Wentworth overtime goal eliminates Rams from playoffs
March 2, 2016
As Wentworth’s defenseman Jake Flynn scored the game winning goal in overtime to cement his team’s victory, it marked the end of Suffolk’s season.
The Leopards ousted the Rams again on Sunday as Flynn’s goal went pass Suffolk’s senior goalie Brandon Smolarek.
“Once the puck goes in the net, emotion overwhelms you,” Suffolk senior forward Justin Selep said. “We accomplished a lot of things no one thought we would accomplish. One goal or one game didn’t define our season.”
The fourth round seed Rams hosted the fifth round seed Leopards for their third matchup of the season heading into the ECAC Northeast quarterfinal round contest, which was held at a packed Emmons Horrigan O’Neil Memorial Rink. In their last game a few weeks ago, the Leopards spoiled senior night for the Rams.
Just more then four minutes into the first period, Wentworth capitalized just seven seconds into their first power play (PP) opportunity of the night– a short sit in the box for Suffolk senior captain and defenseman Shaughn Shields who recieved a minor penalty for slashing. The goal was reviewed, but ruled a good goal awarded to Adam Lane with assists from Stephen McManus and Eric Eustace.
During the 15th minute of the game, Angus Johnston gave Wentworth a two-goal lead. Even though the Rams were down by a pair of goals heading into the second period, the shots on goal were pretty even 7-8 in favor of Wentworth.
The Rams went to work in the second period starting off by breaking the two-goal deficit in half with a score from Suffolk freshman forward Justin Holliday. Freshmen forwards Nick Mosher and Tommy Bishop picked up assists on Holliday’s goal.
Selep converted on a Rams PP to tie the game 2-2 and skated toward his father, in attendance with Suffolk’s home crowd, to celebrate his goal with ecstatic teammates.
He gives credit to junior forward and assistant captain Danyil Medvedev, defenseman Tyler Heineman, and freshman forward Connor Parent for the goal set up. The two goals were 51 seconds apart.
“It’s easy to get the puck to the net once the puck’s on the goal line to push across the line,” Selep said. “It’s a great feeling to score in front of the home crowd.”
Of their 10 PP opportunities, Suffolk capitalized on one. Selep would have liked for the team to “get more shots through Miller — to take his eyes away a little bit.”
Suffolk served and killed six of their eight penalties. Selep wishes he could have taken back his three penalties for roughing, slashing and tripping.
“I thought our penalty kill was relentless and good,” Selep said. “If you give a team a lot of chances, they’re bound to score.”
Half way into the third, senior Suffolk forward Mike Cherpak’s goal tied the game 3-3 right after a Wentworth PP goal from Nick Newman.
“I just got out of the box when he scored the goal, [Cherpak] bailed us out and gave our team a chance,” Selep said. “I was ecstatic for him and the team. He has the best shot in the league, he has an unbelievable shot that not many goalies will save.”
Cherpak’s goal sent the game into overtime with another 20 minutes on the clock, adding to the playoff atmosphere. Smolarek and Wentworth goalie Joel Miller made key saves to keep both teams in the game, but star of the game Flynn put one past Smolarek at 10:03 in overtime for Wentworth to advance to the ECAC Northeast semifinal on, March 2.
The Leopards will play the highest seed in the conference, Endicott College, at Bourque Arena in Beverly, Massachusetts for a 7 p.m. puck drop.
“We have to give [Wentworth] credit,” Selep said. “We’ve played them three times this year, they have been good. They did their job.”
Despite playing catch up before sending the game into OT, Selep said his team was playing the game “the right way.”
“[Getting back into the game] speaks a lot about our coaching staff and leadership as a team,” Selep said. “The whole experience was great other than the lost.”