber of play in the Minor Division?
TJ Plaugher: I think the guys have come together as a team and we are all looking to help each other on and off the rink this season. We all are friends off the rink as well as on the rink.
PIHA: We know it’s early but the Fanatics are in the middle of the pack already and have competed well in every game this year. Are you looking to a long playoff push or just happy to get your feet wet this season and build from there?
TJ: Our goal was to make the playoffs before the season started this year and that’s what we plan on doing. We know what we have to do in order to make playoffs and all the guys are working hard at it.
PIHA: Next Saturday is a big weekend for the Fanatics with 6 games on the schedule, who is the organization looking at to step up and help get the team to the next level in the Atlantic Division?
TJ: We are looking for Dave Hogan, Joe Forimino and Eric Dawe to help us take it to the next level. Dave and Joe are both rookies on the team this year and we are looking for them to stand up and take charge. Dave is a solid defenseman that can play both sides of the puck and we need him to step it up. Joe is a rookie in goal this year and he played well in Pottstown but deep down I know there is more he has to show the league. Eric is our leader in goal and has come up big for us this season and last. He is the heart and soul of this organization.
PIHA: Personally you are leading the team in points mostly with dishing the puck, is that something you look to continue to do or are you hoping to find that goal scoring stick?
TJ: I believe it will come around this season. I had the same problem last year. I started scoring half way through the season last year. I am more focused on playing defense and dishing the puck off. I have learned by playing against Cj Yoder that if you dish the puck to your teammates that teams will respect you enough and give you space to shoot. You can’t go wrong by learning from the best inline hockey player in the world.
PIHA: Before the season started were there any expectations on your part from a performance level for yourself? The team?
TJ: For myself it is to do what I need to do in order the help this team win games. My soon to be wife challenges me by saying you can’t get 50pts in a season, so that is my personal goal during the season. As a team we look to win games and play hard to show the team we came to play that we’re not a push over. We made our goal to make playoffs and that’s what we plan on doing.
PIHA: Lastly, we noticed that the Fanatics do a great job of keeping everyone up to date on Facebook. Where can PIHA fans keep up with the Fanatics?
TJ: You guys can find it on Facebook under Central Jersey Fanatics. Like the page and you can follow the team on updates, roster moves and everything else involving the Fanatics.
PIHA: We are looking forward to watching where the new franchise ends up in your inaugural season in PIHA. Thanks again for talking with us.